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Trivia / Alien

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Works with their own trivia pages:

Trivia for the franchise in general:

  • Based on a Dream: Not the film series' premise, but the creatures themselves. Their design is the work of H. R. Giger, who took them from his nightmares.
  • Creator Backlash: Ridley Scott has stated for years that he feels the Xenomorphs have been done to death and that he wants to move the focus of the series away from it. He attempted to start a sister series focusing on the Engineers with Prometheus, but when this backfired he seemingly changed his mind with Alien: Covenant. Following Covenant's lacklustre reception, however, he reiterated his prior opinion regarding the Xenomorphs being "cooked" and expressed interest in having the sequel to Covenant focus more on David instead.
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  • Cash Cow Franchise: Movies, books, comics, video games, toys, etc. . . Alien is probably only behind Star Wars as 20th Century Fox's one. Directly responsible for the issues that plagued Alien³, as to keep the cash flowing, Fox set out to make a release date, not a movie.
  • Creator Recovery:
    • With the lacklustre-to-negative reception of the third and fourth films and the Alien vs. Predator duology — the plans for the latter of which caused him to quit as the director of the third movie, Ridley Scott stated that he felt the Xenomorph was all played out, which was one of the reasons he went along with Damon Lindelof's rewrite of Prometheus. The fan disappointment of the movie's lack of Xenomorphs — and Scott's own dissatisfaction with how subsequent directors had portrayed the creatures — led to their inclusion in Alien: Covenant, and in interviews Scott lamented ever having left the Alien franchise and expressed the intent to make at least three more Alien films. Following Alien: Covenant's mixed reception, however, he reiterated his previous view that "the beast is cooked" and expressed interest in having the next film center around David and replacing the Xenomorphs with something else.
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    • Like Scott and James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver was unimpressed by FOX's decision to make a film based on the Alien vs. Predator crossover series, which contributed to her insistence that Ellen Ripley be killed off in the third movie. While she returned for the fourth movie and cameoed in the Alien: Isolation game, Neill Blomkamp's proposed fifth movie was what reignited her passion for the character and the franchise.
  • Development Hell: Neill Blomkamp's fifth Alien movie was green-lit by Fox but put on hold pending the success of Alien: Covenant. Ridley Scott eventually stated that the project has been scrapped by FOX and wasn't much more than an outline to begin with and expressed his intent to retain creative control of the series and make Alien films until he dies; and Blomkamp himself noted in interviews that he was doubtful it would happen.
  • Disowned Adaptation:
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Xenomorph - Used once or twice in the films, among many other words, to describe the aliens in the franchise, this word stuck as the standard term used by fans. It became used to specifically refer to the films' creatures in merchandise like the comics and video-game spinoffs, and was eventually canonized when Xenomorph XX121 became the official name for the creatures in the Out of the Shadows trilogy, the Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, and the Alien: Covenant promotional website.
    • Other names for the species used in spinoff media are 'Internecivus Raptus' (Murderous Thief) and 'Linguafoeda Acheronsis' (Foul-tongue from Hell, Acheron being also the name of the planet on which the creatures were first encountered in Alien).
    • None of the life cycle stages (i.e. Facehugger, Chestburster, Drone) were ever officially named on-film. They were given Fan Nicknames which simply stuck and wound up being used in some of the expanded universe material and even eventually by the production staff themselves.
  • Flip-Flop of God: Whether the 3rd and 4th films are canon. In 2014, the Alien: Out of the Shadows trilogy of novels was officially recognized by Fox as canon to the Continuity Reboot of the franchise, but when the author of the second novel was going to disregard 3 and Resurrection, they made him include references to them. In a 2016 interview Sigourney Weaver said that Alien 5 would be set in an Alternate Universe that "[runs] parallel" to the 3rd and 4th films, where Newt and Hicks survived.
  • Franchise Killer: Not everyone was very happy about how 3 or Resurrection turned out, and mashing it up with Predator hasn't done much to restore faith in the series. The games tended to do better than the films. Sigourney Weaver felt this way about the series. She didn't want to do another one after Aliens so she could move on to other projects. Ripley's death at the end of the third movie was included at her insistence, to make any further sequels starring her impossible. After that the writers had to resort to cloning the character, but she agreed to reprise the role again when Fox offered her an additional producer credit that would give her an 11 million dollar salary (which was more than the entire budget of the first filmnote ), and because she thought the Alien vs. Predator concept which was pitched around at the time sounded awful. They later made this spin-off as well anyway... and even an even more awful sequel to it. Said crossover franchise has had a healthy life in video games, though. She finally signed back on with Alien: Isolation because she thought it genuinely added something new to the franchise.
