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{{Quote|Three times the terror.|'''''Alien<sup>3</sup>''''' tagline}}
{{Quote|Three times the terror.|'''''Alien<sup>3</sup>''''' tagline}}
{{Infobox Film |
{{Infobox Film
name = Alien<sup>3</sup> |
|name = Alien<sup>3</sup>
image = Alien three ver1 xlg.PNG|
|image = Alien three ver1 xlg.PNG
caption = The original 1992 theatrical poster |
|caption = The original 1992 theatrical poster
writer = '''Characters:'''<br>[[Dan O'Bannon]]<br>[[Ronald Shusett]]<br>'''Story:'''<br>[[Vincent Ward]]<br>'''Screenplay:'''<br>David Giler<br>Walter Hill<br>Larry Ferguson |
|writer = '''Characters:'''<br>[[Dan O'Bannon]]<br>[[Ronald Shusett]]<br>'''Story:'''<br>[[Vincent Ward]]<br>'''Screenplay:'''<br>David Giler<br>Walter Hill<br>Larry Ferguson
starring = [[Sigourney Weaver]]<br>[[Charles S. Dutton]]<br>[[Charles Dance]]<br>[[Brian Glover]]<br>[[Ralph Brown]]<br>[[Paul McGann]]<br>[[Danny Webb]]<br>[[Pete Postlethwaite]]<br>[[Lance Henriksen]] |
|starring = [[Sigourney Weaver]]<br>[[Charles S. Dutton]]<br>[[Charles Dance]]<br>[[Brian Glover]]<br>[[Ralph Brown]]<br>[[Paul McGann]]<br>[[Danny Webb]]<br>[[Pete Postlethwaite]]<br>[[Lance Henriksen]]
director = [[David Fincher]] |
|director = [[David Fincher]]
producer = Gordon Carroll<br>[[David Giler]]<br>[[Walter Hill]] |
|producer = Gordon Carroll<br>[[David Giler]]<br>[[Walter Hill]]
music = Elliot Goldenthal |
|music = Elliot Goldenthal
cinematography = Alex Thomson |
|cinematography = Alex Thomson
editing = [[Terry Rawlings]] |
|editing = [[Terry Rawlings]]
distributor = [[20th Century Fox]] |
|distributor = [[20th Century Fox]]
released = May 22, 1992 |
|released = May 22, 1992
runtime = 114 minutes |
|runtime = 114 minutes
rating = Restricted |
|rating = Restricted
country = United States |
|country = United States
language = English |
|language = English
budget = $50,000,000 |
|budget = $50,000,000
gross = $159,773,545 |
|gross = $159,773,545
|preceded_by = {{A2}}
|preceded_by = {{A2}}
|followed_by = {{A4}}
|followed_by = {{A4}}

Revision as of 00:42, July 25, 2013

"Three times the terror."
Alien3 tagline
Alien three ver1 xlg
Film information
Directed by David Fincher
Produced by Gordon Carroll
David Giler
Walter Hill
Written by Characters:
Dan O'Bannon
Ronald Shusett
Vincent Ward
David Giler
Walter Hill
Larry Ferguson
Starring Sigourney Weaver
Charles S. Dutton
Charles Dance
Brian Glover
Ralph Brown
Paul McGann
Danny Webb
Pete Postlethwaite
Lance Henriksen
Music Elliot Goldenthal
Cinematography Alex Thomson
Editing Terry Rawlings
Distributor 20th Century Fox
Release information
Release date(s) May 22, 1992
Running time 114 minutes
Budget $50,000,000
Worldwide Gross $159,773,545
MPAA Rating Restricted
Preceded by Aliens
Followed by Alien Resurrection

Alien3 is a 1992 science fiction horror film directed by David Fincher and starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen. A sequel to Aliens, the story has an escape pod from the Colonial Marine starship Sulaco from Aliens crash-landing on a refinery/prison planet, killing everyone on board except Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. Unknown to Ripley, an Alien was aboard the ship, and is born in the prison where it begins a killing spree. Ripley later discovers there is also an Alien growing inside her.

Alien3 had a difficult production, with various screenwriters and directors getting involved in the project, and shooting even started without a finished script. Upon completion, the studio dismantled and reworked the movie without Fincher's consent, including releasing a teaser trailer that suggested the film would take place on Earth. The film was released to mixed reviews, and while not very successful at the United States box office, it earned over $100 million outside of North America.

