How I, The Original Robot Script Connected More With Isaac Asimov

Wired – the storyline that later became I, Robot – originally focused more on short stories by Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics.

When I robot was released in 2004, it received mixed reactions from fans. Some had no problem with it, while others hated the film with a passion. This is due to the fact I robot shares its title with Isaac Asimov’s first Robot series and includes Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics but doesn’t have many similarities to the author’s works beyond that. I robot was accused of not staying true to Asimov’s work, having a cookie-cutter plot, and clumsily combining Asimov’s ideas.

What some fans may not know is that I robot originally started as a storyline titled Cablewritten by Jeff Vintar. Cable was more of a murder mystery and was much more in line with Asimov’s Three Laws than I robot. When Cable was acquired by Twentieth Century Fox, Vintar changed the script to serve as a prequel to Asimov’s work on why robots were banned. When Will Smith agreed to participate in the film, the kind of Cable quickly moves from thriller to action movie.

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Many Asimov fans were disappointed when they found out that the film adaptation of I robot was an action movie instead of a deeper discussion of the Three Laws of Robotics. With so few similarities to the source material, viewers began to wonder why it had to be related to Asimov’s work. After tracing the origins of I robot movie, it becomes apparent that the result was a watered down version of a much better concept. Vintar also revealed in a 2004 interview with Screenwriter’s Utopia that Del Spooner was originally the only human character in Cable and that the link between Cable and I robot was not realized until Twentieth Century Fox purchased the rights to Asimov’s short story collection after acquiring Cable.

These revelations raise the question of what I robot would have been as if it had stayed true to Cablefrom the original plot and starred in Asimov’s short stories. Asimov’s work focuses more on the moral implications of technology and shows robots programmed ethically. Although it is stated in the I robot film, the short stories go into more detail without showing any action or violence in their plots. One story even discusses the implication of potentially having a robot politician and how robots could control economic systems, which is a much deeper plot than shown in the I robot movie.

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The Three Laws of Robotics are further explored in the I robot stories too. The first law – that a robot must not harm a human or allow a human to harm itself – conflicts with the second law – that a robot must obey any instruction given to it by a human – in Liar! when a telepathic robot ends up shutting down because it was telling flattering lies to protect humans’ feelings instead of the truth and disobeying orders while doing so. There are several other I robot stories that feature the Three Laws in conflict with each other, as well as the interactions of robots with human beings. Although the film explores these three laws, it does not stay true to the spirit of the original stories.

Despite its flaws, some fans still appreciate I robot like a summer hit movie. However, much has undeniably changed since CableThe original concept and plot changes made by Twentieth Century Fox and director Alex Proyas took the film away from the source material. I robot might be a fun action movie, but it’s definitely not a faithful adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s work.

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