• Hi Guest!

    The costs of running this forum are covered by Sea Lion Press. If you'd like to help support the company and the forum, visit patreon.com/sealionpress

Scenes We'd Like To See: Alternate Movies, Television & Other Pop Culture Miscellanea

This is a thread for discussing alternate pop culture concepts and ideas; I anticipate that the particular focus will be movies and television but literature, comic books, music and art are all welcome topics of discussion.

Here you can chat about points of divergence, concepts you think would be interesting and highlight your own work in this little subgenre.

To get the ball rolling, I will be reposting the pop culture focused vignettes and timeline I wrote and originally published on AlternateHistory.com. You can find the first one, which imagines an alternate 1998 and presents the debut of one of the most successful video game movies of all time, Time Crisis: The Movie.

Read it here, in A Scenes We'd Like To See Vignette: Lights! Camera! Action... RELOAD!
 

Lemon flavoured

A crass and dangerously inaccurate account.
Location
Hucknall, Notts
Pronouns
He/Him
I've said this a few times elsewhere, but I like the idea of a surviving Kurt Cobain (obvious POD being he makes a serious effort to get clean following his early 1994 OD in Rome) making a solo acoustic album along the lines of Johnny Cash's American Recordings series. So mostly covers, probably including some folk and blues stuff (eg This Land Is Your Land or similar), plus a straight version of Seasons In The Sun.

Video Game wise, I like the idea of a POD where EA Sports doesn't get the exclusive NFL license in 2005/6, allowing NFL 2k6 to exist.
 

Brainbin

Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel
I might also suggest the original cuts of movies which actually were released IOTL, in modified (some might say butchered) form. Orson Welles' original cut of The Magnificent Ambersons probably tops the list.

Terrible as it no doubt would have been, a small part of me is morbidly curious about an ATL where the planned sequel to Casablanca, Brazzaville, is released, but that probably requires the war in Europe to last longer.
 

Alex Richards

She needs an artificial Mountain, not AV
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
I had a thought a while back about a vignette where Richard Williams gets different funding and finally completes The Thief and the Cobbler in about 1999 with it ending up being viewed as a critical success, a cult classic and a sort of last hurrah for traditional animation even at the time of release.
 

Thande

BidenHarris, vaccine, England's got the same Queen
Published by SLP
I had a thought a while back about a vignette where Richard Williams gets different funding and finally completes The Thief and the Cobbler in about 1999 with it ending up being viewed as a critical success, a cult classic and a sort of last hurrah for traditional animation even at the time of release.
I think the problem is by that time it would look derivative of Aladdin to an audience who don't know the background. I mean it could still be a cult classic, but I have a feeling that it would be popularly known as 'oh, that Aladdin ripoff'.
 

Alex Richards

She needs an artificial Mountain, not AV
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
I think the problem is by that time it would look derivative of Aladdin to an audience who don't know the background. I mean it could still be a cult classic, but I have a feeling that it would be popularly known as 'oh, that Aladdin ripoff'.
Eh, it was retooled as an Aladdin rip-off, but I think the original version is different enough (no musical numbers, no genies, a large invading army, scantily clad slave girls...) that it would only be considered an Aladdin ripoff to the extent that anything with an Arabian Tales vibe is.

Though I certainly don't think it would be anything like a commercial success.
 
Sitting here reading the thread, I'd be curious as to an ATL where The Simpsons failed to catch on for whatever reason - maybe lasting a season or two. The effects on television animation up to the present would be tremendous.
I'm not well-versed in the development background of the series but my impression is that one factor in its success is that there was no other animated prime-time sitcom that could detract from its novelty, on top of the fact that it had debuted on another very popular series (The Tracey Ullman Show) so it began with a built-in audience.

Maybe if James L. Brooks isn't involved with it - he had a huge amount of pull in the late 80s after all the success he'd enjoyed in his career and to the best of my knowledge was pretty instrumental in getting it going and keeping it going in the early years when it was finding its feet.

Other than that, early on, Bart was obviously the main character and he drove its mainstream popularity to stratospheric heights - turned it into a colossal cultural phenomenon. Perhaps if there's more focus on Homer at the start and Bart is never really the main character, but I'm not sure how that happens (maybe Nancy Cartwright doesn't voice him? I have no clue). Someone more knowledgeable can correct me.
 

