When we imagine the creative process, it's easy to picture a genius struck by sudden inspiration like a bolt from the blue. It fits into our ideals of how creativity works. We can picture George Lucas waking up one day and immediately creating Star Wars, or that the idea for childhood classic E.T. came fully formed into Steven Spielberg's head. In the real world, though, it doesn't quite work like that. In reality movies spend weeks, months, even years in development, undergoing re-writes and changes that sometimes make the finished product unrecognisable from the original idea that spawned it. There are times where that's a real shame, but quite often we can thank our lucky stars that they didn't go with the first draft. Try and picture the Xenomorph with tentacles, Han Solo with green skin, or Woody from Toy Story as an evil, murdering patriarch and you might have an idea of the rejected ideas that did not make it to the screen. Just try and picture the cultural landscape had these scripts never been altered - it would be a radically different place.
10. Alien 3 - Set On A Wooden Planet Full Of Monks
It's fair to say Alien 3 isn't the most beloved in the Alien franchise, but we can all agree it looks a lot better when compared against the Alien offerings we've had since (step forward Alien: Resurrection and Prometheus). Initially, it looked promising. Sigourney Weaver was on board for a third go-round along with respected British thespians Charles Dance and Paul McGann. Behind the camera was a promising young director called David Fincher. Alien 3 was set on a prison planet, an intriguing setting that is, sadly, largely wasted. In an early draft, though, the setting was a whole lot weirder. Before Fincher got the nod as the director, New Zealander Vincent Ward was initially the man set to write and direct the third Alien film and he had a very singular vision for it: he wanted the film to take place in a medieval world. If you know anything at all about Alien, you'll know that the whole "being set in the distant future" thing makes this impossible. Undeterred, Ward did the next best thing, and decided to set his film on a wooden planet-sized space station inhabited by god-fearing space-monks who had rejected modern technology (except, presumably, space travel and the building of space stations). Five different writers and innumerable re-writes later, sense was restored and the wooden planet idea was jettisoned. However, some of the material was re-used for the prison planet setting that was eventually agreed upon. Alien 3 may have been mediocre at best, but had Ward has his way, watching a bunch of old-timey-yet-futuristic monks running from a Xenomorph could have become the franchise's defining image. Thankfully, everyone involved eventually saw sense.
David is an office drone and freelance writer for WhatCulture and Moviepilot, among others. He's also foolishly writing a serialised novel on Jukepop and has his own irregularly updated website. He's available for freelance work. Reach out on Twitter to @davefox990