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The Monster’s Mother: Four

Is Alien Resurrection a sequel to Alien3, and hence to the previous two ‘Alien’ films? It may seem that the presence of the aliens, together with that of Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, guarantees this; but in fact, it merely displaces the question. For can we simply take it for granted that the aliens are the same species that we encountered in the earlier films, or that the Ripley of Alien Resurrection is the same person whose vicissitudes we have followed from their beginning on the Nostromo? After all, David Fincher’s furious, purifying desire for closure in Alien3 resulted in the death of Ripley and of the sole surviving representative of the alien species inside her. Hence Jeunet’s film, helping itself to the resources for self-renewal that science fiction makes available to its practitioners, can recover the queen and her host only by positing the capacity to clone them from genetic material recovered from the medical facilities on Fiorina 161. But as his renegade military scientists make clear at the outset, the cloning process produces another, distinct individual from this genetic material; it does not reproduce the individual from whom the material derives. Their clone of the original Ripley is not Ripley herself – her body is not Ripley’s body (however much it resembles the one consumed in Fiorina’s furnace), and her mind has no inherent continuity with Ripley’s (it must be stocked from her own experiences). As Call puts it, she is ‘a strain, a construct; they grew you in a fucking lab’.