Skinny87

Gets me brain medicines from the National Health
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Pronouns
He/Him
Below is a small rant I have last year about how Star Trek: Insurrection could have realised it's potential as a ground-breaking take on war and morality (for Star Trek as a whole, not in film generally), rather than the OTL pile of rubbish it actually turned out to be:

Strip away the bullshit 'Simple rural aliens who are actually SOOPERBEENS and the other alien race, and turn it into an actual sci-fi war drama. Start with (as the tie-in Dominion War novels actually did) the Enterprise-E getting the shit kicked out of it in a minor fleet engagement with the Dominion and Breen, and losing several key vessels (Shelley?) in the process, and then limping home. Then they have to pivot to go to a diplomatic function - and unlike the film where it's pointless hahaha Patrick Stewart wears a weird wig, this time its important because the Federation needs all the allies it can get.

Then cut to the rejuvenating planet with the simple Pre-Warp civilization, and Admiral Doherty debating with Picard over the advantages - relocate a few thousand civilians, get a planet where we can heal grievously-wounded veterans and rest up. And have Picard re-do Drumhead and allow Patrick Stewart to actually, you know, act by being the voice of 'Well if we do that then what's the point, we're just the Dominion with a smile'

AND NO FUCKING FACE STRETCHING
 

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
MOONRAKER

The scenario

The year is 1982 (not 1978 as per OTL). The world is in a state of high tension, as the new U.S president got a new weapon: the U.S military loaded ICBMs into modified 747s as kind of permanent flying airborne silos. Minuteman, Peacekeeper and even Titan II.
In this tense context, Hugo Drax henchmen hijacks, not a Space Shuttle, but a Titan II carrying a Gemini-B in a mission to the MOL, air launched from a modified Boeing 747-200F cargo aircraft.
The Gemini crew then killed the MOL crew and took control of the military space station (which is loaded with nukes, of course). Drax intends to drop the nukes into China and the Soviet Union and the United States to triggers WWIII and get the humanrace extinct... except for a handful of "aryans" safely in orbit aboard Drax own giant station - build from all the MOL modules he sold to the U.S military...
Of course James and Holly will ruin his plans.
Climax of the movie will see a space battle between Drax space colony and MOL and Soviet Almaz military stations, including lasers of course.

...

A better Moonraker in an universe where no space shuttle ever existed. More faithfull to Fleming original novel - except with Titan II and Gemini B and MOL in place of the nuclear V-2.

Somewhat a hybrid of THIS
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonraker_(novel)

and THIS
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manned_Orbiting_Laboratory

It would be awesome.

As for the shuttle escaping from the 747 at the movie beginning ? not too difficult to get a mostly similar scene.
Just air-drop a Titan II missile with a Gemini capsule from a Boeing 747 or C-5 Galaxy
Air dropping a missile (a Minuteman) was done in 1974, see the video here


--------

Also, Kim Stanley Robinson trilogy - a movie by James Cameron, in the wake of Titanic (1999 - 2002) and in place of the TV-series Dark Angel and perhaps, Avatar (although I loved Dark Angel - Jessica Alba was both stunningly beautiful and such a badass)
 
Last edited:

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
I've complained in the past that pop-culture alternate history so often just descends into an excuse for 80s nostalgia and geek fanboy wish fulfilment. So without further ado, I'd like to bring to the table an idea I've obsessed over about the different direction Disney might have taken in the 1970s and 1980s.

As chronicled in this article, the time between the death of Walt Disney and the second wind they received in the early 1990s following such hits as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, were the worst doldrums the company had ever known. Though animated films like Robin Hood and The Rescuers were still big hits for the company in the 1970s, overall success was tempered by the lukewarm response to live-action films like Bedknobs & Broomsticks (why anyone would not want to see Bruce Forsyth as a murderous spiv is beyond me). At the same time, the US film industry as a whole was going through something of a transformation with the rise of blockbusters such as Jaws and Star Wars. Disney, like every other Hollywood studio, had turned down George Lucas's space fantasy inspired by a hundred and one previous works.

