5.22.2018

When we interviewed writer/producer Damon Lindelof two years ago for our Anniversary Commentary, we inquired about making the Tomorrowland shooting screenplay available for fans to read. He graciously tasked us with donating a copy to the fantastic Writers Guild Foundation Library here in Los Angeles.

Needless to say, I was delighted to finally get my hands on the script, which revealed a lot of previously unknown facts about the film's story and production. Let's jump in:

1. There were a lot of drafts. 

The cover page, on which production drafts list all alterations by page color, indicates eleven revision dates. They span from 6/24/13, before principle photography began, through 10/29/14, during the film's reshoots.

2. Frank's voiceover bookends were more extensive.
When the decision was made to bookend the film with George Clooney's Frank addressing the camera, they prepared an extensive amount of options from which to choose, finally landing on the single interjection seen in the finished film.

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Most interestingly, they attempted to use this conversational flashback structure to preserve a snippet of the History of Tomorrow: Origins of Plus Ultra animation/dark ride deleted scene.

3. Young Frank gives Athena a gift from the Fair.
As we suspected from remnants in the film, Young Frank gives Athena a small chain pin souvenir from the World's Fair:

4. The title card was originally an answer to the question, "What is this place?"
As was correctly assumed and restored in the mysterious anonymous Tomorrowland: The Dreamer's Cut fan-edit of the film, its title card originally appeared after the (linear) World's Fair prologue, as a triumphant response to Young Frank asking Athena "What is this place?", signalling the transition to modern day and Casey's introduction.

5. Casey causes her dad to be fired.
In a nice moment originally at the end of the existing scene in which Eddie drives Casey home from her stay in jail, he offers a nuanced twist on the previously introduced "two wolves" metaphor:


6. The movie actually understands how eBay works.
The Gernsbacks, however, do not. An often cited "error" in the film, Casey finds an eBay listing for the Tomorrowland pin -- that they are looking to buy, not sell. As it happens, a deleted piece of dialogue addresses this leap:

Turns out evil Audio Animatronic robots don't have an eBay subroutine.

7. Casey tells her dad a lot more in that phone call.
On the run, Casey calls home to let her dad know she's alright. Originally, she continued on to do a bit more than that, offering Eddie a glimpse of what's to come:


8. Athena was built in 1957.
A version of this exchange appeared in the Tomorrowland novelization, but it's a nice tidbit to see corroborated in its original form. While on the road, Casey assumes that Athena is from the future. The robot girl takes the opportunity to correct her:


9. Nix has a lovely singing voice.
The studio wanted more Nix, so this narratively unnecessary cutaway was written to bring him back to the audience's attention before the heroes arrive in Tomorrowland. The scene was planned and storyboarded for the period of reshoots, but was not shot.

A shame, as it would have been nice to have a reprise of "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," and we know Hugh Laurie's got a great set of pipes, but in context the scene falls too close to their ultimate arrival and reveals no new information:


10. The device in the Eiffel Tower gantry is called "The Thinking Machine."
The prop was on display at the El Capitan Theater, and the machine memorably dispenses fireworks as a series of numbers spin past Plus Ultra logos. (Which were digitally replaced with the more modern logo, as the prop itself featured a vintage-inspired serifed logo.) Well, it's got a name.


11. Nix insists he's not a robot. 
As previously observed in the novelization of the film, Casey can't help but ask if Nix is a robot. He answers in the negative, but you're welcome to spin your own theories for the sake of sequel headcanon:


12. Frank gets catty with Nix. 
Making literal what happened to the Tomorrowland he once loved, Frank insults Nix:



13. The event that causes the apocalypse is called "The Inevitability".
Remnants of this still exist in the film, as Athena states, "Apparently, a one ten-thousandth
variable in The Inevitability wasn’t convincing enough to change his mind." This term comes from an excised portion of an earlier scene. Nix's discussion regarding the Monitor originally went into addition depth regarding his observations:


14. They are The Flicker.
Also in the realm of recurring terms, a sweet exchange between Frank and Athena reacting to Casey's epiphany was excised, just prior to them being escorted to Bridgeway Plaza by Nix's guards:


15. "Dystopia is positively sexy!"
In our conversation with Lindelof, he revealed that Nix's final speech was penned exclusively by Brad Bird, who he likes to imagine has been performing himself at dinner parties for years. The original version includes many amusing turns of phrase, including "Drones, baby, drones!"


16. Athena's "last thoughts" make me cry. 
And their unedited version is no exception:


17. EXT. FIELD OF WHEAT - TOMORROWLAND
The final moments of the film are as beautiful to read as they are to see. They also reveal an previously unseen Haitian recruit, installing solar panels on an experimental low-cost home:

18. Damn Lindelof is an incredibly talented screenwriter.
As a fan of his work, I have had the pleasure of reading several of his screenplays. While it is impossible to separate his contributions from Bird's pass, the effect of his contribution is felt throughout. His on-the-page craft is remarkable, and it is a real treat for me to see it applied to Tomorrowland alongside the efforts of Jeff Jensen and Brad Bird.

...

While we are not permitted to host the full screenplay file, for any dreamers based in Los Angeles (or those who will be visiting), we have passed the screenplay along to the Writer's Guild Foundation Library, and were ensured that the screenplay will be made available as part of their archive, which is open to the public. (As of publication, Tomorrowland has not yet appeared in their catalog.)

2 comments:

  1. Hey, there. I've been gawping at the trailer for the Dream Cut, but can't find any way to locate the cut in the video. Apparently there is a link hidden in the title, but I can't find one, and the video has no annotations. Any advice?

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    Replies
    1. It's toward the end of the trailer. You got to keep your eyes REALLY peeled. You'll need to look frame by frame. My best hint is to "look to the horizon."

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