With Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise proper with next month’s Alien: Covenant (Prometheus doesn’t really count), it makes sense that the legendary director would want to reminisce about his original 1979 film. The first Alien is one of the greatest science-fiction films ever made, but what tends to get overlooked is just how effective its horror elements are. Alien is an incredible monster movie and features a pretty bold ending, with heroine Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) vanquishing her xenomorph enemy, but her fate is left in question on account of being stranded alone in the far reaches of space. In other words, it’s not exactly a happy ending.
Well, it turns out that Scott’s original vision for the film’s ending was a heck of a lot bleaker.
According to the director, this ending would not only have seen Ripley fail to kill the xenomorph, but would have also prevented her from coming back for any potential sequels.
“I thought that the alien should come in, and Ripley harpoons it and it makes no difference, so it slams through her mask and rips her head off.” After that horrific scene, Scott says he would have cut to the tentacles of the alien pressing buttons on the dashboard. “It would mimic Captain Dallas [Skerritt] saying, “I’m signing off.”
Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed and Fox executives stepped in to save the day, which is probably the first time that sentence has ever been written.
“The first executive from Fox arrived on set within 14 hours, threatening to fire me on the spot,” says Scott with a laugh. “So we didn’t do that [ending].”
Of course, Scott has a lot more creative cache these days, so if he wanted to kill every character in Alien: Covenant off, the studio would probably let him do it. And with the film’s trailers promising plenty of xenomorph-related death, it’s probably best not to get attached to any of the unfortunate souls that will be putting through the proverbial meat grinder.
Alien: Covenant is out May 18. Spoiler alert: it will feature lots and lots of death.