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Eric Luke turned in an outline on our multi-part pilot on 6-3-93. I'm afraid I don't have that document anymore. But my response (from a week later) is still in my computer files. And it does give a sense of what he was up to. But more, it gives a sense of where I wanted to take the story.
One might argue that my greatest strength as a writer is in fact... that I'm a good editor. I do think I have a knack for taking solid work by other professionals, and finding the core story inside that work. Bringing that story out and helping it to shine. I think I have a good mind for both the big picture and the little details. (At any rate, that's largely been the basis of my career.)
So that's what I was attempting to do here. And I think you can begin to see the details of the story beginning to see the light in my notes here.
To: Eric Luke Date: 6-10-93
From: Greg Weisman Ext: 818)754-7436
Subject: Notes on 6/3 GARGOYLE Outline
Hi, Eric. Big improvement. I've collated a bunch of specific page notes, and I apologize in advance for their length. But we are getting so close, we wanted to make sure everything's nailed dead-to-rights. As before, we're largely concerned that everything tracks logically and that we've fully explored the relationships between our leads. So here goes.
Don't overdue the notion that no one's ever seen a gargoyle (in the tenth century). They are rare. But not that rare. Basically, Cole, the lead Marauder assumes that like most castles, this one has "bluff" gargoyles made of actual stone. He's taking a calculated risk. A risk he may feel absolutely confident in taking, but a risk nonetheless.
Although you DON'T have to use them in the treatment, when we get to script, we'll probably want to bring back the boy, Robbie, and his mom, so that we can play the anti-gargoyle prejudice beats. These will parallel w/Goliath's anti-human prejudice in the modern day sequences, and help give an overall theme to the piece.
We might want to show the Captain helping out in this battle, in some (perhaps minor) way, so that we see that he and Goliath are comrades-in-arms. [We've abbreviated the events of the 10th century sequence by cutting a day from the original beat outline. That's o.k., but it makes it tougher to show Demona and the Captain's complex motivations and loyalties. We have to compensate in other ways.]
The "after you, alphonse" dialogue seems a little on the silly side. It might play in script.
Right now, Gary is leaning toward a male Broadway.
At the bottom of page, it's unnecessary for Goliath to suspect treachery at this point. He's merely horrified at what he finds. The Captain's treason comes as a greater surprise when Goliath confronts him a bit later.
Remember, Captain (and Demona) had hoped to remove the gargoyles to safety. Goliath (unwittingly) had not cooperated. That's what left the gargoyles vulnerable to Cole. (From Demona's point of view, the plan backfired in a big way.)
Just a cautionary, but we don't want to flag early on that Xavier is a villain. At first we should consider him a rich eccentric. Cheerful, even.
Remember, when the Gargoyles awaken, they burst free of their stone shells, shattering them.
Xavier should not be so matter-of-fact about the Gargoyle's appearance. Remember, he's pretending this is the first time he's ever seen this reawakening. He should be appropriately impressed.
One of the elements that we want to be able to play with the Pack is the notion that they are the heroes of their own American Gladiatoresque t.v. show. For example, that's how Elisa would know them, as pseudo-athletes, not villains. If we don't have room to play that here in the pilot, than perhaps the Pack isn't the best villain team to use. Another notion we had was a group of armored villains w/names revolving around a demolition motif (the natural enemies of the sometimes-stone gargoyles): i.e. Piledriver, Bulldozer, etc.
If you do use the Pack, the twins are Jackal (male, cunning and vicious) and Hyena (female and practically psychotic).
The robot is CY.O.T.I. (CYber-Operational Technical Intelligence), and his bodies are interchangeable, not his head.
Elisa is a plain clothes detective, and therefore doesn't drive a black and white. Though she could have one of those removable cherry-tops on her car.
Xavier could help the gargoyles fight, to show (a) how tough and formidable he is for a "normal" human and (b) how trustworthy he is...paralleling the Captain's actions from the 10th century.
Perhaps the Pack (or whoever) pretends to get away w/stealing something. (Xavier will later claim it was the 3 disks.) After all, this whole attack was staged.
The whole notion of the Gargoyles not appearing on videotape because they're magical creatures doesn't work for us and doesn't seem necessary. It adds a fairly sophisticated new rule (usually associated w/vampires) and confuses the issue as to whether the gargoyles are their own race of creatures, as opposed to magically animated stone. They exist. They're real. We think they show up on tape.
In this particular scene, we think we can leave out the camcorder and the scene at the police station. Elisa's fairly independent. Also, she doesn't necessarily need to see what's happening from the ground. Better if she doesn't know she's looking for "creatures" 'til she finds them. She could just be investigating the falling debris, though that sounds like something a building inspector would do. It would be nice if there was something that would attract a police detective's attention. (Laser-fire?) Some sign of a crime.
Does she initially question or try to question Xavier? Does she suspect him?
The gargoyles should probably be the first bizarre entities that Elisa (and the city) encounters. If she's been dealing w/super-villains the last few weeks, than Goliath won't seem that strange. Also, her initial fear of him should not be based specifically on the notion that he is one of a group of villains, but on a visceral reaction to his appearance and threatening size. Prejudice. And the fact that there are a lot of Gargoyles doesn't hurt either.
The idea that "the whole city is her responsibility and she has a right to know what's going on" anywhere in it, sounds a bit egocentric or even vaguely fascist to me. This may not be the right moment for bravado. Again, she can be legitimately scared at this point. No shame in it. She doesn't have to ask about turf wars, or even be aware of what took place. In essence, we can reduce the talkiness of this scene by having her react the way any of us would.
Obviously, when Goliath saves her life, it'll have a profound effect, probably on both of them. It's a powerful event. It probably signals a truce, an end to hostility. And their mutual insight might hint at what's to come, but they're a long way from friends yet...or even trusted allies.
Here's where they can start to talk a bit. Get the basics on each other. Since we want the Gargoyles to lead weirdness into the modern world, she doesn't recruit him to fight super-villains, rather she offers to show him the best and worst of his new home. Maybe, she's hoping he'll see for himself it's worth fighting for, or maybe she hasn't thought it out that far. Maybe she plays on his need to get acclimated to his new surroundings. He needs a tour guide in this brave new world, she offers to be that guide. From his point of view, he's had bad luck leaving the castle, which would tend to make him reluctant to take her up on her offer. His agreeing is probably a sign of things to come coupled with the admission that he doesn't know what he's up against in the 20th century. He needs to learn, and learning does appeal to him.
Goliath probably can't be goaded into joining her. He knows enough about "puny" humans and their betrayals to WISELY be afraid of what they are capable of. She needs to appeal to his better nature--as above, his curiosity and desire to learn, and perhaps a hidden desire to find (or be reminded of) the good in humans that he once recognized.
Again, we don't need to make the Gargoyles invisible to electronics for them to steal the disks. Make the three sites where the "stolen" disks are being held, three entirely separate locations, each uniquely inaccessible to a normal human. Also, Xavier can claim that these disks were stolen from him during the previous night's attack by the Pack (or whoever). He doesn't want to go to the police, because they'd investigate the site of the theft and the signs of battle that might lead to the Gargoyle's being revealed. Xavier's not making "a proposition", he's "asking" for Goliath's help. Coupled w/Elisa's request, Goliath may be on the verge of softening toward humans again. As you wrote, he'll think about it.
After Goliath leaves, perhaps Xavier talk to a shadowy figure (Demona) about how everything is going according to plan. He's confident that Goliath will come around.
I apologize, but I think I led you astray when we discussed how "super-heroey" this universe is. Though we are eventually going to have multiple paranormal characters, we don't want to make their introduction casual, nor their existence commonplace. I like the idea that Xavier is stealing technology in order to power up his operatives or build Scarab Corp robots or both, but I don't think he'd be giving out this or any technology so that "the Crippler", et al, could wander the streets doing as they please. Too wasteful for Xavier.
Is Xavier aware of Goliath's deal w/Elisa? If so, would he want to use it to his advantage, perhaps staging another conflict with the same villain team that attacked the castle? Something to convince Goliath that he must help Xavier recover the disks? [The trick to these villains obviously, is to make them powerful enough to be threatening to Goliath and Company, but missing some necessary ability like flight or stealth, that would have enabled them to liberate the disks for Xavier (something other than the invisible-to-video rule). Their abilities can be enhanced for the climax when Xavier makes use of the stolen info on the three disks.]
Boots on Brooklyn are a bit awkward design-wise. Let's trade Doc Marten's for Ray-Bans or Aviator sunglasses.
It's an interesting question whether or not the teen gargoyles can read, but let's not address it here.
Let's have Bronx chewing up the car interior, instead of stinking it up. He's an omnivore.
Goliath's attitude on the first night that humanity is not worth saving doesn't seem to follow. He's always known, even before the Captain's betrayal, that there were bad humans. He used to think there were also good humans worth saving. Since the Captain, he's lost faith in that. Now that he's met Xavier and Elisa, he's probably regaining his faith, despite himself. The way to bring him back to his prejudices is with an ungrateful victim that he has saved. Some modern day equivalent to the queen or wizard. Humans will never stop fearing, blaming or hating the gargoyles. They don't deserve his assistance. Elisa, as a cop, can actually relate to this. But by example, she's trying to show him not to give up on humanity and it's potential.
To cement Goliath's gratitude, it's probably better if Xavier claims to have sought Demona out. Found her for Goliath. This was always part of Xavier and Demona's plan. Although Goliath will be overwhelmed by her reappearance, all the Gargoyles should be very glad to see her. And she, sincerely glad to see them. (She still hopes to turn them to the dark side.)
Again, we don't need non-detectability. Let's put the three disks in three very separate locations in the city. Let's send Goliath and Demona after one. The trio after another, and stick Hudson (much to his annoyance) w/Bronx to go after the third.
The disks must be largely inaccessible. (One in a tower; one in an underground vault, etc.) And they should each be protected by security systems and well-armed human guards. But only a guy like Xavier would create Spiderbots and Wardroids, so let's keep things clean by leaving them out. However, a good complication would be for the disk's real owners to call the police. Elisa, who's been waiting for Goliath to show, takes the call. She confronts Goliath and Demona. It's a horrible moment for everyone. He flies away w/the disk. But after turning it over to Xavier, he insists on going back to talk to Elisa. Demona would be against it. She'd relate Elisa to the Captain. Xavier might start making contingency plans...if Goliath is so honorable that he has to clear his conscience with the authorities, then it may not be so easy to turn him and keep him turned.
The trick is probably not to let Goliath come off as a big dope. It's o.k. that he's been fooled, as long as it's been a convincing con. He's a smart guy.
We need to contrast Elisa's responses w/Demona's knee-jerk ones. Elisa could be deeply disappointed. Goliath could try to explain why he did what he did. To Elisa it all sounds fishy, and at any rate, he shouldn't have taken the law into his own hands. That's where he might scoff at human law...and humans, in general. Don't let him get pouty. He's got legitimate gripes. But this disappoints Elisa further. She thought they had connected. Plus, she's been put in an awkward situation. He's a criminal now. Does she arrest him? He takes that decision out of her hands by leaving.
We're not clear on the meaning of Elisa's: "You're blaming humans because you can't face the blame yourself!" What blame?
If we use the Trio in the action-packed disk-raid, then we can cut the Artless Dodger. Again, we don't want to make "paranormals" too commonplace.
It's tough to believe that the Pack (or their replacements) would really think the gargoyles had stolen their money. And it's impossible to believe that Fox would betray her boss by giving away his well-mapped out plans. Xavier's control should be fairly complete. Basically, the multiple changes that these notes have suggested are going to require some major restructuring of the last few pages.
Xavier's "contingency plans" from above could help set the final act in motion. Maybe, he decides to test the gargoyles' loyalty to him once and for all. This is important, because Xavier would not just toss aside valuable "assets" like the Gargoyles, just because they had already accomplished the specific mission he acquired them for or because their talents were now largely redundant. If he thought there was a chance to keep them, he'd go for it. Maybe the loyalty test involves Elisa. That way, we can get that moment when Goliath refuses to betray Elisa. This cements Goliath and Elisa's relationship. Further enrages Demona, etc.
When Goliath fails the loyalty test, Xavier can then decide to destroy Goliath (and probably the other gargoyles as well). He can utilize the disk technology that the gargoyles stole which he has already used to enhance the Pack (or whoever) or build killer robots (or whatever). This personalizes the final battle. They're not saving the city. But themselves.
It's unlikely that Xavier would give away his plans just to gloat. He's too smart for that.
