ByVamsi Viswanadha, writer at
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Vamsi Viswanadha

Believe it or not, Ellen Ripley, the gun-toting, feline-loving heroine of the ALIEN film universe almost met her fate in Ridley Scott's Original ALIEN film back in 1979. Had 20th Century Fox accepted Ridley Scott's suggestion for a darker ending, seeing Ripley in a sequel, not to mention an entire series, would have been inconceivable.

As production of Alien went on, numerous changes were made to the script in order to please studio executives who worried about the ever-increasing suggestive subject material. Scenes of the crewmembers walking around naked in the Nostromo had to be edited out, but FOX was impressed enough with their early meetings with Scott to increase the budget from $4.5 million to $8.5 million.

After shooting the better part of the film, Scott requested FOX for a bit more money to shoot what he called "a new fourth act" to end his movie with. Multiple finales were conceived between scriptwriting, storyboarding and actually filming. Apparently, Scott discussed killing off Ripley in the final moments of the movie, with the xenomorph creature finally catching the heroine and biting off her head. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, the alien would then record one last entry into Ripley’s log by mimicking her voice before the film would fade to black with a sense of haunting ambiguity. The producers considered this conclusion much too dark, however, and would only finance a new ending if the creature ultimately died.

Of course, the talking alien wouldn’t be the only concept to drastically alter the tone of the rest of the series, but the loss of who is now considered to be the best female character in all of science fiction certainly would have had an impact as well. In the end, it is obvious that Ridley Scott made all of the right choices, and though it was released to less than stellar reviews, Alien became a box-office smash and is widely regarded today as one of the best science fiction films ever made.


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