David Fincher was brought into the project very late in its development, after a proposed version written by Vincent Ward (What Dreams May Come) at the helm fell through. Fincher had little time to prepare, and the experience making the film proved agonizing for him, as he had to endure incessant creative interference from the studio. The film was Fincher's debut in big budget film making, and at the relatively young age of 27 he had to shoot the film without having a definite script. The added weight was also to create a film worthy of the work of the two revered directors that had gone before him, Ridley Scott and James Cameron.[1] It was followed by Alien Resurrection (1997).


Following the events in Aliens, the Colonial Marine warship Sulaco experiences an onboard fire and ejects Ellen Ripley, Newt, Corporal Hicks and the damaged android Bishop, who are all in cryonic stasis, in an escape pod. During the launch, the ship's medical scans of the crew's cryotubes show an Alien Facehugger attached to one of the crewmembers. The pod crashes on Fiorina "Fury" 161, a foundry facility and penal colony inhabited by all-male inmates with "double-Y" chromosome patterns. After some inmates recover the pod and its passengers, an Alien Facehugger is seen approaching the prison dog. Ripley is taken in and awakened by Clemens, the prison doctor, and is told she is the only survivor of the crash. Many of the ex-inmates have embraced an apocalyptic, millenarian religion which forbids sexual relations, and Ripley is warned by the prison superintendent, Harold Andrews, that her presence among them may have extremely disruptive effects.

Suspicious of what caused the escape pod to jettison and what killed her companions, Ripley requests that Clemens perform an autopsy on Newt. She fears that Newt may be carrying an Alien embryo in her body, though she does not share this information. Despite protests from the warden and his assistant, Aaron, the autopsy is conducted and no embryo is found, and Clemens proclaims she simply died in the crash. Meanwhile, Ripley's unusual behavior begins to frustrate the warden and is agitating the prisoners.

A funeral is performed for Newt and Hicks in which their bodies are cremated in the facility's enormous furnace. In another section of the facility, the prison dog enters convulsions, and an Alien bursts from its body. The Alien soon begins to attack members of the colony, killing several and reducing an outcast prisoner Golic to a mentally deranged state. To get answers, Ripley recovers and reactivates the damaged android Bishop, who confirms that there was an Alien on the Sulaco and that it came with them to Fiorina in the escape pod. She informs Andrews of her previous encounters with the Aliens and suggests everyone work together to hunt it down and kill it. Andrews does not believe her story and explains that the facility has no weapons. Their only hope of protection is the rescue ship being sent for Ripley by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

Back in the prison infirmary, while talking to Ripley about the situation, Clemens is killed by the Alien, which then approaches Ripley but does not attempt to kill her. She runs to the mess hall to warn the others, only to see the Alien kill Andrews. Ripley rallies the inmates and proposes they pour highly flammable toxic waste, which is stored at the facility, into the ventilation system and ignite it to flush out the creature. The prisoners reluctantly agree to the plan, but the mixture is ignited prematurely by the creature's intervention, resulting in the deaths of many of the prisoners. Suffering from pain in her chest and fearing internal injuries, Ripley scans herself with the medical equipment on board the Sulaco's escape pod and discovers the embryo of an Alien Queen growing inside her. She also discovers out that Weyland-Yutani intend to capture the Queen embryo and the adult Alien, hoping to use them as biological weapons. Deducing that the mature Alien will not kill her because of the embryo she carries, Ripley begs Dillon, the religious leader of the inmates, to kill her, who agrees to do so only if she helps the inmates kill the adult creature first. They form a plan to lure it into the foundry's lead works facility and drown it in molten lead. The bait-and-chase style plan results in the death of Dillon and all the remaining prisoners except Morse, who pours the lead. The Alien, covered in molten metal, escapes the mold and is killed by Ripley when she turns on fire sprinklers and sprays the beast with water, causing its exoskeleton to cool rapidly and shatter via thermal shock.

While Ripley battles the Alien, the Weyland-Yutani team arrives and is met by Aaron. They go to the lead works and the team's leader, a man named Michael Bishop, who looks identical to the Bishop android, introduces himself to Ripley and claims to be the android's creator, sent to show Ripley a familiar face. He tries to persuade Ripley to undergo surgery to remove the Queen embryo, which he claims will be destroyed. Ripley refuses and steps back onto a mobile platform, which Morse positions over the furnace. The company soldiers shoot Morse in the leg, and Aaron picks up a large wrench and strikes Bishop over the head with it, believing him to be an android. Aaron is shot dead and Bishop and his men show their true intentions, begging Ripley to let them have the "magnificent specimen". Ripley defies them by throwing herself into the gigantic furnace, just as the Alien Queen begins to erupt from her chest. As she dies from the wound, Ripley grabs the creature and holds it to her as she falls into the fire.

