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Alien³ (1992) Poster

(1992)

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At one point, David Fincher was denied permission by the film's producers to shoot a crucial scene in the prison understructure between Ripley and the alien. Against orders, Fincher grabbed Sigourney Weaver, a camera and shot the scene anyway. This scene appears in the final cut.
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$7 million had been spent on sets that were never used thanks to the ever-changing script, before filming had even started. During filming, the script was still constantly being re-written, with new versions faxed to the studio on a near-daily basis. Cast and crew often filmed a scene, and learned the next day that it had already been scrapped.
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Original Alien (1979) director Ridley Scott turned down the chance to direct. Scott and later Renny Harlin both thought the third film should explore the origin of the Xenomorph species. This concept was deemed too expensive by David Giler and Walter Hill, since most special effects work at the time still had to be done practically instead of by computer-generated images, so Scott declined to return and Harlin later quit the film because he found alternative concepts too repetitive. Scott ultimately got his wish with the movies Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017).
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While off set, Sigourney Weaver had to wear a wig as her then two-year-old daughter Charlotte didn't like to see her mother bald.
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The film's production process was so chaotic, and its reception by fans and critics so unfavorable, that it nearly ended David Fincher's career before he ever had a chance to gain momentum as a director. But two things ended up saving Fincher from permanent Movie Jail. The first thing was that Sigourney Weaver publicly (and often angrily) sided with Fincher against 20th Century Fox, telling journalists that the studio had made decisions that resulted in an impossible situation for the young director, and that he would have an excellent career if given further chances. The other thing was that producer Arnold Kopelson knew and didn't respect the management at Fox, and that was part of the process where he ultimately offered Fincher a new project a few years later; that project was Se7en (1995), and its 1995 massive success re-ignited Fincher's career, making him one of the most respected directors of his time.
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First-time director David Fincher disowned the film, stating in an interview with the Guardian: "I had to work on it for two years, got fired off it three times and I had to fight for every single thing. No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me". He cited constant studio interference during production, and actually walked out when the studio rejected his initial cut and ordered extensive re-shoots. He was not involved in the final cut, but his initial rough cut later became the basis for the 'Assembly Cut', a longer version of the movie released on DVD in 2003, and on Blu-ray in 2010. Although Fincher considered working on this Assembly Cut, he eventually decided against it, but gave supervising producer Charles de Lauzirika his blessing, as long as it was not called a 'Director's cut'. With regards to the new version itself, he stated that he has no comments on it, as he has never seen it.
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Michael Biehn stated in an interview that he was deeply hurt that he wasn't asked to return as Corporal Dwayne Hicks, his character from Aliens (1986), but even more so that the film opened with Hicks immediately being killed off after escaping with the other survivors at the end of the previous movie. He stated that he didn't mind Hicks dying per se, but objected to the careless way that they did it in this film. He therefore refused the studio permission to use a dummy of a corpse in his likeness, but allowed them the use of his photograph. Carrie Henn, on the other hand, was more accepting of her character Newt's death, simply stating "Life goes on".
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Much more of the autopsy scene was filmed than ended up in the final film. A rough cut of the scene originally contained so much gore, that it even made crew members who had worked on it sick to their stomach.
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William Gibson wrote a very early script treatment for the film based on an idea from producers David Giler and Walter Hill, which was initially intended as the first of a two-parter, to be shot back-to-back. As Sigourney Weaver's involvement was in question, Ripley would spend most of the time in a coma. The main focus of the story was on Hicks and Bishop, two characters from Aliens (1986), as they are brought to a deep space station where scientists have begun experimenting on Alien cell samples, with devastating consequences. When a dangerous Alien-human hybrid gets loose inside the station, Hicks launches the unconscious Ripley in a lifeboat safely into space (setting up the fourth movie) before he and Bishop lead an evacuation of the station. Many consider this to be a much superior script. However, Giler and Hill had hoped for more inventive ideas, and wanted another draft. Gibson refused, stating that he didn't want to waste more of his time and had other commitments. Giler and Hill then canceled the second part, focusing on one movie instead. The only carry-over from this original script is the bar-codes on the back of the convicts' necks, a relative lack of weapons on the station, and the appearance of the Company scientists.
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Making the convicts bald-headed due to a lice problem was David Fincher's idea. When he told Sigourney Weaver this during their first meeting, she immediately thought it was a great and bold idea. When Fincher asked how she felt about shaving her head for the role, she jokingly replied "It's fine with me only as long as I get more money!"
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One possible idea for the film included a chestburster coming out of Michael Biehn's character, Hicks. This was later abandoned in favor of having his character die after being impaled by a metal beam, so a replica of the actor with his chest torn open (due to the impalement) was created for this purpose. Biehn found out about this by accident when Raffaella De Laurentiis, one of the producers of his movie Timebomb (1991), told him that she had seen this replica when visiting Pinewood Studios. Erroneously thinking the wound was from a chestburster, he threatened to sue the producers for using his likeness without his consent. Even when director David Fincher contacted him for permission, Biehn (still unaware of the misunderstanding) angrily refused to have his character go out like that, so a non-identifiable replica was used. Later, the producers contacted him to use his picture at the beginning of the film for the computer sequence. Apparently, Biehn received more money for use of this one image than for his entire role in Aliens (1986). Biehn later stated that, had he any idea of the kind of career Fincher would have, he might have been more accommodating, in the hopes of getting a chance to work with him on a subsequent project.
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After the first rough cut of the movie was made, the film spent over a year in editing while additional filming and later re-shoots were conducted.
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The crane that lifts the crashed EEV out of the water to dry land is a miniature built using the cannibalized parts from a Star Wars X-Wing fighter model kit. The horizontal part of the crane actually consists of the fuselage of an X-Wing; the two people standing on top of the miniature EEV are simply static cardboard cutouts dressed with pieces of cloth that were made to move in the wind, to simulate silhouettes of real people wearing thick coats.
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Lance Henriksen only agreed to reprise his role as Bishop as a personal favor to Walter Hill. To this day, Henriksen has said that he dislikes the film for its nihilistic themes, although he had "a lot of fun" making it.
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(at around 10 mins) Dr. Clemens' line about Fury-161 being one of 'Weyland-Yutani's backwater prison planets.' was the first time the name Weyland-Yutani was spoken out loud. It had appeared on computer screens and props in the previous two films, Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986), but characters always referred to it as 'The Company' in dialogue.
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The original budget was $45 million which included Sigourney Weaver's fee of $5.5 million. The budget soon spiraled however, with first Renny Harlin and then Vincent Ward both leaving the project before novice feature film director David Fincher came on board. Extensive last minute re-shoots - especially after the finale was deemed to be too similar to Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - ultimately pushed the budget into the region of $65 million.
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Charles S. Dutton is a real life former convict who cleaned himself up before getting into acting.
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With the release of the definitive Alien Quadrilogy on DVD in 2004, 20th Century Fox proffered David Fincher the proverbial olive branch and asked him to assemble and comment on his own Director's Cut. Fincher declined. He was the only one of the four Alien directors to refuse to have anything to do with the project, stating that all the creative differences and studio interference he had to endure during production made the project stray too far from his preferred vision. As such, even with additional material, there would never be a version he could call a "Director's cut". Due to this, the extended version of Alien 3 was made without his involvement, but since it was based on an earlier workprint which he himself had help assemble, it was dubbed the "Assembly Cut".
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Although the Alien that hatched from the dog was a rod puppet, early filmed tests used an actual dog in an alien costume. The dog was a whippet owned by one of the special effects people, which was used to be dressed up in a suit and muzzle. However, the special effects team thought the dog's movements made the Alien look rather comical, so the idea was scrapped in favor of the puppet.
