Frequently Asked Questions
After escaping from the LV-426 colony, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Newt (Danielle Edmond), Hicks (Michael Biehn), and the remains of the android Bishop are in hypersleep in cryotubes on the Sulaco when an alien egg, hidden on the ship, hatches a facehugger. The facehugger breaks one of the cryotubes, cutting itself and dripping acid that causes the ship's defense system to eject the tubes into an escape pod that crashes onto a nearby planet, Fiorina "Fury" 161, which is an all-male prison planet inhabited by life-sentence XYY-chromosome criminals. The only one still alive, (Newt, Hicks, and Bishop all have perished), Ripley now faces violent criminals, another adult alien, and a secret that can only lead to her doom.
Alien 3 is a sequel to Aliens (1986) (1986), itself a sequel to Alien (1979) (1979), which was based on an original screenplay by Dan O'Bannon. The screenplay for Alien 3 was written by producers David Giler and Walter Hill, and screenwriters Larry Ferguson and Vincent Ward. It was followed by Alien: Resurrection (1997) (1997), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) (2004), and AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem (2007)) (2007). Alien Resurrection continues Ellen Ripley's story begun in Alien, whereas AVP and AVPR were written as prequels to Alien. Alien 3 was subsequently novelized by Alan Dean Foster.
The backstory may be inferred to some degree, but it's strongly advised to catch up. The Alien movies are written to tell a continuous story that starts with the discovery of the Alien creatures in Alien. Subsequent movies detail their spread and Ripley's attempts to contain and destroy them. Understanding the history of the Alien encounter makes Alien 3 much more understandable than just viewing it as a standalone monster movie.
It was never explained in the film how the egg(s) got aboard the Sulaco, but there have been several explanations suggested as to how it happened: (1) Some believe that the Queen either carried the egg with her from the hive in Aliens and planted it on the Sulaco or simply laid the egg there, despite having torn off her ovipositor (the ovipositor being simply the means to lay the eggs, and not necessarily the source of the eggs), (2) Others think that Bishop was responsible, i.e., while Ripley was rescuing Newt, Bishop retrieved the egg and later planted it on the Sulaco, or (3) an Alien warrior planted the eggs on the dropship when Bishop was inside taking care of Hicks and waiting for Ripley. However, there are several issues with these explanations and no conclusive evidence for any of them, so many consider this to be a plot hole in the film. Director David Fincher himself has stated in interviews that it is something the audience just has to accept in order for the story to move along.
The number of eggs present is also debatable. As suggested in the previous films, each egg contains one facehugger, and they die once they have impregnated a host. Some therefore claim that there had to be several eggs and facehuggers on the Sulaco, as one facehugger impregnated Ripley while in hypersleep, a second one cut itself while trying to crack open Newt's cryotube (thus starting the fire on the ship), and a third journeyed with the crew in the EEV (escape pod) and later impregnated a dog/ox on Fury 161. It is also possible that there were only two—one who impregnated Ripley, and the other failing to impregnate Newt and therefore traveling in the EEV towards the planet. In the movie's opening credits, we see only one opened egg, and no version of the movie specifically shows more than one facehugger at any one time. However, the sight of one opened egg does not preclude the presence of other eggs offscreen.
The menu animations on the Special Edition DVD and Bluray editions of the film show that the egg was located in the landing strut compartment of the dropship, which was exactly where the Queen was hiding as the dropship returned to the Sulaco. This would hint to the theory that it was the Queen who was able to lay at least one final egg before her death, carrying a facehugger with a Queen embryo. It is unclear if this information can be considered canon, but it seems to be in support of behind-the-scenes information that shines a different light on things, and clears up a lot of the confusion. Alien 3 famously went through a turmoiled production with frequent script rewrites and re-shoots, but in the shooting script, there was supposed to be an advanced type of facehugger that came down with the EEV, and carried a Queen embryo. Making-of documentaries show that it was to be much darker than normal, due to fortified skin plating and webbings between the fingers. The creature can actually be seen very briefly in the longer Assembly Cut of Alien 3, when prisoners Murphy and Frank discuss what killed the ox, and Murphy finds the creature. Many fans speculate that this "super facehugger" carried both a Queen and a normal Alien embryo, so it impregnated the ox/dog and Ripley. But due to re-shoots, only a normal facehugger was seen in the Theatrical Version.
