Renny Harlin on why he “politely” walked away from Alien 3

Renny Harlin said plot and setting disagreements ultimately led to him leaving Alien 3, letting David Fincher step in for his debut.

Alien 3 has a storied history, with shifting writers and directors, studio interference and complete disarray. It’s all well documented and continues to be one of the most faceted “What if?” productions in modern movies. What if William Gibson’s script was used? What if Ridley’s role had been diminished to the point of cameo? What if Renny Harlin had stayed on as director of Alien 3? Well, on the last point, the director wants fans to know that his departure came down to story issues.

Speaking with SlashFilm, Renny Harlin recalled wanting to bring Xenomorphs to Earth for Alien 3, which would have shook up the structure and taken audiences through something they hadn’t yet experienced. “The concept of having these creatures on Earth for the studio, it felt scary and unattainable. For me, it was the natural evolution. We’ve had the Alien with the truck drivers in space, we’ve had Aliens with the Marines in space, and where do we go next? Let’s bring the aliens on Earth and have them going through the cornfield. I had the poster already in my mind with the farmhouse and the cornfield in moonlight, and they are going through the cornfield.” For the record, Harlin thinks the idea of a “prison ship” wasn’t relatable for audiences.

Could Renny Harlin’s idea for Alien 3 have worked? Almost certainly – or it’s at least an intriguing concept – and it would have beat Independence Day to the box office as well. “To this day, I think it would’ve been a ginormous hit movie because it would’ve been the first time anything like that was done. But for whatever reason, the studio felt like, ‘Ah, the audience won’t buy that.’” He added, “I’m not blaming anybody, but for those who don’t know, I worked for a year on Alien 3, and I quit politely, respectfully, because I couldn’t stand the idea of, after Ridley Scott and Jim Cameron, coming up with a movie that is just not going to live up to what the audience is expecting and give them that experience.”

We all know what the end result of Alien 3 was, with Renny Harlin’s departure opening the doors for David Fincher to make his feature debut…for a movie he would hate more than any other he has worked on.

Do you think Renny Harlin’s Alien 3 idea could have genuinely worked? Give us your thoughts below!

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