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What would Dan O'Bannon think of "Alien: Covenant" and "Prometheus?"

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John D.

May-22-2017 10:50 AM

Dan O'Bannon (and to a lesser extent, Ron Shusett) were the real 'fathers' of the Alien universe, conceiving nearly everything from the xeno's life cycle to the space jockey. If you've ever watched the "Beast Within" making-of documentary on the Alien DVD, or listened to the commentary tracks, or read interviews with O'Bannon, you know that his fingerprints were all over the movie; not only was he responsible for the original story and script but he was heavily involved in watching over various elements of the film's production, making sure that they were doing his film "justice."

I was reading an interview that O'Bannon did in 2007 for Den of Geek where he stated the following:

"DoG: Where would you like to see the next Alien film head? Perhaps back to the more high-budget universe that you---

O'Bannon: I’d like to see it stop. A horror movie’s a fragile thing, and once you’ve gotten past the original, it isn’t scary anymore. So you do a bunch of sequels to a horror movie, all they do is drain any remaining impact out of the original. All of the sequels to, for instance, Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers - same thing; they over-expose the ideas, and when you look at the original, it’s not as effective as it would have been if you had just left it alone.

But money makes the world go round and Hill and Giler saw that as the best way to make more money without having to do any work. So as producers with an in at Fox, they just continue to shove those things through.

DoG: So as far as you’re concerned the Alien franchise is pretty much played out now?

O'Bannon: It was played out after the first one, as far as I’m concerned. Cameron, in the first one, did about the only thing you could do, which was that he changed to a different genre, from a horror movie to an action film. But once he had done that, there really was nothing left to do. And they just keep squeezing the thing till it’s an empty bag. But as long as it keeps bringing in money to them, they’ll keep doing it.

Gordon Carroll was the only decent one among the producers. He had a falling out with them over Alien and they stopped liking him too, and he passed away a couple of years ago."

I know Shusett wasn't all that impressed by Prometheus, but I wonder what O'Bannon would have made of Covenant, given that it's a Ridley Scott film. 

 

9 Responses to What would Dan O'Bannon think of "Alien: Covenant" and "Prometheus?"

colonialsoldier

May-22-2017 11:15 AM

O'Bannon will be probably disappointed with all the movies from Alien3 on.  Gordon Carroll was great and I loved his show Moonlighting with Bruce Willis.

QueenElizabethShaw

May-22-2017 11:45 AM

I've been wondering ever since I saw Covenant whether it is actually O'bannon that is the missing ingredient. 

I suppose we'll never know

djamelameziane

May-22-2017 11:48 AM

 Yes totally alien was amazing aliens was good then since then one crap up after another :s . And is people like gieger and obannon that are needed.  Even if they got an insect expert... Maybe even David Attenborough to help guide the interesting nature of the aliens it would be so much better but right now its feeling like a bunch of meat heads are in charge.   

 

Unless of course the demi god is mind controlling them all into being utterly illogical / stupid :D ...

Oh and what would obannon say : " W. T. F." I'm guessing. 

 "It's almost as if they are making it up as they go along" :D

Jonesy

May-22-2017 11:56 AM

I once thought the Alien universe is dead end after AVP ruined it. But apparently this franchise is unstoppable, given the engineers involvement, I can see everything is possible to extend the alien universe, but Dan O Bannon's ALIEN is and will always be a classic.

I hope the new franchise will bring David the android as an iconic character, just like Ripley. I am somewhat glad Shaw wasn't the protagonist, this franchise need a male lead. 

Drake

May-22-2017 4:47 PM

Here's the thing...  ALIEN is not just a horror movie.  It is so many genres in one.  I am not talking about ALIENS or 3 or anything else, just the first one...

- Horror
- Suspense
- Drama
- Action
- Mystery
- Western

Seriously, ALIEN is a PERFECT movie.  I could write a dissertation on it.  He is right that horror movies can die from creating one too many movies that retrod the plot.  Alien, though, is so... alien...  as to make it very interesting to people like me who do not watch horror movies of any kind.  I hate horror movies.  ALIEN is in a classification of its own.  This is why Resurrection sucked.  Along with AVP and especially AVPR.  Prometheus took a step in the right direction.  Dig deeper into the mythos...

Emilia Benjamin

May-22-2019 12:35 PM

O'Bannon might be in all likelihood disillusioned with all of the movies from Alien3 on.  Gordon Carroll became high-quality and I cherished his display Moonlighting with Bruce Willis. Custom Dissertation Editing Services UK

BigDave

May-24-2019 9:27 AM

I missed this Topic so thanks for the SPAM Bump ;)

I think there is  a lot that O'Bannon should be Happy with, as far as from what his Star Beast had evolved into, some of the Designs for the Star Beast were... well Poor to be Honest!

This ONE by O'Bannon being the Exception.... also the Face Hugger is described more like the Trilobite.

