A word of advice for Extant’s Molly Woods: Don’t worry about keeping your soon-to-be newborn quiet. In space, no one can hear its screams. If your baby turns out to be an evil alien, no one will be able to hear yours, either.
The CBS miniseries debuting tomorrow, starring Halle Berry as a mysteriously impregnated astronaut probably concerned how maternity leave works in space, is only the latest in a line of sci-fi works involving unborn children. But before you start picking out items from Molly’s Bed, Bath, To Infinity and Beyond baby registry, remember that in most cases, pregnancy is quite ominous. No one likes an alien fetus gestating inside them, after all.
While we stare at our Save the Date cards for Molly’s baby shower and wonder how much a hotel room on the moon is going to cost us, let’s take a look back at some of the most iconic – and horrifying – space pregnancies in history. Expect spoilers, naturally.
Evil aliens bursting out of chests aren’t just a casual occurrence in the Alien movies; they’re one of the founding principles of the franchise. Yet there’s something particularly icky about one of the titular aliens being born from a clone of series hero Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)’s stomach. To make matters worse, it’s all done for science, two centuries after Ridley wiped out the aliens. Have some respect for a galactic hero, scientists of the cinematic future!
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Star Wars prequel trilogy’s entire reason for existing – other than lots and lots of money – was to flesh out exactly how Luke Skywalker’s warped family tree came to be. That unfortunately meant Padmé (played with understandable reluctance by Natalie Portman), wife of Darth Vader née Anakin Skywalker, had to die. The actual childbirth scene is tragic, Padmé barely squeaking out names for her twins. Luke and Leia would go on to lead the Rebels and destroy the Sith Empire – their father also dying in the process – but were deprived their happy ending due to their shared lineage. Really, almost everything about this pregnancy is terrible – including the movie in which it takes place.
As awful as the Star Wars pregnancy was, at least Padmé didn’t have to surgically remove her own children – and at least those children weren’t squidlike monsters. That’s the unfortunate fate that befalls Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s Alien-inspired 2012 film. Shaw is supposedly sterile, but she becomes pregnant by her mutating archaeologist partner, Charlie Holloway. Poor Holloway gets burned to death to stop the mutation, while Shaw, as mentioned, has to remove the alien fetus herself. Pro-tip: If you think you might be in the Alien universe, double down on the birth control.
The Astronaut’s Wife
It’s easy to forget exactly how shaky things were for Charlize Theron pre-Monster. She was in a Mighty Joe Young remake, and that wasn’t even the worst thing to happen to her. No, that dubious honor belongs to The Astronaut’s Wife, a box office bomb also starring Johnny Depp. In the film, Theron plays the titular wife, impregnated with alien twins by her husband – who has also been possessed by an alien. An attempted abortion fails, and though Theron’s character almost saves herself, she winds up becoming possessed instead and her alien children are born. Moral of the story: Twins are terrifying.
Is being told by Ellenor from The Practice that you’re pregnant the worst way to return from space? Quite possibly! But Molly Woods must soldier on, comforted by the fact that Extant is just a miniseries, so her journey won’t be too long. What Molly is carrying is a mystery – to her and to us – but judging from the funny business we see with an intruder on the spacecraft in the trailer, we’d bet this wasn’t an immaculate conception. It's still unlikely that the possibly alien child will be as creepy as Molly’s robot hybrid son, though.