AF Pilot script

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A friend found this digital copy of the AF pilot script on an old floppy disc he had lying around.

A great deal of planning went into writing a complex story to be told without words.
At the time when the pilot aired, a very common reaction I used to get from viewers was that they enjoyed watching it, but how come I didn't bother to write a story?
The people who made this comment were usually animation fans.
Obviously, the fact that there was no dialogue meant to them that I hadn't done any writing.
I felt it wasn't worth trying to tell them otherwise.

AEON FLUX - (C) Copyright 1990 Peter Chung

AEON FLUX episode 1


Close up on a machine gun spitting bullets wildly. The flashes
of gunfire are drawn as beautiful bursts of light and color.
Aeon Flux stands gracefully atop a concrete wall firing away at
the oncoming Breens whose own relentless shower of bullets
whizzes past her, missing by bare inches, but never connecting.
The Breen gunmen are hit and fall dead with unerring regularity
on every spurt of gunfire from Aeon. We never see blood spew
from their wounds; they twist and jerk almost comically as
they're hit, then simply collapse.

When she's had enough of this game, she jumps down on the
opposite side of the wall and runs into the great sprawling
concrete and steel fortress which seems to have no boundaries. A
series of Breen guards and killers attack her from behind every
corner with an endless variety of strange weapons; with her
superior agility, skill and firepower, Aeon easily prevails. She
is impervious to harm. Heroic theme music swells up periodically
throughout, perhaps clumsily at times.

Aeon enters a huge, high-ceilinged room that's completely empty
and brightly lit. The room has two doors, each on opposing
walls. She starts walking across the room, but suddenly stops as
she hears approaching footsteps from the door for which she was
heading. She turns back toward the door she came from, but
footsteps approach from that side as well. As she's exactly
halfway between the two doors, she retreats as far away from
both of them as she can, toward the center of one of the doorless
walls. When she reaches it, she notices a narrow catwalk built
into the top of the wall, a hundred feet up. The two ends of the
catwalk disappear into openings in the corners at either end of
the room.

Aeon fires her gun into one of the openings to see if the way is
clear. After a beat, a lone Breen guard cautiously appears on
the causeway, gun drawn. He looks down and sees Aeon directly
below. Just as he starts shooting down at her, the two ground
level doors slowly swing open at opposite sides of the room and
more Breens start stepping in. Aeon pulls her grappling-hook gun
from her belt. She aims and fires it at the guard above her.
The hook shoots through the catwalk rails and hits him in the
chest. He grabs it to pull it free, but he's immediately riddled
by Aeon's machine gun fire and topples over the railing with the
hook still in him. As he falls, his weight pulls Aeon, attached
to the other end of the rope by her belt, up off the floor and
above the heads of the oncoming Breens. As she's hoisted away,
rising majestically, she faces her attackers with a machine gun
in each hand, blazing nonstop, slaughtering them right and left.
Heroic music almost drowns out the already deafening gun bursts.

By chance, a stray Breen bullet hits the rope, severing it, but
Aeon's near enough to the catwalk that she grasps it with a
blindingly quick overhand arm maneuver and acrobatically flips
herself up onto it. The Breens hopelessly shoot after her, but
she quickly disappears into one of the openings.

Aeon follows the walkway into a dark and very narrow, but
vertically elongated corridor the walls of which seem to rise up
to infinity. A dim, flickering blue light emanates from a spot
in one of the walls very high up, accompanied by the faint
strains of lilting lounge music. She appears to recognize where
she is and pulls out a blueprint of the fortress from a pocket.
She traces a line with her finger of her passage thus far.
Clipped to the blueprint is a photo of a group of men at a
bizarre museum exhibit. One distinguished looking man in the
foreground has a red circle drawn around his face. She looks
back up at the flickering light as she replaces her blueprint.
Without warning, the corridor lights up and the sound of running
footsteps approaches from one end. Aeon turns and runs in the
opposite direction.

After a series of twists and bends in the corridor, Aeon ends up
at the edge of a steep concrete cliff, facing a fifty meter gap
and a cliff on the opposite side which leads deeper into the
fortress' center.

Within the gap, hangs a swing consisting simply of a narrow
platform suspended by thin wires which seem to disappear, like
the walls, upward into infinity. The swing sways back and forth
between the two cliffs in an erratic rhythm impossible to
decipher, and does so far away enough from the edge of the cliff
that Aeon would have to make a daring leap just to get on.

The cliff on the far side is both at a higher level and farther
from the swing's central axis than the cliff where Aeon now
stands, so that once on the swing, she would need to increase its
momentum considerably to cross the gap.

Aeon hesitates repeatedly, allowing the swing to come and go
while the sound of approaching Breens grows ever louder. She
makes a wild leap and manages to get a grip on a wire to pull
herself up onto the swing's platform.

She bends her legs deep to push her weight into the forward arc,
then stretches to pull the swing back as she builds up her
momentum. Electrical sparks start to light up the wires Aeon
grips in her gloved hands, as if the swinging motion were
generating electricity. The faster she swings and the wider her
arc gets, the stronger the current through the wires flows, until
it crackles with enough violence to force Aeon to jump back off
onto the cliff where she started.

Clearly, swinging with the momentum needed to reach the opposite
cliff would be lethal. Aeon shakes her smoking hands to revive
them from their shock while following the swaying platform with
her eyes to try again. She jumps, this time grabbing onto the
platform instead of the wires.

