Alien's Original, Terrifying Ending Could've Changed The Entire Franchise

Alien's Original, Terrifying Ending Could've Changed The Entire Franchise
Image credit: Legion-Media

Or, possibly, ended it before it began.

Alien (1979) was a dark movie even in its final version that hit the theatres.

All but one character onboard the spaceship Nostromo fall to the extraterrestrial monster they've unwittingly brought on board, their attempts to deal with the threat or escape it proving to be ineffective, right until Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) finally manages to ditch the titular alien into space.

The movie was a huge success, in part thanks to its haunting, oppressive atmosphere and its disturbing visual effects, which earned it an Academy Award.

But the impressively scary film could have ended on an even darker note that would have changed the entire face of the franchise, by preventing sequels, or at least those sequels which were made in reality, from coming to be.

Decades later, Ridley Scott revealed that his original plan was for the alien to kill Ripley in the final scene of the film.

"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," Scott said to Polygon.

So, Ridley Scott initially intended for the alien the victor, with no surviving human characters by the end.

Well, as the more recent Alien sequels, including Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, amply evidence, Ridley Scott is no stranger to bad ideas.

While the current state of the franchise almost makes one regret that Alien did not remain an one-off movie, Ripley dying would have prevented Aliens (1986) from existing as anything approaching that movie's actual form – and Aliens still remains one of the two best movies in the whole franchise, on par with the original.

That's not just the matter of critical opinion, though critics, as well as reviewers from the audience, certainly do look down on all the sequels after the first – no Alien movie after Aliens could even approach the same level of box office success.

So, while it is actually pretty common for a horror movie to end up with a total cast wipe, sometimes with the monster/villain seemingly defeated in the finale, only for the hope to be proven false in the very last moments before the credits, in this particular case we can be glad that Ridley Scott did not proceed with that plan.