We want to reveal Demona's true colors to Goliath and our audience at the same time. The last great shocking secret revealed. Perhaps Goliath discovers the truth after failing the loyalty test. She tries to convince him one last time to change sides. If in the course of the loyalty test, he was physically defeated, this'll be like kicking him when he's down. And then it's Elisa who saves him and helps rally his spirits for the coming final confrontation.
How did Demona stay young for a thousand years?
Given the above, it's hard to see how the trio could refuse to help Goliath.
Obviously, we can now lose the army of paranormals. I'll miss Mister Billious the most.
We can probably reduce the talky-nature of the final battle scene by giving Elisa and Goliath a moment of calm before the battle begins. Remember, the key relationship is theirs. She may fear that the betrayals of Xavier and Demona will drive Goliath further into his shell. But she has unwittingly kept her promise. She has shown Goliath that humanity is worth saving, because she has shown Goliath herself. And it's enough, because she's a very special individual who considers herself fairly typical of humanity.
Demona can be armed with "modern" bazooka-laser Kirbyesque weapons to even out the odds in her and Goliath's one-on-one final battle.
Xavier's "death" may need to be rethunk. Perhaps Demona, who's been our secret betrayer from the beginning, should "die". (Maybe her weapon explodes?) Xavier, the human villain can be arrested by Elisa. He's not worried though, he'll have the best trial money can buy...or as Elisa counters: "The best cell."
Whew. That's it. Let me know if you have any questions.
cc: Gary Krisel, Bruce Cranston, Paul Lacy
In anticipation of watching "Outfoxed" anyday now, I'm going to go ahead and post the memo I wrote to Cary Bates, after he turned in his outline for that episode, originally titled, "After the Fox".
Notes on "After the Fox" Outline...
Well, one of the advantages of having you as one of my story editors is that I can be brutally honest. We got some problems here. The main one being that the story doesn't get going in earnest until the last scene of Act Two. We're horribly padded here. Normally, I would give this back to you for a second draft outline, but -- my fault -- I didn't read it in time. So I'll beat it out here.
FOX vs. RENARD
First off, let's make Renard the last name. I know I said it was o.k. to make Renard the first name, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn't want Fox's only connection to the Renard/Fox name to be that it was her father's first name. I don't think she could admit to herself that she was borrowing anything from him. So let's make her given name Janine Renard. He still calls her Janine. She rejects that and has her name legally changed to her nom de guerre: Fox. (Like Cher or Madonna, it's just the one word. Remember, she was a performer.) The "Fox" is the part of herself that she believes in. The irony, of course, is that the name did come from her father.
I don't think Fox consciously hates her father. I don't think she consciously admits to having feelings that could cloud her judgment. There's no vengeance kick here. No line of dialogue where she says she wants to see him suffer or that she only saved his life so she can continue to torture him. That all may be subconsciously true, but if so, she doesn't realize it. Remember, she's Xanatos' perfect mate. Neither her nor her husband get that emotional. They enjoy the game for its own sake. Playing it against her father may give it a special tang, but from her point of view, there's only one reason to do this: Cyberbiotics. She wants it, so she decides to take it. If it wasn't worth having, she wouldn't have bothered.
The investor scenario doesn't work. Just because the investors aren't killed, doesn't mean these five terrorized guys are now gonna invest. The damage is done. The stock price will still fall and Cyberbiotics will still belong to Fox by close of business tomorrow.
The solution, I believe, is to change the location. Renard has just rebuilt the CYBERBIOTICS AIR FORTRESS. He's determined to prove that it's safe and effective. It's a corporate icon, like the Good Year Blimp -- and the public does think it's really cool -- but it's still not the smartest investment. It's hybris. Worse... it's Euro-Disney. Renard's had to invest way too much to rebuild it. If it's destroyed so soon after it's reconstruction, Cyberbiotics will be bankrupt and easy prey for Fox. This'll tie in nicely with Goliath's growing sense that he owes Renard a debt. Goliath helped destroy the first Air Fortress. Now, he must save the second one. And if you save the ship, you save the company from Fox.
INTEGRITY: GARGOYLE vs. HUMAN
For once, this should not be an issue. Renard accuses Goliath of not having as much integrity as humans do. But Renard doesn't believe humans have very much integrity -- that's why he's automated his operations -- so we're arguing the wrong premise. Integrity is not the province of either race. Deep down, Goliath may have a vague prejudice that gargoyles are generally more honest than humans, but in his head he knows that his race does not have a monopoly on integrity. Thanks to the events of our pilot, Renard may have a general mistrust of gargoyles, but that's not the point he should be making. Renard firmly believes that integrity is an absolute. You have it. Or you don't. Cut and Dry. Black and White. He's got it. Most humans don't, including Xanatos and his daughter. Machines can be programmed with absolutes. People can't. So he's populating his world with machines. His assumption is that Goliath is no better than Xanatos and that all of the creature's protestations about being duped are nothing more than whining excuses. Will Goliath take responsibility for his actions or won't he? Let's not distract this important theme, with issues of race.
Though I loved the line: "You're gargoyle enough to admit it."
Who is this guy exactly? Security man? Computer programmer? Born-again? Was he hired on a project basis to complete the automation? Is he helping Fox because he knew Renard was going to fire him? Has Vogel automated all of Renard's operations or just the security? If it's just the security, than what are they securing? Why does he repent? Basically, the character is coming across as very vague and contradictory. We have to clean this up.
Let's also make sure we fit Vogel into our theme. He is corrupted by Fox. Ultimately, Renard will use Vogel as another example of why humans cannot be trusted. But Goliath will point out that the cybots were just as corruptible, while incapable of experiencing a change of heart, as Goliath has had.
"After the Fox"... I don't get it. Am I missing something?
1. Open quietly with FOX at the EYRIE BUILDING. She turns on the evening news. TRAVIS MARSHALL is on the air, reporting from JFK or LaGuardia or wherever. It is the Maiden Voyage of FORTRESS-2, the CYBERBIOTICS airship. Marshall had hoped to get an interview with the reclusive head of Cyberbiotics, HALCYON RENARD, but has to settle for Renard's right-hand man VOGEL. Fox watches all this with some interest.
2. Out at the airfield, Marshall, a tough journalist, questions the wisdom and expense of Fortress-2, particularly since FORTRESS-ONE crashed into the river last year. Vogel counters that the cause of that crash was an act of corporate espionage that was only successful thanks to human error on the part of Fortress-One's crew. Fortress-2 is fully automated, run by patented CYBOTS. Human error is not possible. No humans aboard at all? After this test flight, human scientists will occupy it's laboratories to research new wonders, but there is no human crew, except for Vogel and Mr. Renard, himself. Marshall asks if it's true that Renard has invested all of his personal fortune into Fortress-2, and that if it doesn't perform both he and Cyberbiotics will be ruined. Vogel has no comment on that, and heads inside the ship.
3. We follow Vogel, as he heads for the command center. Everything is automated, and there are little Cybots everywhere. All with very specific functions. No waste. At the command center, Vogel contacts Renard in his private office, elsewhere on board. Cut briefly to a shadowed Renard hovering in his ultra-chair, watching Vogel on a vid-screen. Renard gives permission to launch.
4. Fortress-2 launches. Huge turbines and compressors roar. And GOLIATH and ELISA watch from a nearby roof or hilltop. Goliath claims to be here because he is concerned that XANATOS might attempt to attack this ship, just as he tricked Goliath into attacking the first one. But Elisa probably knows that the air fortress is a symbol of Goliath's own guilt -- a guilt that Goliath has yet to come to terms with. Goliath decides to follow the airship, just to be safe.
5. In the air above Manhattan, a cybot alerts Vogel to their pursuer [Goliath]. Vogel informs Renard. Renard says Vogel knows what to do. (It doesn't hurt if we briefly misdirect the audience into thinking that Renard is a villain.)
6. Goliath glides a short distance behind the airship. Suddenly, flying cybots swarm out of a Fortress-2 hold. There're not very big, and they have very simple attack programming. They fire medium strength stun bolts and they miss more often than they hit. Goliath can swat them away easily. Clearly, these cybots don't seem to be on a par with Xanatos' STEEL CLAN. But if results are what counts, they turn out to be superior. There are just too many of the little things. No matter how many Goliath trashes, there are more coming at him. They hover, which Goliath can't do. And eventually, the stun beams add up. Finally, he gets hit with a barrage of them and passes out. Two larger cybots are waiting to catch him and bring him into the airship. (Let's consistently depict the cybots as mono-functional. Each model capable of doing only one thing.)
7. Inside the airship, Goliath regains consciousness in the brig. The bars on the cell might be bendable for Goliath, but he is forced back by Cybot guards with built-in cattle prods. Vogel is there, and a large metal pneumatic door slides open to finally reveal Halcyon Renard. He floats in on his hover chair. He has silver hair and a very sharp mind -- but he is definitely not "robust and vital".
Renard hovers around Goliath, sizing him up. "So this is what the boys at Gen-U-Tech have been up to. Xanatos must be very proud." Goliath responds that he is neither Gen-U-Tech's creation nor Xanatos'. Renard laughs. Goliath demands to know why he is being held prisoner. "Because if you're my prisoner, than I know you can't destroy Fortress-2 for your master." Goliath: "I have no master." "No? Then why did you do this?" Renard flicks a remote button on his chair, and the walls slide back to reveal a large screen. Another button, and video clips from "Awakening, Parts IV and V" show Goliath's participation in the destruction of Fortress-One. Chastened, Goliath tries to explain that he had been duped by Xanatos: "It wasn't my fault." But Renard doesn't let up: "It's not my fault. It's not my fault. You sound like all my human employees. My former human employees. Crush them all together and you couldn't squeeze an ounce of personal integrity from the lot of them. Don't make excuses, creature! Take responsibility for your actions! Stop whining!"
"I DO NOT WHINE," says Goliath, as he rips the bars off his cell and uses them to smash his cybot guards. But Renard doesn't even flinch. "You don't whine, but you also don't hesitate to destroy more of my personal property." He presses another button, and two stun cannons on his chair blast at Goliath until he is knocked out again.
Vogel apologizes. "All my fault, sir. I'll make sure he can't get out of the next cell." We see that Renard respects Vogel for taking the blame. A cybot informs Vogel that he has an incoming personal call. Renard exits, not wanting to impose on Vogel's privacy.
As Cybots drag the unconscious Goliath away, Vogel turns to a vid-screen and activates it. Reveal Fox on the other end. Is it safe to talk? Mr. Renard always respects my privacy. Is Vogel ready to sabotage Fortress-2? He is if the money's been deposited in his Swiss Bank Account. All taken care of. Vogel: "Then we're ready. And the good news is..." He looks at Goliath. "We've got a perfect candidate to take the blame."
8. A short time later, Goliath awakens shackled to a wall in a new cell, with MUCH thicker bars, and even more cybot guards. Renard is there in his hover chair, brooding. If only Goliath could make him understand that Xanatos is to blame. But Renard: "Oh, I have no doubt of that. You aren't the first poor soul Xanatos has corrupted. Owen Burnett. Anton Sevarius. They both were Cyberbiotics employees... and they're the least of what that viper has stolen from me. I've no doubt he was behind the attack and no reason to doubt that he tricked you into participating." But if that's so, than why does Renard hold Goliath responsible? "Someone has to. And you obviously don't." It doesn't matter to Renard whose idea it was. It doesn't matter whether Goliath believed he was doing the right thing. Now he knows the truth. What's he going to do about it? Goliath grimly rattles his chains, then says, "I think a better question might be, what are you going to do about it."
9. Xanatos and Fox are working on their Kung Fu at the Eyrie Building. Make a point of showing that they are evenly matched. While they fight, they talk casually. Xanatos: "Weren't you mounting a hostile take-over of Cyberbiotics today? Your not having second thoughts about taking it from old man Renard?" Before she can answer, OWEN enters to alert Fox of a phone call from her physician. When Xanatos looks concern, she misinterprets and tells him not to worry: Cyberbiotics will be hers before morning. And as she says hello into the phone, we cut...
10. In the command center, Vogel instructs a random cybot to shut down for repairs. When it does, he opens it up and installs a chip into it's programming matrix. Then he reactivates the cybot, but when it turns on, an arc of electricity flashes around it, briefly. Vogel taps it on the head. Off you go.