Hanging from the swing as from a trapeze, she quickly attains the
necessary momentum. Ferocious bolts of electricity crackle along
the wires without harm to Aeon. But from this lower body
position, it is impossible to jump up onto the far cliff. In
fact, due to the precise design of the swing's arc, when the
swing is forced far enough to reach the far cliff, the platform
runs straight into the higher wall of the gap's far side. A
person standing atop the platform would easily hop off onto the
opposite side, but anyone hanging from the platform would only
slam into the cliff wall.

Aeon can't help but be a little amused by this farce and betrays
it with an exasperated smile. She quickly moves her body against
the flow of the swing to slow it down.

With Breens starting to appear at the cliff behind her, she looks
down below into the vague darkness where no floor is visible.
Hanging from the swing with one hand, she draws a gun from her
belt and fires a single shot straight down. She sees a dim spark
of impact and judges it against its delayed sound. She lifts her
head up and studies the length of one of the wires which support
her. She aims her gun at a point high along the wire, pauses,
aims a little higher, and fires. The wire breaks, releasing the
swing from its horizontal position, while the loose end drops
smoothly toward the distant bottom to form a straight line down.

Breens arrive at the edge of the cliff unable to reach the now
static swing and fire their guns at Aeon who slides down the wire
head-first, using her steel-tipped boots to control her descent.
At least one of the Breens makes a mad suicide leap to try to
strike Aeon with his own plummeting body, but she easily avoids

A light comes on from the floor below and more Breens come into
view firing away at Aeon diving down at them, her own guns
blazing. As sparks fly in the friction between boots and wire,
the familiar heroic theme music urges us to cheer her on.

By the time she reaches the bottom, all the Breens who'd been
firing up at her lie dead in big heaps. The end of the wire
she'd shot free hangs above the floor with just the right
distance to allow her to execute a double-axle back layout with a
full twist worthy of a gold medal. She hits the ground running
and rushes straight toward camera, her gunfire flashing nonstop
and finally filling the screen with its blinding light.

AEON FLUX episode 2

DYING MAN'S P.O.V. - Close-up of what looks like a tiny boat
carrying a cute cartoon insect upon an endless shiny crimson
ocean. The boat's shape slowly splits apart into two illogical
divisions drifting slowly in opposite directions. The two pieces
dissolve into their real forms, a hand and a torn shirt sticking
up out of a vast pool of freshly spilled blood.

An extreme close-up of a man's eye staring wearily across the
brilliant bloody surface. The eyelid droops slowly, then closes
shut. Camera pulls back to reveal the hand and torn shirt of the
previous shot drifting inches before the dead man's face, which
lies sideways, half submerged.

The underground atrium is a huge, cavernous chamber with a strong
industrial aspect, yet is curiously elegant with its massive
concrete columns, vaulted arches, and intricate functional
details. Tall, heaping mounds of hundreds of dead and dying
Breens, as well as countless scattered individual corpses (both
male and female), jut out like islands from the glossy red
surface of an endless ocean of blood which covers the floor from
wall to distant wall. Way off in the background, the tiny but
unmistakable figure of Aeon Flux runs knee-deep in the thick
fluid away from us , pausing occasionally to fire off spurts of
bullets from her machine gun at unseen enemies all around her.
We hear their off-screen cries of agony as they're presumably
struck dead. They drop, making slow, heavy splashes which echo
hauntingly throughout the scene.

These gruesome things are designed and drawn in clean, graphic
shapes and lines with a deliberate avoidance of realism. The
color, composition, and stylization of these images of violent
death are prettified in a disturbing way. The bodies are
pristine, unruffled, and as white as snow (drained of blood).
On the soundtrack we continue to hear the brutally mechanical
rat-tat-tat of Aeon Flux's machine gun fire fading in and out and
the rousing heroic theme music which accompanies it -- both are
treated with heavy reverb and perhaps some distortion to give
them distance.

One of the bodies stirs, then rises up to a sitting position.
It's a young Breen soldier, and he's barely alive. He drags
himself toward another body lying face down in the blood a few
feet away. He hunches over that body, his back facing us, and
turns it over to look at the face. He freezes in that position
for a while, then tilts his own face up to the ceiling so that
his head droops backward, limp. His whole body rises and falls
with each slow, deep breath he takes.

We see him from the front with his neck arched back, breathing
heavily. On the skin of his neck, there are thin green criss-
crossing lines like a network of fine cracks.


AEON FLUX episode 3


At an intricate intersection of several passageways-- including
stairs leading up, others leading down, an elevator, corridors
and a number of mysterious doors-- Aeon Flux slips silently into
view from behind a corner which, at first, doesn't look like a
place a person could appear from. As she steps cautiously out
into the open, the camera trucks horizontally with her so that
the perspective of the walls, doors, and stairs shifts, revealing
new spatial relationships we hadn't inferred from the initial
camera angle. She glances about in each direction to decide
which passage she ought to take next. She presses up against a
wall to be able to look through an opening set in an inaccessible

Through the small opening, she sees two pairs of legs entangled
in a struggle and she hears the sounds of two men fighting. She
approaches closer and finds a way of getting to them.

