Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part VII)

They wanted a dark and violent Star Trek.

Star Trek: The Beginning

If these projects have taught people anything, it’s that Paramount really desired a violent, dark Star Trek. Before J.J. Abrams came on the scene with his rebooted franchise, Paramount was thinking about developing Star Trek: The Beginning, a film set in the prime universe, along with 9/11 and Holocaust parables.

The start took place in the Earth-Romulan War, years before Spock and Kirk blasted off. The Romulans did a huge sneak attack on Earth, asking all Vulcans to be turned over to Romulan extermination camps. Similar to the Nazis. The United Federation of Planets dispatches Tiberius Chase, an ancestor to Kirk and a hotshot pilot and ancestor to Kirk, out on a fight against the Romulan fleet.

The script sounds okay enough, but it had some crazy elements. For instance, Tiberius’s family is a group of xenophobes living in Antarctica, basically snow racists. Also, Paramount decided to play up the World War II tone, complete with the noticeable Holocaust parallels. With Tiberius leading a guerrilla war against the Romulans, it seems like this was a mixture of Star Trek and Inglorious Bastards, which really sounds amazing. 

However, Paramount decided The Beginning was just too dark. Basically, they desired dark until they got dark, then they ran like girls toward the security of old characters. Fans will never see Tiberius Chase get into the business of killing Romulans.

False Truth

Most Star Trek fans believe TNG (The Next Generation) began from scratch, with a collection of new characters totally different from the classic series. Yes, several of the characters on TNG were new, such as the British, bald captain and the large Klingon who was a prune juice lover. Though, there were a couple of key characters (with less original roots) put together with thrown away parts from earlier projects.

 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part VI)

Star Trek was updated for the new audience. 

Star Trek: Federation

When Star Trek: Enterprise got cut in 2005, Star Trek looked dead on TV. Enterprise lost viewers during its run. After the film Nemesis got devoured in the box office, Paramount and CBS were looking for anything to get viewers interested again in the franchise.

This is where Bryan Singer comes in. The acclaimed director was hot off his success with the X-Men franchise and turned his eyes to the stars. He desired to update Star Trek for the new TV audience, letting the show have a darker tone and long serialized arcs. His idea, Star Trek: Federation, was one of the boldest Star Trek ideas ever. 

New Enterprise

Taking place in the year 3000, Federation had a United Federation of Planets that had a Klingon empire turning into a mystical religious order, a crew that had become content and stopped exploring, and the Ferengi was the dominant galactic superpower. In this peaceful future, the galaxy is confronted by a new enemy from a mysterious space named The Scourge. A new Enterprise, led by James Kirk’s descendant, Alexander, is sent out to halt the threat from terminating the fragile peace of the galaxy.

Federation had all the whistles and bells of Star Trek: new ships, new aliens, and incredible writers signing on-board. But J.J. Abrams killed it, as his ideas for a rebooted film franchise won over the executives. Thus, Singer and the company dropped their idea before officially pitching it. Too bad. 

A Comeback

Before Star Trek made its way to the big screen, there was a notion of bringing it back to television. Tests were even done in 1977 for the project, called Star Trek: Phase II. Actors cast. Sets were built. Scripts are written. But when the big shots decided it would work better as a film, the project was ditched.

Well, repurposed. In fact, a few of the characters would be in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, such as Commander Decker and the exotic alien Ilia. 

 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part V)

 

Star Trek: Phase II

After the disaster of Planet of Titans, Paramount regrouped with a new Star Trek idea. This time the focus was on getting the show back on television. Paramount intended on launching a completely new network around the series, confident that Phase II would be a hit.

Right from the beginning, Paramount decided to give the show the budget it never had, with new spaceships, extravagant sets, and cool uniforms. Thirteen episodes got written by some of the top sci-fi writers telling exhilarating stories of space civilizations, robots, and time travel. It was the perfect get-together for the characters we loved, and lots of new characters to fall for too.

Well, um, the issue was with the old cast. Shatner, being the Shatner everyone knew, asked for a big paycheck. His fee was so high, Paramount didn’t know if they could manage to pay for him for a whole series. They developed a new character, Captain Will Decker, that could strangely replace Kirk if Shatner got too greedy. 

