Before the video game movies proved to audiences and critics that they could be good, a Deus Ex movie was in the works at CBS Films. The movie was eventually canceled, but thanks to USA Today’s recent interview with Prime Universe Productions’ Scott Kinney, some of the script of that canceled project has come to light, giving fans a taste of the project that never came to be.
In the early 2010s, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill were working on a script for a film adaptation of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the third game in the series that launched in 2011. In 2014, IGN interviewed Derrickson about the project, where We learned the film was to focus on “deepening” Adam Jensen as a character while maintaining “all the action and fun of the game”.
Derrickson was set to direct the project before jumping ship to go work on Doctor Strange. After his departure, the movie was quietly canceled.
For those unfamiliar with the source material, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an action RPG developed by Eidos Montreal, the studio that most recently worked on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The game takes place in the year 2027, and follows Adam Jensen, a security specialist who undergoes body augmentation after a life-threatening accident. This leads to Jensen becoming a killing machine, setting the events of his story in motion. The plot focuses on the social divide between people wealthy enough to afford augmentations, and the normal humans that make up the lower class.
Below, you can read an excerpt from the script of the moment Jensen awakens to find out his body has been augmented:
INT. CLEAN ROOM – SARIF TECH FACILITY – TIME UNKNOWN
Jensen, eyes closed, lies in a bed sheet [sic] covering his body. He looks normal enough, save a hexagon carved into the left side of his forehead, and two metal crescents flanking his eyes.
Jensen’s eyes SNAP open. He sits up, quick, confused and disoriented. As he does, the sheet falls away to reveal his legs and torso. He looks like a man, and more. His chest and arms are covered in titanium-infused sheets grafted to his natural skin. His arms are entirely cybernetic, as are his hands which are now black and shiny.
He looks around, and when he does, his world is one of sensory overload — colors too bright, sounds too loud, like his mind is some kind of perverse echo chamber.
JENSEN’S CYBERNETICALLY ENHANCED POV:
He’s in a large lab filled with medical and scientific machines, and devoid of life. Megan’s necklace rests on a small table, and everything is in ultra high definition — no shadow can hide you from him. He blinks and a tactical grid manifests over his POV. Microprocessors record everything he’s seeing, as every item is identified as a possible weapon and/or threat. All in less time than it takes you to blink.
Jensen stands, abruptly. He’s naked. Seen from the back, we note that his spinal column has been replaced with an alloy frame that attaches to all four limbs, and that the lower half of each leg has been replaced with cybernetics.”
The parts of the revealed script also go over Jensen’s initial aversion to augmentation, conversations with his girlfriend, Dr. Megan Reed, and an attack at the Sarif building. After Jensen awakes, the story follows the game’s plot fairly closely, as Sarif’s corruption is exposed, the augmented lose their minds, and the heroes put an end to it.
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The action scenes described aren’t afraid to be violent, with the report saying mechanical parts are liberally torn from augmented characters’ bodies. However, we’ve also learned the movie was not intended to be rated R. You can read all of the included excerpts from the script in the full report.
While the Deus Ex franchise may never hit the big screen, you can check out every upcoming video game movie and show, including Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which launches in theaters this weekend.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.