7 Terrible Early Versions of Great Movies

#3.
The Matrix

For years, Andy and Larry Wachowski worked on the screenplay for The Matrix, receiving nothing but confused stares from the studio executives who tried to read it. By 1996, they'd finally gotten producer Joel Silver interested in the project by directing a film noir picture about hot lesbians (long story), and they had this action-packed script called The Matrix ready to go.

It still needed a little work.

What The Fuck Is This Shit?

Most of the differences are subtle. For instance, when Trinity first contacts Neo through his computer (you know, "follow the white rabbit" and all that), she uses a chatroom called The Matrix. Now, this might seem perfectly reasonable, right up until you realize that the chatroom would obviously be filled with the same people you always find in chatrooms, and everywhere else on the internet. The Wachowski Brothers seemed to realize this was retarded, but plowed ahead anyway.

Yeah, it didn't work out. Right there in the same scene, even Neo can tell that this whole chatroom thing is a bad idea.

You can see why they eventually settled on Keanu Reeves, because a lot of Neo's lines sound more like Ted.

As you may have noticed by now, the dialogue is a problem. And by problem we mean there are lines that destroy a piece of your soul by simply reading them. Try to picture Trinity and Gizmo saying this to each other in the final cut:

Likewise, the moment on the rooftop when Trinity puts a gun to the agent's head, "Dodge this!" was originally, "Dodge this, motherfucker!"

Okay, maybe that would have been an improvement.

You can't say the same about the ending, however. In the script, Agent Smith still shoots Neo. Only in this first draft, instead of stopping bullets with his mind and destroying Agent Smith with his newfound superpowers, Neo rises from the dead and just flips Smith the bird.

Smith would obviously like to shoot Neo again at this point, but the doors of the elevator he's in are already closing, and he's forced to let them close and pound on the doors helplessly. Apparently his super human time warping speed doesn't allow him to, you know, stick his hand out.

On the Other Hand...

Flawed as it may be, this draft is still pretty close to the final shooting script, only with a couple of extra action sequences, mostly involving trains. Those probably would have been pretty cool.

Also, the fight sequence in the lobby, when Neo and Trinity are trying to rescue Morpheus involves ninja throwing stars. NINJA FUCKING THROWING STARS!

#2.
Star Wars

In 1973, after completing American Graffiti, George Lucas went to work on his next project, a two-page sci-fi treatment called The Journal of the Whills. Nobody could understand the damn thing.

So, George wrote a new treatment, this one thirteen pages long, and called it The Star Wars. Since people seemed to understand this one a little better, George set to work expanding it into a full-length script.

What The Fuck Is This Shit?

This first draft is sort of like Star Wars in the same way that getting run over by a bus is sort of like driving a car. The right elements are there (wheels, road, etc.), but they just aren't doing what they're supposed to.

The story follows a fat teenager named Annikin Starkiller. Annikin's dad drags him to the planet Aquilae, where they meet General Luke Skywalker. Almost immediately, Aquilae is attacked by the New Galactic Empire for reasons that we couldn't explain without a flowchart and an advanced understanding of post-Jedi-Rebellion economic policy.

Two or three more flowcharts deconstructing Aquilaean politics would be needed to explain how General Skywalker loses the war, but Annikin and the General do manage to sneak away from the planet with the last remaining members of the Aquilaean Royal Family. By "sneak away," of course, we mean "get chased and shot down over Wookiee country," which leads to General Skywalker training a squadron of Wookiee fighter pilots to shoot down the Death Star.

And, just between you and us, we think there's something seriously fucking wrong with this Annikin Starkiller kid. Sure, it's all well and good that he's already a Jedi Bendu at the age of eighteen, quick with his lasersword and everything, but what in the hell would make him decide to BLOW UP HIS OWN BROTHER'S CORPSE?

Okay, maybe we can put that one down to strange customs. And his near-constant horniness can be explained away as teenage hormones. But we have to draw the line somewhere.

