'Alien' Movie Fans Shocked To Discover Iconic Character Was Transgender

Alien was released in movie theaters back in 1979 to critical and commercial acclaim, with audiences gripped by the film's unique mix of sci-fi and horror.

It was the movie that helped make Sigourney Weaver and Ridley Scott household names, and one that kicked off a franchise that has so far spawned three direct sequels, two crossover films and another pair of prequels in the decades since.

The Alien universe is set to be revisited again soon with the arrival of a brand new television series which is being written and directed by Noah Hawley, best known for his work on the Fargo spin-off show.

A key scene from the film Alien.
Sigourney Weaver, Yaphet Kotto, Tom Sherritt, John Hurt and Ian Holm on the set of Alien, directed by Ridley Scott - fans have been discussing a new revelation from the film. Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty

In the meantime, fans are continuing to pore over the original films and, in particular, Alien and its highly successful sequel, 1986's Aliens, which was written and directed by James Cameron.

One scene in particular has proven to be the source of some interest on Reddit after an eagle-eyed fan spotted a key detail in Aliens that shed further light on a character from the original movie.

The scene takes place when—SPOILER ALERT—Weaver's character Ellen Ripley is tasked with explaining to the mining company she works for, Weyland Yutani, why she was forced to blow up her ship, the Nostromo, in the first film and why she is the sole survivor from the incident.

During the scene, which sees Ripley attempt to warn the company executives about the presence of the deadly Xenomorphs that featured in the first film, a series of character bios can be seen on the screen behind her.

Each one relates to one of her now-deceased crew members, offering up details about their background going into the mission. It's when the bio flashes up for Joan Lambert, the Nostromo's navigator, played by Veronica Cartwright, that things get interesting.

As user S0meKindOfSpecialist explains in their post: "In Aliens (1986) a biography briefly flashes up on a computer screen in the background. The biography reveals that Lambert is Transgender, having altered her gender from Male to Female."

The key line in Lambert's bio reads: "Subject is Despin Convert at birth (male to female). So far no indication of suppressed trauma related to gender alteration" and has sparked quite a debate among fans of the film.

BangBangMeatMachine said the description read like "a nightmarish corporationist dystopia." DonBearPig offered a more detailed hypothesis, suggesting the film existed in a universe where an "extreme technology" existed that allowed parents to "create whatever gender you want with science."

You-are-not-yourself agreed, writing: "It would also be extensively used by rich people to give their kids superficially good looks and abilities," while another user, Mad-Lad-of-RVA, suggested similar had been touched on in the 1997 sci-fi film Gattaca, starring Ethan Hawke.

These thoughts were echoed by another user, Arvind0508, who thought it was: "Quite disturbing if you think about it for a bit. Are there trans people out there in Alien who have dysmorphia and would prefer their 'original' gender? The technology seems great but the way it's used inverts the greatness into horror, peak dystopian world building."

Orcusgrasshopperfog took it one step further, suggesting the term "converted at birth" could also be an indication anyone working for Weyland Yutani is "subject to breeding laws where the company also dictates the gender of controlled breeding 'for the good of the colony.'"

VesDoppelganger also noted the character of Lambert had a low "social score" which could go some way to explaining her meltdown later when confronted with the titular alien.

For some, the discussion was all too much.

Commenting on the debate around the discovery, one user posting as Pavlock said: "I feel like this comment section has already put more thought into this than whoever wrote the bio in the first place."

ImperatorTempus42 agreed, writing: "Knowledge and awareness on the intersection of gender, sex, and anatomy have improved exponentially in the past 30 years. Can't blame the writer too much."

As one user, posting as Suckfail put it rather succinctly: "Reddit over analyzes literally everything."

Knowledge of Lambert's transgender status first came to light in February 2021, when a Twitter user posting as cisjender spotted the little-known character description.

This isn't the first time Reddit has surprised film fans with a revelation about a beloved blockbuster from years gone by.

Recent posts to go viral have included one about a surprising cameo in Robin Williams' Mrs Doubtfire and a grisly behind-the-scenes bit of trivia from The Godfather.

The cast of Alien.
Actors Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt,Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton and Ian Holm on the set of Alien, directed by Ridley Scott - fans have been surprised to discover one character was actually transgender. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty