5 Insane First Drafts You Can Still See In Famous Movies
Classic movie ideas aren't birthed into this world fully formed like a naked Terminator. Great movies take lots and lots of decidedly non-great drafts to perfect. And sometimes, elements of these terrible early versions are noticeable in the finished product, like the ancient bits of poo still stuck in the treads of your shoes. For example ...
The Jurassic World Movies Keep Pulling From A Ridiculous Unproduced Jurassic Park 4 Script
The recent Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom featured a lot of "surprising" (to put it politely) plot developments. SPOILERS: Most of it takes place during a mysterious gathering in a creepy mansion ... which thankfully turns out to be a black market auction and not some kind of dino spin on Eyes Wide Shut. But that lunatic story might not have been quite so surprising if you happened to read an unused screenplay for Jurassic Park 4 written by John Sayles, acclaimed director of artsy films and Bruce Springsteen music videos.
It sure seems like the famously bonkers Sayles script is a metaphorical amber-encased mosquito being harvested by these new movies. Even the first Jurassic World borrows heavily from it. The protagonist is a former Navy SEAL not dissimilar from Chris Pratt's ex-Navy bro Owen Grady, its villain has also been experimenting with custom-made new dinosaurs, and both even have a scene of our hero leading a squadron of housebroken raptors into battle.
Fallen Kingdom lifts plot elements from the fallen screenplay even more blatantly. JP4 sees tough guy Nick Harris returning to the ruins of Jurassic Park in order to recover Nedry's DNA-filled Barbasol can for John Hammond -- who apparently doesn't realize the can only had "enough coolant inside for 36 hours." Hammond does, however, deduce that smelly old Newman couldn't possibly have used a deodorant can.
Possibly because watching an ex-soldier hunt for an I.T. guy's rotting corpse and a can of hopelessly warm embryos doesn't sound super fun, Nick is soon confronted by the park's security rangers, who appear "out of the trees all around him" -- kind of like the security guys who betray and attack Owen during his mission back to Isla Nublar.
Then, despite setting up the familiar island rescue storyline, both movies change into the wackiest possible gear, as the heroes are abducted and taken to a lavish estate. In Fallen Kingdom, it's James Cromwell's country mansion, while in JP4 it's a castle in the Swiss Alps. Both of which house secret laboratories.
Jurassic World director and Fallen Kingdom co-writer Colin Trevorrow has never explained the similarities, but has admitted to reading Sayles' script (which he called "bananas"). Hopefully the script's climax, in which the genetically engineered dinosaurs raid a South American drug kingpin's compound, will make it into the next movie.
Back To The Future Part II Mined The First Movie's (Awful) First Draft For Ideas
Before we all found ourselves transported into its hellish alternate timeline, Back To The Future Part II was a damn fun movie, full of flying cars, hoverboards, and Pizza Hut products somehow even grosser than the real thing. Bizarrely, a lot of what we love about the sequel can be traced back to the very first draft of the original movie. And it's godawful.
As we've mentioned, in the earliest attempt at the eventual comedy classic, Marty is a creepy video bootlegger, Doc pals around with a pet monkey named "Shemp," and the time machine is a refrigerator powered by Coca-Cola (Marty would have lost a limb to diabetes by the third movie). Instead of burning this draft and burying the ashes at sea, when it came time for the sequel, the filmmakers returned to it.
Marty's plan to get rich with a future sports almanac? This idea was floated back in the first draft, though Marty's decidedly less airtight plan involved sending Shemp the monkey back in time to place horse-racing bets.
Even the iconic flying cars from the futuristic year of 2015 originated in the ending of the first draft. When Marty travels back home to the '80s (in his goddamn fridge), Doc Brown picks him up in a flying vehicle that isn't a time machine, just a regular Reagan-era floatsmobile. It seems that after meeting Marty in the '50s, Doc decided that time travel was too "risky," allowing him to work on other inventions, and the world is now a futuristic utopia as a result.
There are some downsides to this new reality, though. In this version, Marty doesn't just happen to invent rock 'n roll; he straight-up tries to con his way into music history, buying a guitar and playing Elvis songs for a 1950s talent agent.
In a prelude to Part II's grim alternate timeline, Marty's efforts to invent rock music accidentally lead to him killing it, creating a future wherein the kids only listen to mambo, and Chuck Berry presumably works in Biff's auto shop. Speaking of Biff, while the sequel finds him learning Doc and Marty's secret, in the script it's Marty's dad who figures out what's going on -- before promptly tumbling into deep-seated denial, lest his brain implode from realizing his wife was dating his son.
The Mine Cart Scene From Temple Of Doom Was Originally The Goofy Finale Of Raiders Of The Lost Ark
The ending of Raiders Of The Lost Ark finds Indy and Marion tied up while the Nazis peek inside the Ark of the Covenant and get a face-full of skin-melting Old Testament magic. Our heroes survive because they simply close their eyes, which somehow works, even though that would be a terrible idea in 99 percent of life-threatening situations. It's pretty much a perfect ending, as long as you don't stop to wonder how the hell they get down from that giant pole afterwards.