  • God Never Said That: After Neill Blomkamp and Sigourney Weaver made ambiguous comments about the fifth film being a followup to the second movie in early 2015, sites began reporting that that the fifth movie was going to finally decanonize the controversial 3 and Resurrection-—long regarded as Fanon Discontinuity by many fans. Blomkamp eventually clarified that his statements had been taken out of context, and that the 3rd and 4th films were still canon, but concept art of an adult Newt makes the validity of that statement questionable - though Sigorney Weaver's statement that the fifth film would take place in an alternate timeline clears the issue.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: As everybody knows, Weyland-Yutani is a combination of motoring conglomerate British Leyland and generic Japanese. Ah, British Leyland, that pride of the nation, a household name for decades and trailblazer for the world, such an unstoppable industrial force would surely spread its Mega-Corp tentacles across the galaxy for sci-fi centuries to come. Thing is, this film was released in 1979 and British Leyland went bankrupt in 1975. For Britons, the fall of a once proud company was the ultimate symbol of Britain's postwar decline—at least, if you're old enough to have heard of the company in the first place. For Americans, two words—General Motors. Oh, and Japan tanked in the '90s too. But the Asian half of the equation is fine. In 2009, the shattered remnants of British Leyland went bankrupt one last time—and were bought out by the Chinese.
  • Image Source: This franchise provides the page image for (those for the other films are listed on their respective Trivia pages):
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The "Aliens" Mod for Quake was killed by Fox lawyers (creating the term "Foxed" for that situation), but of course that didn't stop it from being available online for many years afterwards.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The franchise has had various special edition releases with unique items over the years, including a "Facehugger" VHS boxset in 1993 (which had copies of the first two films and The Making of Alien 3, pins, a t-shirt and a pass to the Alien War UK attraction), the "Alien Legacy" boxset in the late 90's (which had special collector cards and a mail-in offer for a bonus DVD), the "Alien Quadrilogy", which included the then-newly restored Assembly Cut for the third film and a boatload of extras, and the "Alien Anthology", which includes almost all the extras from all the preceding special edition boxset releases - with an optional collector's edition packaged in a model case designed by Sideshow Collectibles.
  • Quote Source: Space Isolation Horror
  • Trope Namer: These movies named the following tropes:
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Ridley Scott was going to make the third Alien movie, but passed on it when FOX announced they were going to make Alien vs. Predator. When he returned to the franchise with Prometheus, he deliberately made the AVP duology Canon Discontinuity.
    • There were brief talks of James Cameron's interest in writing a script for a possible Alien 5 with Ridley Scott interested in directing, but Fox chose to focus on AVP: Alien vs. Predator instead.
    • Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection nearly became Canon Discontinuity during the writing of Alien: Sea of Sorrows, before 20th Century Fox changed their mind and had the author revise the book to reference the events of the films. Rumors proclaimed that the fifth film was going to decanonize them, but Blomkamp himself debunked the rumors, saying his comments were being taken out of context.
    • Neill Blomkamp's fifth Alien film. Blomkamp had been making conceptual art in his free time as a possible but unlikely film pitch since Fox didn't even know about his ideas. When the art was released on the internet, Fox surprisingly took interest and hired him for the project. However, the film was put on hold pending Alien: Covenant, Blomkamp has moved on to other projects, and Ridley Scott has stated he intends to retain creative control of the franchise until he dies. Scott eventually stated that Blomkamp's film — titled ''Alien: Awakening — didn't develop beyond a basic outline and was ultimately scrapped by FOX.
      • Many fans have theorized that the Zygote short film Blomkamp released in 2017 retained many elements that he had originally planned to include in Alien 5. The most obvious signs are the two main characters being Expies of Hicks and Newt who are forced to fight and flee from an alien abomination. It's also been noted how the actress portraying the heroine of the short film, Dakota Fanning, was a perfect match for an older Newt.
