The first Alien from 1979 is a masterclass in sci-fi horror that spawned a massive franchise. Despite taking seven years to be released, the sequel, Aliens, directed by James Cameron, is just as effective, but in a different way. Fans of the franchise often debate between Alien and Aliens as to which movie is better.
Aliens was a massive success as well as a massive movie. Due to this, some scenes were left out much to James Cameron’s dismay. Luckily, Aliens did receive an extended cut called the Special Edition, which Cameron has openly admitted is his preferred cut. Quite a few scenes were added into the Special Edition, some of them were so impactful that it’s impossible to return to the theatrical version.
10 Amanda Ripley’s Death
In the theatrical version, the movie kind of glosses over the fact that Ripley spent decades drifting in space. Well, the Special Edition tackles the subject with a harsh revelation for Ellen Ripley; her daughter, Amanda, had aged and passed away.
It’s a shocking scene that tugs on heartstrings. It is easy to see why this scene was cut; they didn’t want to depress the viewers in the first act. However, the scene became so infamous that Amanda Ripley got her own spin-off with Alien: Isolation.
9 Hadley’s Hope
Another glossed over detail in the theatrical version, the colony of Hadley’s Hope is given no establishment. In the Special Edition, Cameron gives a glimpse at the colony as it was before the Xenomorph infestation. It shows workers and families all living together, a way to show how many will perish.
Of course, Cameron puts emphasis on that Weyland-Yutani logo with the tagline “Building Better Worlds.” It’s a bit of irony due to what’s to come to the people of Hadley’s Hope.
8 Newt’s Family
When it comes to cut scenes, this is one of the most confusing cases. The audience actually meets Newt prior to the infestation along with her family. This scene shows Newt, her brother, and her parents surveying LV-426 while glimpsing at their happy relationship.
The scene shows the family discovers the Derelict from the first movie and the parents head inside. Time passes, and the mother bursts in, calling the colony for help as Newt sees her father is the first of the colony to be attached to a face-hugger. Why was it cut? No excuse could be good enough.
7 Inside The Sulaco
In an extended establishing shot of the Colonial Marines in their ship, the Sulaco, Cameron directly tributes the first movie. The camera pans through multiple parts of the dark interior with identical music to the first Alien movie by Ridley Scott.
Cameron essentially recreates the opening establishing shot of the Nostromo, and it’s done well and respectfully. Of course, it ends with a shot of the cryopods waking up thus revealing the iconic Colonial Marines.
6 Hudson’s Bragging
One can never have too much of Hudson. The late actor Bill Paxton’s character remains of the most iconic characters in the franchise. On the drop, down to LV-426, Hudson attempts to show off how “badass” their team and weaponry are.
It further cements that cocky and arrogant attitude of Hudson. This provides even more juxtaposition when he becomes the whiniest marine of the bunch after the Xenomorph ambush. At the same time, the scenes more memorable lines of dialogue to Hudson.
5 Ripley’s Hesitation
When the colonial marines enter the Hadley’s Hope colony, Ripley freezes before ending the building. Hicks asks if she’s okay, and Ripley takes a moment to convince him, as well as herself, that she is.
This scene is pretty quick, but it further solidifies Ripley’s PTSD from the events of the first film. It provides a more realistic side of the character, as anybody would be scared in her shoes. At the same time, Ellen Ripley shows how strong she is by pushing herself forward.
4 Hinting At The Queen
After being ambushed by Xenomorphs, the team has a conversation, expositing that, if these things come from eggs, then what is laying the eggs? In the theatrical version, it ends after Bishop suggests it is something they haven’t seen before, keeping the Queen Xenomorph a mystery.
In the Special Edition, Hudson suggests it’s like an ant hive and that hives usually have a queen. While this dwindles some of the mystery, it also makes first-time viewers try to use their imagination as to what the queen looks like.
3 More Ripley And Newt
The scene about Ripley’s daughter is followed up later in the film. When Ripley tucks Newt into bed, Newt asks about her family and if human babies come the same way as Chestbursters. Ripley, of course, says that it’s very different.
Newt then asks about Ripley’s daughter, which leads to an exchange that, once again, makes the viewers feel sorry for Ripley. There’s also sympathy for Newt in this scene due to how much she’s seen at such a young age.
2 The Sentry Guns
This one is the biggest one because it’s not just one scene, it’s practically an entire subplot. The colonial marines set up drone sentry guns outside their base to keep the Xenomorph horde back. Throughout the second act, the guns are seen monitoring and even work as intended, keeping the aliens at bay.
After Bishop begins his trek through the pipeline, the Xenomorphs attempt to attack a second time. This time, it depletes the sentry guns of ammunition, but the Xenomorphs have vanished. Ripley suggests that they are trying to find another way in, and this leads to Hicks sending out Hudson and Vasquez to scan the perimeter.
1 A Moment Between Ripley And Hicks
Throughout Aliens, there is a hint of romantic interest between Ripley and Michael Biehn’s Hicks. They have several small moments, including an aforementioned added scene. This was mainly shown through Hicks’ teaching Ripley how to use the Pulse Rifle.
In the final act, when Ripley goes off to rescue Newt, a wounded Hicks reintroduces himself by his first name of Dwayne. Ripley does the same with Ellen, further suggesting these two were falling for each other. Dwayne then tells Ellen to not be gone long. It’s a nice exchange, but it’s understandable why it was cut out for time.
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