She climbs over a few architectural obstacles, peers around a
column and finds herself in a low-ceilinged but expansive hall.
In the center of the hall, a big, athletic man in dark glasses
and a tight black leotard (like a Batman costume without the
hooded cape) clutches a metal briefcase while wrestling with an
equally big, muscular Breen officer. Their clothes are torn and
they seem tired as if they've been fighting a long time. Scattered
all around them lie several dead men, half of them in the black
leotards, the other half in Breen uniforms. Alongside the bodies
are various kinds of guns and, strewn across the floor, countless
empty bullet shells. Dents, cracks, and bullet holes pockmark
the floor and walls. Aeon stays hidden and just watches the men

The Breen punches the man in black (the spy), dazing him enough
to snatch the briefcase away from him. He starts running away
with it, but the spy soon recovers and tackles him to the ground.
The briefcase falls out of the Breen's arms and the spy picks it
up. They go on struggling on the floor. All this action is
presented from Aeon's P.O.V..

Cut back to Aeon, now ready to jump in.

When the briefcase falls loose on the floor again, she runs in
and snatches it up. The two men, startled, stop fighting and
turn toward her. They both stare at her in wild-eyed anger. The
man in black emits a battle cry, flexes his muscles
impressively,waves his arms in a martial arts attack gesture, and
rushes at her. Aeon draws her machine gun from her belt and
shoots him about a hundred times. The Breen officer bursts into
uncontrollable fits of laughter as if he'd never seen anything so
funny. Aeon walks up to him and kicks him in the face to shut
him up. She turns away shaking her head in disgust. She sees a
stairway leading up at the end of the hall and runs for it, the
briefcase under her arm.

The Breen officer recovers from the kick, massages his sore neck,
and stands up. He looks around at the men lying dead on the
floor. We see a series of close-ups of their skin-- arms, hands,
faces and necks-- all are marked with very fine green criss-
crossing lines just beneath the surface, giving them the appear-
of being cracked. He looks at his own forearms and sees the
green lines appearing on his own skin. He picks up a pistol from
the floor and removes the empty clip. He finds a single unspent
bullet on the belt of one of the bodies and loads it into the
gun. He runs off in the direction Aeon went.

Aeon has reached the end of another passageway. The path she
followed slopes up, then levels off at a small landing bound on
two sides by thick armored doors with complicated locks, and on a
third by a huge rotating fan. She looks, frustrated, at the two
impenetrable doors, then through the fan blades. Just behind the
fan is a second fan rotating in the same direction, but at a
slightly faster speed.

Beyond the second fan is a ledge which runs along the outside
wall of the fortress. The ledge leads into a dark opening in the
side of another wall which rises seemingly into infinity as it
dissolves into the black sky above. At the topmost point visible
by Aeon from her vantage point behind the twin fans, she sees a
window emitting a flickering blue light-- her target.

It's impossible to cross through the fan blades as long as
they're turning, especially carrying a briefcase. Aeon kneels to
the floor and opens the briefcase. She's surprised to find
nothing but an opaque white plastic bottle very snugly protected
by a foam rubber lining which fills the briefcase. She removes
the bottle, opens the wide cap, and looks inside. She sniffs it
cautiously. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices a movement.
From the landing, Aeon can see in the distance behind her, down
at the bottom of the slope, the Breen officer coming after her
with his gun drawn.

Cut closer to the Breen. He walks weakly, rubbing his chest as
if troubled by some deep internal pain. The green lines on his
arms and neck are more prominent now. From his point of view,
Aeon ducks out of sight behind the edge of the landing. As far
as he knows, she hasn't seen him approach. He creeps up on his
belly to catch her from behind.

Cut back to Aeon. She carelessly swings the open bottle in a
downward stroke, splattering the purple fluid it contained all
over the wall and floor. She pulls the pin from one of her
grenades (taken from a pocket) and drops it into the wide mouthed
bottle, and twists the cap shut. The Breen officer reaches the
top of the slope and aims his gun squarely at Aeon's back. He
has a clear shot, but his hand wavers from the pain in his body.
He fires and misses. Aeon turns around and tosses the bottle
over his head. It rolls down the slope to the bottom. The Breen
turns and slides back down to go after it.

At the bottom, just as he's an arm's length away from the bottle,
he collapses suddenly, shivering with imminent death. Close up
on his face, with the bottle just inches away. There are droplets
of purple liquid on the floor where the bottle landed and rolled.
He stretches out his tongue desperately to try licking them, but
he's paralyzed by the disease which grips his entire body now.

We see the bottle lying on the floor. Our vision is blurred by
deliriously dancing semitransparent hexagonal spots. The dancing
spots become denser and denser as they slow down to a barely
perceptible crawl. We hear voices-- distant and muffled behind a
thickening wall of white noise-- children's voices chanting in
some incomprehensible language. We see the bottle, a vague
blurry vision of it, slowly begin to expand as if being inflated
like a rubber ball in ultra slow motion. It dissolves into a
fish, a big helpless fish that swells inexorably as it lies on
the dry, cold concrete floor, just waiting to explode. Tears
fall from the fish's eye, and its gills and scales open from the
swelling. For two subliminal flash-frames, we see the bottle in
mid-explosion (like in a high speed photo), the screen goes to
black and a thunderous explosion booms.

