Prometheus was easily one of the most divisive movies of the year. I thought director Ridley Scott produced a very well made movie from a technical perspective, unfortunately the script contracted a rather acute case of the stupids. Screenwriter Damon Lindelof appeared to be the carrier monkey that brought the dunderheaded infection, but he was actually just working off a script by original writer Jon Spaihts.
So did Spaihts’ script also contain the silliness or was that all Lindelof? Well, now you can actually find out for yourself as the full script has just burst out of the chest of the internet.
Just in case you’re wondering, Spaihts himself has confirmed that this script, titled Alien: Engineer and complete with facehuggers and chest-bursters, is the real deal. Now Spaihts has previously discussed some of the differences between his draft (when Scott was still treating it as a full blown Alien prequel) and Lindelof’s (when Scott was telling everybody it wasn’t an Alien prequel but it ended up totally being one), but this is the first time that we can actually read it in its entirety.
For those of you who want the TL;DR version, AICN have been kind enough to list all the differences and comparisons between the two versions:
* The bulk of the movie takes place on LV-426 — the same planet the Nostromo from “Alien” visited.
* Spaihts’ Engineers are described as 15 feet tall. It takes two humans to lift a massive Engineer head.
* Noomi Rapace’s role is named Jocelyn Watts instead of Elizabeth Shaw. Charlie Holloway is named Martin Holloway in this draft.
* David the android introduces Noomi and Holloway to the living Peter Weyland on a space station in Earth’s orbit. There is no holographic Weyland near the start of the movie.
* The name of the ship is Magellan, not Prometheus.
* The business with David shooting basketball on a bicycle is absent. Ditto David dying his hair and watching “Lawrence of Arabia.”
* The scene where the crewmen greet the alien cobra like a lost puppy is absent.
* The big storm is in this draft, but no flamethrower.
* A chestburster kills Holloway in its escape from his torso.
* Halfway through the movie, we learn a Weyland security force has been hidden on the Magellen the whole time.
* Weyland himself is not inexplicably hidden aboard the Magellen.
* Noomi’s crucifix is not in this draft.
* If the Charlize Theron character randomly bones the Idris Elba character, I didn’t notice that either.
* There’s a deadly, acid-filled giant centipede. And an “octopoid” facehugger different from the one with which we’re familiar. It turns out these Engineers carried at least seven kinds of weaponized species.
* Noomi becomes impregnated with an alien when an angry David places a facehugger on her. There’s still a big medical pod C-section scene.
* I didn’t notice anything about Holloway inspecting a tiny alien lodged in his eyeball.
* The alien craft still rolls toward Noomi on its edge.
* There’s less of an Engineer rampage near the end.
* The movie ends with David and Noomi playing chess as beacons signal their masters. David and Noomi do not use an Engineer ship to escape the planet.
So here’s what I took away from the original script: While I feel there are some things that Spaihts did much better (like not shoehorning Weyland into the story, a much clearer opening sequence, how Weyland’s ulterior motive was a bit less ridiculous, the scientist’s initial sense of awe as well as being a bit more intelligent in a number of situations, etc.) he still made a few missteps in my opinion. I like that Lindelof and Scott got a bit more ambitious and took the Engineers from being the standard “Aliens who visit Earth periodically to advance human civilization” that Spaihts wrote to actually being the god-archetypes that created life on the planet.
In the end though, while I feel like both versions of the script make some mistakes, often about the same stuff (for e.g. in Spaihts’ version David is far too malicious, and in Lindelof’s he’s far too mysterious and all knowing), I really prefer Spaihts’ version. It may raise a few issues of its own, but they are nowhere close to being as much of a dealbreaker as some of the issues I had with Lindelof’s script.
Either way, the Prometheus story still intrigues me, and I’d still eagerly watch the sequels just to see where it goes, but hopefully whoever handles scripting duty then actually runs it by somebody who isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. Like, why did the alien removed during Shaw’s DIY c-section have to end up looking like a giant space vagina? I need to know, man!