As most fans of the Alien franchise know, the production of this film was such a disorganized shambles, that it resulted in this being the worst sequel in the "Alien" saga, if not one of the worst films of 1992. The film was initially granted a budget of $35,000,000, but this figure quickly spiralled out of control to almost double that, due to problematic directors and constant script rewrites.
The problems first started when the producers Walter Hill, David Giler and Gordon Carrol originally hired SF novelist William Gibson to submit a script. However, his plot, which was set on a space station orbiting earth, was rejected on the basis that it was too much like the original.
Writer Eric Red was then hired to write a script and action movie director Renny Harlin hired to film it. But Harlin hated Red's story, set in a colony of redneck farmers, so much that he quit. David Twoy was then asked to write a new script, which he set on a prison planet, and Vincent Ward was hired to direct. But Ward wanted to set the film in a monastery, so, John Fasano was then hired by 20th Century Fox to write Ward's version, telling Twoy (who was busy re-writing) that Fasano's plot was for Alien 4.
Greg Pruss was then hired to re-write Fasano's script, but quit after finding director Ward too difficult to work with. John Fasano then returned to re-write his own script, but his partnership with director Ward went sour and so Ward quit , even as sets were being constructed in the studios.
David Fincher was then hired to direct, with Larry Ferguson brought in to re-write Fasano's monks script. Unfortunately, Ferguson's treatment of Ripley's character was not liked by actress Sigourney Weaver, and so Ferguson left. With production stalled and costs mounting, producers Hill and Giller decided to do an emergency re-write to try and straighten the script out. This combined Twoy's prison planet script with the religious elements of Fasano's.
Rex Picket was then hired to re-write the second half of Hill and Giller's script. But Picket didn't like the producers efforts, favouring the inputs by director Fincher over theirs, so was subsequently sacked. Sigourney Weaver apparently thought the Hill/Giller script was fine as it was, but Fincher had reservations and fought with the producers for 2 months over the script, as well as complaining about the budgetary constrictions.
With the shooting schedule over running, due to Fincher being busy filming his "perfectionist" Alien 3. 20th Century Fox sent in a trouble shooter to investigate the spiralling production costs. Upon viewing the rough cut they pulled the plug, sending Fincher and crew back home.
Then, during post production, the producers drew up an extensive list of re-shoots, but budgetary restrictions and Sigourney Weaver's refusal to shave her head again resulted in this option being cancelled. The ending was one of the major problems in this, as it was coincidentally similar to Terminator 2.
The film is unfortunately a shining example of the fact that
$65,000,000, which was the final production cost, does not a
good movie make. Fortunately though, the fourth film "Alien :
Resurrection" was a much, much better entry in the Alien saga, and
director David Fincher went onto have better success with the horror
film "SEVEN". It was just a pity that this film was such dismal
Note - The information on this page was based on an article that appeared in the UK edition of Aliens comic by Dark Horse publications in 1992. Subsequent interviews with the cast and crew have all provided conflicting accounts of these events and who wrote what. However, I have been able to corroborate much of this info on the IMDB and so I believe this article is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate.