Carter Burke

Carter J. Burke

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Just tell me one thing, Burke. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study, not to bring back, but to wipe them out?
~ Ellen Ripley asking Carter J. Burke.
That's the plan.
~ Carter J. Burke deceptively answered.

Carter J. Burke (or better known as Carter Burke) is a major antagonist from the Aliens series, and is one of the relatively few antagonists from the series, who isn't a Xenomorph.

He was portrayed by Paul Reiser.



He is was a corporate executive who often comforted Ellen Ripley and became her friend while she was at Gateway Station. After revealing that Ripley had been frozen for 57 years, and that her daughter passed away two years earlier. After learning of The Derelict ship from Ripley, he agrees to help regain her license in return for her returning to LV-426 to investigate. Burke later had an opposing voice to the actions of the survivors keeping to The Company's interests as well as his own. Burke paid the ultimate price for his acquisitive greed on the fateful mission to the colony.


Carter was a selfish, deceitful, and manipulative sociopath, caring only for his own needs on the investigation mission. He manipulated Ripley into giving him the coordinates to the Derelict on LV-426 while playing the empathetic friend for her. Burke also had no issues ordering the colony to investigate the signal leading to their deaths, as well as trying to impregnate Ripley and Newt with Xenomorphs and sabatoging the cryotubes of the other survivors to cover his tracks. Although considered ruthless, even by his colleagues at Weyland-Yutani, they lamented that Burke was "executive material".


Meeting Ripley

Carter J. Burke

Carter Burke working for the Weyland-Yutani corporation.

Carter Burke worked for the Weyland-Yutani corporation in 2179. He was the first person to acquaint himself with Warrant Officer Ripley after her 57 years in hypersleep. Burke filled Ripley in on the years she missed out on and the fate of her daughter Amanda Ripley-McClaren. Burke befriended Ripley on her stay at Gateway Station and was a familiar and friendly face to Ripley. After Ripley was demoted to Lieutenant, Burke came to her apartment with an offer to reinstate her Warrant Officer rank on accompanying Burke and a squad of Marines to investigate the loss of contact with Hadley's Hope, which was colonized on the moon Ripley and the crew of the USCSS Nostromo landed on decades before.


Carter was one of the civilian advisors on the mission along with Ripley, presumably to safeguard the company's investment in the terraforming colony. Carter joins the marines when they go planet side and stays either near Lt. Gorman or in the APC while the marines search the colony and deem specific points safe. Burke sides with Ripley against Gorman when she points out that the marines' weapons could rupture the station's cooling system, explaining that the station is basically a big fusion reactor, and they could trigger a thermonuclear explosion. He witnesses the marines being slaughtered by the Xenomorphs via the APC. Only Corporal Dwayne Hicks, and Privates Hudson and Vasquez survive the assault due to Ripley taking control and rescuing the the survivors.

Survival in the colony

However, when Ripley suggests they take off and nuke the site from orbit, Burke says he cannot authorize that kind of action, and the site has a substantial dollar value attached to it. He also reasons, against Ripley and Vasquez that the Aliens are an important species and they don't have the right to exterminate them. Ripley then points out the operation is under military jurisdiction and Dwayne Hicks is next in chain of command (Gorman is unconscious at this point). Burke then reasons that Hicks cannot make that kind of decision as the site is a multi-million dollar installation. Hicks then radios Ferro and orders immediate evacuation, planning to nuke the planet from orbit.

Betraying the Marines and Death

Burke would betray Ripley and the Marines, as a captured alien would have great potential for research and bioweapons, which would earn him a lucrative promotion - he specifically targets Ripley for this, after she discovers his intention. He planned to smuggle the alien past quarantine through Ripley and Newt. He attempts to get them impregnated by locking them in a room with a pair of face huggers; he later turns off the room's security camera. He would then sabotage the cryochambers in order to kill the marines, but his plan was foiled after Ripley triggered the smoke detector and the Marines rescued her. She then exposed Burke. The Marines planned to kill Burke after they realized that the aliens were approaching the medlabs. In the chaos, Burke escapes and seals himself off from the pursuing marines. An alien then attacks him from behind and kills him.

Deleted Death Scene

In a cut scene from the film, Aliens, Burke survives and is instead captured and impregnated by the aliens in their hive. Ripley Comes across a cocooned Burke when she comes searching for Newt who was captured by the creatures as well. Burke reaches out to Ripley telling her he can feel "it" moving inside him. Even after he tried killing Ripley and the marines, she unfortunately gave him his undeserved mercy in the form of an armed grenade instead of letting him pop and take responsibility for the murder of 157 innocent men women and children.

This scene would be released for the first time on the 2010 Alien Anthology Blu-Ray set.


  • He was thought to be the main antagonist, but this was the plot to reveal the true main villain.
  • Burke is very similar to Dylan Gould; they are greedy businessmen who turn out to be cowards and are willing to kill others to ensure their own survival, but Burke is much worse than Gould.
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Xenomorph Queen (Empress, Queen Mother, First Acheron Queen, Second Acheron Queen, Cloned Queen, Antarctic Queen, Matriarch) | Nostromo Drone | Drones | Runner | Warrior | Raven | Sevastopol Drone | Dragon | Newborn | Deacon | Abomination | Rogue | Lead Alien | Red Xenomorphs | Grid | Predaliens (Gunnison Predalien)

Jungle Hunter | City Hunter | Berserker Predator | Chopper Predator | Celtic Predator | Scar | Tracker Predator | Falconer Predator | Killers

Peter Weyland | Carter J. Burke | Ash | David 8

The Engineers | Edwin | Stans | King Willie | Borgia Industries | Mason Wren | General Spears