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The creature that the Alien impregnates was originally an ox, but this was eventually changed to a Rottweiler dog during a studio-mandated re-shoot, because an ox was cumbersome and was seen as somewhat incongruous when placed in the film's environment. This sequence was later restored for the extended "Assembly Cut", where all the scenes featuring the dog were removed. However, in the BluRay edition of this version, prisoner Murphy (Christopher Fairbank) can still be heard calling for the dog in one scene.
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One early draft of the script by William Gibson focused almost entirely on Hicks, Bishop and Newt, played in Aliens (1986) by Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Carrie Henn respectively. This 'Cold War in space' story introduced the Union of Progressive Peoples (UPP), a Soviet-styled faction of planets that rivals the capitalistic Colonial Administration and Weyland-Yutani (WY) company. UPP soldiers board the drifting Sulaco and find an alien egg growing out of Bishop's body (the Queen had injected her DNA into him in the previous film). They take the egg and leave the Sulaco drifting ahead, until it ends up on WY's Anchorpoint Space Station. Ripley is comatose due to a malfunction of her cryopod, and Newt is sent to Earth to live with her grandparents. When both WY and UPP scientists manage to isolate Alien DNA from Bishop's body, WY pushes their scientists into a biological arms race in order to quickly weaponize the DNA into a viral form that can infect and quickly transform other life forms. Eventually, the virus escapes and an Alien-human hybrid is accidentally created, which start a rampage through the station. Hicks and a repaired Bishop team up with the remaining survivors (Colonial Marines in an earlier version) to destroy the station and escape. Gibson left the project after Renny Harlin (temporarily) took over as director, but some of his story elements later ended up in Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013) and Prometheus (2012). Gibson's script would later be the basis for a Dark Horse comic book, and was adapted in 2019 as 'Alien III', an audio drama with Biehn and Henriksen reprising their roles.
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One of the main causes of the movie's troubled production (including script re-writes, crew replacements, excessive re-shoots and a budget that increased from 45 million to 65 million dollar) was the fact that 20th Century Fox was in need of a commercial success. Alien³ was green-lit by the studio because it was considered to be a sure hit, but a release date had already been set before a screenplay or even a story outline was written. Director David Fincher later said that this lack of direction in the story was the source of much creative disagreements and productional difficulties, while he was trying to deliver the best possible film in time; however, the studio didn't seem particularly concerned with quality, as long as the movie was released and made money. Fincher also commented that his inexperience made things worse, since this was his directorial debut and he did not have a successful film to back up his opinion, giving the studio and producers ample reason to ignore his input. Alien³ was eventually released to negative reviews from critics and fans and a disappointing domestic box office, but did much better financially in Europe and Asia, making this an early example of a Hollywood movie that made most of its revenue outside of the United States. It was later critically re-evaluated for its style and dark atmosphere, and the extended Assembly Cut gained a significant cult following.
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David Twohy contributed to the pile of abandoned scripts that the movie's pre-production generated. His story started with the Company discovering a facehugger preserved in amber, and, as in previous scripts by William Gibson and Eric Red, involved subsequent experiments in genetically engineering Aliens as bioweapons. It introduced a high-security prison facility/ore refinery called Moloch Island in orbit around Earth, and its morally ambiguous inmates (one of which is an escape artist) who try to break out as soon as the Aliens start to infest the station. In the first draft, Ellen Ripley was only referenced once when a computer monitor showed her picture and listed her as deceased, but when Sigourney Weaver was coaxed back to reprise the role, Twohy worked on a draft that included her character. The screenplay was discarded when Vincent Ward came aboard, but some of Twohy's elements made it into the finished product, as well as his own Pitch Black (2000).
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(at around 50 mins) The same "dipping bird" appears on the warden's desk as was seen in the original Alien (1979).
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The miniature of the coastline, seen when the EEV is plummeting towards the planet, was given a sickly green hue. This was to suggest that the area was polluted from decades of industrial spilling, an idea left over from an earlier screenplay in which the prison facility had been modified for use as a toxic waste dump.
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Cinematographer Alex Thomson replaced Jordan Cronenweth after only 4 shooting days, because his Parkinson's Disease started to affect the work pace (it would claim his life five years later). Though Cronenweth insisted that he was well enough to make it until the end of production, and David Fincher supported him, line producer Ezra Swerdlow forced Cronenweth off the film, largely because he had lost his own father to the same illness several years previously, and knew that if anything, the demanding schedule would likely take a fatal toll on Cronenweth's health. Cronenweth received a special "Thank you" in the end credits. Fincher would later work extensively with his son Jeff Cronenweth.
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The damages inflicted on Bishop were too severe to have Lance Henriksen work a prosthetic head while hiding under a table/chair/platform, so the filmmakers ended up having the android being played by... an android. A mechanical copy of Henriksen's likeness was used in this movie for the portrayal of the Sulaco-Bishop. At the time, it was one of the most sophisticated and state-of-the-art motion-controlled puppets ever used in a movie.
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On the set at Pinewood Studios, a giant lead foundry took 12 weeks to construct and put the production way behind. Even with 6 day weeks and 14 hour days, the crew were unable to keep up with the schedule.
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This film is believed to be set just days or weeks after the events in Aliens (1986), in 2179.
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The first film in the franchise where they show the alien (xenomorph) eating their victims.
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Some of H.R. Giger's design for the film involved a puma-like alien with claws. The producers also instructed him to do more sexy designs, so he created a drawing of an alien, which, in close view, had the lips of a woman. One of his ideas involved the alien kissing the victims and killing them that way (an idea that was later used in the movie Species (1995) for another Giger creation).
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The Alien Quadrilogy DVD boxset has pre-feature introductions by the directors of their respective contributions to the franchise for the Special Editions except David Fincher. The film famously went through a difficult production which included severe script issues, being massively over budget, re-shoots not to mention the lack of creative control given to Fincher, so he declined to be involved in any way. Fincher is also missing from the 'director's commentary track' on the Alien³ feature, with several cast and crew members filling his place and acknowledging Fincher's difficulties.
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After a lengthy and complicated shoot, David Fincher spent a year editing the film while also doing additional filming, but the studio rejected his intended version and wanted a shorter movie, which required extensive re-shoots. This was reportedly the last straw for Fincher, who walked away for good after this. The re-shoots reportedly pushed the budget to $65 million, and were done in Los Angeles with an almost entirely new crew.
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Writer/Producer David Giler has stated that he regrets writing this movie, as it eroded his authority as producer. Giler only committed to writing the film upon demands from Sigourney Weaver after the departure of director Vincent Ward. Weaver was unimpressed with Ward's screenplay (describing her Ripley character in it as a "pissed-off gym coach"), and would only sign on to the film if Giler and producer Walter Hill re-wrote it. Giler claims that this generated many conflicts between himself, director David Fincher and Fox Studios executives that had serious ramifications throughout the entire production. Giler often felt sidestepped by Fox taking Fincher's side over his, and after one particularly heated disagreement, Giler and Hill walked off the London set, leaving their duties to Fox senior vice president Jon Landau. Landau eventually took over from line producer Ezra Swerdlow when the film got 10 days behind schedule, and frequently clashed with Fincher over the costs of sets and the length of shooting scenes (Fincher called it 'a constructive bloodbath'). After two additional weeks, Landau halted production and sent the entire production back to the USA for a preliminary screening, where the missing sequences could be identified. The studio initially agreed to only 8 days of additional shooting in an LA studio, but later conceded to Fincher's request for 6 weeks when this turned out to be insufficient. When a new cut was subsequently screened, the studio demanded a radical re-edit and re-shoots, which caused Fincher to quit as well.