Following Weyland-Yutani's failure to capture an Alien and the death of all but one of the prison's inhabitants, the facility is closed down and the sole surviving inmate, Morse, is led away. On board the Sulaco's escape pod, Ripley's closing distress call from the original Alien plays one final time.



Originally Brandywine Productions was approached by 20th Century Fox to create two more sequels. After going through several ideas, David Giler and Walter Hill, the film series producers, "settled upon a complex two-part story that offered the underhanded Weyland-Yutani Corporation facing off with a militarily aggressive culture of humans whose rigid socialist ideology has caused them to separate from Earth's society."[2] Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) would only make a cameo appearance in the third film, with the lead role going to Michael Biehn's Corporal Hicks from Aliens. Alien 4 would see the return of Ripley "in an epic battle with alien warriors mass produced by the expatriated Earthlings." Weaver in particular liked the Cold War metaphor and agreed to the smaller role.

"I felt that Ripley was going to become a burden to the story." she concluded. "There are only so many aspects to that character you can do."
Weaver also agreed on being removed because she did not like the studio changes to Aliens, which removed scenes of Ripley's backstory that she considered crucial.[3] Although 20th Century Fox was skeptical about the idea, they agreed to finance the development of the story, but asked that Hill and Giler attempt to get Ridley Scott to direct Alien3. They also asked that the two films be shot back to back to lessen the production costs. However this proved to be difficult as Ridley Scott, though interested, was busy working on three films at the time. In September 1987, Giler and Hill approached cyberpunk author, William Gibson, to write the script for the third film. Gibson, who was influenced by Alien, agreed to write the script.[2]

However, when a final screenplay (by David Twohy) was delivered to Fox president Joe Roth, he didn't like the idea of Ripley being removed, declaring that "Sigourney Weaver is the centerpiece of the series" and Ripley was "really the only female warrior we have in our movie mythology." Weaver was then called, with a reported $5 million salary, plus a share of the box office receipts.[3]


William Gibson

A very early script treatment was written by science fiction author William Gibson. At the time of his involvement, Sigourney Weaver "seemed doggedly unwilling to participate", so the main narrative focus became Hicks and Bishop. The version available on the Internet is, according to Gibson, "about thirty pages shorter than the version I turned in. It became the first of some thirty drafts, by a great many screenwriters, and none of mine was used (except for the idea, perhaps, of a bar-code tattoo)."[4]

In copies of Gibson's treatment, "chestbursters" erupt out of human hosts as in previous installments, and turn into "bigger, meaner, faster" Alien Warriors. However due to initial genetic modification experiments undertaken by the Biological Warfare division on the space station (Anchorpoint), the Aliens additionally exhibit a close proximity airborne virulent contagion. When exposed at close range, the victim, after a variable amount of time goes through "the Change" as Gibson calls it, and becomes a form of alien warrior. The suspense here being that the team does not know if anyone is infected until they find out when it is least expected. The process imagined by Gibson can be summarized as an involuntary change in the human's skeletal and muscular makeup below the skin, concluding with the newly formed Alien graphically tearing the flesh husk off of its body. The storyline for the film picked up after Aliens, as the Sulaco drifts into an area of space claimed by the "Union of Progressive People", due to a navigational error. The ship is boarded by people from the U.P.P, who are attacked by a facehugger, hiding in the entrails of Bishop's mangled body. The soldiers blast the facehugger into space and take Bishop with them for further study. The Sulaco then arrives at Anchorpoint, which is a Company run space station/mall. A fire on the ship caused by remaining Aliens puts Ripley into a coma and Hicks is left to investigate if the rumors are true that Weyland-Yutani are developing alien warriors (which they are). The U.P.P. is also doing their own research, due to custody of Bishop. After they have finished with Bishop, they repair him (albeit with cheap parts) and return him to Anchorpoint in a show of good will. Eventually Anchorpoint and the U.P.P stations are overrun with the parasite and Hicks must team up with the survivors to destroy the aliens. The film ends with a teaser for Alien 4 in which Bishop suggest to Hicks that humans are united against a common enemy and they must track the aliens to their source and destroy them. The screenplay was very action oriented, containing 8 marine vs alien battle scenes whereas its predecessor James Cameron's contained only 2 such scenes. It also featured an extended cast with new characters and has a considerable following on the Internet. The producers, while liking certain parts, were unhappy with the screenplay. Gibson was asked to make rewrites with their newly hired director, Renny Harlin, but declined citing various other commitments and "foot dragging on the producers part."[2]

