Actor Bill Paxton, who died on Sunday at the age of 61, gave us many memorable performances across his long career in movies such as Apollo 13, Twister, The Terminator, Predator 2 and Titanic, and his talent more recently shined in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Edge of Tomorrow.
But today I'd like to honor Paxton by praising my favorite performance of his, from James Cameron's Aliens: the colonial marine Hudson. In fact, he's my favorite character from the entire Alien saga. While Ellen Ripley is still the most developed character in the series, I have a soft spot for Hudson because of how three-dimensional he is.
In many ways, the sequel to Alien improved on many elements from the first film, including a new crew who are all memorable and remain just as iconic as Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley. One of these characters is Private William Hudson, a cocky marine who considers himself — and his team — to be (in his words) a "squad of ultimate badasses."
He's the most gung-ho character, ready to take on any threat ... but when the aliens attack, he becomes sniveling and cowardly, trying to find any way to stay out of the fight before coming to his demise.
How Is He The Best Character In The Alien Saga?
Now judging from this brief synopsis of Hudson's character, you're probably wondering how Hudson could possibly get any love, right? Well, allow me a chance to explain.
See, Hudson feels like the most human character in the entire team of marines because of his reactions: we all get cocky, but when terrible things happen, not everyone is going to get right back on the horse and be ready to fight. We get scared and frozen by what we've witnessed, and that's how Hudson is in the film.
He just watched a majority of his squad get eviscerated by a terrifying menace, so nobody could blame him for panicking like he did. Almost anyone would do the same!
He's Not A Complete Coward Though
Yes, throughout the second act of the film, Hudson mostly just complains and tries to weasel his way out of any situation involving the Xenomorphs, but that doesn't stop him from showing acts of courage. For example, he was the one to save Newt from a facehugger like a pro, and towards the end of the second act — when the aliens begin swarming our heroes — Hudson was the one to step up and fight off as many of the creatures as possible, managing to kill quite a few of them before coming to his unfortunate demise. It still leaves fans like myself saddened to this day.
Hudson isn't just a one-note character. He provides comedy, his fears are understandable, he grows from being a cocky smartass to being an "ultimate badass," and that's why fans love him so much; I immediately think of this character when I think of Bill Paxton. I don't think any other actor could have pulled off this performance, and it will always go down as his best in my mind.
Paxton was a wonderful actor who was taken away from the world too soon.
Was Hudson your favorite character from Aliens too? Let me know in the comments down below!