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Renny Harlin was the first to be attached as director. He wanted to avoid a re-thread of the first two installments by situating the movie on the Alien homeworld. However, the studio remained in favor of stories that took place in enclosed buildings and space ships. Their inability to agree on a story and endless delays in production caused him to leave to direct Die Hard 2 (1990). Then Vincent Ward was suggested on the strength of The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988), but his directorial duties only lasted a few months before he walked away after several disagreements with the producers and studio. Scriptwriter Walter Hill was then considered to direct the film as well, but he stepped down after David Fincher became available.
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Director David Fincher didn't like the final script written by producers Walter Hill and David Giler, and they fought bitterly over it for two months. As production was postponed from November 1990 until January 1991, Giler and Hill took a Christmas holiday and hired screenwriter Rex Pickett for four weeks to completely re-write the second half of their script, and possibly also the first. However, both Pickett and the studio thought that Fincher's input had merit, and chose his side. Giler and Hill furiously withdrew from London's Pinewood Studios and ran production from their office in the USA, leaving Fincher to finish the script himself. During one particularly tense conference call with 20th Century Fox over the ending, the studio again sided with Fincher, causing Giler to scoff at them for "listening to a shoe salesman" (referring to a Nike commercial that Fincher had directed) while Fincher complained about their budgetary restrictions. Giler and Hill finally withdrew from production completely, only returning during post-production. Fincher would end up rewriting lines and entire scenes on-the-fly during filming, while trying to keep Fox (who were requesting daily updates from the set) at bay.
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In wide shots, most of the refinery is actually made of cardboard.
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Richard E. Grant and Charles Dance both screentested for the role of Clemens. Director David Fincher wanted Grant in the role, as he was a huge fan of Withnail & I (1987) and wanted to reunite Grant with co-stars Paul McGann and Ralph Brown. However, the studio and producers felt that Grant was too gentile for the hostile prison environment, and preferred Dance.
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To create a convincing corpse of the character of Newt, the filmmakers created life-size mannequins using the molds of Carrie Henn from Aliens (1986). Those molds had been made to create a puppet of Henn for Sigourney Weaver to carry around.
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When the powers-that-be decided on a new ending to be shot, Elliot Goldenthal had one night to come up with a new score. He did an all-nighter in the recording studio, composing new music in between short bouts of sleep.
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The production of the 2003 'Alien Quadrilogy' DVD box set enabled the makers of the Alien films to create a Director's Cut of their original movie. Producer Charles de Lauzirika contacted Alien³ director David Fincher with the offer, but he declined, so de Lauzirika supervised the new cut himself, guided by Fincher's original production notes and shooting scripts that were available. However, he and his team encountered some difficulties with the restoration of scenes. In one instance, a scene of the infant Alien puppet running away from the abattoir still had the puppeteers in the shot, but these could be digitally erased. In many other scenes, only the original production sound was available. The dialogue was often of poor quality, as it was recorded on set with considerable background noise. Unfortunately, the team did not have the time and budget for a re-recording of the original dialogue (which would have required the participation of several actors), so the problem was solved by inserting subtitles in places where the dialogue was difficult to hear. For the 2010 'Alien Anthology' HD BluRay box set, the original cast members were brought in for additional dialogue recording, making the soundtrack on par with the original theatrical version.
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David Twohy, Vincent Ward, John Fasano, Renny Harlin, David Fincher, Larry Ferguson, David Giler and Walter Hill all attempted to claim credit for the screenplay during the arbitration process, with only Giler, Hill and Ferguson receiving it (despite very few of Ferguson's contributions making the final screenplay). Four more writers could have claimed credit but chose not to; William Gibson and Eric Red saw no point in doing so, since the film had changed substantially from their early drafts; Greg Pruss was talked out of claiming credit in exchange for guaranteed work elsewhere; and Rex Pickett, despite having written a substantial amount of the shooting script, declined to seek credit due to how unpleasant his experience of working on the film had been.
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A series of Aliens comic books were published that were set after the events in Aliens (1986), featuring an adult Newt returning to space with a shell-shocked Hicks to stop the retrieval of an alien specimen by Weyland-Yutani corporation. The books were re-published to accommodate Alien³ (1992), with Newt re-named Billy.
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Novelist Alan Dean Foster, who wrote the novelization of the film, objected to the storyline, most specifically to the demise of Newt and Hicks. He found Newt's death so tasteless and pointless that his initial draft of the novel had Newt's pod malfunction, so that she survived but had to remain in cryosleep until the pod could be repaired. However, the studio rejected this, forcing Foster to keep his adaptation consistent with the film. For this reason, the author declined to write any other adaptation of the franchise.
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Costume Designer Bob Ringwood walked off the film early in production after finding Director David Fincher difficult and unpleasant to work with.
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The Rottweiler (from which the alien emerges) had to have part of his face shaved to indicate where the facehugger had gripped onto him.
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David Fincher wanted the alien to be, "more of a puma, or a beast" as opposed to the upright, humanoid posture of the previous films, so H.R. Giger was contacted to generate new sketch ideas. His revisions included longer and thinner legs, fuller lips, the removal of "pipes" around the spine (which he had only added to make the creature appear less human), and an idea for a sharp alien "tongue" in place of the secondary jaws. Giger also designed an 'aquatic facehugger'. Working from his studio in Zurich, he produced these new sketches which he faxed to Cornelius Defries who then created their model counterparts out of plasticine. However, Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis of Amalgamated Dynamics had already been appointed as the lead special effect designers. Although they were open to his input, the only one of Giger's designs that wound up in the final project was a "Bambi Burster" Alien that had long legs and walked on all fours.
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Hoping to give the destroyed Bishop a more complex look that could not be done by simple make-up, the final product was done entirely through animatronics, while a playback of Lance Henriksen's voice played to guide Sigourney Weaver.
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Much like the first Alien (1979) movie, Alien 3 also had problems with negative reactions of audience who saw rough cut of the movie in early test screenings and were horrified from all the scenes of gore and violence. Because of this and also to avoid NC-17 rating by MPAA, Alien 3 was heavily cut. Some of the graphic scenes that were deleted from rough cut, which is said to be 3 hours long, include more graphic shots of Newt and Hicks' dead bodies, a way more violent version of the scene where Alien bursts out of dog, longer and more disturbing version of Newt's autopsy scene, close ups of melted face of prisoner who gets hit with Alien's acid, more gore from where he falls into giant fan, more bloody footage of Clemens' death, and some parts from the final chase and fight between the prisoners and the Alien.
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There are screenplay treatments by Eric Red, David Twohy, John Fasano and Rex Pickett all freely available on the Internet.
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After the screenplay by John Fasano and then-director Vincent Ward was complete (in which the Alien attacks a monastery on a small planetoid inhabited by monks), construction work began on the sets. When the studio decided not to go through with this idea, Ward and Fasano left and the construction was shut down, leaving the crew in limbo as the script was being reworked. Although the location was eventually changed to a prison on a remote planet, it was decided that the prisoners would be converted inmates, so that they could still use many of the already half-built monastery sets.
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There was some question over whether the character of Ripley should actually feature in this film until the then president of 20th Century Fox, Joe Roth, insisted otherwise.
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A cast of Meryl Streep's face was used in a 3D model on a monitor showing the scan of the facehugger on Ripley, as a face cast of Sigourney Weaver had not been made at the time. Coincidentally, Streep was one of the final actresses considered for the role of Ripley in Alien (1979) before Weaver got the part.
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The production effectively shut down for three months while the script was undergoing rewrites.
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The line about a sane man appearing insane in an insane World refers to an observation by Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz, in his book "Man's search for meaning".
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The screeches and hisses of the Alien were created by recording the sounds of geese and pigs, and altering these in post-production. To create some of the wet sounds that accompany the Alien killing people, the sound designers went to Asian markets and bought animal heads and stomach linings. Some of the pounding sounds came from the crew literally pounding on a sheep's head. Real blood and guts were also used for the scene where the chestburster comes out of its host. Because the shot had to be repeated multiple times, all the blood and gore started to smell very badly under the hot studio lights after several hours.