At the same time, Leonard Nimoy just didn’t know if he wanted to do Trek anymore. So, a 2nd Vulcan science officer was developed just in case.

They made the mistake of making a film instead.

Paramount’s Insane Decision

Phase II was about to go on-screen when Paramount made a foolish decision (that’s their M.O.). Out of nowhere, they chose to make a film instead, even though they had just rescinded their 1st Star Trek movie concept. 

The executives put all the money into the new film, wrecking any dream for Phase II. Lots of characters and elements got reused for what became Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was a production nightmare. To be honest, it’s a wonder Paramount completed any of their Star Trek ideas.

 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part IV)

Star Trek was usually peaceful.

Star Trek: Final Frontier

Since the ’90s, fans have desired to see what the Federation was like years after Picard ran it. CBS never let us see it, choosing instead to disappoint us with the series, Star Trek: Discovery. Maybe Star Trek: Picard will help. Fans almost got what they desired in 2006, though, with Star Trek: Final Frontier.

Instead of a conventional TV show, Final Frontier just a web-only series, with brief animated episodes. But it wasn’t some children’s cartoon show. Final Frontier explored the shady future of the Federation. During a war with the Romulan Empire, years after Next Generation, strange explosions of Omega Particles created big chunks of space difficult to travel via warp, effectively cutting the Federation in half. 

Any person trapped in these regions of space would take years to travel anywhere else, stranding starships in wide nothingness and with viewers not feeling any happiness. No ever. The political uncertainty made the Vulcans leave the Federation, devastated the Andorians, and lets the Romulans occupy the Klingons. That doesn’t seem like the usual peace-loving Star Trek to fans.

Star Trek and Real Issues

CBS wanted to face real issues head-on, developing a show that paralleled the world upheavals after 9/11. They wrote what was essential “Battlestar Galactica meets Star Trek and gets a huge case of the unhappy,” concluded with a run-down and stranded Enterprise. 

CBS ultimately lost interest in the show, which is possible for the better. Most folks don’t want to think about the Twin Towers when they view Star Trek. 

Though, most folks were intrigued. Some people did some digging and found out that the planned storyboards are online, and they’re really, really good. Not a space-Osama on any of them. Hopefully, it stays that way.

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part III) 

Assignment: Earth had nothing to do with Star Trek.

Assignment: Earth

Less than 12 months after Star Trek premiered, it was already in trouble. NBC was warning to cancel the series. Although a large letter-writing campaign by the sci-fi lovers was getting the executives’ attention, Gene Roddenberry was clueless to if his show would survive. He began creating a new show named Assignment: Earth.

At first, Assignment: Earth had nada to do with Star Trek. It was the story of Gary Seven, a time traveler who journeyed to the past to ensure Earth’s history went the way it was supposed to. Journeying with a super-computer, a secretary, and a shape-shifting cat, Seven would combat evil aliens attempting to mess up Earth history. Basically, it was Star Trek combines with Doctor Who, a Comic-Con dream come true3.

The tides ultimately turned for Star Trek, and Roddenberry soon understood he could only get the new show going if it was linked to Star Trek. He reconsidered the idea as a spin-off, making the not so smart decision of using an episode of Star Trek as a launch-off point for the spin-off. 

This ended up being the 2nd season finale of Star Trek, ending the season as just an advertisement for a different TV show, one hardly featuring Kirk and Spock. To make matters worse, NBC passed on the series.

  1. Michael Straczynski’s Star Trek

Back in the ’90s, there were two sci-fi TV shows with a space station in the middle of an interstellar war: J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. JMS tried to sue CBS for how alike DS9 was to his show. When the lawsuit failed, JMS had a crazy notion of joining Star Trek.

It’s an amazing idea, one that would’ve given Star Trek some energy. However, CBS and Paramount felt it was too chancy. Then, 24 months, they changed their minds and signed off on J.J. Abram’s reboot. Who knows what else happened behind the scenes, but it really seems like Star Trek was out to get JMS.

