Alien 3

Infobox Film
name = Alien 3

caption = The original 1992 theatrical poster
writer = Characters:
Dan O'Bannon
Ronald Shusett
Vincent Ward
David Giler
Walter Hill
Larry Ferguson
starring = Sigourney Weaver
Charles S. Dutton
Charles Dance
Paul McGann
Lance Henriksen
Pete Postlethwaite
director = David Fincher
producer = Gordon Carroll
David Giler
Walter Hill
music = Elliot Goldenthal
cinematography = Alex Thomson
editing = Terry Rawlings
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = United States:
May 22, 1992
United Kingdom:
August 21, 1992
runtime = Theatrical Cut:
114 min.
Special Edition:
144 min.
rating = Restricted
country = United States
language = English
budget = $50,000,000
gross = $159,773,545
amg_id = 1:1504
imdb_id = 0103644
preceded_by = "Aliens"
followed_by = "Alien Resurrection"

"Alien 3", styled as "Alien³", is a 1992 science fiction/horror film (see 1992 in film). As the third installment in the "Alien" franchise, it is preceded by Ridley Scott's "Alien" and James Cameron's "Aliens" and is followed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Alien Resurrection". The film also stands as the feature film directorial debut of David Fincher.


In deep space the Colonial Marine spaceship "Sulaco" experiences an onboard fire and launches an escape pod containing Ellen Ripley, Newt, Hicks, and the damaged android Bishop in cryonic stasis. The pod then crashes on Fiorina 'Fury' 161, a foundry facility and penal colony inhabited by all-male former inmates with "double-Y" chromosome patterns. As the inmates recover the pod's passengers, an alien facehugger is seen approaching their dog. Ripley is taken in and awakened by Clemens (Charles Dance), the facility's doctor, and learns that 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 that her presence among them may have extremely disturbing effects.

Suspicious of what caused the escape pod to jettison and what killed her companions, Ripley demands 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. No embryo is found in Newt's body, however, and the colony's warden becomes increasingly angered that Ripley's unusual behavior is agitating the prisoners. They perform a funeral for Newt and Hicks in which their bodies are thrown into the facility's gigantic furnace. In another part of the facility the dog goes into convulsions and an Alien erupts from its body. The Alien soon begins to attack members of the colony, killing several and returning one man to his former insane state. To get answers, Ripley recovers and reactivates the damaged Bishop, who reveals that there was an Alien facehugger stowed away with them on the "Sulaco". She then informs the warden of her previous encounters with the Aliens and demands that the group hunt it down, but he does not believe her and informs her that there are no weapons at all in the facility. Their only hope of protection is the rescue ship being sent for Ripley by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

Back in the facility's infirmary, Clemens is killed by the Alien, which also approaches Ripley, though it does not kill her. She runs to the mess hall to warn the others, only to witness the alien kill the warden. Ripley rallies the inmates in an attempt to trap the creature, but the creature's premature intervention ultimately results in several deaths. Using the "Sulaco"'s medical equipment Ripley discovers that she has the embryo of an Alien queen growing inside her. She also finds that what the Corporation really wants is the queen embryo and the adult Alien, hoping to turn them into biological weapons. Deducing that the Alien will not kill her because of the embryo she carries, Ripley begs Dillon (Charles S. Dutton) to kill her. He agrees to do so only if she will help the inmates kill the Alien first. They form a plan to lure it into the foundry's molding facility and drown it in molten lead. The plan results in the deaths of nearly all the remaining prisoners including Dillon, who sacrifices himself to keep the creature in the mold. The Alien, covered in molten lead, escapes the mold and is killed when Ripley sprays it with water from the fire sprinkler, causing its exoskeleton to cool rapidly and shatter.

Just as the Alien is killed the Weyland-Yutani team arrives, including a man who looks like Bishop and claims to be the creator of the android. He attempts to persuade Ripley to undergo surgery to remove the queen embryo. Ripley refuses and commits suicide, throwing herself into the gigantic furnace just as the Alien queen begins to burst forth from her chest. However, as she is dying from the wound, Ripley grabs the Alien queen and holds it onto her as she falls in the furnace. The film ends with a sequence showing the facility being closed down, the last survivor, prisoner Morse, being led away, and a shot of the Sulaco escape pod, while the sound recording of Ripley's final lines from the original "Alien" is heard.


*Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, reprising her role from the previous two "Alien" films. Ripley crash-lands on Fiorina-161 and once again faces a threat from one of the Alien creatures.
*Charles S. Dutton as Lenard Dillon, one of Fiorina-161's inmates who functions as the spiritual leader of the prisoners and attempts to keep the peace in the facility.
*Charles Dance as Clemens, a former inmate who now serves as the facility's doctor. He treats Ripley after her escape pod crashes at the start of the film and forms a special bond with her.
*Brian Glover as Harold Andrews, the warden of the prison facility. He believes Ripley's presence will cause disruption amongst the inmates and attempts to control the rumors surrounding her and the Alien.
*Ralph Brown as Francis Aaron. Aaron is assistant to Superintendent Andrews and serves as the prison guard. The prisoners refer to him by the nickname "85," after his IQ score, which annoys him. He opposes Ripley's insistence that the prisoners must try to fight the Alien, preferring to wait for the Weyland-Yutani rescue ship to arrive.
*Paul McGann as Golic. Golic is one of the more disturbed members of the prison's population and becomes fixated on the Alien.
*Danny Webb as Robert Morse, one of the prison's inmates who assists Ripley in combating the Alien.
*Lance Henriksen as Bishop II. Bishop II appears in the film's final scene, claiming to be the human designer of the Bishop android from "Aliens". He wants the Alien queen which is growing inside Ripley for use in Weyland-Yutani's bioweapons division. Henriksen's likeness was also used for the salvaged Bishop android which Ripley interacts with during an earlier scene (the android in this scene was animated using animatronics).

Additional prisoners were played by Christopher John Fields (as Rains), Christopher Fairbank (as Murphy), Phil Davis (as Kevin), Vincenzo Nicoli (as Jude), Leon Herbert (as Boggs), Deobia Oparei (as Arthur), Pete Postlethwaite (as David), and Carl Chase (as Frank).

Special Edition DVD

An alternate version of "Alien³" (officially titled the "Assembly Cut") with over 30 minutes of additional footage was released on the 9-disc "Alien Quadrilogy" box-set in 2003. Nearly 3/4 of the scenes in this version contain footage not included in the 1992 theatrical release. Director David Fincher, although giving 20th Century Fox permission to release this enhanced version to DVD, was the one director from the entire franchise who declined to participate in the box-set, even to record a commentary track.

The Assembly Cut edition has several key plot elements that differ from the theatrical release. The alien gestates in an ox rather than a dog, and one of the inmates discovers a dead facehugger which is visually different from those seen in the previous films. Some scenes are extended to focus more on the religious views of the inmates. Most notably, in the Assembly Cut the inmates succeed in their attempt to trap the alien, but it is later released by the disturbed inmate Golic. Some differences in the final scene include the alien queen not bursting from Ripley's chest as she falls into the furnace.

Also of note in the Assembly Cut's opening foreword, and throughout the movie, are several pieces of audio that are of noticeably lower quality, which feature often during footage not included in the theatrical release. The lower quality is attributed to damaged audio which had not been used in years.


Originally Brandywine 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." [cite web|url=|title=Bald Ambition||accessdate=2008-09-04] 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 massed 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."

Although 20th Century Fox were 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 "Alien 3". They also asked that the two movies 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 of 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.


William Gibson

A very early script treatment was written by science fiction author William Gibson (writer of the cult classic "Neuromancer"). 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)." [cite web|url=|title=William Gibson talks about the script||accessdate=2006-12-18]

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 spacestation (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 summarised 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 a Company run spacestation/mall. A fire on the ship caused by remaining Aliens, puts Ripley into a coma. 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 the same thanks to Bishop. 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 new director, Renny Harlin, but declined citing various other commitments and "foot dragging on the producers part." [cite web|url=|title=Bald Ambition||accessdate=2008-09-04]

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 movies being a torn spacesuit nametag that is found containing 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 (fifteen foot) alien warriors, yet it also contains an arguably higher level of horror (Lovecraftian and Body) than the previous movies and screenplays. In addition to this, it is the first screenplay in the Aliens genre to feature a genetically mixed Alien-Human creature in antibiosis (foreshadowing the "newborn" in ""). 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 afterwards. 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 it transpired 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 high 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 & John Fasano

