James Cameron had the actors (the Marines) personalize their own costumes (battle armor and fatigues) for added realism (much like soldiers in Vietnam wrote and drew things on their own helmets).
Actress Cynthia Dale Scott, who plays Corporal Dietrich has the words "BLUE ANGEL" written on the back of her helmet, a reference to Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel (1930) or Blue Angel.
Bill Paxton has "Louise" written on his armor. This is a dedication to his real-life wife, Louise Newbury.
While salary negotiations were going on with Sigourney Weaver to reprise her character in the second movie, the studio asked James Cameron to work on an alternative storyline excluding Ripley, but James Cameron indicated the series is all about Ripley and refused to do so.
Inside the APV preparing for battle, "El riesgo siempre vive!" can be seen scrawled in white across Vasquez's armor. Literally translated from Spanish this is: "Risk always lives!"; a variant of the Ancient Roman slogan "Luck favors the bold."
The Alien Queen has transparent teeth, as opposed to the warrior aliens.
Hudson says the word "man" a total of 35 times.
A lightweight dummy model of Newt (Carrie Henn) was constructed for Sigourney Weaver to carry around during the scenes just before the Queen chase.
Was voted the 42nd Greatest Film of all time by Entertainment Weekly. They describe it as the "greatest pure action movie ever."
Al Pacino visited the set as he was filming Revolution (1985) in the studio next door.
A complicated effect shot (the Marines entering the Alien nest) had already been filmed just before James Remar was replaced by Michael Biehn. A re-shoot would be too expensive, so the Corporal Hicks seen with his back towards camera is still played by James Remar.
When the crew is getting dressed after waking up from hypersleep, Hudson says, "Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?" to which Vasquez answers, "No. Have you?" This is "borrowed" from a Hollywood legend involving columnist Earl Wilson and actress Tallulah Bankhead. He asked "Have you ever been mistaken for a man?" and she said, "No darling. Have you?"
The mechanism used to make the face-huggers thrash about in the stasis tubes in the science lab came from one of the "flying piranhas" in one of James Cameron's earlier movies Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981). It took nine people to make the face-hugger work: one person for each leg and
one for the tail.
The portable computers used in the sentry gun scenes are GRiD GridCase 1535EXPs. Rugged and light due to their magnesium alloy enclosures, GRiD computers were used by the US military in combat and by NASA on early 1980s Space Shuttle missions.
Some of the sound effects for this film were created with help from the Fairlight, an early Australian-made digital sampler. Though the machine sampled at a now-laughable 8 bit resolution, the Fairlight then cost an astounding 30 thousand dollars (USD) and was state-of-the-art. Musicians such as Jan Hammer, Kate Bush, and Prince have used it extensively throughout their respective careers.
James Cameron married producer Gale Anne Hurd during production.
In the shooting script, the synthetic Ash from the previous movie was referred to as a 'Cyberdyne Systems 120-A/2', an obvious nod to the Cyberdyne Systems 101 Terminator from The Terminator (1984), James Cameron's previous movie. It was changed in the movie to a Hyperdine System 120-A2.
The title of Alien (1979) in Hungarian was "The 8th passenger: Death". Consequently, the title of Aliens (1986) was: "The name of the planet: Death".
The various screens and displays, seen mostly in the backgrounds, are actually TV screens with a video running. The film was shot in the UK where televisions run at 25 frames per second, however, film is normally shot and projected at 24 frames per second! Filming the TV monitors at that speed would cause the TV screens to run out of sync with the film, so they would have flickered terribly.
Instead, the shots containing the monitors were taken at 25 frames per second to keep the monitors in sync, so when these are then projected at the standard rate of 24 fps, they now run a bit slower than real-life.
Michael Biehn stated that he didn't get to customize his armor because he was cast so late in production. For the most part he liked all of the custom work on his, but he states that he hated the heart with the padlock on the chest plate as it was far too much like a bulls-eye.
A scene on the colony before the alien outbreak was deleted from the final cut. Elements of that scene show up in later James Cameron projects. The line, '... and we always get the same answer: 'Don't ask'.' was used in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). In fact the entire scene in Terminator 2 follows the same pacing and tone as the scene cut from the theatrical version of Aliens: - an employee flags down a supervisor and they walk together, talking about the behavior of their employer - Weyland-Yutani in Aliens, CyberDyne Systems in Terminator 2 - and ending in the line
'...don't ask.'. The character name 'Lydecker' was used in Dark Angel (2000).
The initial cinematographer was Dick Bush. However, director James Cameron fired him a month into production because he wasn't satisfied with the lighting, and the two men reportedly hated working with each other. Cameron then tried to hire Derek Vanlint, the DP on the previous film.
Vanlint wasn't interested, but recommended Adrian Biddle for the job.
Stephen Lang auditioned for the role of Carter Burke. He would later play a villain in Avatar (2009), also directed by James Cameron.
The camo pattern worn by the Marines was custom made for the movie, but due to its similarity it is often confused for one called "frog and leaf," which is no longer in production.
