Aliens – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Ripley has been recovered from deep space fifty seven years. She’s suffering from posttraumatic syndrome, lost her child and she’ s lost her job.

Call to Adventure

They’ve lost contact with the colony on LV-426 and they want Ripley to go in as a consultant. If she goes, she gets her job back.

Refusal of the call

Ripley doesn’t want to go.

Supernatural Aid

Hicks is her mentor. He teaches her how to shoot and gives her the talisman of the tracking device which she later uses to save Newt.

Crossing the First Threshold

She joins the crew of the Sulaco as a consultant and heads off to LV-426

Belly of the whale

The first hint of death comes when enter the drop ship to get to the surface of the planet. Stakes are now raised and she’s not completely safe from the Aliens anymore.

The Road of the trials

Click on the above link for Road of the trials and it goes to the definition. The main trials are defined and all are easily identified such as Abduction when Newt is captured.

Meeting with the Goddess

Ripley meets Newt, she’s about the same age as Ripley’s daughter was when she left on her original journey which she made in the original movie Alien. This is the relationship which inspires her to be a hero in the third act.

Woman as Temptress

Temptation is flipped on to Burke. He’s sold out his humanity and morals. He was the one who told the colony on LV-426 to investigate the alien craft and then comes up with a plan to implant the alien into Ripley and Newt and then kill the rest of the crew so he can get the Alien back to Earth and then exploit the Alien for military purpose. He’s succumbed to the temptation of greed.

Death of the mentor

Hicks is sprayed by acid blood from an Alien and becomes incapacitated. Now, she must face the final challenge alone.

Atonement with the Father

Aliens is all about Motherhood and its at this moment where she learns what being a mother is all about. Confronting her fears and a willingness to sacrifice her own life to protect Newt.


Ripley has the ability to track Newt into the Alien hive. (I always look for some God like ability, something special which an ordinary human can’t do)

Ultimate Boon

Ripley blasts up the Alien Queen’s lair and then all of the Aliens are destroyed when the nuclear plant explodes.

The Magic flight

They escape the explosion and fly up to the Sulaco

The crossing of the return Threshold

They’ve returned to the Sulaco and Ripley makes peace with her hatred of the synthetic human Bishop. She’s ready to go home but there is one more villain that needs to be defeated – The Alien Queen.

Master of two worlds

She combines her skills as both  a power loader operator and Alien killer in a one on one battle with the Alien Queen. How much more satisfying was it to watch this combination rather than her just running away and getting a gun to kill the Alien Queen. When thinking about creating you character, think about how you can combine elements of both worlds, even if these worlds (from the first and second Acts) are incredibly removed from one another. How do you combine them for a satisfying and unexpected conclusion.

Rescue from without

As Newt is getting sucked into the airlock to certain death, Bishop grabs her and saves her life. Although this isn’t saving Ripley herself, in the process of saving Newt he’s helping Ripley achieve her goal.

Freedom to live

“Can we dream?” “Yes Honey, I think we both can.”


So this film fights it out with Empire, T2 and Toy Story 2 as the best sequel of all time. James Cameron actually adapted this story from one of his other original ideas called Mother, a story about an alien bugs which have a Queen on another planet. Make sure you check out the link for Road of the Trial and any of the other headings of stages you don’t understand.

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.

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