Aliens was released in theaters 35 years ago, and the movie is trending online as fans everywhere celebrate the iconic sci-fi sequel's anniversary. Written and directed by James Cameron, Aliens was released on July 18, 1986. It serves as a direct sequel to 1979's Alien from writer Dan O'Bannon and director Ridley Scott, bringing back Sigourney Weaver as lead star Ellen Ripley. Three and a half decades later, the movie is still one of the most popular installments of the franchise.
In the sequel, Ripley emerges as the sole survivor of an alien attack after 57 years in stasis. She agrees to accompany a crew of Colonial Marines to investigate a possible attack on a human colony. Just like before, the Xenomorphs slaughter almost the entire crew, leaving just a small handful of survivors including Ripley alive by the end. It wouldn't be the last fans would see of Ripley in the series, but for many, Aliens serves as the peak of the franchise.
If you ask Weaver herself, Aliens also serves as her personal favorite adventure in the role of the iconic character. Back in March, the actress spoke with Collider about the series and was directly asked which installment was her favorite of them all to work on. Weaver, who went on to return in Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, pointed to James Cameron's Aliens as the title that stood out the most.
"The best-constructed story for the character to tell was in Aliens, just because Jim [Cameron] has such an amazing sense of structure of story," Weaver said. "To take this character out of hyper-sleep, have no one believe her, have her be exiled into this limbo land where no one believes her and her family's dead."
She added: "The whole set-up for Ripley in Aliens and then what she ends up doing and what it, finding this new family by the end. The whole structure of that story, to me, was gold. I always felt that I could jump up and down on it. It was such a great, supportive, arc for the character. In that sense, the second one for Ripley is probably the most satisfying."
Aliens also featured a strong ensemble cast alongside Weaver as Ripley. The sequel also starred Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Ricco Ross, Carrie Henn, Al Mathews, and Bill Paxton. The movie was met with instant success at the time of its release, becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of 1986 with Weaver even earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
After Aliens, Weaver would star in Alien 3 in 1992 and Alien: Resurrection in 1997. These movies did not reach the success of the original installments, and the franchise has since been rebooted with a series of prequels. Whether or not we ever see Weaver back in the role remains to be seen, but Aliens will always be a personal favorite for many fans regardless for the work that James Cameron did.
It's as good a time as any to go back and watch Aliens in honor of the hit sequel's 35th anniversary. Aliens is currently streaming for free on IMDb TV and can be watched through Amazon Prime Video. Meanwhile, fans worldwide are celebrating three and a half decades of Aliens, and you can see what some of the tribute posts are saying over on Twitter.