Filmmaker George A. Romero was brought in with a vision of a zombie-style horror film similar to Night of the Living Dead, but which also relied heavily upon elements of tragic romance and ambivalence of identity. Romero completed a draft in October 1994, co-written with Ormsby and Sayles, that revolved around female archaeologist Helen Grover and her discovery of the tomb of Imhotep, an Egyptian general who lived in the time of Ramesses II. Unfolding in a nameless American city in modern times, events are set into motion when Imhotep inadvertently awakens as a result of his preserved cadaver having been exposed to rays from an MRI scan in a high-tech forensic archaeology lab. The script progresses to a fish-out-of-water story when Imhotep, having regained his youthful appearance, recognizes the need to adapt to a contemporary society that is three thousand years removed from the one he came from. Assuming at first that he is a representative from the Bureau of Antiquities, Helen finds herself drawn into a tentative relationship with Imhotep while also experiencing clairvoyant flashbacks to a previous life in the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt as a priestess of Isis. Summoning mystical powers through incantation, Imhotep later resurrects the mummy of Karis, a loyal slave whose body had been resting alongside his master's in the same tomb but is now held in the local museum. After escaping into the city sewer system, Karis embarks on a vengeful rampage against the various criminal fences and high society antiquarians who had acquired stolen relics from his tomb. Romero's script was considered too dark and violent by Jacks and the studio, who wanted a more accessible picture. Romero was unable to extricate himself from another contract he had in negotiation with MGM, and so his involvement with the film was severed and the development of an entirely new script was commissioned.