Escape From New York hero
More info i
Credit: AVCO Embassy Pictures

Exclusive: Stills from the lost Escape From New York anime that was never made

Contributed by
Jul 16, 2018, 2:08 PM EDT (Updated)

Despite Snake Plissken's status as one of the most iconic anti-heroes in genre cinema, he hasn't actually had that many adventures. Since his debut in 1981's Escape From New York, he's fronted two movies and some comic spinoffs, but not much else. It says a lot about Kurt Russell's performance and the world director John Carpenter crafted around him that Snake remains so popular to this day, inspiring everything from The Purge franchise to the Metal Gear Solid games.

That said, both Carpenter and Russell have brainstormed numerous Snake Plissken projects over the years. Most of them stalled or came to nothing for various reasons, including an ambitious transmedia project dubbed The Snake Plissken Chronicles that was announced in 2003. The project was intended to flesh out Snake's world even further, and would have included a comic series, video game and anime feature, with Russell returning to voice the character for the latter two.

Snake Anime Script

Following the 2005 passing of Escape producer Debra Hill, who was spearheading the project, the game and anime were quietly canceled, though the comic eventually made it to shelves. A script had been written for the anime – simply dubbed Snake – and a 30-second teaser was produced by famed animation studio Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) that was intended to promote the project but was ultimately never shown following Snake's cancellation.

Snake's co-writer Corey Mitchel is currently promoting his new sci-fi comic Miles From Nowhere and has shared with us some never before seen stills from that unreleased trailer. Snake’s teaser was a moody, dialogue-free piece where the title anti-hero is shown loitering next to a wall when he's captured by a police spotlight. He grins to camera before shooting out the light.

Snak Plissken anime 1

"The anime followed Snake as he is forced by an evil casino owner in New Las Vegas to assassinate the President, who currently resides in Lynchburg, Virginia," he explained. "However, things get messy fast after Snake is smuggled into Lynchburg and quickly becomes entangled in a battle between the rebels and the President's fascist regime."

"While the movie would have been set in 2020 — seven years after the events of Escape From L.A. — it wouldn't have referred to the previous movies in any way because of rights issues. John Carpenter and Debra Hill were also hands-on during development; Hill drew up a list of rules neither Corey nor co-writer William Wilson could break when it came to depicting Snake, and Carpenter helped cut their script down from 125 pages to a lean 80.

Plissken anime 1

The trailer was supposed to have been launched as part of the DVD release for Escape from L.A. but was removed for reasons that Corey couldn't quite recall. The project was canceled soon after. Corey has fond memories of working on the project, especially since it was his first paid writing assignment and he got to work so closely with Carpenter and Hill.

Next week, we talk to Corey about Miles From Nowhere and how it evolved from a TV series with John Carpenter involved to an intense, four-part graphic novel.