Moreover, the shooting script as well as the film's novelization describe the opening scene as it was originally intended. A facehugger hatched from the egg, and it broke Newt's cryotube, injuring itself in the process. It was attached to Newt and impregnated her when its blood started a fire and the EEV was ejected from the Sulaco, coming along on the trip to Fury 161. After the crash, Newt's broken tube was flooded and she drowned. Since the Alien embryo required a living host, it escaped through Newt's mouth, swam to Ripley (whose tube had been shattered during the crash), forced her mouth open and crawled into Ripley's esophagus (explaining why Ripley has a soar throat). Ripley finally swam or washed out of the crashed EEV and ended up ashore, where she was discovered by the population of the prison facility. Due to the many re-writes and re-shoots, inconsistencies in the opening scene piled up: in the Theatrical Version, Ripley's cryotube is seen in varying states of damage, and Ripley is alternatively clean and muddy. The Assembly Cut is more consistent with the shooting script, but in both versions, the facehugger attacking the tubes appears to be a normal one and not the super facehugger, and the scene that should have depicted the Queen embryo entering Ripley's mouth was not shot. In both versions, we are thus led to believe that Ripley was the one impregnated, but it was probably the intention to have one facehugger that caused all the events seen in the movie's opening. So it is really up to the viewer to decide what happened in either version, because neither gives a definitive answer.
It is established in Alien³ that the Alien inherits its host's physical characteristics. In this film, the Alien comes from a canine host (Theatrical version) or a bovine host (Assembly cut) rather than a human one, so it inherits different physical characteristics. The creatures also appear to use color as camouflage. In Alien, the creature had a steel color that allowed it to blend in with the ship's pipework. In this film, large leadworks that had a very rusty-brown colour to the piping and brickwork led to the creature taking on a brownish appearance. Thus, the creature adapts to its surrounding colourization like a chameleon.
No. During the furnace scene, Ripley and Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), the spiritual leader of the prisoners, are trying to convince the others to act as bait to trap the alien. Naturally they refuse, so Dillon tries a little reverse-psychology mixed with guilt. He says, "Alright fine, you can all just sit here on your asses. Fine. Me and [Ripley] will do all the fighting." To which prisoner Morse () says, "How 'bout if I sit here on my ass?" To which Dillon replies, "Fine, *oh* I forgot! You're the guy that's made a deal with God to live forever, huh? And the rest of you pussies can sit it out, too." Dillon was clearly being sarcastic, as he was trying to convey the point that eventually everybody dies and they may as well die trying to kill the alien so that perhaps some of them may survive and to avenge their fallen brothers. As Dillon says; "You're all gonna die. The only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet? Or on your fuckin' knees, begging. I ain't much for begging. Nobody ever gave me nothin'. So I say *fuck* that thing! Let's fight it!" Morse didn't actually expect to live forever, and neither did any of the rest of the inmates.
In the original film, the alien birthed from Kane (John Hurt), killed Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), and cocooned only Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) and Dallas (Tom Skerritt) although, in the continuity of the series, their deaths are left ambiguous. In Aliens, they killed the majority of the Marines, but they cocooned Apone (Al Matthews), Dietrich (Cynthia Dale Scott), and possibly Hudson (Bill Paxton) and Burke (Paul Reiser) (the original script and novelisation of the second film included a scene where Ripley finds Burke cocooned). A large majority of the colonists were cocooned as well. It was about 15 people vs 100 aliens. In this film, it is one Alien versus approximately 25 people, so it needs to get rid of a lot of humans that could potentially become a threat if they work together.
According to the extra features on the Alien 3 Special Edition DVD (2003), the facehugger responsible for the Queen chestburster was a "super facehugger" which would specialise in carrying Queen embryos. This new type of facehugger had not been seen in the previous films until the Alien 3 Assembly Cut in a brief wide shot (when the two inmates drag the dead ox inside the kitchen). Production photos showed it as a slightly different looking facehugger with a type of armour plated exo-skeleton (as to protect the Queen) and darker coloring. Interestingly, this facehugger was not used in the opening sequence, where only a traditional facehugger was seen, and it was ultimately removed from the film by Fincher when he changed the host for the creature from an ox to a dog.