11. Goliath and Renard are still talking practical philosophy. Renard has been brooding over the question of what to do with Goliath. He's trying to decide what the honorable thing would be. He'll probably just turn him over to the authorities. Goliath is aghast. "Look at me, human. Is that an equitable punishment? Was my crime against you heinous enough to justify turning me into a laboratory specimen?" Renard smiles. "Well, we're making progress. You've finally acknowledged that you committed a crime."
12. Elsewhere on the ship, the first cybot that Vogel infected passes another cybot. The same arc of electricity shoots out of the second 'bot. Then both 'bots move off and infect two more...and so on... and so on... and so on...
On Vogel's read-out screen, the percentage of cybots infected keeps rising. 13%... 27%... 32%...
13. Goliath eyes Renard. Almost despite himself, Goliath is beginning to regard the man with a grudging respect. "All right. I've admitted I was wrong. No more excuses. Now what?" But Renard doesn't have any easy answers for him. "Integrity is not easy. It is a daily struggle. A costly struggle. If you only knew what it cost me. My Anastasia. My Janine." Goliath lowers his head, "...my angel..." Renard looks at him closely. "So you do know." Goliath speaks slowly: "I know I owe you a great debt for what I did a year ago. And a greater debt for the education I received tonight. If the text was not new to me, it was at least... worth revisiting."
Now during this entire conversation, a cybot enters and approaches a guard cybot by the door. The guard cybot is infected, and approaches the other cybot by the door and infects it. Neither Goliath nor Renard notice until the cybots flanking Goliath's cell are infected and the arcing electricity catches the attention of both.
14. On Vogel's screen the percentage goes up from 99% to 100%, and "Right on cue" he gets a vid-call from Renard. He affects panic. Somehow that creature in the brig has infected every cybot on board with a computer virus. Renard says, "Nonsense. I've been sitting here talking with him the whole time." Vogel doesn't know how Goliath did it. But the Cybots are not responding to commands. They've set Fortress-2 on a collision course with the CYBERBIOTICS TOWER. They must abandon ship and activate the emergency self-destruct mechanism or both installations will be destroyed, and Cyberbiotics will be history. Renard is beside himself: If Fortress-2 is destroyed than Cyberbiotics is ruined anyway. Vogel shakes his head, flips a switch and a 10 minute time counter appears on the vid-screen. "I'm sorry, sir. You can place the blame on me if you must, but now we have no choice. At our present rate of speed we will hit the tower in ten minutes. You have nine minutes to meet me at the escape pod. After that I will jettison, and use my access code to destroy Fortress-2."
15. Goliath offers to help Renard try to save the ship. Renard is so furious, he's half ready to believe that Goliath was responsible. But Goliath knows that Renard doesn't really believe that. Goliath helped destroy Fortress-One. "Let me help to save Fortress-2." Renard agrees and presses a button on his chair which releases Goliath. The Cybot guards interpret this as an escape attempt. Renard cannot override them. But between Goliath and Renard's hover-chair, they manage to destroy the cybot guards. They leave the brig. The seconds tick away.
16. Vogel monitors them from the comfortable escape pod. He can't believe the old fool is going to try to save the ship. Why doesn't he just admit defeat and head for the escape pod? Vogel's made sure that route is clear of cybots. He'll just have to discourage anymore heroics. He orders all the cybots to kill the creature and drive Renard toward the pod. (Note: he does NOT want to kill Renard.)
17. Now every cybot on the ship is against Goliath and Renard. The little flying ones that knocked Goliath out in the first place. The big ones that carried him inside. More cattle-prod guard 'bots. Zippy little messenger 'bots. Maintenance 'bots. All of them. The good news is that in the airship's small corridors, there are only so many that can go at our heroes at once. But the situation is intolerable. They can't destroy the 'bots one at a time. They need to cut off power to all the cybots at once. And it's possible. There's a power station at the center of the ship that transmits power to all the cybots. But if they destroy that then they destroy the cybots that pilot the ship. There won't be time to get to the power station, shut it off and then go to the bridge. They have to split up. And time is ticking away. And the Tower gets closer and closer.
18. Intercut between Goliath fighting his way to the power station; Renard fighting his way to the bridge, and Vogel getting very nervous in the escape pod. [Turns out that even Vogel didn't know how much the old guy had grown on him. Destroying his empire is one thing. But Vogel is no killer. He doesn't want Renard's death on his conscience. And/or he had explicit instructions from Fox that Renard not be killed.] And time is ticking away. And the Tower gets closer and closer.
19. Goliath gets to the power station and destroys it. All the 'bots shut down. But time is ticking away. And the Tower gets closer and closer.
20. With the cybots down, Renard is able to zoom the rest of the way to the bridge quickly. He puts Fortress-2 on manual override, but time has passed the nine minute mark. The tower looms right in front of him and navigation and the helm are located on two different consoles. At the last second, Vogel appears and between the two of them, they are able to turn the ship away from the tower and save it.
21. Aftermath between Renard and Goliath. At first, Renard is bitter. Vogel has confessed his betrayal. Further proof that the human species is devoid of integrity. But Goliath disagrees. Vogel's example hardly proves the wisdom of putting one's trust in single-minded automatons. Automatons are tools. They know nothing of honor or betrayal. They do what they are programmed to do. But a living being knows nothing of programming. A living being must choose. And, ultimately, Vogel chose honor.
Renard lets all that sink in. He's got a lot to think about, but one thing he knows is that Goliath has paid his debt. A ship for a ship. Renard: "We are even." But Goliath: "No... We are friends."
22. Goliath soars off into the night. And he doesn't notice a small hang-glider land on the now defenseless airship behind him. The newcomer abandons the glider and tosses a cloudy ball against the metal hull. The ball shatters and a corrosive substance is released that quickly burns a hole in the hull. The stranger enters the airship, and as she does, we finally get a look at her. It is Fox.
23. Back in Renard's office. He sits in his chair. Quietly. Fox enters behind him, and for a moment we think she's there as an assassin. But he seems to be expecting her. "Hello, Janine," he says. "Hello, Daddy," she replies. "I almost got you that time." "Yes, but why? I built this company for you. I'd have given it to you by now if you hadn't married that villain Xanatos. I'd still probably give it to you if you just stood up and asked me for it honestly." "Oh, Daddy. You and your integrity. Asking for it wouldn't be any fun at all." Renard: "And fun is more important to you than honor. I can't understand that." Fox: "Well, maybe you'll have better luck with the next generation." Renard: "What?" Fox: "That's right, Daddy. You're going to be a grandfather."
Our second Garg writer, Eric Luke turned in his first draft on our pilot outline. This memo was my response.
What you may be able to see here is that the structure of the story was beginning to come together in my mind. (If not Eric's.) The brief prologue. Xavier's [Xantos'] motivations, etc.
To: Eric Luke Date: 5-17-93
From: Greg Weisman Ext: 818)754-7436
Subject: Notes on GARGOYLE Outline
Hi. A few major notes for the rewrite, before we get to the page-by-page stuff. First, we really believe we need to focus most of our attention on the Goliath-Elisa relationship. Really give it an arc and a progression. Elisa is intuitive, but she's only human, and when she first sees a monster, she has to be freaked out by it. Even after they stop perceiving each other as potential threats (and we don't think this can all happen in one scene), there needs to be an uneasiness at first. And then, a growing friendship that is the focus of our tele-film. They need obstacles to overcome, not all of which are plot-driven. Again, this is the most important relationship in our story. We must explore it, not just establish it.
The second major note is more plot-oriented. We believe that Xavier needs a more specific plan and motivation. The desire for human chaos and anarchy might sound good to Demona, but for Xavier it seems counterproductive. What good is all his current wealth if the world economic system crashes? What good his bribed officials if the government collapses? And anyway, how would the escalation of gang wars and crime really activate all this? Xavier is basically an acquisitive guy. He sees something. He wants it. If he can buy it or possess it legally, he probably will, because it's safer and easier. If he can't, he'll find a way to take it. This "it" could be an object of art or a huge cash reserve or power or some kind of weapon...the list is endless. If he can perceive it, he'll want it and go for it. A specific plan, visual and exciting, ala Goldfinger or something, would probably serve us well. Part and parcel of this should be a specific need for Goliath and the rest of the gargoyles. Having Goliath run an errand that any messenger could handle isn't effective enough. Xavier should have some larger purpose in mind for our heroes.
We don't think we can get too far into our story and still have our full flashback. Perhaps we could have just an extremely brief prologue in the present, where Elisa discovers the claw marks or somesuch, before segueing back to the tenth century. Our prologue is too short to reveal anything beyond the fact that something mysterious is going on in the present...something that we'll come back to. We don't even reveal the castle atop the skyscraper. We just spend enough time for Elisa to ask the question: "What could have caused this?" and then we fade back 1000 years. (Of course, this transition is tricky too, but we think it accomplishes our goals more smoothly.) We end our backstory and flash forward to the twentieth century with Xavier buying the castle and ordering it's transportation to Manhattan. Since we've in essence told the story chronologically, we can now have fun with the Gargoyles awakening in the modern world. Reveal the castle in the clouds. See their first reactions. They're first meeting w/Xavier, and how he comes across. From the audience's point of view, Elisa's search (activated in our prologue) is an open (i.e. Columbo-style) mystery. They know that she's gonna discover the gargoyles. The fun is how.
Page 1 - Remember, Elisa is a plain clothes detective. She doesn't need a uniform.
Is the "promotional ladder" really an issue with her? It doesn't seem to pay off.
Do we want a crooked Captain McCoy? That didn't really pay off either. If he is crooked, how should he act on the surface? If we decide to make him honest, what should he be like?
Page 2 - Remember, Goliath is not stone at night. Though he's got tough hide-like skin, he's flesh and blood.
We need to avoid talky scenes, between Elisa and Felix, between Elisa and Goliath, etc.
Also, the mystery should last longer than it does. Perhaps we can build up Elisa's investigation. Perhaps she's been investigating Xavier for weeks. (Maybe she's undercover in his organization.) Or perhaps she's been investigating, Gargoyle related stuff for weeks...(really a clue that Demona's been around for longer than she claims.) There are a lot of options.
Is Goliath really afraid of the police? Does he even understand their significance?
Let's not make Elisa too perfect. Her initial reaction to Goliath should be one of real fear. And we need to discover what changes that for her. Does he save her life or do some other admirable thing?
Page 3 - Keep in mind that in the 10th century, Gargoyles are not considered a myth...just rare. With a lot of phony gargoyle statues placed on castle walls, to scare off attackers.
Remember that Brooklyn, Lex and Broadway are teens, not kids.
The flower picking bit didn't go over too well here.
Page 6 - Why have the trio been reluctant to explore the city up to this point?
The generic crimes that Goliath and Elisa fight on night one should probably wind up being clues, part of the puzzle toward Xavier and Demona's master plan.
Page 7 - Again, we have to track Elisa and Goliath's relationship clearly. Particularly Goliath's mindset. He thinks humanity's past saving? Does he include her at this point? Does he feel "some excitement" or is he "dejected"? He's basically territorial; how did Elisa convince him to help protect more than the castle in the first place? When he rediscovers Demona, is he fooling himself about how good the good old days were?
Is this all Xavier needed him for?
Page 8 - We're concerned that the rock band stuff might be a bit hokey, not visually fun enough. Particularly, without real rock music. Also, have the gargoyles found a use for money?
How does Elisa feel about Demona? What is the state of Elisa and Goliath's relationship at this point?
Is "electronic detective work" exciting visually? Would computer bank accounts literally list "The Raven" as depositor?
Why does Xavier send his Wardroids to attack Goliath at this point in the story?
Page 9 - How does Elisa find out about the weapons shipment? Does she suspect McCoy?
Do we want to reveal Demona's betrayal here, or do we want the audience to find out at the same time as Goliath? Our last surprise.
How did Demona survive into the present?
Page 10 - Where does this scene between Goliath and Elisa take place?
What changes Goliath's attitude?
Page 11 - A lot of talking is theoretically going on during an extended fight scene.
What does Goliath admire about humanity? How is he different from other Gargoyles, particularly Demona? Is there anything in humans that he aspires to? Does he shift from being instinctually territorial and protective of a specific location to being protective of humans (and gargoyles) in general?
cc: Gary Krisel, Bruce Cranston, Paul Lacy
Late 1994. Writer Lydia Marano and Story Editor Brynne Chandler Reaves had turned in an outline entitled "Thieves in the Night". This memo and beat outline was my response to their work.
And before you ask... I have no memory of "the Zompanos". Perhaps a pre-cursor to the Sopranos? :)
Notes on "Thieves in the Night" Outline...