    • Of all the places, the Disney Theme Parks intended to make the franchise into a ride at Tomorrowland involving a Xenomorph being accidentally released into a confined spaceship with the guests. Due to some of the management not wanting to associate with an R-rated movie (a move they've since gone back on), changes were made at the last minute to create The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, such as using an original species that was a vague Xenomorph expy. Another idea that had also been considered was a Light Gun Game ride where guests would take aim at Xenomorphs invading a spaceship, but this too never came to be. Alien was finally able to make it into the Disney parks in 1989, when it was included among the many scenes of The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. However, the ride was closed in 2017, leaving the franchise without any sort of theme park presence once again.
  • The Wiki Rule: There's the Alien Anthology Wiki, which can be found here. There's also Xenopedia.

Trivia for the first film:

  • Ability over Appearance: The script was written so that any character could be played by either a woman or man. The filmmakers originally wanted a guy for Ripley, but Sigourney Weaver owns the role.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: According to Sigourney Weaver, Lambert in the original script was the Deadpan Snarker of the group and also the Only Sane Man - who wouldn't crack up until the end. Veronica Cartwright made her into more of a Woobie, to give the audience someone to sympathise with.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Approval of God: On the 25th of March 2019, the North Bergen High School drama club of New Jersey staged a stage-play adaptation of Alien, with a total cast and crew of 16 students and 3 teachers working off a budget of $3500. The teachers and students admitted to have cobbled the sets and space-suits out of "essentially trash" (with the Alien itself made out of a clearance-shop skeleton dolled up with machine parts, not unlike the original Alien). The stage-play became a viral sensation on Twitter and social media, even going as far as earning the approval and respect of Sigourney Weaver, screenwriter Dan O'Bannon and Ridley Scott themselves. The latter even offered to fund future matinees, such was the demand for an encore performance.
  • Billing Displacement: Tom Skeritt (Dallas) is billed above Sigourney Weaver in the credits, as Ridley Scott did not want to spoil the fact that Ripley was going to be the lone survivor of the Nostromo. Of course, the existence of the sequels make this impossible now. Skeritt was also the biggest name in the film at the time of it's release, while Sigourney Weaver was an unknown with a handful of minor credits.
  • Cast the Expert: Sigourney Weaver was originally cast as Lambert, while Veronica Cartwright was going to play Ripley. At the last minute, their roles were switched. Cartwright didn't find out until she went to a costume fitting.
  • Darkhorse Casting: Prior to this, Sigourney Weaver had only minor parts in a couple of films and primarily acted onstage.
  • Defictionalization: To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film, Reebok introduced a limited edition 'Alien Stomper' boot based on the shoes that Ripley wears.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • From near the end of the film, as Ripley comes across Dallas while setting up the ship's destruction, going through the process of being turned into another egg and finishing the explanation of the aliens' life cycle. Ridley Scott loved the idea, but found that the scene was too much of a speed bump in the middle of the climax.
    • One where the alien sneaks up on Lambert as she cleans some machinery, deleted because the "crab walk" Belaji Bedejo did for it looked ridiculous in the Alien suit.
    • Many others, most (including the "Ripley finds the nest" scene) restored in the "Director's Cut."
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • The scene where the chestburster erupts from Kane's chest at dinner. The actors knew in theory what was about to happen but had not been told any specifics. For example, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood; her horrified "Oh, God!" is completely genuine. The blood was also not fake. This is all confirmed on the Collector's Edition release of the DVD. This Guardian article has some of the cast and crew reminiscing about the filming of the scene.
      • It's slightly more nuanced than that: the actors (except for John Hurt) only found out on the day what was going to happen, and it actually took two false starts to get the creature to burst through the fabric of Kane's shirt, so by the time they got the shot, they were on the third take and they all knew that the creature was going to burst out of his chest. There were also visible tubs of gore and guts all over the set, so it was pretty obvious that they were going to be a part of it too. What they weren't preferred for was the sheer volume of blood that was going to be sprayed; Veronica Cartwright happened to be unlucky enough to be standing directly in the track of one of the blood hoses, and got a load of it in the face, hence her reaction. So it was part acting, and part genuine disgust and horror.
