This article covers all the known deleted scenes from the 1986 film Aliens. Some of these sequences never progressed past the early script or storyboard stages, while others were filmed before being cut during the editing process. Despite their removal, several of these scenes were included in the movie's novelization and the comic book Aliens: Newt's Tale.
Note that sequences initially deleted from the theatrical release of the film but later reinstated in the extended Special Edition are not listed here; details on these scenes can instead be found in the Special Edition article.
The first rough cut of Aliens ran for around 195 minutes; this was trimmed to 137 minutes for the film's theatrical release, meaning around 58 minutes of footage was deleted from the movie during the editing process. Some of this excised footage (approximately 17 minutes worth) was later reinstated in the film's Special Edition, while a small number of additional deleted scenes have been officially released on home video.
Despite the apparent quantity of footage removed from the film during editing, very few deleted scenes from Aliens have ever been made available (not counting the sequences reinstated in the Special Edition) and what information exists would not seem to account for such a large reduction in runtime. When considering the material added in the Special Edition and the few additional scenes that are available on home video, some 35 minutes of footage remains unaccounted for. Even the film's shooting script sheds little light on what this missing footage might include. However, director James Cameron has confirmed, "In Aliens we shot more than we needed. Gale [Anne Hurd] said, 'OK, here's a list of scenes you should cut,' and we wound up cutting every single thing that was on the list."
Regarding the deleted scenes that have been made available on home video, the release(s) on which they can be found have been noted in this article. Where applicable, the names of deleted scenes below have been taken from these DVD/Blu-ray releases.
Recovering RipleyThe sequence showing the recovery of the Narcissus was originally longer, beginning with the salvage vessel scanning the shuttle with a large searchlight as it approached.
Nostromo nightmareIn early drafts of the film's script, Ripley's nightmare aboard Gateway Station was markedly different. Instead of imagining a Chestburster emerging from her body, she instead found herself back aboard the Nostromo, running through the ship's corridors in a desperate attempt to flee the vessel. She stops at a hatch and opens it, only to see the Alien rising in the darkness within, at which point she would have woken screaming aboard Gateway.
Jonesey and the birdThe revelation that the woodland aboard Gateway is in fact virtual reality was originally going to occur when Jones attempts to kill a bird flitting around on the screen. Instead he slams into the wall, leading Ripley to call him, "Dumbshit." The scene appears in the film's novelization.
In the film's script, Burke expands a little on Amanda's death, informing Ripley that she died of cancer, and that she was created and interred at a mortuary in Wisconsin. This dialogue was included in the film's novelization.
Some promises you just can't keep
After Burke informs Ripley that her daughter has died, he was additionally to tell her, "Some promises you just can't keep..." (referring to Ripley's promise to be home for Amanda's 11th birthday). Following this, he checks his watch, anxious to get himself and Ripley to the hearing.
A brief additional scene found in early drafts of the script has Burke attempting to reassure Ripley as they walk to the hearing aboard Gateway. After pointing out that there are going to be powerful people present, Burke tells her the most important thing is for her to simply stay cool. While the scene was dropped, Burke's dialogue about the company heavyweights at the meeting was combined with the earlier scene where Ripley learns of her daughter's fate (itself deleted from the theatrical cut, but reinstated in the Special Edition).
Hadley's HopeMore footage was filmed of the day-to-day life at Hadley's Hope, including some colonists struggling to cover machinery and vehicles in the gale-force winds (briefly visible in the background in the Special Edition). Another shot showed a colonist entering a bar and grill.
The colony rescue team
After Russ Jorden is subdued by a Facehugger, it was originally planned to show a rescue team arriving from the colony in response to Anne's distress call. They were to head inside the derelict ship, discovering the remains of the Pilot (now partially buried by volcanic debris), before descending into the cargo hold and themselves being subdued by multiple Facehuggers. While the sequence was cut before filming due to budget limitations, the events were later mentioned in Aliens: Newt's Tale.
- "The eggs erupt. One. Two. Three. Then a volley. Screams are muffled by the facehugging creatures. All the eggs are hatching. The floor of the chamber comes alive with scuttling spider-hand nightmares. The men above start hauling up the Searchers' lifelines. Screams echo, escalate... The chamber is a writhing, living horror."
