The fan conversation about Prometheus seemed to get a second wind after the home video release of the film last month. Some are still calling it brilliant. Some are still convinced it’s an abomination cluttered with gaping logic holes. And many seem to fall into the same camp I do: admiring what the film was trying to do, but bewildered by the characters doing one stupid, illogical thing after another. There’s no question that these problems should have been addressed in the script stage, by both director Ridley Scott and by Damon Lindelof (Lost), whose draft was used for the final film, and who shared screenwriter credit with Jon Spaihts. Now an earlier draft of the movie that became Prometheus has popped up online, giving us an intriguing look at a different path the film could have taken.
The script appeared on Prometheus Movie over the weekend, and has since been confirmed as genuine by screenwriter Jon Spaihts via Twitter. If you’re interested, we recommend you check it out quickly, because there’s no telling when/if Fox’s lawyers will begin trying to scour all copies of it off the internet. If it’s already gone by the time you read this, fear not: we’ll have our own look at the screenplay posting later this week.
So, what did Prometheus look like before Lindelof got involved? Spaihts penned the pre-Lindelof version of the script, and it was Spaihts’ draft that really helped get the project rolling. Then called Alien: Engineers, Spaihts’ script featured a Prometheus that was much more directly connected to the Alien franchise, rather than the “spiritual predecessor” that eventually made it to screen. It should be a fascinating read, if only as an example of how much a script’s direction can change when passed from one writer to another.
Prometheus is hardly the first high-profile science fiction film to have a stormy and controversial production. Hell, it’s not even the first Alien-related film that fits that description. Alien 3 notably went through many different iterations and an infamously troubled production. On its way to becoming the David Fincher film we saw in theaters, Alien 3 passed through the hands of writers such as David Twohy (The Chronicles of Riddick) and cyberpunk legend William Gibson.
Would Jon Spaihts’ Alien: Engineers have made a better film than Damon Lindelof’s Prometheus? Read for yourself and you make the call.