 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part II)

 

Dollar signs were Roddenberry’s vision. 

Star Trek: Planet of Titans

The original Star Trek show ended in 1969, but that didn’t stop fans from falling in love with the show. Syndication put Star Trek reruns on the television, making the show a cultural phenomenon. By 1975, the show was generating so much money in syndication, Paramount purchased the movie rights and contacted Gene Roddenberry about making a movie. With dollar signs in his head, Roddenberry said yes.

Paramount went forward with a film named “Planet of Titans,” but didn’t agree on a single plot or a cohesive script. Most versions were about Kirk getting stranded on an alien world for years. For some reason, his crew just leaves him there, but ultimately Spock stops being a jerk and rescues his captain. 

When the Enterprise shows up, they find Klingons encircling the planet, the enemy race having found this home planet of the Titans. Hijinks occur. In some versions, Spock trips out with a Klingon and discovers the secrets of sex. If that doesn’t make you want to see the film, what does?

The Paramount Problem

Possibly due to the Spock acid trip scenes, Paramount was smitten. Ralph McQuarrie, a concept artist from Star Wars, came on board and drew a redesigned Enterprise. However, in 1977, when all involved were ready for the movie to start, Paramount cut the project. 

Nobody knows why, though it may have had something to do with Star Wars. Paramount realize the funding nightmare George Lucas had and got nervous there wasn’t a market for science fiction. 

Not all the pre-production work was lost, happily. McQuarrie’s concept art got used for Star Trek: Discovery. Eventually, Paramount made Star Trek films. Worse off were the screenwriters. For all their trouble, they only got Star Trek t-shirts. 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part II)

Star Trek fans were thrilled when “Plant of the Titans” was made. 

Star Trek: Planet of Titans

The original Star Trek show ended in 1969, but that didn’t stop fans from falling in love with the show. Syndication put Star Trek reruns on the television, making the show a cultural phenomenon. By 1975, the show was generating so much money in syndication, Paramount purchased the movie rights and contacted Gene Roddenberry about making a movie. With dollar signs in his head, Roddenberry said yes.

Paramount went forward with a film named “Planet of Titans,” but didn’t agree on a single plot or a cohesive script. Most versions were about Kirk getting stranded on an alien world for years. For some reason, his crew just leaves him there, but ultimately Spock stops being a jerk and rescues his captain. 

When the Enterprise shows up, they find Klingons encircling the planet, the enemy race having found this home planet of the Titans. Hijinks occur. In some versions, Spock trips out with a Klingon and discovers the secrets of sex. If that doesn’t make you want to see the film, what does?

The Paramount Problem

Possibly due to the Spock acid trip scenes, Paramount was smitten. Ralph McQuarrie, a concept artist from Star Wars, came on board and drew a redesigned Enterprise. However, in 1977, when all involved were ready for the movie to start, Paramount cut the project. 

Nobody knows why, though it may have had something to do with Star Wars. Paramount realize the funding nightmare George Lucas had and got nervous there wasn’t a market for science fiction. 

Not all the pre-production work was lost, happily. McQuarrie’s concept art got used for Star Trek: Discovery. Eventually, Paramount made Star Trek films. Worse off were the screenwriters. For all their trouble, they only got Star Trek t-shirts. 

 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part I)

 

After 50 years, Star Trek executives and writers have had plenty of ideas, but most get cut before they hit the airwaves. It’s too bad since a lot of them sounded quite interesting. Here are good Star Trek concepts we never got to see.

There was a full-sized enterprise ship in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Enterprise

The Las Vegas Strip has two parts: the trashy side in the city of Las Vegas, and the incredible side in the unincorporated city of Paradise. The Vegas side doesn’t get a lot of tourists. However, this hurts the gambling revenue. Therefore, in 1992, the city came up with an enterprising plan. They would get tourists away from the flashier casinos, with a full-size model of the Starship Enterprise.

Development company Goddard Group got the contract and planned to get started. The Enterprise would be constructed exactly like the fictional specifications of the TV show, sadly leaving out the photon torpedoes and phasers. It would appear as the ship dropped right in the middle of Las Vegas. 

