Sigourney Weaver's character Ellen Ripley—introduced in Ridley Scott's 1979 classic Alien—is one of the most bad ass and influential female protagonists in movie history. Originally introduced as the warrant officer aboard the starship Nostromo, she was but one member of a motley crew of "space truckers." When audiences first watched the film, the assumption among most was that Tom Skerritt's Captain Dallas would be the movie's main character. But it ended up being Ripley who outsmarted the alien xenomorph, and became the sole survivor of the Nostromo. And thus, an sci-fi heroine was born who would go on to star in three more sequels.
However, if director Ridley Scott were to have had his way, the movie would have ended quite differently for Ripley.
And that ending would've been way more of a downer for moviegoing audiences at the time. In a new interview with Ridley Scott for Entertainment Weekly, who is promoting his return to the franchise with Alien: Covenant, he revealed that the original ending he pitched had a far more grim ending for Ellen Ripley — as in, the alien xenomorph rips her head off at the end. Yes, really.
Instead of Ripley kicking the xenomorph's ass and recording a captain's log entry before going into suspended animation for the journey to Earth, Scott thought this should be the ending instead, saying: “I thought that the alien should come in, and Ripley harpoons it and it makes no difference, so it slams through her mask and rips her head off." After that scene, Scott says he would have cut to the tentacles of the alien pressing buttons on the console, and the creature "would mimic Captain Dallas [Tom Skerritt] saying, 'I'm signing off.'" And then presumably await its next victim.
Twentieth Century Fox executives were not happy about that ending, realizing that—like any good horror movie worth its salt—it needed a "final girl," and Ripley was the best final girl ever up to that point (and maybe since). Luckily, Ridley Scott was convinced otherwise, and a true sci-fi legend was born as Sigourney Weaver's Ripley continued on to kick more alien ass over the next several years. You can watch the entire interview with Ridley Scott on Ripley's original fate in the video down below:
Do you think the Alien franchise would have had the same success with Sigourney Weaver's Ripley? Let us know what you think down below in the comments.
Images: Twentieth Century Fox