AEON FLUX episode 4

Open on a close-up of the metal briefcase unfolded with the two
halves open flat at 180 degrees laid across the space between the
twin giant fans, wedged tightly under the tips of the fan blades
to keep them from turning. The briefcase starts to be scraped
loose by the force which drives the fans. Abruptly, it gives,
and is mangled by the rapid rotation of the blades. Camera pans
along the ledge running past the fan on the outside wall of the
fortress. We see Aeon Flux creeping along the ledge, headed for
the dark hole in the side of the wall perpendicular to the wall
with the fan. She enters the hole and disappears; the camera
tilts up the height of the wall she's entered, and rests on the
lone window at the top from which flickers the blue light and
from which we once again hear the strains of lilting lounge

In a wide corridor, Aeon appears from around a corner and steps
up to a large elevator door. She presses the "up" button. She
checks her blueprint again and scrutinizes the photo of the man
with the face circled in red. When the elevator doors open, she
draws her gun and points it inside, ready for any possible
threat. The elevator is empty; she steps into it; the doors

The interior is L-shaped. There are two doors: the one from
which Aeon entered, and one on the opposite end of the elevator,
around the 90 degree bend in the center. Each door isn't visible
from the position of the other. Also, it is furnished like
somebody's living room. A couch, armchairs, and a low table are
built sunken into the carpeted floor; shelves and decorations are
built into the walls.

After rising only two floors, the elevator stops, a bell rings,
and the doors start to open. Aeon quickly jumps behind a chair
and crouches on the floor. A man dressed in a black suit and an
elegant looking woman in a Breen uniform enter. He notices that
the button for the top floor is already lit, but pushes it
anyway. The woman doesn't notice. The moment the doors reclose,
she takes his arm in hers and they sit down on the couch. The
man is Trevor Goodchild (while his identity is never explained,
he conducts himself with the bearing of an important leader--
perhaps a politician or a powerful businessman).

Trevor leans closer to the woman and tenderly nibbles on her ear-
lobe. As he does so, he catches sight of Aeon crouching behind
the chair, looking up at him. She frowns and stretches her head
out toward him defiantly. Trevor continues nibbling and stares
back, narrowing his eyes to tense slits while the Breen woman
moans in pleasure. Aeon eases her expression, then gently runs
her tongue slowly along her upper lip.

The elevator bell rings again. Aeon crouches back out of sight.
Trevor and the woman don't stir from their embrace. The doors
open. From the door on Trevor's side, a small squad of Breens
enters. Aeon skillfully exits the elevator from the opposite
door without being seen. The Breens fill up the space around
Trevor who still nibbles on the woman's earlobe. No one looks at
anyone else and the doors close.

We watch with Aeon the continuing upward progress of the elevator
as displayed on a lighted indicator on the wall. She's now only
several floors away from the top, and in yet another empty hall.
One side of the hall opens out to a wide mezzanine overlooking a
long drop down to a massive maze of all manner of industrial fix-
tures: ducts, engines, giant fluid tanks, etc. The mezzanine is
partly supported by a series of columns that rise straight
through a number of mezzanines still farther up. One of these
columns intersects with a thick horizontal beam which crosses the
width of the ceiling above. Aeon walks to that column, bends
down to touch the floor at its base, finds a lever built into the
floor, tugs on the lever, and watches as a panel swings open from
the front of the column. The column is a hollow shaft with a
ladder built into its inner wall. Aeon steps inside and starts
climbing up. The front of the column swings shut automatically.

In a clean, white, spacious bathroom, a young man with only a
towel wrapped around his waist kneels on the floor, scrubbing the
back of a young woman with long black hair who sits up in a
sunken tub. On the wall opposite the tub, there are shelves
which hold about a dozen plastic bottles like the one which was
in the metal briefcase earlier. Standing over the sink along
that same wall, Trevor Goodchild fills a syringe with the purple
liquid like that which the bottle contained. He is dressed now
in just a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and his black
suit trousers.

Aeon reaches the top of the ladder. The top end of the vertical
shaft ends in the floor of a horizontal tunnel that's very narrow
but tall enough to allow a person to walk through standing up.
The tunnel appears to be designed for use by maintenance workers,
as it is lined with pipes, ducts and wires. Small pieces of
wire, stray nuts and bolts and other such debris occasionally
litter the floor of the tunnel. As Aeon walks down the tunnel,
the sound of the lilting lounge music gradually gets clearer.

She reaches the end of the tunnel, where she finds that another
metal ladder has been built into the wall and leads up to a
hatchdoor in the tunnel's ceiling. Behind her, at about shoulder
height, a bundled cord of wires hangs loosely fastened to the
wall by a small, rusted iron bracket. The bracket is itself held
in place by a single nail driven through one of its two nail
holes. The second nail has come loose and lies on the floor
directly under the bracket. Aeon pivots within the narrow space
to face the ladder. Her right foot steps on the nail on the
floor. She lifts her left foot up onto the bottom rung of the
ladder. The pressure thus exerted on her right foot causes it to
slide back a little. When she lifts it up, we see that the nail
has gotten stuck in the thick rubber heel of her right boot. As
she climbs the ladder, she steps on the narrow rungs using the
balls of her feet. The bottoms of her heels never touch the
rungs and so she never notices the nail.

We are on a flat roof of the Breen fortress, high above the
dark, barren landscape. There are no signs of life outside the
lights blinking on the concrete perimeter. An iron hatch opens
in the foreground and Aeon emerges from it. Perpendicular to this
roof's edge, a wall continues to rise higher by an extra floor.
In that wall is a single window which emits a flickering blue
light. The sound of lilting lounge music is very clear.

