Intradiegetic Paratexts of the Alien Franchise

Tonguc Sezen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Since the release of Alien in 1979, the Alien franchise not only expanded in film medium through sequels and prequels; but also spread over various media through adaptations and licensed products; including comic books, novels, toys, board games, and video games. Building upon Genette’s concept of paratextuality, and theories on transmedia storytelling, in this paper I propose to focus on one specific type of expansion tied to the Alien transmedia franchise; intradiegetic paratexts in factual format. At least since the release of the Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, intradiegetic paratexts were part of the Alien franchise. Written in-universe, these reference books, trading cards, and sometimes sections in video game manuals have retold and expanded the stories from Alien films in both authoritarian and personal fashions. Masquerading as non-fictional, non-narrative factual texts and media they contributed to the world building process of the franchise. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report for example provided detailed technical layouts of the vehicles and spaceships seen in films, while also trying to establish a comprehensive timeline. Alien Covenant: David's Drawings explored the mind of the android David while also giving homage to Giger’s art. Prometheus’ advertising campaign used video clips disguised as ads for Weyland Corporation androids and space exploration projects. While most of the Alien paratexts anchored themselves to the films in the series, there were also examples which were anchored to video games and comic book, such as Cyberantics, a fictional scientific book “written” by the lead character of the Dark Horse Comics’ Aliens: Hive. Recently, through wikis and Youtube channels fans of the franchise started to provide similar content discussing the histories, technology, society, and biology of the fictional universe. In this paper, I propose a comparative reading of these paratexts. I will focus on their contribution to the world building process and their relation to both films and other Alien media; how the stories of the films are retold as factual texts and to what extend they expand the fictional universe in comparison to other transmedia products, such as games and novels.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 24 May 2019
Event40 Years of Alien Symposium - Prifysgol Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 May 201924 May 2019


Conference40 Years of Alien Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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