Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
Charles S. Dutton as Dillon
Directed by David Fincher
Story by Vincent Ward
Screenplay by David Giler, Walter Hill and Larry Ferguson
Based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett
Do you want to know what it was that doomed Alien³ from the start? It was the fact that it was neither Alien nor Aliens. Seriously speaking, how could you even hope to compete with two of the most perfect blends of science fiction and horror and action and adventure that the cinema has ever seen? Director David Fincher (Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) should not be vilified for what could only in oxymoronic terms be called a successful failure; he should be applauded for attempting it in the first place. Add the fact that there seemed to be enough screenplays and story treatments to make twenty movies; and Fincher meeting with resistance from all sides and it’s a miracle Alien³ was even made in the first place.
After escaping an angry alien queen and an exploding LV-246 (Acheron); Ripley, Hicks, Newt and the android Bishop crash land on Fiorina “Fury” 161, a correctional planet that once housed thousands of Double Y chromosome maximum risk prisoners. Now it’s the home for 22 inmates and 3 custodians and a disgraced doctor (Charles Dance, A Game of Thrones, and Underworld: Awakening). Hicks and Newt are killed in the crash and Bishop is reduced to the kind of crap that you’d buy at your local Radio Shack. Ripley is taken in, reluctantly, by the inmates, who haven’t seen a woman in years, much less been with one.
Now here is where I remind you that the title of this movie is Alien³. So before these horny, deprived bastards can go all Ron Jeremy on Miss Ripley, they have to contend with the mean and speedy xenomorph that’s stalking and killing them after impregnating a dog and bursting from its abdomen. Might I also add that facehugger (alien) and canine (dog) were never properly introduced and neither flowers nor kibble were exchanged? So now the remainder of the film is Ripley and the stooges trying to not only kill the nasty beast before it kills them, but staying alive long enough for a rescue ship to arrive and make like a giant box of Calgon.
Alien³ is not the horrible motion picture that it’s been made out to be for all these years. There are some unnecessary scenes, i.e. the love scene between Dr. Clemens (Dance) and Ripley (Sigourney Weaver, Aliens, Avatar). It is a well-acted little film that tries, and ultimately fails, to incorporate the elements that made the first two films in the series such a success. Viewed separately, Alien³ is a nifty little sci-fi movie. Alas, instead you have the little Alien film that almost could.
Multiple proposed scripts caused misleading advertising which implied that the movie would be set on Earth. William Gibson also drafted a script in which Ripley spent most of the film in a coma.
First-time director David Fincher disowned the film, citing constant studio interference and actually walked out of production before editing began.
Early versions of the script and design featured a giant rustic monastery. Also, the alien itself would not be appearing.
The creature that the alien impregnates was originally an ox, but was eventually changed because an ox was cumbersome and was seen as somewhat incongruous when placed in the film’s environment. This sequence was later restored for the extended “Assembly Cut.”
One possible idea for the film included a chest-burster coming out of Michael Biehn‘s character, Hicks. A replica of the actor with his chest torn open was created, but after Biehn discovered this, he threatened to sue the producers for using his likeness without his consent, and the idea was dropped. Later, the producers paid him to use his picture at the beginning of the film for the computer sequence. Apparently he received more money for use of this one image than for his role in Aliens.
One early draft of the script focused almost entirely on Hicks, Bishop and Newt, played in Aliens by Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Carrie Henn respectively. The story would tie up loose ends from the preceding film with Newt returning to Earth to live with her grandparents, as well as Hicks and Bishop and a new team of Colonial Marines battling a rival faction of planets who use the Alien as a bio-weapon.