Bishop aloneOriginally, it was planned to introduce Bishop by showing him wandering the deserted corridors of the USS Sulaco alone while the rest of the crew slept. While it was ultimately decided to use the knife game scene to introduce the film's synthetic, the original sequence of Bishop alone on the ship appears in the novelization. Notably, the same concept was later used for David in Prometheus and Walter in Alien: Covenant.
Waking from hypersleep
As the Marines wake up aboard the Sulaco, Spunkmeyer is seen saying, "I'm too old for this shit." The extra dialogue appears in the novelization. Coincidentally, the year after Aliens was released, Predator 2 star Danny Glover would make this same line famous as Detective Roger Murtaugh's catchphrase in the first of the Lethal Weapon films.
ShowersThe script contained a scene where the men and women of the Colonial Marines would be seen showering together aboard the Sulaco after waking from hypersleep, but the footage was never shot because the actresses were unwilling to appear nude in the film. The scene does, however, appear in the novelization.
In the script, Bishop's manufacturer is said to be Cyberdyne Systems (an in-joke referring to director James Cameron's previous film The Terminator, in which Cyberdyne manufactured the titular cyborg). This was changed for filming to the less on-the-nose Hyperdyne Systems.
The briefingAs written in the script, the briefing that Ripley gives to the Marines aboard the Sulaco was slightly longer, with Ripley referring to the Facehugger as "essentially a walking sex organ", to which Hudson quips, "Sounds like you, Hicks." This extra dialogue features in the novelization.
Raising the APCAs the Marines prepare for the drop, Bishop was seen using a remote device to raise the section's APC into the Sulaco's hangar bay on a hydraulic lift. He then uses the remote to drive the APC towards Gorman (seen in the finished film). Model shots for this sequence were filmed but never used.
Entrance blockedIn the script, the main entrance to the colony is blocked off by tractors, positioned there by the colonists in an attempt to keep the Xenomorphs out. While the lock is unobstructed in the film, the tractors are present in the novelization.
During the initial sweep of the colony complex, Burke watches the camera feeds as one of the Marines surveys a trashed room, commenting that it looks like his room from college. The additional dialogue appears in the film's novelization.
In the script, Ripley cannot bring herself to leave the APC when Gorman, Burke and Bishop enter the colony, and returns to sit by herself inside the armored vehicle. However, she quickly decides being alone is even worse; she climbs out to follow the others, but the colony access lock shuts just in front of her, trapping her outside. Unable to open it or alert those already inside, she begins to panic when suddenly Wierzbowski appears behind her, scaring her. Apologizing, the Private reveals Hicks asked him to "keep an eye" on her, after which he opens the door to let them both inside.
Let her go
After pointing out how Newt never speaks while cleaning her face, Ripley additionally tells her, "It's alright with me. Most people talk a lot, and they wind up not saying anything." Soon after this when Hicks informs them that they are heading out to the Atmosphere Processing Plant, Newt attempts to escape but is caught by Hicks, who she tries to bite on the hand again. This time he pulls away before she can, remarking, "Hope she ain't got rabies." This line also made it into Aliens: Newt's Tale.
Hicks and WierzbowskiDuring the Hive ambush, footage was filmed of Hicks propping a wounded Wierzbowski up against a wall after the Pulse Rifle ammunition explodes. He then goes to check on Crowe as seen in the film. Stills of this extended scene were included in Aliens: The Official Movie Magazine, as well as the sourcebook for the Aliens Adventure Game tabletop RPG.
StungIn the script, Gorman is not incapacitated by falling crates, but rather he is stung and paralyzed by a Xenomorph — as the APC prepares to escape the Atmosphere Processor, one of the creatures jumps onto the vehicle and rips away a hatch that Gorman is cowering beside, pulling him partially out and stinging him in the shoulder with its barb-tipped tail. Hicks mans the APC's turret gun and blows the Xenomorph away before the others pull Gorman back inside. This sequence is included in the novelization of the movie.
During the dropship crash sequence, model shots of the crashing ship hitting and destroying the APC were filmed, although were ultimately not used (likely because the footage is not particularly realistic). The scene appears in the novelization, in which the APC is said to be taken out by a piece of one of the dropship's engines.
