Original Version of ALIEN Coming Soon as a Comic Book Series

Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror masterpiece Alien recently turned 40 years old. And it is still as amazing a cinematic achievement as it was opening day. But the film had a fairly long and tortured process on its way to the big screen. Sci-fi writer Dan O’Bannon wrote the original screenplay, after having worked with John Carpenter on his movie Dark Star. But the movie that wound up in theaters was heavily re-written, despite O’Bannon still receiving screen credit. But now a version of that original iteration of Alien is coming to life, but in comic book form instead.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, O’Bannon’s first script for Alien is getting adapted as a five-issue mini-series from Dark Horse Comics. This new series will adapt O’Bannon’s original version of events. Writers Walter Hill and David Giler heavily rewrote the script before the film went into production. According to Dark Horse Comics, this series constitutes “an alternate line of events” from the original film. Writer Cristiano Seixas and artist Guilherme Balbi are adapting the script for this limited series.

Cover art for Dark Horse Comics' adaptation of the original screenplay for Alien.

Twentieth Century Fox / Dark Horse Comics

O’Bannon’s original screenplay kept to the broad strokes of what would wind up being Alien. Although the original title was actually Starbeast. No doubt Twentieth Century Fox wanted to present the film as “ horror Star Wars,” and capitalize on their monster hit by having the word “star” in the title. The first draft of the screenplay didn’t feature the starship Nostromo, but the space mining vessel originally called the Snark. Was everyone supposed to be very quippy in this crew or something??

Concept art for the alien xenomorph, based on the art of HR Giger.

Twentieth Century Fox

All joking aside, the most important deviation from what we know today is that the character of Ellen Ripley did not exist. Considering that Lt. Ripley became the iconic star of the series, this is maybe the script’s biggest change in the finished product. It’s hard to imagine this story without the powerhouse that is Sigourney Weaver.

This is not the first time Dark Horse Comics has given us comic book featuring an “alternate” version of an Alien story. A couple of years back, the publisher released an adaption of the unproduced version Alien 3, which was the work of legendary science fiction author William Gibson. Gibson was of course most famous for his cyberpunk cult classic Neuromancer. Many fans prefer Gibson’s version to the Alien 3 we ended up with in 1992 from David Fincher. An audio version of the unmade Alien 3 was also released not too long ago.

The xenomorph gets ready to attack in the original 1979 Alien.

Twentieth Century Fox

The other most famous adaptation of an unproduced screenplay for a famous Sci-fi franchise that came from Dark Horse as well. In 2013, they took George Lucas’ original drafts for Star Wars and turned those into a mini-series, called The Star Wars. And although they were very interesting, they were far afield from any of the movies  we came to know and love. This one probably won’t be as different. But I guess we’ll have to wait for the comic to come out to see if the original Alien kept other most important character from the original. I am, of course, talking about Jones the cat.

Alien: The Original Screenplay hits comic shops on  April 22.

Featured Image: Twentieth Century Fox

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