    • Veronica Cartwright really slapped Sigourney Weaver. That wasn't just a sound effect, and Weaver's recoil and look of shock is genuine. According to the actress in the DVD commentary, she was fed up with Sigourney, who at that point had acted only on the stage and so was not used to pretending to get hit, instinctively flinching away from the slap and so, after numerous failed takes, was given the direction to "really hit her," and so aimed for Sigourney, anticipating the flinch, and Sigourney flinched right into the backswing. Cartwright didn't intend to make contact with force that resulted.
    • Ridley Scott placed a veiled cage with a German Shepherd in front of Jones the Cat, and unveiled it when he shouted "Action!!" Hence when The Alien rose up behind Brett like a phallic gargoyle, the menacing hissing of fear from the poor kitty cat was real.
    • In a lesser known example, Ridley Scott made sure that Bolaji Badejo (the man who played the Alien in most of the scenes) did not take tea or lunch breaks with the rest of the cast so their fear of the alien would be more genuine.
    • Yaphet Kotto did a lot of improv acting. Scott played along with it, and advised him to antagonize Sigourney Weaver, so their conflict later in the film would be more believable. When Ripley yells at Parker to "SHUT UP!" after Dallas's death, Weaver already had to listen to Kotto talking over her dialogue dozens of times. Having come mostly from stage, Weaver wasn't used to improv at all, and Kotto (at Scott's insistence) pushed her into actually asserting authority over the remaining cast.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • According to the audio commentary, Ash as a character did not exist in the original concept at all, and was added during production. This annoyed Dan O'Bannon, thinking it an unnecessary and distracting diversion from the main plot, though the Ron Shusett and Ridley Scott thought it a good twist. This is especially noticeable in the commentary (spliced together from several seperately-recorded commentaries) where Scott and Shusett are very complimentary of the idea, adding a new dimension to the story and basically creating the rest of the franchise (to the point where Weyland-Yutani doing something stupid to try and get or study the Xenomorphs is almost painfully cliche), where the nicest thing O'Bannon can say about it is that "it's a bad twist done well."
    • Another big one was Ridley Scott wanting the final scene where Ripley was giving the last report of the ship and her crew to be the alien using Ripley's voice. The suits really had to fight him on that one.
  • Fan Nickname: Space Jockey—the alien pilot aboard the derelict ship—extended to the rest of his race, as well. Derived from a name used by the film crew; in the canon, it's never named. In Prometheus they're called the "Engineers".
    • The adult creature is sometimes dubbed "Kane's Son", after a line used by Ash.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Ridley Scott cited 2001: A Space Odyssey and A New Hope as inspiration for the film's depicition of space, while The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 inspired the horror element.
  • Jossed: One common story is that "Weyland" and "Yutani" were the names of two of Ridley Scott's neighbors whom he didn't like. However, this isn't the case. Ron Cobb, the designers of the movie came up with the name "Weyland-Yutani":
    ...Weyland Yutani for instance is almost a joke, but not quite. I wanted to imply that poor old England is back on its feet and has united with the Japanese, who have taken over the building of spaceships the same way they have now with cars and supertankers. In coming up with a strange company name I thought of British Leyland and Toyota, but we couldn't use "Leyland-Toyota" in the film. Changing one letter gave me "Weyland," and "Yutani" was a Japanese neighbor of mine.
  • Looping Lines: To cut around a lengthy deleted subplot involving a second attempt to flush the alien out the airlock and Dallas's missing access card, there's a bad dub moment where Sigourney Weaver says "I have access to MOTHER now and I'll get my own answers" over an absolutely riveting shot of her forehead and the back of Ash's head.
  • Orphaned Reference: Kane's line pondering the fate of the Derelict crew would've been answered in the film's finale, when it is revealed the creature mutates its victims into eggs. Thus, the eggs in the Derelict's cargo hold are the crew. But the infamous "eggmorphing" scene was deleted from the theatrical cut and its canonicity is doubtful, orphaning Kane's unintentional foreshadowing and leaving a gap in the creature's lifecycle that wouldn't be filled until the sequel.
  • The Other Marty: Jon Finch had been cast in the role of Kane, but had fallen very ill due to his diabetes and was replaced by John Hurt.