Aeon crawls out onto the roof on hands and knees to avoid being
seen by anyone who might be inside the window. As she crawls, we
can see, by her upturned soles, that the nail is still embedded
in her bootheel. She stops just under the window, raises her
head, and looks inside. Cut to reverse angle close-up of Aeon
looking into the flickering blue light.

AEON FLUX episode 5

Episode five is shot entirely as one continuous take with no
cuts. The camera starts at a position looking over Aeon's
shoulder as she observes the action taking place through the win-
dow of the top floor of the fortress. It will then zoom into the
scene, moving inexorably toward a fixed point on the far side of
the room. The zoom will progress on an accelerating curve: slow
at first and faster toward the end. As time passes, we see a
smaller and smaller portion of the room; whereas we start by
being able to see the characters as full figures, by the end of
the scene, the camera's field is so narrow that we see only parts
of them move into and out of frame. Some of the time, the
frame will be empty while sounds of off-screen activity clue us
in on what we are missing visually.

We begin our zoom-in with a wide shot of the entire room. It's a
dimly lit and rather sparsely furnished bedroom. Nonetheless,
those furnishings are lavish if somewhat conservative. In the
center of the room, the Breen woman (seen earlier in the
elevator) sits, dressed in a bathrobe, on a plush recliner which
is connected by an electrical cord to an outlet set in the floor.
The back of the chair undulates slowly, massaging the woman, who
holds a remote control in her hand. It emits a low grinding hum.

She watches a large-screen television which is the source of both
the blue flickering light and the lilting lounge music. On the
screen is a glitzy looking man with big hair playing a grand
piano while abstract shapes move around in the background. The
whole image is keyed in shades of blue.

Off to the right side, and against the farthest wall, there's a
big bed with its covers in disarray on top of which lies the
motionless figure of the man circled in red in Aeon's photo. His
upper body hangs limply down over the front edge of the bed.

On the left side of the scene, a heavy curtain hangs from wall to
wall, obscuring everything which may be behind it.

In the foreground is a kind of bar on wheels on which sits
numerous liquor bottles, a glass dome containing cheese and
crackers, plates, glasses, and utensils.

Off screen from the right, we hear the sound of a door creaking
open, and light spills into the room. We also hear, faintly, the
sound of water splashing and a woman's playful giggling. The
door recloses, cutting off the sounds. Footsteps approach and
Trevor Goodchild enters, looking as he did in the previous
episode. He slips the syringe with the purple fluid into his
trouser pocket while he steps up to the wine cart. The woman in
the chair, meanwhile, doesn't react in any way to Trevor's

He stops in front of the wine cart, facing camera. At this
point, the camera has moved in close enough so that we see him
only from the shoulders down. We still see clearly everything
happening on the large-screen television as well as most of the
undulating woman. He lifts up his left hand which has an
adhesive strip bandage wrapped around its middle finger. With
his right hand, he removes the bandage and discards it onto the
cart. He parts his fingers and we see that he has a half-healed
cut along the distal surface of the skin between the knuckle and
first joint. He extends the little finger of his right hand. Its
nail has been sharpened to a razor-like edge and hardened with a
glossy enamel. He uses it to reopen the miniature wound by
accurately retracing the cut line. No blood appears. He taps
gently on the knuckle with his right hand. A tiny crab-like
creature crawls out of the wound. (The creature looks like a
cross between a crab and a spider-- probably a product of genetic
engineering, and not like any existing species) He drops the
crab into a tall glass. He lifts the left hand up and stretches
the wound to look inside. He picks up a small butter knife and
digs it gingerly into the wound and scoops out a small cluster of
slimy eggs. He takes a cracker from the cart, spreads the eggs
onto it, and lifts it up to his mouth (off screen). We hear the
sound of crunching and chewing. He reaches into his shirt pocket
and pulls out a flat silver container (like a cigarette case).
He flips it open. It's filled with special three-tabbed adhesive
bandages (like the one he peeled off earlier). He attaches one to
his finger and we see that it's designed to fit over the wound

While all of the above is taking place in the foreground, the
program on the television behind him changes to what looks like a
news report. Accordingly, the color of the flickering light
changes from blue to green and the music changes to an urgent,
strumming, newsy sound. In reaction, the Breen woman turns a dial
on her remote control and her chair-massager undulates faster.

On the screen, a stereotypical symbol of the globe appears,
followed by a close-up of a man in suit and tie. He bows his
head in greeting; a graphic emblem of a skull fills the screen;
then it cuts to shots of dead Breen bodies. We recognize them as
the ones killed by Aeon in previous episodes: outside, at the
entrance of the fortress, in the big empty room with the two
doors, at the edge of the cliff, at the bottom of the cliff, in
the underground atrium, etc. The news camera shows only the
upper part of the piles of bodies, and never the blood on the
floor. We get close-ups of the bodies, showing the green criss-
crossing lines under their skin, now quite prominent. A small
group of workers dressed in masks and protective clothing appear
to analyze the bodies. Next, we see Breen civilians, mostly
women and children, crying and consoling each other. Without
narration (there is never any dialogue), a series of graphic
diagrams and medical film clips explains: a simplified healthy
human silhouette is touched by a tiny speck; the speck is
enlarged into a macro-lens image of Trevor's crab-like creature ;
microscopic images show healthy cells being destroyed by viruses;
the healthy human silhouette starts to be filled with green
crisscrossing lines; the human silhouette dies. The screen shows
more shots of the piles of bodies.

