Star Trek: Phase II

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For the fanfilm series, see Star Trek: Phase II (fan series).
Star Trek: Phase II
Phase2-enterprise-2.png
The Phase II Enterprise
Created by Gene Roddenberry
Starring William Shatner (planned)
DeForest Kelley (planned)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 13 (planned)
Production
Running time 50 minutes (planned)
Broadcast
Original channel Paramount Television Service
Original airing May 1978 (planned)
Chronology
Preceded by The Animated Series
Followed by The Next Generation

Star Trek: Phase II, also known as Star Trek II', was a planned television series based on the characters of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, which had run from 1966 to 1969. The new series was set to air in early 1978 on a proposed Paramount Television Service (a forerunner to UPN). The series was to follow the adventures of the Enterprise crew on a second five-year mission, and be a continuation of the Star Trek franchise.

Background[edit]

Star Trek: The Original Series was cancelled in 1969 following three seasons on NBC. Afterwards it saw success in broadcast syndication, resulting in conventions being held for the fans of the show. Because of this unexpected revival, Paramount Pictures sought to create a big-screen film out of the series and so set about ordering scripts from writers. The first was by Norman Spinrad, who had previously written the episode "The Doomsday Machine". This treatment was called Star Trek: He Walked Among Us, but after it was re-written into a comedy by Gene Coon, it was shelved.[1] In March 1972, series creator Gene Roddenberry first hinted that the series could return to air, back on NBC.[2]

In May 1975, Roddenberry signed a contract with Paramount for Star Trek: The God Thing, with a budget of $5 million.[3] But Roddenberry's contract was terminated in August of the same year after inviting several writers to pitch story ideas for the film.[3][4] Paramount instead placed Jerry Isenberg in charge of the project as executive producer in July 1976. Chris Bryant and Allan Scott were hired to write a script, which they entitled Star Trek: Planet of the Titans.[5] Bryant and Scott turned in their script on March 1, 1977,[6] which was rejected by Paramount. The duo left the project citing conflicts in the film's scope between Roddenberry and director Philip Kaufman.[6][7][8] Following the release of Star Wars, the film was cancelled on May 9. Kaufman claimed that Paramount attributed this to the idea that science fiction fans wouldn't go see two films released so close together.[6][9]

Conception and abandonment[edit]

On June 17, 1977, Roddenberry announced that Star Trek would be returning to television.[10] He stated that he had a verbal agreement with Paramount to have it incorporated into the Paramount Television Service which was expected to launch in April 1978. He said that "Hopefully it will be even superior" to The Original Series and that casting would including "as many of the old faces as possible, as well as an infusion of new ones".[10] At the time, TOS was being broadcast on 137 stations in the United States in syndication, and it was expected that the new television service would provide a single evening package which could be broadcast by these independent stations as well as the Paramount's recently acquired Hughes Television Network.[10] It was hoped that this station could become the fourth national network in the United States.[11]

Prior to commencing production on the new series, Roddenberry took a two week holiday in order rid him of negative feelings about the way that the production on the feature film had gone. He described his concerns saying that he didn't want to "drag a corpse of anger, defeats and double-crossing behind me" onto the new show.[11] Roddenberry was given complete creative control over the new television project by Paramount, and had been promised by Paramount that it would be able to make it a "first-class effort" with the budget to suit.[11] By August 1977, discussions had been held with the main cast from The Original Series, as well as some of the actors who had played recurring characters. While none had been signed at the time, Roddenberry expressed confidence that they could do so with the exception of Nimoy who had stated that he would not return to television.[11]

At the time, he explained that the relationships between the characters would take time to be built over the course of several episodes and that fan reaction to certain characters and events would define how frequently they would appear. He expressed a hope that production would begin by November 1 and broadcasting would start in the Spring of 1978. He said that the show would continue to cover modern themes in a science fiction way as had the first series, saying that these could include hijacking, nationalism and radicalisation of both individuals and groups.[11] He also wanted to show 23rd century Earth for the first time, and said that this had been the answer to Paramount executives asking him if there had been anything he wanted to do on The Original Series but couldn't. A further change was to be the number of female cast members, as NBC had a requirement of a maximum of one-third, and Roddenberry wanted to have them appear in authority positions.[11]

Pre-production work started, with sets built, several television grade models made (including the Enterprise itself and many of the pilot episode's models), deals made to bring back most of the original series cast, and several actors cast. It was planned to use the original series uniforms. Principal photography had not started, but test footage had been shot. Story writing had proceeded to thirteen scripts, enough for a half-season.

