Alien Covenant Poster

Every step of the filmmaking process is arduous, but editing could easily be considered one of its most challenging components. Even for a Hollywood icon like Alien's Ridley Scott, the process never gets any easier. Scott and Michael Fassbender recently opened up about the course of editing Alien: Covenant down to two hours, and it really exposes the difficulties of finding a proper pace for a film. They said:

Ridley Scott: The only reason I occasionally take my hat off to screenings is you think you know everything, but you know you don't. Something inordinately simple you've assumed everyone understands and they don't. That's the key thing, isn't it? You know when it's a bit too long. And also, if you're a bit too long you then ask 'Right speed? Too slow? Too fast?' If they go, 'no, too fast' you go 'shit, I've got to slow down' -- because as you edit, you can get weary and want to cut, cut, cut.

Interviewer: Oh, so were there a lot of deleted scenes?

Scott: No.

Michael Fassbender: I don't think so.

Scott: I always come out at almost 2:23 first cut, look at it, and go 'I've got to get to two hours'.

Ridley Scott's recent comments to Collider about the process of editing really seem to hammer home the difficulties of putting together a feature-length movie. Roughly twenty minutes of Alien: Covenant ended up on the cutting room floor, and the process revolved heavily on Scott's ability to figure out a proper pace for the film. The struggle ultimately involved a balancing act of conveying enough information to tell a cohesive story, while also maintaining a sense of momentum that keeps the story interesting. Twenty minutes of deleted scenes isn't much when compared to other blockbusters, so Scott deserves quite a bit of credit for his ability to keep things together.

It is hard to tell how vital these deleted scenes are for Alien: Covenant without having seen them, but there are definitely certain aspects of the movie that could've been improved by a slightly longer cut. Specifically, the third act of the film (as soon as the Xenomorph properly shows up) feels a bit rushed when compared to the other sections of the movie, and it seems fair to assume that some extra scenes would've helped improve the film as a whole. Ridley Scott films are no strangers to director's cuts (Blade Runner, anyone?) so we will keep our fingers crossed that we will eventually receive an extended version of the film that fleshes out its third act in a more cohesive way.

Of course, ideas omitted from Alien: Covenant could still potentially end up in the franchise at some point. Ridley Scott has made it clear that he intends to continue the franchise with at least two more installments. Considering where we see Katherine Waterston's Daniels by the time the credits roll on Covenant (spoiler alert: things don't look good for her), there's obviously plenty of stories left to tell.

Alien: Covenant is now in theaters; make sure to check it out!

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