I adored Prometheus this summer, along with a good portion of other geeks. But the bold, divisive film certainly had issues – plot holes, character inconsistencies, and just plain dumb turns of events. A couple of weeks ago, Damon Lindelof’s original draft of the script leaked onto the great internet, and it is very, very interesting. Even better, co-writer Jon Spaihts’ original version of the screenplay was also leaked, so eagle-eyed sci-fi fans can easily compare and contrast both versions of what could have been.
Spaihts’ version involved an underwater sequence where the Earth-bound scientists discovered the star map with the use of submarines in a sunken Mediterranean city.
When pitching the exploratory mission to Weyland, Spaihts had alternate versions taking place aboard a space station and Weyland’s home on Mars, which was in the process of being terraformed.
Spaihts tries to explain away the idiocy of the scientists Milburn (Rafe Spall) and Fifield (Sean Harris), saying it was more due to editing, since they cut an earlier scene of Milburn becoming ecstatic over the discovery of a harmless alien life form: “It really showed how excited Milburn was by experiencing any extra-terrestrial, sophisticated life. That sort of explains why he’s acting like a complete utter moron here. The last thing you do when you see a snake in the wild is get your face really close to it and start smiling and extending your hand like you wanna pet it.”
Scott himself had the idea for ramming one spaceship into another and it was Spaihts’ job to make that work in the narrative.
Spaihts can claim the credit for the MedPod scene and Shaw’s impregnation.
Sci-fi screenwriting is a curious, utterly fascinating process, and I’ve been particularly intrigued by the crafting of Prometheus. It may well be my pick of the year for sci-fi and fantasy — maybe even overall.