Anyone interested in the development of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi blockbuster Prometheus will be intrigued by an early draft of the film’s screenplay by writer Jon Spaihts, which recently appeared online. Entitled Alien: Engineers, Spaihts’s script reveals that Prometheus was, at one stage, meant to be a legitimate part of the Alien film series.
Spaihts, who acquired a reputation in Hollywood as a “go-to-guy for space thrillers” after Keanu Reeves agreed to produce and star in his 2007 science-fiction romance Passengers, was hired by Scott in 2009 to script an “Alien prequel” that would explore the mysteries of the sci-fi franchise.
However, after working with Spaihts on five drafts of the script, Scott sent it to screenwriter and creator of Lost, Damon Lindelof, who decided he liked the story but felt it would work better without the references to previous Alien movies in Spaihts’s screenplay. Lindelof re-worked the script, stripping out the canonical references, and the resulting screenplay was filmed as Prometheus.
As you’d expect, Alien: Engineers differs from Prometheus in a number of ways. For instance, Noomi Rapace’s character was initially called Watts rather than Shaw; the film’s explorers were originally meant to have found a star map under water; and Rapace was attacked by one of Alien’s most iconic monsters – a facehugger – in Spaihts’s storyline.
Speaking to Empire, Spaihts revealed more details about his original vision for the Alien/Prometheus franchise. He said: “I did have a plan for multiple films and the conversations I had with Ridley was about a new franchise, from the beginning. We talked about a possible trilogy, or a duology, but more often as a trilogy.
“And I did have pretty broad notions as to how we were going to get from this world to the original Alien – the baton pass, closing the circle, if you will. So yes, I did have plans for two other films. I came up with an even more twisted sequence than the Medpod, but I cannot tell you what happens…”
If you’d like to learn more about the differences between Alien: Engineers and Prometheus, check out this thread on AVPGalaxy in which fans of the film have picked apart the two screenplays in minute detail.