New H.R. Giger concept art for Alien 3 shows us that while the general design is the same, the alien would have been approached in an entirely new manner. Apparently, while Giger was proud of the original xenomorph design, he hated the look of the inner mouth, which had been a suggestion from Ridley Scott. Almost hilariously, Giger didn’t think it was phallic enough, but mostly said that it didn’t feel as organic as he had wanted.
So when redesigning the creature for David Fincher’s Alien 3 he decided to do away with the second mouth completely. In its place, he crafted something that was similar to a second tail, a sort of spear-like appendage that would act in a similar manner to a barbed tongue. It’s certainly a more phallic image, and with that being Giger’s whole approach, I assume he was happy with the design. It’s a change, but this was a new xenomorph in Alien 3. It was a creature we had never seen before. To be honest, I wouldn’t have minded a spear tongue. I think it’s interesting and provides a fresh take on a creature that was already over ten years old at the time.
Having grown bored with the creature having become such a traditional monster lurking in the shadows and having a bit of creative input on the production, Giger wanted to stray away from the direction the Alien series had taken. Knowing that the film would be set on a planet full of celibate prisoners having found religion, he decided that the alien should seduce its prey before killing them.
Yes, you read that right. According the Giger, he designed the alien with a more “sensual mouth” so that people could get up close and be brought in for a kiss before the creature would shoot its tongue out through the back of their heads.
I can only imagine how people in 1992 would have reacted to seeing this on the big screen, especially after the huge hit Aliens had been. Having said that, I fully admit that this is the most Giger sounding thing I have ever heard. Of course that’s what he wanted the xenomorph to do. Learning it, I’m amazed it wasn’t a suggestion he had for the first film. Who knows? Maybe it was.
In general, I’m pretty happy with the Alien 3 that we got. Even though it killed Newt and Hicks unceremoniously between movies, it did that because if the whole gang were still together the problem would have been solved in minutes. It just would have been over, because together they could have accomplished anything. Instead, the movie brings it back to gothic horror, gives us an emotionally devastated Ripley and gives closure and finality to the entire legacy.
But after seeing what might have been, I’m even happier with Alien 3 as it exists now. Not that I don’t think Giger’s ideas could have worked. I just think it would have been extremely jarring and uncomfortable for viewers after the first two movies, although I acknowledge that the whole franchise is basically about rape to begin with.
Still, I think the biggest takeaway here is that it did work. Giger’s idea of the bio-organic creature seducing men only to kill them was something he knew could work, so he didn’t let it go. I don’t think it’s much coincidence that only a few years after these ideas were scrapped for Alien 3 they would present themselves again.
Giger would make full use of the concept in 1995 with the film Species, designing the creature for a film that would be fundamentally about an alien creature seducing and killing men. He was able to expand upon all the concepts he created for Alien 3, designing everything about the new creature, Sil, to be seductive and sexual. He might not have gotten what he wanted with the xenomorph, but at least he was able to eventually apply those concepts to a production that truly welcomed and relied on them.