The ‘Prometheus’ That Could Have Been — Facehuggers, Xenomorphs and More
With the release of ‘Prometheus‘ on Blu-ray and DVD, we can probably expect the debates that raged this past summer to fire up again; it’s hard to think of another recent sci-fi movie fueling so many arguments. However, one thing the film’s supporters and detractors will be able to agree upon is that the version we’re seeing now is vastly different from what could have been, now that screenwriter Jon Spaihts is discussing his original vision for the Ridley Scott pic.
Did you know that it once contained facehuggers and xenomorphs? Or that it would have depicted the grossest sex scene ever? All that and more revealed after the break!
In a fascinating article in Empire, Spaihts writes extensively about the drafts he conjured for Scott when the film was a more straightforward ‘Alien’ prequel. And while there’s plenty to mull over, there’s little doubt that the section dealing with facehuggers is going to raise the most eyebrows.
I did have facehuggers in my original draft. David, as he began to get fascinated by the science of the Engineers, doesn’t deliberately contaminate Holloway with a drop of black liquid. Instead, Holloway hubristically removes his helmet in the chamber, is knocked unconscious, facehugged and wakes up not knowing what had been done to him, and stumbles back into the ship. In my draft, he returns to his cabin, is embraced by Shaw, who is delighted to see him having feared that he had died, and the two of them make love. And it’s while they’re making love that he bursts and dies. So that lovemaking sequence echoed my original lovemaking sequence where he explodes! It was messy.
“Messy” is one word for it.
Spaihts discusses the evolution of the film’s original creature, the xenomorph we all recognize from the ‘Alien’ franchise, into something else, which signaled the different direction the studio ultimately decided to go in.
The creature did change in some pretty dramatic ways from draft to draft. But the most dramatic change was the removal of the xenomorph from the film. That was a shift that happened at the same time as I stepped off the film. A lot of that push came from the studio very high up; they were interested in doing something original and not one more franchise film. That really came to a head at the studio – the major push to focus on the new mythology of ‘Prometheus’ and dial the Aliens as far back as we could came down from the studio.
Eventually, of course, ‘Lost’s’ Damon Lindelof climbed aboard ‘Prometheus’, and the prequel changed direction in some drastic ways. However, there is plenty of Spaihts’ work to be found in the finished product, like the “medpod” sequence, which is perhaps the film’s most memorable. While many of Spaihts’ ideas for the sequence remained, there were still a few major alterations:
…Then she lapses in and out of consciousness for a number of hours as the machine puts her back together. As she comes back to consciousness, she sees the thing growing in the cabin outside and even killing people. So by the time she emerges from the pod eight hours later, the thing is abroad in the ship and big enough to be a huge danger. That was the original conception of the medpod scene.
Whether any of these details will be expanded upon on the DVD and Blu-ray is still unknown. Though, to find out more behind-the-scenes details on ‘Prometheus,’ check out the whole interview over at Empire.