“It makes no difference”: Sigourney Weaver Almost Didn’t Become a Feminist Icon Before James Cameron Saved Her from Ridley Scott’s Brutally Violent ‘Alien’ Ending

Sigourney Weaver Almost Didn't Become a Feminist Icon Before James Cameron Saved Her from Ridley Scott's Brutally Violent 'Alien' Ending
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It’s hard to imagine the Alien franchise without Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley at its forefront. However, it seems if things had gone according to director Ridley Scott’s original plans, fans might not have witnessed the full potential of one of the greatest female characters ever written in fiction.


From being a monumental achievement in the sci-fin landscape and having a near-perfect score at the Tomatometer, Alien kickstarted one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises among fans. But considering the later films in the franchise flourished Ripley’s character more, things would’ve been radically different if Scott went ahead with his initial plans for Weaver’s character.

Also read: James Cameron Made Sigourney Weaver’s Husband Hold His Breath Underwater for Inhuman Amount of Time as Part of Her Avatar 2 Training

Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver
Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver

Ridley Scott almost killed Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley in Alien 

Unlike the original ending, in which we witness Sigourney Weaver‘s Ellen Ripley blast the xenomorph into space, things were radically different in Ridley Scott’s original draft of the story. According to the director, Ellen Ripley’s character wasn’t supposed to make it out of the first film alive, and the ending would’ve shown her head being decapitated by the xenomorph. However, one Fox executive wasn’t too thrilled by the idea and threatened to fire Scott if he decided to move forward with that ending. Ridley Scott recalled,

“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. It would mimic Captain Dallas [Skerritt] saying, ‘I’m signing off. The first executive from Fox arrived on set within 14 hours, threatening to fire me on the spot. So we didn’t do that [ending].”

Considering how drastically different things would’ve been if the Blade Runner director moved forward with that ending, fortunately, that didn’t make it to the big screens.

Also read: “This is your natural age. You are that immature”: James Cameron Had No Issues Casting Sigourney Weaver as 14 Year Old Kiri Because He Knows She’s a “Clown”

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley

James Cameron took extra measures to get Sigourney Weaver in Aliens

Although it was a hard task for James Cameron to live up to the standards set by the original Alien, his work on Aliens would prove his ability to craft sequels that surpass the originals. However, one of the major reasons behind his decision to work in the sequel was Sigourney Weaver. But initially, the actress wasn’t too keen on working on the sequel, and this resulted in Cameron taking some special measures to get the actress back as Ellen Ripley.

The director proceeded to bluff Arnold Schwarzenegger’s agent about moving the Alien franchise in a new direction with the Terminator Star. This news would make it to the ears of Sigourney Weaver and her agent, and the rest is history. Cameron recalled,

“Now, did I have any intention of doing that whatsoever? No, not at all. But I happen to know that Lou is at the same agency as Sigourney’s agent, who was in New York. And I knew that the second he hung up with me, he called him and said, ‘Sign Sigourney now.’ And guess what? The deal was done in 12 hours after that.”

Also read: “Nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie”: Jennifer Lawrence Gets Trolled Hard For Claiming ‘Hunger Games’ Was the First Action Movie With a Female Lead as Fans Point Out Sigourney Weaver’s ‘Alien’ Legacy

Sigourney Weaver James Cameron
James Cameron with Sigourney Weaver

As a result, James Cameron not only managed to craft one of the best sequels to a movie ever, but he also cemented Weaver’s Ripley as one of the greatest characters in the Sc-fi landscape.

Alien and Aliens are available to stream on Disney Plus.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Written by Santanu Roy

Articles Published: 1534

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel, and The Platters. Having expertise in everything related to Batman, Santanu spends most of his time watching and learning films, with Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook being his personal favorites. Apart from pursuing a degree in animation, he also possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a writer at Fandomwire with over 1500 articles.