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10 Characters Whose Genders Were Swapped in Production

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Ellen Ripley

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When the first Alien script was written, it featured a crew that was explicitly referred to as “unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women.” And since Fox was said to have been looking into action films with female leads, the role of Ripley was made female and the part was given to Sigourney Weaver. And then it changed history. No, seriously, it had a massive effect on how women were potrayed in suspenseful stories, whether it was science fiction, horror, action, or all of the above, which Alien was. Because she was written as gender-neutral the character of Ripley was proactive, a fighter, and not “suddenly vulnerable.” Weaver says that she was “a thinking, moving, and deciding creature.” Ripley has been celebrated as a woman who was not shaped by the men around her. They all simply co-existed. And then, in the second movie, she dusted off her inherent maternal instincts while simultaneously walking into the war that was the showdown with the Alien. Would a man have done the same? Sure. But is there something different about how a man views a child and how a woman does? It certainly seems to when we watch Ripley.

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