Ridley Scott Knew About Water on Mars, Almost Worked It Into The Martian
.@MarkHarrisNYC Hey! Those researchers toiled for YEARS in order to time the release of findings in conjunction w/ next big Matt Damon film.— Scott Eric Kaufman (@scottekaufman) September 28, 2015
Of course, NASA didn't actually put off telling the public about this monumental discovery, but they have been withholding the information for at least two months, as they reached out to Ridley Scott this past summer and gave him the opportunity to integrate the discovery into the film.
Unfortunately, two months didn't give him a lot of time to rework the film, and as he explained to The New York Times, he would have had to sacrifice an important sequence in the movie. In the book and the original script, Mark Watney has to toil to make water by creating humidity and capturing water droplets on a plastic tarp, and the presence of liquid water would have made it a little too easy for him. So Scott almost re-shot the scene, but ultimately decided not to.
Integrating the discovery into the film would have been exciting and timely, but foregoing the change may have been the right decision. From what we know about the film, a major theme is the triumph of the human spirit, which is undercut a little if he just happens to find water.
The Martian hits theaters this weekend, starting on October 2.