An unused screenplay written by cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson for the Alien franchise is being adapted into comic book form by Dark Horse Comics. The script, which was the first one written for what had been intended to be the third film in the Alien franchise, will be adapted by writer and artist Johnnie Christmas.
Dark Horse Comics owes a portion of their success as a publisher to the Alien franchise, having published numerous miniseries based on the franchise since 1989.
This marks the second time this week that we have news of an unused sequel script for a popular 1980s science-fiction franchise being revived. Yesterday, it was announced that MGM was relaunching the RoboCop franchise with an abandoned screenplay for a sequel written by the original film’s writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner.
It is also not the first time that Dark Horse has published a comic series based on an unused screenplay. In 2014, the company released a comic based on an earlier, much different draft for the first Star Wars film by George Lucas. Later this summer, Boom! Studios will publish a six-issue miniseries based on an early draft for the original Planet Of The Apes written by Rod Serling and adapted by Dana Gould and Chad Lewis.
The development of the third installment in the Alien franchise was a rather fraught one. With James Cameron’s 1986 Aliens being a runaway summer hit, 20th Century Fox was quick to order up a new sequel. Producers David Giler, Walter Hill and Gordon Carroll developed the idea of exploring the machinations of the fictional Weyland-Yutani Corporation and what they wanted to do with the alien xenomorphs. The trio came up with the idea of actually creating two sequels whose stories would possibly run concurrently and which could be produced back-to-back. The first would focus on Aliens‘s Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) while franchise star Sigourney Weaver would be predominately featured in the fourth film.
The producers approached Gibson to write the screenplay and soon afterwards director Renny Harlin was attached. While he did turn in two drafts, Gibson left the project after the 1988 Writers Guild strike delayed the project. Further rewrites led to Harlin’s departure and the project morphing away from the original concept towards the much different story that eventually made its way to the big screen.
The first issue of William Gibson’s Alien 3 is scheduled to ho on sale on November 7.