6 Ridiculous First Drafts of Famous Movie Monsters
A movie doesn't just plop out of a writer's or director's imagination fully formed. It is the end result of hundreds of changes and tweaks and revisions, which is why, for instance, many of your favorite movies started from utterly ridiculous scripts.
It's the same for movie monsters -- it's hard to imagine the Predator or Jabba the Hutt as anything other than the iconic beasts we know and love. But they and others evolved from ideas that at the concept stage were very, very different. And very, very stupid.
Star Wars -- Jabba the Hutt Was an Irish Space Furry
It's hard to imagine it now, but for a long time Star Wars fans had no idea what Jabba the Hutt looked like. He's mentioned in the first two movies, but never shown -- all we knew was that he was some guy Han Solo owed money to. When George Lucas finally unveiled the character in Return of the Jedi, fans everywhere went "Yep, that looks like a Jabba all right."
"He's got the gravy-sweats and everything."
But what if they had included him in the first movie, which had a considerably smaller budget? Would Jabba have looked as imposing and intimidating as the giant slug monster he turned out to be?
Well, that depends on how scared you are of fat Irish people in fuzzy clothes:
Jabba. Far right: Freshly shaved Chewbacca.
Yep, that's Northern Irish actor Declan Mulholland playing "Jabba the Hutt" in a deleted scene from A New Hope. This was never supposed to end up in the finished film, though: The plan was for Lucas to lay a stop-motion creature over Mulholland's performance ... keeping the thick Irish accent and all. This, of course, doesn't explain why the guy is dressed in that ridiculous costume -- maybe it was there to help Harrison Ford visualize the character, or maybe it's just what the actor came in wearing that day.
We assume all Irish people dress like this all the time.
So what would the finished version of Jabba have looked like? Something like this:
Your eyes do not deceive you. That's a slug violating an Irishman.
According to Lucas, he originally saw Jabba as "a big furry character," as opposed to the lovable slug we all know. That's right: Jabba the Hutt was dangerously close to being some sort of mean, morbidly obese Ewok. What Lucas has never explained, as far as we know, is why he chose to make him sound like an Irish gangster. We could be witnessing the first steps on the road to Jar Jar Binks here.
As fans well know, Lucas eventually included the deleted scene in the special editions, awkwardly inserting a CGI version of the Return of the Jedi Jabba and redubbing the dialogue. We kind of wish he had gone the other direction and instead CGI'd the fat, furry Irish guy into Jedi. Seriously, imagine Slave Leia strangling him.
Our statisticians estimate that four of you are now masturbating.
Predator -- The Predator Was Jean-Claude Van Damme in a Rubber Suit
The Predator is a slightly bizarre character, when you think about it: It's like a futuristic Rastafarian jungle commando with a dissected crab for a face, but the weirdest part is that this strange combination of elements actually works. Then again, its eclectic design was probably the product of a lot of careful study and consideration. Right?
Actually, it was sort of thrown together at the last moment -- and before that, this is what they were going with:
It's a ... space duck warrior. The version you see here was a lot slimmer, shorter and generally less badass than the final one. It was also extremely clumsy -- if you still think it doesn't look too bad, that's because you haven't seen it prancing around the jungle like an idiot:
What you're looking at there is the red version of the suit that they used to shoot the camouflage scenes -- and that's actually Jean-Claude Van Damme in it. Yup, they hired a pre-Bloodsport JCVD to be the Predator because apparently they wanted it to have a ninjalike quality (which means they were just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what stuck). They were actually halfway through the movie when director John McTiernan fortunately realized this wasn't working out and tossed the costume in the trash.
Also, the guy in it.
The Predator we know came about more or less by accident. Without a monster and feeling pressured by the studio, McTiernan desperately called special effects wizard Stan Winston (who had worked on the first Terminator film) and asked him to come up with a new version. Winston was literally sketching some ideas in the plane when the guy sitting next to him suggested that some mandibles might look cool. Sure, that dude happened to be James Cameron, but still -- that's some last-minute shit right there.
"... but I'm gonna pass on making it a blue cat person, Jim."
Alien 3 -- The Chest-Burster Was Going to Be Adorable
The third Alien film had an incredibly long and expensive production history, having been put in suspended animation, killed and resurrected almost as many times as Sigourney Weaver herself. At one point the studio decided "the hell with it" and started shooting the movie with what they had, which didn't include a finished script. This might explain why, for a while, the alien chest-burster looked like this:
That's not a starving whippet that wandered onto the set -- it's the freshly born alien creature with most of its costume on.
You see, the idea was that the aliens always acquire some characteristics from the organisms they burst out of. Up to this point, we'd only seen them come out of humans, and that's why they walked on two legs and had ... um, tails ... and stuff. Since this one was originally supposed to come out of an ox, they wanted it to walk on four legs, an effect they achieved by sticking a dog inside an alien costume. This did not look as terrifying as they hoped it would.
The problem was that, despite looking like an alien, the dog still moved like ... well, a dog. Also, they found it impossible to film the damned thing from the front, as any attempt to conceal its face resulted in one extremely angry whippet.
"I'm only doing this for the exposure. My agent will hear about this."
Eventually they dropped the idea because "the dog's movements proved too comical," but what's impressive is that it even made it to this stage. That was a pretty close call, but it could have been even worse: An earlier draft of the script featured an entire farm of alien animals, including cats, pigs, chickens and a monstrous alien sheep covered with "gore-matted wool."
And a human face coming out of its butt, for some reason.
