Author William Gibson’s unused draft for Alien III is being turned into a Dark Horse comic series. Gibson was the first of 10 writers who worked on the script for Alien 3, but almost nothing of his work made it into the final product. The author’s screenplay picked up shortly after Aliens, with Hicks and Bishop promoted to leading roles. Sigourney Weaver’s involvement was in question during the script’s development, so the character was relegated to a brief cameo after her status pod is accidentally damaged in the opening pages; Newt is later sent to Earth to be with her grandparents.
Gibson’s Alien III also revealed the Alien infection can be spread via a nasty virus, which can turn humans into hybrid xenomorph creatures. Hicks and Bishop have to save the survivors of a space station when military experiments with the virus lead to an outbreak. Gibson actually wrote two drafts: one an action-packed spectacle that was very much an Aliens sequel, and another more claustrophobic, stripped down version which only featured three xenomorphs. In the end, the producers felt the script wasn’t unique enough, and that the script’s Cold War subtext would date it.
Gibson’s Alien III has grown a fanbase among those who read it and was more in line with the expectations fans had of the series following Aliens. Now Gibson’s unused script is being dusted down by Dark Horse and being turned into a five-part comic series. The comic should give fans the alternate sequel they always wanted since Alien 3 remains controversial to this day for killing Hicks, Newt and Ripley, and robbing Aliens of its happy ending. Take a look at the cover and the first five pages from Issue #1 below.
At the time Gibson’s Alien III was being written, the studio was thinking of a two-part narrative, with Hicks being the lead character of part three and then Ripley returning in part four to track down the Alien homeworld. They were also trying to woo Ridley Scott back to direct the third movie and James Cameron for Alien 4, but this notion was quickly scrapped.
Three very different scripts were also developed for the movie following Gibson’s. Eric Red's Alien III featured the xenovirus breaking out in a biodome space station that’s supposed to resemble Kansas. This outlandish draft featured Alien cows, chickens and pigs, a zero-gravity sex scene and a giant monster fused together from dozens of Aliens; Weaver herself later dubbed this much-maligned script "a real disaster." The next screenplay from David Twohy (Riddick) featured convicts in a space prison being experimented on by Weyland - Yutani and having to survive new breeds of Aliens that have unique abilities, like super strength or being able to melt through walls.
Vincent Ward’s Alien III is the most famous of the discarded drafts and featured Ripley crash-landing on a wooden planet populated by technology rejecting monks. Soon an Alien attacks and they fear Ripley brought the devil to their planet. It’s a fascinating script, but producers ultimately felt the concept was too strange, so they turned the monks into religious prisoners and set it on a prison planet instead for the final script. Maybe if Gibson’s Alien III proves popular, these other unused concepts might receive comic adaptations too.
Issue #1 of William Gibson's Alien III will go on sale from November 7.
Source: Dark Horse