Hello, my friends. A chilling terror is once again in the air, yet this particular time of fright will be coming from the vastness of outer space. To help you get ready for Halloween, we’ll be somewhat celebrating an infamous sequel by taking a different direction than how it ultimately played out. On that note, I welcome you to a five-part special called…
Since 1979, 20th Century Fox/Studios’ Alien series has been delivering loads of sci-fi terror to its adult audience. While its first two entries were both hailed as masterful works of gripping sci-fi horror and thrilling sci-fi action, the third film would become notorious due to what transpired leading up to its release. Alien 3, originally released in the U.S. on May 22, 1992, was stricken with a troubled production as first-time director David Fincher was burdened with getting the movie done by a pre-determined release date. However by the time that filming began in early 1991, there wasn’t even a completed script. On that note, several writers were tasked to come up with their own scripts for the third entry. What ultimately came to be was a story that saw Ellen Ripley crashlanding onto Fiorina 161, which contains a foundry and maximum security facility for male prisoners. Not only that, but she’s the lone survivor. With a face-hugger attaching itself to a dog, a new Xenomorph is born and begins to terrorize her and the inmates. While it did rake in just shy of $160 million at the box office against its budget of (at least) $50 million, its critical response was mixed and Fincher has even disowned the movie. For this article however, that’s not the story we’ll be looking at. Instead, we’ll be backtracking to one particular pitch that was initially rejected, though would find new life in other forms several years afterwards.
In July 2018, it was announced that the script originally pitched by famed cyberpunk author William Gibson would finally get a comic book adaptation, similar to how Frank Miller’s original intentions for RoboCop 2 & 3 eventually saw the light of day in this form. To help bring this treatment to artistic life, Johnnie Christmas has been tasked with helming the adaptation script and the main artwork, while Tamra Bonvillain has been assigned to handle the coloring duties. This first issue of “Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay” a.k.a. “William Gibson’s Alien 3” would ultimately get released in November 2018, where it went on to sell 18,886 copies. So, what sort of perilous terror amongst the stars did the man behind Neuromancer originally intend to bring to the table for the franchise’s third cinematic outing? Let’s blast off and find out.
We open upon the U.S.S. Sulaco as our surviving characters from the movie “Aliens” are resting within the hypersleep vault. As something sinister begins to emerge from within one of the chambers, the onboard computer mentions that because of a failure to the spaceship’s navigational software, it has now entered the territory that’s in control of the Union of Progressive Peoples. As the ship makes its way towards docking with the Anchorpoint Cluster, the computer also mentions that its hardwired protocols have prevented the arming of its nuclear warheads. Meanwhile, a trio of men on board the U.P.P. Interceptor makes its way towards the Sulaco before docking onto the spaceship as Kurtz, Juan and Chang decide to enter the craft to see what they can find before it drifts out of their sector. With all three of them properly suited up, they proceed to repel their way inside.
Once inside, the security alarm goes off as they find the severed lower half of the android named Bishop before Kurtz comes across a malfunctioning hypersleep chamber. He opens it up before he discovers the rest of Bishop’s automated body with an egg attached to it. From there, a Facehugger bursts out and clutches itself onto Kurtz’ face as he fires his automated wrist gun all over the spaceship in a mad panic before he dashes off. With some smoke billowing around the room as a result of the random scatter shots, Chang is unable to find their leader. Suddenly, Juan emerges with the upper half of Bishop’s body and tells Chang that they have to leave, since the spaceship is leaving their sector within three minutes and that they would be violating the treaty if they stayed. He also says that Kurtz wouldn’t be allowed out of quarantine, due to the thing that’s on him. As such, they take their leave.
Over at the Weyland-Utani-owned Anchorpoint Cluster within deep space, a worker named Jackson is furious at a fellow comrade named Tully for slacking off on the job. He’s especially mad when he reaches his co-worker’s room and has to use his keycard to open the door, only for him to discover Tully in a sexual encounter with a female worker named Spence. Tully says that he’s currently on some downtime, yet Jackson reminds him that he disconnected his com-link within his cubicle. From there, he informs the two Biolab Techs that the Sulaco is heading towards the station after drifting out in space. He mentions that four years ago, it had left Gateway with a small group of space marines, an android, a Weyland-Utani representative and a former warrant officer. Now, the spaceship’s only occupants are a little girl, a single space marine and the warrant officer. Jackson then mentions that a priority shuttle was previously docked out there. Now, their head officials requires both Tully and Spence to assist in executing a biohazard containment upon the spaceship.