But we ENDED up with HR Gigers Effort which O'Bannon had showed his work to Ridley Scott and well i think the Monster we ENDED up with was Exceptional and Certainly something i FEEL that O'Bannon would be pleased with.

I think the ONLY Disappointments maybe he would have, could be the Organism had gone from being the Remnants of a Ancient Alien Species, that was discovered by another Giant Alien Species (Space Jockey) who fell Victim to their Curiosity something repeated by the Human Crew who come in to investigate the SOS/Warning.  To then just becoming a Engineered Bio-Weapon by said Giant Alien Species (Space Jockey).

I would certainly think he would be VERY Disappointed with the route that Alien Covenant has been as a Creation by a AWOL Android.

Which is a FAR CRY from the Alien Species who are somewhat Advanced and Civilized but required to use other Organisms to Procreate its Kind.

With the ADULTS Gone.... the Remaining Young Once Birthed would remain Feral and Hostile.

The route of David as a Creator would be Further away from O'Bannons ideas, more so than a Engineered Bio-Weapon by the Space Jockey Race.

I think O'Bannon can still feel proud that a Majority Nuts and Bolts of the Franchise, as far as the First Movie are from his Ideas, and especially the Unique Aliens Life-Cycle.

I would assume that the QUEEN is something Totally different to what he would ever conceive as far as Sequels, but thats NOT to say he Dislikes the Queen.

I have said this BEFORE.... we could explore a Origin to what lead to the DNA that the Black Goo had that seemed to pass on Xenomorph like Traits, and Alien Engineers seemed to indicate that the Engineers had Discovered a Organism that they then Experimented on and Re-Engineered to obtain the Xenomorph and Variants.

So we could still explore a Ancient Species that has a Life-Cycle similar to the Xenomorph and some Aesthetic, and either the Engineers Discovered this and Re-Engineered from it, or the Engineers became a Slave Race to this Ancient Star Beast Species before Overthrowing their Masters!

I think this would be a IDEAL way to expand upon the Franchise, and GO BACK to O'Bannons ideas...  i would take O'Bannon's Design, add a bit of HR Giger to it, and maybe some HP Lovecraftian Design.

And thus introduce the STARBEAST!

 

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

BigDave

May-24-2019 9:44 AM

I think IF we combined some of these ideas so a Amalgamation of them then we could indeed have ourselves something NEW to use in the Franchise that could follow the Idea/Path that Dan O'Bannon had intended ;)

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Lone

May-26-2019 5:38 AM

ALIEN is the perfect Sci-fi-Horror hybrid. A cosmic, primordial, psychosexual type of horror with depth. Had it not been for the coming together of Dan O’Bannon, H.R. Giger & Ridley Scott we probably wouldn’t be here discussing it or the franchise on this website.

O’Bannon & Shusett were about to sign a deal with Roger Corman when luckily the call came from Fox. ALIEN could have been just an enjoyable, low budget, one-off, rather than the enduring Franchise it developed into.

O’Bannon’s knowledge of & interest in Sci-fi & Lovecraft were key. Dan & Ron Shusett’s story, then Dan’s script laid the foundation. Plus, he thrust his copy of Giger’s Necronomicon, in front of Ridley Scott, when Ridley’s biggest worry was about finding a convincing design for the Alien.

They both realised that Giger’s incredible & unique designs were exactly what was needed to elevate the creature & therein the film to groundbreaking heights. The producers couldn’t accept that, but finally acquiesced when Ridley threatened to quit.

As we know, Ridley was by no means the first choice for Director, fourth or fifth choice depending upon which interview with Ridley you read. Thanks to Fox’s British exec Sandy Lieberson, Ridley came into their sights. Without his visual gift ALIEN would have been an entirely different film. 

Dan O'Bannon might have liked PROMETHEUS, it does pay homage too so many of his ideas & those of H.R. Giger, with Ridley utilising them in an interesting & novel way.

Though O’Bannon & Giger have departed this mortal coil, I suspect Ridley Scott knows in his heart that their work remains at the core of what the ALIEN Universe is & should be. To me, much of PROMETHEUS is really a lamentation of sorts for them.

What would have been really disappointing to Dan is that even after all these years the studio execs control, interference, penny-pinching, ignorance of subject matter & downright stupidity at times, has remained so prevalent!

Quote from Fantastic Films US issue 11/GB issue 1  

"The problem with the money-men is that a lot of them don't care about making good films, and don't understand movies, yet they insist that you do it their way. The very people who say " I don't understand anything about it, i don't like it, " they rewrite it, they change everything you do, they don't let you do it yourself. That's what is so infuriating. They go "You know, six months ago I couldn't spell auteur and now I are one" I've got an insight for you. This is something that I've learned which has disappointed me very very greatly." 

As ALIEN fans & indeed Science Fiction fans, we should also be very grateful to Alejandro Jodorowsky. If his ambitious & visionary adaptation of Dune had received studio backing, Dan O’Bannon wouldn’t have met Giger, nor ended up on Ron Shusett’s couch!

THE LONE GUNWOMAN

"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

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