Work on the series came to an end when the proposed Paramount Television Service folded. However, following the success of the science fiction movies Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the planned pilot episode entitled "In Thy Image" was adapted into a theatrical production, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Several minutes of test footage, including a view of a redesigned Engineering Room, costume tests with crew, screen test footage of David Gautreaux as Xon and costume test footage of Persis Khambatta as Ilia, were included in a featurette on the DVD release of the Directors Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Cast and characters[edit]

The series was planned to have included William Shatner and DeForest Kelley reprising their roles as James T. Kirk and Leonard McCoy. Leonard Nimoy declined to return due to a marketing issue over his Spock character, his displeasure over Roddenberry's screening of Star Trek blooper footage at various conventions, and obligations to the play Equus, although early scripts included him. Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov were all to return, with promotions to Lieutenant Commander for Uhura and Sulu, and to Lieutenant for Chekov. Chekov would have been chief of security. The character of Christine Chapel would also return, having become a doctor since the original series, in which she was a nurse. Phase II would also have marked the return of Janice Rand to the Enterprise.

New characters[edit]

The series would have included several new characters, such as Commander Willard "Will" Decker, the Executive Officer, Lieutenant Ilia, and the Vulcan Lieutenant Xon.

Lieutenant Xon[edit]

Phase II screen-test photo of David Gautreaux as Xon

According to the series bible, Xon was to be a full Vulcan, and unlike Spock, fresh out of the Academy at 22. Doctor McCoy was to have been protective about him. The character of Xon did not appear in The Motion Picture, although David Gautreaux had been cast in the role. When Leonard Nimoy finally agreed to reprise Spock, his Vulcan replacement as Science Officer became Commander Sonak, and appeared briefly in the film; after only a few lines of dialogue, he was killed in a transporter accident. This was to preserve Xon, and the actor who had so carefully developed him, for a possible future production. David Gautreaux made a cameo appearance in the movie as a human, Epsilon 9's Commander Branch.[12]

The concept of the brilliant young Vulcan scientist, Xon, almost survived into a later movie. One premise developed as a possible sequel to the first movie included a male Vulcan called Doctor Savik.[13] A variation of that name, Saavik, was later given to a female Vulcan when elements of several premises were combined for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and elements of Xon, such as his search to understand humans, would be transferred later into the character Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Also, the concept of a full-blooded Vulcan dealing with humans is explored with Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager and T'Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise.

The character of Xon was eventually revisited in DC Comics' Star Trek comic book series, in which he was revealed to be Saavik's betrothed. The Star Trek: Phase II fan series also features a Vulcan crew member named Xon, played by young actor Patrick Bell. This is likely the same character originally intended for David Gautreaux.

Commander Willard "Will" Decker[edit]

Decker is established in the show as coming from a long line of Starfleet officers. The early script notes that he was the son of Commodore Matt Decker, who had been featured in "The Doomsday Machine" (an episode of the original television series), and would "command some landing parties", anticipating the TNG situation where the first officer usually took down away teams. The role of Decker remained uncast until after the film project officially began, at which time Stephen Collins was cast.

Lieutenant Ilia[edit]

Phase II screen-test photo of Persis Khambatta as Ilia

Ilia, a Deltan, is established as an empath. Both the Decker and Ilia characters appear in The Motion Picture, although neither of them survive it. The Motion Picture establishes that Decker and Ilia had a pre-existing relationship. Persis Khambatta was cast as Ilia for Phase II and was carried over onto the film. The TNG characters William Riker and Deanna Troi are derived from Decker and Ilia. A number of screen-test shots of Persis Khambatta in Ilia makeup and bald cap were taken (she later shaved her head for the film), as well as footage of costume tests.

Episodes[edit]

Two scripts for the series ("The Child" and "Devil's Due") were rewritten for use in Star Trek: The Next Generation due to a Hollywood writer's strike. "Kitumba" and "The Child" were filmed as episodes of the Star Trek: Phase II fan series.

Several episodes of Star Trek: Phase II were scripted:

