Dog-Catchers

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Aaron: The place has gone toxic. You should get out while you can.
Bishop II: Don’t panic. We’re here to micromanage the situation.
Aaron: (re: Commando Team) What’s all this?
Bishop II: A specially trained team to help get  the Xenomorph under control. Now, where is she?
~ Alien III, by Rex Pickett.

Their identities are unknown, and they can only be divined by their collective purpose. The third movie’s commando unit, sometimes nicknamed “the dog catchers”, appear at the film’s climax to collect an Alien specimen. In fact, the last third of the film is a race against time: Ripley must destroy the beast before Weyland-Yutani arrive to either hinder or complicate the situation. Unfortunately for the team, they arrive just as the adult specimen is destroyed, but this may have worked to their favour – despite their hardware, they seem comically unequipped to tackle the Alien: dressed in bleached gambesons and carrying lassos, they look like cumbersome hockey players.

Special Forces and investigatory soldiers were a staple in several Alien III scripts, but most appear at the beginning of the screenplays and are summarily wiped out, and owe their employment to the Colonial Administration rather than the Company. The commandos from the movie probably owe their appearance to William Gibson, whose script featured a specialist crew known as the “Deck Squad”, who are described as thus: “Their spacesuits are white, clinical; over these they wear disposable Biohazard Envelopes of filmy translucent plastic. Some are Colonial Marines, armed with pulse-rifles or flame-throwers. Others are scientists and technicians, carrying recording and sampling gear.”

The wardrobe, armaments and gear all sound like those of the dog-catcher commandos. The “filmy translucent plastic” overcoat is very much like that worn by the Company Man played by Hi Ching.

The combat gear was designed to evoke the dusty, hockey-pad/samurai spacesuits from the original movie.

In one version of the script, Ching’s scientist character is named “Company Man #1” and nothing more. Rex Pickett was later hired to polish the final script by Walter Hill and David Giler, and in his version of the story the Company Man #1 is introduced as Dr. Matshuita, “one of the finest transplant surgeons in the world,” according to Bishop II. Giler and Hill then fired Pickett and rewrote the script. In the final draft, Dr. Matshuita is once again “Company Man #1”.

There was an earlier draft by Giler and Hill where the Company Man attempts to convince Ripley to dismiss suicide, after the mysterious Bishop II has been killed by a blow to the head by Golic (Aaron “85” in the final movie). In later drafts it was decided to not have Bishop II die so anti-climatically, and he was kept around to the end, albeit sporting a horrific wound, and Company Man was yet again pushed into the background.

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Curiously, in Pickett’s iteration of the story Aaron notices that “aside from pulse rifles some of them are carrying what appear to be sophisticated animal-control devices.” What these devices are isn’t elaborated on, but it’s surely more potent than the lassos from the movie – still, this doesn’t guarantee any success, and it’s a small injury to never see these commandos actually take on the Alien.

The commandos leave without getting what they want, but they are not empty-handed. Saying that, prisoner Morse is a very small consolation prize when you almost had the perfect organism in your grasp.

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4 Comments

Filed under Alien 3, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Dog-Catchers

  1. Matthew J. Spart

    Company Man #1 should get his own movie! (j/k) Another great article!

  2. Leigh Burne

    Interesting. I did often wonder if the scientist ever had a name in any of the scripts.

  3. Dustie

    I guess the name was supposed to be Japanese, but ‘Matshuita’ misses the mark a bit – it would be either Matsushita (which happens to be the company name for Panasonic), Matushita, Matsuhita, since these are the option that are actually writable in Japanese.

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