And as we'll later see, this wasn't even the worst thing that almost made it into the Alien franchise ...
District 9 -- The Prawns Were Space Hobos
What made District 9 interesting is that it wasn't just a standard sci-fi movie about humans fighting aliens with large weapons and explosions: The first part of the film went to great lengths to establish a realistic setting with real sociological and political implications.
And then it turned into a standard sci-fi movie with large weapons and explosions.
That's why it was always important to depict the prawn aliens in a realistic and respectful way -- they had to look alien enough to be menacing, but also dignified enough that you'd feel sorry for all the atrocities committed against them. This might have been a little hard to accomplish if the aliens had been large puppets dressed in silly costumes ... as originally intended:
We choose to believe that the old man is guiding him and not seducing him.
That's a real piece of concept art from the book The Art of District 9, which reveals that the people who designed the film went through a whole period where the prawns (originally meant to be puppets instead of CGI) were supposed to look like intergalactic hobos. The idea was that the prawns had really sensitive skin and eyes and would cover themselves with anything they found ... including plastic bags and stop signs that they used as hats.
Pretty sure that guy's wearing curtains instead of pants.
The main designer also states in the book that he thought it would be funny if the aliens tried to wear sunglasses but kept breaking them, so naturally they ended up taping them to their faces. This idea was apparently deemed too hilarious for a film about the horrors of apartheid.
And because there's a thin line between a hobo and a hipster, of course some of them would look like this:
He's dressed as a sheriff, but also has a tiny sheriff on his hat. It's like Inception.
The only upside is that this would have cleared up the mystery of why these guys ended up stranded on Earth -- they're like a group of hobos who curled up to sleep under a bridge one day and stayed there for 20 years.
But hey, at least this didn't go past the concept stage, unlike ...
Spider-Man -- The Green Goblin Was Literally a Green Goblin
The Green Goblin is one of Spider-Man's deadliest enemies (actual goblins being spiders' natural predators), which is why back in 2002 fans were outraged that the movie version looked less like the comic book character and more like the ugliest Power Ranger ever.
Luckily, Dafoe mainly acts with his chin.
What those fans aren't taking into account is that a literal translation of the comic book costume would look silly as shit in live action -- as this real test footage of that very thing proves:
It may also prove that there is no loving God.
Look at this thing. Just look at it.
Some things shouldn't be.
Good lord, it looks like the witch from The Wizard of Oz did it with one of those winged monkeys. And yep, apparently they seriously considered using it in the movie.
The footage reveals that director Sam Raimi originally commissioned special effects company Amalgamated Dynamics to produce a literal version of the Green Goblin, one that seems to suggest that Willem Dafoe's billionaire industrialist character in the movie was either an actual goblin or one hell of a makeup artist.
"If only I had my kit ..."
The most disturbing part of the video, however, is the moment when an off-camera Raimi basically commands the actor behind the mask to make love to the camera, demonstrating a wide range of expressions that go from "angry rapist" to "pleasant child molester."
Presumably, the studio heads were so deeply scarred by this test footage that they unanimously decided the Goblin's mask should never be able to change expressions, ever. So we ended up with a completely stoic robot mask, but it could have been much, much worse.
We don't know what the actual reason for changing the mask was, considering that Sam Raimi sounds strangely pleased with it in the video. Incidentally, Raimi is currently directing a prequel for The Wizard of Oz, so maybe there's still a chance that he'll unleash this thing on the world.
Alien Resurrection -- The Hybrid Alien Was Disturbingly Pornographic
Sex has always been a recurring theme in the Alien franchise. We've already pointed out how the whole thing is basically a metaphor for rape. Also, for anyone who grew up watching the films or at least being aware of them, there's that revelatory moment during puberty when you realize that the chest-burster looks remarkably like a dong. Some of us still giggle when we see it.
Even if it happened in real life, we'd be like "Haha, there's a penis in your chest."
So, in a franchise where mouth rape and dong monsters are part of the established mythology, how do you take things too far? Leave it to a Frenchman to figure out the answer.
The fourth film, Alien Resurrection, featured an alien/human hybrid that came about from combining the DNA of the terrifying Alien Queen with the even more terrifying Ellen Ripley. The result is perhaps the most disturbing creature in the entire Alien franchise -- but originally, it was disturbing on a completely different level:
Try not to focus on it.
Why, those almost look like ...
Oh Jesus Christ.
No, it's not just your filthy imagination. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was "adamant about the hybrid having a genitalia which resembled a mix of both male and female sexes." It would be bad enough if it had those things under a pair of trousers, but did they have to put them right in the middle of its stomach? The whole thing seems like a setup for Ripley telling the creature to go fuck itself during a climatic scene.
And then it would say "What do you think I'm doing?"
So how long did this hideous idea make it before someone shot it down? Concept art? Test footage? A couple of scenes? Nope, they actually shot the entire movie with the genitals intact, somehow. So if you think the actors look extra awkward during the last part of the film, you try working with a boner staring at you at all times.
Apparently Jeunet got tired of having to look at this thing while editing the movie, because he ended up digitally removing the genitals in post-production -- in the special edition DVD, he admitted that "Even for a Frenchman, it's too much."
Feel free to follow David on Twitter, or check him out over at Film School Rejects, where he is a weekly contributor.
For first drafts that someone forgot to remove from the final product, check out The 5 Most Half-Assed Monsters in Movie History. Or learn about 6 Movie Monsters That Just Wouldn't Work.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see the first drafts of DOB.
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