For a lot of Alien/Aliens fans with Alien 3 they either don't acknowledge it's existence, complain endlessly about how they 'Killed Hicks and Newt' or how they generally hate the film. Alien 3 is a heavily flawed sequel, and with it's confusing and highly continuity errored opening scenes, should not exist. Two recent forum discussions sparked a long winded discussion between myself and a friend who happens to be an Alien 3 hater. But, even though I acknowledge Alien 3 has many flaws and plot holes, from start to finish, I still think the movie is a masterpiece. I love Alien 3 and nothing can or will make me change my mind. My friend can't understand how a fan can acknowledge the films flaws and still be a fan. Believe it or not, I'm not the only one. There are fans all over who, like myself, is obsessed with Alien 3. So, with that said let's take a look at the opening sequence and the errors within it. Not every error, plot hole, continuity error, etc, etc, has been covered in this article. Just some of the more common and most debated issues . Some I've missed out on purpose.
Sulaco Logo: Aliens VS Alien 3
First, you'll notice in the opening is the Sulaco logo difference. The logo of the Sulaco in Aliens is Black, the Sulaco logo in Alien 3 is White. The colour differences of the craft itself also differ even though it's the same model used in both films.
Sulaco From Aliens
Sulaco From Alien 3
Fincher wanted the Sulaco coming towards us from the opposite side of the screen. So, he had the logo repainted in reverse. The original model was only detailed on one side so only the one side could be used. Was it that hard to keep the logo the same even if it was backwards?
Yes, this is blatantly obvious and a real nitpick for Aliens and continuity fans. Fincher wanted a more streamlined look like the tubes seen in Alien as Fincher is a Ridley Scott fan. So the cry-tubes were built differently to the ones we see in Aliens. This, however, causes a further error which I will show you later.
They should have kept the cryo-tubes the same, in my opinion. To state the obvious here, besides keeping in continuity with Aliens, the whole EEV sequence and escape procedure would have been completely different.
The Magic Egg:
This is one of those movie magic moments in Alien 3. We know, from Cameron's version of the life cycle, that the eggs come from a Queen. So without her Egg-Sack is she still capable of laying eggs? Apparently, she can. There are many theories about the origins of the egg, one even involves Bishop putting the egg onboard. Personally, I think that's a bit of a daft theory but some people agree with it. Another is the Queen possessed or had the ability, of laying/carrying an 'emergency egg'. Again with nothing explored in the film or early Hill and Giler drafts, or anywhere else, we will never know. I recommend browsing through alien movie forums and read some of the fan theories instead of me listing them all. The other problem, of course, is just where the hell is it supposed to be? And why is it in the position it's in? Again, no one knows for sure.
How do you solve a problem of the magic egg? Well, if we went with the emergency egg theory, then the one place, I'd of shown and placed the egg would be in the back of the drop ship landing strut where the Queen was hiding towards the end of Aliens. This would have at least, in my opinion, been slightly less confusing and given some, if only a bit, of continuity with the second film.
Who Exactly was the Host?
How is this confusing? It is obvious, right? Well, there is some confusion as to who it was. The reason for the confusion isn't just evident on screen but off screen as well. How? Well, we'll get to that shortly, first, let's take a look at the confusion on screen. Newts cryo-tube glass plate is cracked by the facehugger injuring it causing acid to spill into the floor. Thus causing the electrical fire
Shortly afterwards we see a bio-scan of the facehugger on someone. With the shots of Newt followed by a bio scan shot this, to me anyways, enhances the feeling that Newt is the facehuggers victim. Few more shots later we see Ripley, facehugger-less, having what appears to look like she's having a seizure. Again, this gives the feeling it's Newt. After the intercut of a bolt exploding, we see another shot of facehugger-less Ripley. This time with her cryo-tube glass plate cracked open.
This is the first indication so far that Ripley is the facehugger's victim. However, we know this already from later in the film right? Sure, this is true. Both Ripley and Newt's cryo-tubes slide into the EEV, neither of them has a facehugger attached to them.
