Aliens: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts From James Cameron’s Sci-Fi Action Sequel

Aliens: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts From James Cameron's Sci-Fi Action Sequel
Written by Publishing team

In July 1986, James Cameron unleashed Aliensthe action-packed thrilling sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic Alien and showed how a fresh set of eyes, a unique idea, and some practical magic could open up a universe bursting at the seams with lore waiting to be explored. The successful summer blockbuster introduced audiences to not only a new Xenomorph but an entire army of the ferocious aliens led by a massively terrifying queen, while also bringing back the legendary scream queen Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley.

The story of Aliens doesn’t begin with the film’s release, but instead much earlier as the following behind-the-scenes facts show. This assortment of stories from essentially every part of the production process has something for longtime fans of the landmark sci-fi action flick and newcomers alike.

Carrie Henn and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

James Cameron Had A Rather Unorthodox Way Of Pitching The Title Aliens

One of the most talked about urban legends surrounding the making of Aliens is the story of James Cameron’s pitch meeting with 20th Century Fox where he wrote out his preferred title, but instead of having an “S” on the end, the cheeky director replaced the final letter with a “$” sign. Cameron confirmed this legendary story during a December 2021 interview with CinemaBlend. Basically, Cameron felt the movie needed to have a pluralized title because there would be an “army” of aliens instead of just one, and he added the “$” sign at the end as his way of saying the movie would be a success.

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

20th Century Fox Was Initially Hesitant To Bring Sigourney Weaver Back As Ellen Ripley

Given Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of Ellen Ripley in Alien and her star-power at the time, you would think that securing the actress for Aliens was a top priority for 20th Century Fox. However, the truth (which in this case is stranger than fiction) is probably not what you expected to hear. In an excerpt from JW Rinzler’s 2020 book The Making of Aliens (via SyFy Wire), it is revealed that there was a lot of “studio resistance” to casting Weaver because Fox was afraid of the large fee the actress would require. But Weaver was eventually cast to play the lead, and was reportedly paid roughly $1 million plus a percentage of box office profits, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn in Aliens

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

James Cameron Tried To Find A Balance Between An Homage To Alien And Making His Own Movie

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