10 Abandoned Scripts Better Than The Finished Movie

A Jurassic World with human-dino clone soldiers? Much less bland.

Jurassic World
Universal Pictures

The story is when author William Faulkner left Hollywood, they cleared out his desk only to find dozens of empty liquor bottles and page after page, Shining-style, of the same words over and over: "Boy meets girl. Boy meets girl. Boy meets girl."

There's a reason screenwriter characters in movies are often portrayed as sad sacks, struggling artists turned jaded by a Hollywood that buys up their material only to butcher it. It's an old cliche, the writer who comes to Hollywood thinking he's made it, only to find the property shallow, incapable or uninterested in original thought.

And there are countless examples of scripts that showed promise only to be rewritten, altered or filmed in ways disrespectful to the words on the page. The script and screenwriter are often just tools for the filmmaker to get across what they want.

Other times, the script is changed or rewritten because the studio got cold feet on the project and, hoping to make whatever they can off their purchase, retooled it to fit in with whatever was trending at the time.

Either way, there are dozens of unused drafts of scripts that we're sure you can find in any Starbucks recycling bin. Here are the ones we wish we got to see.

10. Alien 3

Jurassic World
20th Century Studios

The history of the production, scripting and marketing surrounding the third entry in the Alien franchise serves as a word of warning about truth in marketing and the importance of forethought. Not only were ads running before a script was finished, advertising that the xenomorphs have finally entered our atmosphere, but the finished product didn't even approach earth.

There are several abandoned drafts of Alien 3, possibly the most famous being sci-fi writer William Gibson's contribution. Gibson worked enthusiastically finished a drafted that hewed closely to David Giler and Walter Hill's initial ideas; an action-oriented script that focused on Michael Biehn's Hicks from the previous film and the notion of the evil Weyland-Yutani company breeding xenomorphs as bio-weapons. So popular was Gibson's draft that it has been adapted into a graphic novel.

After the writer's strike, Gibson was asked to make rewrites but instead walked away from the project, frustrated with producers stalling. The project passed to horror writer Eric Red, who was rushed and focused the action of his draft on a bio-dome-in-space environment meant to ape small town America. He disowned the draft.

There were other drafts, each incorporating ideas from the previous and also pulling away from other aspects, until somehow we were left with a script set on a monastery-like planet made of wood that mistakes the alien for Satan and Ripley as its harbinger.

This was eventually changed into an ultra-religious, weaponless prison planet, and with a director in a young David Fincher, Fox set about shooting the unfinished script, writing it along the way.


Kenny Hedges is carbon-based. So I suppose a simple top 5 in no order will do: Halloween, Crimes and Misdemeanors, L.A. Confidential, Billy Liar, Blow Out He has his own website - thefilmreal.com - and is always looking for new writers with differing views to broaden the discussion.