Star Trek Phase II: The Series That Never Happened

After the cancellation of Star Trek: The Original Series, bringing the crew back to our screens was a long a…

Brian Chapman

Contributor

Star_Trek-The-Original-Series

After the cancellation of Star Trek: The Original Series, bringing the crew back to our screens was a long a torrid affair that took over a decade. Sure, we had the Animated Series in the early 70’s, but the fans wanted live action, and they made this well known at the conventions around that period.

The immediate thought was to bring the show to the big screen – movies! So Gene Roddenberry teamed up with Paramount Pictures and began to work on his script, tentatively titled Star Trek: The God Thing. Now I don’t know what it is with Roddenberry, but for some reason he always seemed to go back to religion, and he tried to do it once more. Paramount didn’t like it and so they ended up shopping around for other scripts.

After a run in with a famous writer and a studio executive who was obsessed with the Maya Culture resulting in the writer refusing to work on it anymore, the producers finally started work on a film called Star Trek: Planet of the Titans. Now if you remember that the first film was called Star Trek: The Motion Picture, you’d figure that wasn’t a good sign. You’re right. It wasn’t.

First Leonard Nimoy wouldn’t come back after they used his face as Spock on a beer advert without his permission. Then it seemed that William Shatner’s contract wouldn’t allow him to come back. Then they released Star Wars.

Why is Star Wars significant? Well, you see it was in two different ways. First back during the early years of trying to get a film off the ground, George Lucas enquired about whether the rights to make a Star Trek film was up for purchase. They turned him down, and he went on to create Star Wars instead. Then when Star Wars was released, the executives in charge of the prospective Star Trek film decided to can it.

Their reason? Because science fiction fans wouldn’t pay to see two science fiction films released within a year or two of each other. Obviously.

With that in mind, in 1977 the Paramount executives turned their minds to bringing Star Trek back to television. This was the near birth of Star Trek: Phase II – the second live action series in the franchise.