In the late 1980s, not long after the release of James Cameron’s “Aliens,” famed “Neuromancer” author William Gibson was approached to write a script for “Alien 3”. The hope was Gibson, the man seen as effectively the inventor of the ‘cyberpunk’ aesthetic, would bring his distinct vision of the future to the franchise.
Gibson followed a treatment laid out by producers David Giler, Walter Hill and Gordon Carroll who wanted to explore the Weyland-Yutani Corporation’s motivations and wrap it all up in a big Cold War metaphor. So they came up with an idea for a story about a militarily aggressive culture of humans with rigid socialist ideology that saw them breaking away from Earth society.
Gibson accepted the task and came up with a story which picks up after “Aliens” as the Sulaco drifts into an area of space controlled by the Union of Progressive Peoples (U.P.P.) who board the vessel and one of their number is attacked by a facehugger. They take Bishop with them for further study. The Sulaco then arrives at the space station Anchorpoint and with Ripley in a coma, Hicks explores the station and discovers Weyland-Yutani are developing an Alien army just as U.P.P. are doing their own research. Soon both Anchorpoint and the U.P.P stations are overrun with the xenomorphs and Hicks leads the survivors in an attempt to destroy the parasites.
The producers were unsatisfied with the screenplay, Giler calling it a “perfectly executed script that wasn’t all that interesting” at one point. Months later, after a writer’s strike, Gibson was asked to make rewrites with then attached director Renny Harlin – however he declined and the script was ultimately ditched. Eric Red, David Twohy, Vincent Ward, John Fasano and Larry Ferguson all took a shot at it before ultimately Hill and Giler themselves along with the film’s ultimate director David Fincher came up with the final script.
Now Gibson’s original script is being adapted into a new comic book series by Dark Horse Comics. Illustrated by Johnnie Christmas, Gibson has discussed the project with CBR and says:
“When your first contracted screenplay (or screenplay of any kind, in my case) isn’t produced, but the film is eventually made with a different screenplay, retaining nothing of yours but a barcode tattoo on the back of a character’s neck, the last thing you ever expect is to see yours beautifully adapted and realized, decades later, in a different medium, by an artist of Johnnie Christmas’ caliber. It’s a wonderful experience, and I have no doubt that Johnnie’s version, which adheres almost entirely to the script, delivers more of my material to the audience than any feature film would have been likely to do.”
The new “Alien 3” comic will hit stores on November 7th. Dark Horse previously published a comic adaptation of George Lucas’ original draft of the “Star Wars” screenplay, turning it into an eight-issue mini-series called “The Star Wars”.