Ridley Scott’s Alien is one of my all-time favorite horror flicks; a pitch-perfect blending of sci-fi and terror that scared the crap out of me the first time I saw it in my childhood. Beautifully filmed, horrifyingly gory (the chestburster scene is legendary for a reason), and significantly smarter than a lot of the other genre films from the period, Scott’s film has earned its reputation as a classic.
Like so many of Ridley’s other films (e.g. Blade Runner), there’s a lot of really cool stuff that was considered during production and didn’t make it into the finished feature. This has allowed for a cottage industry of sorts to spring up around Scott’s work – just look at how many different cuts of Blade Runner exist – and it’s always fascinating to go back and look at what the filmmaker ultimately decided against using and imagine how different a film might have been. Such is the case with these cool storyboards for the alternate ending to Alien.
In the original version, Ripley and the Xenomorph do battle on the Nostromo, she sets the ship to self destruct, and narrowly escapes in a shuttle, only to discover that the Xenomorph is also along for the ride. Ripley dons a spacesuit, opens a hatch and jettisons the monster into space before finally blasting it out of the engine as she rockets across the galaxy. It’s a pretty great ending.
However, Scott and his team originally envisioned something different. The crew storyboarded a different ending where Ripley and the Xenomorph wind up in space, tethered to the escape shuttle by a single cable. With the Xenomorph coming for her, Ripley pulls a weapon and blasts the creature in the head before getting back to the shuttle, closing the hatch, and firing the engines. The blast from the vessel ignites the creature – before it explodes. Ripley is then safe to enter stasis.
We’re not sure why Scott opted against using this ending. Part of it could have been financial – the segment probably wasn’t going to be cheap to film. Another factor could have been that it’s a bit over the top compared to the rest of the film tonally. Ripley’s a hero for sure – but the idea of her popping a cap in a Xenomorph’s head in deep space before incinerating it in engine exhaust is certainly a bit bolder and more aggressive than the filmed ending.
Whatever the case may be, this ending was not used – but you can check it out in this gallery of storyboards and reflect on what might have been. Which ending do you think works better? The one Scott filmed or the one in these storyboards? Weigh in below.
[via Weyland-Yuytani Archives]