Waking up from hypersleep gives you a "cryo-hangover" this is evidenced in the original Alien when the crew wakes up they are all fairly groggy and again in Aliens where the Marines all complain about how poorly they feel after waking up from cryostasis. Now being suddenly taken out of hypersleep as Ripley was can cause a "quite a jolt to your system" as Clemens puts it. In addition, the facehuggers impregnate their hosts by means of a tube that they insert down their victim's throat. Similarly, people who are intubated during surgery have a tube inserted into their throat to provide oxygen during the procedure. When they wake up after the tube is removed, they often experience the same soreness.
The result of a scene that was deleted (and restored in the Assembly Cut). The prisoners are normally congregating in an assembly area (where superintendant Andrews (Brian Glover) held his first "Rumour Control") or in the canteen. However, the canteen is no longer safe because that is where the Alien killed Andrews. In the deleted scene, the prisoners complain that they are not safe in the assembly area, until one of them remembers that the Alien is afraid of fire; so they decide to move to the furnace, which contains hot molten metal that they hope will keep the Alien away.
Golic (Paul McGann) was dragged into the infirmary because the other inmates thought he had gone insane and killed two other prisoners. An entire subplot was restored in the Assembly Cut in which the prisoners manage to lure the Alien into a waste container storage room and lock it inside. However, the deranged Golic, thinking the Alien deliberately spared his life, fools Morse into freeing him from his straightjacket, knocks him unconscious then goes to the storage compartment. He kills the prisoner guarding the storage compartment, frees the creature and is killed by it shortly after. The last time we see him in the Theatrical Edition is when the Alien kills Dr Clemens (Charles Dance). He is not seen or heard from again; from this, it might be implied that Golic was one of the inmates who died in the fire while trying to trap the Alien or that the Alien went back for Golic after killing Andrews.
The producers of Alien 3 wanted each film to be different in tone and style. It is apparent that they did not want to make "Aliens 2" and made a conscious decision to shift away from the action genre. This also serves to remove the simple solution Aliens presented—that the aliens can be killed quite easily if you have the guns to do so. The producers removed the guns to increase the threat to the characters. Sigourney Weaver also served as executive producer on the film and she is very anti-gun, though it is she herself who refuses/avoids handling firearms, not necessarily refusing their presence in a film in which she stars, as evidenced in Aliens and Alien: Resurrection.
The "Bishop II" character (Lance Henriksen) is intended to be human. He states that he is the human designer of the original Bishop android, and he bleeds red blood (androids have white blood) when hit over the head. Bishop II is human in the script (and subsequently the novelization), and the filmmakers state in the DVD commentary that Bishop II is indeed human. The only things to suggest he is an android are the fact that Aaron believes he is, and so cracks him over a head with a wrench. There is also the fact that Bishop II's wound seems to be that of a synthetic, his ear and flesh are all hanging off in one piece as if it was a mask. Bishop II is seen reacting to the pain of his injury but Bishop I was shown to do the same in Aliens. Lastly; the fact that he is credited as "Bishop II" suggests a second model as opposed to "The Real Bishop" or something similar. Many of these discrepancies could be chalked up to the constant production issues and re-writes that took place during the filming. So some shots could have happened where he was intended to be an android, others where he was clearly supposed to be human. As it stands, Bishop II is intended to be human. Though in the long run, it doesn't really have any impact on the franchise, so it can still be up to the individual viewer to decide.
In the Aliens Vs Predator game, Lance Henriksen voices 'Karl Bishop Weyland'. Who appears to be the head of Weyland Yutani. Near the end of the game, he is shot in the head, revealing him to be an android. Moments later, we hear a voice-over by Lance Henriksen. Implying another model. It's also possible that he is a real person and uses android avatars to survey dangerous locales. While this may not be canon, it could be used as a possible middle-ground explanation for this film.
It wasn't for want of interest. After the release of Aliens, director James Cameron mentioned the possibility of a third installment in the series, concentrating on the last three survivors: Ripley, Hicks and Newt. Cameron thought it would be interesting to further explore the family dynamic established in the previous film. In interviews, Michael Biehn admitted being interested in reprising his role. Over the next few years, several different scripts were written for a sequel film, including one by novelist William Gibson which had Hicks as the primary protagonist, with Ripley being in a coma for most of the film. However, successive script revisions moved further away from this concept, until, eventually, the characters of Hicks and Newt were not included at all. When Biehn learned this, he stated that he was "heartbroken". Biehn's agent actually went to the studios when Alien 3 went into preproduction (still under the impression that the Hicks character would, at the very least, make an appearance) to negotiate his participation but learned that the producers didn't wish to make use of Biehn's services. On his way out of the studio, the agent walked past the special effects workshop and saw several artists working on a dummy in Biehn's likeness with a hole in its chest (he wrongly assumed that Hicks was to die from an alien bursting out of him, but this was never the case). Upon hearing the news, Biehn threatened to sue the production for using his likeness without his approval. The studio offered him money but Biehn refused, saying he didn't want to end up as a chestburster victim in the movie, no matter what amount of money he was offered. (Biehn joked that he "was really stupid back then.") The studio then offered him money to use his picture in one of the movie's scenes, to which he agreed, since the character was never intended to be a victim of the Alien anyway. This picture is Biehn's entire appearance in the movie (the impaled Hicks is a dummy that cannot be facially identified). Biehn admitted that this fee for his picture was about the same as his entire salary for Aliens.