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(at around 7 mins) A cross is briefly seen on the planet surface to suggest the religion that some of the inmates have turned to. The model department held a competition to see who could design the best one. Four different models were created, and then David Fincher chose the version he liked best.
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Prior to release of the "Assembly Cut," another version of the film circulated among fans taken from a VHS workprint. This version uses elements of both the Assembly and theatrical versions, incorporating footage from the first round of reshoots. Based on statements from David Fincher, he completed this edit prior to his quitting the film and it features changes instituted by Fincher himself, such as changing the facehugger host to a dog. It's also the last known cut of the film that Fincher oversaw, making it the closest to a true director's cut than any other incarnation of the film. As such, fans still pass around a digital copy on the internet. (See also: Alternate Versions for a full outline of changes)
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Director David Fincher later stated that the constant studio interference made the film stray so far from his vision, that the only way to make a 'director's cut' would be to burn the entire negative, and start over. He also admitted that when the 1992 L.A. riots started to get close to the lab where the film's negatives had been developed and stored, he hoped that the entire building would burn to the ground, and the film with it.
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This is the only film in the Alien Quadrilogy that does not feature an android character unique to that film. The only android that appears is Bishop (in a severely damaged state), and he had previously appeared in Aliens (1986) prior to this.
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Hungarian title translates as "Alien: Final Solution: Death."
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Misleading initial advertisement implied that the movie would be set on Earth. This was due to an early idea where dozens of Aliens invade Earth and even fuse together into one giant monster that attacks New York. From there, most concepts took the action away from Earth (such as a Blade Runner-like metropolis on another planet, which was felt to be too expensive). A first screenplay by William Gibson (written when original director Ridley Scott was still considering to return) took place on a large space station, but it was discarded after Scott chose to pursue other projects. His replacement Renny Harlin suggested a story set on Earth, but quit when Eric Red wrote a screenplay in which engineered Alien-human hybrids invade a remote space colony modeled after Earth. Another script written by David Twohy took place on a large space prison, but was rejected by new director Vincent Ward. However, the idea to situate the movie off-world remained in subsequent re-writes.
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Vincent Ward and John Fasano wrote a script where Ripley crash-lands on a "wooden planet", which is essentially a giant monastery inhabited by monks. Ward was also set to direct, and although the film started production with this script, after 1/5 of the planned budget had already been spent on sets, Fox started to get cold feet, and told Ward to rein in his ambitious plans and cut several set pieces. After butting heads with executives, Ward left the project.
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The famous tagline of the original Alien (1979) was "In space, no one can hear you scream." When this movie, in planning stages, was to be set on Earth, a proposed tagline was "On Earth, everyone can hear you scream."
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This is the only film in the Alien franchise that is actually a "numbered" sequel. Even so, the number in the title isn't an normal integer, but in superscript, which technically means 'to the third power'.
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Including the extended and director's cuts of each movie in the series, as well as Ridley Scott's latest Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, this is the only Alien film not to feature victims being cocooned.
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The score was recorded during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, which Elliot Goldenthal later claimed contributed to the score's disturbing nature.
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The film takes place in 2179.
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Even before the release of Aliens (1986), James Cameron was approached by 20th Century Fox for another sequel. Cameron had brought up some sequel ideas during Aliens' production, such as focusing on Ripley, Newt and Hicks trying to function as a family, and Bishop suspecting that someone has tempered with his brain to make him more dangerous. Cameron actually told the studio that if they could bring back Ridley Scott for Alien 3, he would do Alien 4. However, Scott never committed to Alien 3, and by the time that the movie went into production, Cameron's interest in the series had faded as he wanted to pursue other projects.
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Sigourney Weaver states that she has nothing but respect for director David Fincher's creative vision and style, and acknowledged the extreme studio interference that he was under worked against the film. Her first day of shooting involved her lying naked on a bed, covered by a sheet, half-blind from a contact lens to simulate a bloodshot eye, while Fincher sprinkled lice over her face that crawled into her eyes and ear. She later stated that though she endured harsh conditions and working with gorillas during the filming of Gorillas in the Mist (1988), this was the first time that she nearly freaked out with a director. Fincher made up later with the autopsy scene, where he gained her trust by guiding her through an emotional performance.
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Although credited for the final screenplay as per arbitrage rules, Larry Ferguson didn't even finish his script for Alien³ (1992). When David Fincher was brought on as director, Ferguson was hired to do a four-week emergency re-write of Vincent Ward's and John Fasano's script, which took place in a huge monastery on a small planetoid populated by Christian monks, and was deemed too expensive to film. In an interview with PREMIERE magazine in May 1992, Fincher spoke about Ferguson's draft, saying that it shared similarities to the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the story of Peter Pan. Ripley was going to be a woman who fell from the stars and lands on a planet full of monks. She would tell the monks stories like Wendy from Peter Pan. In the end, she dies, and there are seven of the monks left, symbolizing the seven dwarfs. They put her in a tube, and wait for Prince Charming to come wake her up. Ferguson's script was considered so bad that when Fox CEO Joe Roth heard about these 'seven dwarfs', he furiously stated "What?! What are they doing over there?! What the fuck is going on?!", and fired him. Producers Walter Hill and David Giler then took it upon themselves to write the final script. They removed the giant monastery, but at the behest of Fincher and Sigourney Weaver, they kept the religious elements, and combined it with the idea of a space prison from an earlier script by David Twohy.
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Stan Winston was asked to work on this film, but was unavailable. Instead recommended Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, two former workers of his studio who had just started their own company, Amalgamated Dynamics.
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Director David Fincher was thrilled to work with director of photography Jordan Cronenweth, who had collaborated with Alien (1979) director Ridley Scott on Blade Runner (1982). However, Cronenweth was suffering from Parkinson's disease which started to affect his work, despite being assisted by his son Jeff Cronenweth (he died of it in 1996). He was replaced two weeks into shooting by Alex Thomson, who had shot Scott's Legend (1985).
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In the original drafts of the script there was no Ripley.
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When David Fincher was brought on as director, a major set had already been constructed (a monastery set built before the setting was changed to a prison - but still kept, as a church inside the facility), the budget was running behind, the script was still incomplete and roles still hadn't been cast.
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In the film, it is never particularly clear what Boggs, Rains and Golic are doing when they are attacked by the Runner, although it is suggested they are mapping and measuring an abandoned part of the facility. In the shooting script and novelization, however, it is explained they are exploring and foraging for overlooked provisions, left behind when the facility was shut down. In the longer Assembly Cut version of the film, Golic can indeed be seen retrieving packs of cigarettes from an old vending machine.
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During some test screenings, many people had to leave the theatre and go to the bathroom due to loud and low frequencies in the sound effects and music.
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Ripley doesn't handle a weapon in the film. This is because Sigourney Weaver is an advocate for gun control, and thought that the previous movie (Aliens (1986)) had already seen more than enough action involving firearms.
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Early versions of the script and design featured a giant rustic monastery. Also, the alien itself would not be appearing.
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Gabriel Byrne was offered the role of Clemens.
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Vincent Ward used his pay off from this film to finance his next, Map of the Human Heart (1992).
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Ralph Brown said in 2007 interview how once David Fincher finished his first three hours long rough cut of the film, infamous for being ultra-gory and violent, he showed it to some of the cast and crew members, and Brown called this version of the film "a masterpiece". But once the movie started being re-cut and re-shot, lot of the great moments were cut, and Brown himself lost two major scenes he had with Sigourney Weaver (which were re-instated in the longer Assembly Cut).