Guests could tour the ship and see good reproductions of the sets from the films and TV shows. Also, with no exterior supports, so the reproduction stays faithful, the ship was a slight engineering miracle, a thing that would have even made Spock proud.

What Happened? 

Ultimately, Paramount killed the project for being too risky. According to Paramount, if they made a bad film, people would forget about it in a year. However, if this tourist trap didn’t work out, it’d be around eternally.

Apparently, Paramount has never heard of demolitions, but that was the end of that. Vegas went with the less-exciting Fremont Street Experience, which is just a goofy tunnel with lights. Millions of Star Trek fans were more upset than when Spock died.

 

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The Geology of Star Trek’s Strange New Worlds (Part III)

Star Trek aired before the first man ever stepped foot on the moon. 

The first episode of Star Trek aired September 8, 1966, three years prior to the 1st manned Moon landing and practically nothing was known about the geology of other planets or moons. Yet, the writers of Star Trek got several things right. Little ice moons are real common and the Jupiter moon is also physically very active, with a surface shielded in sulfuric lava. 

In the episode “The Naked Time,” the Enterprise is circling Psi 2000 to study the disintegration of the planet. The doomed world is totally covered in snow and ice. Geological evidence implies that almost 600 million years ago our planet also briefly became a “snowball Earth.” 

How this occurrence is unknown. The discharge of gases by volcanoes possibly saved the planet and its 1st terrestrial life forms, as the planet warmed because of the greenhouse effect. Way before becoming a snowball, Earth was a lava planet just like in the 3rd season episode “The Savage Curtain.” 

Hadean

In the Hadean, the young planet was still predominantly molten, and the surface enclosed in oceans of lava. As the Earth cooled and a crust developed, the planet’s geological activity got weaker but never totally ceased. The outer crust isn’t a rigid shell, but a mystery of sliding continents and subducting oceanic plates. Plate tectonics is one of Earth’s essential characteristics.

It is important to note that chief medical officer McCoy finds unknown organic molecules in the ice of Psi 2000. Some sort of geological activity is thought to be necessary to accommodate complex life. Hot springs can offer energy and nourishment to simple life forms and tectonic activity, such as mountain building, can aid evolution, as the life forms has to adjust to the changing environment.

Could life really exist on such planets?  

It’s not known yet. One of the top achievements of Star Trek has been to present both intriguing scientific and ethical questions. With any luck, any questions will be answered by the future generations.

 

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The Geology of Star Trek’s Strange New Worlds (Part II)

Stars can also be clues.

Realizing the mass, it is possible to gage the gravitational force on the planet’s surface and decide if it can hold an atmosphere. The distance and sort of star in the alien star system can offer clues about the temps found on the planetary surface. New advanced observation methods made it conceivable, in some cases, to watch the atmosphere of an exoplanet and classify the chemical composition.

Yet, there’s no commonly accepted classification system for exoplanets. Names such as Hot-Jupiters and Super-Earths are frequently used. Though, numerous astronomers complain that such names signify certain properties of the planets we don’t know. 

In the 2011 published paper Taxonomy, the following planet classification system was suggested:

Class F: Planets of the “freezing class” – covered by snow and ice.

Class W: Planets of the “water class” – like Earth, circling a star in the habitable zone in which temps let liquid water to exist.

Class G: The “gaseous class” – too hot for liquid or solid water to exist, but ultimately the planet has an atmosphere.

Class R: The orbit of a “roasters class” planet – around its host star is very narrow, resulting in planetary surface temp is extreme enough to melt rocks.

Class P: “Pulsar class” – planets orbit the distorted remains of a star and are continuously bombarded by high radiation and exposed to sturdy magnetic fields.

Geophysical Classification with Composition Codes

Another method told in the paper “Geophysical Classification of Planets, Dwarf Planets, and Moons: A Mass Scale and Composition Codes” utilizes composition codes, such as G for Gas Planetary bodies, R for Rocky Planetary Bodies, and I for Icy Planetary Bodies. 

As a planet can have a big core of iron or be made up of nearly completely of silicate minerals, a tinier moon can be comprised of rock and ice.  

 

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