Given the fact that Alien: Covenant didn’t live up to box office expectations back in 2017 (and 20th Century Fox just sold most of their creative assets to Disney), the Alien franchise is hanging in the balance. Will Disney let the franchise die, or are we finally going to see the payoff from Covenant’s chilling cliffhanger ending?
The Alien franchise has survived worse – looking at you and all your shameless off-screen character deaths, Alien 3 – so it’s probably going to be fine. So, in anticipation of whatever a Disney reboot of Alien will look like, here are some of the most iconic lines from the franchise.
Like a lot of the biggest sci-fi franchises – Jurassic Park, Terminator, Star Trek – the Alien movies deal in ethics. Humans are not necessarily inherently good. In fact, a lot of humans are shamelessly evil. In Aliens, we’re not expected to blindly root for the humans and hate the xenomorphs.
The humans don’t pull together to help each other survive a tremendous, otherworldly experience. Ripley does, but the corporate guys are after the eggs. They’re thinking about profit margins and selling points. Ripley sums up the human race pretty well when she says, “You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them f**king each other over for a goddamn percentage.”
This is what Elizabeth Shaw says when she analyzes the DNA of an Engineer and has a 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque brain meltdown as she goes clear and realizes that the Engineers just might be where the human race came from.
Prometheus is not the most popular movie in the Alien franchise, because it asked more questions than it answered (as Eric Cartman once pointed out, there’s a good chance that even the writers of the movie didn’t know what it was about). The mystery of the Engineers was an interesting one, but only if it was leading somewhere satisfying, and if we’ll actually be getting that satisfying ending after the Disney/Fox merger.
Crazily enough, the screenplay for Alien: Resurrection was written by none other than Joss Whedon. Of the movie, Whedon has stated, “It wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable.” Ouch.
This line is the only mention in the Alien franchise that we ever get of “the Lacerta Plague,” which is supposedly a pretty bad viral outbreak that happens in the future. Due to the way the line is spoken, we get that it’s a big deal, but the Black Death was in the 1300s and we still remember that, so it stands to reason that in the 2300s, a Black Death reference would still be apt.
In Alien: Covenant, Michael Fassbender does a great job of playing both the unwitting A.I. Walter and the shockingly evil one David. As one might expect, this quote is from the latter. The original title of Alien: Covenant was Alien: Paradise Lost, named after John Milton’s epic poem about the struggles between God and Satan.
Fassbender’s two characters carry most of these allegories, with Walter being too trusting for his own good (i.e. God) and David being just devious and ambitious enough to take over the world (i.e. Satan). He’d rather be in charge of evil than in service of the greater good.
The Dillon character spends the whole of Alien 3 assuming he’s not going to make it. As an inmate at the prison where the story takes place, he knows he’s not going to be a priority if a rescue team ever arrives, which he knows it probably won’t. So, he’s accepted his fate: “We’re all gonna die. The only question is when. This is as good a place as any to take your first steps to Heaven.”
David Fincher took Alien 3 as his first studio directing gig and it turned out to be the worst experience of his entire life, with executives meddling and minimal creative control. That’s why the movie kind of sucks.
Ellen Ripley might be an example of the “final girl” trope, but she’s about the strongest example there is. The screenplay for Alien was not written as a feminist piece – it was just written with no gender roles in place. The opening pages specified that the characters were unisex and could be played by anyone, depending on who the director chose in casting.
When Ridley Scott took on the project and started putting it together, it just happened to be the luck of the draw that Sigourney Weaver ended up getting cast in the lead role and, subsequently, kicking off a long, but important battle to get women represented in the action film genre.
It’s no great shock that Bill Paxton was given a Saturn Award for his performance as Private Hudson in Aliens. If Ripley is the hero we all wish we could be, then Hudson is the guy we probably would be. We like to think we’d be a hero, but deep down, we’re all as scared as Hudson.
If most of us realized we were stuck on a foreign planet with no signs of human life and a festering hive of bloodthirsty aliens that made it that way, we wouldn’t jump into action like Ripley. We’d say, “That’s it, man. Game over, man. Game over!”
A few years ago, Danny McBride was best known for starring in HBO’s darkest and quirkiest comedies and appearing in supporting roles in Seth Rogen movies. However, in the past couple of years, he’s entered the horror game and made quite a splash.
He co-wrote the script for the recent critically acclaimed Halloween reboot, and he was the comic relief who turned out to be one of the few survivors (and a sidekick for the female lead) in Alien: Covenant. His character was called Tennessee Faris, and when safety was brought into question, he uttered the immortal line, “We didn’t leave Earth to be safe.”
It is true that in space, no one can hear you scream. After Ellen Ripley rids the Nostromo of the xenomorph that killed the rest of the crew (taking the ship down with it), she’s left drifting through the vacuum of space. She reports, “Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo. Third Officer reporting. The other members of the crew – Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash, and Captain Dallas – are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.”
She’ll be alone in space for weeks. That’s haunting, right? This is supposed to be the happy ending of the horror movie. Instead, it’s the beginning of a psychological thriller.
James Cameron’s love of mechanical exoskeleton suits was born during the production of Aliens. He would later use 2009’s more advanced technology and Avatar’s bigger budget to create a whole army of soldiers in mechanical exoskeleton suits.
Arguably, though, Aliens’ use of the technology was stronger. The whole sequence was far more cinematic and it fit the story thematically, as we saw Ripley use the suit to match the alien queen’s physicality and save Newt. Sure, this scene utilizes the backwards-thinking trope of the damsel in distress – but it also has a female hero and a female villain fighting over her.