Four Deleted Scenes from Aliens (1986)

aliens 1986 title

“You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t seem them fucking each other over a
goddamn percentage.”

After the success of my website’s most viewed post from a few years back, Three Important Scenes Deleted from Alien, I wanted to follow-up with an entry chronicling four important scenes omitted from the theatrical cut of James Cameron’s Aliens…a film so powerful that it has fans arguing that it’s the only sequel in a franchise to surpass the original in greatness.

Before the release of Aliens in 1986, James Cameron removed over 20 minutes of footage bringing the theatrical run-time to 137 minutes. Five years following Cameron decided to reinsert over 17 minutes of deleted footage back into Aliens creating the Aliens Special Edition.

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While I’ve seen both the theatrical cut and director’s cut, the latter doesn’t differ heavily from the former…certainly not nearly as drastic as  Alien³: The Assembly Cut. The advantage of this theatrical cut is all about the pacing of the film – it flows smoothly and quickly…exactly what studio execs wanted.

My preference? There are aspects of the director’s cut that I find could have been beneficial to keeping, while others deserved to be left on the cutting room floor. Personally, I prefer the theatrical cut.

Sigorney Weaver’s preference? She threatened to never shoot an Alien film again if the longer director’s cut was not released.

Here are four scenes that didn’t make it in the theatrical cut.

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alien 1986 deleted scene
1. Ripley’s Daughter

Right? Ellen Ripley actually had a family  back home on Earth. In the scene that was cut, Ripley asks Burke about her daughter within the first 10 minutes of the movie. Burke hands her a photograph of an old woman, her daughter, who passed away two years prior at the age of 67. Distraught and frustrated, Ripley whispers that she promised her daughter she’d be home before her 11th birthday before leaving on the Nostromo.

The significance? This is Ripley’s main motivation for getting involved in the mission; everything she had left on Earth is gone. She’s got nothing, but this potential mission. It also offers great insight on why she was maternally driven to save Newt.

hadley's hope
2. Hadley’s Hope

Hadley’s Hope is what we call the ‘shake and bake colony; it was a human terraforming, research and mining colony that was established on LV-426 in 2157 maintaining a population of 158 colonists.

While it was riddled with tumultuous winds and electrical storms (keeping colonists primarily indoors), it also became subject to an infestation problem…xenomorphs.

In this omitted scene in the beginning of the movie, we’re introduced to Newt and her family who uncover, at Burke’s orders, the derelict spacecraft from the first movie. Newt and her brother wait in the vehicle while her mother and father go explore the spacecraft, only to come back with a facehugger attached to her father’s face.

I’m still debating whether or not this key should have been omitted or not, but I’m leaning more toward yes. NOT knowing what happened to Hadley’s Hope is key to the suspense. It shows us how Hadley’s Hope got infested with the xenomorph species, but knowing less provides more terror to the introduction of the colony.

alien 1986 deleted scene3. Sentry Guns in Tunnel

Toward the middle of the movie, Vasquez and Hudson set up the A and B sentry guns in the service tunnel to serve as a defense. The sentry guns are motion detected, so when xenomorphs approach their sealed compound, they’re blown to bits.

 Should this scene have been omitted? I personally would have kept it in the theatrical cut, because it adds an immense amount of tension as the bullets drop until completely empty. It makes their situation more heart-racing and dire.

burke cocooned deleted scene4. Burke Coocooned

Probably the most famous deleted scene in the movie is the fate of Burke. In every cut of the film, Burke meets his fate by encountering a xenomorph looking scared as all hell, but the scene cuts and that’s the last we see of him.

In the deleted scene, Ripley is frantically looking for Newt when she comes across Burke, still alive, cocooned and begging her to kill him. “Ripley, Help me…please, help…oh, God…it’s inside me….” Ripley hands him a grenade and the rest is history.

According to SciFied, “this deleted scene was included with the Alien Anthology Blu ray set finally giving fans the change to see the scene after years of waiting. Cameron didn’t like the scene, and so it was never used.”

Is this scene necessary? It gives the audience some serious closure with the despicable Burke. I mean…this entire movie’s plot falls at the fault of his greed and corruption, so it only makes sense to see him get what he deserves. For pacing purposes, I can understand why the scene was ultimately cut.

