Lots of time travel movies have that scene where, in an alternate timeline, things are almost exactly the same, but one thing is glaringly different and weird. Someone else became president in 1988. A different guy than Henry Ford invented the automobile. The TV show Sliders was basically this on a weekly basis. And maybe in an alternate timeline, the new Terminator movie actually makes complete sense.
Think of the following in those terms. Maybe the writer or director decided they liked their original idea better. Maybe one prop guy was late one day, so an object that’s huge in the movie’s universe was changed to something else at the last minute. In an alternate timeline, we might have seen these famous movies like this…
6. The DeLorean in Back to the Future was almost a refrigerator powered by Coke
Hey guys, did you know that the future part in Back to the Future Part II was set in this year? Did you? Didja? Huh? Huh? Sorry, I was trying to do an impression of your Facebook feed. But did you actually know that, if they went with the original script, no one would have given much of a crap about Doc Brown and Marty’s adventures at all?
That’s because, instead of a cool retro-futuristic DeLorean, the time machine in the original script was a boring-ass refrigerator. And, in a fun bit of product placement, it was somehow powered by Coca-Cola. (The script specifically mentions Coke by name 22 times.) Now, I can’t know for a fact that the movie would have sucked without a crazy-cool 80’s car blasting forward at 88 miles per hour, but it seems like a pretty safe bet.
No, instead, Marty would have climbed into a busted up Frigidaire powered by soda/sweet advertising dollars to go back in time. Having a bunch of terrorists roll up on that thing would definitely have killed a big chunk of the movie’s cool factor. And Doctor Who fans would have never let it go.
5. Stormtroopers originally carried lightsabers in Star Wars
In this timeline, Jedi are mystic zen warriors who choose to use a traditional melee weapon in a world of laser-based firearms. But in an alternate dimension, everyone had one of the freaking things.
In George Lucas’s original concept, lightsabers were totally commonplace. Everyone had one, including the stormtroopers. Early concept art for the film shows stormtroopers standing around with them like nobody’s business. Jedi still had them, obviously, but so did every other person in the damn galaxy, too.
In fairness, the art looks really cool. Maybe the movie still would have been awesome like that. But by giving everyone a lightsaber, they’re certainly far less interesting. Luckily for all of us, George changed his mind and decided that lightsabers should be a weapon used only by the Jedi, and even threw Han Solo a line where he mocks the idea of carrying a laser sword when everyone else in the galaxy has got a blaster. He’d have a point if most of the Empire weren’t horrible shots.
4. Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz were almost silver
Warner Home Video
If my figures are correct, half of you just groaned audibly because you’ve heard this one before. I thought it was common knowledge, but I polled friends, family, and co-workers. Approximately half said that everyone knew the following and the other half said they’d never heard it before. It’s like that whole fiasco about the color-changing dress, except that people will still care about The Wizard of Oz by this time next year. I’m gonna roll with it for the 50% of you who were unaware.
Originally, Dorothy Gale’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz were silver, because that’s how Frank L. Baum described them in the book. And they weren’t, like, colored silver. They were actually made of straight-up silver, according to Baum. Here’s a bit of art from the original 1900 publication that might help you picture it:
Yeah, it’s mostly monochrome, but it should give you an idea. What wasn’t monochrome was this movie. The studio wanted to show off that Technicolor magic, so screenwriter Noel Langley suggested changing the slippers from silver to red. And thus, history was made.
And, contrary to what some websites will tell you, the shoes weren’t recolored red in post-production. They were indeed made red, which you can confirm for yourself with like ten seconds of Googling or by going to Washington, D.C. and seeing them for yourself at the Smithsonian.
3. The briefcase in Pulp Fiction was full of diamonds
If you had stoner friends in college, chances are you’ve heard the theory that the glowing briefcase in Pulp Fiction actually contained Marsellus Wallace’s soul, which is why he has a band-aid on his neck or whatever. Yeah, it’d be interesting, except there’s zero evidence of anything paranormal in that movie whatsoever. As far as anyone knows, it’s just a briefcase full of… something.
In reality, the briefcase was just probably just a visual reference to the movie Kiss Me Deadly, which featured a small nuclear device in a briefcase that glowed in a similar fashion. If you haven’t noticed, Quentin Tarantino is kind of fond of referencing other films.
But there almost was something in that briefcase: boring old diamonds. Would solving that mystery have ruined the film? Probably not, but it’s sure less interesting than a mystery light.
Co-writer Roger Avary has said that the diamonds weren’t meant to be anything important, either. Just diamonds. Hell, maybe they were the diamonds from Reservoir Dogs, who’s to say? But he also made it a point to say that, in the final film, the briefcase and its bright orange light are nothing more than a plot device.
2. The T-1000 in Terminator 2 could have been Kyle Reese
It’s a little known fact that Terminator 2 was originally supposed to have a twist. If you pay attention, the movie is set up so that it looks like the T-800 is coming back in time to kill John Connor and the T-1000 is supposed to be protecting him. It’s not until the mall scene that the movie was finally going to reveal that the T-800 was protecting John.
Unfortunately, the trailer gave it all away, so no one was surprised. But there was one more layer to the twist that would have made it even better. Apparently, the T-1000’s default human form would have been that of Kyle Reese and he would’ve been played by Michael Biehn. Viewers wouldn’t have found out until later that it wasn’t actually him, but a robot posing as him.
That’s the rumor, anyway. It’s never been 100% confirmed, but it makes a lot of sense when you look at concept art for the film which shows a T-1000 who looks a lot more like Biehn than Billy Idol, Cameron’s second choice.
So the story would’ve looked to be a repeat of the original film until the mall scene, when the roles were revealed to be reversed. But James Cameron thought the idea would be too confusing (little did he know what the future held for the series) and dropped it, but he liked the idea of a smaller guy facing off against Arnie, so he cast Robert Patrick in the role instead.
1. The Xenomorph in Alien was supposed to be either a worm or a giant baby
20th Century Fox
Well, okay, it’s not exactly an object, but the alien in Alien isn’t quite a full-fledged character, either. Regardless, the large, jet-black, surprisingly phallic creature we know and love from the Alien saga (yeah, yeah, shut up about Prometheus already) was almost completely different before Ridley Scott wisely brought H.R. Giger on board.
In Dan O’Bannon’s original script, the Xenomorph is described thusly:
A SIX-FOOT MONSTROSITY STANDS IN THE OPENING. GHASTLY BEYOND
IMAGINATION, SQUAMOUS, COVERED WITH TENTACLES, IT HOPS DOWN LIKE AN
OVER-SIZED BIRD AND GRABS MELKONIS IN RAZOR-SHARP TENTACLES.
That’s uh… huh. For the record, “squamous” means scaly. Why he didn’t just go with “scaly” is beyond me. Later, the character of Capt. Standard (who was eventually turned into Capt. Dallas) says the alien looks like “a worm with legs… and tentacles.” It kind of sounds like a bad 50’s sci-fi creature at best.
Later, after Giger was hired to do designs for the film, O’Bannon sent him a wishlist of what he imagined the sets and creatures kind of looked like. Regarding the Xenomorph, O’Bannon had this to say:
Having left its victim, the Alien promptly grows to man-size, whereupon it is terrifically dangerous. It is very mobile, strong, and capable of tearing a man to pieces. It feeds on human flesh. This creature should be a profane abomination. Our producers have suggested that something resembling an over-sized, deformed baby might be suffieciently (sic) loathsome. In any event, we wish you to feel free to create your own design.
Thank you, Dan O’Bannon, for that last sentence.