So many things didn’t sound right. For one, the original film’s director Ridley Scott had nothing to do with it. Secondly, the plot would involve the sole survivor of Alien, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), to be somehow convinced to return to the alien planet. Still, my butt was in the seat opening day 25 years ago on July 18, 1986, when Aliens opened — a rare sequel that in many ways (though it may be sacrilege to say) surpasses the original.
It was in 1983 when James Cameron met with Alien producer David Giler to discuss possibilities for a sequel. Giler had been impressed with Cameron’s screenplay for The Terminator, which had come across his desk. Cameron, about to complete pre-production on The Terminator, began writing a treatment for Alien II. A scheduling conflict with Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger caused a production delay, affording Cameron the time to begin writing his screenplay. Although he wasn’t able to complete the script, it was enough to impress the heads at 20th Century Fox — so much so that they actually waited until Cameron was available again and told him he could direct the Alien sequel if The Terminator (1984) turned out well.
When Ripley is rescued after 57 years of hypersleep, her account of events on the Nostromo is met with extreme skepticism and she looses her space flight status as a result. She is also informed that colonization has already begun on LV-426, the very planet where her ship’s crew had first encountered the face huggers, only one of which managed to wipe out everyone on board.