Dark Horse Comics today announced an upcoming comic book series based on legendary sci-fi author William Gibson’s original, unproduced script for Alien 3. The series will be adapted for the page by writer and artist Johnnie Christmas.
At the time of its release, David Fincher’s Alien 3 was perhaps the most divisive film in the franchise. Notorious for killing off several fan-favorite characters at the outset, the film strands series protagonist Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) on an off-world penal colony with a single Xenomorph and a group of dysfunctional convicts. Alien 3 was considered a sharp about-face for the series’ overarching narrative (and, then, an abrupt end), but that almost wasn’t the case.
[vn_gallery name="William Gibson's Alien 3 #1" id="1366511"]
Gibson (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive) was originally recruited to pen the film’s script based on early treatments. His vision never reached the big screen, but now fans of the Alien franchise will finally get to see what the author had in store for the third entry in the series. The comic will plot a wholly new course for Ripley and the survivors aboard the Sulaco, as, according to Gibson, almost nothing from his original script made it into the final cut. Writer and artist Johnnie Christmas (Angel Catbird, Firebug, Sheltered) will be the series' main artist.
"When your first contracted screenplay (or screenplay of any kind, in my case) isn’t produced, but the film is eventually made with a different screenplay, retaining nothing of yours but a barcode tattoo on the back of a character’s neck, the last thing you ever expect is to see yours beautifully adapted and realized, decades later, in a different medium, by an artist of Johnnie Christmas’ caliber,” Gibson said in a statement released exclusively to CBR. “It’s a wonderful experience, and I have no doubt that Johnnie’s version, which adheres almost entirely to the script, delivers more of my material to the audience than any feature film would have been likely to do.”
The synopsis for Gibson’s Alien 3 reveals that the series’ story will evolve one of the primary conflicts of the first two films, the struggled between personal welfare and corporate interests, by introducing a hefty dose of governmental strife into the equation.
“Following the deadly events of Aliens, the Union of Progressive Peoples intercepts the spaceship carrying the hibernating bodies of Ripley, Hicks, Newt, and Bishop. But unbeknownst to them, they have also picked up another deadly passenger whose discovery will unleash a race between two governments to weaponize the xenomorph in this horrifying and poignant Cold War-themed thriller.”
Some fan-favorite characters originally killed off in the final cut of Alien 3 will also return in full force. In particular, Bishop, played by Lance Henriksen in the film, will play a pivotal role in the series.
“As for my screenplay, I’d like to point out that I worked from a treatment provide by the film’s three producers, so it wasn’t my idea, at all, to jettison Ripley,” Gibson said. “Unhappy with that, as a fan of the previous two films, I went for a multiple helping of Bishop, my second favorite human character in the first film.”
Based on a script by William Gibson, William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1 goes on sale on Nov. 7. Johnnie Christmas is the issue’s artist. Tamra Bonvillain provides colors, while James Harren, Daniel Warren Johnson, Paolo Rivera, Tradd Moore and Christian Ward pen the issue’s variant covers, two of which can be found in the gallery above, along with a five-page preview of the debut issue.