Yes, you read that right. He just SOCKED PRINCESS LEIA IN THE FUCKING FACE. Now, since you've probably seen movies before, you may have guessed that Leia falls madly in love with young Starkiller, apparently deciding that she needs a good beating now and then. This draft's version of Princess Leia is fourteen years old, by the way. Just thought we'd mention that.

Also, we already knew that George Lucas likes to make up funny names, but we doubt that's much consolation for the unlucky Sith Knight Prince Valorum.


Prince Valorum.

And it probably doesn't make the Emperor feel much better, either, seeing as he has to go through his fictional life with the unfortunate name Cos Dashit.

We're really hoping that was just a typo.

As a side note, we'd like to recommend that if a woman named Beru ever offers to cook for you, say no.

Lady, we don't care how mild it is. We're still not touching the stuff.

On the Other Hand...

The characters Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee are still intact, even if Han Solo is a Jedi and Chewbacca is a prince or something, but their physical descriptions are somewhat different from what you're probably used to.


Chewbacca and Han Solo share a quiet moment.

Try and tell us that wouldn't have been awesome. You can't, can you?

#1.
Batman

In 1979, some guy named Michael Uslan acquired the film rights to DC's second-most popular superhero. Uslan joined up with Tom Mankiewicz (a guy who wrote a couple of the James Bond movies) as his screenwriter.

Mankiewicz started work on the script in 1980 and finished it in 1983. Then, in 1986, Tim Burton was brought onto the project and promptly threw Mankiewicz's script in the garbage because it was fucking retarded.

What The Fuck Is This Shit?

This thing is the worst possible blend of "dark and brooding" Batman and "campy 60s fun" Batman. Mike Uslan wanted to make the story dark and intense, a throwback to the oldschool Bob Kane Batman who would totally kick a dude in the neck until he fucking died...

... while Mankiewicz apparently still thought of Batman as that guy who had to fight exploding sharks while hanging from a helicopter.

So they ended up with a script about a dark, intense hero who battles dudes who fly around with jetpacks and umbrellas.

Not that Bruce Wayne has any reason to worry, seeing as how he's SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME THAT YOU WILL FUCKING SHIT. By the age of seventeen, he's not only mastered gymnastics and martial arts, but also learned several languages, made science his personal bitch, and mastered the stock market through the power of delicious McDonald's hamburgers.

And he's also become something of a ladies' man, apparently by accident.

By the time he's twenty four, Bruce is winning NASCAR races, drawing crowds of sexually excited women every time he appears in public, and beating up bikers in dark alleys. And he's not even Batman yet.

Once he actually is Batman, it's all about the gadgets. His Batmobile alone has a force field, a battering ram, retractable hydrofoil pontoons, armored mudflaps, and a giant horseshoe magnet.

By the way, that guy is never mentioned again, apparently left to suffocate or starve to death in the Batmobile's trunk.

As for Robin (yeah, Robin's in this script, too), his own parents' deaths are far more traumatizing than any other version of the tale:

Yes, they die because the bird landed on "the male Greyson's pole." We never want to go anywhere near any bird ever again, unless we have full protective gear on our junk.

On the Other Hand...

In keeping with his newfound edginess, Batman kills people. He only kills four people, but that's not a bad body count for Batman.

The best kill of the bunch is corrupt politician Rupert Thorne. In the middle of one of the silliest setpieces in the script, a museum display that's been decorated with gigantic pieces of office equipment for the "American Writers and Writing" exhibit, Batman's personal brand of justice transforms into something pants-shittingly bizarre.

That one scene alone would be worth sitting through the whole stupid movie.

If you both draw AND think like a child and want $50, head to the forum and show us The Presidential Election As Drawn By a 5 Year-Old.

Or, if you enjoyed this article, take a look back at 8 Classic Movies That Got Away With Gaping Plot Holes. Or find out about 5 Awesome Movies Ruined By Last-Minute Changes.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

449 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!