The main problem for me here is the first act. From a plotting standpoint, everything with the Zompanos is largely immaterial to what follows. As with the outline for "The Mirror", the action of this story only begins at the end of Act One, when Mac and Demona stage their first attempt to steal stuff. We have to move that event up to the beginning of the act.
FOCUS ON COLDSTONE
Let's fool the audience into thinking he is the focus of the whole thing. It's a Coldstone story that turns out to be the set-up for something more dangerous. (Avalon.) To accomplish this, let's misdirect even more than we are.
I've basically cut Matt out of this story. I didn't like doing it, because I thought you gave him and Elisa a lot of nice character stuff. I even added some stuff to what you had done -- stuff that I also wound up cutting. The story was just too crowded and unwieldy with him there. (And thematically, the Elisa/Matt arc was just slightly off point.) Every time I worked on a scene, Matt got in the way. I wouldn't mind revealing just a little to him here, but there didn't seem to be any way to reveal "just a little". (Matt's not the type to just let things go or to settle for a partial explanation. And he's certainly shown a willingness to stick close to Elisa even when she's made it clear he's not welcome.)
I also would not be opposed to revealing the whole truth to Matt, but this story seemed to be too complicated to reveal just the simple truth about Goliath and company. We'd also have to tell him about Macbeth, Coldstone and maybe even Demona. It was just too much. But don't lose track of these ideas for Matt. We'll get to them all eventually.
THEME: HIGH NOON
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." Or put another way, "You can't crawl into a hole, no matter how nice the hole is, while others suffer." Obviously, this is Othello's arc to a tee.
I'm also giving it to Elisa. And since this is a lesson that Elisa really has already internalized 100%, I'm putting her through the wringer, so that in her exhaustion, she can have a moment of weakness, a crisis point where she can consciously reaffirm her belief. It's high noon, she tells herself. Is she gonna fight the good fight or not?
To a lesser extent, Goliath and the gargoyles reaffirm this belief every time they knowingly walk into a trap. Because the only alternative -- to do nothing -- is unacceptable to them.
We can't destroy the clock tower or even "all but destroy" it without attracting considerable attention from the precinct full of cops downstairs. A thunderstorm can cover a lot of noise, I suppose, but not extensive damage or explosions that might shake the building.
I don't want to count on the fact that our audience will have seen either "City of Stone, Part Four", "Legion" or "The Mirror". I don't want to be ham-fisted in our exposition, but I do want to make sure that we find a way to reveal that when we last saw Demona and Macbeth, they were in the custody of the Weird Sisters. Also that Coldstone has three personalities due to the fact that he was created from pieces of three separate gargoyles. And finally, that thanks to Puck's spell, Demona is now human during the day -- a situation which pissed her off at first, until she discovered the benefits of it.
The "tentacle vines" and the "vortex" were all the result of the computer virus. I think we can assume by this time that the virus has wiped out all programming, including itself. All that is left inside is the personality of the three gargoyles and whatever fantasy they create inside their mutual mind.
Don't forget that Macbeth and Demona feel each other's pain. And also, as you had it in the outline, that they each share the opinion that the other is a royal pain.
1. Prologue: Coldstone's Mind. Othello and Desdemona enjoy an idyllic life in a virtual reality fantasy world that they've created. Electricity water-falls. A circuit-shaped moon. Whatever. They know it's not real, but it's close enough. They are together.
They are also aware of Iago's presence hovering darkly on the outskirts of their paradise, but he no longer has the power to come between them. They are content to let him hover.
2. Clock Tower -- Shortly before Dawn. Elisa has just ended a long night's shift and is stopping upstairs (via the broom closet) to see Goliath & co. before she heads home for some much needed sleep. Brooklyn is helping Hudson and Broadway with their reading lessons. Lexington is off in a corner working on Coldstone. Lex has opened up a metal plate on Coldstone, to get access to the circuits inside. He's hooked his laptop up to it and is checking things out. Goliath asks: is there any real hope of bringing him (her, them) back? As far as Lex can figure, the computer virus that attacked Coldstone has wiped its programming clean. Nothing's functioning, but nothing's broken. It's a blank slate. Even the virus is gone. After it finished attacking Coldstone's programming, it devoured itself. But none of that should have affected the souls of the three gargoyles that were used to create Coldstone. They were put there by magic, not programming. They've got to be in there somewhere. If Lex could devise a simple operating program, they might wake up. Well, he'll work on it some more tomorrow night. The gargoyles take their places. Sun rises. They get stoned.
3. Police Precinct -- Minutes later. Elisa's heading out the door, saying good-bye to Officer Morgan, who's also heading home. Coming in, is a uniformed female cop with red hair, pushing a felon who's got his cap pulled low over his eyes and his hands handcuffed in front of him. [Obviously, this is the human Demona and Macbeth.] Elisa pauses, and watches them head into the building and out of view. They both looked vaguely familiar, but she can't place either of them. Does Morgan know them? No, but the cop is obviously a rookie. Why else would she have cuffed the guy with his hands in front of him? Especially a guy that big.
Yeah, someone should tell her. Elisa heads back in. She spots them heading up the stairs. Sees them going around a corner. Always a step behind. Finally she sees them head into the broom closet. Horrified by what that might mean, she draws her gun, and follows them up into the clock tower.
4. Despite her precautions, she is ultimately jumped by the "felon" and the "cop". There's a struggle. And Elisa recognizes Macbeth, just before she is stunned into unconsciousness by Macbeth's lightning gun. Sweet dreams, he says. And the screen goes black.
5. Inside Macbeth's Airship - Twenty minutes later. Macbeth and the "cop" are flying along. The "cop" is angry that Macbeth wouldn't let her kill the gargoyles and especially Elisa, once and for all. Macbeth won't apologize for having a code of honor. But he's in a good mood. Their stolen cargo is safely stowed away in back, plus they got away without anybody else spotting them. "So lighten up... Demona!"
6. Clock Tower - Several hours later. Elisa comes to. She feels lousy, but she's basically all right. How long was she out? She checks her watch. Wow, most of the day. She looks around. Coldstone is gone!! Obviously taken by Macbeth and that woman. But how did they get him out of here in broad daylight? They couldn't just walk him out the door or even fly Macbeth's airship in to pick them all up without somebody noticing. Still, how they succeeded in doing it isn't as important as the fact that they did. She slumps into Hudson's recliner. "Might as well stop talking to myself and wait. It'll be sunset soon."
7. Macbeth's Mansion - Just before sundown. Human Demona is waiting for the sun to go down. Macbeth's a bit impatient. He thinks that despite her appearance, Demona's still thinking like a gargoyle. Why wait for night? Put the disk in now. She refuses. Coldstone doesn't know Macbeth, and wouldn't recognize her in her present form.
The sun goes down. Demona changes from a human into a gargoyle. The process is not without some pain. As she catches her breath, she wryly observes that despite an initial distaste for the human form, she's come to appreciate Puck's gift, although the fact that he made the transformation painful was probably his way of keeping her from appreciating it too much.
But, to work. They insert the operating program disk into Coldstone. And we push in hard and fast on Coldstone's eyes!!
8. Inside Coldstone's mind -- Same time. A tunnel of electric light appears before Othello and Desdemona. Des wonders if they should investigate, but before Othello can answer, Iago pushes them aside and glides down the tunnel out of sight. Now Desdemona is convinced they should stop or at least follow him. But Othello talks her out of it. Let him go. We are here and happy and together. What else matters?
9. Macbeth's Mansion -- Right then. Coldstone awakens and Iago is in control. He recognizes his rookery sister. (It doesn't really matter if Demona knows about Coldstone's multiple personality disorder.) She asks him how he feels. He quietly responds: vengeful. Demona and Macbeth smile at each other. They've found a friend.
10. Clock Tower -- About the same time. The gargoyles woke up and got the gist of Elisa's story while we were at commercial. But everyone has questions. Goliath left Macbeth with the Weird Sisters, how did he escape them? And how did Macbeth know about the clock tower? And who was the human woman with him? Did Elisa recognize her? She seemed really familiar, but Elisa can't quite place her. Well, there's one thing they do know: Macbeth stole Coldstone. They have to get him back. So it's off to Macbeth's mansion. Elisa'd like to go with, but she's supposed to report to work in thirty minutes. Goliath assures her the six of them can handle it. She has an entire city to protect. She's not happy about being left out, but she can see his logic. She heads downstairs, talking to herself again. (Good thing I got that long enforced nap.)
11. Macbeth's Mansion -- A short while later. The place is very quiet. The gargoyles split up to search for Coldstone. Lex with Goliath. Brooklyn and Bronx. Broadway and Hudson.
12. Macbeth's Control Room. -- A bit later. Lex and Goliath break in, prepared to battle Macbeth. He's not there. Lex hits the control panel and soon he's found Coldstone on one of the screens. And what's more, he's found the creature awake and straining against chains that bind him to the floor of the dungeon. It must be a trap, but Lex can't figure out what the trap is. Goliath's all for heading straight down to the dungeon to free Coldstone, but first Lex reminds Goliath of some hard truths. Somehow, Macbeth got Coldstone operational again. That's the good news. But there'll be no way of knowing which of Coldstone's three personalities will be in control. One of the three hates Goliath's guts. Goliath has to be careful.
13. Another area in the mansion -- about the same time. Demona attacks Brooklyn and Bronx. They weren't expecting her at all, and it looks like she's got the upper hand.
14. Another area in the mansion -- about the same time. Broadway and Hudson find Macbeth. This is exactly who they expected to find and they're ready. It's a tough battle, but the good guys win.
15. Same as Scene 13. -- exactly the same time. When Macbeth is taken out by Broadway and Hudson, Demona doubles over in pain. She recovers quickly, but she's lost the upper hand, and Brooklyn is not about to let her get it back. He and Bronx defeat Demona.
16. Dungeon -- a few minutes later. Goliath and Lex approach Coldstone. Coldstone yells a warning: It's a trap!! But from another door, Broadway's voice calls out: "Not anymore!" He and Hudson enter, toting an unconscious Macbeth. But Coldstone still warns them away. Demona is still out there. And from a third door come Brooklyn and Bronx with the unconscious Demona as well. Goliath is surprised. Demona and Macbeth obviously escaped the Weird Sisters together, but who could have predicted they'd team up? They hate each other. But he can't worry about that now. He turns to Lex. Coldstone's warnings would seem to indicate that the right rookery brother is in control. Lex: "It's probably o.k. Just stay on your guard." So Goliath and Broadway help Coldstone break his chains. He greets them all warmly. Then approaches the fallen Macbeth and Demona. He effortlessly lifts them up by their shirt fronts, in a very threatening manner. But then his rocket jets turn on and he hovers a foot above the floor. Before the gargoyles have time to react, he says, "Now." Macbeth, who, like Demona, was only faking, has a small one-button remote control hidden in the palm of his hand. He presses it. The entire floor of the dungeon electrifies and all six gargoyles are knocked out.
17. Coldstone's Brain -- right then. Othello and Desdemona hear the deafening sound of Coldstone's laughter.
18. Coldstone's Brain, in front of the electric tunnel -- a few seconds later. Obviously, Iago's up to no good. But Othello's being stubborn. Let someone else take up the cause. We have earned this peace.
19. Clock Tower -- Several hours later, just before sunrise. An exhausted Elisa is there (wearing at the very least, a different colored t-shirt, one would hope). She anxiously awaits the return of the Gargoyles. She tells herself that if they're not back by sunrise, she doesn't know what she's going to do. But before she can figure it out, she sees a winged silhouette approaching. She's initially relieved, until seconds later when Demona comes in for a landing. Elisa isn't exactly terrified. After all, the sun's coming up right now: Demona's about to turn to stone. But Demona merely laughs. And then transforms into the human woman that Elisa had seen 24 hours ago. As Demona grimaces from the pain of transformation, Elisa, despite her shock, draws her gun. If Demona's human, then she's subject to human law and under arrest.
But even unarmed, Demona has the upper hand. She, Macbeth and Coldstone have the gargoyles. If Demona doesn't return, the gargoyles won't either. She tells Elisa why she came. Before she kills Goliath, she wants to prove to him once and for all what humans are really like. So she's inviting Elisa to a high noon rendezvous at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. She warns Elisa that her only chance of surviving the encounter is to avoid it. Either Elisa dies or Goliath sees what human loyalty is really worth: either way, it works out fine for Demona, who then calmly takes her leave via the trapdoor. After a defeated beat, Elisa follows.
