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Old 01-06-2011, 05:29 AM   #1
cytherians
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Default What would have made "Dragon's Domain" even better

The "Dragon's Domain" was one of the best episodes in Space:1999. There were many things to like about it, no doubt.

But having just watched it again... I couldn't help but notice a few things about it that I wish had been different. Especially at the end.

First, we have Cellini and his vengeance mode against the monster. Yeah, I'd be pretty mad at that creature too, wanting to eliminate it as well for having killed my crewmates and put me through a horrible ordeal, not to mention a nasty dent in my career. But why take such an irrational approach, to face it alone? That creature almost killed him last time. He barely got away. And now, he's going to face it with basically the same tools as he had before? No... it would have been much better had he done it as a team. Here's my take on how I would have written the ending of "Dragon's Domain":


The Eagle with Cellini, Koenig, Russell, Carter, Bergman, and security team approach the cluster of alien ships.

Koenig: "Tony, what made you select that ship in particular?"

Cellini: "It was the first one I spotted with what looked like a compatible docking port. Commander, I recommend we dock with the Ultra Probe, instead of one of the other alien ship ports. It could be that the dock is not 100% compatible and may have been responsible for the power problems we had."

Bergman: "Well, that's good thinking. Only, if I remember your report correctly, the creature materialized inside the Ultra Probe once the doors were opened to the alien ship. If we expose our Eagle to the Ultra Probe, we may be at risk with it coming aboard."

Cellini: "Commander, the creature can hypnotize people to drop their resistance. If we all go together, we could all end up as my crew did. I think it best I go aboard first--someone has to. Shut the Eagle door behind me, just in case. If that creature is there, I'll alert you and then engage it, to keep it distracted."

Koenig: "Very well. But let us know immediately if that thing appears."

Cellini steps into the docking chamber, the Eagle door closes behind him, and then he opens the door to the Ultra Probe. It's extremely dark. He tries a few light switches and nothing works. The light cast from the doorway shows the outlines of several desiccated dead bodies on the floor.

Tony takes the hooked rope and secures it around his waist, then hooks it to one of the supports. Suddenly, a spinning light with strange noises starts at the rear door of the ship. The dragon appears with a brilliant bright eye, just as it did years before, and roars horribly.

Before Tony can do anything, the Ultra Probe door mysteriously closes by itself. He tries opening it, but it appears jammed. Snapping up his comlink, he tries alerting the crew.


Cellini: "Commander, the creature is here! But the door is somehow jammed. I am going to try stopping it!"

Koenig's comlink lights up and crackles static.

Koenig: "Tony? Tony is that you? What's happening?"

Russell: "John, sensors are still showing only one life sign--Cellini's."

Bergman: "I am picking up some very strange readings, quite faint. Some kind of power fluctuation."

Koenig: "We better get in there. Helena, you stay here, as a precaution."

Koenig opens the Eagle door and heads up to the closed Ultra Probe door, trying the control buttons. Nothing happens. He flips down a panel that reveals a manual control lever and tries pulling on it.

Koenig: "Alan, it's stuck--give me a hand."

Koenig and Carter pull hard on the handle, finally managing to release it. The door slides open slowly, revealing a terrible sound of a monster's roar and eerie bluish white light.

Koenig immediately spots the creature at the rear, with Tony hacking away at it with a hatchet. Tony has a rope around his waist, but the creature is pulling hard at it with two tentacles and it suddenly snaps--he's pulled in up against the creature with more tentacles wrapping around his limbs.

Koenig raises his laser rifle and hits the monster point-blank at its eye--there appears to be no effect. Several of the crew fire their lasers at other parts of the body, being careful not to hit Cellini. But no effect--the creature appears unharmed.


Koenig: "Hold your fire! Energy weapons are useless."

Koenig grabs another hatchet from an emergency kit on the wall and lunges at the beast. But it's too late for Tony, as he weakens from the tentacles strangulating him. He slips down and is sucked into the monster's fiery maw.

Koenig can't believe what he has seen, his friend and colleague consumed by this monster. In a swelling rage, he raises his hatchet up, swings down hard, and plants it directly in the eye of the beast. The eye splits wide open, sending out a small shower of fiery embers. Koenig quickly pulls back away, watching as the creature slumps down, apparently dead.


