Remember in Part 1, there was an idea for a sequel to “The Time Machine” that featured going back in time to Atlantis?
And in Part 2, scripts were being developed that would have the Time Traveler rescue his friend Filby from perishing in World War I?
Well, Part 3 brings some of those ideas together, based on five pages of notes that were hand-written by Rod Taylor in the mid- to late-1990s.
Rod’s notes are fragmentary, but we can puzzle out a bit of the story.
What if, Rod muses, we duplicate but improve upon the Time Traveler’s return to the laboratory as depicted in “Time Machine: The Journey Back”? But this time he would go earlier, to 1911, to talk to a newspaper friend and somehow trick Philby out of dying in World War I.
Spoiler alert! That may actually be the end of the movie.
The film would open with Filby giving a lecture to a “pompous scientific gathering of fuddy duddies.” He’s reading from the journal of his friend George, the Time Traveler, as he fights to preserve George’s house as an historic monument. “The property is not for sale,” Filby declares amid jeering, mustachioed audience members. “I believe in my friend.”
But the fuddy duddies don’t believe. They demand proof of time travel! What will convince them? A photograph from the distant past! Maybe Henry VIII. Elizabeth I. Stonehenge.
From there, Rod proposes scenes that would show how the Eloi had progressed after George returned to the future and built a life with Weena. The Morlocks have been vanquished and the Eloi have become artists and craftsmen – kind of “brilliant hippies.” George has taught them with the benefit of “the three books” from the original 1960 movie.
This idyllic existence is shattered when the Morlocks return and kidnap Weena, George and their young son and daughter.
It appears that only George survives. Another scene would show a solemn group of mourners, with George’s narration telling us, “It was over. I felt not like a man, but the empty shell of a man. I had lost my children and now my beloved wife.”
After the funeral, George and an Eloi friend, Acron, travel in time to the distant past. (For this sequel concept, the time machine now has a passenger seat, as Rod mentions at the end of Part 2.)
On one of their first stops, they meet the druids in 1500 BC, but move on at George’s insistence.
Then, it’s on to visit the survivors from the submerging of Atlantis. George and Acron arrive at a white temple (Stonehenge location?). The people of the distant past are giants – gentle web-footed servants who saved the Atlanteans from drowning when Atlantis was engulfed. The Atlanteans are beautiful, tall good guys, Rod writes. He proposes that there is only one villain: a beautiful aristocratic woman perhaps.
Rod’s notes do not describe what happens next, but he writes that Acron will remain in the past to create a statue of the Time Machine and George, wearing the costume of Atlantis.
Then, George changes into his familiar 1890s jacket for the journey in time to get Filby. The idea possibly was to take Filby with him back to Atlantis. As Rod said in a 1994 magazine article, “We’ll go backward in time instead of into the future.”
Rod’s notes also refer to the Great Fire of London. It’s unclear where this would fit into the plot, but his notations are fun.
Rod suggests a location that could be used – the Wig and Pen Club in London. The Wig and Pen was a members-only club, located across from the Royal Courts of Justice, where lawyers and journalists exchanged court gossip. It was built in 1625 and survived the Great Fire in 1666. It’s one of the last standing examples that era. Perfect for a movie about time travel!
Plus, Rod notes, “I was an honorary member.”
As mentioned in Part 2, many people involved in the creation of “Time Machine: The Journey Back” were enthusiastic about going on to produce a full sequel to “The Time Machine.” They included director Clyde Lucas; Rod Taylor and Alan Young; film historian Bob Burns and his wife, Kathy; and screenwriter D.C. Fontana, famed for her work in the Star Trek universe.
Fontana wrote an outline for a sequel, as did Alan Young. Lucas has said that he, Rod and Alan Young continued to meet to discuss story ideas. Rod’s notes are likely a result of those meetings.
As I’ve taken this recent deep dive into Time Machine sequels, I’ve been delighted to find a lot of new-to-me resources. I also have been disappointed by a promising lead.
What I really need is a time machine to go back and ask questions! But until one comes along, I’ll keep digging and hope to unearth more treasures.
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