During the above montage, the chair's undulating motions grad-
ually intensify, so that, by the end, the woman is bouncing up
and down pretty fast and the grinding noise is quite strong.
Trevor turns around and walks away from camera, toward the woman.
He quickly reaches down and shuts off the massaging action. He
caresses her hair and lifts her head up to face him. She jerks
back with fear, shoving him away. She jumps out of the chair,
but he grabs her arm. She breaks free, he follows her off-screen
to the left, and for a while, the scene is empty. (All of this
action takes place within a very tight frame-- only parts of
heads, shoulders, arms and hands move in and out of the scene--
but with strong enough body language that we can still read what
is happening.) Very urgent, throbbing T.V."news" music continues
playing throughout.

We hear the door off-screen to our right open. Its light spills
into the room. Footsteps approach; a woman with long black hair
and a towel wrapped around her walks through scene from right to
left. After a beat, Trevor re-enters into scene from the left.
He peels away his shirt to reveal a small "O" shaped raised bump
on his shoulder, showing it in the direction of the women. He
reaches out and pulls the robed woman's arm into frame. The
second woman's hand lifts the arm from below at the same time.
He removes her robe and holds her bare shoulder up toward himself
in a firm grip. With his other hand, he brings in the syringe
filled with purple liquid. He gently pierces the skin, then
lowers the arm and needle down out of frame. As the woman is
brought down, her face enters from above, twisted in a wince of
pain. Slowly, we watch as her mouth, for that is all we finally
see, transform from pain to an expression of indestructible

AEON FLUX episode 6

From a high angle, we see Aeon from the front, crouched on her
hands and knees atop a flat concrete roof, leaning out into an
abutting higher wall, spying into the window at the top of the
fortress. The ground below is dark and far away. The camera
slowly pulls back to include the distant horizon, where the first
glow of dawn bathes the lower sky in deep lavender while
transparent wisps of orange clouds brush against the mountaintops.

Her nose is just about pressed against the window. She's staring
intently, frowning, thinking. The throbbing T.V. music and
flickering green light are suddenly cut off. She lowers her head
and closes her eyes. Hold on her sitting still for a quiet
moment. Then, in a series of quick, dynamic cuts, she stretches
her arms, unholsters her machine gun, pulls a fresh clip of ammo
from her belt, holds it in her mouth while she yanks out the old
one and tosses it away, then slides in the full one and gives it
a final slam home with the heel of her hand. She extends her
left foot out and places it on the narrow ledge just below the
window. With her gun held tight and ready against her shoulder,
she swings her right knee off the roof and brings her right foot
down onto the ledge.

The nail which is still embedded in Aeon's boot-heel is driven
deep into her foot.

Aeon's entire body stiffens from the sudden pain. She loses her
balance and falls from the ledge. She makes no sound. No one is
there to see her plummeting through the thin air.

The camera follows Aeon's descent. She's hunched over, grabbing
onto her foot with both hands. Her face is twisted in pain, it
seems, more from the nail in her foot than from her imminent
death. She struggles to pull out the nail.

The fortress looms tall, its height rising beyond the frame.
We're on natural ground, a rocky slope surrounded by low, sparse
vegetation. Between us and the fortress, stand small concrete
bunkers and a few steel-beam towers carrying power lines. Along
the wall of the fortress, the tiny but unmistakable figure of
Aeon Flux drops straight down into scene, then out of view behind
some vague structures. We hear a distant, flat thud.

In an irregularly shaped room that is taller than it is wide, and
divided into several levels containing tight cubicles, six or
seven operators sit at electronic consoles, monitoring and
channeling information which is displayed on a variety of
scanners, scopes, and screens. The interior design and
the appearance of the operators tell us that this is not in the
fortress, and that they are not Breens.

To one side of an operator's equipment, there's a bank of buttons
with numbers on them. One of them, bearing the number AF-6,
lights up in red and blinks with a pulsing alarm sound. The
operator turns to it, rubs his forehead thoughtfully, and shakes
his head slowly.

The camera trucks forward through a cold, gray corridor
constructed of steel beams and panels, much like the interior of
a battleship. We stop at a door bearing the number AF-6. Quick
dissolve to:

The room is tall and narrow, with a loft and a big window at the
end opposite the door. The window looks out over a canyon; out-
side, it is daylight. In one wall, hanging inside an open closet,
we see a large collection of outfits, each identical to the one
worn by Aeon. On the floor, in the corner, lying on shelves, we
see an amazing array of guns, knives, explosives and other
weaponry, as well as electronic gadgets of all kinds. A display
case holds a small collection of medals, trophies, and a curious
variety of exotic artifacts, like mini-treasures gathered from
around the world. On the wall above it, hangs a large national
flag. A high-quality still camera mounted on a tripod stands on
the floor, pointing toward the bed. On the floor beside the bed,
there's a metal storage box. Spilling over the edge of the box
are handcuffs, leather thongs, rope, and a large, fluffy white

The operator reaches for the blinking button, and presses it
firmly. It stops blinking.

