Watching Alien3 last night bought up a lot of things for me. The film is generally considered to be the worst of the lot, much maligned by watchers. I’ve always been a bit of a supporter of it. I’m a fan of the Alien franchise and even that film couldn’t slack my support for it.
Having said that … seeing it again did remind me that it is a little of a train wreck. Every second word glaringly stands out as a fuck. The CG effects for the Alien itself is just shocking. The plot itself is a bit thin. Having said that, the directors cut deals with that to a certain degree, putting in some key scenes that help things a little more.
Still can’t fix the other complaints.
I’m sympathetic to Alien3, because I’ve read enough about the process. Originally, the film was scripted by William Gibson. The film went through another 9 scriptwriters, and several different scripts before it finally settled, like a spinning wheel of fortune, on what we saw on the screen.
Each point along the way, the film managed to retain a little of what came behind. It’s not really surprising, given that mess, that the film itself suffered. To see all the iterations, and a whole number of unfilmed scripts, head on over to this page here which details the whole sordid story.
Long story short (too late), one of the iterations of Alien3 was written by Vincent Ward, who impressed those responsible for the film with his work on the film The Navigator. Ward wrote a script that for those who have seen his film, is pretty much The Navigator with an Alien dumped into it.
In it, Ripley crash lands on a medieval monastery, bringing with it one of the xenomorphs. Actually, the monastery is part of a huge, wooden satelite. The film pretty much plays out like the Alien3 we saw, the players of the piece forced to deal with the Alien threat without weapons. Ripley is still the only female in the movie. It deals heavily with religious themes and issues of evil and absolving sins.
I can already hear people saying how that sounds like it sucks for the plot of a film.
The fact is that Wards vision impressed everyone. It was a vastly different approach to the franchise, like the sequel was to the original. The concept art alone and set pieces were considered to be wholy impressive and original. Weaver herself called it “very original and arresting”. It’s also been considered one of the greatest sci-fi films never filmed.
We have the original script, which you can read at the link above. We don’t have much more besides than concept art, and the thoughts of what might have been.
This of course leads me to wonder about a possible fan novel treatment based on the script. An interesting project!
This isn’t the first time that I’ve been gripped by insane project ideas based on things that don’t exist. I was so entirely impressed by the plot of Marc Eckos Getting Up (a mediocre release PS2 game) that I was almost inspired to write a sequel in novel format. I didn’t go through with it because I couldn’t think of a plot that lived up to the tight and incredibly cool original story. There will probably never be a sequel despite ending at a cliffhanger.
I also once considered doing the Star Wars prequels properly, after the hash George Lucas did with it. Considering all the hints dropped in A New Hope though, after much thought I came out with something that looked like the prequels anyway, sans the Gungans, just more airtight. I ditched the idea rather than try and think about prequels without the influence of what I’ve seen of the films.
There is the issue of writing something of that length and involvement that essentially can’t go anywhere. But it’s a fun project all the same.
Concerned minds need not worry. I was not overly seduced by this latest round of ideas that plagued my mind. I continue planning my latest novel this week. Next week the writing begins. I can’t really say much about the novel other than ‘ummm … well, it’s about two guys’. Which is pretty much how I described Tyson. When you deal with books about peoples lives, it generally boils down to just that. Plus, I never really go into much depth about plots I’m working on. I lose the zest and drive to actually produce it.