Amanda Ripley (character)

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Amanda Ripley
Aliens character
Amanda Ripley (character).jpg
Likeness of Kezia Burrows as Amanda Ripley
First appearance Aliens (1986)
First game Alien: Isolation (2014)
Created by James Cameron
Voiced by Andrea Deck (Isolation)
Motion capture Kezia Burrows (Isolation)
Portrayed by Elizabeth Inglis (Aliens)

Amanda "Amy" Ripley is a fictional character in the Alien franchise. The daughter of the protagonist of the film series, Ellen Ripley, Amanda is first introduced in the extended version of Aliens. Amanda is also the protagonist of the 2014 video game Alien: Isolation, which is set 42 years prior to Aliens.[1]

Conception and creation[edit]

A deleted scene from the film Aliens, which was later included on DVD releases, reveals that Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) has a daughter, Amanda. She was ten years old during the events of Alien, but grew up, married (taking on the surname McClaren) and died during her mother's 57-year stasis between the events of the first two films. A picture of Amanda as an elderly adult is shown to Ripley. The picture is actually Weaver's real-life mother, Elizabeth Inglis. The scene was cut from the film due to 20th Century Fox's concerns about length. Weaver was furious at the removal, considering it to be crucial to Ellen Ripley's character development in the film, taking on a protective mother role to the young character Rebecca "Newt" Jorden.[2] In James Cameron's 1983 Alien II treatment for what would become Aliens, Amanda (then unnamed) was alive, but old and crippled. When her mother contacted her from the Gateway Station, Amanda blames her for her absence.[3]

For the video game Alien: Isolation, most early development was done with a female test dummy, with it being "almost just an assumption" that the lead would be a female character.[4] The game chose to focus on Amanda. The developers wanted Amanda to echo some of her mother's traits, while being her own distinct character. Examples given of how she mirrored Ellen Ripley included her determination, while also initially being colder than Ellen.[5] Isolation utilised performance-capture acting in an attempt to bring believability to its characters.[6]

Fictional biography[edit]

Amanda was conceived during a layover between haulage trips. Though this contravened Weyland-Yutani policy, her mother was not disciplined and the pregnancy was allowed to come to term.[7] Amanda was delivered in a home birth.[8] She was ten years old when Ellen Ripley disappeared aboard the Nostromo. According to the canonical novel Alien: Out of the Shadows, Amanda's father walked out on her and Ellen when Amanda was three years old. Ripley had promised Amanda that she would be home for her 11th birthday.

In Alien: Isolation, Amanda Ripley is an engineer for Weyland-Yutani (W-Y). Ripley was approached by W-Y synthetic Christopher Samuels, who informed her that the flight recorder of the Nostromo had been discovered by a salvage ship, the Anesidora, and taken to Sevastopol Station, a supply depot in orbit around the gas giant KG348. Believing that it will provide her closure, Ripley accepts a place on the recovery team, travelling on the W-Y ship Torrens.

According to Aliens, Amanda at some point married, taking on the surname McClaren, but had no children. She died on December 23, 2177 from cancer.[9] Ripley was cremated and interred at Westlake Repository, Little Chute, Wisconsin.

Reception[edit]

The character's critical reception was mixed. Despite criticizing much of Isolation, Ryan McCaffrey from IGN stated that Amanda has a "clearly defined tough-as-nails personality befitting of her mother."[10] Danielle Riendeau of Polygon praised Amanda from a feminist perspective as a worthy successor to, as well as the best female protagonist since, Ellen Ripley.[11] Riendeau would later go on to call 2014 "the year women characters rule" for the number of promiment women in video games, further praising the game's ability to tie playing Amanda into its gameplay.[12]

Wired's Matt Peckham criticised the choice to have the player character as Ellen's daughter, calling it a "narrative cheat", and found the ultimate pay-off "hurried and a little forced." Peckham praised having a female player character, however, calling it "wonderful playing as a strong, clever, self-reliant woman."[13] Jeff Marchiafava from Game Informer criticised the character, feeling that she "exhibits little growth or personality."[14] Blake Peterson, writing for Game Revolution, felt the game failed to ever develop Amanda or connect the player to her emotionally, commenting that she "soon feels like a placeholder" for the more iconic Ellen Ripley.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lane, Rick (7 October 2014). "Alien-Isolation Review". bit-tech.net. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Ridley Scott, James Cameron, H. R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (2002). The Alien Saga (DVD). Prometheus Entertainment. 
  3. ^ "Alien II" (original treatment) by James Cameron
  4. ^ Weber, Rachel (6 February 2014). "Creative Assembly's Talented Miss Ripley". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Hope, Alistair (14 November 2014). "Afterwords – Alien: Isolation". Game Informer (Interview). Interview with Jeff Marchiafava. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Sarkar, Samit (9 May 2014). "Alien: Isolation devs bringing characters to life with performance capture". Polygon. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  7. ^ Crew dossier seen in Aliens, available as bonus feature on Alien Anthology Blu-ray
  8. ^ Ann Crispin (1997). Alien: Resurrection novelization. Warner Books, Inc. p. 219. 
  9. ^ Alan Dean Foster (1986). Aliens novelization. Warner Books, Inc. p. 24. 
  10. ^ Ryan McCaffrey (3 October 2014). "Alien: Isolation review". IGN. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Danielle Riendeau (17 October 2014). "Alien: Isolation has the best woman protagonist since... 'Alien'". Polygon. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Riendeau, Danielle (29 December 2014). "2014 in review: the year women characters ruled". Polygon. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  13. ^ Peckham, Matt (23 October 2014). "6 Things Alien: Isolation Nails, and 5 It Misses". Wired. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Marchiafava, Jeff (3 October 2014). "Alien: Isolation". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  15. ^ Peterson, Blake (10 October 2014). "Alien: Isolation Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on 16 August 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2016.