A thick steel plate slides down in front of the window, blocking
it off completely. A small nozzle appears from the center of the
ceiling, and as it slowly rotates, it shoots flames on

This is the same shot used earlier when Aeon hit the ground.
Here, the sun still hasn't risen. In the spot where we saw Aeon
land, there's a sudden silent flash of light, and a plume of
smoke rises into the air.

From the edges of the black frame, a glowing outline of Aeon Flux
animates inward, until a full figure of her body fills the
screen. It continues to glow and transform itself into a god-
like being. It opens its eyes and brilliant beams of multicolored
light shoot out from them and illuminate the cosmic void. It
turns toward camera, and as the beams hit us head-on, we see
rapidly-flashing images of strange new worlds within the light.

The camera is close up on a giant, very stylized (part cubist,
part surreal) statue of the man who was circled in red in Aeon's
photo. A laser cutter mounted on the end of a crane arm slices
off the face of the statue, leaving a rather interesting abstract

We pan across endless water and stop at a complex metal structure
which juts straight out of the surface. The clouds swirl, then
form a perfect funnel, which unfurls majestically, revealing the
god-like form of Aeon Flux. She floats down and lights upon the
metal structure. She stretches herself on her back on top of it,
and we see that it's designed to support her in a comfortable
supine posture with her ankles held up in padded braces exposing
the soles of her feet to the sky. While she is lounging back
thus, a pure blue figure of a man rises up out of the ocean,
kneeling on a small platform which carries him like an elevator.
The elevator stops when the man's face reaches the level of
Aeon's feet. His face vaguely resembles that of Trevor
Goodchild, though his coloring and hair are different. He opens
his mouth and extends his tongue, which is tipped with long, soft
fibrils. He tenderly proceeds to lick the upturned soles of Aeon
Flux's feet. She closes her eyes and moans in sexual bliss.

In a very modern aseptic office, several children stand in a line
with their sleeves rolled up, exposing their shoulders. At the
head of the line, a doctor inoculates one of the children with a
syringe filled with purple fluid. On the wall behind them, a
large poster depicts a cartoon of the familiar crab-like creature
with its eyes crossed shut and its tongue hanging out while a
giant cartoon syringe filled with purple liquid impales it.

Hold on a medium shot of the god-like Aeon Flux still enjoying
the attention of the blue man's magical tongue.

Pan across the interior of a small bookstore to a teenaged boy
crouching in front of a low shelf, studying the contents of a
magazine rack. Close-up on the magazine covers as he reaches
down and picks one out. The cover photo is of Aeon Flux, sitting
on her bed, wearing black leather underwear, her bare foot laid
across her knee, tickling the sole with a big, white, fluffy
feather. Her eyes are closed and her face is tense with a look
of sexual bliss.

Cut to a close-up of the store counter, where a young woman puts
down the book she'd been reading and turns to the boy, who enters
and lays the magazine down on the counter. While the woman turns
back around to type into her cash register, the boy hurriedly
lays down two bills, takes the magazine, and walks away.

Extreme close-up on the money shows us that they bear the
portrait of Trevor Goodchild.

Long shot of Aeon having her feet licked. The sky changes
colors; the ocean flows in slow, gentle waves; Aeon's pleasure
and the licking of the blue man's tongue remain eternal.


Peter Chung, Wednesday, 1 November 2017 07:28 (six years ago) link


the late great, Wednesday, 1 November 2017 07:59 (six years ago) link

Wow, thanks for sharing this with us!

Dwayne, Wednesday, 1 November 2017 14:53 (six years ago) link

I've just finished the script and my rewatch of the pilot. It was interesting seeing what was altered. The "swing scene" in particular was probably the biggest change from script to screen. The shot of Aeon blazing her way through large groups of Breen soldiers above her on either side is one of my favourite visuals from the pilot so it's difficult to imagine the pilot without that small moment. But it does lack the extreme swing situation she finds herself in, in the script. Was that intended as an additional layer of parody; mocking fiction where the "heroes" find themselves in very unlikely situations while on a mission?

Dwayne, Wednesday, 1 November 2017 18:44 (six years ago) link

Both the swing scene, which was cut mainly for length, and the large room with two doors with soldiers entering and falling in a pile, are scenes from my dreams. The swing is a dream I used to have as a child, recurring during moments of fever and once under the influence of ether. Ether was used as an anesthetic by my dentist while I was living in Kenya as a child in the 60s. Incredible now to think that they were giving a powerful hallucinogen to young children.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 4 November 2017 04:40 (six years ago) link

Thank you for continuing to post these Peter, I've read them all and would read more if you post.

Are there any unmade Aeon scripts that you're able to release?

J.P. McDevitt, Monday, 13 November 2017 07:10 (six years ago) link

And thank you for reading. I ask my students to read an episode script before I show them the episode, but they generally don't.
Artists who work in animation are often the type who don't like to read.

I'm posting these partly in response to the discussion here about the importance of text to my process.
As you can see, my scripts are very specific and will include descriptions of the visual treatment of individual scenes.
I write them this way to keep me focused on the original intent of each moment. That can get lost during the visualization, which brings up its own set of questions, which can become distractions.

I will try to find the scripts of the second season LTV shorts. I am curious myself to read them again.

Peter Chung, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 21:20 (six years ago) link

I am holding onto all the unmade Aeon material for now. There is still the chance that some day they will get made, so I'd rather they be seen as intended, not read.

