Back in the 1970s, the king of profitable and risk-taking science fiction was cinema was Roger Corman, the B-movie titan known for seeing projects to completion cheaply and efficiently. Once his script was ready for objective eyes, Dan O’Bannon sent it directly to Corman, in hopes of gaining the super-producer’s interest and getting his sci-fi property into production.
Corman, having enjoyed O’Bannon’s script, made him a reasonable (at the time) offer to handle the project’s back-end for $750,000. O’Bannon was ready to shake hands when Ron Shusett, his writing partner and close confidante, told him to fall back and look at the bigger picture. With the huge success of George Lucas’ Star Wars in 1977, major studios were itching for their own sci-fi blockbusters, and Shusett felt that their screenplay could entice fish bigger than Corman to bite.
And he was right—not too long after the Corman interactions, 20th Century Fox’s Head of Creative Affairs, and early champion of Star Wars, Alan Ladd, Jr., bought the script.