While preparing for the premiere of the latest film in the Alien franchise, Ridley Scott was recently asked to look back at the 1979 movie that started it all, and gave us a hero for the ages. Entertainment Weekly sat down with the director to discuss the rumored original ending for Alien, which Scott seemed to delight in despite its being so bleak. By now, most of us are familiar with the original film’s conclusion, which saw Ripley best the Xenomorph before heading into a well-deserved cryo-slumber with the ship’s cat, Jones. As it turns out, Scott initially wanted to end things on an even bloodier note: “I thought that the alien should come in, and Ripley harpoons it and it makes no difference, so it slams through her mask and rips her head off.”

The only thing that would have made that sadder would have been to see the alien decapitate poor little Jones, too. But, despite its bleakness, that ending would still have effectively set up future films, as Scott says he would have cut to a scene of the alien working the dashboard, which would “mimic Captain Dallas [Tom Skerritt] saying, ‘I’m signing off.’” Scott says a 20th Century Fox executive flipped out and threatened to fire him after learning about the original ending, which is why things ended on a happier note. But there’s no way of knowing who, if anyone, will survive when Alien: Covenant makes its way into the ship’s ventilation shafts on May 19. (We’re hoping it’s Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride, though.)

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