The Alien Legacy is a 1999 making-of documentary directed by Michael Matessino that details the production of the 1979 film Alien. Created for the home video box set of the same name, it uses interviews with the film's crew, as well as behind the scenes images and clips, to detail the development, filming and release of the movie.
The Alien Legacy is notable as being the first feature-length documentary to seriosuly examine the creation of an Alien film — previous documentaries had been short features designed more to promote their respective movie than seriously detail its creation.
Delayed Region 1 Release
Due to production delays, the making-of documentary was not actually completed in time for the release of Alien Legacy box set in the United States. Rather than postpone the entire set, 20th Century Fox instead elected to release it with only four DVDs/cassettes containing the Alien films, with a mail-order coupon included in the packaging that could be redeemed at a later date for a copy of the documentary. Due to the fact the Region 2 (Europe) version of the Alien Legacy box set was not released until several months after the Region 1 version, the documentary was finished by that time and was included at release, as a bonus fifth disc.
The documentary is divided into eight separate chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of Alien's production. It features no formal narration but instead relies on newly-filmed interview clips to tell the story of the film's development, interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage and images. Notably, the interviews involve only the film's crew — none of it's cast members appear (outside of footage from the film).
The second chapter covers the hiring of the various actors for the film, as well as the various traits each of the characters in the film has and how this reflects upon their relationships with the others around them.
John Mollo: Costume Designer
Bob Burns: Archivist of Fantastic Cinema
The fourth chapter features Bob Burns and his extensive collection of Alien memorabilia and props, and highlights several of the items used by the cast in the film, as well as others than ultimately did not appear.
The fifth chapter details the design and construction of the Nostromo, chiefly the interior sets.
Alien on Board
The seventh and longest chapter goes into the filming of the titular creature, in particular focusing on the infamous Chestburster scene and the decision to show as little of the Alien as possible throughout the film. Notably, the documentary also shows the deleted Eggmorphing scene almost in its entirety.
The final chapter shows the crew reflecting on their thoughts on the film, stories from release night and how the movie affected their careers.
Since its inclusion in the namesake The Alien Legacy DVD box set, the documentary has also been released as part of the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set. In the interim, it had been planned to include the documentary on the bonus disc of the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set in 1999, but space limitations forced it to be omitted.
- Director Michael Matessino and producer David C. Fein had previously produced the extensive Collector's Section archives on the Aliens: Special Collector's Edition and Alien: Special Collector's Edition LaserDisc releases, as well as contributing articles on Alien and Aliens, respectively, for the exclusive booklet included with the Alien Trilogy Facehugger VHS box set.