20. Ext. Precinct house. Elisa gets outside in time to see the Human Demona hail and get into a yellow cab. The cab pulls away, and for a second Elisa starts to follow, but then she says to herself, what's the point. I know where she's going. Officer Morgan exits the building, again on his way home. "We gotta stop meeting like this, Detective," he jokes. She's a bit dazed and just says, "I'm sorry, what?" He looks at her with concern. "You're looking a bit frayed around the edges."
Elisa: "Maybe that's because I haven't gotten any real sleep in the last 40 hours. I'm tired, hungry and, yes, afraid. I could just go home now and go to bed. When I woke up, it would be over for me. The world would suddenly be normal again. No more monsters -- good or bad. Just normal life."
Morgan: "Normal life would be nice."
Elisa: "But it isn't nice enough, Morgan. My life could never be nice enough or normal enough to make up for letting them down now. I can't crawl into a hole by myself and pretend that no one else matters."
Morgan, thinking he's finally getting it: "That's why you put on the badge."
Elisa: "Yeah, that's exactly why. Thanks, Morgan. You've been a big help." And she takes off.
Morgan, still a bit confused: "Sure, detective, anytime."
21. Belvedere Castle -- a few minutes before noon. The gargoyles are there in stone and in chains. Coldstone/Iago, Human Demona and Macbeth are there as well. Coldstone can't get over seeing the sun. He doesn't understand why he didn't turn to stone. Demona explains that he is no longer a gargoyle: day or night, he is Coldstone. Fine. But that doesn't explain how come no one in the park seems to notice their presence. Macbeth answers: "It's enough that they don't. Don't concern yourself with it." The answer satisfies Coldstone for the time being. He's in too good a mood to argue.
22. Inside Coldstone's Brain -- same time. Desdemona isn't sure that she and Othello are doing the right thing. Is this the gargoyle way? Othello tells her they are no longer really gargoyles. But he turns away, when he says it. He can't look her in the eye, cause he knows he's doing the wrong thing. But when he looks at her again, instead of seeing one Desdemona, he sees three. One with Blonde hair, one with Silver hair and one with Black hair. The Weird Sisters doing their thing.
23. Belvedere Castle -- Noon. Elisa arrives. Demona is surprised, but not upset. She lifts her plasma cannon. But Elisa says she's unarmed. Demona doesn't care, but Macbeth gets the message. This doesn't sit well, with his own strange code of honor. What's wrong, Demona? Afraid to face her on an even playing field? Thus Human Demona is goaded into a hand-to-hand match against Elisa. Demona's had a thousand years of warrior training. But not as a human. So it's pretty evenly matched.
24. Coldstone's mind -- Same time. The three Desdemona Weird Sisters confront Othello. Would he really be happy here in this false paradise knowing that he could have stopped all the damage that Iago is doing in the real world. Othello finally admits that he couldn't. The three Desdemona's merge together, leaving the real one there, a bit woozy, but still determined to help Othello fight Iago. They head down the electric tunnel together.
25. Belvedere - Right then. Coldstone/Iago suddenly cries out that he's under attack, then freezes up.
26. Inside Electric Tunnel - Right then. Iago blocks Othello and Desdemona's path. They fight. Desdemona will hold Iago at bay so that Othello can take control of Coldstone and try to repair the damage that Iago has done in the real world. With a last look back, Othello heads toward the light at the end of the tunnel.
27. Belvedere - That second. Coldstone/Othello awakens. Macbeth asks if he is all right. Coldstone simply asks for a moment to access his memory banks. He does. And then he attacks Macbeth. This catches both Macbeth and Demona off-guard and helps give Elisa the upper hand in her battle against Demona. Ultimately, Macbeth is forced to grab Demona and flee. (Maybe he summons his airship?) Coldstone starts to pursue, but Elisa needs him to help her get the chains off the guys, besides there's been enough fighting for one day. Coldstone uses his wrist cannon to snap the hold on all six. When they wake up at sunset, they should be able to shrug the chains off. Elisa asks him to stay. She knows that's what Goliath wants too. But Coldstone knows that Desdemona and Iago are still at war inside of him. The other gargoyles aren't safe from "Coldstone" until that battle is decided. He promises, that if he can, he will return someday. Then he rockets off into the sky. A few seconds later, a jogger jogs by. "Hey, where did those statues come from." Elisa heaves a big sigh. She sits down and leans back against Goliath. "Don't ask me. I'm just taking a nap."
28. Macbeth's Mansion - That night. Macbeth and Gargoyle/Demona are summing up. Demona's pissed that they failed to kill Elisa and the gargoyles, but that wasn't the primary objective. Plus they lost Coldstone, but that was always just a blind anyway. They've got the Grimorum, the Eye and the Portal-to-Avalon-Talisman. They stole all three when they took Coldstone. (They even used a spell from the Grimorum to hide their escape from the clock tower and to keep their fight in the park private.) If they had left Coldstone in the tower and only stolen the magic items, Goliath wouldn't have rested until he got them back. This way, it will be weeks before he notices that they're even gone.
But then they start to question they're own motivations: why did they want these items so badly? How did they know their secret location in the clock tower? For that matter, how did they know that the gargoyles lived at the clock tower at all? And why the heck are they working together when they hate each other's guts?
Just when they're about to murdilize each other, the Weird Sisters step in and put them both into a trance. They just made it under the wire. The "geas" spell on Demona and Macbeth was about to wear off. And of course they had no spell on Coldstone, which was why they wanted him separated from the other two. Besides they don't need Coldstone. Each of the three Sisters picks up one of the magical items. These will do quite nicely in the coming battle.
ONE LAST QUESTION: Given the above changes, does the title still work for you? I'm kind of mixed on it now.
Following fast on the heels of City of Stone, here's my ramble on High Noon...
The recap is interesting here. It's all Coldstone oriented. Demona, Macbeth and the Weird Sisters aren't mentioned. Nothing from City of Stone, despite this being a direct sequel to those events. The reason is that the recaps got early criticism on a Disney Afternoon mailing list for giving too much away. We'd show a villain who didn't appear until the end of Act One, thus cueing our audience to expect that villain all along. A valid criticism. So we tried to adjust here. Coldstone's participation wasn't a secret. The episode opens in his "internal cyber-world" and he's shown dormant in the Clock Tower in the very next scene. But when Demona and Macbeth first walk past Elisa and Morgan, we're not supposed to know who they are. So I intentionally kept them out of the recap to preserve that reveal.
The heather Othello gathers has no scent. Why not? Everything in that world, except for the souls of the three gargs was simply a mental construct. Sight, sound, touch. So why not smell? No chemical senses, you might argue. But why no chemical senses? Why touch and not taste? I think that the lack of smell was an unconscious or subconscious boundary that Desdemona did not want to cross. Something to remind her that this world is not real. For all we know, Othello and Iago could smell whatever they imagined they could smell.
I like seeing Hudson and Broadway learning to read. We cheated a bit. I'm not sure they could have progressed as fast as they did in the short time since "Lighthouse". But we took that liberty to show that they had been working assiduously at it.
I have mixed feelings about Hudson's "Why would she want to 'hit a sack'?" line. On the one hand, I'm not sure we ever did enough of this. Playing with the contrasts in language and expression between their world and ours. On the other hand, it just seemed a bit late in the game for Hudson not to have heard this one already. (And for that matter, I have no idea when that particular phrase originated. For all I know they've been hitting the sack since the Middle Ages.)
Elisa makes a point of saying that she's "no hero". Just a gal doing a job. But of course, we know that's not true. It's simply how she'd prefer to view herself -- particularly when she's so tired. I tried to use this episode to emphasize that Elisa works the night shift. That she gets off work just before sunrise. Starts work just after sunset. (I actually imagine that she works a four day ten hour shift, plus mucho overtime.) Sometimes it seemed like the fans had forgotten that. I got a lot of questions back then like: "She works during the day and hangs with the gargoyles at night. When does she sleep?"
Morgan has a real nice role in this one. Keith is great as Morgan. So distinctive from Goliath in a part that was a mere throwaway in Awakening, Part One. Morgan and Elisa's easy rapor in this episode and Avalon One is what gave me the idea that he might someday ask her out (on that 2nd Halloween episode I've mentioned a few times). And the notion of a Keith-Salli-Keith triangle tickled me a bit.
Enter Macbeth as a perp with a human Demona dressed as a cop. (Always nice to show our characters in different costumes on occasion.) I'm curious how many people IMMEDIATELY recognized Demona as herself? After all, you'd only gotten a BRIEF glimpse of her human form in "The Mirror". And we hadn't shown it at all in "Vows" or "City of Stone". In fact, City of Stone began what we then called our Third Tier of stories. (Tier One was the first season. Tier Two was the first eight episodes of the second season: Leader, Legion, Metamorphosis, Lighthouse, Silver Falcon, Mirror, Eye of the Beholder, Vows.) And of course, City of Stone was transitional, so one could argue that Tier Three was beginning here with High Noon. Anyway, Demona's in atypical dress and species. Who knew it was her?
And once you did know, what were you thinking? The gargoyles have the same questions, I'd imagine. Last they (and you) saw, Mac and Demona hated each other, and had been taken away by the seemingly benevolent Weird Sisters. What was going through your heads about all this? Did you wonder at the seeming inconsistencies, like their knowledge of the Clock Tower? Their ability to get Coldstone out of the tower in daylight, unseen?
When my son Ben saw Demona, he thought it was one of the "triplets", which is what he calls the Weird Sisters. (They've fast become his favorite characters.) When I pointed out that she had red hair and not white, yellow or black, he was resistent to giving up on the idea that they weren't going to appear. (I was glad they eventually did. And now I wonder what he's going to think about the next seven episodes in which they do NOT appear.)
Throughout this, we cheat a bit on Elisa's exhaustion. We knock her out, but keep her tired. The subtle differences between various means of being unconscious and their effects on how tired one is confuse me.
I love Mac and D's exchange...
Mac: "You're still thinking like a gargoyle."
D: "I am a gargoyle." And don't you forget it.
Again, back in those days I just thought the audience would get revved up merely because we were teaming up THREE of our major villains. Macbeth, Demona and the villainous side of Coldstone. In Batman or Superman that would be a BIG EVENT. A huge threat to the hero. Did it have that effect on you guys? I feel vaguely that in a strange way, it did not. That our villains were so complex, that for once they backfired on us. That it wasn't viewed as, "Wow, our heroes have barely survived an encounter with one of those guys, how will they handle three?" Rather, the conflict was less interesting than the machinations and personalities. Am I being clear? Your thoughts?
This episode had some truly gorgeous animation in it. And the transformation scenes are both very cool. The Pain Link plays well here, though occasionally seems more geared to comedy than drama for some reason. The theme of gifts coming with a price... particularly the gifts of tricksters is emphasized in this scene.
Meanwhile Othello is desperately trying to remain an ostrich with his head in the sand. A position that on at least one level, Elisa 'believes' she'd like to take as well. With Othello, I think it's a real possibility that he will never act. With Elisa, I don't think we believe it for a moment. That's part of the reason they're both in there. To make sure that the theme of "Standing Up" is emphasized. Which brings us to the title, "HIGH NOON". That was one of mine, I believe. And I stole it right from the Gary Cooper movie. Sure we'd have a battle at High Noon. Because this was Elisa's story, not the gargoyles. Because the gargoyles would be asleep and vulnerable. But also because it was that kind of archetypal the-hero-stands-alone western battle.
You may notice that Xander Berkeley (the voice of Iago) does not appear in this episode. Because Iago has no lines when he's not in control of the Coldstone body. Again, I'm always so impressed with what a great job Michael Dorn does contrasting the Othello and Iago personalities without actually changing his voice.
I like Elisa's line when Brooklyn asks her if she recognized the woman with Macbeth. "She seemed familiar." Think about this for a second. If this was real life and not a cartoon, do you think you'd recognize Demona in Dominique? And yet I completely buy that Elisa recognized something in there. There's a strange nega-intimacy between Elisa and Demona. (Which is one of the sick reasons why I created Delilah, later.)
Goliath and Elisa engage in a little dueling patronizing here. Elisa has to go back on shift, so can't accompany the 'goyles to Mac's place. Goliath is pretty smug when he says the six of them can handle it. (The smugness, I hope, is undercut when he follows it up by saying, "You have a whole city to protect." Which is how he views it.) Then Elisa talks to them like they're little kids. She wants a full report when they get back. (Who says these two weren't made for each other?)