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It is never explicitly stated what became of the Sulaco after the EEV was ejected from it. Most fans assume that the fire aboard raged on to the point where the ship got critically damaged and exploded. In the original script, the Sulaco ejected numerous EEV units after the fire, and the decompression of the EEV's escaping the craft would have caused a massive explosion, destroying several of the escape pods and scattering the rest in different directions. This is how Ripley's EEV would have been knocked into the gravity of Fury 161 rather than escaping to safe space. The concept was scaled back for budget reasons, though parts of the sequence were apparently filmed, and it also appears in the film novelization. Yet another scenario is provided by the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines - Stasis Interrupted (2013): shortly after the events of Aliens (1986), the Sulaco is intercepted by a Company ship called the USS Legato, which carries captured colonists from other planets for the purpose of using them in Xenomorph experimentation. The Legato docks with the Sulaco, but a few Legato colonists manage to escape to the Sulaco's hibernation bay. There a fight ensues between these colonists and several Company soldiers, during which a stray bullet pierces Ripley's pod and grazes the facehugger attached to her face. Its acidic blood spills, causing the fire that leads to the pods being ejected via an escape pod. The fire then supposedly dies out or is put out, and the Sulaco is redirected back to LV-426 for further experimentation, where it is finally found by colonial marines from the USS Sephora, who are on a mission to find out what happened to the Sulaco. Both the Sephora and the Sulaco are finally destroyed during a battle between these marines and Company soldiers. The game was originally considered to be canon by 20th Century Fox, but following the negative reception by fans, this status was more or less revoked.
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In the final draft of the script, prisoner Murphy (Christopher Fairbank) sings 'Paint It Black' by The Rolling Stones as he is scrubbing the air ducts. In the film, this was changed to 'In the year 2525' by Zager & Evans. In the comic adaptation, Murphy still sings 'Paint It Black'.
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(at around 1h 6 mins) This is the first time Slow Motion cameras were used intentionally in an Alien movie, seen when explosives are being set, and one falls. The use of the cameras, which were primitive at the time, resulted in a squashed and blurred image, and stands out against the normal speed recordings. The technique was then later used briefly in the spin off, Prometheus (2012).
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There were constant disagreements over the story throughout the entire length of production, even after millions of dollars had already been spent on several writers, directors, screenplay versions and set construction. The recently hired director David Fincher was informed by 20th Century Fox executives that he couldn't start from scratch and had to include as many of the creative decisions and sets that had already been made, so he rushed into production to make up for lost time. The studio was so adamant to limit further costs and keep the film on track that they only allowed a shooting schedule of 70 days instead of the 93 that Fincher had requested. Effects shot were limited to 25, less than half of what Aliens (1986) had. The crew often worked 18 hours a day, 6 days a week to meet the punishing deadline, but it couldn't prevent the shoot to surpass its allotted 70 days (taking the full 93 days that Fincher initially had requested, also due to an explosion effect going wrong, burning five crew members). After six months of relatively undisturbed production, the studio took over, and executives would be constantly present to check if Fincher wasn't wasting time and resources, scrapping several set pieces to save money. Many cast and crew members joked that in the end, there were often more producers and executives on the set than actors.
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H.R. Giger, the original designer of the first Xenomorph, was shafted in favor of Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis' designs. This didn't stop Giger from faxing his designs to his client, David Fincher, and paying for all expenses himself, even after Fincher withdrew from the project. Several of Giger's ideas made it to the screen, though he later sued the production over crediting him only for the original Alien designs, but not the film's new designs (he missed out on an Oscar nomination for Best Special Effects due to this). He received a full credit on the home release.
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The opening scene was shot on a beach at Dawdon, an old pit community in County Durham, England - previously used for a chase sequence in Get Carter (1971).
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In Aliens (1986), Bishop quotes the First Law of Robotics as formulated by sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov ("It is impossible for me to harm, or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being). In Alien³, when he tells Ripley to disconnect him because he could be repaired, but would never be top of the line again, he is actually in violation of the Third Law: a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
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According to director David Fincher, Ridley Scott, who directed the original Alien (1979), visited the set during filming. Fincher said that he admitted to Scott that production wasn't going smoothly; Scott in turn exchanged his own negative experiences with working on such big, special effects-driven movies (presumably Blade Runner (1982) which had its fair share of production problems).
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Although David Fincher made it generally clear that the making of this movie was a horrible experience and he was unhappy with it, he was a bit milder about the whole process in a 1993 interview printed in Imagi-Movies Magazine. Although he still blamed the studio for excessively interfering and giving him too little time for preparation, he admitted that "20th Century Fox [...] want[ed] to make a really fine film and they spent a lot of money trying to make it as good as it could possibly be. [...] "Looking at it in the role of communicator, obviously in a lot of cases I didn't get my ideas across. I'm taking that rap but I'm so happy with the monsters and the [special effects] and the look of the film and the performances and what people were able to do with whatever minimal prep they had. I'm very happy with that so I don't want to seem ungrateful. I'm not embarrassed by the film. If we failed to do one thing it was to take people out of their everyday life. [...] We failed to give people the broad, safe entertainment that, in the United States at least, they seem to want. [...] If we had just gone out and done a shoot 'em up, we would have cheapened the thing in the long run. Instead we did something weird and f***ed up out there. I just think in terms of the world box office, we may have chosen wrong."
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John Fasano, who had wrote ten drafts with Vincent Ward when Ward was attached as the director with his wood planet concept, regretted quitting the film after he discovered that his friend Larry Ferguson had been hired behind his back to rewrite the script for Alien³ (1992) while he was still writing his latest draft. Had he stayed on, he would have got a screenplay credit and not Ferguson. But because he left and Ferguson was the first writer to work with David Fincher, the Writers Guild considered that the film started with him, even though he was working off a script that Fasano wrote. Fasano didn't get any credit on the movie, even though 60-70% of the narrative was his.
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When Vincent Ward was hired as director, David Twohy was still writing an Alien 3 script that took place on a prison colony, for Ward to direct. However, Ward didn't like Twohy's concept, and John Fasano was brought aboard to re-write the screenplay according to Ward's wishes. When Twohy found out that they had hired Fasano, he was told that Fasano was writing Alien 4, and that they just wanted to have a script ready for the next movie. However, Fasano felt that it was a requirement to call up a writer when re-writing their script. So he met Twohy at his house and when he told him that he wasn't writing Alien 4 but that he was re-writing Alien 3, Twohy threw a hissy fit. Twohy knew the studio was lying to him, and when he called them, they then told him ''OK, we'll make yours Alien 4.''. Twohy contacted Walter Hill to verify if this was true, but Hill told him that it wasn't, as there was no Alien 4 planned. Twohy quickly finished his draft, took the money, and left.
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Despite being considered a box office dud in North America, Alien³ (1992) performed much better in Europe and Japan, and is still the second highest grossing film in the franchise.
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At one point, Fox sent in a troubleshooter to deal with the spiralling costs.
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Because of the breakneck pace of the reshoots, composer Elliot Goldenthal only had a single night to create a new piece of music for the reshot finale.
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A sex scene between Ripley and Clemens was filmed and was in original cut of the film, but it was deleted.
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In his video review for the movie, Roger Ebert (who had praised both Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)) gave the movie a "thumbs down" negative review. He criticized it for being dark, depressing, grungy and lacking in high-tension action, especially targeting the repetitious and drawn-out chase scenes near the end. However, he had nothing but praise for the film's bleak futuristic art direction, calling it "the least exciting, but in some ways, the most interesting movie [in the franchise]", and "the best-looking bad movie I have seen in a while".
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The crew were pushed to make the movements of the Alien as quick as possible to the point where they were barely in control, and this led to, according to Richard Edlund, "the occasional serendipitous action that made the alien have a character." The ease of this setup allowed the crew to film 60-70 takes of a single scene.