James Horner wasn't particularly happy with the treatment of his score for the film despite receiving his first Oscar nomination. He delivered a finished score which didn't sit well with the edited film. Because Horner was unavailable as he was working on another film at the time, James Cameron had to heavily chop up the score to fit his edit. (A Deluxe Edition soundtrack of the score has since been
released by Varèse Sarabande.)
The rhyme that Hudson mutters as he's searching for the colonists is from the AC/DC song "Shake a Leg": "Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen..."
Many of the characters in the movie whose first names are never mentioned, actually share their first name of the actor/actress portraying them:
e.g. Sgt. Al Apone (Al Matthews), Cpl. Collette Ferro (Colette Hiller), Pfc. Jenette Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), Pvt. Mark Drake ('Mark Rolston (I)'), Pvt. Daniel Spunkmeyer (Daniel Kash), Pvt. Ricco Frost (Ricco Ross), Pvt. Trevor Wierzbowski (Trevor Steedman), and director Paul van Leuwen (Paul Maxwell).
Producers David Giler and Walter Hill were keen to work with James Cameron after having read his script for The Terminator (1984). Cameron went in for a meeting with the two producers and pitched several ideas at them, none of which they were that receptive to. As he was leaving, however, they did mention that they were thinking of doing a sequel to Alien (1979), and immediately Cameron's
interest was piqued. Cameron submitted a 40-50 page treatment of what he would do for an "Alien" sequel which contained a lot of ideas for an existing treatment he had done for a script called "Mother". Giler and Hill loved Cameron's treatment and commissioned him to write a screenplay. Cameron got the good news the same day he landed screenwriting duties for Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985).
James Horner's schedule only allowed for him to work on the film for 6 weeks. He arrived in London to perform his duties, only to find that they were still shooting, much less editing. He sat around for 3 weeks before being able to get started.
Jenette Goldstein's character, Vasquez, inspired the character Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Goldstein herself was initially considered for the part. She later went on to make a brief appearance in Star Trek: Generations (1994). Bill Paxton's character, Hudson, inspired the character Guy Freeman in the Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest (1999), which also starred Sigourney Weaver.
The M-56 smart guns and the sentry guns built for the movie were designed around German MG 42 machine guns (most recognizable on the smart guns where the MG 42's characteristic recoil booster muzzle is clearly visible). The gun is mounted on a heavily modified steadicam harness - the MG 42 alone (without the additional cosmetic dressing and ammunition) weighs in at about 25 pounds.
At one time during filming, the APC had an actual roof. But, during the "Fire In the hole" scene, the actors were actually suffocating from the fire's smoke. After a few tries, the roof of the APC was removed.
In the Court of Inquiry scene, all the chairs are automobile seats with the headrests removed. The circular holes at the top of each seat back are for the headrest posts.
James Cameron wrote the script two months before he left production to direct The Terminator (1984).
James Cameron had several designers come up with ideas for the drop ship that took the Marines from the Sulaco to the planet. Design after design, he finally gave up on them to come up with one he liked and constructed his own drop ship out of a model of an apache helicopter and other spare model pieces.
Bishop states that he can't harm a human. This is why he places his hand on top of Hicks' during the knife trick.There were two versions of the "Bug Stompers" logo designed for the movie, one wearing sneakers, and one wearing combat boots as seen on the drop ship.
The armor for the film was built by English armorer Terry English, and painted using Humbrol paints.
When Carter Burke and Marine Lieutenant Gorman are trying to convince Ripley to return to the colony, he mentions the Colony Marines are "Real tough hombres". "Tough 'Ombres" is an actual 90th infantry division from WWI and WWII. No need to add that "hombres" means "men" in Spanish, and "ombres" means "shadows" in French.
Sigourney Weaver threatened to not do any more "Alien" movies after seeing the movie's final cut, so as a compromise, the 1987 Special Edition was released on Laser-Disc.
The space station above earth is called Gateway, a possible reference to Frederik Pohl's "Gateway" novel, a sci-fi classic.
The pulse rifles that the Marines use are made from a Thompson M1A1 machine gun with a Remington 870 shotgun (shortened to just 15 inches and covered by the also-cut-down shroud and fore-grip from a Franchi SPAS 12 shotgun) underneath.
A set design company offered to build James Cameron a complete and working APC vehicle from scratch, but the cost was far too high for the budget he had in mind.
The colony on LV-426 is named Hadley's Hope, with a population of 158. This is revealed in the special edition, and if you look carefully, the saying "Have A Nice Day" is painted on the sign.
The pistol used by Colonial Marines is a Heckler and Koch VP70.
