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I don't know when I'll get around to rambling on Future Tense, but as it's up next, I'm posting my outline notes on that episode to Story Editor Michael Reaves.
The thing you need to know is that there was much discussion back then of doing the episode (or at least sections of it) in 3-D. Now I do NOT mean CGI. I mean the 3-D glasses kind of 3-D. So many of the notes below reflect that.
Notes on "Future Tense" Outline...
Michael, I know this is exactly the kind of document that drives my story editors nuts. I apologize, but in the interests of time I believe this is the best solution.
I also want you to know that I considered your suggestion that we replace one of Cary or Gary's episodes with a from-scratch 3-D affair. But after reviewing the schedule it just wasn't practical. Aside from the fact (and budgetary concern) that those guys are already underway on those stories, we just don't have time to come up with a new story from scratch and get Gary Krisel's approval on it and still make all relevant deadlines.
I believe that what I've beated out below preserves all the essential stuff from Marty and Bob's outline, but gives us more opportunity for 3-D action in cyber-space. As usual, none of it is etched in stone. If this approach works for you, you can go right to script. If there's anything you, Marty or Bob want to discuss, that's cool too.
GENERAL NOTE ON 3-D ACTION IN CYBERSPACE
Please remember the nature of this particular 3-D process: some elements push backward or forward depending on their assigned color. You guys don't have to worry about assigning the colors. Leave that to the art director. Nor do you have to sweat the foregrounding and backgrounding. We'll leave that to the board artists, art director, line producer and Frank. What you do need to be aware of though is that this particular 3-D process only really works with characters and objects. They should not be interacting with the environment or backgrounds. That's not to say that Cyber-Xanatos or whoever can't form any specific object out of the "ether" or something. But we don't want scenes of Goliath tearing up Cyber-walls or Brooklyn being swallowed up by the cyber-ground or whatever. Energy beams might work, but "energy fields" could be problematic. If this is unclear, we can set up a meeting with our technical expert, Rob Hummell.
I. Streamline and combine your beats 1, 2, 3 & 4.
Open on the skiff and the mist with some specific line from Goliath, where he's saying that the odyssey they've been on has been rewarding, but that he really is starting to miss the clan and Manhattan, his adopted home. He feels woozy for a second. Then he sees the Statue of Liberty. (The wooziness is being done in the interest of fair play. Don't make too much of it. The audience will forget about it until the end of the episode, at which point, they'll think: "Of course.")
Combine the blowing up of the skiff with the capture of Elisa and Angela by the Steel Clan robots, (we don't need uniformed human sentries). Goliath and Bronx are rescued by Matt. As they make their way to rebel headquarters we can get Xanatos's brief big brother (3-D) message. We can see the statue of Hudson and find out he's dead. Meet the hostile Brooklyn.
II. Combines your beat 5 & part of beat 6.
Meet the Blind Broadway. And bring up the Phoenix Gate. Make sure Goliath states definitively that "HISTORY CANNOT BE CHANGED". The line about 'time as a river' is a good one, but don't count on that to be clear enough by itself. Intro Good Demona and establish that she is mated (as opposed to married) to Brooklyn. Don't forget to plant another "fairness clue" with our audience. When Goliath says that he thought Demona was in love with Thailog, it takes her a flustered minute to explain that Thailog also died fighting Xanatos. Or something like that. Also I think we can let the more sophisticated members of our audience see the irony that Demona is finally good again only to be lost to Goliath forever. We don't have to state that in dialogue. It raises a lot of complicated issues.
Suddenly Cyborg-Lexington enters and announces that Talon, their inside man, is transmitting all-important data even as they speak. He turns on a monitor and we see Talon getting his butt kicked by Xanatos (in 3-D). While they are watching this, Goliath should ask where this battle between Xanatos and Talon is taking place. All Lexington knows is that it was coming from somewhere inside the Eyrie Pyramid. Xanatos gloats about his plan to do to the entire planet what he has done to Manhattan, then he destroys Talon and the transmission is cut off.
III. Combines just a bit of your beat 6 and both of your two beat 7s. (Don't feel bad. This late in the season, I'm having trouble counting too.)
We don't need the attack by the Thailog Stormtroopers. Brooklyn states that it's now or never. We have to launch a pre-emptive strike on Xanatos' lair. They'll divide into ground and air forces. Brooklyn, Demona, Cyborg-Lex, Blind Broadway and Goliath will wait for Matt and Bronx and the rebels to create a diversion downstairs. Then they will go in above.
As the five gargoyles wait atop a nearby building for their cue, Demona and Brooklyn again try to prevail on Goliath to use the Gate.
IV. Combines your beats 8 & 9.
Matt and Bronx's diversion begins. The gargoyles fly in, but Lex reports with his cyborg-sight that both Matt and Bronx have been killed. Brooklyn is determined that they won't have died in vain.
They get in, but Lex is quickly taken prisoner and Broadway dies. Goliath, Brooklyn and Demona make their way to Computer Mainframe/Banquet Hall. They aren't looking for any Chief Administrator. They're still looking for Xanatos, not realizing that he no longer exists on the physical plane.
V. Basically your beat 10.
Except instead of a VR helmet, have Goliath, Brooklyn and Demona digitized into (3-D) Cyber-Space ala TRON. No physical bodies left outside. If you die in there. You dead. Obliterated.
VI. Your beat 11, greatly expanded to fill most of the act.
Xanatos has been holding Elisa and Angela prisoner inside cyber-space, anticipating Goliath's arrival. We get our explanation. Our fight. And the destruction of Brooklyn, Demona and Angela. Goliath finally manages to take out Xanatos, which causes the whole cyber-world to dissolve.
VII. Combines and abbreviates both of your beat 12s.
Goliath and Elisa are re-digitized in the real world. Only to discover that Lex used the opportunity to activate Xanatos' plan. Now he'll rule what's left of the world. Goliath lashes out at Lex, which knocks him back into the main frame and the whole thing starts to blow. Castle is destroyed taking out Lex. (No redemption possible.) Goliath barely manages to save Elisa, but he's broken by it. And Elisa tries to get the gate from him. She fails and melts into Puck. In fact the entire world seems to melt into her to become Puck.
VIII. Your beat 13.
Puck reveals what it has all been about. (Make sure to specifically mention that Oberon has begun "The Gathering".)
IX. Your beat 14.
Make it clear that Goliath passed out right after he said his line about missing his adopted home. So the audience in retrospect can place the exact moment when Puck's little adventure began.
And that's it. Feel free to call with questions or concerns.