We’ve had a good few decades to mull over the ending to Ridley Scott’s Alien, and during that time we’ve never found ourselves wanting it changed, at least not in any major way. Ripley’s desperate and triumphant last stand against the Xeonomorph was breathtakingly suspenseful, but Ripley eventually goes on to win the battle and a classic Sci-Fi hero was born. It was an ending that felt happy, but given the bloody scenes that preceded it, this was far from a happily ever after situation.
As rough as things were for Ripley in the final cut, it turns out that Ridley Scott’s original plans for her were even more terrifying and a whole lot creepier.
In a recent interview with EW, Scott revealed he didn’t initially envisage Ripley winning her battle with the Xenomorph. Originally, everything would go roughly to plan until the moment that Ripley harpoons the alien, at which point things take a turn for the worse.
“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.”
But, in Scott’s original ending the bad news just keeps on coming. The director goes on to reveal that the closing scene would have been one that changed the way we looked at the Xenomorph. With the alien having dispatched its foe, the final shot was originally going to be a close up of its tentacles on the command module and as Scott says, “It would mimic Captain Dallas [Tom Skerritt] saying, ‘I’m signing off.’”
While this would have made for a more dramatic ending, we’re glad things ended the way they did. After all, the adventures of Ripley did go on to give us one of the greatest sci-fi sequels of all time in Aliens, so this is really a rare occasion where we can be genuinely thankful we got more out of a story than was originally planned.