United States Colonial Marines personnel service numbers:
SFC Apone, A A19/TQ4.0.32751E8
Pt Crowe, T A46/TQ1.0.98712E6
Cpl Dietrich, C A41/TQ8.0.81120E2
Pt Drake, M A23/TQ2.0.47619E7
Cpl Ferro, C A71/TQ9.0.09428E1
Pt Frost, R A17/TQ4.0.61247E5
Lt Gorman, S A09/TQ4.0.56124E3
Cpl Hicks, D A27/TQ4.0.48215E9
Pt Hudson, W A08/TQ1.0.41776E3
Pt Spunkmeyer, D A23/TQ6.0.92810E7
Pt Vasquez, J A03/TQ7.0.15618E4
Pt Wierzbowski, T A14/TQ8.0.20034E7
At the film's premiere, Paul Reiser's sister physically struck him because his character, Burke, was so
Jenette Goldstein (Vasquez) actually did the chin-up curls and behind-the-head pull-ups, at the request of director James Cameron to establish Vasquez as the "tough" woman in the platoon.
The hip-mounted guns used by Vasquez and Drake were invented by James Cameron for the film. The props are based on steadicam movie camera rigs.
The full-size queen puppet was actually too big to fit into the elevator. For the shot where she is seen there, her tail was removed, and yet the back of the elevator still had to be opened to accommodate the prop; smoke effects, dark lighting, and a black curtain at the back obscure this.
The derelict model (seen in the extended edition) is the same model used in the first film. Fox had turned the model over to effects wizard (and prop archivist) Bob Burns, who had the prop sitting in his driveway. With some repair, it was able to be reused for the brief appearance in this film.
Most of the shots where it appears that the aliens are crawling quickly through tunnels or airducts were filmed using a vertical shaft with the camera at the bottom and the alien actor lowered headfirst on a cable.
In the original Alien (1979), one of the options considered was making the creature translucent. Since this wasn't done in the earlier movie, for continuity it couldn't be used for the creatures in this film, although it survives in one small way: the queen's teeth are translucent.
The helmets the Marines wear are modified M-1 ballistic helmets.
Sergeant Apone's full rank is listed as "SFC" on a computer monitor. That is the abbreviation for the current U.S. Army rank of Sergeant First Class, which is usually a platoon sergeant position. The equivalent current U.S. Marine Corps rank would be Gunnery Sergeant, abbreviated GySgt. SFC
Apone also wears the current Army gold and green stripes of a Sergeant First Class.
Sentry guns featured in special edition are of UA 571 model as viewed on their laptop management console. Funny enough, Bill Paxton (pvt. Hudson) appeared as Lt. Cmdr. Mike
Dahlgren in submarine movie U-571 (2000).
When Burke and Ripley are discussing her psych evaluation results, a People magazine can be seen on a table.
Footage from this movie was used in a DirecTV commercial.
The second of four Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver.
Aliens was the last of the series that Stan Winston would do the alien effects on the special effects torch would be given to two very innovative and design legends of Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr.
In the MedLab scene there is a futuristic piece of medical apparatus that can be briefly seen hanging from the ceiling that has three objects hanging off of it. These objects are actually three Generation One Transformers toys, namely the Decepticon Shockwave. The toys have been spray-painted a
dull silver colour and are in their laser gun 'mode', but with each of the Shockwave toy's arms (i.e. the laser gun's barrel) split apart. In this 'semi-transformation' the toy looks like a kind of futuristic grasping tool or perhaps even a laser scalpel.
Vic Armstrong says in his memoirs he was offered this film.
Paul Reiser subsequently appeared in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) for director Tony Scott, whose brother Ridley Scott directed the original Alien (1979).
James Cameron: voice over in the opening deep salvage team: "Bio readouts are in the green, looks like she's alive!"
James Cameron: [Biehn's hand] Michael Biehn's character gets bitten on the hand by another character. See The Abyss (1989) and The Terminator (1984).
James Cameron: [strong women] Many of Cameron's films (Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981), The Terminator (1984), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Titanic (1997)) champion strong women, both mentally and physically.
James Cameron: [flying vehicles] The flying vehicles in Cameron's films exhibit helicopter-like flight characteristics regardless of their design. Specifically, the noses of the vehicles dip to initiate forward movement (also: The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), Avatar (2009)).
James Cameron: [feet] When the soldiers arrive on LV426 and jump out of the armoured vehicle. See also The Abyss (1989).
James Cameron: [nice cut] a few minutes into the movie, we see Ripley lying in the cryo-tube, and then the scene fades to the picture of the earth; the earth directly fits into the silhouette of Ripley's face.
James Cameron: [feet] When Ripley drives the APC, she crushes an alien's head under one of the wheels.
James Cameron: [strong women] Pvt. Vasquez looks tough and does pull ups in the introduction scenes.
James Cameron: [feet] close-ups of the power-lifter's feet.
James Cameron: [strong female roles] Ellen Ripley's character arc from fearful survivor to strong adoptive mother.
James Cameron: [vents] Chase scene through the vents.
James Cameron: [chase scene through ventilation] Aliens chase the marines through the vents.
James Cameron: [nuke]
In an interview with Moviefone Sigourney Weaver said that each time one of the actors was to "die" she would give them a bouquet of flowers before filming began. When it was time for Paul Reiser to be killed she gave him a handful of dead blossoms.
