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William Gibson’s Aliens 3 script to be published as a comic by Dark Horse

William Gibson is well-known as the godfather of the science fiction cyberpunk movement, principally as a consequence of the global success of his novel Neuromancer (1984). We have written about one of Mr Gibson’s recent foray into comics, and Mr Gibson embarks again into the medium with the comic book adaption of his script for Aliens 3.

Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) were two highly successful motion pictures directed by James Cameron. A third movie, Alien 3 (1993), directed by David Fincher, received substandard reviews, and a fourth movie, Alien: Resurrection (1997) is broadly regarded as terrible.

Mr Gibson was originally engaged to write the screenplay for Alien 3 – his first commissioned screenplay – and produced two drafts in 1987 and 1988, but abandoned the project after being involved in multiple re-writes.

This screenplay was released by Mr Gibson via Twitter in 2013, to positive reviews.

Dark Horse Comics are publishing Mr Gibson’s script as a five issue comic book series, beginning on 14 November 2013. The story is vastly different to that which appeared in the final version of the film. In the film, the lead character Ripley lands on a prison planet, with her two companions Newt and Corporal Hicks dead, and the android Bishop destroyed. The action involves dealing with a murderous xenomorph (the titular villain) which has emerged from a dog and has canine characteristics. Ripley finds herself harbouring a queen xenomorph, and kills herself along with the hatching alien queen in order to save humanity.

But in Mr Gibson’s scripts, Corporal Hicks and Bishop are battling genetically-altered Xenomorphs aboard an enormous, partially completed space station named Anchorpoint. Ripley is written out of the script as a consequence of concerns that actor Sigourney Weaver, who played Ripley, would not return for the sequel:

The script sees the damaged interstellar warship called the Sulaco entering disputed space:

Attention. Due to failure of navigational circuitry, Sulaco has entered a sector claimed by the Union of Progressive Peoples. Auxiliary systems are now on line. Course corrected. Hardwired protocols prevent, repeat, prevent arming of nuclear warheads in the absence of Diplomatic Override, Decryption Standard Charlie Nine. On present course, Sulaco will exit the U.P.P. sector at nineteen hundred hours fifty three point eight minutes.

The Sulaco is intercepted by UPP commandos, with expected results:

Some of Mr Gibson’s recognisable concepts of dystopian bureaucracy appear in the script:


A station the size of a small moon, and growing; unfinished sections of hull are open to vacuum. A vast, irregular structure, the result of the shifting goals of successive administrations.

And the tone of the dialogue is entirely familiar:

What? What is it?
It’s called the military-industrial complex; it’s called my ass out of bed; it’s called jerking me around… Any way you wanna call it, it’s the same bullshit…

We have previously noted that Me Gibson’s forte, evocative prose, is vastly diluted by the very nature of comics: the precision of Mr Gibson’s cleverly coined phrases are replaced by art.

But Dark Horse Comics have previously done a superb job in adaptions of the Alien movie franchise. Accordingly, we are looking forward to reviewing this comic in full in due course.