Grant Morrison’s ‘Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens’ Like a ‘Next Level We3,’ But With T-Rexes
Okay, so last year’s Cowboys vs. Aliens may not have turned out to be the kind of box-office bonanza that many were hoping for, despite the presence of Daniel Craig/Olivia Wilde (delete as applicable) to distract from plotholes and Harrison Ford’s grumpiness. But if you thought that might mean a lack of extra-terrestrial genre mash-ups in the future, you thought wrong – Instead, expect a raising of the stakes and a reduction in the number of humans involved as Grant Morrison pits Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens in both movies and comic books.Morrison will write both the movie and graphic novel versions with diverging plots for each format. The project was originally announced last year when Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld teamed up with Liquid Comics — the India-based studio built from the remains of Virgin Comics, who publish through Dynamite Entertainment in the U.S. — to develop the rough idea.
Morrison, who had previously developed the animated adaptation of the Mahabharata 18 Days with Liquid, was brought in as writer and immediately started adding his particular brand of inspiration to the idea. Describing the project as “The Artist, but with bloody, razor-sharp fangs,” Morrison delved into the concept with Comic Book Resources:
There are no talking dinosaurs in this one, but one of the first ideas I brought to the project was, “what if natural selection, over millions of years, meant that saurians were smarter than we usually give them credit for?” In some ways, it’s the next level from the animal stuff in “We3″ and relies even more on grunts, body language, camouflage, display, gestures and movement, where the dinosaurs are acting as if for a silent film. In fact, imagine “The Artist,” but with bloody, razor-sharp fangs! It’s amazing how much depth of character you can convey in non-human creatures without using speech. In fact, I think it makes the dinosaur characters more primal and archetypal.
The key to the conflict, Morrison says, is Sonnenfeld’s idea that the story is “a big allegorical take on Manifest Destiny and imperial expansionist politics,” with the comic turning out to be “quite different from the way the screenplay eventually turned out,” according to the writer. “The comic allowed me to test a lot of the ideas in an early form before reworking and expanding on them for the screenplay,” he explained, comparing the relationship between comic and movie to Philip K. Dick’s original novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. “The comic is like the original novella and the screenplay is the reworked Hollywood adaptation.”
Morrison has been linked to several never-happened movie projects like Paramount Pictures’ video game adaptation Area 51, the Madonna-starring sci-fi Warcop and adaptations of his own We3 and Joe The Barbarian, amongst many others, but the writer nonetheless describes himself as “more than cautiously optimistic” about the likelihood of Dinosaurs vs. Aliens making it to the big screen. The fate of the comic version, illustrated by his 18 Days partner Mukesh Singh, is far more certain, however: the 96-page graphic novel is due to be released by Dynamite Entertainment this May.