Book: Alien^3 - The Unproduced Screenplay by William Gibson
Alien 3 (or Alien^3) had a long development process where many scripts were written and rejected and eventually what got made was being rewritten while shooting was happening. It was director David Fincher’s first movie and he pretty much disowned it and hated the process. “No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me.”
Recently one of the first scripts, written by William Gibson, was expanded upon and released in book form which I just finished reading. Review: 2 out of 5 chestbursters.
The basic premise is that the escape pod from the Sulaco (the big ship in Aliens) gets picked up by a spacestation, Ripley and Newt are sent home and Hicks deals with new Alien problems on the spacestation.
Overall it was just bland, no characters other than Hicks were really fleshed out or interesting, and Hicks is only interesting because he survived Aliens. Also he somehow became this like super uber marine who could lead a group of non-marines to success.
They introduced a new way for the Aliens to breed where you basically get an infection and then your skins flies off to reveal a full-on Giger alien underneath. This happens quickly, or not quickly, or whenever is convenient for the plot. They could have leveraged this into some real tension a la THE THING but they don’t. They just had to figure out a way to make a bunch of Aliens and fast since there was no incubation period like in Aliens.
My biggest problem with it is that it basically just tried to be Aliens 2, same military focus, same “there’s a lot of them and we have pulse rifles and flamethrowers” problems. Say what you will about the Alien^3 that came out in theaters, it at least was different and interesting. It wasn’t great but it at least did something new, which I at least respect even if I don’t like the result. I like when bands do this too… The Jesus and Mary Chain could have followed up Psychocandy with Psychocandy 2 and done more of the same. But they didn’t! The made Darklands instead, which is super different.
My one complaint about the Alien franchise is that “the Company” is completely stupid and incompetent. I do not understand their motivations. It’s the future and you can travel through space and terraform planets, but you want this murderous species for your “bioweapons division” and for what? What are you going to do with them that you couldn’t do with say, a bomb or a tank or water balloons filled with acid? Why would you want something so unpredictable and uncontrollable to go kill on your behalf? Let’s say you deploy them to some planet and it’s successful with killing whatever you want to kill. Now you got a bunch of aliens running around. Good luck cleaning that up. You’re gonna have to nuke it from orbit anyway so you could have just started there silly.
The first two movies are classic and insanely good. I’ll let the Company stuff slide for those two, but after two completely failed attempts you should probably reconsider your plan.
They should make movies that tell the story of Alien or Aliens but from some Company command center. Like, they’re doing stand up each day with their sprint tasks and decide when to execute the change that makes Ash go crazy and start trying to murder people. Then the next day they come back and learn that it didn’t work. Or they have Burke call in to stand up so he can give updates and form the next steps in their plan. That’s where they come up with the “wait for Ripley to go to sleep then just dump some facehuggers in the room or something.” That I would watch.