The cover of William Gibson’s Alien 3.
Image: Paolo Rivera (Dark Horse Comics)

When Fox approached William Gibson to write a script for Alien 3 back in the late ‘80s, the studio imagined that the lauded author would bring his distinct cyberpunk vision of the future to the franchise. Instead, Gibson turned in a complicated, politically-charged script influenced by the Cold War. Due to a number of factors, Fox ultimately ended up passing on Gibson’s script after deciding it wasn’t going to take the franchise in the direction the studio wanted, and the Gibson Alien movie became the stuff of fandom legend. Now, though, Dark Horse Comics is planning to realize Gibson’s vision as an all-new comic book series adapted from Gibson’s script and illustrated by Johnnie Christmas.

In an interview with CBR, Gibson spoke about what a strange experience it was to eventually see that the version of Alien 3 that made it to theaters bore virtually no resemblance to the script he’d turned in. Seeing his story adapted, he explained, is something he never imagined happening:

“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.

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.”

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Admittedly, Gibson’s script was a marked shift in direction for the Alien franchise. In his script, the hibernating crew of the Sulaco are intercepted by the Union of Progressive Peoples, an independent nation, and taken to a larger space station where the inevitable outbreak of Xenomorphs subsequently occurs. The story explored the ideas of dueling governments both fighting for control of a powerful biological weapon and many of the moral and sociological implications that fight would have.

It’ll be interesting to finally see Gibson’s Alien story laid out with visual accompaniment when the series drops on November 7—and who knows, maybe the book might have an impact on the franchise as it exists now.