The rescue team from the Company, now known as the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, has arrived on Fury 161 and are making their way towards the prison. Inside the compound, Ripley and Dillon have successfully lured the Alien into the lead molding facility. Ripley climbs up the scaffolding to get free of the lead molding vat, and the Alien starts to go up after her. Dillon distracts the Alien, keeping it in the vat, until Morse can pour in the hot lead. Unfortunately, not even the molten lead stops the creature. It again begins to climb up after Ripley. Knowing that the Alien is scalding hot, she turns on the sprinklers. The extreme temperature change from hot to cold causes the Alien's exoskeleton to shatter. The rescue team, lead by Aaron "85" (Ralph Brown) and a man who looks exactly like the Bishop android, who professes to be human and the designer of the Bishop android. He tries to convince Ripley that the Company will remove the Alien from within her and kill it. Ripley knows better and sacrifices herself by jumping into the molten lead. On the way down, the Alien Queen births from Ripley's chest, but Ripley grabs hold of it and they both perish in the molden lead [theatrical version]. In the final scene, the rescue team exits the prison, escorting Morse, the only survivor. There is a final transmission in which it is noted that Fury 161 is closed, sealed, and any remaining equipment is to be sold as scrap.
Andrews states that there are 25 prisoners in the facility. With Clemens, Andrews, Aaron and Ripley, that makes 29 people total. 20 people are seen being killed on screen (in the assembly cut), not including the explosion sequence. Which means 8 must have died in the explosion. In the theatrical cut, Dillon finds Arthur's body and says, "Jesus, this makes ten", implying that Golic and Arthur were both killed in the explosion. That leaves one survivor; Morse.
Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Newt (Danielle Edmond) are killed when the EEV crashes into the sea on Fiorina. Hicks is impaled by a support beam, whereas the seal on Newt's cryotube fails and she drowns inside it. Their bodies are then cremated.
Murphy (Christopher Fairbank) comes across the alien while cleaning a ventilation duct. He is hit in the face with acid and is sent tumbling into a 9-foot fan and "diced" as Aaron says.
Bishop (Lance Henriksen) Already heavily damaged from the encounter on the Sulaco with the Queen, Bishop is further damaged during the EEV crash. Bishop was scrapped, but Ripley finds him so she can find out what happened on the Sulaco. Afterwards, Bishop asks to be turned off again, he said he could be rebuilt but never top of the line and would rather "die" than be less than what he was. Ripley deactivates him.
Rains (Christopher John Fields) is killed by the alien when out lighting candles and foraging in the abandoned sections of the facility.
Boggs (Leon Herbert) was killed by the alien after finding it attacking Rains.
Clemens (Charles Dance) after confessing to Ripley in the infirmary about his sordid history, the alien makes its way in and kills him.
Superintendent Andrews (Brian Glover) is suddenly grabbed & taken by the alien into the air ducts after Ripley tries to warn everyone during the warden's "rumour control" announcement.
Frank (Carl Chase) is grabbed by the alien while coating the air ducts with the "Quinitrocetyline" causing him to drop a flare and ignite the chemical, resulting in a devastating explosion.
8 uncredited prisoners are killed in the explosion. In the theatrical cut it is said that 10 are killed.
Junior's (Holt McCallany) death in the theatrical version: he is somehow killed in the explosion. In the Assembly cut, during the mayhem of the explosion he's cut off from the survivors by the alien. Junior then sacrifices himself by running into the toxic waste container with the alien hot on his heels. Ripley closes the door, trapping the alien, making the plan successful. We faintly hear Junior screaming inside as the alien attacks & kills him.