Lance Henriksen caught a dose of food poisoning from the milk and yogurt combination that he had to spew up when his chest was pierced by the alien queen's tail. Having this lactose combination sitting around under hot studio lights created a bacterial breeding ground. Curiously, the crew of
the first Alien (1979) film opted not to use milk for Ash's "death" scene (where he also spews the milky substance out of his mouth) as they thought a fluid made of milk would go sour under the hot lights (see also trivia for Alien 1979).
In the original script, when Ripley is rescuing Newt, she encounters a cocooned Burke (Paul Reiser) in the power plant. He claims he can feel the chestburster inside him and asks for help. Ripley gives him a live grenade and moves on. This scene was filmed and the only proof that it existed for decades was a single still image from a magazine. The scene was finally made available in full on the film's Blu-Ray release.
Although the first script draft turned in on 30 May 1985 was very close to the final film, some scenes in this version were dropped or changed in the final film, though most remained in Alan Dean Foster's novelization. Those include:
Ripley's nightmare was quite bloody, with a quick glimpse of the chestburster.
Ripley and Burke waiting outside for the board's final decision; Ripley is convinced they think she is crazy.
A longer scene with the Jordan family arguing; apparently, Newt and Timmy often play hide-and-seek inside the facility, which she calls 'Monster Maze'.
A shower scene aboard the Sulaco.
Ripley going into more detail about the facehuggers while briefing the Marines, calling the facehugger "a walking sex organ" to which Hudson replies, "Sounds like you, Hicks."
While nearing LV-426, Gorman re-confirms that there is no communication whatsoever from the colony.
There are thirty atmospheric processing units on the planet, as opposed to only one in the final film.
The initial sweep of the colony complex includes the colonists' quarters as well. A dangling piece of ceiling sets off the motion tracker (white mice in the movie).
Ripley returns into the APC, not yet ready to enter the complex. When she finally goes in, she is startled at the door by Pvt. Wierzbowski, who kept an eye on her.
Gorman telling Burke that the Company can write off its share of the colony; Burke replies it is insured anyway.
Ripley offers to be Newt's friend, but she declines, thinking Ripley will be dead soon anyway. Newt explains she evaded the Aliens because she was so good at playing Monster Maze.
The resin from the Alien nest contains furniture, wires, as well as human bones.
During the Alien attack, Apone hands back the rifle magazines, ignoring Gorman's order.
During the escape, Gorman is stung unconscious by an Alien and almost pulled out of the APC; Hicks uses a gun turret to blast the Alien off the roof.
Burke stresses the importance of the Aliens more strongly, even offering Ripley a higher percentage if she cooperates.
Newt formally offering Ripley to be her daughter; Ripley likes the idea.
Bishop reveals that Gorman's catatonia is caused by a neuromuscular toxin from an Alien's stinger (replaced by the discovery that Alien blood gets neutralized through oxidation in the movie). Bishop also predicts that the Queen has a large abdomen, and possesses basic intelligence.
After the first sentry gun attack, a motion sensor indicates the Aliens have breached the door, and have entered the complex.
Bishop encountering an Alien while crawling along the tunnel (this scene also appeared in the final script but neither in the theatrical release nor in the Special Edition).
Gorman asks Vasquez if she still wants to kill him; she replies it won't be necessary.
The second drop ship refueling itself before leaving the Sulaco under Bishop's remote control.
Hicks uses a welder to open a duct into a service way. From there, Newt falls into a chute. Ripley follows, but takes a different chute.
The first draft also included a scene with a cocooned Burke, which was shot but not included in any of the versions of the movie.
There are tiny albino versions of the warrior Aliens in the egg chamber, which pick up the eggs.
Sigourney Weaver told James Cameron that she wanted to do three things in the movie; not handle a weapon, die, and make love to an alien. While none of these wishes were fulfilled, she got to do all three in Alien³ (1992) - second and third - and Alien: Resurrection (1997) in which she fought aliens just physically.
According to the 1991 Special Widescreen Collector's Edition Laserdisc release of the movie (presented on the Bonus Disc of the 2003 Alien Quadrilogy DVD Box Set), James
Cameron turned in the first treatment for the film, called "Alien II" at the time, on 21 September 1983. Some of the differences between this initial treatment and the final film included the following: - The character of Carter Burke was absent, instead, his dialogue was given to someone named Dr. O'Niel, who did not join Ripley and the marines on their voyage to the colony planet. - Instead of
being taken to the Gateway Station, Ripley was taken to Earth Station Beta. - The name of the colony planet was Acheron, taken from the script of Alien (1979), instead of LV-426. - Ripley's daughter was alive, and Ripley had a disheartening videophone conversation with her, where she blamed Ripley for abandoning her by going to space. - There were multiple atmospheric processors on the planet. - The initial discovery of the aliens on the colony planet is much longer, where it is shown how Newt's father gets to the site of the eggs and is jumped by a facehugger. - An additional scene involves a rescue team going to the site of the alien eggs and being jumped by tens of facehuggers.
