10 “Alien” Movies That Almost Got Made
Few sci-fi classics scare the pants off us as much as Alien. And none of them have Ellen Ripley, a kickass heroine who remains one of the greatest characters ever. But since it’s always fun to mess with the classics, what follows are ideas that could’ve, would’ve, maybe should’ve been in the Alien films.
1. What is in a name?
We could be talking about the series Star Beast: The working title of the original movie was scrapped for the simpler, more sinister single word. Screenwriter Dan O’Bannon preferred Alien because it serves as both a noun and adjective, evoking the creature as well as the feeling.
2. A Different Dallas
Cool as a cucumber, Captain Dallas is the heart of the original Alien crew. Tom Skerritt’s bearded mug was perfect, but Harrison Ford was offered the role and turned it down, perhaps for fear of being typecast as an eternal stellar pilot (the first Star Wars movie was released two years before Alien).
3. An Alternate Alien
If Harrison Ford had taken the role of Captain Dallas, it could’ve been quite a cozy coincidence: Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in Star Wars, tested for the role of the Alien. The part went instead to 7-foot-plus-tall Nigerian actor Bolaji Badejo; it remains his only film credit.
4. The Fincher Version
Feted director David Fincher (House of Cards, The Social Network, Fight Club) made his feature debut on Alien 3, but butted heads with the studio throughout the process. Eventually he walked out on the film before editing began; we could be watching a very different movie had he been left to his own devices.
5. The Original Hicks
The pivotal role of Corporal Hicks in Aliens was originally played by James Remar, who had starred in the street-gang classic The Warriors directed by Walter Hill, who helped write Aliens (and got him onboard the production). Though the reason wasn’t revealed until many years later, Remar was fired from the set and replaced by Michael Biehn.
6. Alien Cyberpunk
Cyberspace-noir visionary William Gibson (author of Neuromancer, among other seminal works) wrote an early version of the Alien 3 script, which had many other scribes attached at one point or another before it was actually filmed. The mind boggles at what Gibson’s take on it might have looked like.
7. A Whole Lotta Junk
Had Alien: Resurrection director Jean-Pierre Jeunet gotten his way, we would have been treated to quite an eyeful of the alien newborn, whose original design included explicit genitalia—of both male and female varieties. (They were digitally removed before the film’s release.)
8. Replacing Ripley
It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley but the Oscar-nominated (for Aliens) Sigourney Weaver, but at least one person did just that: Veronica Cartwright. The actor who had the supporting role of Lambert in Alien reportedly thought she was playing Ripley until she showed up for costuming.
9. … Or No Ripley at All?!
Director James Cameron was deep into writing Aliens and everyone—including the studio—assumed that Weaver was onboard, though she hadn’t signed a contract. When Fox balked at her salary request, Cameron was initially instructed to write her out. (An early version of the Joss Whedon-penned Alien: Resurrection also floated the idea of doing away with Ripley.)
10. The Quadruple Threat
At one point, James Cameron (who directed Aliens) approached the studio about a sequel co-produced by Ridley Scott (who directed Alien) and costarring Sigourney Weaver and Arnold Schwarzenegger; that winning combo sounds to us like a tremendous foray into the Alien universe. Instead, the studio went with the middling AVP: Alien vs. Predator. Sounds like a major missed opportunity.
As if chest-bursting alien pregnancies were’t enough! Consult this list for 10 more seriously messed up movies.