Eric Red

The next draft was done by Eric Red, writer of the cult horror films The Hitcher and Near Dark, and opened with a team of Special Forces marines boarding the Sulaco unarmed and finding that all the survivors of the LV-426 mission had fallen victim to the aliens. The only reference to the first two films being a torn spacesuit nametag that is found bearing the name "Ripley". The screenplay in a sense was even bolder than the Gibson script, in that it took place in an entire small-town USA city in a type of bio-dome in space. Red's screenplay resurrected the idea of aliens transforming humans into cocoons that was deleted from the original film. The screenplay's brash storyline culminates in an all out battle with the townsfolk facing hordes of Alien Warriors, yet it also contains an arguably higher level of horror than the previous films and screenplays. In addition to this, it is the first screenplay in the Alien franchise to feature a genetically mixed Alien-Human creature in antibiosis (foreshadowing the "newborn" in Alien Resurrection). The screenplay also re-uses the "alien virus" idea from Gibson's draft, which this time gives rise to Alien mosquitoes, cattle, dogs and chickens and has even gained the ability to infect matter and technology as well, resulting in the space station itself being transformed into a giant alien-like creature. After being shown Red's screenplay, then-director Renny Harlin walked out on the project to direct Die Hard 2, and Red was fired shortly afterward. It was at this point that Giler and Hill abandoned their plans for the two Alien sequels.

David Twohy

Writer (and future director) David Twohy was next to work on the project, and his version featured a prison planet, which was being used for illegal experiments on the aliens for a Biological Warfare division. The screenplay details how inmates on death row were mock executed in a gas chamber, while actually being kept alive and being used as bait in experiments with the Alien. Examples included breach testing, where the Alien would be videotaped using scientific high speed cameras as it searched for — and found — the weakest part of a structure with a human bait inside, broke through and attacked the victim. This screenplay was also the first to propose a failed clones scenario, describing large jars of Alien test clones, some fused together as Siamese twins, possibly as a forerunner to the "clones of Ripley" scene in Alien Resurrection.

It was also the first script to feature a large number of different Alien types (Rogue Alien, Spike Alien, Alien chameleon, etc.) and was the first screenplay to flesh out the idea of the "newborn" (used later in Alien Resurrection), called the "newbreed" here. Finally, the script also had numerous scenes where victims are piecemeal sucked into space through a small rupture in the hull (or through bars) causing very gruesome deaths, possibly functioning as a precursor to the death of the "newborn" in Alien: Resurrection.

When new director Vincent Ward told the studio he was not interested in filming Twohy's script and wanted to pursue his own idea of the film, Twohy's draft was scrapped.

Vincent Ward

The story by Vincent Ward[5] and the screenplay with co-writer John Fasano had Ripley's escape pod crash landing on a monastery-like satellite, which had parts of its interior both wooden and archaic in design. The Alien3 special features disc set, Alien Quadrilogy[6] explains how Ward came about creating the story for this partially wooden satellite also as a place of refuge for Luddite-like monks.

The story begins with a monk who sees a "star in the East” (Ripley's escape pod)[7] and at first believes this to be a good sign. Upon arrival of Ripley, and with increasing suggestions of the Alien presence, the monk inhabitants believe it to be some sort of religious trial for their misdemeanors, punishable by the creature that haunts them. By having a woman in their monastery, they wonder if their trial is partially caused by sexual temptation, as Ripley is the only woman to be amongst an all male community in ten years. To avoid this and (hopefully) the much grimmer reality of what she has brought with her, the Monks of the "wooden satellite" lock Ripley into a dungeon-like sewer and ignore her advice on the true nature of the beast.[8] The monks believe that the Alien is in fact the Devil.[9]

Primarily though, this story was about Ripley's own soul searching complicated by the seeding of the Alien within her and further hampered her largely solo attempts to defeat it. The Alien Quadrilogy DVD set features scenes and illustrations that show this "Wooden Planet". Aspects of the monastery and monks of these drafts were later utilised in the final production of the film by having the male inmates participating in an apocalyptic religion that forbid sexual relations. Primarily it was the plot of Alien3 that was borrowed from this story but little of this world remained in the film. Despite his credit,[10] Ward noted that the things he liked best about the story and those that he believed would have made it work were not used. The screenplay featured scenes set in different locations on the one-mile wide wooden planetoid, ranging from wheat fields, through a grisly but darkly comic scene in the monks' communal toilets, to furnaces and a glass works (adapted to a lead foundry).