Russell: "John! John are you alright?"

Koenig: "Yeah, I'm fine, OK. Tony..."

Bergman: "No sign of him. He's gone, John."

Koenig and company slowly and solemnly depart the Ultra Probe, entering the Eagle and sealing the door shut.

Koenig: "There's no telling how many more of those creatures are around. There could be more than one in each ship. We better not take any chances. Let's get out of here."

Bergman: "A real shame, John. One of these spacecraft could give us a serious technological boost."

Koenig: "I couldn't agree more, Victor. But we've already lost one valued member of the crew and the moon will be out of safe range in a few more hours. Alan? Have Paul send out another Eagle, with an additional command module attached. If we're not going to get a shot at one of these alien ships, let's at least take the Ultra Probe. We might have future use for it.

Carter: "Right, commander."

Koenig: "OK... let's get going."

John takes a seat next to Helena, looks over her shoulder, and watches as she types into a computer console a closing paragraph for Cellini's file.

We see the Eagle depart the space graveyard, as Helena gives her closing episode remarks.

Last edited by cytherians; 01-06-2011 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:42 AM   #2
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Interesting and more believable variation.
Here is mine.
-Cellini and the others approach the Ultra Probe as a team.
-Team enters the probe and they don't find any monster but they do find the corpses of the crew.
-Koenig starts to suspect that Cellini had lied about the alien; Bergman and Helena are now certain. Cellini's mental state starts to fall apart.
-Tension builds up between the characters.
-As the Eagle returns to Alpha the monster reveal itself; it kills one of the security guards. Then Cellini kills it and dies.
-Remarks are made about Cellini and the ability and intelligence of the monster to make itself unnoticed at first so it could be transported to Alpha where more victims were available. More remarks on the ill-placed trust on technology over human factor.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:25 AM   #3
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Both are interesting takes.

Regarding the actual episode, we didn't see the creature spit out Tony Cellini's corpse, but when Koeng & company gaze upon the Ultra Probe corpses, is Cellini's body now with them?

Some background: I remember the old novelization hinting at a relationship between Cellini & Monique Fauchere (though in the novelization, and presumbly the original script upon which it was based, they were called Jim Calder & Olga Vishenskya)... I think this is where the new expanded Italian novel got its Tony-Monique love story from.

Anyway, back to the end of the episode, presuming that there was indeed a relationship between the two characters: it might have been poignant for Tony's body to have ended up right next to Monique's, together at last in death after having been terribly separated in life. It would also lend an even more poetic feel to Alpha's "new mythology" and its tale "Tony Cellini and the Monster."
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:18 AM   #4
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Dragons Domain has got be one of my all time favourite episodes of Space, It's certainly one of the most memorable for me more so than War Games which I regard as being a overated,

But I also think the ending was a little weak and I think Tony's death was a bit of a cliche and the creature seemed to perish way too easily.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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The only change that I would like is in the original script. After Cellini is killed, that Carter(Nick Tate), not Koenig, kills the Creature.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:31 PM   #6
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Cellini, the trouble with that variation is that you have three corpses burnt to a crisp on the probe deck. How would Cellini have done it? And even more concerning, why? The original response to his report alleged that Cellini made a mistake, opened an airlock prematurely and the crew was killed. So, he tried to cover his tracks by making up an elaborate story.

Anyway, I like your idea of them taking the creature back to Alpha, completely unaware. While they're in the Ultra Probe, the creature's spinning light signature appears inside the Eagle, and passes through the rear bulkhead--hiding there. And when the crew return to Alpha, the creature now has a whole colony to feast on. It starts appearing after the Eagle lands and they've got to contend with this new threat.

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But I also think the ending was a little weak and I think Tony's death was a bit of a cliche and the creature seemed to perish way too easily.
True. If Cellini had lived, then there would be this other prominent character on Alpha that would have viewers wondering about, wanting to see in other episodes. It was an easy way out of that obligation to have him killed.

I do agree that the monster was finished off too easy. Koenig witnessed what that creature did to Cellini. What could Koenig possibly do differently? You know he read the report. Armed with only a hatchet, he'd take it on? And why did Koenig think to hit it with a hatchet in the glowing eye? Why hadn't Cellini tried that?

