Why Joss Whedon Wasn’t Credited For His Writing Work On Speed

Even now, it’s worth shining a light on why Joss Whedon wasn’t ultimately given credit on “Speed,” and it’s fun to take a look at some of the bad ideas that ended up being changed once he came aboard the bus. Current and future screenwriters could benefit from knowing just how the WGA looks at screenwriting credit to explain why Graham Yost received the final credit. Whedon explained to Huff Post:

“It has to do with WGA bylaws. You can come in and rewrite all of the dialogue, and still not get credit. They didn’t think I made big enough changes to the plot. I actually did a lot of overhaul, but much of it was to a later draft, so it went back to what Graham originally had.”

It sounds like the bones were there and the basic plot remained intact. The main villain in “Speed,” played with aplomb by Dennis Hopper, continued the trend set by “Die Hard” of introducing a cunning, more refined antagonist going up against an average joe who seems outsmarted at every turn. Originally, the premise for “Speed” felt almost too much like the plot of “Die Hard” and the script went through a few drafts to distance itself from the Bruce Willis smash-hit. 

The main conceit of “Speed,” where a city bus can’t fall below 50MPH or a bomb will ignite, is undeniably ridiculous. Apparently, Whedon was brought on to add bits of dialogue to help sell the over-the-top concept that somehow, miraculously, actually still holds up as a compelling action film today. 

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