Next week marks the 25th Anniversary of the controversial sci-fi sequel Alien 3, which was both the feature directorial debut of a talented young man named David Fincher, but also showed the controversial death of Sigourney Weaver’s iconic character Ellen Ripley. While it remains to be seen how many fans will actually be celebrating this anniversary, since it is considered by many to be the worst Alien movie in the series, the visual effects company Studio ADI dug into their vault to unearth some rare behind-the-scenes footage from a crucial scene in Alien 3. Here’s how Studio ADI describes this video in the YouTube description.
“Alien 3 celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, and to celebrate we present this gem from deep within the VHS vault, footage from the prep and rehearsals of the Bishop puppet shoot complete with direction from David Fincher. Despite the aged quality of the video, it’s still an interesting watch demonstrating the collaboration between director and effects crew on set.”
This six-minute YouTube video gives us a close-up look at the amazing animatronic head that Studio ADI made, featuring the mangled visage of Lance Henriksen‘s Bishop. The video shows how these animatronic puppeteers match up the facial movements with the pre-recorded lines from Lance Henriksen. While we never actually see him in the video, we can hear David Fincher delivering precise direction, including when the puppet’s eyes should be open or closed, and where the animatronic puppet should be looking while certain lines are being delivered.
Alien 3 was not a huge hit at the box office, earning $55.4 million domestically and $159.8 million worldwide, from a $50 million budget. Sigourney Weaver revealed in an interview that it was her decision to kill off Ellen Ripley, because she heard the studio wanted to make the spin-off Alien vs. Predator next, and that “really depressed” her. The Alien vs. Predator movie was eventually made, but not until 2004, along with the follow-up Aliens. vs. Predator Requiem in 2007. Despite being killed off in Alien 3, 20th Century Fox brought back Ripley in 1997’s Alien Resurrection, which only earned $47.7 million domestically and $161.3 million worldwide, from a $75 million budget.
20th Century Fox was set to give Ripley a proper ending with Alien 5, but that project is now dead as the studio focuses on their Alien prequel universe. Alien: Covenant, which is set 10 years after the events of Prometheus, will hit theaters this weekend, with director Ridley Scott recently revealing that he is planning six more Alien movies in total. While we wait for more from this iconic franchise, take a look at this six minute video that goes behind-the-scenes of Alien 3.