Sigourney Weaver Is Done Playing Ellen Ripley, Here’s Why

Sigourney Weaver revealed that she has no plans to return to the Alien franchise after missing out on the opportunity to play Ellen Ripley in a Neill Blomkamp film.

By Lyndon Nicholas | Updated

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From James T. Kirk to Luke Skywalker, science fiction has had a number of iconic lead characters over the years. Sigourney Weaver’s iconic Ellen Ripley led the Alien franchise, which was highly regarded for heralding a darker, more horror-influenced tone to the sci-fi genre. To many fans’ dismay, a recent interview with Total Film reveals that Sigourney Weaver may be done with the pioneering role. 

There are all kinds of younger actors taking this kind of role. And there was an Alien [film] that I really wanted to do with Neill Blomkamp and we didn’t get to do that, but, you know, that ship has sailed. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing. I put in my time in space!”

Sigourney Weaver

The article references a recent interview in which Sigourney Weaver spoke about the importance of her character Ellen Ripley to the Alien franchise and the possibility of her returning as Ripley in any upcoming films in the franchise. The actress stated, “There was an Alien [film] that I really wanted to do with Neill Blomkamp and we didn’t get to do that, but, you know, that ship has sailed.” When asked about her character, Weaver heaped praise on the franchise’s writers, noting, “They made Ripley a woman, without making her this helpless creature,” before adding that Ripley’s appeal comes in part because the writers “liked and respected strong women.”

Sigourney Weaver headed the franchise as warrant officer Ellen Ripley in James Cameron’s 1979’s hit science fiction film, Alien. The film centers on the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo who respond to a distress call from an alien vessel that happens to house a mysterious nest of eggs. Led by Ripley, the crew must try to survive as an alien threat ravages their ship.

The film became both a critical and commercial success for blending the genres of science fiction and horror, winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Sigourney Weaver’s role as Ellen Ripley in Alien was instrumental, as the genre at the time often was dominated by lead men and male protagonists. Weaver’s character was smart, capable, and compelling as a protagonist, and has since appeared in subsequent films in the franchise including Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien Resurrection

The reveal shocked fans who had been enjoying the World Alien Day festivities, which were just recently celebrated yesterday on Wednesday, April 26. The day is a celebration of the Alien franchise that started in 2016, and this year fans got a sneak-peak at the set of the upcoming film Alien: Romulus from the film’s director Fede Alvarez.

Although the film’s full cast has not been announced yet, many fans were wondering if Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley would make a reappearance in the franchise. Many fans would love to see Ellen Ripley appear in Alien: Romulus and some fans have speculated that even if Sigourney Weaver isn’t portraying her, another version of the character could make an appearance. Fans are also waiting on more news about an upcoming prequel series on FX.

The most recent film in the franchise, Alien: Covenant, takes place in 2104, while the original Alien film takes place in 2122, putting only 18 years between the two films. If Alien: Romulus is set after Covenant, it is possible that there will be an even smaller gap in time between Romulus and the original. It wouldn’t be a huge stretch of the imagination for the film to feature younger versions of some of the original’s feature characters like Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley. 

Regardless of whether Ellen Ripley reappears in the franchise or if Sigourney Weaver reprises the role, Weaver has already made a remarkable impact on the Alien franchise. She will undoubtedly go down in history as one of science fiction’s most beloved woman protagonists.