Arthur (Deobia Oparei) was killed in the explosion in the theatrical version. In the assembly cut he is standing guard outside the waste container that holds the alien. Golic slashes Arthur's throat with a surgical instrument so he can open the chamber & see the alien again.
Golic (Paul McGann) After witnessing the alien kill Boggs and Rains, Golic becomes deranged. They strap him to a bed in the infirmary suspecting him of being the murderer and then he witnesses the alien kill Clemens. In the theatrical edition this is the last time we see him and he is never even mentioned again. It is possible that the alien went back for him as he was strapped to a bed helpless, or it may be implied he was released and killed in the explosion (which actually makes sense, as the others no longer suspected him of killing Boggs and Rains, and they could use his help with catching the alien). In the assembly cut Golic believes the alien to be the Angel of Death, and that it was sparing him for a reason (he had escaped from the Alien twice though this was more because the Alien had just killed someone in close proximity to him and wasn't interested in killing him yet). He convinces Morse to release him as it was proven he didn't kill Boggs and Rains. But as soon as he is released, he knocks Morse unconscious with a pipe. Then he makes his way to the waste container and after he reluctantly dispatches Arthur, he opens the container asking the alien what it wants him to do next; the alien kills him off-screen.
Vincent: Kevin hears a scream and comes across the alien eating a prisoner. Later on (in the assembly cut) David comes across a dead body and we see the blood splattered all over the wall and he says "I think I found Vincent." This was likely the character that survived the explosion, but isn't listed in the credits. He is the one with the large red mark on the top of his head. He is seen prominently in the furnace scene. Also, he shouts out to Junior during the explosion sequence to warn him of the alien's presence.
Troy (Paul Brennen) while making his way down a hallway he walks right into the alien and doesn't have a chance to run.
David (Pete Postlethwaite) waits too long behind a door so the alien makes its way through the vents behind him and kills him.
Kevin (Phil Davis) is attacked by the alien but saved by Dillon, though he dies shortly after from his wounds.
Eric (Niall Buggy) isn't seen dying, but after he panics and starts the piston, he runs through a doorway, Ripley enters a doorway on the other side of the room, but she comes around the corner and finds a body. It is a very brief shot, but it appears to be Eric.
William (Clive Mantle) As Ripley makes her way through the halls, she comes across another body hanging from the ceiling gripping a torch which she takes. You can't see the face of the body but it was likely him as everyone else is accounted for.
Jude (Vincenzo Nicoli) is running for his life with the alien hot on his heels. Just as he makes it through the doorway and Dillon hits the button to close the door, the alien snatches Jude and pulls him back through.
Gregor (Peter Guinness) collides with Morse in one of the tunnels, knocking them both off their feet. After taking a moment and laughing with Morse at the scare they gave each other, the alien crashes their party and appears to slash the artery in Gregor's neck.
Dillon (Charles S. Dutton) realizes that the alien will simply climb out of the lead mold before they get clear, Dillon sacrifices himself by staying there fighting and taunting the alien while Morse positions the molten lead.
Aaron a.k.a. "85" (Ralph Brown) believing that Bishop II is in fact an android, he picks up a wrench and cracks Bishop II over the head and is shot while running from the company's soldiers.
Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) while Bishop II tries to reason with her and convince her that they will remove the alien embryo from her chest and kill it, Ripley sees through the deceit and casts herself into the furnace to finally destroy the alien species once and for all. In the theatrical edition, the Queen bursts from Ripley's chest as she falls and she grabs & holds it tight to ensure it won't escape. In the assembly cut Ripley falls into the furnace and the Queen is never seen.
In America, Alien 3 was generally disliked by the public and by film critics when it came out. However, many reviewers outside the US hailed its bleak and uncompromising vision—and the film was more successful internationally.
The Special Edition (also known as the Assembly Cut) is a workprint which was created in 1991 as the film was still in production. When the Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set was released in 2003, this version of the film was also included as a bonus feature. This version is longer than the original theatrical version, and includes new sequences as well as some later-completed digital effects.
According to the Alien 3 Special Edition DVD (2003) interviews, producers expressed their opinion that the inmates' and Ripley's success in capturing the Alien took away the creature's intelligence, since there was nothing scary about a monster that could be caught. One of the features on the Special Edition DVD also mentions that a test audience responded unfavourably to the entire Golic/Alien capture-and-release subplot. Director David Fincher later mentioned that the test audience consisted of "18-year-old kids" who didn't care about the characters, but the damage was done all the same. The producers were already hoping to shorten the movie, and this edit did exactly that, which is helpful when the studio is trying to maximise revenues.