Empire Magazine described Ward's "Wooden Planet" concept as "undeniably attractive — it would have been visually arresting and at the very least, could have made for some astonishing action sequences". In the same article, Norman Reynolds — Production Designer originally hired by Ward, remembers an early design idea for "a wooden library shaft. You looked at the books on this wooden platform that went up and down". "Imagine the kind of vertical jeopardy sequence that could have been staged here – the Alien clambering up these impossibly high bookshelves as desperate monks work the platform".[11] Sigourney Weaver described Ward’s overall concept as "very original and arresting."[12] Former London Times journalist David Hughes included Ward’s version of Alien III amongst 'The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made'[13] in his book of this title. Since Ward's vision for the film was never borne out into the arena of public scrutiny, this is obviously reserved for those who have taken a particular interest in the Alien project. However, Ward's proposed version of Alien III has gained a certain following with the 2009 article in Empire Magazine[14] and an extensive section dedicated to Ward's vision in the Alien Quadrilogy box set.

Walter Hill and David Giler

Short on time before filming was due to commence, producers Walter Hill and David Giler took control of the screenplay themselves, melding aspects of the Ward/Fasano script with Twohy's earlier prison planet screenplay to create the basis of the final film. David Fincher did further work on the screenplay with author Rex Pickett, and despite Pickett being fired and Hill and Giler writing the final draft of the screenplay, he revised most of the work done by the previous authors.


The film was shot at Pinewood Studios, starting in January 14, 1991, without even a finished script and having spent $7 million.[3]

Visual effects

Stan Winston, responsible for creature effects in Aliens, was approached but wasn't available. Winston instead recommended Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis, two former workers of his studio who had just started their own company, Amalgamated Dynamics.[15]

488px-Runner 2
The Alien in Alien3
Bman14Added by Bman14

The Alien was portrayed by both Woodruff, Jr. in a suit and a rod puppet filmed against bluescreen and optically composited into the live-action footage. Contrary to popular belief, wide shots of the quadrupedal Alien were not created using CGI. However, a small number of shots in the film do contain CGI elements, most notably the cracking alien head before the creature explodes. Other CGI elements include shadows cast by the (rod puppet) Alien, and airborne debris in outdoor scenes.[16]

A mechanical alien head was also used for close-ups of the creature.[16] The suit worn by Woodruff, Jr. adapted the design used in Aliens so that he could walk on all fours.[15] Woodruff's head was contained in the neck of the suit, because the head was filled with animatronics to move the mouth and inner jaw of the Alien.[17]

Director David Fincher suggested that a Whippet (a breed of small dog) be dressed in an Alien costume for on-set coverage of the quadrupedal creature, but the visual effects team was dissatisfied with the comical result and the idea was dropped in favor of the rod puppet.[16]


The film's composer, Elliot Goldenthal, spent a year composing the score by working closely with Fincher to create music based primarily on the surroundings and atmosphere of the film itself. The score was recorded during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, which Goldenthal later claimed contributed to the score's disturbing nature.[18] The choral segment featured in the opening titles, performed by boy soprano, is "Agnus Dei" ("Lamb of God"), from the Catholic Mass, and was included as a reference to the prisoners as lambs being led to the slaughter.

Cut Scenes

Alien3 was drastically changed and re-cut during the course of production, with many alterations taking place even after filming had begun. While almost 30 minutes of deleted footage was later reinstated for the 2003 Assembly Cut, considerably altering the movie, several other sequences were left out, or even scrapped before filming took place. Some of these scenes were included in the film's novel and comic adaptations.

Sulaco's destruction

Originally, the Sulaco was going to be seen partially exploding after the EEV jettisoned and it was this explosion that damaged the EEV's guidance systems, causing it to crash on Fiorina 161 instead of landing safely.[19] While the models for this sequence were built, it was cut before filming, although it did appear in the novelization of the film.

