Alien 3: What Really Happened?

It was one of the most troubled productions of all time. But what really happened to Alien 3?

Alien 3 Audible
Audible

Alien 3 might just be the most scrutinised film in movie history.

In the decades since the ill-fated sequel arrived in cinemas in May 1992, fans have found themselves pouring over every detail surrounding its production.

That is of course down to the fact that the film came as something of an anticlimax after 1986's Aliens, but there are a number of other factors that have contributed to Alien 3's mystique - for instance, the fact that it was one of the first films to really be picked apart on the burgeoning days of the internet and online fandom.

Whether it was creators or actors publicly airing their grievances with the project (James Cameron famously called the film a "slap in the face" to his work on Aliens), or a number of unproduced scripts making their way online, Alien 3 became a frequent topic of conversation amongst online circles in the early days of the internet, with the prospect of what could have been proving too delectable a topic for many to ignore.

In recent years, the topic has also proven irresistible to creators and publishing companies.

One early version of Alien 3, written by cyberpunk author William Gibson, was adapted into a comic and then an audiobook just the other year, with actors Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen even reprising their roles as Corporal Hicks and the android Bishop in the latter. And, although not to the same degree, Ripley actor Sigourney Weaver also went on the record to praise a version of Alien 3 developed by Vincent Ward, which Fox of course opted not to go with.

Ultimately, what sparked all these years of discussion and reinterpretation was the fact that, in 1992, Fox released what would eventually prove to be the first of many disappointing Aliens follow-ups. Both Ridley Scott's 1979 original and James Cameron's '86 follow-up are revered as sci-fi classics, and while the franchise has failed to live up to those original two offerings since, Alien 3 was the first to kickstart that trend.

There's also the fact that it was one David Fincher's directorial debut. Fincher, who has since helmed repeat successes in the likes of Se7en, Fight Club and Zodiac, had only directed music videos when he signed on to helm Alien 3. Production on the film was notoriously tumultuous, and Fincher has since disowned the project in interviews altogether.

All these factors coalesce to create a uniquely fascinating story. But what really happened to derail the then imperious Alien franchise? And what makes those unfinished versions so much better than the film that released in 1992?

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Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Rants about stuff @EwanRuinsThings