Production stills of Ripley's cryo-tube cracked open are everywhere. which to me shows that she was the facehuggers choice, besides what we learn from the film. Even so, the opening sequence for many doesn't give that impression. Neither Ripley nor Newt is seen with a facehugger on them. The only evidence is again, besides that we already know Ripley is impregnated later in the film, is the bio-scan of the facehugger. Even as the EEV is launched there's no sign of a facehugger on either of them. Some fans say that the opening sequence isn't shown in real-time and the evacuation process took longer than we saw. No offence, but I don't buy that one I'm afraid. Fire spreads quickly, I've also seen this with my own eyes, and the Sulacos verbal warning says:
Stasis interrupted, fire in cryogenic compartment, repeat, fire in cyrogenic compartment, all personnel report to emergency escape vehicle launch of deep space lifeboat will commence in t-minus 20 seconds.
At the start of the ships warning we see the bio scan shot of the facehugger on one of them, so we know that within 20 seconds the cryo-tubes are to be loaded into the EEV. After the warning, we see a shot of Ripley minus a facehugger. So the impregnation time period is INCREDIBLY short, too short, movie magic for ya folks! Technically, one of them should have had the facehugger attached them as the cryo-tubes were loaded into the EEV. When we see Newt's cryotube after the EEV crash, you can see the crack in her glass plate is narrow and probably isn't big enough for the facehugger to crawl through. So besides the very, very, very quick impregnation period and host confusion, there is also, as stated earlier, some other factors off screen which say it's Newt.
Firstly, here's an excerpt from the December 1990 draft:
An unfilmed sequence after the EEV crash, Newt drowns. The Queen embryo emerges from her mouth and climbs inside Ripley. This is not only scripted but is also featured in the Alien 3 movie adaption comic.
When you watch the opening sequence, it's not hard to see why people get confused. As shown on screen we know someone is facehugged but we only see the bio-scan of it. It doesn't show the viewer just who except hints of. As you know, it's not until later we learn about Ripley's Queen embryo, so we then know it's her. However, wait, there are two hosts! How is this?
OK, we know from the opening that a regular facehugger is on board right? Yet Ripley is impregnated and then so is a Dog/OX. How is this possible? The original intention was to have, what is referred as, a super facehugger. This facehugger is larger than a normal facehugger. It has webbed fingers and a skeletal structure resembling the queen. This super facehugger is supposed to have the ability to lay two embryos, one being a queen the other being a normal embryo. We don't see this super facehugger in the Theatrical cut of the film, but we see a short glimpse of it in the Assembly cut. This adds confusion even further and gives the impression, there were two facehuggers on board the Sulaco and EEV.
What is made worse is, in the Theatrical cut of Alien 3, after the EEV crash we later see spike the dog barking inside the wrecked EEV at a facehugger. This, again, is a regular looking facehugger. Was this the same facehugger that got Ripley? Why isn't it dead? Were there two huggers? We know that this facehugger attacks Spike, but because it looks like a regular facehugger some people are left thinking there were two facehuggers. Alternatively, you just have to assume this one can lay two embryos as that's the impression others get from it. Even so, this isn't explored in the film! When Ripley asks Bishop, "Was there 'AN' Alien on board," Bishop says yes, AN, to me, meaning singular. So what gives??? After reading all this you've probably come up with your own theories and explanations. If it was left to me, I'd of kept the super facehugger from the start and shown it in the opening sequence. I'd of also kept the bio-scan of the facehugger but minus the shots of Ripley or Newt's face, leaving it a mystery. Daft, I hear you say, yes your right. I'd also have the EEV drift for 24 hours, (or later as in the Alan Dean Foster novel) being a deep-space lifeboat, before reaching the atmosphere of Fury 161, so we would have had enough time for an embryo impregnation.
No Weapons on the EEV?:
Why wasn't there any weapons on the EEV? I mean it's a military vessel so you'd assume there would be at least a knife, pistol or Pulse Rifle as part of a survival kit. It was Sigourney Weaver, who slowed things down a little during pre-production as she didn't want any guns in Alien 3. So if there were no weapons on the prison planet that meant the EEV wouldn't feature any either. If there were weapons on board the EEV, then the prisoners would have had access to them, if they had looked or even found them, with a weapon, they could have or would have used it on the Alien, or worse.
This isn't a carefully thought out or well-written article I know, but it was just to give you a general idea of the opening sequence plot holes, confusion and technicalities. I still love Alien 3 regardless!