- Only available as part of the Superior Firepower: Making Aliens documentary
Analyzing GormanOriginally, the scene where the survivors speculate on the presence of a Queen began with Bishop offering some insight into Gorman's condition, following on from the similarly removed sequence where he was stung earlier in the film. He states that the Lieutenant was incapacitated by a neuro-muscular toxin, rendering him totally paralyzed. As with the stinging itself, this scene is included in the novelization.
The Queen's intelligenceWhile theorizing about the resident Queen, the script contains an interesting line of dialogue from Bishop in which he suggests she may have intentionally selected the Atmosphere Processor for her Hive because she recognized the protection it offers her — within the volatile structure, she cannot be destroyed without also destroying the entire colony. This dialogue was not included in either version of the film, but does feature in the novelization.
Aliens in the complex
Immediately after Bishop is elected to go to the colony's transmitter, the pounding of the Xenomorphs ramming the pressure door suddenly stops. Hicks points out that the creatures are inside the complex. This scene features in the novelization.
Ripley and Hicks
When Hicks asks Ripley how long it has been since she slept, she pessimistically tells him, "They'll get us." He responds with, "Maybe. Maybe not." This added dialogue is found in the novelization.
Bishop and the AlienAs he crawls through the conduit, Bishop encounters a Xenomorph through a crack in the side of the pipe. It lunges at him, but when he does not react, it loses interest. This scene was in the script but was cut from the film. It does, however, appear in the novelization.
Dropship fuelingModel shots were filmed of the second dropship being fueled automatically aboard the Sulaco. These were never used, but the sequence is mentioned in passing in the novel.
Trapped in the duct
The script contains a slightly more complex version of the air duct escape from Operations, in which the fleeing survivors find themselves cut off by more Xenomorphs up ahead. Trapped between two groups of the creatures, Hicks has to cut his way out of the vent shaft with his cutting torch. This sequence is found in the film's novelization.
By far the most famous of Aliens' deleted scenes involves Burke's original on-screen demise. As Ripley searches for Newt inside the Hive, she is suddenly grabbed by a hand. It turns out to be Burke, who is cocooned to the wall with a Chestburster inside him. He says that he can feel it moving, and begs Ripley to help him; she gives him a hand grenade and moves on. As she leaves, Burke tearfully apologises for everything he has done.
The scene was cut because director James Cameron realized after filming that Burke should still have had a Facehugger attached to him at this point in the film. It was, however, included in the novelization and Aliens: Newt's Tale, and an image from the scene was included in Aliens: The Official Movie Magazine.
The script features an additional type of Xenomorph dubbed "Drones", which tend to the Queen in the Hive, described as being white and smaller than the regular Warriors featured in the film. Ripley encounters them in the Queen's chamber while rescuing Newt, but they completely ignore her as they go about their duties. The creatures do appear in the movie's novelization, but were dropped from the movie prior to filming (likely due to budget and/or effects constraints).
Ripley suits upBefore Ripley confronts the Queen in the Power Loader, a sequence originally showed her strapping into the suit, similar to that seen earlier in the film when she helps to move supplies aboard the Sulaco.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Philip Nutman, Adrien Rigelsford, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Skeleton Crew, Vol. 2 #2, p. 24 (1990), Argus House.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Weyland-Yutani Archives - Aliens Unseen: The Lesser Known Deleted Scenes". Retrieved on 2013-04-30.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Aliens: Special Collector's Edition — Collector's Section (1991), 20th Century Fox [LaserDisc].
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Aliens script (February 26, 1985 draft) by James Cameron
- ↑ Alien II treatment (September 21, 1983) by David Giler, Walter Hill and James Cameron
- ↑ "Strange Shapes - Hadley's Hope". Retrieved on 2013-05-13.
- ↑ Gale Anne Hurd, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Stan Winston, John Richardson. Superior Firepower: Making Aliens (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ "Strange Shapes - I Love The Corps!". Retrieved on 2014-10-24.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Aliens: Newt's Tale, Issue 1
- ↑ Lee Goldberg, Patrick Daniel O'Neill, John Sayers. Aliens: The Official Movie Magazine, p. 10 (1986), Starlog Press.
- ↑ David McKenzie. Aliens Adventure Game, p. 55 (1991), Leading Edge Games.
- ↑ Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 192 (1986), Warner Books.
- ↑ Lee Goldberg, Patrick Daniel O'Neill, John Sayers. Aliens: The Official Movie Magazine, p. 40 (1986), Starlog Press.