The screenplay by Ward and co-writer John Fasano had Ripley's escape pod crash landing on a monastery-like, wooden planet. The "Alien³" special features disc also explains how they would come about creating the story for a wooden planet. However, the inhabitants of this planet would view the arrival of Ripley as that of a religious trial from their "god." By having a woman on their monastery planetoid, their trial would be one of sexual temptation. To avoid this, the Monks of the wooden planet would later lock Ripley into a dungeon-like sewer. The early draft, which featured the Alien creature coming with Ripley, had the wooden planet Monks believing that the Alien was in fact the Devil. There are scenes and illustrations featured on this disc that show the "Wooden Planet." Aspects of the monastery/Monks of the early draft were later utilized in the final production of the film by having the male inmates participating in the religion shown. The screenplay featured a vast number of scenes set in different locations on the wooden planetoid, ranging from an internal 5 mile wide sea to wheatfields on its surface. Ward's intended version of the film proved hugely problematic, opposed by the studio who hired Greg Pruss and later Larry Ferguson for further rewrites, and eventually Ward left the film in frustration.Fact|date=July 2008

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 cleaned up most of the work done by the previous authors.


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 L.A. riots of 1992, which Goldenthal later claimed contributed to the score's disturbing nature.Fact|date=June 2008 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.Fact|date=June 2008


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"." [cite news | author = Alan Dean Foster | title = Planet Error | publisher = Empire | date = April 2008 | pages = 100]

Dark Horse Comics also released a three-issue comic book adaptation of the film. [Cite comic | Writer = Steven Grant | Penciller = Christopher Taylor | Title = Alien 3 | Issue = 1-3 | Date = June – July 1992 | Publisher = Dark Horse Comics]

Visual effects

"Alien 3" was nominated for an Academy Award for best visual effects. [ [ IMDB awards] ]

The alien is played by Alien Effects Designer Tom Woodruff, Jr. wearing a costume designed by himself and Alec Gillis, and also appears in the form of a rod puppet filmed against bluescreen and optically composited into the live-action footage. A mechanical alien head was also used for close-ups.cite video | people=Fredrick Garvin (Director) | title=The Making of Alien³ | medium=DVD | location=United States | publisher=Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment |year=2003]

Director David Fincher suggested that a whippet be dressed in an alien costume for on-set coverage of the quadrupedal alien, but the visual effects team was dissatisfied with the comical result and the idea was dropped in favor of the puppet.cite video | people=Fredrick Garvin (Director) | title=The Making of Alien³ | medium=DVD | location=United States | publisher=Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment |year=2003]

A small number of shots contain CGI elements, most notably the cracking alien head. Other CGI elements include shadows cast by the (rod puppet) alien, and airborne debris in outdoor scenes.cite video | people=Fredrick Garvin (Director) | title=The Making of Alien³ | medium=DVD | location=United States | publisher=Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment |year=2003]


Box office

"Alien 3" 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.cite web
title="Alien 3"
publisher=Box Office Mojo
] The film was considered a flop in North America with a total of $55.4 million, although it grossed $104.3 million internationally 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.cite web
title=1992 Domestic Gross
publisher=Box Office Mojo

Critical reception

From its initial release to the present day the film has incurred mixed reviews by critics, generally being unfavorably compared to the preceding two films in the franchise. [ [ Rotten Tomatoes review collection] ] [ [ IMDB ratings] ]

In later years, critics of the film have become more sympathetic to "Alien³" as the story of its troubled production came to light. 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 almost 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 a 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, James Cameron and Ridley Scott. ["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)]

A number of cast and crew associated with the series, including actor Michael Biehn and James Cameron, 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 Hicks' demise, demanded and received as much money for the use of his likeness in one scene as he had been paid for his role in "Aliens". ["Wreckage and Rape: The Making of Alien³ – Development Hell: Concluding The Story" ("Alien³ Collector's Edition" DVD)]

The bonus disc for "Alien³", in the 2003 "Quadrilogy" set, includes a documentary on the film's production but lacks Fincher's participation. Despite giving the "Quadrilogy" set high marks, directed criticism at the bonus disc, pointing out that the studio had cut the documentary to delete a handful of behind-the-scenes clips in which Fincher openly expresses his anger and frustration with the studio. [cite web | url= | title=Criticism of Bonus Disc | publisher=The Digital Bits | accessdate=2006-12-15]

Video game

The official licensed video game was released for multiple formats by Acclaim and Virgin Interactive, including Amiga, Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Nintendo Game Boy, 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.


External links

*imdb title|id=0103644|title=Alien³
*rotten-tomatoes|id=alien_3|title=Alien 3
*amg title|id=l=1:1504|title=Alien³
*mojo title|id=alien3|title=Alien³
*"Alien³" in 'The 10 Greatest Sci-fi Movies Never Made' by David Hughes []

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