The Alternate Ending Of Alien You Never Got To See
Ridley Scott’s “Alien” is known as one of the most iconic pieces of both sci-fi and horror filmmaking to ever grace the screen. The passion project of cinematic legend Scott, the film was set in the future where a space crew, after responding to an emergency distress call, discovers they have brought on a deadly and ruthless extraterrestrial creature onto their ship and nobody is safe. Sigourney Weaver led the cast in her breakthrough role as Ellen Ripley, who would go on to become one of the most celebrated action heroines in cinema alongside the likes of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor and Uma Thurman’s The Bride (via Time).
Outside of Weaver, the sci-fi horror pic also featured Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, and Ian Holm, which was quite the starry cast at the time for such a risky picture. The movie catapulted Scott from being an unknown director to one of the most decorated filmmakers in Hollywood, as he went on to direct iconic films such as “Blade Runner,” “Gladiator,” “The Martian,” and “Thelma & Louise.” But while “Alien” stood out for all those things and spawned multiple sequels, Scott had an alternate ending that would have changed the entire franchise’s trajectory.
Ellen Ripley was initially supposed to die at the end of Alien
“Alien” originally had a more optimistic ending of Ripley surviving the intergalactic chaos and sending the dreaded Xenomorph into the far reaches of space. Of course, Ripley would later go on to re-encounter the ferocious killing machine in several sequels, including James Cameron’s equally as beloved follow-up “Aliens.” The franchise would clearly not have been the same if the producers of the film opted to go with Scott’s original ending.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly while doing press for the 2017 franchise prequel “Alien: Covenant,” Scott dropped an unexpected bombshell on fans on how he initially wanted the 1979 movie to end. “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,” he recalled.
This would have likely proved to be quite the dark ending for the classic film, and it’s anyone’s guess whether the movie would be nearly as successful if it ended this way. Scott revealed in the same interview that the studio executives weren’t exactly too thrilled with Scott’s proposed ending. “The first executive from Fox arrived on set within 14 hours, threatening to fire me on the spot,” he said.
Scott and the studio eventually came to terms with an appropriate ending to the film, and it happened to be one that seemingly pleased everyone involved.