Back in 1979, when Alien first hit theaters, Sigourney Weaver was a relatively unknown actress among an ensemble cast with Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, and Yaphet Kotto. As crew members of Nostromo are slowly being picked off one by one by the xenomorph, it's unclear who is going to survive. At the end of the movie, Weaver's Ripley and her cat Jones are the only ones who make it out.
But it wasn't always this way. Originally, director Ridley Scott had a much worse fate planned for Ripley. As Entertainment Weekly reports:
Instead of Ripley having her final triumphant battle with the xenomorph and recording a captain's log entry before grabbing hero cat Jones and tucking into hypersleep, Scott suggested the following: "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." Next, Scott says, he'd have cut to the tentacles of the alien pressing buttons on the dashboard. "It would mimic Captain Dallas [Skerritt] saying, 'I'm signing off.'"
This, of course, is a far more horrible ending and would have totally changed Weaver's career (at least in terms of the three other Alien films she did). Thankfully, 20th Century Fox executives weren't into the idea. "The first executive from Fox arrived on set within 14 hours, threatening to fire me on the spot," Scott told EW. "So we didn't do that [ending]."
Good call on that one.
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