7 Unproduced 'Alien' Movies You'll Never Get To See
Vote up the abandoned Alien projects you would've liked to see on the big screen.
When David Fincher’s Alien 3 hit theaters during the summer of 1992, those hoping to see the continued adventures of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley and her fellow Aliens survivors were greeted with a heart-crushing disappointment as painful as a Chestburster ripping through their own chest. During the film's opening credits, things get dark and dismal really fast when Ripley’s EEV crash lands on a prison planet, causing the gruesome deaths of both love interest Corporal Dwayne Hicks and surrogate daughter Newt. Hicks is impaled by a safety support and Newt drowns in her cryotube. Already battered from his encounter with the Xenomorph Queen, android Bishop sustains even more damage during the collision and is deemed scrap, leaving Ripley stranded with a bunch of prisoners on the humdrum world of Fiorina Fury 161.
While some commended the film for going in a bleak and unexpected direction, others were infuriated by the decision to kill off two major characters during the opening credits - even actor Michael Biehn expressed his displeasure with Hicks’s untimely demise, seeing it as a huge missed opportunity for the franchise. For years to follow, many clamored for an Alien 3 redux, going as far as to suggest that it be retconned as nothing more than a hypersleep dream. Given the current streak of “requels,” such as 2018’s Halloween and the upcoming direct sequel to The Exorcist that promises to excise Exorcist II and beyond, maybe vocal fans would’ve gotten their wish had the internet existed back in 1992. Actually, they almost did get their wish many years later, when District 9 director Neill Blomkamp announced his very own direct sequel to Aliens with Sigourney Weaver onboard to reprise the Oscar-nominated role that made her a bonafide star.
But like many other unused Alien screenplays, that project never went beyond gestation. What is the right choice? Do you wish some of these abandoned concepts had come to fruition?
- 140 VOTES
The Dream Team 'Alien 5' Project: Ridley Scott And James Cameron
To this day, Alien fans always debate: What’s the best Alien movie? Ridley Scott’s original or James Cameron’s sequel? That’s a subjective question that really depends on your personal flavor, but many find that to be a tough decision to make nonetheless - it’s like deciding between the perfect apple and the perfect orange. If you’re judging strictly by Rotten Tomatoes, Alien currently holds a 98% Certified Fresh critics' score, while Aliens holds a 97% - that’s pretty darn close. To show how close it is, both are tied when it comes to the audience score, each sharing a worthy 94% score.
But did you know that the two directors almost teamed up to make an official fifth Alien movie? “What came up was the idea of doing Alien 5, and at one point I pitched that I would write it and produce it, and Ridley would direct it,” said Cameron during a 2014 Reddit AMA. “We had lunch talking about this, and we were in violent agreement, then nothing happened.” He adds, “Fox went ahead with Aliens vs. Predator, and I said ‘I really don't recommend that, you'll ruin the franchise, it's like Universal doing Dracula versus the Werewolf,’ and then I lost interest in doing an Alien film." Obviously, the project never got to the scripting stages, so the story Cameron had in mind - and whether it featured Ripley - remains unknown. But many fans would've loved for this team-up project to happen.
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The William Gibson 'Alien 3' Script That Kept Hicks, Bishop, And Newt Alive
If you’re one of those fans who has been weeping over the loss of Hicks, Bishop, and Newt for the past 35 years, you will be pleased to learn that they all survive in the story written by acclaimed science fiction writer William Gibson. After the events of Aliens, the Sulaco drifts through a restricted area of space controlled by the Union of Progressive Peoples (the UPP), who intercept and board the ship. During their sweep, they discover an alien egg growing from Bishop’s entrails. When a Facehugger emerges and attacks one of the commandos, they incinerate the creature, damaging Ripley’s cryotube in the process (leaving her comatose and MIA for the remainder of the story). The UPP then collects Bishop’s body for examination and resumes the ship’s course.
Later, the ship docks at Anchorpoint Station, Newt is sent to live with her grandparents. and Hicks takes up a new job at a machine shop. However, when he starts hearing whispers of experiments involving alien genetic material, he teams up with a newly repaired Bishop to do some investigating of their own, destroying DNA lab samples along the way. But of course, they're too late: Alien tissue experiments have already triggered an airborne contagion that causes people to mutate into Xenomorphs. When Anchorpoint is compromised by a rapid and widespread outbreak, Hicks takes up his old job and leads a group of Colonial Marines to wipe out the threat, including a mutated Queen and a new form of hybrid alien. For those curious about Gibson's vision, his screenplay was recently adapted into a graphic novel, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.
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The Neill Blomkamp 'Requel' That Would've Brought Back Ripley
Once upon a time, Neill Blomkamp was officially hired to move forward with his proposed fifth Alien movie, which was to be produced by Ridley Scott himself. The plan was for Scott to make Alien: Covenant first with Blomkamp’s separate film to follow. As of February 2015, everything seemed greenlit to go. Even Sigourney Weaver was supportive of the project and enthusiastic about revisiting Ripley.
