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The Phoenix Gate

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Well, I'm reconstructing events from memory. But I believe in March or April of 1992, we pitched the series to Michael Eisner, who rejected the 38 card pitch (version seven) which I posted here yesterday. Jeffrey Katzenberg, however, saw something in the show and told us to pursue it further. One idea that my boss Gary Krisel came up with was to do a five minute animation test, in the hopes that that would sell everyone on the idea. Now, before you ask to see it, let me say right off that WE NEVER MADE THE ANIMATION TEST. But we sure spun our wheels on it for a long while. This was my first pass on what that test would contain.

You'll note that we still had the gargoyles capable of real flight. Also, the garg's skin, even at night, is stone-like. Both of these attributes would eventually change to make them more vulnerable, less all-powerful in battle.

Outline for five-minute animation test. No dialogue.
(Weisman / 4-23-92)

I. Cityscape of Manhattan (at an angle) just before sundown. (Camera is "flying" west toward the setting sun.)

A. We quickly "fly" by the castle at the top of Xavier's skyscraper.
1. We pause briefly to see XAVIER doing business inside his "throne-room" office.

B. We see the sun go down as we come upon the municipal building.

II. Top of municipal building, as the sun vanishes, we push through an arch into rotunda and hold on a giant stone gargoyle, frozen in a frightening pose in front of the clockface interior.

A. Tight in on gargoyle, as it gets dark, we see cracks forming in the stone.

B. Cut to exterior, silhouette of GOLIATH the GARGOYLE as seen through the face of the clock, bursting out of his shell. Fragments fly everywhere.

C. He suddenly leaps into the air and flies out thru top of rotunda and away from us. Roaring thru the new night. We do not get a clear view of him yet.

III. We continue our "flight" over the city and push in again on a slum neighborhood rooftop. Night has completely fallen.

A. ELISA (in plainclothes) is climbing up a fire escape ladder and onto the roof.

B. Suddenly, she is surrounded by three THUGS coming out from the shadows.

C. Pull back, we see glowing, inhuman eyes, watching the scene from the shadows of a higher rooftop.

IV. The Gargoyle leaps down upon the criminals; Elisa gets out of the way.

A. He lifts two easily, while the third thug shoots at him. The bullets, glance off his stone-like hide, (maybe chipping off stone fragments).

B. From off-screen, the Gargoyle tosses each thug, one by one, onto a "thug pile".

V. Elisa approaches the hulking Gargoyle from behind. What will happen to her?

A. But when he turns to face her, we see they are already acquainted. She has a big grin on her face. He looks sheepish, puppy-dog like.

B. She touches the place where the bullet chipped his hide. Platonic, caring, gentle, concerned, etc.
1. He winces, less from pain, than from not being used to a kind touch.
2. Then he smiles. A romantic beauty medium two-shot in the moonlight.

VI. Suddenly, BRONX tears between them, followed by LEX, BROADWAY and BROOKLYN.

A. Elisa looks amused; Goliath, perturbed.

B. Bronx has half-eaten nunchaku in his mouth, as he runs at full speed vertically down the side of the building.
1. The young gargoyles give chase, outfitted like karate blackbelts.

C. Bronx runs into the street right into the path (and headlights) of an oncoming truck, which breaks to a stop, right in front of him.
1. The other gargoyles scatter.

D. The angst-ridden Bronx cowers, as the large TRUCK-DRIVER gets out of his cab to investigate.
1. He stands over Bronx.
2. Suddenly a shadow falls over him.
3. Goliath stands there, relatively benign, but incredibly huge, and lifts Bronx by the scruff of the neck.
4. Truck-driver watches in absolute shock as Goliath majestically takes to the sky with Bronx in one massive hand.

VII. The other three gargoyles fall into line behind Goliath, and the group wings over the slum rooftop.

A. Elisa waves to them as she handcuffs the third thug to the fire escape. (The other two are already secure.)

B. Following the flight of our gargoyles as they fly back the way we came.
1. Past the municipal building.
a. He drops off Bronx and the kids with HUDSON, who was waiting there annoyed as Uncle Charlie.
2. Past Xavier's castle skyscraper.
a. Inside Xavier and DEMONA scheme.

C. The Gargoyle flies high above the city he's sworn to protect. He seems to hover for a beat, framed by the over-sized moon, as if listening, watching...
1. And then he dives down suddenly into the city toward some unseen trouble spot. Leaving us.