Aliens – Save the Cat Beat Sheet


Opening image

Ripley floating alone in hypersleep.

Theme stated

“If one of those things gets down here then that will be all. Then all this bullshit you think is so important you can just kiss all that goodbye.”

It’s a deadly situation and no one seems to be listening to Ripley or giving her the respect she deserves.

In the directors cut there is a scene where Ripley lost her child , so motherhood is the theme and this ties in nicely with the B story and the mother alien but it wasn’t in the theatrical release. Is it possible to remove the scene which states the theme and still have that as the theme of the film? Often the Dark Night of the soul moment is a moment where the hero acknowledges, understands, accepts the theme. Motherhood, where someone is willing to sacrifice their own life for their child. The Alien Queen is also a mother facing obliteration from Ripley. Most accurately the theme is Motherhood in a deadly situation.

Ripley is recovering from spending fifty seven years in hypersleep, suffering from post traumatic stress and her employers don’t believe her story about what happened to the ship.

Inciting Incident
Burke tells Ripley they’ve lost contact with the colony.

Burke wants her to go as a consultant but she isn’t refuses to go until she wakes from a nightmare and feels like the only way to end the nightmares is to face the fear.

Break into two

She flies to the planet with the Colonial Marines.

B story

Often the B story is the love story and in this case it’s motherly love. Ripley lost her daughter at the start of the film and the B story is maternal love story between Ripley and Newt

Fun and Games

They explore the empty space colony and discover clues as to what happened. They discover where the entire population of the colony is located and the marines go in after them

They enter the alien lair and the aliens kill some of the marines and Ripley rescues them but their shuttle crashes and they are stranded on the planet.

Bad Guys Close In:
Burke releases two face huggers to get Ripley and Newt implanted with aliens and the stations nuclear reactor is going to explode.

All is Lost
The aliens infiltrate all the defences and kill the remaining marines except for Hicks. Newt is taken by the aliens and Hick is wounded by the alien acid blood.

Dark Night of the Soul

They get the shuttle but they can’t leave because Ripley has to go back and save Newt

Break into three

Ripley enters the hive to save Newt

Gather the team
Ripley’s on her own but assembles her weapons and fortifies herself for the upcoming battle.

Storm the Castle:
Ripley blasts her way into the hive, saves Newt, burns all the eggs and has the alien queen chasing after her in hot pursuit.

High Tower Surprise:
They think they escaped but the alien queen hid on their craft.

Dig Down Deep:
Ripley in a loading suit fights the alien queen.

Victory (or Defeat):
The alien queen is sucked into space. Not bad for a human.

Final image

Ripley and her new family, asleep in their pods


You can also find the links for

Alien – The Hero’s Journey stages

Alien – The Save the Cat beat sheet

Aliens – The Save the Cat beat sheet

Aliens – The Hero’s Journey stages

Hero’s journey and Save the Cat work very well in concert with each other. If you’ve discovered one but not the other I recommend having a look.

2 Replies to “Aliens – Save the Cat Beat Sheet”

    1. I suggest “Superhero”. In the original “Alien” (which serves as a backstory for this movie) Ripley gained experience with aliens. This can be seen as an acquired superpower — Ripley knows how to deal with these creatures better than any other character, even the colonial soldiers. This “superpower” is why she gets asked on the mission, she’s special and a “chosen one”. The price for her superpower is her PTSD, and perhaps the loss of her biological child (Director’s Cut). Her nemesis “of greater power” is ultimately the alien queen, also a “mother” of sorts. “Saving humanity” is hyper-focused on saving Newt who forms the stakes and symbolizes innocence. To save her, Ripley must go further than she’s ever gone, face her fears, take the elevator to hell.

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