Lex, who has been and will continue to be very adept at breaking alarm systems, etc., for once admits that it's all too easy.
I like the moment when Goliath taps the camera with his wing. A nice little touch. And very well animated.
Lex is always the voice of warning in regards to Coldstone. This is important. Goliath listens to Lex this time. And Lex is fooled when Coldstone reveals Demona's involvement, seemingly before they know Demona is involved. I thought that was very clever on the villains' part.
Bronx smells Demona behind the closet, just as he did behind the tapestry.
I like how the marble bust flies and crashes. Another nice touch in the boarding and animation. Nice weight to the whole Brooklyn-Demona-Bronx fight scene.
I liked staging the Macbeth, Husdon, Broadway fight in a library. Felt like a thematic rematch from "Lighthouse".
The pain link here is a BIT of a cheat. Usually with them in different rooms on different floors, it wouldn't be quite this intense. Maybe the library is directly above whatever room Demona was in.
Lex is sure Coldstone's wrong about Demona. Brooklyn's "Uh, guess again." line is fun.
The entire battle at Macbeth's place is part of a technique I enjoy using on occasion called "Suspended Structure". This is really an Elisa and Othello Story. But we let the gargs carry the action for a period of time, while the true protagonists can't or won't take action. This keeps the story moving, without compromising the inaction of our "leads".
Demona confronts Elisa at the clock tower. The animators get a little carried away here with some of Demona's body language. God knows, it's fun to watch. But would she really do all those sexpot poses? Is that in character?
It is fun to see her hail a taxi though.
Morgan's back. Elisa now looks VERY tired. Again, great work from the animators. It's all in the eyes. Morgan helps Elisa though he thinks she's just talking about normal copwork. It only proves there's really no such thing as a "Normal Life". Morgan certainly doesn't think he has one.
Meanwhile Desdemona's gettin antsy. It's the "in" that the Weird Sisters need. They take over. Unfortunately, here, the animators screwed up. The three Desdemona's were supposed to have silver, gold and raven hair. Instead, in most shots, they just look like three Dessies. Then when they finally do get the hair right, it's just before they merge back into one Desdemona. At which point, the hair color should have been Des'. Instead, I think it's Luna's -- briefly. Oh, well. Anyway, I could have just done this with Desdemona herself. But I wanted to give the audience a hint that the Weird Sisters were still involved. Ben was thrown by the hair. He almost didn't believe these were the triplets.
I like the line: "Even shadows must be true to their shade."
High Noon at Belvedere Castle. Coldstone wonders that he can see the sun. Again, that's me making sure people are clear that Coldstone is RE-ANIMATED STONE, not flesh. I don't think it's visually clear. (Part of the problem being that Othello's coloring is too similar.)
Then Elisa arrives -- counting on Macbeth's honor to keep Demona from shooting her. For that reason, she intentionally doesn't bring her service revolver to the party. Quite the gambit. Elisa also counts on Demona's temper -- and on the fact that Demona is unaccustomed to fighting with reduced human strength. She goads Demona: "I'm here to save him." and "You fight like a rookie." I love, positively LOVE, the former of those two lines. Elisa is a hero in her own right. Though Goliath has rescued her on occasion, I felt we did a pretty good job of always evening the score. She's no damsel in distress.
Mac & Coldstone: "This is diverting." "You have no idea." (Quotations approximate.) I like that. A tip of the hat to my being a guy, if you will.
We cheat a bit here on the pain link too. One could argue that Mac IS feeling the pain. But he's ready for it and covering. He does seem to be grimacing a bit when he says, "You have no idea." But still, I think we cheated.
I love the animation on the Othello, Desdemona, Iago fight.
Battle over, Coldstone leaves. Sends himself into exile. This is the gargoyle way.
And hey, our jogger is back. Again wondering where all these statues are coming from. That's just fun continuity for me. And Elisa: "Don't ask me. I'm just taking a nap."
And then the whole final scene between Mac and D and the sisters is so much fun. I love the sense of the fog lifting from their eyes. "What Primary Objective?" "Why are we working together?"
And I'm also proud of the trick. A very Xanatosian tag here. Steal Coldstone to distract the gargs from noticing the thefts of the gate, book and eye.
And how about that reference to "The coming battle..." that the Sisters end the episode on? What did you all think of that at the time?
I'll try to post the High Noon writer's memo tomorrow. (Meant to do it yesterday, but I forgot.) Anyway, Done rambling. You're turn. (Again, I'm interested in both your original and current responses to the episode.)
You know once upon a time -- particularly when Cary Bates and I lived in NYC and had no real life outside DC Comics and spent every free moment going to movies -- I used to see over two hundred movies a year. I'm not kidding.
But no longer.
The oscar nominations were announced. And I went down the entire list and realized I've only seen EIGHT of the nominated films. That's 8 out of ALL the films nominated in ANY category.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Meet the Parents
The Emperor's New Groove
Not that anyone asked, but here's my assesment of the eight. (Obviously, I can't speak to any of the others.)
Gladiator - I was really enjoying this film most of the way through. I never thought it was Oscar callibre, but I liked it --right up until the end. I thought the ending however was so preposterous and awful, it spoiled my enjoyment of the whole film. Blech.
Cast Away - I just thought this was plain awful all the way through. The only section I was interested in was what happened (SPOILERS) after he got off the island. But that was given preposterously short shrift. Double Blech.
Meet the Parents - I disliked this so intensely, I walked out of it partway through. Went to a bookstore while my wife and friend Tuppence finished watching the movie. This is only the second film I've walked out on in my entire life. (Not counting movies I had to leave because of baby-sitting emergencies or bomb threats.) Triple Blech.
102 Dalmations - Oh, how I wish I could have walked out on this. But I was there with my kids. They enjoyed it well enough at the time, but have already forgotten about it. Double Blech.
Now the good news.
Almost Famous - I really enjoyed this one. Very well-acted, well-written. Funny. I didn't LOVE it the way some of the critics did. But I was really surprised it didn't do better at the box office. Smile.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - I really enjoyed this. Structurally, it's a bit odd. But I liked it a lot. Definitely one of the best films I saw this year... but as you can see, that's not saying much. Double Smile.
The Grinch - Another film I took my kids too. I enjoyed this one though. No, it's no classic the way the old Christmas special was. But there's a lot to recommend. And I had fun. Smile.
The Emperor's New Groove - A third film I took my kids too. This was a very pleasant surprise. A straight-forward simple story played for laughs. From the previews, I didn't think I'd like it. But, hey, I liked it a lot. Smile.
Now as for the nominations...
Picture - I have only two to choose from Gladiator and Dragon. Obviously I'd pick Dragon.
Actor - Russell Crowe over Tom Hanks. I liked Crowe's performance. (I just find it hard to believe it was the best performance this year.)
Actress - I saw none of the nominated performances.
Director - Again, I'll pick Ang Lee for Crouching over Ridley Scott for Gladiator.
Supporting Actor - Joaquin Phoenix by default. The only one of the performances I saw. But I thought he was much better in THE YARDS.
Supporting Actress - This is tough. I think I'd pick Frances McDormand over Kate Hudson (both from Almost Famous). But it's close.
Original Screenplay - Cameron Crowe's for Almost Famous over the three guys from Gladiator in a second.
Adapted Screenplay - The three guys from Crouching by default. (I don't think the screenplay was this movie's strong suit.) Does anyone remember if High Fidelity was a 2000 release? I loved that movie and can't believe it wasn't nominated.
Foreign Film - Crouching by default.
Art Direction - I think I will pick Grinch over Gladiator and Crouching.
Cinematography - Crouching over Gladiator.
Costume Design - Crouching over Gladiator, Grinch and 102 Dalmations.
Documentary Feature - I've seen none of these.
Documentary Short - I've seen none of these either.
Film Editing - Almost Famous over Crouching and Gladiator.
Make-up - Grinch by default.
Original Score - Gladiator over Crouching.
Original Song - "My Funny Friend and Me" by Sting and David Hartley from Emperor's Groove over "A Fool in Love" by Randy Newman from Parents and "A Love Before Time" from Crouching.
Animated Short Film - I've seen none of these. Which is odd.
Live Action Short Film - I've seen none of these. Which isn't odd.
Sound - Gladiator over Cast Away.
Sound Editing - I've seen neither of the nominees.
Visual FX - Gladiator by default.
Of course, there's a slim possibility that I'll see a couple more of the nominated films before the award show itself. I'll let you know if my opinions change.
But mostly I reiterate the word I started with. Pathetic.
I apologize for all the repetition of late, but I wanted this "Originial Development File" Archive to be as complete as possible.
Last pitch you saw was the tenth version, designed specifically for Tod McFarlane. Don't know what happened to version 11. But here's version twelve, marked FINAL. Not many changes that I notice. But worth a skim... (And this is the version I show on tape at the Gathering.)
GARGOYLES Pitch Twelfth & Final Pass (Weisman / 4-8-93)
1. Trio of typical stone GARGOYLES.
"These are GARGOYLES. Ugly, stone statues that squat on the roofs of old buildings. But there was a time, one thousand years ago, when gargoyles were real, living creatures. During the day, they slept...frozen in stone."
2. GOLIATH, the GARGOYLE-MASTER leading attack.
"But when the sun went down, GOLIATH, the GARGOYLE-MASTER would lead his gargoyle-warriors in defense of the king's castle."
3. Goliath reading in library, sitting on small gargoyles.
"And if there was no battle to be fought, he'd retreat to the library to read and learn, all the while making sure that the other gargoyles stayed out of trouble."
4. HUMANS scorning Goliath.
"For all these efforts, Goliath received no reward, no thanks or even kindness. In fact, the people of the castle treated all gargoyles with nothing but contempt."
5. Goliath, alone in the throneroom.
"Still Goliath could no more stop guarding the castle than breathing the air. It's part of a gargoyle's nature to be territorial, protective. And so for years, he maintained his lonely vigil. Then one night, Goliath was betrayed and lured away from his post."
6. SORCERER curses Goliath and the other gargoyles.
"The castle was overrun and sacked. Goliath and the surviving gargoyles were unfairly blamed. The kingdom's SORCERER laid a curse upon them, and they fell into a stone sleep--that lasted a thousand years."
7. Castle on the skyscraper.
"New York City, 1994. A rich and powerful man has decided there's a better place for a medieval castle than a picturesque hill in Scotland. He's moved the whole deal--lock, stock and gargoyle--to the top of the tallest skyscraper in Manhattan."
8. Police Detective ELISA CHAVEZ.
"All of which means absolutely nothing to New York City Police Detective, ELISA CHAVEZ. She doesn't care about castles, and she doesn't believe in curses. She's hot on the trail of a major badguy."
9. Goliath observes her ambushed on rooftop by THUGS.
"A trail that leads her right into an ambush. Fortunately, a shadowy figure sees what's happening and decides to help."
10. Reveal THE GARGOYLE, as he dives into fray.
"That shadowy figure is THE GARGOYLE."
11. Goliath battles three thugs.
"Now when you're as strong as Goliath, benchpressing two badguys is easy. And that stone-like hide of his makes him practically invulnerable..."
12. Goliath & Elisa, in moonlight.
"...To everything but Elisa's kindness. She is the first human being who's ever offered him understanding and friendship, hope..."
13. From the skyscraper, Elisa shows Manhattan to Goliath.
"...And a sense of purpose. She introduces him to his new home, Manhattan, and asks for his help in protecting it against modern-day barbarians."
"Fortunately, our hero doesn't have to face those barbarians alone. This is Goliath's old friend HUDSON, a veteran Gargoyle-Warrior. Hudson helps out by keeping an eye on the young Warriors-in-Training..."
15. BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY.
"...BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY. (Uh, they picked their own names.)"
16. BRONX, the DOG. (Multiple poses.)
"And then there's BRONX, the angst-ridden Gargoyle-dog. He's not a big fan of adventure."
17. Bronx (two poses) chewing on a fire hydrant and flying.
"He just likes to eat a lot, sleep a lot and make a general mess."
18. Goliath and Elisa on the subway.
"Now, Goliath has wider interests...but it can be hard for a seven-foot medieval monster to squeeze into the modern world."
"Especially with XAVIER around. Rich, powerful and arrogant, Xavier bought the gargoyles' castle. Now he thinks he owns the gargoyles as well."
20. Robot attacks Goliath.
"If something rotten is happening in New York...odds are Xavier's behind it."