  • Referenced by...:
  • Shoot the Money: Averted. The huge Space Jockey in its "pilot chair" was built by artist H. R. Giger for a lot of money and was used only in one scene. Then again, 30 years later it inspired a film of its own. The studio actually wanted to cut the scene for precisely this reason, it being a big, expensive set that would only be shot once, but Ridley convinced them to keep it, arguing that it elevated the film beyond just a monster terrorizing a bunch of people.
  • Star-Making Role: For Sigourney Weaver.
  • Throw It In!: There is a long-shot late in the film during the confrontation between Ash and Ripley where the camera tracks with Ash. The camera actually knocks into some of the chimes hanging from the ceiling before Ash passes by them, and the sound and visible swinging of them is clear in the final cut. That take gives a sense of Ash projecting menace beyond the confines of his own body.
  • Troubled Production:
    • It had a smoother production than most of its sequels, but not an entirely trouble-free one. Most of the problems that did occur were in pre-production, firstly when the producers were having trouble finding a studio to back the film, and then when looking for a director. They were initially keen to hire Robert Aldrich, but when they actually met him, they were dismayed to find that he didn't give a shit at all about their vision and was just looking for a quick paycheck. Several more directors passed on the project, and producer Walter Hill considered directing it himself before a sample of Ridley Scott's work just happened to pass his desk.
    • Production itself was relatively smooth, the main problems being friction between the producers and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon (who didn't like that Hill had rewritten the screenplay to have more gritty and realistic dialogue), and the visual effects team being sorely under-funded and under-equipped, which resulted in cinematographer Derek Vanlint having to gather up all his lighting equipment and lend it to the VFX team at the end of each day. Additionally, Jerry Goldsmith composed a substantial amount of music for the film, only for Scott to throw most of it out and have the finished product largely unscored while replacing some of the music with a Howard Hanson composition and tracking in Goldsmith's music from Freud, enraging Goldsmith and resulting in the two not working together again until Legend (1985) (where the music was also screwed with).
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Harrison Ford turned down the role of Captain Dallas.
    • Ridley Scott wanted to cast Meryl Streep as Ripley. However, Streep's boyfriend John Cazale had just died, and it was felt it would be inappropriate to approach her about the part.
    • Helen Mirren auditioned for a role (most likely Ripley).
    • Ridley Scott and some of the cast mention in the audio commentary that he had the idea that casual sex happened between any and all members of the group regardless of sex, and that, in hindsight, he would have liked to show a homosexual relationship. A scene related to this would have been a conversation between Ripley and Lambert, one clarifying that they had either had sex or been solicited for sex by every man on the ship except Ash, as a way of foreshadowing that he is, in fact, an android. Related to the above example, there were talks of a lesbian relationship between Ripley and Lambert. The novelization by Alan Dean Foster, based on earlier screenplay edits, strengthens the casual sex implications by including a scene where Ripley directly asks Lambert if she slept with Ash. Lambert replies that she hadn't, but only because Ash didn't seem interested.
    • The original script had a Downer Ending where the alien kills Ripley, then imitates her voice in a call to Earth, indicating it's headed there next. Scott was persuaded that the film was horrific enough without it.
    • Another change from the script was that originally, Ripley was unable to abort the self-destruct sequence because the engine core meltdown had already begun. In the finished film, Ripley misses the cut-off point by a matter of seconds, and Mother simply refuses to abort the sequence, leading to a furious Ripley smashing Mother's computer monitor.
    • More nudity was going to be in the film, with the characters often walking around naked to show how comfortable they are with each other. Ripley was supposed to be nude when she changes into the spacesuit at the end - and the alien was even going to be Distracted by the Sexy for a moment. But producers were worried that the film would be banned in other countries, and insisted Ripley be wearing underwear.
    • Here is Dan O'Bannon's original concept art for the creature that terrorised the Nostromo.
    • There was going to be a scene where the alien uses a human shield against a flamethrower, and a line where one crew-member describes the beheading of another as "horrible, like a chicken".
  • The Wiki Rule: Xenopedia has information on Alien, Predator, and Alien vs. Predator. The Weyland-Yutani Wiki covers the same material, including works inspired by Alien.
  • Word of God: Ridley Scott mentions on the DVD Commentary that Ash is a Replicant.
  • Working Title: The film was known as Star Beast in its earliest stages. When the writer went through the script he saw characters constantly referring to the Alien, and then the title came out at him, noting that it is both a noun and an adjective.


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