Dark Horse Comics has found a new niche with their license for the Alien franchise, announcing a comic book adaptation of the original screenplay for the film. Writer Cristiano Seixas has adapted the script into five issues with artist Guilherme Balbi (Predators, Superboy) and colorist Candice Han set to bring screenwriter Dan O’Bannon's original story to life. This marks the second "What might have been" adaptation for Dark Horse in the Alien franchise, having previously published William Gibson's Alien 3, a graphic novel adaptation of the first draft ever written for the sequel (albeit never produced).
Alien: The Original Screenplay #1 (of five) will be released on April 22, 2020, just days before Alien Day on April 26. The official description for the series' first issue reads:
"En route to back to Earth, the crew of the starship Snark intercepts an alien transmission. Their investigation leads them to a desolate planetoid, a crashed alien spacecraft, and a pyramidic structure of unknown origin. Then the terror begins . . ."
Thanks to the extensive history of the Alien franchise, and the willingness of Dan O'Bannon to open up about the initial development of the screenplay, we already know some of the changes that readers can expect to see in the comic when compared to the movie. Notable moments that appeared in the final film that were written in the early drafts include the opening, where a space ship crew find themselves awakened to investigate an alien message. In addition, the famous "Chestburster" scene was in the script from the beginning. Furthermore, O'Bannon and his co-writer Ronald Shusett originally wrote the crew of the ship as generic humans, described as "interchangeable for men or women," which was a great asset to the casting department but will result in choices having to be made for this comic adaptation.
Some omissions from the first draft that were added later include Ian Holm's andoird character, Ash, who became the secondary antagonist of the script and a major foil for the human characters. Also one of the major pillars of the entire franchise, Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, was not present on the crew in the draft. As a result, this adaptation of the first draft should be an interesting read for fans of the series and offer a peculiar look into a world where a very different version of Alien made it onto the big screen.
Will you pick up Alien: The Original Screenplay when it debuts? Sound off in the comments below!