Later this month, Star Trek Beyond will become the 13th Star Trek feature film, but bringing the franchise to the big screen wasn’t always an easy process. In the ’70s, it almost didn’t happen at all. Some of series creator Gene Roddenberry‘s ideas for the initial Trek movie were far wilder than anything in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For starters, one of Roddenberry’s early pitches would have placed Admiral James T. Kirk in conflict with Jesus Christ.
That revelation came from The Hollywood Reporter‘s excerpt from Edward Gross and Mark. A. Altman’s upcoming book, The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek – The First 25 Years. As initially envisioned by Roddenberry, Admiral Kirk and the former crew of the Enterprise would be reunited when an entity heading for Earth claimed to be God. And of course, one of the forms that God would take was the familiar image of Jesus Christ.
Author Michael Jan Friedman was later commissioned to adapt Roddenberry’s treatment for the story into a Star Trek novel called “The God Thing,” and he shared several reasons why that take on the film and even his adaptation of it were ultimately abandoned. “When I read the material, I was dismayed,” said Friedman. “I hadn’t seen other samples of Gene’s unvarnished writing, but what I saw this time could not possibly have been his best work. It was disjointed — scenes didn’t work together, didn’t build toward anything meaningful. Kirk, Spock and McCoy didn’t seem anything like themselves. There was some mildly erotic, midlife-crisis stuff in there that didn’t serve any real purpose. In the climactic scene, Kirk had a fistfight with an alien who had assumed the image of Jesus Christ. So Kirk was slugging it out on the bridge. With Jesus.”
As hilarious as that idea may be in the abstract, it was probably not the right course for the franchise. The excerpt notes that the original ending to this story would have revealed “God” to be a living computer that was exiled from another dimension which would ultimately restore the youth of the original crew and set them back on another five-year mission. Some of those elements resurfaced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and even in Star Trek V, which pit the crew against another entity that claimed to be God.
The entire excerpt can be found here, and it really is quite entertaining. Gross and Altman’s The Fifty-Year Mission will be released on June 28th, and we’re already looking forward to devouring it for more details!
What did you think about Roddenberry’s Kirk vs. Jesus idea? Beam down your thoughts and share them in the comment section below!
Image: Paramount Pictures