Newt's autopsy

A3 deleted2
The autopsy dummy.
Leigh BurneAdded by Leigh Burne

Originally Newt's autopsy was far more graphic, including close-ups of the surgical procedure and her internal organs. Poor receptions in test screenings caused the sequence to be progressively trimmed to the version ultimately seen on film.[19]

Murphy's death

Murphy's death in the ventilation shaft was cut considerably for violence. Prosthetic appliances for close-up shots of Murphy's face disfigured by the Runner's acid spit were made and used in filming, but the footage never made it into the movie.[19] Extra footage of Murphy's remains splattering the sides of the ventilation shaft was also filmed but never used. In addition, early cuts of the film had Murphy singing "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones; in all released versions of the film he instead sings "In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)" by Dennis Zager and Richard Evans.[19]

Golic's vision

After the Runner kills Boggs and Golic is sprayed with his blood, Golic originally looked up at the creature and saw it as some kind of fiery dragon, distorted by imaginary heat.[19] In the final film, the creature merely grimaces at Golic.

Clemens' death

A large amount of footage was filmed of the Xenomorph's shadows on the wall above Golic in the scene where it enters the infirmary and kills Clemens. Clemens' death itself was also more bloody, with extra footage of blood squiring from his head when he is killed.[19]

The explosion

A3 deleted1
The Runner in the flames after the explosion.
Leigh BurneAdded by Leigh Burne

Some shots filmed during the explosions that kill several of the prisoners were never used in either cut of the film (although some were used in Alien3's trailer). There was also additional footage of the Xenomorph running through the flames, including a shot showing the creature distorted by the heat in the same fashion as Golic's earlier vision of the fiery dragon.[19]

Golic's death

While the scene where Golic releases the Runner only to be killed by it was reinstated for the Assembly Cut, his audible scream as the creature slays him was left out. Furthermore, footage was filmed of the other prisoners later finding his mutilated body inside the nuclear waste tank. While not used in the film, Golic's body was seen in the Alien3 comic.[19]

The cocoon sequence

A large scene cut before filming showed how the Xenomorph created a Hive in the prison's assembly hall, wherein it cocooned many of its victims, presumably ready to be hosts once the Queen matured and began laying Eggs.[20] Dillon and Morse were to find the Hive and the numerous prisoners cocooned there, including Andrews, who was still alive and begged to be killed. Dillon eventually set the Hive alight with a flare, only to be killed fighting the Runner moments later (he died far earlier in this script draft). While the sequence was never filmed, at least two of the cocoons were partially constructed.[20]

Basement encounter

A short but fairly well-known excision was made during the scene where Ripley goes to find the Xenomorph in the basement. After it drops down, the creature originally reared up over her as she lay on the floor before running away.[19]

Don't run with scissors

During the bait-and-chase sequence, Jude slips over and accidentally stabs himself with his scissors. This scene was supposed to tie into the scene in the film where Morse humorously warns Jude about the dangers of running with scissors.[19]

The company's arrival

Originally, Aaron was executed by the Weyland-Yutani commandos when they arrived, immediately after admitting to them he had seen the Xenomorph.[21] While this was later changed, a short sequence was removed from the company's arrival showing Aaron telling the science team, "You're going to need a bigger cage."[19]

Dillon's death

In the original shooting script, Dillon escapes the lead mold before the creature is drowned in metal.[22] With the Runner supposedly killed, Ripley asks Dillon to kill her, as he had promised. He prepares to strangle her, but ultimately finds he cannot bring himself to do it; at that moment, the Runner emerges from the lead and drags Dillon back into the boiling metal, killing him.[22] While this scene was never filmed, it was used in the novelization and the comic adaptation.


