Ridley Scott reveals his cruel original ending to Alien

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Hollywood is filled with stories of bloodthirsty screenwriters who came this close to killing off their protagonist, but were deterred at the zero hour. Add another to the pile because, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Alien director Ridley Scott revealed he originally wanted Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley dead at the end of his sci-fi horror masterpiece.

“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,” he says. He goes on to say the Xenomorph would mimic the voice of Tom Skerritt’s Captain Dallas saying, “I’m signing off.”

(Read: Ridley Scott’s Top 10 Films)

Maybe it’s just the fact that Weaver would go on to play the character three more times, and to even greater effect in Alien’s first sequel, that this sounds so stupid. Maybe it would’ve worked, but futility is deflating in any genre and a good ending is better off opting for ambiguity than definitive cruelty.

Naturally, the film’s executives weren’t stoked on Scott’s climax. “The first executive from Fox arrived on set within 14 hours, threatening to fire me on the spot,” he says. “So we didn’t do that [ending].” Watch the interview below.

Here’s hoping Scott’s not nursing similar thoughts about his upcoming Alien: Covenant, which hits theaters on May 19.

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