Did Ripley and Dallas Hook Up in Alien?

by Yo Adrian on May 02nd, 2018 | |

Film Theories are a particular type fun that film buffs enjoy, often combining the canon of films and the real life of film production into a ball of mystery and intrigue. And they can stretch from the Pixar theories that state that all the films are connected in the same world to theories about Kubrick’s divulging of information about faking the moon landing in The Shining. One film theory that Alien Theory on YouTube wants to explore is the relationship between Ellen Ripley and Captain Dallas in Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror masterpiece, Alien.

Let’s start with Ridley Scott’s first thoughts about sexual relationships between crew members aboard the Nostoromo. The ship and crew’s mission was of extended length and Ridley Scott apparently thought it might be worth exploring the nature of sex once you get an entire crew together and isolated from the rest of humanity. He thought there would be two possible ways to go about solving what would surely become an issue: either ban all sex between crew members for the duration and make it a sex-neutral place or allow intimate relationships for any and all members who wished to participate.

In earlier drafts of the screenplay the writer, Dan O’Bannon had included a sex scene between Ellen Ripley and Captain Dallas:

INT. NARCISSUS

Dallas seated in the shuttle craft.

Staring at the myriad lights of outer space.

Ripley climbs beside him

RIPLEY

I thought I’d find you here.

Dallas continues to stare.

DALLAS

Are the nets finished?

Pause

RIPLEY

We’ve got an hour….Look I need some relief.

DALLAS

Why did you wait until now?

Ripley leans forward.

RIPLEY

Let me tell you something. You keep staring out there

long enough, they’ll be peeling you off the wall.

Ripley begins taking off her boots.

DALLAS

We’re the new pioneers, Ripley. We even get to have

our own special disease.

RIPLEY

I’m tired of talking.

She rises and removes her upper garments.

DALLAS

You waited too long.

RIPLEY

Give it a try anyway.

Clothing removed.

His arms move around her.

The scene took place sometime after the chest-burster scene and it only exists in an early draft, a screen test Sigourney Weaver did with Ray Hassett, and some storyboarding. So, while it realistically didn’t come close to being included in the film, it’s possible some remnants of that storyline remained in the screenplay. Ripley and Dallas have a banter some point to as flirty or with something more behind it. He also sarcastically calls Ripley “my dear” at one point and rushes to try and protect her from the dead face hugger they find in the lab. These are all tiny glimpses at what might be a deep relationship between the two, but as a counter point, the script itself even distances itself from a romantic place. Ripley only refers to “relieving,” as if a sexual encounter with Dallas would simply be a chore or perfunctory. Others still point to the novelization of the film which dares to expound a little on the way Dallas feels about Ripley:

“I’ll go.” Dallas eyed Ripley. She figured to volunteer sooner or later. Funny lady. He’d always underestimated her. Everyone did.

“Forget it.”

“Why?” She looked resentful.

“Yeah, why?” Put in Parker. “If she’s ready to go, why not let her go?”

“My decision,” he explained tersely. He looked at her: saw the mixture of resentment and confusion. She didn’t understand why he’d turned her down. Well, no matter. Maybe someday he’d explain. If he could explain it to himself.

Did Ripley and Dallas Hook Up in Alien?Tweet it

Even this only points to a complicated feeling on one side, but for some it is enough. While there weren’t any relationships involved in the original Alien, the idea of having sexual or romantic relationships came out especially in the newest prequels: Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Romantic and sexual relationships are interesting grounds for exploration, but under the circumstances, it’s probably best that O’Bannon and Ridley chose to keep theirs ambiguous. Would a sex scene after the chest-burster scene really fit the pacing? Or would a sexual relationship of some kind have complimented well with the idea of bodily violation that Alien holds at its heart? There’s certainly something to debate.

Founder and Executive Director of all things Horrific at AllHorror.com (Ok, actually I’m just a guy who watches way too many horror movies. It’s unhealthy, really).

All Horror – Discover new horror movies, create and share your own horror movie lists and curate watchlists from thousands of titles, new and old.

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