Box office

Alien3 was released in the United States on May 22, 1992. The film debuted at number two of the box office, behind Lethal Weapon 3, with a Memorial Day weekend gross of $23.1 million. It screened in 2,227 theaters, for an average gross of $8,733 per theater.[23] The film was considered a flop in North America with a total of $55.4 million, although it grossed $104.3 million internationally[24] for a total of $159.7 million. It is the second highest earning Alien film, excluding the effect of inflation, and had the 28th highest domestic gross in 1992.[25]

Critical reception

From its initial release to the present day the film has incurred mixed reviews by critics, generally being mixed compared to the preceding two films in the franchise.[26][27]

A number of cast and crew associated with the series, including actor Michael Biehn, previous director James Cameron, and novelist Alan Dean Foster expressed their frustration and disappointment with the film's story. Cameron, in particular, regarded the decision to kill off the characters of Bishop, Newt, and Hicks "a slap in the face" to him and to fans of the previous film. Biehn, upon learning of Corporal Dwayne Hicks' demise, demanded and received almost as much money for the use of his likeness in one scene as he had been paid for his role in the entire film Aliens.[28] Alan Dean Foster, the writer of the novelizations of the first three Alien films, called the death of Newt and Hicks "an obscenity."


The Visual Effects were nominated for an Academy Award, losing to Death Becomes Her. The film was also nominated for seven Saturn Awards and a Hugo Award.[29]

Home video releases

The bonus disc for Alien3, in the 2003 Quadrilogy set, includes a documentary on the film's production, but lacks Fincher's participation; Fincher was the only director from the franchise who declined to participate in the box-set release.[30] Despite giving the Quadrilogy set high marks, directed criticism at the bonus disc, pointing out that the studio had censored the documentary to delete a handful of behind-the-scenes clips in which Fincher openly expresses his anger and frustration with the studio.[31] These segments were ultimately restored for the film's Blu-ray release, as part of the Alien Anthology set.

Assembly Cut

An alternate version of Alien3 (officially titled the "Assembly Cut") was released on the 9-disc Alien Quadrilogy box-set in 2003. Owing to Fincher's lack of involvement in the release, it is the only alternate cut from the franchise not to be overseen by it's original director.

With almost 30 minutes of additional footage added, the Assembly Cut of Alien3 is by far the most substantial of the alternate versions from the franchise, and has been near-universally praised as significantly improving the quality of the movie. It includes several key plot elements that differ from the theatrical release. The EEV crash sequence is significantly extended, whereby Ripley is now discovered washed up on the shore by Clemens rather than in the wreckage of the EEV. The Alien gestates in an ox rather than a dog, and one of the inmates discovers a dead Royal Facehugger. Several scenes are extended to focus more on the religious views of the inmates and flesh out some of the otherwise undeveloped supporting characters. Most notably, in the Assembly Cut the inmates succeed in their attempt to trap the Alien in the nuclear waste dump, but it is later released by the disturbed inmate Golic (who simply disappears prior to this point in the theatrical cut). In this version, the Alien Queen does not burst from Ripley's chest as she falls into the furnace. Furthermore, Michael Bishop's scenes are extended, and his character is more clearly shown to be human.

In its original DVD release, the audio in some of the added scenes of the Assembly Cut was of noticeably poorer quality, a result of the fact ADR had never been recorded for the footage due to it being cut from the film before the sound mix was compiled.[32] The later Blu-ray release as part of the Alien Anthology Blu-ray boxset came with a new sound mix (some of the original cast were brought back to re-loop their dialogue) and as a result every trace of the sub-par sound quality has now been removed, finally offering fans the Assembly Cut in a complete version.[33] However, an additional audio glitch was also introduced—in the scene where Murphy discovers the Alien in the ventilation shaft and is killed, he can be heard calling for his dog Spike, who otherwise does not exist in the Assembly Cut. This goof has been reintroduced on the Blu-ray, as the dialogue was previously excised from the scene on the DVD release.

Interpretation and analysis

Academics analyzing the role of the Ripley character remark on the symbolism of the Sulaco's cryo chamber. Ripley is compared with an incorrupt Catholic saint preserved in a glass coffin (akin to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, both in her lying in state in the cryotube as well as her incorrupt body, which has twice survived being almost "impregnated" by the Alien). Accompanied by the Agnus Dei of the Ordinary Mass playing in the background of the opening scene, these scholars argue that the Sulaco is transformed "into a holy site where the iconic bodies of a fetishistic religion lie in state," setting the scene for a lone Facehugger attacking its victim (corrupting it) and also causing the emergency system to eject the cryotubes into space and to plunge to Fiorina "Fury" 161 (representing the Fall of Man).[34]


A novelization of the film was authored by Alan Dean Foster. His adaptation includes many scenes that were cut from the final film, some of which later reappeared in the Assembly Cut. Foster wanted his adaptation to differ from the film's script, which he disliked, but Walter Hill declared he should not alter the storyline. Foster later commented: "So out went my carefully constructed motivations for all the principal prisoners, my preserving the life of Newt (her killing in the film is an obscenity) and much else. Embittered by this experience, that's why I turned down Resurrection."[35]