One key thing to remember, is that the hypnotizing effect was not seen by Cellini in the first encounter, so it wasn't logged in the report. When Koenig and company enter the Ultra Probe and see Cellini fighting it, they've no idea about that risk of being hypnotized. I was puzzled that the creature didn't try its hypnotic effect on Koenig. Maybe it was preoccupied with digesting Cellini...

But I think Steve had a very good point. Commander Koenig is not a foot soldier. He's a very valuable executive member of Alpha. It would have made more sense for Carter to have stepped in to take on the creature.

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Old 01-06-2011, 06:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ALPHA ONE View Post
Dragons Domain has got be one of my all time favourite episodes of Space, It's certainly one of the most memorable for me more so than War Games which I regard as being a overated,

But I also think the ending was a little weak and I think Tony's death was a bit of a cliche and the creature seemed to perish way too easily.
Or it could have been easy to kill the Dragon, because in doing so, it released a cloud of spores or eggs or what have you. The Alphans then unknowingly tranport them back to Alpha.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:50 PM   #8
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I do agree that the monster was finished off too easy. Koenig witnessed what that creature did to Cellini. What could Koenig possibly do differently? You know he read the report. Armed with only a hatchet, he'd take it on? And why did Koenig think to hit it with a hatchet in the glowing eye? Why hadn't Cellini tried that?

One key thing to remember, is that the hypnotizing effect was not seen by Cellini in the first encounter, so it wasn't logged in the report. When Koenig and company enter the Ultra Probe and see Cellini fighting it, they've no idea about that risk of being hypnotized. I was puzzled that the creature didn't try its hypnotic effect on Koenig. Maybe it was preoccupied with digesting Cellini...

But I think Steve had a very good point. Commander Koenig is not a foot soldier. He's a very valuable executive member of Alpha. It would have made more sense for Carter to have stepped in to take on the creature.
It is safe to assume that after Cellini stabbed the monster, it was probably very weak. Koenig finishes it off out of rage as he had just witnessed the death of his friend; he also elaborates about the fact that Cellini told the truth and had suffered unfairly. This should be enough to trigger a vindictive reaction in any person.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:13 PM   #9
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It is safe to assume that after Cellini stabbed the monster, it was probably very weak. Koenig finishes it off out of rage as he had just witnessed the death of his friend; he also elaborates about the fact that Cellini told the truth and had suffered unfairly. This should be enough to trigger a vindictive reaction in any person.
I was also going to point out that the creature was already weakened. The 'angry Koenig' idea is new to me, but it does make sense. I like it!
Of course, another reason it was scripted for Koenig to dispatch the creature is that Martin Landau was the lead star in the series; of course the script writers would thus have the lead character be the hero.
By the way, I think The Catacombs has a note somewhere that the Cellini character was originally supposed to have been none other than Alan Carter, but I personally like the fact that he wasn't the former Ultra Probe commander... it wouldn't have made sense that Carter would be reconnaissance chief on Alpha nor controller for the Meta Probe, after a failure as Ultra Probe commander.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:14 PM   #10
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These are interesting variations of the Dragon's Domain story. However, I think that Cellini's character knew he was going into a suicide battle against the Dragon. For years he was seen by everyone as being responsible for his crew's death, except by his friend Koenig. But even with his support, Cellini never really got over this terrible event. And who would? Like many people that have survived personal drama, Cellini got into a nervous breakdown and as you can imagine, was shutting down any close relation. The Tony Cellini that Koenig describes is not at all the one we see on Moonbase Alpha. Far from it.

"He was the best amateur athlete I've ever seen, a poet, an all round astronaut, in fact the best all rounder I've ever met." said Koenig.

Obviously, Cellini doesn't fit this description. When listening to him, you can feel he lost part of himself over there, in that mission. And this is why Tony decided to battle the beast alone. He knew he would not make it. This is not a rational act, but he said himself that he wasn't a national man anymore. But I think that being the only one survivor was too much to handle and that he felt he should have died with the others. That's why he went alone....and at least really trying to kill the beast.