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Clemens' addiction to morphine shares similarities with Kane from Alien, who was also ruined professionally by an addiction to medication as part of his backstory. Dr. Kuhlman from Alien: Isolation would later share a similar medical addiction.
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Future director Jake Scott, who had been a stand-in on Alien (1979) and is also the son of Alien director Ridley Scott, did several set designs for the movie.
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Doctor Clemens (Charles Dance) only engages in full two-way conversations with either Andrews (Brian Glover), Aaron (Ralph Brown) or Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) during the entire movie; he only makes single remarks to other prisoners.
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(at around 37 mins) The tea glass that prison superintendent Andrews is sipping on is part of the BODUM series, a tableware manufactured in Denmark.
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The cinematic directorial debut of David Fincher, which he has all but disowned due to near-constant studio interference.
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In the TV version, the autopsy and morgue scenes are carefully edited to not show the naked chest of the little girl Newt.
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For various actions, the trainer gave the dog visual and verbal commands with food rewards. When the dog appears to be suffering and is rolling about, he was wearing a special harness. Two trainers held onto the harness and, with their hands out of camera range, pulled the harness back and forth about an inch in either direction.
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Paul McGann went on to play the title character in Doctor Who (1996). He returned to the role years later to be regenerated into the War Doctor, played by John Hurt. Hurt gave birth to the first creature in Alien (1979).
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The so-called "On Earth" promotional teaser trailer for the movie was released before the final script was approved and the original idea that the movie should be set on Earth was still on the table.
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Eric Red wrote an early rejected screenplay in which hordes of Aliens invade a space station colony modeled on 20th-century rural Kansas. At one point, fifty Aliens fuse together to form one big amorphous creature that tears through the station, and causes it to become a biomechanical fusion of Alien DNA, human flesh, steel girders and plates. While unused Alien 3 screenplays by William Gibson and Vincent Ward have gained significant cult following over the years, Red's version has been widely ridiculed for its B-horror movie tone, copious amounts of gore, and even a graphic, gratuitous sex scene. Sigourney Weaver called it "a real disaster, absolutely dreadful", and Red himself disowned it as a "piece of junk" that he wrote after "five weeks of intense, hysterical story conferences with the studio" who just wanted to rush a sequel into production. He also blamed producers Walter Hill and David Giler for giving him "no story or treatment or any real plan for the picture", and hampering his efforts by not wanting Sigourney Weaver to return.
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The first in the series where Ripley does not scream at an electronic to go faster or stop.
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Walter Hill and David Giler were brought onboard by the studio to give input, and it was deemed that the film had many issues that required significant reshoots (including a finale that was deemed too similar to Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)), and a pivotal sequence that had to be filmed (the death of the xenomorph!).
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As originally scripted and filmed, Fury 161 was a prison converted into a toxic waste disposal facility. While giving Ripley a tour of the facility, the shooting script had Clemens tell her that the remaining inmates use the lead foundry to make sheets that seal off the toxic dump shafts. This was changed late in production after several rough cuts of the movie were screened (presumably for clarity): Clemens now explains that the blast furnace makes lead containers. The only remaining element of the facility's original purpose is the unused disposal room for nuclear waste that they intend to use to trap the Alien in.
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Four different Rottweilers were used to portray Spike.
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Special non-toxic makeup was used. The dog's face was shaved in spots and a vegetable based bloody substance applied to the shaved areas.
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The oddly shaped dog from which the 'Runner' alien bursts was a special effects puppet. This entire scene was shot in cuts with an isolated shot of movie blood gushing.
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While quinitricetyline is an entirely fictional substance, its name suggests it is some form of hydrocarbon featuring nitrogen molecules in its structure. Its name and highly explosive nature bear obvious similarities to trinitrotoluene, more commonly known as TNT.
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Charles Dance, Clive Mantle and Deobia Oparei appeared on HBO's Game of Thrones (2011), though none of them share any scenes together.
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The 28th biggest grossing film of 1992.
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Trailer narrated by Percy Rodrigues.
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A script draft written by Vincent Ward's and John Fasano didn't meet with Sigourney Weaver's approval, who felt her character was presented as "a pissed-off gym teacher".
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Ralph Brown (Aaron) and Charles Dance (Dr. Clemens) were reunited in The Contractor (2007).
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The prisoners keep referring to the Alien as "The Beast". This most likely refers to the Book of Revelation from the Bible, where two Beasts come to Earth and force the religious population to renounce their faith, and worship them instead. The Beasts and all their supporters are finally defeated by Christ and his army of faithful supporters. The Beasts are perhaps best known for being associated with 'the number of the Beast' (666), which is also the number traditionally associated with the Antichrist.
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David Fincher and Danny Webb have both worked with Emile Hirsch on Lords of Dogtown (2005) & Never Grow Old (2019) respectivly.
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Starting with this film, there was been two Alien movies every decade up. This includes Alien3 (1992) and Alien: Resurrection (1997), moving on to AVP (2004) and AVP: Requiem (2008), and ending with Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017). That also means within every decade, the year of release ended with either 2 or 7 (with the exception of AVP).
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The third of four Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver.
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Both Paul McGann and Ralph Brown starred in the British cult comedy Withnail & I (1987) before.
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The original screenplay by Vincent Ward and John Fasano contained a scene in a latrine where the Alien was lurking in the space beneath the toilet seats, and would pull unsuspecting victims through the hole. Ward felt it would be both gruesome and funny. There were also scenes where Ripley would start to feel immense survivors' guilt, causing her to hallucinate and see several of her deceased friends and colleagues from the previous movies.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Although Ripley's discovery that she carries an Alien embryo suggests that she is the person being facehugged in the opening montage, the final shooting script and comics adaptation confirm that this actually happened to Newt. This is merely hinted at during the opening credits: the facehugger can be seen attacking and cracking Newt's cryotube, and when the scanner shows the facehugger attached to a person, Ripley is shown in a seizure state but she is clearly not being facehugged. An acid burn is later discovered on Newt's tube. After the EEV crashlanded, Newt drowned. She was sadly conscious and cried for help. After she died, the alien embryo crawled out of her mouth and swam to Ripley's tube since it requires a living host to grow properly. It opened Ripley's mouth and forced itself into her throat (explaining why it is sore when she wakes up). Although these scenes were storyboarded, they were never filmed because the effect of the creature switching hosts could not be portrayed realistically. The Theatrical Cut adds more confusion to this backstory since Ripley's cryotube is already inexplicably broken before the ejection, while Newt's later appears intact, begging the question how she could be facehugged and drown while Ripley survived. This is somewhat cleared up in the Extended Cut, where Clemens discovers a half-drowned Ripley on the shore, covered in dirt and lice, implying that water rushing into her broken cryotube woke her up; this also fixes the continuity error in the theatrical cut where Ripley is spotless in the EEV but dirty when Clemens carries her in the infirmary. However, the game Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013) (expansion "Stasis Interrupted") ignores this backstory by revealing that the Facehugger actually attacked Ripley's cryotube and latched onto her face.
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The early scenes in the shooting script explain why Ripley has a sore throat and coughs continually during the film; the alien embryo had forced itself into her larynx violently.
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An advanced type of facehugger, one that impregnates Ripley with a queen embryo, was designed and built, with darker protective plating as well as webs between its digits. It was probably based on an unused design by H.R. Giger for an 'aquatic facehugger' that was supposed to swim ashore after the EEV crash. The creature was cut from the Theatrical Version, but it does make a brief appearance in the extended Assembly Cut, in the scene where two inmates are discussing the dead ox.
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(at around 1h 22 mins) Near the end, Dillon sarcastically calls Morse (Danny Webb) 'the guy who made a deal with God to live forever'. Morse is indeed the only prisoner to survive at the end.
