If you thought the original body count in Ridley Scott’s original Alien movie was astronomically high, you can thank your lucky stars (read: studio executives at Fox) that it wasn’t that little bit higher.
As the illustrious director revealed to Entertainment Weekly, an alternate ending to the 1979 genre classic would have seen Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley meet her maker in the most grisly way imaginable. After fighting tooth and nail on board the Nostromo, Alien fans know all too well that Ripley manages to claw her way to a nearby escape pod, only to find that the relentless Xenomorph is still on her tail. What follows is a nerve-shredding encounter on board the shuttle, wherein Weaver’s badass shoots the beast with a harpoon before firing up the thrusters and essentially incinerating it once and for all.
Ridley Scott’s initial pitch was a little different, though. Ripley still made it on board the lifeboat, but her efforts to fend off the Xenomorph prove to be in vain, as the alien still manages to slither onto the craft and, well, “rip her head off.” EW even included a nightmarish illustration of how that ending would’ve work – you know, just in case the mental image of Ripley dying at the claws of H.R. Giger’s iconic creation wasn’t unsettling enough.
Here’s what Scott told EW: “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.”
Perhaps the most chilling moment in this alternate ending comes just after Ellen Ripley bites the bullet. Having dispatched all of the blue-collar crew, the Xenomorph then reaches over to the control panel to record a message: “It would mimic Captain Dallas [Skerritt] saying, ‘I’m signing off.’” Who knew the perfect organism could be so sneaky?
This Alien revelation comes just as Ridley Scott is gearing up to launch Alien: Covenant into theaters on May 19th. With little over a month to go, we now have the film’s UK poster to pour over, in which you’ll find Katherine Waterson’s Daniels – a character who may well be related to Ripley – cowering from the so-called Neomorph.