- The aliens sting people to paralyze them before either killing or cocooning them. - At one point Ripley, Newt and Hicks get cocooned. - The aliens cocooning people are a different breed. They look like smaller, albino versions of the warrior aliens. - Bishop refuses to land on the planet and pick up Ripley, Hicks and Newt, indicating "the risk of contaminating other inhabited worlds is too great." -
Ripley ends up using the colonists' shuttle to get back to the Sulaco. - Bishop tells her: "You were right about me all along." The first draft script was turned in by Cameron on 30 May 1985. This draft was quite different from the treatment, but very close to the final film.
The music that plays when the Alien Queen appears as Ripley and Newt wait for the elevator is a reused piece from Jerry Goldsmith's score for the original Alien (1979).
Thematically, the music appears in both movies at the same time: near the end, as Ripley tries to escape from an alien while the environment around her counts down to self-destruction (the Nostromo in Alien (1979), and the atmosphere processor in Aliens (1986)).
The pouch Ripley takes onto the lift at the end of the movie is a British Armed Forces respirator haversack.
At the very end of the credits the sound of an Alien egg can be heard opening
First-time director David Fincher disowned the film, citing constant studio interference and actually walked out of production before final editing began. He did preside over a rough cut that became the basis for the 'Assembly Cut', a longer version of the movie later released on DVD and Blu-ray.
One possible idea for the film included a chest-burster coming out of Michael Biehn's character, Hicks. A replica of the actor with his chest torn open was created, but after Biehn discovered this, he threatened to sue the producers for using his likeness without his consent, and the idea was dropped. Later, the producers paid him to use his picture at the beginning of the film for the computer
sequence. Apparently he received more money for use of this one image than for his role in Aliens (1986).
$7 million had been spent on sets that were never used thanks to the ever-changing script before filming had even started.
At one point, David Fincher was denied permission by the film's producers to shoot a crucial scene in the prison understructure between Ripley and the alien. Against orders, Fincher grabbed Sigourney Weaver, a camera and shot the scene anyway. This scene appears in the final cut.Original Alien (1979) Director Ridley Scott turned down the chance to direct. Scott, and later Renny Harlin both
thought the third film should explore the origin of the Xenomorph species. This concept was deemed too expensive by David Giler and Walter Hill, so Scott declined to return and Harlin later quit the film. Scott ultimately got his wish with the movie Prometheus (2012).
William Gibson wrote a very early script treatment for the film, which was initially intended as a two-parter to be shot back-to-back. As Sigourney Weaver's involvement was in question, the main focus of this script was between Hicks and Bishop, two characters from Aliens (1986). Many onsider this to be a much superior script. The only carry-over from this original script, however, is the bar-codes on the back of the convicts' necks.
With the release of the definitive Alien Quadrilogy on DVD in 2004, 20th Century Fox proffered David Fincher the proverbial olive branch and asked him to assemble and comment on his own Director's Cut. Fincher declined. He was the only one of the four Alien directors to refuse to have
anything to do with the project.
Cinematographer Alex Thomson replaced Jordan Cronenweth after only two weeks of filming, after he began to suffer the onset of Parkinson's Disease. Though Cronenweth insisted that he was well enough to make it until the end of production, and David Fincher supported him, line producer Ezra Swerdlow forced Cronenweth off the film, largely because he had lost his own father to the same
illness several years previously and knew that if anything, the demanding schedule would likely take a fatal toll on Cronenweth's health.
Off-duty, Sigourney Weaver had to wear a wig as her then two-year-old daughter Charlotte didn't like to see her mother bald.
Because of continuing troubles with the film, Fox halted production in Pinewood Studios in England in late 1991. The crew returned to LA, and an initial screening identified the missing parts of the film. A major part yet to be shot included killing of the alien in the lead pool. By the time of the new shots in LA, Sigourney Weaver's hair grew back, and she had an agreement with the producers that if she
would have to cut her hair she would be paid a $40,000 bonus. The producers therefore hired Greg Cannom to create a bald cap with very short hair on it. The make-up process cost $16,000 and was very difficult and time-consuming because the hairline required the cap to be placed very precisely on Weaver's head.
Lance Henriksen only agreed to reprise his role as Bishop as a personal favor to Walter Hill. To this day, Henriksen has said he dislikes the film for its nihilistic themes.
One early draft of the script focused almost entirely on Hicks, Bishop and Newt, played in Aliens (1986) by Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Carrie Henn respectively. The story would tie up loose ends from the preceding film with Newt returning to Earth to live with her grandparents, as
well as Hicks and Bishop and a new team of Colonial Marines battling a rival faction of planets who use the Alien as a bio-weapon. The latter was used somewhat in Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)
When David Fincher asked Sigourney Weaver how she felt about going bald for the role, she jokingly replied "Its fine with me only as long as I get more money!"
The crane that lifts the crashed EEV out of the water to dry land is a miniature built using the cannibalized parts from a Star Wars X-Wing fighter model kit.
Dr. Clemens' line about Fury-161 being one of 'Weyland-
Yutani's backwater prison planets.' was the first time the name Weyland-Yutani was spoken out loud. It had appeared on computer screens and props in the previous two films, Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986), but characters always referred to it as 'The Company' in dialogue.
The film spent over a year in editing.
Although the alien that hatched from the dog was a rod puppet, early filmed tests used an actual dog in an alien costume.
