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30 Alien facts that will blow your mind

20. Down to Earth

Many of Joss Whedon's suggested endings for Alien Resurrection, took place on Earth. One of which found its way into the shooting script, only to get snipped at the last minute. You can watch it here.

Interestingly enough, plans to shuttle the franchise towards our planet began even earlier - during the nascent stages of Alien 3's production. Testament to its drawn-out development phase, during which many, many changes were made to the story, a teaser was produced that even alluded to this, incorporating the tagline "On Earth, everyone can hear you scream."

19. Spear gun survival

In the opening shots of Aliens when the rescue team find Ripley's escape pod you can see the spear gun from where she blew the beast "out of the goddamn airlock" on the floor of the Narcissus.

18. Royal facehugger

Facehuggers are terrifying little critters. So imagine, if you will, one twice the size. That's what we nearly had in Fincher's Alien 3, as the bigger version can be spotted in the assembly cut of the movie.

Referred to as the royal facehugger (AKA queen facehugger, super facehugger), it is a special variety of the parasite that is thought to carry the embryo for a queen alien. Part of its mission to perpetuate the race with another big mama allows for it to impregnate multiple hosts, unlike the regular facehuggers that die after laying the embryo.

17. Don't lose your head

Alien was set to have finished when Ripley boards the escape shuttle with Jonesy, having successfully left the xenomorph to die in the timed detonation of the Nostromo. Scott pleaded with Fox to permit an additional four days' shooting to add a fourth act - a tense finale that it's impossible to imagine the film without.

At the same time, Weaver was gunning for an erotically-charged moment between Ripley and the alien! That ending was quickly nixed along with another version that would have seen the xenomorph biting off Ripley's head.

16. What's in an egg?

The inside of the xenomorph eggs as seen by Kane in Alien were the handiwork of director Ridley Scott who visited a nearby slaughterhouse to procure livestock innards. Cattle hearts and stomachs were placed inside the shell. Those viscous webbed white veins are nicknamed "Nottingham Lace" and hail from the lining of a cow's belly. Sheep intestine stood in for the facehugger's trailing tail.

The twitching motions inside the translucent egg moments prior to it hatching were again down to Scott, who locked his rubber-gloved hands inside the model to create the signs of life. Puts washing the pots in a whole different light...

15. Dog day

The creature tormenting the colonists of Alien 3 emerges from Spike the dog, and is, therefore, a genetic blend of the canine's DNA and the xenomorph. The beast was brought to life via rod puppetry later composited into the shot.

However, part of the original tests saw effects team Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis dressing an actual dog in a xenomorph outfit. The pup's springy gait was a bit too cheery, hence it was back to the drawing board. Still, good idea if you're looking to have your pooch join you on Halloween...

14. Newborn

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet originally wanted Alien Resurrection's newborn to possess both sets of genitals. Because, why not. The studio weren't so happy about that choice so they were digitally removed in post-production.

That's nothing compared to the vast changes Joss Whedon scripted into his earlier drafts. His take on the newborn was a far more menacing beast, nearly twice the size of the queen. A bone-white four-legged creature with red veins flowing down either side of its head, it possessed a pair of 'pincers' on its sizeable head to hold steady its prey -- allowing it to drain the blood from its victim.

This was later nixed for the human-alien hybrid, that Whedon was less than impressed with. "I dont remember writing, 'A withered, granny-lookin Pumpkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley,'" he told an interviewer in 2009. "Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts."

13. Burke's comeuppance

In the theatrical cut of Aliens, the last we see of shrivelling company man Carter Burke is the terrified look on his face, as the salivating jaws of an alien close in on him.

However there was an additional scene filmed - that's not even in the superb extended director's cut - in which Ripley discovers a cocooned Burke as she's scouring the Hive in search of Newt. He grabs her, begging for help as he cries that there's one inside of him. Ripley offers him one option; she places a detonator in his hand and walks away.

James Cameron ultimately cut it when he realised at this stage in the Alien reproductive cycle Burke would still have a facehugger attached to him. Although, I'm sure we all could have forgiven Cameron to see Burke get what was coming to him.

12. Milky milky

To create the innards of Ash, the malfunctioning android member of the Nostromo's crew, Ridley Scott used a mixture of marbles, caviar, pasta all doused in milk.

Bishop's revolting demise in the sequel involved much of the same components, except the milk Lance Henriksen was fed in between takes was left out on the warm set. Each time he'd take a gulp to spew out as his character was speared by the queen, he grew more and more ill until the crew realised and kept it refrigerated.

11. Blow its bloody head off!

In Aliens, the Marines scatter when the xenomorphs peel away from the walls, retreating to the safety of the APC. One pesky creature manages to get its sharp talons wedged into the doors; and then gets its head blown off by Hicks.

After endless takes where actor Michael Biehn struggled to get the barrel into the alien's jaws, the crew came up with a way. They simply started with the gun in its mouth, pulled it out, and reversed the shot. Proof that sometimes the coolest tricks don't require CGI.

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.