The sequel, Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom, also featured a thrilling finale, the now-iconic mine cart chase:
How did something so fun end up in a movie otherwise filled with human sacrifice and child slavery? Well, the sequence first showed up in an early draft of Raiders -- one that predates the draft in which Indy has sex with a student by a year, if you were wondering. In the original ending, the Ark is unveiled inside a tent, and only Marion is tied up. As the Nazis are dealing with the flaming wrath of the almighty, Indy sneaks in and rescues her.
Since not all the Nazis get melted, Marion suggests grabbing the Ark as they make their escape.
Then the pair toss the antique box that just straight up liquefied an army into a rickety old mine cart.
Thankfully, the pursuing Nazis are caught in an unrelated explosion, which Indy is able to avoid by kicking the throttle and doubling his speed like he's Vin Diesel. All the while, the Ark is bouncing around and being shot at. Eventually the cart hits the end of the line, jumps the tracks, and skids along a beach before smacking into a bunker, allowing them to escape.
The script ends with Indy and Marion kissing, followed by Indy ruining the moment with a stupid quip:
Seemingly implying that Indy wanted to make out with the Ark, which still would have been less stupid than aliens.
Parts Of Scream 3 Became The Fourth Movie (And A Kevin Bacon Show)
Until lawmakers in the Scream-verse decide to finally ban those Ghostface Halloween costumes, it seems like there's no end to possible murder-filled sequels. For 2011's Scream 4, original screenwriter Kevin Williamson returned to the series after taking a break on the third movie. Though Williamson had done work on Scream 3, but his ideas weren't used. You'll soon see why.
Williamson's version would have found heroine Sidney Prescott returning to her hometown of Woodsboro, where the next generation of teens are obsessed with the Stab movies instead of cellphones and sex. Soon they start being killed off by Ghostface, until the climactic ending reveals ... no one was murdered. All the kids faked their deaths in order to become famous, like some kind of meta-gory demo reel.
It gets weirder. The movie would also reveal that one of the original killers, Stu (the one played by Matthew Lillard), was somehow alive, even though he got a '90s-sized TV dropped on his head and was then electrocuted. Stu would have been in prison, "communicating with a very loyal fan base and orchestrating attacks on Sidney." Production on this idea progressed so far that Lillard was actually paid for a movie he appears nowhere in.
When Scream 4 happened, Williamson recycled a lot of the core ideas of his earlier treatment, omitting some of the goofier parts. Scream 4 similarly features a new group of teens who are such fans of the Stab franchise that they host underground screenings.
Also, the killer (SPOILERS) turns out to be Sidney's young cousin, who's jealous of her fame and is trying to recreate it for herself. According to Williamson, he took his earlier "quest for fame" motive, and instead of an improbably large group, he "just placed that into one character with Scream 4." As for the killer fan club idea, through the sausage factory that is Hollywood, that premise ended up in Williamson's TV show The Following, starring Kevin Bacon and a bunch of people one degree away from him.
The Explanation For Darth Vader's Mask, And Other Iconic Star Wars Elements, Came From Scrapped Drafts
It's no secret that George Lucas' early stabs at the Star Wars scripts are pure insanity. From Han Solo being a giant green alien to Han Solo having sex with a Wookiee, to ... you know what, it's mostly gross Han Solo stuff. While Lucas eventually whittled his creation down to a sci-fi classic, a lot of the most cherished aspects of Star Wars only exist due to those nutty binned iterations.
Take Darth Vader's mask. What says Star Wars more than the sleek black helmet of the asthmatic villain? The only reason it exists is that an early draft has Vader jet-packing between ships, presumably because he was too whiny and impatient to wait for a shuttle. Since he needed a mask to breathe in space, concept artist Ralph McQuarrie drew this:
While Vader flying about between ships was eventually deleted, Lucas invented Vader's backstory, volcano planet and all, purely to accommodate the badass costume McQuarrie designed. And remember the Kyber crystals, those magical gems that power lightsabers? A Kyber necklace was a major plot point in Rogue One.
Those too owe their existence to something that ended up in Lucas' trash can. His early drafts were much more fantasy-like, and like a 13-year-old Dungeon Master, he was obsessed with magic crystals. The original "Kiber" crystals were used by the Jedi to "intensify either side of the force a hundred fold" -- which he essentially stole from the Lensmen series of fantasy novels, in which a special crystal "tunes into the 'life force'" (with a small "f," so it's OK).
Even the trademark opening crawl, which sets the scene while lining John Williams' bulging, royalty-filled wallet, stemmed from the early premise that the Star Wars saga was taken from something called the "Journal Of The Whills":
The opening titles came from the story being narrated by R2-D2 a hundred after the fact. This does explain why R2 is present for nearly every scene, and sometimes gives himself inexplicable flying capabilities.
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