An advanced type of facehugger, one that impregnates Ripley with a queen embryo, was designed and built, but was cut from the Theatrical Version. It does however make a brief appearance in the extended Assembly Cut.
The original budget was $45 million which included Sigourney Weaver's fee of $5.5 million. The budget soon spiraled however, with first Renny Harlin and then Vincent Ward both leaving the project before novice feature film director David Fincher came on board. Extensive last minute
re-shoots - especially after the finale was deemed to be too similar to Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - ultimately pushed the budget into the region of $65 million.
Much more of the autopsy scene was filmed than ended up in the final film. A rough cut of the scene originally contained so much gore, that it even made crew members who had worked on it sick to their stomach.
Writer/Producer David Giler has stated he regrets writing this movie, as it eroded his authority as producer. Giler only committed to writing the film upon demands from Sigourney Weaver who, after Vincent Ward's departure, would only sign on to the film if Giler and Walter Hill would pen the screenplay. Giler claims this later generated conflicts between himself, director David Fincher and Fox Studios executives, with Fox taking Fincher's side over Giler's. After one particularly heated disagreement, Giler walked off the set, leaving his duties to producer John Landau.
David Twohy contributed to the pile of abandoned scripts the movie's pre-production generated. In his version, the only returning character is Ripley, who only briefly appears on a file card. As in previous scripts the story involves experiments in genetically-engineering aliens as bioweapons. This script introduced a high-security prison facility in space and its morally ambiguous inmates (one of
which is an escape artist), themes which made it into both the finished product, and Twohy's own Pitch Black (2000).
Costume Designer Bob Ringwood walked off the film early in production after finding Director David Fincher difficult and unpleasant to work with.
David Twohy, Vincent Ward, John Fasano, Renny Harlin, David Fincher, Larry Ferguson, David Giler and Walter Hill all attempted to claim credit for the screenplay during the arbitration process. Four more writers could have claimed credit but chose not to; William Gibson and Eric Red saw no
point in doing so the film had changed substantially from their early drafts, Greg Pruss was talked out of claiming credit in exchange for guaranteed work elsewhere, and Rex Pickett, despite having written a substantial amount of the shooting script, declined to seek credit due to how unpleasant his experience of working on the film had been.
Because an early storyline of the movie involved aliens landing on Earth, an early trailer of the movie had the tagline "On Earth, everyone can hear you scream."
The Rottweiler (from which the alien emerges) had to have part of his face shaved to indicate where the facehugger had gripped onto him.
The creature that the alien impregnates was originally an ox, but was eventually changed because an ox was cumbersome and was seen as somewhat incongruous when placed in the film's environment. This sequence was later restored for the extended "Assembly Cut."
Sigourney Weaver had a clause in her contract specifying that Walter Hill and David Giler would write the final shooting script. Weaver has said that she considers Ripley a very difficult character to write, and, with the exception of James Cameron, only Giler and Hill have really ever written the character correctly.
Novelist Alan Dean Foster who wrote the novelization of the film objected to the storyline, most specifically, the deaths of Newt and Hicks. His initial draft of the novel had Newt survive but the studio rejected this, forcing Foster to keep his adaptation consistent with the film. For this reason, the author declined to write any other adaptation of the franchise.
The alien in this movie differs from its predecessors in that the organic pipes on its back are now missing and it now has a more pronounced set of lips.
There are screenplay treatments by Eric Red, David Twohy, John Fasano and Rex Pickett all freely available on the Internet.
The damages inflicted on Bishop were too severe to have Lance Henriksen work a prosthetic head while hiding under a table/chair/platform, so the filmmakers ended up having the android being played by... an android. A mechanical copy of Henriksen's likeness was used in this movie for the
portrayal of the Sulaco-Bishop.
Multiple proposed scripts caused misleading advertising which implied that the movie would be set on Earth. William Gibson also drafted a script in which Ripley spent most of the film in a coma.
On the set at Pinewood Studios, a giant lead foundry took 12 weeks to construct and put the production way behind. Even with 6 day weeks and 14 hour days, the crew were unable to keep up with the schedule.
The same "dipping bird" appears on the warden's desk as was seen in the original Alien (1979).
Gabriel Byrne was offered the role of Clemens.
A cross is briefly seen on the planet surface to suggest the religion that some of the inmates have turned to. The model department held a competition to see who could design the best one. Four different models were created, and then David Fincher chose the version he liked best.
When Ripley retrieves Bishop from the trash heap and re-activates him to find out what happened on the Sulaco, she asks him, "Was there an alien on board?" This is the only time in the entire "Alien" franchise (including the "AvP" films) where the term "alien" is used to describe the creature. Everyone else uses other names (baddies, dragon, serpent, creature, xenomorph, animals, bug) to identify it.
This film is believed to be set just days or weeks after the events in Aliens (1986), in 2179.
Some of H.R. Giger's design for the film involved a puma-like alien with claws. The producers also instructed him to do more sexy designs, so he created a drawing of an alien, which, in close view, had the lips of a woman. One of his ideas involved the alien kissing the victims and killing them that way (an idea that was later used in the movie Species (1995) where the main creature was also designed by Giger).
