The Original Series?
the original series
In 1986, I happened upon two unusual "V" scripts in a Hollywood memorabilia store. While they essentially follow the basic plot of the first two hours of "V: The Final Battle," they are written in an hour-long, episodic format. I had never read anything to indicate that Kenneth Johnson ever planned a weekly "V" series, these scripts suggest otherwise--and after I originally posted about these on my site, writer Harry Longstreet confirmed my theory.
Both scripts are written by Renee and Harry Longstreet, and bear Johnson's name as executive producer. They are second drafts, respectively dated April 27 and 29, 1983. There are no episode titles; they're simply "Episode One" and "Episode Two."
While many of the events chronicled in these scripts are similar to those in the televised version of "V: The Final Battle," there are substantial differences as well.
Episode One begins aboard the Los Angeles Mothership, as Donovan invades the "cocoon" storage area in search of his son. Locating Sean's hibernation chamber, Donovan smashes it with a rifle butt. He wraps the boy in a blanket and slings him over his shoulder. Alarms sound; Visitor troops are in pursuit, but Elias and Robert provide covering fire. Robert is hit, and falls behind. Elias, Donovan and Sean are cornered in an abyssal air shaft. Diana approaches, followed by Kristine Walsh and her cameraman, who are recording the attempted escape. Elias is knocked unconscious. Donovan is shot as well, and drops Sean, who wakes up just in time to be recaptured by the Visitors. Diana orders the troopers to fire, and Donovan is blasted into the open air shaft, falling...
He awakens in Resistance HQ, with Juliet hovering over his cot. Donovan's been having recurring nightmares about his son. Julie assures him that they'll do everything they can to get him back...to get them all back.
Brad and Elias have made two dozen copies of Donovan's video footage that reveals the Visitors' reptilian features. On a nearby TV monitor, Kristine Walsh delivers a broadcast regarding the Visitors' attempts to cure all known forms of cancer. Elias notes, "If they think we taste so good, they want us fat and sassy, don't they?" Brad turns on a short-wave radio, and attempts to contact other resistance groups.
Robin is in an improvised classroom with Katie, Josh and Polly. She has a sudden attack of dizziness, but while she says she's fine, the kids exchange worried glances.
A Resistance meeting begins. Robert complains to Ruby and Sancho that many science books are disappearing from the library, supposedly "checked out," and that he was asked for his name and address when he inquired about them.
Juliet and Donovan enter. Juliet wants to pursue manageable goals in their battle with the Visitors, but Donovan argues, "We take too many baby steps, there won't be anybody left! Or any water! We've got to be talking revolution...Now!" Julie retorts, "I am talking revolution! Logical revolution! Organized revolution! So we win, Mr. Donovan!" Her priorities: To broadcast Donovan's tape, and to capture Visitors to discover their weaknesses.
Willie and Harmony are at a bowling alley. Willie misses the pins completely, and complains that he doesn't understand human "spots." A brief discussion of sports and cheerleaders ensues, and Harmy bowls a strike. Willie gives her a little cheer, and their eyes meet.
On the L.A. Mothership, Diana, John and Kristine are discussing the state of martial law. Kristine is concerned that some of those being arrested have no history of political activity. Diana argues that they are motivated by jealousy over the accomplishments of Visitor science. Kristine wants to speak to the "terrorists," but Diana says that they need a little time and education--and some are impossible, like Donovan. Kristine disagrees that he's a terrorist. However, Diana hopes to make that evaluation personally. John mentions that it was the U.S. president's idea to institute the temporary martial law, and that Kristine can accompany him to Washington to discuss it with the president himself.
After Kristine leaves the room, John and Diana discuss the president's ongoing "conversion," which is nearly complete. John notes that Diana has been looking into reports that do not concern the scientific mission, and reminds her that she's only second-in-command. Diana makes a coy reference to her relationship with The Leader, and the subject quickly changes to the problem of Donovan's tape. Diana insists she's working on it, and as they exchange steely gazes, Act One ends.
Act Two opens with Donovan and Sancho pretending to be county workers clearing brush from a mountain road. Sancho complains that he's been a gardener all his life, but now that he's got the chance to do something important...to be a freedom fighter like his ancestor, what is he doing? Meanwhile, Donovan spies on a nearby broadcast facility, and its satellite uplink, heavily guarded by Visitor troops.
Meanwhile, Juliet and Elias meet with Fred, a former chemist who's working as a busboy at a hotel where John and Kristine are planning a P.R. banquet. Fred agrees to give the Resistance a layout of the facility. He also recounts that Kristine took a public browbeating from a consumer advocate named Corley Walker, who compared her to Goebbels and said, "You are the Ministry of Fear wrapped up in lollipops and smiles to be dispensed to the masses." Julie and Elias think that Walker would be a good person to get to--unfortunately, Fred tells them that the shock troopers got to him first.