21. Goliath battles DEMONA.
"But Goliath's greatest foe is the evil gargoyle DEMONA. Once she and Goliath were friends. But a thousand years ago, it was her betrayal that cost him the castle. Now she's his sworn enemy, and she won't rest until she owns the night..."
22. Stone version of Goliath in daylight.
"And the night is all that matters, because the gargoyles still sleep as stone statues during the day, finding an outdoor ledge just before sunrise and striking a pose that could give you nightmares."
23. Goliath with Elisa and the other Gargoyles.
"But when the sun goes down, they're our only protection against the city's dark terrors."
24. 'GARGOYLES' Logo.
"They are...the GARGOYLES."
25. KID at Disneyland.
"Joining the Disney Family in 1994."
After trying for a couple months, we went our seperate ways with our first writer. (Hopefully parting on good terms.)
Writer #2 was Eric Luke, another very talented guy. This document is largely a rehashing of what had already been done to that point, collated together for Eric's benefit as he started work on the pilot.
GARGOYLES March, 93
Notes on the opening to the Gargoyle T.V. Movie:
--We want to keep the story largely from Goliath's point of view. His problems. His tragedies. But we don't want him to be a morose character. He's optimistic. He believes that in time humans and gargoyles will learn to get along better. He has a sense of humor. He's heroic not dour.
--Hudson is Goliath's aide and advisor. He is NOT a baby-sitter to the kids. In fact, if Goliath requested him to act as baby-sitter, he'd probably refuse. From Hudson's point of view, Goliath's the gargoyle-master, and the kids are his responsibility.
--Anyway, we'd like to establish the kids independence from the get-go, to help establish them as being more teen-age in nature than real young. They don't need a chaperone. They're cocky and gung ho.
--We also feel strongly that the castle should be home to both the gargoyles and the humans in 994 A.D. We discussed the following back-back-story as rationale:
Long before 994, there was a gargoyle rookery high on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea. Medieval man sought out these rookeries as prime real estate for building their fortresses or castles. For one reason, the cliffside protected there backs, and the only accessible wall was easily manned by archers, etc. Secondly, medieval man knew that the gargoyles were instinctively territorial and protective of the rookery's inhabitants, whether those inhabitants were gargoyles or humans. If the humans of the castle could put up and co-exist with the gargoyles they'd have a built in group of warriors at night. And it was mutually beneficial: the gargoyles received human protection during the day.
Though not as rare in Europe as, say, the giraffe, even then Gargoyles and their rookeries were scarce. A castle-builder who couldn't find one to build on might carve stone gargoyles to fool and thus scare away would-be attackers. (Back then everyone knew about gargoyles.)
But our castle in Scotland was built on a rookery. And the gargoyles and humans have coexisted there for years. But as our story opens, relations are tense. Humanity as a race is taking on airs. To the humans, the gargoyles are uncouth. Grotesque. Ill-mannered. Nocturnal, and therefore noisy at night when humans are trying to sleep. Considered, at best, a necessary evil.
--The following "outline" is only designed to track the opening of the story and lay out the serious, emotional underpinning. It still needs to be injected with fun, humor, exciting action, etc. It comes to a tragic conclusion, but we aren't looking for 20 minutes of depressing tragedy. Obviously, it can be improved upon. Also, most of these scenes can be very quick.
I. Open with peasants struggling on foot up the hill toward the castle on the promontory. It is minutes from sunset.
A. Intro ROBBY (a peasant boy) and ROBBY'S MOM. She's hurrying her son along (with other peasants) so that they reach the safety of the castle walls before the advancing army of MARAUDERS.
1. They enter the castle. The gates are closed.
B. CAPTAIN of the Guards has all his archers at the ready on the castle battlements. We establish hideous stone gargoyle statues.
C. Outside the castle, just out of arrow range, the Marauding Army waits for sunset. It's a large force.
1. COLE, purely evil leader of the Marauders, is keeping his men in line. (Perhaps violently.)
2. One MARAUDER asks Cole why they wait: "What about the Gargoyles?"
a. Cole tells him that every castle in Scotland claims to have Gargoyles. Most are just statues. Soon it'll be dark. The archers won't be able to pick them off. They'll attack.
D. Darkness falls. Silently, the marauding horde climbs the hill. The Captain tells his men not to waste their arrows.
1. Marauders attack, perhaps with grappling hooks and ropes, their own archers, etc. Perhaps one grappling hook flies toward the largest of the stone gargoyles.
a. GOLIATH, the GARGOYLE-MASTER, suddenly comes to life, catching the hook. Play up the transformation big time. (Maybe as he awakens, he shatters a thin outer layer of stone, like shedding a new skin every night. Then again, maybe not.)
2. Goliath flies down upon the marauders, closely followed by many GARGOYLE WARRIORS. Fun action.
a. Maybe it looks for a moment as if Goliath has been dragged down by three or four marauders, but soon he's shrugged them off.
3. Prominent among the warriors is [DEMONA] a FEMALE GARGOYLE, that Goliath seems to favor.
4. Intro ELDER Gargoyle [HUDSON], who coaches from the battlements.
5. Also intro TRIO of "teen-age" Gargoyles [BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON, BROADWAY] and their GARGOYLE-DOG [BRONX]. One in particular [Lex] can't wait to be a gargoyle warrior himself.
a. The trio participates in action, but the way they fight brings in humor. More prankish. They make fools of enemy.
E. Gargoyles rout the Marauders who sound the retreat. The battle is over.
II. In throne room, intro the spoiled, beautiful, young QUEEN and her rich, foppish court.
A. Intro semi-dottering old WIZARD. Sweet, but largely ineffectual. Establish that his powers are on the wain. He needs to have his books of spells in front of him to perform any magic.
B. Captain enters with Goliath. They report the victory.
1. Though the Queen is polite on the surface, we can tell she took the victory for granted. We can tell she takes these two for granted. In fact, holds them in contempt.
a. Captain may be a bit of a pig. Tobacco-spitting kinda slob. Queen assumes Goliath's just like him.
b. Queen might also suggest that after this Marauder episode is done with, the Captain will be reporting to LORD FOPWORTH over here. Captain's clearly steamed.
2. Captain and Goliath exit, but before they're out of earshot, they hear the queen make snide, contemptuous comment about Goliath and Gargoyles.
C. Outside the throne room, the Captain and Goliath are joined by the old one [Hudson] and the female [Demona].
1. Captain is really burned up about the way Queen treats Goliath. Wants to know why Goliath puts up with it? Why he stays?
a. Female agrees.
b. Goliath responds on another level. He has the patience to wait for a better day. He sees a lot that's positive about humanity. And he's proud of his own race. Someday, things will get better. Besides, this is his ancestral home. The castle was built on Gargoyle Rookery. Gargoyles are instinctively and atavistically territorial beings. Where would he go?
c. Old Gargoyle is satisfied with answer. He and Goliath walk off.
d. We see that neither the Female nor the Captain find the situation satisfactory.
III. In open courtyard, where peasants are "camped out", we see Gargoyle dog and trio of young 'goyles wreaking havoc. A. They're waking people. Eating food, sloppily. Making a general mess. But not maliciously. They're just having a good time. (This should be a real fun, good time scene.)
1. It looks like fun to Robby the young peasant boy, and he moves to join them.
a. Robby's mom pulls him away. Gargoyles are dangerous and untrustworthy.
b. This really hurts the de facto leader of the trio [Lex]. He decides to live up to the gargoyle reputation and scare them.
c. He succeeds. Robby now believes Gargoyles are bad.
d. Goliath intervenes. Maybe even disciplines. (Though he's not humorless.) It's getting close to sunrise anyway.
2. Gargoyles all move to the battlements and strike a pose. They freeze into stone at daybreak. (We need to really play this up too.)
IV. Daytime in Cole's camp. Marauders are nursing their wounds.
A. Cole is visited by a mysterious shrouded figure who wants to make a deal. (Maybe to misdirect the audience, we will put this stranger in the voluminous robes of the Wizard.)
1. In exchange for a fair share of the profits, stranger promises to secure entry for Cole and his men.
a. And they won't have to worry about Goliath or his Gargoyles.
V. That night, Captain talks to Goliath, Female Gargoyle and Old One. (Perhaps in front of Queen, as well.)
A. Captain urges Goliath to take all his Gargoyles and chase Cole's army out of the county.
1. Goliath doesn't like the idea. He basically believes in DEFENSE, not OFFENSE.
2. Captain, with some support from Female, argues that the best Defense is a good Offense.
a. Besides, Goliath doesn't have to battle Cole's forces, he just has to put a good scare into them so they'll never come back.
3. Goliath reluctantly agrees, but he's not going to take all the gargoyles with him. He'll go alone.
4. Female takes him aside. It isn't safe. He could never fight off all of Cole's army alone. She's worried about him.
a. But Goliath has no intention of fighting. And he can be plenty scary enough, by himself. (Makes a scary gargoyle face to prove it.)
b. She says, at least, let me go with you for back-up.
c. He claims he needs her (his best warrior) to stay behind at the castle. (But it's clear that truthfully, he doesn't want to put her at needless risk.)
d. To make her feel better, he agrees to take Old One with him, in case something goes wrong. But the rest will maintain their nightly vigil.
5. Goliath and Old One take off after Marauders.
B. Cole gets word from the traitor: there's been a slight change in plans.
VI. Intercut between the following:
A. Goliath and Old Gargoyle follow the tracks of the Marauders by starlight.
1. Goliath is impressed by how fast the army has traveled in one day.
B. Another fun scene with the Trio and their dog, before they are chased off by frightened and annoyed humans.
1. They explore the bowels of the castle and find the ancient caverns of the Gargoyle rookery that the castle was built on.
C. The Captain is giving some odd orders to his night guards. Sending them away from weapons' room. Etc.
1. He is examining their bowstrings, etc.
VII. Goliath and Old Gargoyle catch up with "army", only to discover it is a small band of men running abreast without equipment.
A. Goliath realizes something's definitely wrong. He and the Old One head back to the castle. But it's almost dawn.
B. The sun comes up.
1. Goliath and Old One are frozen, en route back to castle.
2. Trio and Dog are frozen in bowels of castle.
3. Gargoyle warriors are frozen on parapets.
4. Archers take up their stations, unaware that their bows have been sabotaged.
5. The captain (i.e. the traitor) gives the signal for Cole's men to attack.
VIII. Cole and his army attack.
A. Each bowman gets off one shot, before their bowstrings snap. (The Captain had tampered with them.)
1. Soon the castle is overrun.
2. And it doesn't help that the Captain opens the gates as well. This is probably all we see. The rest [in brackets] is just for story-tracking purposes.
[ 3. The battle is short.
B. The castle is sacked.
1. Anything worth anything is taken by the marauders.
2. All the humans including the Queen and the Wizard and Robby and his mom are put in chains and dragged off.
C. Cole's men begin to destroy the stone Gargoyles with maces.
1. Captain tries to stop it. This wasn't part of the deal and isn't necessary anyway.
a. If Marauders leave territory with their slaves and booty, the gargoyles won't follow. It's not in their nature.
2. Cole isn't taking any chances. All the gargoyles are destroyed.
a. Ultimately, the Captain has no choice.]
IX. Fade to sunset. Goliath and Old One awaken and hightail it back to castle.
A. They arrive long after Cole has left. A small fire still burns here and there.
1. The castle has been sacked of all valuables.
2. There are no people.
3. And worst of all, the Gargoyles have all been destroyed, i.e. murdered.
a. They lie in stone rubble all around him. Partial pieces, etc.
b. There is no particular sign of the female; Goliath assumes that she is among the rubble. Big time FURY.
X. The trio and dog emerge from rookery caverns. (Maybe they were temporarily trapped there by damage done during the battle.) They are torn up by what they find.
A. Goliath and Old One are relieved that someone survived. But that doesn't abate their anger.
1. Together, the six gargoyles fly off to get their revenge.
XI. Cole's army has encamped for the night.
A. We see our Marauder taunt Robby and his mother outside in chains.
B. Inside his tent, Cole and the Captain discuss how much ransom they can get for the Queen.
1. They figure the wizard is probably worthless.
a. Wizard wishes he could just get his hands on his books of magic.
b. Cole taunts him with the books, burning them one by one. (Only one left.)
C. Outside the gargoyles attack. Lots of fun and action here.
1. Gargoyles are way out-numbered.
2. Old one is old. But he picks up a sword and holds his own.
3. Trio and Dog have little fighting experience.
a. Trio leader [Lex] makes use of some of the "scare" techniques that worked on the peasants in act one.
b. [Lex] saves Robby's mother from Marauder.
c. Robby saves him from one too.