It was in this climate Ron Miller became President of the corporation in 1978, a producer and former Los Angeles Rams player, and Walt Disney's son-in-law. He wanted to take the name in bold new directions inspired by the changes in Hollywood during the decade - he wanted to make adult films at Disney. This scandalous notion brought him into frequent conflict with other executives, including his predecessor as President and current CEO Card Walker. The first film in this controversial new direction was The Black Hole, a much darker science fiction adventure than the one they had turned down from Lucas a few years previously. The fact it was Disney's first film rated PG convinced many moral guardians that it would be hardcore pornography... with swearing! Instead we were treated to robots that were actually human corpses, Tony Perkins being shredded by a big red machine, and a literal trip to Hell at the end - all to a wonderful John Barry score. These experiments would continue well into the 1980s with such films as The Watcher in the Woods, Dragonslayer, Tron, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Black Cauldron, and Return to Oz. Of course, the more things change, the more they stayed the same, and after Ron Miller was ousted by a cabal of executives in 1984, including Michael Eisner, Disney would return to form in more ways than one with a double punch of hits in 1989 with the animated The Little Mermaid and the live-action Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

What if Miller's experiments had yielded better results and convinced the executives of a complete change in direction from the late 1970s onward? Maybe the easiest way would be to go back and have Disney accept Star Wars from George Lucas? For this to happen we would probably need Miller to become President earlier; when Card Walker became CEO in 1976 he kept the post of President for another year. What if CEO at the time Lucas was turned away, Donn Tatum, had call to step down - a health scare say. Walker would still be likely to take over from him, and Miller, one of the last members of the Disney family in a high-ranking position, would still most likely replace Walker as President. Perhaps he would be more receptive to the idea of Star Wars and would purchase the idea before Alan Ladd, Jr. at Fox could say yes.

How would Star Wars have turned out under Disney? Lucas has said OTL that "This is a Disney movie." The troubled production gave a lot of people at Fox worry, but Lucas had a real champion in Ladd. Miller might have acted in the same role at Disney. Presuming we end up with a broadly similar shooting script (itself not a guarantee), might production be kept in Southern California than in Tunisia and the United Kingdom? How about casting? Kurt Russell auditioned for the role of Han Solo and had a long history at Disney; and Jodie Foster turned down the role of Princess Leia because she was under contract to Disney at the time. One certainty is that Lucas might not be able to wrangle the merchandising rights from Disney, who would hope to recoup some losses if the film failed through the use of its props and costumes and ideas at their theme parks.

What of the direction of Disney? Would Miller's ideas be seen as vindicated by the success of Star Wars? If so, would he not be forced out in 1984 and Disney's experimental phase never end? By the turn of the millennium might they be better known for their live action fantasy and science fiction films than their animated efforts? What of Pixar? OTL it started out as the graphics division of Lucasfilm spun out into its own company in 1986; would it be an in-house Disney company much earlier? Another film Disney turned down during it's experimental phase was Back to the Future, every other studio in Hollywood turned it down for being too light but they turned it down for being too risqué; might it find a home at a Disney taking bold new directions under Ron Miller?
 
In the James Bond thread, I mentioned that I once had a somewhat fanciful idea for an alternate movie vignette featuring a crossover between Timothy Dalton's James Bond and Lethal Weapon called Licensed To Be Lethal, which would replace Lethal Weapon 3. I realise that this is basically the pop culture alternate history equivalent of an ASB story, but if I was going to try and develop some degree of verisimilitude for the idea, what would I need to do?

Off the top of my head, I think the first Dalton Bond movie would have to have been closer to Licence To Kill than The Living Daylights and it would have had to have been a great deal more successful.
 

Thande

BidenHarris, vaccine, England's got the same Queen
Published by SLP
I agree that it would require the first Dalton Bond to be more like Licence To Kill, it has to carry the same feeling of 'It is now the 80s, and while this is still James Bond, it is clearly taking place in the same universe as the contemporary blow-shit-up-and-crack-jokes school of US action movies'.
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
The first Dalton Bond film would have to be made later, as it's hard to imagine a Bond film being more in line with American big budget action movies of the 80s before Die Hard and Lethal Weapon were released.
 

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
I was watching Alien 2 final, desperate battle between Ripley and the Alien, and I felt "they need a T-800 or T-1000, not freakkin' Bishop, to get ride of these vicious beasts..."
 
I was watching Alien 2 final, desperate battle between Ripley and the Alien, and I felt "they need a T-800 or T-1000, not freakkin' Bishop, to get ride of these vicious beasts..."
Fun fact: James Cameron considered casting Lance Henriksen as the T-800 in Terminator because his original idea (later given effect by Robert Patrick in T2) was that the Terminator should be someone unremarkable-looking who blends into a crowd.
 
Top