What do you think about these deleted scenes? Did I miss any?

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32 thoughts on “Four Deleted Scenes from Aliens (1986)”

  1. Great post! I would’ve liked to have seen the one about Ripley’s daughter in the film. It’s another layer for an amazing character.

  2. Thanks for your take on those deleted scenes! Those cocoon scenes are eerie. The first two Alien films are definitely the best.

    On a side note, I happened to hear on the radio that 26th April is Alien Day. Apparently there was a Q and A by the cast of Alien: Covenant to mark the occasion, which is on youtube.

  3. I think that scene with Ripley’s daughter should be kept in, it added a lot. Also comparing with the stuff cut from Prometheus and the fact they are putting elements from Covenant only in viral marketing and not in the actual movie it really shows the superiority of those older flicks

    1. sadly people are idiots and dont realize how superior the first two films are. Plus Ridley is destroying the first film. How is it with Prometheus there was so much tech and in Alien there was hardly any. If Alien had that type of software like holograms and such they could have known alot more about the alien on board

  4. Thanks Courtney for this great post. I had no idea about the Burke death scene. I first watched Aliens as the director’s cut version so probably have a heavy bias to it. I think the scenes about Ripley’s daughter are important for the character and the sentry guns explain why the Aliens leave them alone for a bit. I would say keep them all in as we know the Aliens are going to be there anyway when the Marines are sent. The earlier scenes with the colony I would keep too. We know the aliens are going to be there and how the colony is remains a mystery that we discover with the Marines. It also shows a little of what was lost in terms of all those people dead and Newt’s family. If there is a scene I would cut though it is probably that one and for the reasons you put forward. Good post.

  5. Great post! Loved watching the missing scene with Newt’s parents and what really happened to them. The one with Ripley’s daughter… very much like Interstellar… earth and space time proportions. Ripley remains almost the same age while her daughter’s passing at 67. Right?

  6. The last time I watched Aliens it was the extended director’s cut and, prior to that, I probably hadn’t seen the movie in several years. Having read this post I’ve come to realize that I took all of those scenes you’ve mentioned at face value, not remembering they were not in the original theatrical cut with the ONLY exception of Burke’s death, which I recalled being left to audience’s imagination the first time around.
    As the Alien franchise fan that I am, I can say that I’m in agreement with you in that the theatrical cut is the better version of the film. I believe the only scene that should have been added was the one when Ripley’s confronts the fact that her daughter has passed away. Having said that, I think the scene could have been handled a little differently. Even so, it could have added an emotional backstory that explains Ripley’s utmost desire to save and protect Newt.

    Great post on Alien Day! I was lucky enough to catch the original film in a theater nearby. I had never seen the film on the big screen. It was a great experience! (plus I got a limited edition ticket!)

    1. Thanks for commenting! I was lucky enough to see Alien on the big screen LAST Alien Day. It’s great on the big screen. It seems that everyone who has commented here is in mutual agreement that James Cameron should have kept the bit about her daughter in the film…it’s such a fascinating element to add to the plot and to the character.

  7. I dig this post, and am always a fan of well-written Alien franchise stuff.

    As to the scenes, I think all of them are better left out. Each one either distracts from the major themes or completely some suspense.

    Ripley’s daughter scene is fine but unnecessary. We already know about her daughter, and we understand that there isn’t anything holding back on Earth. Later, the surrogate mother role comes to her naturally with Newt, and there is plenty of subtext there to drive home these themes. Hearing the preamble earlier is a bit too on-the-nose.

    The second scene, with Newt’s family, is much worse. As you said, it completely removes the suspense from the early part of the film. The suspense of the xenomorphs, Newt, everything. It is much better just leaving us wondering.

    Gun turrets are fine, but they really do drag the pace down, without adding much. We know there’s lots of xenomorphs, and we know we’re in trouble.

    Burke’s death is just outright unnecessary. There’s no need to give him any kind of redemption or salvation. He’s always acted like an asshole, he should die like an asshole.

      1. Not early in the film like they have in the deleted scene, but later when Ripley and Newt are bonding. I think that it is more effective in the latter scene, and doesn’t really benefit from repetition.

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