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film news

Unused Prometheus story secrets revealed by original screenwriter

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, October 8, 2012

Back in June and shortly after the release of Ridley Scott's Prometheus, the online discussion circled around how much of the movie's screenplay was changed by Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of Lost. Scott had brought in Lindelof to rework Jon Spaihts first draft of the film. Since a lot of the marketing for Prometheus was about how many ties the new movie had to the original Alien movie, and how many of the mysteries from Alien would be answered in Prometheus, no one from the production wanted to dwell on what the differences were between Spaihts original draft of Prometheus and Lindelof's later rewrite.

Now we're beginning to find out. Spaihts is interviewed by Empire magazine and reveals several key points in his original vision of Prometheus, and how they were jettisoned or changed to what wound up on-screen.

Spaihts recalls the early moments of his involvement with the project, from sitting down with Ridley Scott for 30 to 45 minutes to talk about concepts that they would like to explore. One of Spaihts earliest ideas was for a scene where a female character had a chestburster Alien inside her. Knowing that she would certainly die if action wasn't taken, the character (which evolved to become Noomi Rapace's scientist Elizabeth Shaw) went to the advanced, autonomous medical surgery bay and performed surgery on herself to remove the Alien fetus.

While that same concept was shown in Prometheus, it was different from Spaihts core vision. "At the end of the sequence as I first conceived it, the heroine manages to get the creature extracted from her and it is expelled from the pod and she's sealed inside, whereas in the final film it goes the other way," the screenwriter explained.

"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."

If you read some of the criticism online about Shaw's delivery of her alien fetus and how well she seemingly recovered from the surgery, that was also something introduced in Lindelof's draft. "As for how she recovers from her surgery so fast - well, it was more of a protracted process in my original notion," Spaihts said. "My script underwent a number of major evolutions as we were working on it, and then Damon came in and made further changes still."

Spaihts also had these notable differences in his earlier version of Prometheus:

  • The creatures discovered by the Prometheus crew on the planet were recognizably the same facehuggers and chestbursters seen in earlier Alien movies. Then, as Spaihts exited the project and Lindelof took over, the movie studio wanted to distance Prometheus from the Alien movies and requested different creatures.
  • The character of Holloway (played by Logan Marshall-Green) was attacked by a facehugger in the Engineer's chamber. Unknowingly infected, he wakes up and believes he's fine. Returning to the ship, he's reunited with his lover Shaw, and the two make love in their quarters. During that initimate moment the chestburster explodes from Holloway, killing him.
  • David (Michael Fassbender's android character) is much more malevolent. He grows to envy the Engineers and believes that he is the intellectual equal of these beings. In one discarded scene he captures Shaw, ties her up, and then "strokes" an Alien egg to open. Playing with the facehugger like one would pet a kitten, he eventually lets the creature loose. That's how Shaw winds up being impregnated.
  • The ending of the film was more ambiguous, and left the surviving characters of Shaw and David in a more uncertain place. "It was plain that David and Shaw were going to have to work together and deal with one another if they were to survive," explains Spaihts.

There are other Prometheus secrets revealed in Jon Spaihts' discussion on Empire including different concepts of what the Prometheus and Alien creatures might have looked like.

-Empire.

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