One of the biggest criticisms against Alien 3 is the they killed Hicks and Newt argument. Michael Biehn sued over the unauthorized use of his likeness in the film, and James Cameron called their deaths a slap in the face. Newt and Hicks are very popular, they were even used in comics and books that took place after Aliens (but before Alien 3 went into production). So for some fans, killing these two characters was a terrible move. My response? Killing them is one of the things I like most about this movie. Oh yeah, I went there. I can sympathise with people upset over Hicks death. Michael Biehn did a great job in Aliens, and losing his character was sad. But for the life of me, I have no idea why people like Newt so much. All due respect to Carrie Henn, but I found Newt to be a combination of the annoying sidekick and the damsel in distress. All she did was run, get caught, and scream. Oh dear lord, did she scream. Every time I watch Aliens, Im afraid her shrill voice will crack my TV. Beyond Newts annoyance, the death of her and Hicks serves a narrative purpose. People care about these characters, so obviously their deaths will have an impact. And they obviously have an impact on Ripley as well, because this raises the emotional stakes between her and the alien. No longer is it just a matter of survival, but it becomes a matter of revenge. Ripley is a survivor after all, and putting her into a situation where shes all alone once more raises the stakes.
Percival Constantine is the author of several novels and short stories, including the Vanguard superhero series, and regularly writes and comments on movies, comics, and other pop culture. More information can be found at his website, PercivalConstantine.com