Is an Audio Drama a Viable Narrative Medium? Ask William Gibson's 'Alien 3'
A lesser-known chapter in the popular franchise gets another life on an interesting platform
Audible has just revealed that they are turning William Gibson's unproduced Alien 3 script into an original audio drama, which is exciting for Alien fans but also perhaps a signal that if you can't get your narrative to the screen, maybe you can settle for audio drama first, and see where that takes you...
Are you likely to get the listens this Alien 3 script will? No. But that didn't stop many a cinematic storyteller from gaining traction with original content in graphic novel or book series form before selling the big or small screen rights.
More platforms and more outlets being popularized by major names and franchises can mean more viable ways for you to get your story to audiences.
What else does this particular audio drama have going for it? Well, Michael Biehn will return to his role as Corporal Hicks, whom he played in 1986's sequel, Aliens. The audio drama is set for a May 30th release.
Gibson's script is already legendary within the fandom. He leaked his original draft in 2013 via Twitter, revealing the Cold War-style horror-thriller that could have been.
The produced Alien 3 ended up a mess of a project. It was director David Fincher's feature debut, and he shot it without a finished script when it was already over-budget. Although Alien 3 now has some die-hard advocates, many fans were much more delighted with Gibson's leaked draft.
The script was adapted as a comic series from Dark Horse Comics last year, but now it lives once more in dramatic form — rising again like that pesky, unkillable xenomorph.
Using the audio drama as its format, the franchise is essentially retconning itself in favor of what will hopefully be stronger material.
Although it might be viewed as several steps down from a feature film, TV adaptation, or even a webseries, the audio drama/podcast format can be affordable, still allows the production to incorporate strong actors, and, through Audible, has a good chance of reaching a wide audience.
This is just another example of media seeking unique platforms to tell stories. It is an interesting trend, as dramatic podcasts continue to gain traction and listeners. And who knows, maybe if Alien 3 gets popular enough, it could cross over again into a visual medium, much like Homecoming eventually ended up on Amazon.
What do you think? Are audio dramas a viable alternative? And are you excited to listen to Alien 3?