Dark Horse Comics also released a three-issue comic book adaptation of the film.[36]

The official licensed video game was developed by Probe Entertainment, and released for multiple formats by Acclaim and Virgin Interactive, including Amiga, Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Mega Drive/Genesis, and Sega Master System. Rather than being a faithful adaptation of the film, it took the form of a basic platform action game where the player controlled Ripley using the weapons from the film Aliens in a green-dark ambient environment. The Game Boy version, developed by Bits Studios, was different from the console game, being a top-down adventure game. Sega also developed a rail shooter loosely based on the film's events, Alien3: The Gun.


  • The decision to kill Ripley was partly influenced by Sigourney Weaver, who wanted to move away from the series by giving the character a definitive end.[37] Of course, she later relented and agreed to star in Alien Resurrection.
  • Two of the actors in the movie, Brian Glover and Paul McGann, featured in the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Glover played Griffiths in the 1985 serial Attack of the Cybermen, while McGann played the title character in a 1996 TV movie.
  • The 2013 video game Aliens: Colonial Marines would later reveal that Dwayne Hicks was not actually killed on Fiorina 161, and that the body that was cremated was Turk planted in his cryotube by Weyland-Yutani PMCs before the EEV separated from the Sulaco.

See Also


  1. Wreckage and Rape: The Making of Alien³ – Stasis Interrupted: David Fincher's Vision and The Downward Spiral: Fincher vs. Fox (Alien³ Collector's Edition DVD)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Template:Cite journal
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Last in Space". Entertainment Weekly (1992-05-29). Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
  4. "William Gibson talks about the script". Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
  5., Vincent Ward, retrieved on 2009:10:30
  6., retrieved on 2009:10:30
  7., Alien 3 Unrequited Vision, retrieved on 2009:10:30
  8., Alien 3 Unrequited Vision, retrieved on 2009:10:30
  9. Mike Sutton. "Alien Quadrilogy: Alien 3", retrieved on 2009:10:30
  10., Alien 3, retrieved on 2009:10:30
  11. Jolin, Dan."Backstory Alien III - Alien:Reinvented", Empire Magazine, December 2008, Pg 156
  12. Jolin, Dan."Backstory Alien III - Alien:Reinvented", Empire Magazine, December 2008, Pg 153
  14. Jolin, Dan."Backstory Alien III - Alien:Reinvented", Empire Magazine, December 2008, Pg 150-156
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fright
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Fredrick Garvin (Director). The Making of Alien³ [DVD]. United States: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
  17. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named shock
  18. "Music, Editing and Sound"; Alien3 bonus disc, Alien Quadrilogy
  19. 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 "Weyland-Yutani Archives - Alien 3: The Lesser Known Deleted Scenes". Retrieved on 2013-04-30.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Weyland-Yutani Archives - Alien 3: The Cocoon Sequence". Retrieved on 2013-04-18.
  21. "Weyland-Yutani Archives - The Many Deaths of Aaron 85". Retrieved on 2013-04-19.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Weyland-Yutani Archives - The Alternate Deaths of Dillon". Retrieved on 2013-04-19.
  23. "Alien 3". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-02-07.
  24. Hochman, David (1997-12-05). "Beauties and the Beast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
  25. "1992 Domestic Gross". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-02-06.
  26. Rotten Tomatoes review collection
  27. IMDB ratings
  28. Wreckage and Rape: The Making of Alien³ – Development Hell: Concluding The Story (Alien 3 Collector's Edition DVD)
  29. IMDB awards
  30. "DVD Verdict Review - Alien3: Collector's Edition". Retrieved on December 16, 2009.
  31. "Criticism of Bonus Disc". The Digital Bits. Retrieved on 2006-12-15.
  32. "Alien 3: Special Edition". Retrieved on December 16, 2009.
  33. "New Details On Alien Anthology Blu-Ray".
  34. Alien Woman: The Making of Lt. Ellen Ripley - Ximena Gallardo C. & Smith, C. Jason; Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, Page 122-123
  35. Alan Dean Foster. "Planet Error", Empire, April 2008, pp. 100. 
  36. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joss WhedonOne Step Beyond: The Making of 'Alien Resurrection' [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.

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