Episode Writer Description
"In Thy Image" Alan Dean Foster The two-hour pilot that eventually became Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Alan Dean Foster's story outline was based on a premise written by Gene Roddenberry for Genesis 2, named "Robot's Return". A huge starship crosses the universe looking for its creator on Earth.
"Tomorrow and the Stars" Larry Alexander During a Klingon attack, Kirk orders an emergency beamup and is transported to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and falls in love with a woman living there. The plot is similar to that of the 1980 film The Final Countdown and of the Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" .
"Cassandra" Theodore Sturgeon The Enterprise mediates a dispute between two worlds over "The Monitor", while a clumsy ensign takes care of an infant alien who can foretell the future. Based on the story of Cassandra.
"The Child" Jaron Summers and Jon Povill A being of light impregnates Ilia to experience life as a Deltan. The Enterprise's hull begins to fail as they come across a strange nebula. The idea for this episode was later used as the basis for a Next Generation episode of the same name.
"Deadlock" David Ambrose While searching for a missing starship, the Enterprise is recalled to a Starbase to engage in a strange war game.
"Kitumba" John Meredyth Lucas The Enterprise is sent to the Klingon homeworld to help Ksia, a tutor for the underage Klingon leader, stop his regent from making war on the Federation. This would have been a two-part episode.
"Practice in Waking" Richard Bach The Enterprise comes across a sleeper ship where Decker, Scotty, and Sulu get trapped in a simulation of the 16th century witch burnings.
"The Savage Syndrome" Margaret Armen and Alfred Harris While investigating an ancient starship, the Enterprise is hit with a blinding light which brainwashes the crew, reverting them to savages. A similar situation was featured in episode 15 of Space: 1999 and in the Next Generation episode "Genesis".
"Are Unheard Melodies Sweet?" or "Home" Worley Thorne While searching for a missing starship, the Enterprise comes across a world in need of men. The Next Generation episode "Angel One" and the Voyager episode "Favorite Son" have a similar premise.
"Devil's Due" William Douglas Lansford The Enterprise has a first contact with the planet Neuterra just as a mythical creature, Komether, who was sold the planet in exchange for peace millennia earlier, appears. The idea for this episode was later used as the basis for a Next Generation episode of the same name.
"Lord Bobby's Obsession" Shimon Wincelberg The Enterprise comes across a derelict Klingon Cruiser with one life form aboard - one Lord Bobby from Earth's late 19th century.
"To Attain the All" Norman Spinrad The Enterprise gets caught in a solar system sized logic game where, if you win, you "attain the All", a huge repository of knowledge.
"The War to End All Wars" Arthur Bernard Lewis Derived from part of a discarded script treatment about warring androids on the planet Shadir ("A War to End Wars" by Richard Bach), the Enterprise rescues a female android, Yra, whose planet's successful philosophy of "peace through war" has been corrupted by a leader named Plateous III.

Several writers, including Shimon Wincelberg, Norman Spinrad, Theodore Sturgeon, Margaret Armen, and John Meredyth Lucas had written Star Trek episodes before. Worley Thorne would get story credit on, and wrote the teleplay for, the first season TNG episode "Justice".

Legacy[edit]

Although the series was never filmed and is thus not considered part of the Star Trek canon, several sources, such as the Star Trek Chronology, acknowledge the basic premise of the series, and have Kirk conduct another 5-year mission after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Additionally, as a tribute to this unrealized series, the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages changed its name to Star Trek: Phase II on February 16, 2008. The series will feature design changes from The Original Series to designs planned for Phase II, including a slightly refitted Enterprise and the introduction of Lieutenant Xon.

Although Phase II never made it to television, Paramount would realize its plan almost 20 years later, when Star Trek: Voyager became the first show to be broadcast on its own United Paramount Network, or UPN.

Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series reference book[edit]

A book, Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series (ISBN 0671568396) was published in 1997 by Pocket Books. It was written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and went into detail about the conception of the planned, and later aborted, series, which looked at several aspects of production, from behind-the-series information on the show that almost-but-didn't happen, never-before-seen color artwork, storyboards, blueprints, technical information and photos.

It also contained two full scripts from the planned series: the pre-Star Trek: The Motion Picture version of "In Thy Image" and the pre-The Next Generation version of "The Child."

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Spinrad, Norman (February 24, 2012). "Star Trek – He Walked Among Us". Norman Spinrad at Large. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ Reeves-Stevens (1997): p. 12
  3. ^ a b Reeves-Stevens (1997): p. 16
  4. ^ Reeves-Stevens (1997): p. 17
  5. ^ Gross & Altman (1993): p. 84
  6. ^ a b c Reeves-Stevens (1997): p. 19
  7. ^ Hughes (2008): pp. 21–26
  8. ^ Dillard (1994): p. 64
  9. ^ Gross & Altman (1993): p. 85
  10. ^ a b c "'Star Trek' will be new TV Series". The Free Lance-Star. AP. June 18, 1977. p. 13. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Sackett, Susan (March 1978). "A Conversation with Gene Roddenberry". Starlog (12): 25–29. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ Sackett, Susan (1980). The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-79109-5. 
  13. ^ Asherman, Allan (1982). The Making of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-46182-6. 

References[edit]

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