Now, I also felt that the ending was too easy. The thing is that we do not feel that the Dragon got weaker after Tony got his knife into it. Making Koenig second attack looking too easy. We need to feel that Koenig will finish it, not kill it in one stroke. I do have an alternate ending for Dragon's Domain that goes into this direction. It doesnt need a lot of editing work to change this so that we now think that both Cellini and Koenig, together have killed the beast while loosing Cellini in the battle. For me, this is an outstanding episode that doesnt require a lot of tweaking to correct its little flaws.

Cellini's death was necessary to make this episode great. If it would have been Carter, it would have been a great loss for Space 1999 don't you think. Koenig personal involvement in this story necessary meant that he had to be the one helping Cellini. Carter character's action in this episode is only there to put a smile on our face for once in this very horrific episode story.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:32 AM   #11
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By the way, I think The Catacombs has a note somewhere that the Cellini character was originally supposed to have been none other than Alan Carter, but I personally like the fact that he wasn't the former Ultra Probe commander... it wouldn't have made sense that Carter would be reconnaissance chief on Alpha nor controller for the Meta Probe, after a failure as Ultra Probe commander.
In the excellent book by Robert Wood it is mentioned that the producers had to create the Cellini character as part of the new contract ITC developed with the Italian RAI. Nick Tate confirmed he was to have the "Cellini" part and that he helped Gianni Garko, who did not speak English, by recording all Cellini's lines on a tape. Gianni memorised them and managed to deliver the memorable performance we all know.


Photo below, Gianni Garko a few years ago put his tomahawk on the commpost once more.

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Old 02-06-2011, 02:11 PM   #12
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That's a great photo, Cellini. I remember seeing some convention pics of him posted at The Catacombs... he put a tomahawk into a larger commpost replica then, too. What fun!
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:16 PM   #13
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What stands out for me on that episode is all the weapons and hunting trophies in Cellini's room. The way I've "read" the episode is as a comment on totemistic pursuits. Throughout history men have defined themselves either through war, hunting or slaying monsters. So,... the dialogue between Helena and Cellini in hospital where he's trying to talk about his "monster" and she doesn't believe him comes across as a comment on men's need to "prove themselves" when in contemporary society those types of pursuits are no longer possible.

Compare for instance the sound the dragon makes to the elephant heard in the opening scene. Or else irrational fears of spiders and "creepy crawlies" etc.

As for how the episode could be improved. Maybe if the state of the space programme in 1996 could have been explained, as well as to where Ultra is supposed to be.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:27 PM   #14
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Cellini, you're absolutely right. Tony definitely injured the creature, but to what extent was not very obvious. Yet... if you watch the scene just before Koenig steps in close, you hear the sound of the monster waning. At first, I thought it was some kind of synchronization problem, as Koenig hadn't yet slammed his hatchet into its eye. But now it makes sense, when considering the idea that Tony had wounded it pretty badly. This would also account for why the creature couldn't try hypnotizing Koenig or the rest of the crew.

Great photo of Gianni! He looks pretty darned good for his age. That's amazing he didn't know any English, just gave his lines as memorized. It kind of explains how in some cases, there was a peculiar emphasis on certain syllables and mixed word pacing. But in watching it again, I must say he did a phenomenal job not knowing English. Did he ever learn how to speak English later on?


One thing that bothered me about the creature is that it had a biology to it. It bled when stabbed. It consumed biological matter. So.... how could it exist for so long without a steady stream of food? My guess is that it had a sophisticated means of inter-dimensional hibernation, where it would be in a kind of stasis, barely aging. When a life form would come near its proximity, the creature would be disturbed from hibernation and then awaken, shifting from another dimension into the one where the victim was.


There is that pesky problem of where the planet Ultra was. Was this debated before at length with any good explanations derived? Helena Russell says in her voice-over that in 1994, Victor Bergman discovered a new planet beyond the then known limits of our solar system, and called it "Ultra". Discovered how, from moon based sensors? From a remote probe? The implication is that it was some kind of planet a few months of space travel outside the boundary of our solar system. That's not very far away. Certainly very far from the sun, though... which makes for a "similar to Earth" atmospheric condition to be rather absurd. If Ultra was orbiting another sun, that would require a much, much greater distance to be traveled. The planet doesn't appear very suitable, mostly gray with reddish patches--no signs of large oceans. Perhaps the red patches are lava pools that help keep the surface warm?