But by October 2015, everything was put on hold and then eventually jettisoned into the vacuum of space. Since then, Blomkamp went on to release several pieces of concept art for the abandoned project on Twitter, which depicts Ripley reunited with a grown-up Newt and a battle-scarred Hicks (Michael Biehn), suggesting that the film was a direct sequel to 1986’s Aliens. What that meant for Alien 3 and beyond was never fully explained, but it’s been strongly hinted that they would simply be ignored, much like “requels” in the vein of 2018’s Halloween seem to do these days. While promoting his most recent film Demonic in fall 2021, Blomkamp pretty much labeled the project as “completely dead,” shattering any lingering hopes for Alien fans.
- Photo: Alien 3 / 20th Century Fox428 VOTES
David Twohy's 'Prison Break' Meets 'Alien' Project
Pitch Black director David Twohy was once attached to Alien 3, writing a straight-up prison escape movie with Xenomophs thrown in the mix. There are no returning characters, not even a scene or even a simple mention that explains what became of Ripley and her crew - but hey, at least they weren’t killed off. Twohy’s story opens with a mining ship that’s collecting asteroids out in deep space. Much like the fossilized mosquito that was found perfectly preserved in amber in Jurassic Park, a Facehugger is discovered within the asteroid debris and sent to Weyland-Yutani (Ripley’s dubious employers, also known as “the company” in the previous Alien movies).
We then fast forward three years to a penal colony known as Moloch Island. Beneath the prison, scientists are conducting experiments, using thought-to-be-executed prisoners as human hosts to breed various new versions of the dome-headed creature. The plot centers around four inmates who stage a grand prison escape, only for it to be foiled by Xenomorphs on the loose, including a rogue brute alien that lives beneath the prison. Surprisingly, Twohy’s story is smaller in scale with only a few aliens involved, versus the hordes seen in Aliens and Eric Red’s unmade Alien 3 script. While Twohy’s script never got produced, the prison and foundry concept was definitely recycled and carried over to the final film 20th Century Fox ended up making.
- Photo: Alien 3 / 20th Century Fox523 VOTES
The Man-Made Wooden Planet Of The Monks
This script, written by Vincent Ward and John Fasano, features Ripley as the central character and mostly resembles what ended up in theaters. In fact, it was greenlit at one point, with sets in the process of being built before things shifted all over again. Much like what happens in Alien 3, Ripley crash lands on what appears to be a wooden planet, only this one is revealed to be a man-made space station built by a colony of all-male monks who have turned their backs on technology. Ripley’s arrival brings doom as a Chestburster is soon seen erupting from a sheep. The monks put Ripley on trial and refuse to heed her warnings of the alien threat. Blaming her for bringing “the devil” upon them, they deem her a heretic and imprison her. The only one who believes her story is Brother John, who sets her free. Meanwhile, the alien’s rampage has caused fires that have compromised the planet’s oxygen supply, making it a race against time to escape the doomed wooden colony.
The creature is eventually stopped much like it is in the final version of Alien 3, only it is covered in liquid glass in this version, forming a crystallized alien that explodes after Ripley douses it with cold water. In a scene reminiscent of an exorcism, Ripley is also discovered to be impregnated, only for Brother John to repeatedly pound on her chest, forcing the Chestburster within to expel from her throat and into his own mouth, sacrificing himself so she can live. Once again the last survivor, Ripley makes her way to an escape pod with a new animal companion in tow, Brother John's dog, Mattias. Jonesy (Ripley's cat from the original) might not approve, but at least Ripley lives to fight another day. After Ward left the project due to creative differences, elements from his screenplay were merged with David Twohy’s prison planet concept, and a new draft was cooked up by series veterans David Giler and Walter Hill, leading to the version we ultimately ended up with in theaters. Eager to visit the wooden planet? You can read Twohy and Fasano's full screenplay here.
- Photo: AVP: Alien vs. Predator / 20th Century Fox623 VOTES
AVP3: Down For The Count
Equally maligned by critics and audiences alike, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem holds the mantle of being the most despised Alien movie of all. Released on Christmas Day 2007, it only earned half the domestic box office its predecessor did and currently carries the lowest Rotten Tomatoes scores of the entire franchise. So it’s no wonder Fox halted movement on a third outing, paving the way for Prometheus instead.
But AVP: Requiem visual effects consultant Liam O’Donnell had a treatment written for a third outing set 40 years in the future. According to O’Donnell’s Twitter account, that film would’ve circled back to the first AVP, where global warming has caused the frozen Xenomorph Queen from the original to thaw free from her watery grave. He goes on to explain that the third act would’ve been a mostly silent cat-and-mouse game involving one Predator, one Alien, and one human. Honestly, the human squabbling in Requiem was so asinine and atrocious, a silent hunting game with no dialogue at all sounds like the way to go. Now under the ownership of Disney following the acquisition of Fox, whether or not the Alien vs. Predator franchise will be revisited remains to be seen.