4. Goliath is a holy terror. Wading into the hordes. Tossing them aside. Scaring the stuffing out of them.
D. Cole and Captain hear the noise and look outside.
1. Despite the overwhelming odds, the Gargoyles are winning.
2. Captain says they better get out now.
3. Cole dumps the last magic book and grabs the queen.
a. Wizard tries to stop him, but is pushed aside.
b. Cole says he'll never see the queen again.
c. Wizard assumes they're going to kill her.
4. Cole and Captain flee with Queen in tow.
5. Goliath sees them go. Follows alone.
E. Wizard stumbles out of tent with last magic book.
1. Battle is winding down.
a. Freed peasants and guards are now helping gargoyles.
b. Marauders retreat, scatter.
c. Queen is nowhere in sight.
2. Irrational Wizard blames gargoyles for causing the queen's death.
a. Using his spell book, he curses them. [See spell options below.]
XII. Goliath catches up with Captain and Cole.
A. Captain tries to reason with Goliath.
1. Tells him he never meant for Gargoyles to be destroyed.
2. Besides, what does Goliath owe the queen anyway. Now he can return to his rookery and be left in peace.
B. Goliath rejects Captain's excuses.
1. The Captain had taught him to go on offensive. "See what your lessons have wrought." Etc.
C. Goliath defeats (kills?) Cole and Captain.
1. Rescues grateful (and much changed and matured) Queen.
XIII. Goliath and Queen return too late.
A. Though it is still night, the other Gargoyles have been turned to stone.
B. Wizard feels like garbage when he finds out the truth.
1. But he can't undo the spell. Cole burned his other books.
C. Queen says that her people will not return to the cursed castle. They will start a new life/build a new castle elsewhere in the kingdom.
1. She sincerely invites Goliath to join them.
D. Goliath says no. He will return to the rookery.
E. Only gift that Wizard can offer is to cast the same spell on Goliath that he cast on the other gargoyles. (Or perhaps a slight variation.)
1. Goliath agrees to this.
XIV. The stone Gargoyles are perched on the abandoned castle walls by the humans. Robby waves goodbye.
A. One DAY, 1000 years later.
1. XAVIER is looking over his newly purchased ancient castle.
a. "Terrific," he says, "Now move it to Manhattan."
END OF PART ONE
[NOTE: DEMONA's story tracks as well. Like the Captain, she hates to see the way Goliath and the Gargoyles are treated by the spoiled Queen. She and the captain make a deal. They will convince Goliath to temporarily remove the Gargoyles from the castle. Cole will sack it and take away the humans as slaves, leaving the empty castle for Demona, Goliath and the rest of the Gargoyles.
Goliath screws up the plan by refusing to take all the Gargoyles away. Captain says, no problem. He'll sabotage his archers and the attack can take place during the day. He promises to protect the frozen Gargoyles.
Demona agrees, but just before dawn she gets nervous and flies away to hide.
She returns at some point (though Goliath won't see her). She sees the destroyed 'goyles and realizes that Goliath would never forgive that. She flies away to find a new life. Somehow, she will survive into the twentieth century, by which time, three factors will have turned her bitter and evil and eventually make her Goliath's worst enemy. (1) Her largely negative and criminal experiences since she last saw Goliath. (2) Goliath's inability to forgive her, (as much as he might wish he could). (3) Goliath's modern loyalty to humans, particularly Elisa Chavez.
In light of this, we should probably bring her back in the latter half of the telepic. She eventually teams up w/Xavier, raising the stakes, and tying the medieval stuff to the rest of the story. However, though we should plant the clues, we shouldn't give any real indication that she was part of the Captain/Cole conspiracy in Part One. All the revelations about her roll in the betrayal should wait until we see her again in 20th Century.]
For initial spell that Wizard casts upon Old One, Trio and Dog in anger...
1) Frozen in stone for 1000 years.
2) Frozen in stone 'til castle rests in the clouds.
3) Frozen in stone so long as this castle stands on this ground.
For spell Wizard casts upon Goliath, as the best he can do for him.
1) Same, or maybe the slight variation of 999 years, giving Goliath a headstart, and an ability to see if it's safe.
4) He will continue his endless cycle of sleeping as stone in day, guarding the castle and his friends at night until either 1), 2) or 3) occurs.
Advantages and Disadvantages to various choices:
The main question, is whether or not Goliath has been awake and alone every night for a thousand years. (Goliath option 4)). If he has, it would allow him to be at least passingly familiar that modern technology exists. I.e. when we get him to NYC and he sees an airplane, he won't think it's a dragon. Plus there's the tragedy of that much loneliness. And the possibility down the road of one or two flashback episodes (Goliath fights in WWII or something). Disadvantages include that it adds a layer of complication to the spell. And maybe we like the idea that he thinks an airplane is a dragon. (Although keep in mind, we can always play those beats with the other 'goyles.)
As to the other gargoyles, the main issue is when do you want them to wake up. If it's not until after the castle is installed at the top of the skyscraper, than option 3) doesn't work. 1000 years makes a nice round number, but is it a stiff coincidence that the 1000 years ends in NYC? Probably no more so than the Castle in the Clouds curse, though the latter may have more ambience.
And again, if we want Goliath awake BEFORE the castle arrives in NYC, i.e. on the boat, than we have to vary the spell with him to some degree or else it won't be possible.
Right now we're leaning toward Goliath Option 4) "the endless cycle" coupled w/ Option 2) "the castle in the clouds". There is some concern that the Wizard casting two spells may be awkward though. So it's still open for discussion.
A random bit of information that I thought I'd post while I'm thinking of it. Based on my current research, Alexander Fox Xanatos was conceived sometime between September 6th, 1995 and November 16th, 1995.
This may change, or I may eventually be able to pin it down more. But right now, that's my most current info.
Time to ramble...
Picking up right where Part Three leaves off, Demona is forced to back off on killing Elisa right away because of Bronx. I really like that scene, mostly for how it illustrates Bronx's level of sophistication. It's not like he understands English, beyond a few simple names and commands. But he understands tone of voice. Something that Demona uses. She talks him down by saying nasty things in a nice tone of voice. He's still suspicious. But as long as her actions and tone don't get hostile, he's content to back off. At one point though, she can't restrain her venom, and he starts to growl again. And she has to regain her composure.
Great Choral music during the battle. Carl Johnson and music editor Marc Perlman (both of whom will be attending the Gathering this June in Los Angeles) did a magnificent job with this.
And there's some great fog as well.
It's also nice to see a legitimately joyful Demona, hoisting Macbeth into the air. He laughs, but his mind's on other things, wondering why Bodhe wanted to talk to him without Demona present. Perhaps he's feeling guilty. Perhaps she picks up on that, which is why she eavesdrops.
A tragedy of bad timing: My sense is that Macbeth is about to read Bodhe the riot act, when Luach interrupts. Mac essentially agrees with Luach, but not with his manner. He takes JUST the wrong moment to teach him a lesson about being a good king. Luach reacts badly and storms out. And it is Luach's behavior that Macbeth is considering when Demona leaves. Two seconds later, I'm quite sure the conversation went like this:
Bodhe: "Well, sire?"
Macbeth: "Well, what?"
Bodhe: "The Gargoyles, sire. You must disavow them!"
Macbeth: "Don't be a fool." etc.
The siege is pretty cool too. (Though you'd think boulders dropped from the battlements would be a touch more effective.)
Mac rescues Gruoch. Even at this age, I still think they're a sexy couple.
I like the scene where Canmore removes his Hunter's Mask. Like Gille before him with Demona, he's truly annoyed when Mac doesn't immediately recognize him.
"Never would I have done so! We have been allies for thirty-seven years!!" Demona ain't a great judge of character.
Luach and Bodhe show up. I like this scene too. (O.K., I'm partial. What can I tell you?) Bodhe has an interesting moment. One of two things happens here. Either he's pleased to finally have one of his own blood (i.e. his grandson) installed as King or the death of Macbeth has finally awakened the hero inside him. Or both. For once, I tend to give Bodhe the benefit of the doubt. I think, at this late date, he's finally come into his own. I like to think he died a good warrior's death at Luach's side.
Demona wakes up. She claims not to believe Gruoch's admonishment, but NOTE, she does not kill Gruoch. Underneath it all, she knows that Gruoch is right and feels chastened.
Macbeth wakes up. Here we have our final scene on Lunfanan Hill. It parallels the previous break-up of Mac and Gru. That time Mac sent her away, but he loved her still. This time she sends him away. She loves him too. But this parting is permanent. Very moving to me. "I will always love you." And because of that, he must leave her. But we know he hasn't forgotten her even into the present. Her loss informs what follows.
Back to the present. Over episodes two and three, things in the present have been progressing very slowly. Now the present takes center stage.
Demona echoes what I'm sure by this time we were all thinking: "Take off that mask. You aren't fooling anyone... Macbeth." And he explains that he wears it as a symbol of her betrayal. (And for a psychological edge, no doubt.)
Meanwhile, we have that semi-feeble exchange between Goliath and Xanatos in the air. Feeble (a) because in one little scenelet, the mouth on Xanatos' armor is moving like it had lips; and (b) because the whole tapestry thing was a fairly forced way to get X and Goliath back to the castle.
I like Demona's line: "Let's not start that again. You blame me. I blame you..." etc. It's a very rational Xanatosian moment for her. But that rationality is born from the knowledge that she can't kill Macbeth without killing herself. Her usual vengeful attitude is useless. What she doesn't know is how suicidal he is. "Revenge is a dish best served cold. And I have waited 900 years for mine." Hey, leave a dish out for 900 years and it will get pretty cold.
There's always a bit of comedy in the pain-sharing battles of D&M.
When the floor starts to give way, it reminds me of a scene that was WAY better animated in the DuckTales pilot. Where the bricks of gold fall away in a simlilar vein. It's nice here, but it was awesome there.
I also like when Demona has Mac's E-M gun, tosses it and catches it to fire at X and G. Nice little touch.
And Xanatos' truly frightened yet underplayed: "This is bad." when he sees the computer screen.
I like the multiple falls that get us down to the Atrium -- a wonderful setting for the final confrontations.
And Goliath's speech: "...Death never does."
Again we get multiple images of the Sisters throughout this scene. And again, I had to fight for that.
Each Sister gets to take a mental punch to weaken first Macbeth and then Demona. Are they being hypocrites here? One aspect of their persona is, certainly. But there's more going on, some of which I still haven't revealed.
But the key thing in terms of this scene (and the events of AVALON) is that both Mac and Demona need to be mentally weakened for the spells of control that the Sisters are going to use on them in HIGH NOON and AVALON. And M&D need to borderline volunteer to relinquish control over themselves. Macbeth, who has been suicidal, is tired and willing. Demona's tougher. But even she doesn't put up much of a fight. "You tricked me." she says. And certainly they have, but she can't break the grip of three children, and though of course they are not ordinary children, one must wonder if she really wanted to.
Goliath: You have learned nothing.
The sisters (as children) say their cool (and ironic) line: "We have written their stories. They are our responsibility. They are our children." My three year old son Ben says: "I love the triplets."
But theirs is a story for another day.
Xanatos really has to sweat in this one. Unusual for him. I love his line to Bronx: "What are you looking at?"
But once the skies burn, he's back to his old self: "Magnificent." Believe it or not, it took some effort to really get the skies burning. The animation came back with only a few contrails of gas burning. We used video tricks to get that whole sky-burning effect that was SO important to the story.
When the gargs rush back inside they were supposed to lift Elisa up into the air in their joy at seeing her unstoned again. Thus you have contrast to explain Xanatos' line to Owen, "You'll forgive me, if I just shake your hand." (But you also have to wonder how he'd respond to Fox when next he saw her.)
And Xanatos gives a line I'd been waiting to use for a year. "I always wondered why I allowed you gargoyles to live. You come in handy now and then." I had always worried that an audience raised on certain villain cliches would just assume that the reason Xanatos never killed the gargs on one of the myriad occasions when he had the chance, was because we were bad writers. This X/G exchange was here to demonstrate that X wasn't that kind of villain. That he was never wasteful. Maybe at this point in the series, it wasn't necessary to spell it out. But it was still nice to get the sentiment across.
Of course, this ends the Xanatos/Demona partnership. Uneasy though it had been. It's why VOWS had to come first.
And that's my ramble...