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Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant - Prometheus sequel

Alien: Covenant

The Alien: Covenant, Alien: Awakening & Prometheus Movie Community

Lawrence of Arabia

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68

Posted Mar-19-2018 12:37 PM

I was watching Alien 79 the other day with the 2003 commentary on and I learned some interesting things regarding the creation of the film. Did you know that Dan O'Bannon, when writing the original script, didn't really care about the characters as much as he did the creature?

"I was of course tempted to develop these characters up and give them, you know, full psychological profiles and, you know, personal problems and the whole [bunch] of character stuff that is always done by knee jerk reaction at every movie in every screenplay except for one thing and that was it bored me. I didn't give a rats ass, I didn't care about their personal psychological quirks except in so much that it has an immediate barring on the situation at hand. I didn't want to stop and tell the life stories of these characters because I didn't care. I cared about the monster that was going to kill them, that I cared about. So I didn't do any of that in the script, I did none of it at all."

What do you make of this?

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

13 Responses to Dan O'Bannon's input on characters.

BigDave

Mar-19-2018 12:56 PM

I think its interesting, and well to a degree Alien never had much of a build up about the Characters, we had no real back ground for them, not as far as Character Development... it was just the way they reacted to the situation and how the actors portrayed them.  This had a bit of a unscripted element to it, thats how it looked.. it kind of had like a Reality TV about it... well looked more Reality than a lot of the Reality (not so real crap we get churned out) and so you had these Space Truckers, looking forwards to their Trip Home to then collect their Pay Checks... when they came across and had to investigate the Signal from the Derelict...

And it all went Pear Shaped no soon as they settled down to LV-426

It just seems much more real, i also get this impression a little with Alien 3,  were as Aliens and Alien Resurrection just looks so scripted.   And Predictable

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Lawrence of Arabia

Mar-19-2018 2:31 PM

Alien is a Lovecraftian story where the characterization of humans is second to none. They aren't the point, it's the creature, whatever else wants to kill us, and what it means overall. It was the same in Covenant, the characters weren't developed because they serve no overall purpose aside from dying in whatever horrible way and introducing us to these unknown concepts and moving the narrative further. The creature was front and center, put on a pedestal by the A.I. that created it in the first place.

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

BigDave

Mar-19-2018 3:16 PM

You can understand that point of view, i think for some their is a need for good Characters, and indeed Good Characters can help bring the Horror home more....  Alien it worked well, other movies in the Franchise never quite had us being connected to the Characters, i think it depends person to person.

For me i never really felt for even the Characters in Alien, with Alien and the first time of watching it, what works wonders was the NOT knowing who will survive...  that kind of helped to keep the tension and horror element... i also think it was the FIRST time anyone had ever seen the Beast and it was shown sparingly.

So its kind of hard to pull off Characters that we can connect with in the Franchise, a big problem has been any such Characters that could potentially get developed end up being KILLED OFF by the time of the next installment.

So this kind of put the Alien Franchise revolving around RIPLEY and so with the Prequels it has been about DAVID which maybe does not sit to well with some fans, but its interesting for others.

I totally agree the Emphasis was and should be about the BEAST as far as the First Few movies, its now going to be hard to keep to this and not give us something we have seen to death.

A lot of Prometheus and Alien Covenant was getting the PLOT Devices running, which was at the expense of some Characters but these Prequels are not about the Characters... its about the Engineers, Black Goo, their connection to Mankind... and the Potential Arc that David and Dr Shaw would take as far as a continuation...   Which was changed to be about the XENOMORPH in which case Dr Shaw was the Sacrifice needed for David to Perfect his Creation.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Lawrence of Arabia

Mar-19-2018 3:29 PM

I see your point of view BigDave and I agree wholeheartedly. Different strokes for different folks and yes, the beast (as much I love the Xenomorph) has been done to death.

A great man once said "Once something has become familiar, no matter how well it's done, if it's familiar, well you know the old saying, familiarity breed contempt."

-Dan O'Bannon

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

BigDave

Mar-19-2018 3:44 PM

Totally agree..... Wise words by O'Bannon.

I think behind O'Bannons ideas for Alien which started with Star Beast offered a insight into a very Lovecraftian Tale, and by that its what we DID-NOT see.

So i am talking about the Star Beast concept behind the Beast, what happened to the Race that Preceded it, the whole idea/concept behind that Temple, the Murals.

There was a whole Interesting Story here.... if we assume this place was left as it was for say 10'000 years... then there is a interesting story to what happened 10'000 plus years ago.. or where are those who built that place now...

Same can be said regarding the Mystery of LV-223.