Soon enough, a man named Frank Rosetti is meeting with two corporate workers named Fox and Welles. He looks over a report that mentions that the two of them had left Gateway prior to the Sulaco’s navigational system malfunctioning, yet they’re here to investigate any accidental failure within said system. He tries to ask them how they were able to leave Gateway prior to said incident occurring, but Welles sidesteps his question and tells him to take notice of the high-priority mission mentioned in the document. Frank shares his belief that they somehow caused the failure from Gateway and rerouted it to go through the United Progressive Peoples’ sector before it wound up at Anchorpoint. Fox & Welles simply says that they work for their company’s military sciences area, specifically within the weapons division. However, Rosetti informs them that the presence of the weapons division personnel upon this station violates the U.P.P.’s Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which is specifically meant to prevent nuclear war and that they risk that specific organization proving their action. Welles tells him that while the U.P.P. knows about it, they haven’t been able to prove that she and Fox did do it. He then tells Frank that the three-man group got in while they simply logged the incident as a security breach with internal damage. Welles then says that this was a calculated risk that was made by their head official, to which Fox explains that the Sulaco was returning to Gateway carrying “weapons-related material”. Because their company’s Quantum Detectors had noticed the “material” becoming active within a hypersleep chamber, Welles says that their company rerouted the spaceship to Anchorpoint. As such, Rosetti informs them that a crew is being assembled at Docking Bay 8 as Welles & Fox prepare to head over there.
Over at the docking bay, Welles has suited up just as he’s met upon by Tully as he tells the worker to open up a container for him. Welles then explains that it’s a free-electron laser, to which Tully asks him if it’ll help them rid the Sulaco of any foreign viruses while securing any interesting samples for their labs. Welles assures him of all of that before he then tells Tully to suit up. Shortly after a technician within the OPS Room named Jackson attaches a walkway onto the spaceship, the crew suits up and prepares to head inside alongside Welles. As Jackson begins to let the team onto the spaceship, he briefly notices a black blur whizzing by before the crew manage to get inside. Once the group is onboard, Jackson turns on the Sulaco’s airlock before the team begins to investigate. Shortly after they come across Bishop’s severed lower half, they then discover the young girl named Newt resting within a hyper sleep chamber. Suddenly, Ellen Ripley wakes up, opens up her chamber and leaps at them in a panicked state. Fox then manages to inject her with a sedative, causing her to pass out. Meanwhile, Welles reaches the officer’s quarters over on C Deck before she comes across a lifeless body as she tells Fox to meet up with her and check out her discovery. Soon enough, they try to move the body before they’re met upon by Sterling who warns them not to move it, since it could potentially be booby-trapped. However, they don’t take head of his warning as Welles tells him to return to the cargo lock for an eventual talk. Suddenly, Fox discovers that the man (who turns out to be Kurtz) has a hole in his chest.
Later on within Anchorpoint’s med-lab morgue, Welles and Fox examine Kurtz’ corpse as they discover the exit wound on his chest, taking note of the bones portruding outward from the body. Over within the cybernetics lab upon the space station called the U.P.P. Rodina, a colonel and a woman examine Bishop’s visual data as she confirms that the Facehugger was the entity that attacked Kurtz. When she’s then presented with a distorted image of a fully-grown Xenomorph, she seems to recognize it while feigning to her superior that she doesn’t. And so, Issue 1 ends within Anchorpoint’s med-lab quarantine as Spence tells the lone surviving colonial marine that he’s not allowed to smoke here. From there, it’s revealed to be Corporal Dwayne Hicks.
Overall, this was a neat start to the mini-series. It sets up the initial situation, effectively presents some scenes without dialogue in order to let the visual medium tell the story, introduces some new principal characters for this narrative and it even puts Hicks in a position to be the lead protagonist that he was ultimately denied of in the original theatrical version. With the backing of some decent art work, it establishes the surroundings, core players and primary situation for this story. As for when & how the Xenomorph will stalk and strike, come back next time as Dwayne and company begin to feel that ever-familiar sense of intergalactic dread and terror creeping over them. Until then, may you always have a way for someone to hear you scream!
Alien (created by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett) is owned by the Walt Disney Company.