The concept by Vincent Ward based on which the movie was green-lighted involved an artificially constructed wooden planetoid and a group of monks who thought they were living in post-apocalyptic dark ages, and had a middle-ages lifestyle. The group refused all kinds of modern technology, and when Ripley and the Alien crash-land on it, they would blame Ripley for the Alien attacks. Ripley was to be impregnated by the Alien "the old-fashioned way" rather than through a face-hugger, and therefore being impregnated with a human-alien hybrid. According to the storyboards, she would dream of half human-half Alien hybrids. Other storyboards included horse-Alien and sheep-Alien hybrids. The film was to end with one of the monks performing an 'exorcism' on the Ripley, transferring the Alien embryo to his own body, and then killing it by walking into a fire. Ward left the project after the producers insisted that he change the monks to prisoners and drop the wooden planet idea. However, since many of Ward's ideas were carried over to the final screenplay, it still earned him a story credit.
To create a convincing corpse of the character of Newt, the filmmakers created life size mannequins using the molds of Carrie Henn from Aliens (1986).
The production effectively shut down for three months while the script was undergoing rewrites.
When the powers-that-be decided on a new ending to be shot, Elliot Goldenthal had one night to come up with a new score.
The miniature of the coastline, seen when the EEV is plummeting towards the planet, was given a sickly green hue, to suggest that the area was polluted from decades of industrial spilling.
Much like first Alien movie, Alien 3 also had problems with negative reactions of audience who saw rough cut of the movie in early test screenings and were horrified from all the scenes of gore and violence. Because of this and also to avoid NC-17 rating by MPAA, Alien 3 was heavily cut.
Some of the graphic scenes that were deleted from rough cut which is said to be 3 hours long include; Longer and more disturbing version of Newt's autopsy scene, close ups of melted face of prisoner who gets hit with Alien's acid and some gore was cut from scene where he falls into giant fan,
bloodier version of Clemens' death scene and some parts from final chase and fight between prisoners and Alien.
This is the only film in the Alien Quadrilogy that does not feature an android character unique to that film. The only android that appears is Bishop (in a severely damaged state), and he had previously appeared in the film prior to this.
A series of Aliens comic books were published that were set after the events in Aliens (1986), featuring an adult Newt returning to space with a shell-shocked Hicks to stop the retrieval of an alien specimen by Weyland-Yutani corporation. The books were re-published to accommodate Alien³ (1992), with Newt re-named Billy.
In the original drafts of the script there was no Ripley.
In wide shots, most of the refinery is actually made of cardboard.
Initially Renny Harlin was attached as director, but left to direct Die Hard 2 (1990). Then Vincent Ward came on board, but only lasted a few months before being fired after several disagreements with the producers. The scriptwriter, Walter Hill, was considered to direct the film as well, but he stepped back after David Fincher became available.
To create some of the wet sounds that accompany the alien, the soundmen went to Asian markets and bought animal heads and stomach linings.
There was some question mark over whether the character of Ripley should actually feature in this film until the then president of 20th Century Fox, Joe Roth, insisted otherwise.
Early versions of the script and design featured a giant rustic monastery. Also, the alien itself would not be appearing.After the first draft was complete (in which the Alien attacks a monastery), construction work began on the sets. The construction shut down, leaving the crew in limbo, as the script was reworked. Although the location changed to a prison, it was decided that they would use the already half-built monastery sets.
Including the extended and director's cuts of each movie in the series, this is the only Alien film not to feature the cocoons.
Hungarian title translated back to English: "Final Solution: Death."
This is the only film in the Alien franchise that is actually a "numbered" sequel.
Richard E. Grant turned down the role of Clemens. Director David Fincher offered him the role as he was a huge fan of Withnail & I (1987) and wanted to reunite Grant with co-stars Paul McGann and Ralph Brown.
Apart from an occasional comment or order, doctor Clemens (Charles Dance) only talks with either Andrews (Brian Glover), Aaron (Ralph Brown) or Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) during the entire movie.
The tea glass that prison superintendent Andrews is sipping on is part of the BODUM series, a tableware manufactured in Denmark.
In the scene where the warden is addressing the prisoners regarding the deaths of the other prisoners, right after Ripley bursts in to warn them of the Alien and the Warden orders her removal, when the Alien yanks the Warden into the ceiling, you can see that one of the prisoners is wearing a Weyland-Yutani Corporation jacket, the logo is emblazoned on the back.
Vincent Ward used his pay off from this film to finance his next, Map of the Human Heart (1992).
Ralph Brown (Aaron) and Charles Dance (Clemens) were reunited in the 2007 movie "The Contractor", starring Wesley Snipes.
Alien 3 marks the first time a chestburster appears almost fully formed, instead of the pupa appearance of the previous installments. The chestburster looked like a scaled down version of the adult. This would later be seen in Prometheus, where "The Deacon" was born already fully formed.