Not directly. The original production (i.e. shooting) of the film in England began as soon as David Fincher was officially signed on to direct and with no finished script. All that existed at that point was a dozen or so abandoned script ideas and almost two million dollars worth of sets that had been entirely or partially constructed (for a script that was entirely discarded weeks earlier). Fincher was informed that he needed to incorporate as many of the creative ideas the producers wanted as possible and he needed to write scenes around the sets that had already been built in order to justify the cost of their construction. As a result, Fincher was forced to effectively write, shoot, and edit the film, all at the same time. While he was attempting this almost impossible task, the producers were continually requesting that changes be made on a variety of levels on an almost daily basis. As a consequence, the production became more complicated and difficult. The film went overbudget rather quickly and although the film was almost completed, the studio shut down production and asked for what is called a "work print" or "assembly cut". You might think of this as an audit. They wanted to see what all their money had been spent on before they allowed any more.
David Fincher created a work print in collaboration with editor Terry Rawlings. This was done in order to see which shots still had to be filmed and how the story worked so far. Fincher and the rest of the cast and crew were under the impression that this was to be only the initial cut of what would be the final film and that very few pick-ups and changes were to be made (other than those requested by Fincher himself). The studio, however, eventually rejected this version of the film, and ordered a radical re-edit, requesting that entire plot points (including the beginning and ending of the film) be either altered or scrapped and entirely re-shot. Most of these ideas were incorporated into what would become the Theatrical Version. After the hellish production of the film, the news that Fincher's vision of the story would not be the one that would ultimately make it to the screen was enough to make the director walk entirely. The alterations and new scenes were created without Fincher and despite the protests of most of the crew which had worked with him. In fact, a lot of the scenes, including the new ending, were shot in Los Angeles with almost an entirely new crew.
For the extended 2003 Assembly Cut of Alien 3, editor David Crowther reassembled the earlier work print, and a small crew finished music, sound effects and visual effects in the additional scenes to the best of their abilities on the limited budget (e.g. there was no time or money for additional dialogue recording, etc). Based on what they had to work with, this version was as close as they could get to Fincher's original idea for the film they shot. It should be noted that this was not the film that Fincher had set out to shoot, only the compromised version he would have been "okay" with releasing. Fincher was invited to create his "director's cut", but refused, citing that a director's cut would mean burning all the original negatives and starting over from scratch. He had very little creative control over the original production and for his true "director's cut" to ever really be realized, they would have to shoot a whole new movie. Some sources have said that the Assembly Cut has his blessing, but in a 2009 Q&A session, he said that he never looks back at anything after it is done, and that he has never seen this version, so he has no comments on it. The Assembly Cut released on DVD in 2003 and met with generally very favourable reviews. This version was further polished in 2010, when the Alien series was released on Blu-ray disc; the notoriously bad audio quality of some additional scenes (for which only on-set audio with no re-recorded dialogue was available) was finally replaced by a high-quality soundtrack matching the original one, as the actors were brought back in to re-loop their dialogue. You can see evidence of this if you compare the 2003 DVD version of the scene where Clemens tries to revive Ripley after finding her on the shore to the 2010 Blu-ray version of the same scene.
No, the sequences of the Alien running during the third act of the movie was not computer generated, but was rather a third-scale rod puppet that was filmed in front of a bluescreen and photochemically composited into the film. .
In the original cut, the Alien bursts from Ripley's chest as she was falling down into the furnace, establishing that there was no way she could ever have had a life, even if she had chosen not to jump. In a sense, it retroactively made her sacrifice feel a bit moot, since she would have died anyway. However, with the Alien chest-bursting removed in the Assembly Cut, it opens up the possibility that Ripley could have had the surgery before the Queen would have "hatched", and therefore would have been able to move on with her life. In other words, in a narrative sense, this ending gives her sacrifice more gravity. There is also a more practical reason. Director David Fincher initially had no plans to have the chestburster emerge, as he thought the ending should focus solely on Ripley's difficult decision and subsequent sacrifice. But when the studio heard that Terminator 2: Judgment Day was to have a similar ending, they ordered the altered ending in an attempt to differentiate the two films. For the Assembly Cut, the originally conceived ending was used.