Peter Chung, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 21:30 (six years ago) link

Do you see this as one complete 12 hour movie, or is it more appropriate to view it in episodes?

J.P. McDevitt, Saturday, 25 November 2017 06:08 (six years ago) link

*12 minute

(But feel free to bring us six 2-hour episodes in the future!)

J.P. McDevitt, Saturday, 25 November 2017 06:08 (six years ago) link

I planned it with the understanding that the segments would be seen in 2 minute increments. When the 6th episode was finished, the producers of Liquid TV decided to air the final installment in a 12 minute block.
The format requirement was a very valuable limitation and the experience taught me a lot. First was the need to grab the audience's attention right away. Also, I needed to make sure the episodes could stand up to repeated viewings. Liquid TV was an anthology show, which meant that it would be inevitable that viewers would compare and rate the different segments. Their interest would rise and fall depending on how much they liked what they were seeing at every moment. I though a lot about how to hold their interest, which is (as I teach my students) the first skill a director needs to master. It doesn't matter how meaningful your film is in the end if the viewer can't be bothered to watch until the end.
Aeon steps on a nail in episode 4. Two weeks later, in episode 6, she feels its effect. Is it a contrived method for keeping you in suspense? Sure, but it works, and to be honest, everything in an animated film is a contrivance. Just do it in a way to make it seem natural.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 25 November 2017 21:18 (six years ago) link

Some notes on viewing last night, my first in perhaps over 15+ years and likely my first of the "director's cut" if you made any changes to this for the DVD. (Haven't listened to the commentary yet.)

- Really nice DVD set first of all, glad I delayed the gratification of owning it for 11 years. I rented it at the time just for the commentaries.

- Moves much faster than I had in my memory and what I imagined from the screenplay. Especially struck with how little time was spent lingering on any particular shot (specifically the hallucination shots and the foot licking come to mind). Was this completely conscious and desired, or was it partly a time constraint?

- Definitely calls for repeat viewings, for multiple reasons. 1) The plot itself, and the gaps that need to be filled in by the viewer. "Were we witnessing third-hand a long-planned internal government takeover (making Aeon's mission irrelevant)?" 2) Simply taking in dense visual detail that goes by so quickly. 3) "Let's figure out what the bug in the finger and the crackers is all about, and whether it 'means' anything."

- The dying [couple?] had legitimate emotional weight, and that isn't something I ever got from this when I watched as a teenager or read the screenplay.

- While I understood from the screenplay that the purple stuff in the briefcase was the antidote, I don't think I would have put that together otherwise on just one viewing.

When I talk about wanting to fill in the plot or examine visual detail, is that part of what you feel good about for encouraging multiple viewings, or would repeated viewings ideally (for you) be more about "meaning" or something else?

Do you think that pausing or skipping around is okay, or do you feel the work should be viewed as a linear motion picture the way you constructed it every time?

J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 26 November 2017 05:39 (six years ago) link

Watching "War" as the first episode of the new season (which it wasn't according to Wikipedia's airing order, but is listed first on the DVD) was nice because it made it feel like a purposeful subversion of season 1, in addition to action movies and most stories in general. Aeon is once again mowing down thousands, and is put into a tight spot that of course she'll escape. But nope - she's done, much earlier in the narrative than we thought was possible. I wonder if it was initially intended as S2E1 and/or if the DVD ordering was intentional?

J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 26 November 2017 11:08 (six years ago) link

In scriptwriting there's a rule of thumb that X pages of text translates to Y minutes of screen time. Does that hold true for something like AF? The script doesn't seem to have many directions in terms of timing -- is that decided on during the storyboard process?

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 26 November 2017 16:53 (six years ago) link

"War" killing off Aeon right away btw reminds me of Lynch's smashed television at the beginning of Fire Walk With Me.

J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 26 November 2017 23:14 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

Something that I found interesting about the pilot is that Aeon isn't a total free agent. Instead she's working as part of a paramilitary organization, which has handlers that push the button on their fallen operatives (and their bedrooms, apparently) to cover their tracks.

If the first two parts of the pilot are about how TV depicts violence, it seems to me that the later parts have a lot to say about sex. Towards the end, we see this boy who looks about 13-14 buying the magazine with Aeon on the cover, from what looks like a whole row of niche fetish magazines (Foozwak = food play?). I always thought that was... pretty f'ing weird. And though the scene communicates plot-related information (Aeon is into feet, Trevor's successful enough to get his face on the money), I've wondered if there isn't more going on here.

If the pilot had to be done "fetishy" because you couldn't show someone going down on Aeon in a TV show, that's in itself an interesting comment on what is and isn't allowed on TV. In Saturday morning cartoons, foot tickling is often used as a metaphor for sex; and while I'm not personally aroused by feet, I've heard of people acquiring a foot fetish from the cartoons they watched as a kid (so much for not corrupting youth). If we think of fetishes as a sublimation of sexuality, then Mr. Blue Vein supplicating himself before Aeon makes a certain kind of sense. And if Aeon is using fetish shoots to fund her espionage, this seems like a handy metaphor for slipping "objectionable" material into the mainstream media. I'm not saying the pilot is definitively about TV Standards & Practices, but that's what jumps out at me.

Blair Gilbreath, Friday, 22 February 2019 20:53 (five years ago) link

That, and the blue guy as a Trevor-substitute.

Blair Gilbreath, Friday, 22 February 2019 21:43 (five years ago) link

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