The graveyard of ships doesn't appear to be moving very fast; they're parked in orbit around the planet. How could they leave Ultra and then end up in the path of the moon? Very strange... the only thing I can think of is that the creature's inter-dimensional properties affect the space around ships somehow. That a kind of shift took place and put the ships somewhere else, and the moon just happened to cross its path.

I look at this creature as a cross between a hermit crab and a spider (Victor did say "looks like flies caught in a spider's web"). Either it finds a derelict ship to adopt, or it invades a ship when one comes close enough to where it is. The ship serves as a kind of "bait," and the more the monster can collect, the more attractive the bait... for more beings to come investigate, and then become the next victims.

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Old 03-06-2011, 09:33 PM   #15
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There is an Italian 2005 novel by called L'occhio ardente di Mbatian (The Burning eye of Mbatian) by Michele Tetro which expands on the Dragon's Domain story with some interesting (and spiritual) ideas.

The synopsis at the Catacombs is well worth the read:
http://www.space1999.net/~catacombs/...vmnitetro.html

Paul
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:04 AM   #16
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I could have sworn that link was posted in this thread, but it's actually in another. Thanks for putting it here, scatta!

Just to keep the "Dragon's Domain" discussion on this dedicated thread, I'm going to copy some of those posts over here, everyone, just so we don't lose some important details nor get confused like I just did!
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:18 AM   #17
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As you can see by the dates, all of these took place just before this thread got started...

31-05-2011, 3:12pm GMT
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As an aside, I understand that there's an expanded novel based around "Dragon's Domain" available in Italy. Any chance of an English translation becoming available? I'd love to read it.
31-05-2011 3:35pm GMT
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Are you referring to the novelisations by Gianni Padoan? If so, these were produced in the mid-70s straight after the first broadcast of Spazio: 1999. I have most of them but not all; unfortunately, I don't have the one with the "Dragon's domain" but I do remember that Cellini's name was changed into something else. I'll be back to you if I find more info.
31-05-2011 3:43pm GMT
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Or maybe you are referring to this one

http://www.space1999.net/catacombs/m...vmnitetro.html

I never read it but would like to. I am afraid thare is no English edition as far as I know.
31-05-2011 9:47pm GMT
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I found the whole Balor trilogy [from Powys Books] to be plausible. The other novels do some brave and controversial things and pretty much lots of fan like actions throughout. Overall I do not at all consider them canon because they take many great episodes like "Dragon's Domain" and change them around drastically.

KP
01-06-2011 3:48am GMT
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Yes, that's the book to which I refer. At least The Catacombs now has a synopsis, so I know what the basic plot is.
There, that's all caught up, then.
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Old 14-06-2011, 01:33 AM   #18
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Just an additional observation about the novelisation (the old one from the 1970's) of this episode...
When Tony escaped from the monster by hacking at its tentacles (in order to get the Command Module's aft hatch closed), the damage he'd done came into play later when he faced the monster again. As the creature tried to grab him & the safety line he'd attached to the support column, he could see the damaged tentacle had not healed properly & was not flailing as well as the others, giving him an opening of sorts to get in close for his own attacks. Nice bit of detail, that!
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Old 18-06-2011, 12:02 PM   #19
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They did state in the programme that the graveyard could've passed through a spacewarp same as they did.
Still very remote chance of meeting it, but, the "cosmic guiding force" thing comes into play.
Also, the monster was in the Probeship so they couldn't take that back.
Besides which, I think Koenig said they didn't actually know that the monster was dead.

Reality is that they would've want to crash as may of the alien ships on the Moon surface. For scrap stuff. Badly needed resources.
And future monster storline in the future as well....

Well, I've havered enough...



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Old 18-06-2011, 12:57 PM   #20
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They did state in the programme that the graveyard could've passed through a spacewarp same as they did.
Still very remote chance of meeting it, but, the "cosmic guiding force" thing comes into play.
Also, the monster was in the Probeship so they couldn't take that back.
Besides which, I think Koenig said they didn't actually know that the monster was dead.
Reality is that they would've want to crash as may of the alien ships on the Moon surface. For scrap stuff. Badly needed resources.
And future monster storline in the future as well....

Well, I've havered enough...
Yes, indeed. The "cosmic guiding force" rules. Cellini had to face his destiny.
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