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Because of continuous troubles with the film (including producers leaving and executive producer Jon Landau claiming that the film was running behind schedule because of director David Fincher's perfectionism), Fox halted production in Pinewood Studios in England in late 1991. The crew returned to LA and hastily assembled a rough version for an initial screening, to identify the missing parts of the film. A major part yet to be shot included killing the Alien in the lead pool. By the time of the new shoot in an LA studio, Sigourney Weaver's hair grew back, and she had an agreement with the producers that if she would have to cut her hair again, she would be paid a $40,000 bonus. The producers therefore hired Greg Cannom to create a bald cap with very short hair on it. The make-up process cost $16,000 and was very difficult and time-consuming, because the hairline required the cap to be placed very precisely on Weaver's head. Cannon did the job on the condition that he would do it only once; he ended up doing it a few times more when Weaver was needed again for promotional shots and a new ending, but the studio would meet his salary demands each time.
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On David Fincher's request, Rex Pickett re-wrote the final shooting script that David Giler and Walter Hill had turned in. Although he conceived many of the final story elements, most of his dialogue was later discarded or re-written again. Pickett's screenplay kept the former prisoners more faithful to their convictions, since they never curse or use bad language. Clemens' backstory was also different: he used to be an anesthesiologist, and is still a prisoner for euthanizing his comatose wife and their unborn child, after an accident left them without any hope of recovery. In Pickett's script, the warden and several prisoners check out the place where Boggs and Rains were killed, but find nothing but blood. When Ripley conducts a cat scan, the larva is a distinctively visible queen because there are tiny white spots which are the future eggs. This explains how Ripley knew that she was carrying a queen embryo, and also how the Company knew this vital information, since the cat scanner data are immediately transferred to their mainframe. Aaron reveals that the company has been planning to move the wardens and prisoners to another place for a year. Golic, believing that the Alien spared him to be the sole survivor, frees the creature from the disposal unit where the others have trapped it. He starts a murderous rampage against his remaining fellow inmates who are preparing to wait for the rescue team outside the facility, but he is finally stopped by the Alien. Ripley, Dillon and Aaron later find him cocooned in the abattoir. Dillon doesn't get to sacrifice himself, as the Alien already grabs him in the lead mold when he attempts to climb out. The script ends with Morse and Aaron (who was only beaten unconscious) being taken away by the Company.
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The alien in this movie differs from its predecessors in that the organic pipes on its back are now missing and it now has a more pronounced set of lips. Also it mostly moves on all four like it's host in this movie, a dog, whilst the Aliens in the first two movies are standing & walking upright like humans. This implies, that xenomorphs dont look and act the same like prior Aliens in the first two movies, because an Alien always is a hybrid lifeform, merging genes from it's own race with genes of the host it grows in. This is vice versa in the fourth installment Alien: Resurrection, where in this case Ripley adopts characteristics from the xenomorph via cloning.
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Alien 3 marks the first time a chestburster appears almost fully formed, instead of the pupa appearance of the previous installments. The chestburster looked like a scaled down version of the adult. This would later be seen in Prometheus (2012), where "The Deacon" was born already fully formed, and Alien: Covenant (2017), which had a miniature Alien with a complete set of limbs.
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Special Effects company Amalgamated Dynamics built a special puppet of the queen alien for a sequence cut from the film. Originally, the queen alien was supposed to gestate in Newt until the EEV crash, when it would swim out through the mouth of Newt's dead body and embed itself in Ripley. This accounts for the confusing sequence at the film's opening when the facehugger is seen attacking Newt's cryotube, not Ripley's, which only cracks during the actual ejection sequence. Though not in the final film, this scene does appear in the comic book adaptation.
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In the theatrical version, prisoner Golic (Paul McGann) is last seen when the Alien kills Dr. Clemens; it is assumed that he is one of the casualties of the failed plan to trap the Alien in the waste disposal unit. However, a lengthy subplot was scripted and filmed where the plan of the prisoners actually works: during the mayhem of the fire, the Alien appears, and one of the prisoners manages to lure the creature into the waste disposal unit where the rest traps it. However, Golic, having become delusional from being spared by the Alien twice, sets the creature free again, forcing Ripley and the surviving prisoners to come with a new plan of luring the Alien inside the lead mold. According to director David Fincher, the idea was that Golic believed the Alien would kill everyone, but purposely spared Ripley and himself, leaving them as a sort of Adam and Eve. Fincher also said that the full-length film was screened for a test audience consisting of 18-year-olds, who didn't care for the Golic character. Based on their negative feedback, and with the studio preferring a shorter movie to allow for more screenings per day, the entire subplot was removed from the theatrical version of the film, but it was restored in the extended Assembly Cut.
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The company name written in Japanese can be briefly seen on the black box as Ripley retrieves it and on a poster in the office where 85 and Ripley contact the company for the second time. In a scene towards the end of the movie where Ripley and the inmates discuss the killing of the alien, several Kanji characters can be seen on the wall: "Chô-kô'on kiken" (danger: extremely high heat). The scrap yard where Bishop is discarded also displays a large red "tetsu" (iron).
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Morse, the only survivor, has one line less than 10 minutes into the film. He isn't seen again until the Alien kills Andrews at the hour and 10 minute mark. (assembly cut runtime)
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The concept by Vincent Ward and John Fasano on which the movie was green-lit involved Ripley arriving on an artificially constructed wooden planetoid called Arceon. It is inhabited by a group of dissident monks who had been voluntarily exiled from Earth 70 years before, and built a giant monastery inside the planetoid. They believe that they are living in post-apocalyptic dark ages, and assume a middle-ages lifestyle that swears off all modern technology, except for machines inside the planetoid that create gravity, fresh water and a 8-ft thick atmosphere. After escaping the Sulaco, Ripley's lifeboat crash-lands on an artificial lake on the surface; Newt drowns and disappears (an Alien that travelled along takes her). It doesn't take long for the Alien to cause several more deaths. The monks blame Ripley for bringing the 'pestilence' and imprison her, although they refuse to believe in the Alien until they see it decimating their numbers. It has the capacity for camouflage, and its acid causes blazing fires around the monastery. Ripley escapes but the Alien (which seems to have a 'racial memory' and holds a personal grudge towards her) torments her wherever it can by killing people in front of her. It was to impregnate her "the old-fashioned way" rather than through a face-hugger, a process that she doesn't remember, but causes her nightmares about being raped and carrying a half-human/half-Alien hybrid, as well as hallucinations ridden with survivor's guilt. The Alien finally dies when it falls into a hot vat of molten glass, and breaks after being doused with water. Other ideas include the presence of a discarded but helpful synthetic called Anthony, a 'King Alien' that bursts out of a head instead of a chest, and storyboards included horse-Alien and sheep-Alien hybrids. The film was to end with one of the monks performing an 'exorcism' on Ripley, forcing the Alien embryo out of her throat and into his own, and killing it by walking into a fire. Ripley then takes the EEV and returns to Earth. Although Sigourney Weaver was unimpressed by the script, she liked the sacrifice scene, and asked for a version involving Ripley herself. However, the studio and producers started to have concerns over the logic and plausibility of an entire wooden planet in space, as well as its realization on screen. Ward left the project after the producers insisted that he scale back the scope of his plans. However, since many of his ideas were carried over to the final screenplay, it still earned him a story credit.
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David Fincher convinced the studio that Ripley needed to die at the end over the objections of producers Walter Hill and David Giler (who wanted her to survive), as he felt it was the only logical conclusion to her story, starting as an "underwear-clad victim" in the first film and ending with an act of selflessness in order to escape from the "Alien curse" that seemed to haunt her wherever she went. The originally scripted ending had Ripley dying by dropping herself in the hot, molten lead. When the studio heads learned that this was very similar to how Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) was going to end, they decided that to differentiate the two films, the chestburster had to come out of Ripley in the final moment. Fincher was against this addition, but when forced with the decision, he insisted that it had to be as cathartic as possible: Ripley had to be at peace as soon as the chestburster emerged, showing "a sigh rather than gritting teeth and sweat". The new ending was shot four days before the movie opened. The original ending was reinstated in the extended Assembly Cut of the movie that was later released on DVD and Blu-ray.
