Reader Jeff writes:
I would like to inquire about the movie you worked on, Titan AE. At the end, it’s insinuating the ship has the ability to restore all life on Earth based off of DNA on the ship. How would it go about doing this?
Would terraforming the planet happen so fast that it would happen the next day? Or would it be like, “And on the fourth day, god created animals.” Also, would the animals first start as eggs? Or would they be born in test tubes, Jurassic Park style?
Wouldn’t the Drudge keep trying to kill them? Surely their entire species wasn’t all on the one ship.
Is this one big metaphor for the big, powerful bully beating up the smartest kid on the playground, because the bully knows that in the future, the smarter child will have a better life and will likely be the bully’s boss, but the bully hopes to prevent that by breaking the child’s spirit?
I’m going to be completely honest with you, Jeff: I have no idea.
The last time I saw Titan A.E. was almost 13 years ago when it came out. Thirteen years! Bill Clinton was the president. “The Real Slim Shady” was one of the top songs in the country. Ross and Rachel weren’t a couple on Friends. It was that long ago.
The premiere of Titan A.E. was at Staples Center in downtown LA. That’s an absolutely terrible place for a premiere by the way, because it’s way too big and doesn’t have a screen, which seems like prerequisite but whatever. Even that night, I was referring to the movie as “a friend from camp” because while I genuinely liked it, I had no ongoing relationship with it.
I had come in to do a quick dialogue polish, which became a bigger rewrite as it went through several directors’ hands. After I left, Joss Whedon took the writer reins — but I couldn’t honestly tell you what he wrote versus what I wrote versus what Ben Edlund wrote. It was a big lump of clay that everyone took turns pushing around. I was happy and surprised the final product was as good as it was. While it was box office failure, it’s gained a small cult following over the years.
In the end, I remember much more about the experience of writing the movie than I do about the movie itself. For example, I didn’t remember the name of the alien species until I read it in your question. (They’re actually called the Drej. That much came back.)
So while I’m always happy when someone says they like Titan A.E., I feel more honest saying “Me too!” rather than “Thanks.” It’s a movie with my name on it, but it’s nowhere near “my movie” the way Go or Big Fish or The Nines are.