Harmony and Willie are in her apartment, and Harmy is angry over being unable to talk to her sister in Fresno, thanks to Visitor controls on travel and communication. Willie uses a special code to get through, but no one answers the phone. Harmy is grateful, and tries to convince Willie to stay. He balks, but she responds with a passionate kiss.
Back at Resistance HQ, Robin is quietly playing cards with Polly. Their father Robert stops by briefly; after he leaves, Polly asks why Robin hasn't mentioned her recent sickness. Robin doesn't feel that Dad wants to talk to her, and besides, everybody's lying about the contents of Donovan's videotape. She says, "Believe me, Polly. They're like we are." She fantasizes about her sexual encounter with Brian.
On the Mothership, Diana supervises the "conversion" of an unknown subject and instructs several Visitor students on techniques. She answers a call, and meets Brian in her quarters. Diana feels that fraternization between Visitors and humans is likely, and therefore wants to complete "one controlled experiment." She urges Brian to continue his search for Robin, and adds, "Look at the positive side: you may have to repeat the fertilization process." Diana returns to her students, and compliments them on their use of threats and coercion. As Act Two ends, we finally see the subject face; it's Corley Walker.
Act Three opens at Resistance HQ, as Donovan and Sancho return from their spying mission. The group discusses various plans for infiltrating the TV facility, but none seem workable. Donovan watches Caleb painting over the burn marks on the captured Visitor skyfighter, and gets an idea. Caleb follows the thought, but notes that he still doesn't know what powers the thing, and suggests that it may carry some sort of identifying device. Donovan thinks it may be too big a risk, but Caleb counters that it depends on the stakes.
While cleaning up their quarters, Robin is telling Josh not to listen to the others; the Visitors aren't going to kill everyone, after all, the two of them aren't soldiers. Suddenly, she has a violent attack, and Josh runs to get her some water. Meanwhile, Polly questions her father whose fault it was that Mom was killed. Robert says it was the Visitors, but Polly thinks it was Robin. In the hall outside, Robin is overcome with guilt and nausea.
On the Mothership, Kristine questions Diana about a film crew she saw setting up equipment; it didn't look like a news team. Diana quickly diverts her by reintroducing her to Corley Walker. The man seems genuinely pleased to see Kristine; what's more, he's agreed to be the Honorary Chairman for next week's banquet. Kris asks him what changed his mind, and he answers, "John and Diana can be quite convincing." He begins touting the Visitors' efforts at reducing air pollution, as Kristine scrutinizes him.
At Resistance HQ, Donovan sneaks aboard the captured skyfighter, only to be confronted by Juliet. Donovan wants his tape to reach the people; Julie asks him to wait until the details of the plan can be worked out. Just when it appears they've reached a truce, he tosses her out of the craft and punches the fighter out of the tunnel and into the sky. Act Three ends.
Act Four opens with Donovan piloting the Visitor ship over L.A. As he approaches the restricted area surrounding the transmitter, he is hailed by the enemy, who quickly identify the captured fighter. Mike strafes the site with laser fire, and swoops around for a second pass, diving the ship through the electrified fence at the compound's perimeter. He uses an explosive to detonate the ship, scattering the alien troops, and reaches the building in the resulting confusion.
In the Mothership's television studio, Kristine is preparing for her nightly broadcast. Diana's surprised that she didn't use the Corley Walker interview, but the newswoman feels he'd done too much of an about-face. The Visitor insists that she use the piece prior to the banquet. Then, with ten seconds until air, Diana tells Kristine that she's added a special segment to tonight's broadcast. "It's all on your prompter."
Juliet and the other Resistance members watch the broadcast in their hideout. After covering John's upcoming banquet, Kristine reports an all-out search for Robin Maxwell, a "Visitor's Friend" who allegedly wandered into a restricted area aboard the Mothership, and may be suffering contamination and/or a communicable disease. Robert is upset, and rushes to find his daughter.
Mike is in close combat with a Visitor trooper, dodging the reptile's deadly venom spray. He blasts his foe, and makes his way to the master control room and its human operator. Donovan gives him the cassette, and orders him to get it on the air. However, as the man sets up the tape, Kristine's broadcast (which can be seen on the monitors there) shifts to Diana's "special segment." It's a story about rumors that the Visitors aren't what they seem. Kris realizes what she's reading, and seems shaken as she follows the prompter, "Are we living with the dog people? Have you noticed any Visitors meowing lately? Is there a werewolf in Visitor clothing?" The piece features brief clips of various famous film monsters...one of them--a staged shot featuring a man pulling a mask off a reptilian creature--looks surprisingly similar to Donovan's footage. Mike's been preempted, and he throws the tape against the door, as the troopers outside attempt to pound their way through.
In the Visitor studio, Kristine recalls Donovan's warning about the aliens' reptilian nature. She's quite disturbed, and her reaction doesn't escape Diana's notice.