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Although this is one of the last big science-fiction movies to use mostly traditional special effect techniques (miniatures, animatronics and optical visual effects), there is one notable effects shot that was computer-generated: the head of the Alien cracking after it has been cooled with water. Other uses of computer-generated graphics include minor details, such as added shadows and debris particles.
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James Cameron, director of Aliens (1986), the previous film in the series, strongly disliked the film. He really hated the fact that Hicks, Newt and Bishop were killed off so quickly and unceremoniously in the beginning, which essentially trashed his ending to Aliens (1986). However, he has been on record saying that he loves the style and photography of David Fincher's movies, and considers him an amazing director, so he has come to see Alien 3 as "an interesting failure, at least an admirable film".
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Fan debates continue about the nature of the self-proclaimed human Bishop who appears in the closing scenes, with opinions split over the question whether he is really a human, or a synthetic person. Even though he states that "I am not the Bishop android", he is credited as "Bishop II" in the ending credits. After getting hit in the head in the end, his left ear is ripped off, but he hardly reacts to this injury which would be very painful to a human. Also, when Ripley powered up the remains of the android Bishop, its left ear was almost completely separated from its head, similar to 'human' Bishop, which may indicate a structural defect that suggests that this Bishop is not what he claims to be. However, the longer Assembly Cut of the movie adds more confusion, as it restores shots of red blood gushing from Bishop's wound (synthetics have white blood), him reacting in pain, as well as him yelling to Ripley "I am NOT a droid!" The final script versions as well as the novelization both state that he is human, and extended universe material has subsequently identified him as Michael Bishop or Michael Weyland.
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Sigourney Weaver had three wishes for starring in Aliens (1986): not handle a weapon, make love to an Alien, and die. Although none of those wishes were granted for Aliens, she got to do the first and third in this film, and the second in Alien: Resurrection (1997).
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When the sprinklers are activated after the attempt to trap the Alien, the cold water causes a heated iron bucket to break. This actually foreshadows what happens to the Alien in the end.
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One of the reasons for Newt being killed off was that the Fiorina 161 prison planet has convicted child molesters, which would have resulted in an attempted child molestation scene, in which the child molester convicts would attempt to rape Newt. Instead, the rapist convicts try to rape Ripley.
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Most of the controversial decisions for which director David Fincher was heavily criticized (an Alien egg mysteriously being aboard the Sulaco; Newt, Hicks and Bishop all dying during the opening scene) actually originated in Vincent Ward's and John Fasano's earlier draft of the script, and remained during further re-writes. It contains an overlooked Alien egg hatching aboard the Sulaco (not explained how it got there) and a subsequent infestation of the ship by Aliens (not explained where these came from) who kill Bishop and Hicks. The ship awakens Ripley and Newt just in time to escape in an EEV, which crashes into a sea. Ripley is saved but Newt supposedly drowns, and her body is never found (as a stowaway Alien took it). Ward's motivations for killing off the others was to get Ripley "into the mindset of someone suffering from loss and their subsequent quest for personal redemption". He also wanted to get rid of Newt, as "she kind of annoyed me".
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When the movie was turned into a novel by Alan Dean Foster, writer of the novels of Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986), an original draft of the novel had Ripley survive at the end, as he disliked the ending of the film. However, studio executives told him to remain true to the original ending. He changed his novel, which upset him so much, he refused an offer to write the Alien: Resurrection (1997) novelization, a task accepted by A.C. Crispin.
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The first in the series where the alien is not killed by way of airlock into space.
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When the studio refused to provide additional budget to build a separate set for the Alien climbing a couple of vertical pipes, director David Fincher solved this creatively by placing the pipes horizontally on the ground and placing a huge mirror at the end. The stuntman playing the Alien would scale the pipes horizontally, but when filming its mirror image, it gave the perfect illusion of the Alien climbing vertically.
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This is the only Alien movie in the original series of four (thus not counting Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017)) where Ripley does not have to escape from a place that is destroyed by an explosion following a countdown. Although she escapes death from the doomed ship Sulaco in the beginning, she is in cryosleep, there is no countdown, and the ship is never seen exploding. Additionally, this is also the only film not to feature a decompression scene where she is nearly sucked into space.
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Ralph Brown revealed in his blog in 2016 that the initial script described his character Aaron as an "everyman yuppie-type" who was supposed to survive the movie. However, after a few weeks of following this script, he was dismayed to discover that in a series of re-writes, his character was changed into a cowardly simpleton who would be killed off. He discussed his dissatisfaction with producer Walter Hill, who was only willing to let Aaron be more involved with the inmates in trying to trap the Alien in the waste disposal unit. Brown didn't dare to ask for more out of fear of being fired, after learning that director of photography Jordan Cronenweth had been let go (which, he later learned, wasn't due to creative differences, but for medical reasons). Aaron's death was ultimately re-written five times, varying from having his throat slit by an inmate, being eaten by the Alien, falling into the lead mold, and, finally, dying from Company machine gun fire. Brown also mentioned that during the tense production, Sigourney Weaver wasn't always easy to work with, but she apologized for being mean to him after the movie's premiere.
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In the first half of all four Alien films, one or two characters are introduced and built up in a way to make the audience think that they are going to be important characters throughout the story, only to have them killed off less than halfway through. In Alien 3, they are Doctor Clemens (Charles Dance) and Superintendant Andrews (Brian Glover).
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10,000 gallons of black paint were used to simulate the hot molten lead that is poured over the Alien during the finale.
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Dillon's death was written quite differently in an earlier version of the shooting script. Originally, he was to successfully climb out of the lead mold together with Ripley, after which the lead is poured onto the Alien and presumably kills it. Ripley asks Dillon to make good on his promise to kill her once the creature is dead. Dillon puts his hands around her throat, but is ultimately unable to kill her. At that point, the Alien emerges from the mold, pulling Dillon into the lead and killing him. While not filmed, both the novelization and comic adaptation used this ending.
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At one point Dillion sarcastically comments that Morse is the one who's made a deal with God to live forever. Ironically Morse is the only one of the convicts to live at the end.
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Although the idea originated in earlier drafts of the screenplay, David Fincher deliberately kept the scenes where Hicks and Newt are killed off, as he didn't want audiences to think that characters were safe.
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(at around 58 mins) Just before the Alien yanks the Warden into the ceiling, you can see that one of the prisoners is wearing a Weyland-Yutani Corporation jacket, the logo is emblazoned on the back.
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This is the only film in the Alien Quadrology not to show an Alien hive with victims in cocoons (the original Alien (1979) didn't either, but had such scenes in its director's cut). Fan theories speculated that the creature took on characteristics from its animal host, making it much more feral and murderous, and less interested in building a hive and abducting victims for procreation. However, this may not have been the original idea, because in 2018, special effects designer Alec Gillis revealed a picture of an unused early model of an alien hive cocoon. One abandoned script version also contained a scene where the prisoners trap the Alien in the waste disposal unit, only for a delusional Golic to free it again; Ripley, Aaron, Dylan and Morse subsequently discover a deranged Golic cocooned among several dead bodies in the abattoir (this subplot was restored in the film's longer Assembly Cut, with the difference that the Alien immediately killed Golic instead of cocooning him). An even earlier script had Dillon and Morse finding the entire Assembly Hall transformed into an Alien hive, with Andrews cocooned in a meat locker, begging to be put out of his misery.
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