The original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still deliberately left audiences with many questions. Does Klaatu return to Earth? Does humanity prove itself worthy of survival? In 1981, Fox commissioned science fiction author Ray Bradbury to pen a sequel to the film. But Bradbury's script never made it to the silver screen - perhaps because it minimizes the roles of the robot and his alien master, trades Klaatu’s message of peace for a lesson on solar power, and features a Christmas love story.
Bradbury’s script outline for The Day the Earth Stood Still II: The Evening of the Second Day opens on Christmas Eve, thirty years after the events of the original film. Chris Atkins, an employee at the Vehicle Assembly Building for the Apollo Mission, witnesses the landing of an alien spacecraft, a sight he half-remembers from his childhood. It is revealed that someone left the spacecraft, and NASA officials are on the lookout for him, her, or it. But Atkins has a vague feeling about the ship, a feeling he describes with a vague bit of dialogue:
Maybe we don't search. Maybe we wait for it to find us.
Why should it do that?
Because — it knows one of us.
Me. I think. I have a hunch.
I hope your hunch is scientific.
And how will your search pay off?
It won't. Get home. It's Christmas Eve.
So Atkins returns to his boarding house, where he suspects one of his fellow boarders of being the alien visitor. First he suspects the cockney reporter, but while he’s trimming the house’s Christmas tree, a young woman hands him the star for the top. She is radiant and beautiful and Atkins falls instantly in love with her. So naturally she’s the alien.
The alien woman takes off and Atkins pursues her. He eventually catches up with her (after opening her ship with the words “Klaatu barada nikto”) and learns that she is Klaata, Klaatu’s daughter. Klaatu has died, but Klaata has traveled to Earth with his body to continue his work.
At first, Atkins is excited by her arrival, and the prospect of a messianic arrival on Christmas Eve turns him poetic:
Time for a Second Annunciation?
She knows what he is speaking about. The knowledge of the Biblical Annunciation is in her glowing face as she turns back to him.
YOUNG WOMAN [Klaata]
What would you like to have announced?
ATKINS looks from her to the world far across the land, past the silent gantries.
That this Christmas morn, we get the grandest gift that man ever got. That something incredible and wonderful is about to happen, that will change us forever and be only for the good!
The mood turns sour when Atkins realizes Klaata has come to judge humanity, as he is sure that humans have failed to carry out Klaatu’s edict to change their ways. But Klaata assures him it isn’t so dire:
You've behaved better than you think. That's why we delayed. You're strange people. You've actually done some things right!
Don’t you know? Must I, from some other world tell you? Thirty years ago people still died from polio, malaria, scarlet fever. You've stopped all that. Your country invented new kinds of wheat and corn. You send food to 90 countries. Immigrants pour into your land, 500 thousand a year. Why are they coming here if you're as bad as you say?
It appears that by judging humanity, Klaata means she’s judging the US. Do the people dying of malaria in Africa not count?
But Klaata tells Atkins that she has come to Earth not as Santa Claus, but as an extraterrestrial Grinch. After demonstrating her awesome ability to unmake matter, she reveals to him her plan:
KLAATA then explains in some detail what their plan, her plan, KLAATU's plan, is. To let the panic grow in little starts and stops, little vanishings, little disappearances, at first unnoticed. Who cares, for instance, if a11 the tiddlewinks in the world vanish on the same day? Or all the collar-stays? Or all the pennies which now burden us and are almost worthless?
Somewhere down the line – OIL.
Where Klaatu warned humanity to abandon its violent ways, Klaata mostly wants us to end our dependence on oil. Before she leaves, she gathers military officials and world leaders to witness a demonstration of solar power, implying that Atkins should help lead them all into an era of alternative energy.
But Klaata isn’t taking any chances. She gives Atkins a list of problems humanity must solve within the next twenty years, or else face certain destruction. She gives him a small cube into which he must feed data from their assignments. Atkins apparently contemplates gaming the cube, but Klaata isn’t having any of it:
No. Don't even think it. You can't fool Gort.
That’s what everyone in the theater would have been thinking had this ever managed to get made. Did they dismantle Gort? Did he have an accident with a trash compactor? Klaata says this is Gort’s heart, but never says whether the rest of his body is lying in wait to enact humanity’s destruction.
Klaata promises her that if Atkins is a good boy and fulfills all of the duties on the list, humanity will be saved and the two of them will be rejoined:
If you have done as you say you will do, grown to fit your promise, given yourselves back to yourselves as a gift, then place this cube, still lit, in your space machine. You wi11 travel faster than Death can follow. This will take you to our world.
Where the angels of the Lord will sing and dance and shout our welcome?
Where I will be waiting.
They share a bittersweet kiss before Klaata departs, leaving Atkins to ponder whether humanity’s salvation or the promise of future alien nookie is a better incentive for solving the energy crisis.