And so i think its these kinds of themes/stories that need to be explored with a touch of HR Giger Aesthetic to bring us back to something more Surreal and Alien.

With the Prequels we have to wonder are they going to explore some of this?   surely we cant just go the route of.

David Creates Thousands of Eggs on the way too, or on Origae-6 and then Engineers arrive and then either Engineers, David or Humans get Davids Eggs onto a Engineer Ship that then crashes on LV-426.

Yes this could be interesting.....   but i hope the way they explore it opens up something to expand upon and steer away from ALIEN and maybe give us something that is as Mysterious, Awe Inspiring and Enigmatic as when we first saw the DERELICT and Cargo/Pilot.

Because as interesting as the Ancient Aliens aspect is (something that needs more coverage) it also needs that extra bit of something TOTALLY Alien....  because as of now, we have 7-8ft Humanoids, Create Man,  who they then try and Destroy with the Black Goo, which fails.... and so Mankind go unchecked and create David who then leads to the down fall of the Engineers and creates something Deadly that ends up on a Engineer Ship piloted by likely a Engineer.

Big Bald Human Creating Humanoids, heading off with a Human Created Synthetics very own Devilish Creation.

I think we need to explore/add another very Lovecraftian and Totally Alien Element to the Franchise.

And this could be from ONE Question Dr Shaw asked, once she found out our Creators are merely Humanoids...    "WHO CREATED THEM"

Then make this reveal a Curve-Ball and something very Alien, Enigmatic and Mysterious.  With the reveal of a Sinister and Lovecraftian  Agenda.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Ati

Mar-19-2018 6:38 PM

'I think we need to explore/add another very Lovecraftian and Totally Alien Element to the Franchise.'

'...something very Alien, Enigmatic and Mysterious.'

Yes, BigDave, I'm sure everybody agrees with you.

...alien...

daliens

Mar-19-2018 11:30 PM

I'm glad you're back, Lawrence of Arabia

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

ali81

Mar-19-2018 11:35 PM

it certainly showed in starbeast so the changes that were made to the characters definitely helped. I think the main should still be on the beast and not just David being the bad guy. if there is a higher power than the engineers then they should be introduced in awakening and portrayed in a similar tone to how Weyland Industries were portrayed in the original films. they have noticed the work David has been doing and want the beast as a weapon for themselves

daliens

Mar-20-2018 1:35 AM

"I didn't care about their personal psychological quirks except in so much that it has an immediate barring on the situation at hand. I didn't want to stop and tell the life stories of these characters because I didn't care. I cared about the monster that was going to kill them, that I cared about. So I didn't do any of that in the script, I did none of it at all."

It works for me. In an Alien film I don't care about their life stories. No more than it is needed to understand their reactions and decisions. They have to explore, to discover, to fight, to survive. 

What cabin on the lake? David just had the proper reaction when he heard Daniels talking nonsense. Don't let the bed bugs bite.  I'll tuck in the children. 

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

Lawrence of Arabia

Mar-20-2018 8:19 AM

Thank you daliens, it means a lot bro :)

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

Ingeniero

Mar-27-2018 11:50 AM

Great topic Lawrence of Arabia.

"I didn't care about their personal psychological quirks except in so much that it has an immediate barring on the situation at hand. I didn't want to stop and tell the life stories of these characters because I didn't care. I cared about the monster" 

Great quote from Dan O'Bannon above and I certainly agree with what you wrote below.

"the characters weren't developed because they serve no overall purpose aside from dying in whatever horrible way and introducing us to these unknown concepts and moving the narrative further."

That is why the Origins novel seemed to fit so well with the Alien: Covenant film and I hope a lot of what we read in Alien: Covenant Origins makes it to film. I believe that would make Alien: Covenant much better with it's missing half (character development).

ali81

Mar-27-2018 9:37 PM

shouldn't HAVE to buy and read a book to add depth to any movie character. it should be there in the film imo

Thoughts_Dreams

Mar-28-2018 8:26 AM

Characters are important if you want to sympathize with them. If he did not care then they made a good job with them anyways. The actors did a good job with the material that they were given, that is a reason why Alien still works today. Alien Covenant is the opposite of Alien in that we do not get a chance to feel something for them since they are so badly set up.

I am like either get good characters or throw the movie away. The plot is important, but not as important as getting characters that we can feel something for.

"I think we need to explore/add another very Lovecraftian and Totally Alien Element to the Franchise."

That would be nice, I am a bit tired of David. Those above the Engineers would be interesting to see.

Yeah we should not have to buy a book to understand the characters, if the movie can not get that right then it is a failure to me.

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