When the movie was turned into a novel by Alan Dean Foster, writer of the novels of Alien and Aliens, an original draft of the novel had Ripley survive at the end, as he disliked the ending of the film. However, studio executives told him to remain true to the original ending. He changed his novel, which upset him so much, he refused an offer to write the Alien: Resurrection novelization. Instead, that book was written by A.C. Crispin.
The third of four Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver.This is the first time Slow Motion cameras were used intentionally in an Alien movie, seen when explosives are being set, and one falls. The use of the cameras, which were primitive at the time, resulted in a squashed and blurred image, and stands out against the normal speed recordings. The technique was then later used briefly in the spin off, Prometheus.
The final shooting script, the novelization and the comics adaptation confirm that Newt was the first one to be facehugged. This is merely hinted during the opening credits since the facehugger attacks and cracks Newt's cryotube. When the scanner shows the facehugger attached to a person, Ripley is shown in a seizure state but she is clearly in her intact tube. After the EEV crashlanded Newt drowned. She was sadly conscious and cried for help. After she died the alien embryo crawled out of her mouth and proceeded to Ripley's chamber since it requires a living host to grow properly. It opened Ripley's mouth and forced itself into her throat. Although the scenes were storyboarded they were never filmed because the effect of the creature switching hosts could not be portrayed realistically. The Theatrical Cut adds more confusion to the backstory since the inmates discover Ripley perfectly clean in her tube meaning that her capsule was never violated. The Extended Cut however shows Clemens discovering a half-drowned Ripley in the shore covered in dirt and lice, meaning that she was already out of her cryotube. This also accounts for the continuity error in the theatrical cut since Ripley is spotless in the EEV but she is dirty when Clemens carries her in the infirmary.
The script went through so many rewrites and the film was slated to be helmed by so many different directors that when David Fincher came on board he stated that the egg on Sulako was just a plot device to propel the story of the film and there was never any intention of explaining its presence. There is a lot of controversy about how the egg was found on the Sulako. Some very early drafts of the script however reveal that Bishop's milky fluid was combined with the Queen's acid after the sting and produced a new egg. This mirrors the Director's Cut of Alien where Ripley finds the nest with a cocooned Brett. The alien had covered him with its fluid in order to transform him into a new egg and Dallas was kept as a potential host for the facehugger. This backstory was finally deleted because of the various drafts the screenplay went through but it provides a viable explanation as to why the egg did not hatch immediately. It took a few days until the egg was fully formed and then it opened when the facehugger sensed living hosts in the cryogenic compartment.
Although this is one of the last big science-fiction movies to use mostly traditional special effect techniques (miniatures, animatronics and optical visual effects), there is one notable effects shot that was computer-generated: the head of the Alien cracking after it has been cooled with water. Other uses of computer-generated graphics include minor details, such as added shadows and debris particles.
Near the end, Dillon sarcastically calls Morse (Danny Webb) 'the guy who made a deal with God to live forever'. Morse is indeed the only prisoner to survive at the end.
Special Effects company Amalgamated Dynamics built a special puppet of the queen alien for a sequence cut from the film. Originally, the queen alien was supposed to gestate in Newt until the EEV crash, when it would swim out through the mouth of Newt's dead body and embed itself in
Ripley. This accounts for the confusing sequence at the film's opening when the facehugger is seen attacking Newt's cryotube, not Ripley's, which only cracks during the actual ejection sequence. Though not in the final film, this scene does appear in the comic book adaptation.
Michael Behin had stated in an interview that he was deeply hurt that his character from "Aliens" Corporal Duane Hicks was killed off, after escaping with Ripley, Newt and Bishop at the end of the previous film and did not understand why Hicks had to be killed off.
The early scenes in the shooting script explain why Ripley has a sore throat and coughs continually during the film; the alien embryo had forced itself into her larynx violently.
Rex Pickett wrote the draft before David Giler and Walter Hill turned in their final shooting script. Pickett's screenplay keeps the former prisoners more faithful to their convictions since they never curse or use bad language. In the scene where Ripley conducts a cat scan the screenplay by Rex Pickett clarifies that the larva is a distinctively visible queen because there are tiny white spots which are the future eggs. This explains how Ripley knew that she was carrying a queen embryo. The Company also knew this vital information since the catscanner data are transferred to their mainframe.
The company name written in Japanese can be briefly seen on the black box as Ripley retrieves it and on a poster in the office where 85 and Ripley contact the company for the second time. In a scene towards the end of the movie where Ripley and the inmates discuss the killing of the alien,
several Kanji characters can be seen on the wall: "Chô-kô'on kiken" (danger: extremely high heat). The scrap yard where Bishop is discarded also displays a large red "tetsu" (iron).
One of the reasons for Newt being killed off, the Fiorina 161 prison planet has convicted child molesters, which would had resulted in a attempted child molestation scene, which the child molester convicts attempted to rape Newt. Instead, the rapist convicts try to rape Ripley.
Morse; the only survivor, has one line less than 10 minutes into the film. He isn't seen again until the Alien kills Andrews at the hour and 10 minute mark. (assembly cut runtime)