Alien’s Original Movie Ending Would’ve Ruined The Entire Franchise

The 1979 Ridley Scott horror classic originally killed off Sigourney Weaver's Ripley at the end of the film.

By Zack Zagranis | Published

The Alien franchise’s Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is the epitome of a kick-butt sci-fi heroine, but she almost died at the end of the very first film. As reported in Entertainment Weekly, director Ridley Scott originally planned to have the Xenomorph defeat Ripley at the end of Alien before mimicking the dead captain of the Nostromo and recording a ship’s log.

This decision would have greatly altered the course of film history as we know it. Without Sigourney Weaver’s character, you have no Aliens. Without Aliens to direct, James Cameron may have never gone on to bigger and better things like Titanic and the record-breaking Avatar franchise.

Thankfully, Scott abandoned the idea, and Sigourney Weaver went on to play Ripley three more times, creating one of the few female-led sci-fi action movie franchises in all of cinema. A feat made extra impressive by the fact that in the original Alien script, the character of Ripley was a man. Indeed, Weaver herself has praised Scott’s decision to keep all the original dialogue and not try to rewrite it to be more feminine based on her casting.

Perhaps the worst thing that would have come from Alien‘s original ending would have been ruining one of the world’s scariest horror icons by making it talk. It’s hard to imagine a human voice coming out of the drooling sharp-toothed maw of a Xenomorph without chuckling. It’s a goofy image, to say the least.

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Ironically, Alien‘s original ending would eventually be carried out in a film not directed by Ridley Scott, Alien 3. The oft-maligned second sequel to Alien not only ends with the death of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley but kills off the survivors of Aliens as well, in the first five minutes no less.

Ridley Scott’s instincts would prove to be correct. Fans actively disliked Alien 3, to the point where Sigourney Weaver was brought back for the franchise’s fourth entry Alien: Resurrection which saw Ellen Ripley come back to life thanks to a series of clones because … movies.

As hard as it is to picture the Alien films without Sigourney Weaver, there have actually been four films in the series that don’t feature her or her character Ripley. Prometheus, Alien: Covenant, and the two Alien vs. Predator movies make no mention of Ellen Ripley, and, according to most fans, are all the worse for it.

Alien isn’t the only Ridley Scott film to have its ending changed. The director’s cult-classic neo-noir Blade Runner had a studio-mandated happy ending tacked on for its theatrical release, something Scott changed when he was able to recut Blade Runner for its home video release. There are, in fact, several different versions of Blade Runner, all with minor differences and changes, but only the theatrical release opted for a sappy ending.

Whether Alien fans will ever get to see Sigourney Weaver suit up as the iconic Ripley again remains to be seen. The character was still alive at the end of Alien: Resurrection so there’s always a possibility she could show up in a future sequel.

With nostalgia being the draw that it is and movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home bringing back long-abandoned characters, it seems like a safe bet that we’ll see Sigourney Weaver return to the Alien franchise in some capacity or another in the future.