In Resistance HQ, spirits are broken by the results of the broadcast, and they're worried about whether Mike is still trying to reach the transmitter. There's a sudden commotion as Elias and a couple of freedom fighters enter the room, with a struggling Visitor captive to "play some doctor" with. As the episode ends, the camera pushes in to the frightened alien's face...it's Willie.
kenneth johnsons v the final battleV creator Kenneth Johnson commented on changes to the original script for V: The Final Battle in an article in Starlog #104 (March 1986):
"Ham Tyler, the way we wrote it, was in a wheelchair...our first introduction to him is when Donovan comes in, hauls back his fist and is about to slug this guy in a wheelchair...[but Ham] does a little wheelie, knocks Donovan on his ass, and says, 'That's your problem, Donovan. You're not a killer.'"On the "Alliance," the unseen third power mentioned in the original miniseries:
"...that was a red herring...but it turned out that the Resistance received word that the Alliance was coming. In actuality, Diana's people had intercepted the message and were merely giving mankind false hope, while they sent more troops."In the original script, Elizabeth the "Star Child" did not exhibit special powers, resulting in a different fate for some of the characters:
"Our ending had Diana and Elizabeth escaping in a fighter and going to another mothership. Martin sacrifices himself by taking the soon-to-be-detonated mothership into space, while Donovan and Julie escape in another fighter. They realize that [the defeated Visitors are] taking many Earth people with them...they go flying up after this second mothership. They just make it as the doors close...we're left wondering what will happen to Donovan and Julie as they try to stop Diana, and yet we're given the promise of Liz being the link between the two races..."
The final episode of the weekly series ended with a cliffhanger which was
resolved in a never-filmed script entitled "The Attack." Written by
David Braff and Paul F. Edwards from a story by Donald R. Boyle, it would've
killed two regular characters, reintroduced another and added a new
"quest" element to the storyline. Following is a summary of the
first draft, dated February 28, 1985:
v the next chapterJ. Michael Straczynski, creator of the science-fiction series Babylon 5, was commissioned by Warner Bros. in 1989 to write a script for a proposed syndicated V revival. Six drafts later, the script, "Rebirth," was ultimately deemed too costly to produce, and the idea was scrapped in June 1991.
An article written by Lawrence V. Conley in Starlog #182 (Sept. 1992) detailed the basic plotline, and offered Straczynski's plans for the original characters, who, with one notable exception, would not have featured in the new project.
Quoted material is direct from the article.
Following the "truce" begun in the final episode of the original series, the Visitors launch a devastating assault against the celebrating humans. (This was also the premise for the unfilmed episode "The Attack.") During the action, Elias is killed (which is odd, since he already died midway through the weekly series), Willie is executed for his traitorous ways, and Donovan is wounded and taken to the Visitor Homeworld. Lydia's ship explodes, and while Diana appears to have been involved, she is merely transferred to a new command. Juliet assumes a new identity, and moves to Australia.
The fate of Elizabeth, the "Starchild," is particularly gruesome:
...she was taken to Homeworld...for "dissection and amusement." Unanesthetized, she detonated under the surgeon's knife (as her tremendous energy stores were suddenly released), taking a huge portion of the Visitor medical college and ruling council with her, and leaving behind a highly radioactive blast crater two miles wide.Armies and resistance groups are defeated, and entire cities are vaporized. The Earth sues for surrender, and the TV movie opens five years later, with humanity still under Visitor rule.
A resistance group organizes in Chicago under the leadership of ex-army major Damon Mallory, and teams up with Ham Tyler (the lone holdover from the original series) on a mission to contact the alien enemies of the Visitors, who have finally responded to the humans' radioed cry for help.
The "Outsiders" at first appear human, but are also disguised members of the same reptilian race as the Visitors. They are a pacifistic and technologically-advanced faction that was exiled from the Homeworld centuries ago. The Visitors are locked in a war with them, and intend to use the Earth as a staging ground.
One of the Outsider ships is captured, and its male pilot, Danar, is taken to an Earth-based Visitor research facility. Aboard his vessel is a weapon of immense power--the Tachyon Globe--which is capable of destroying entire Motherships.
The resistance group meets the other Outsider, Danar's female "life-mate" Lorien. Together, they plan a rescue raid on the Visitor facility. Unfortunately, Danar dies first, and the Visitors load the Tachyon Globe aboard a shuttle bound for the Mothership. Ham Tyler overpowers its pilot, but the aliens' command ship snags the shuttle in a tractor beam. With Shocktroopers banging through the hatch, the wounded Tyler detonates the Outsider weapon, demolishing the Mothership.
So ends the pilot for "V": The Next Chapter, with a mothership destroyed, Earth's bruised morale boosted, the Visitors' arch-enemies aiding the humans and a new resistance group backed-up with Outsider firepower, ready to take the fight to the lizards.Straczynski has kindly made the first three acts of his script available to Internet users.
Thanks to email@example.com for providing me with the text of the Starlog article.