The Star (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Scene from The Star
|Directed by||Gerd Oswald|
Alan Brennert |
(Based on the short story "The Star", by Arthur C. Clarke. The story was first published in Infinity Science Fiction November 1955.)
|Original air date||December 20, 1985|
On an interstellar journey in the future a medical doctor and a priest debate about the existence of God in the wonders of the universe. Dr. Chandler (Donald Moffat) believes the universe to be random patterns but Father Matthew Costigan (Fritz Weaver)—also an astrophysicist—believes it's God's grand design. While having their friendly debate their ship picks up a subspace signal from a long-dead world. Father Matthew claims it is impossible that a civilization could have survived its star going supernova.
Upon landing on the now-dead planet, the explorers discover that it holds the last remains of a race which was destroyed when the supernova hit. Their civilization was quite advanced and they find remnants of art and other pieces of their culture. A computer record shows that they had one thousand years of peace before their extinction. The captain requests Father Matthew to determine when the star went supernova. He calculates that the star exploded in the year 3120 B.C.
To his dismay, however, Father Matthew realizes that it would have taken 3120 years for the light from this explosion to reach Earth in the Eastern Hemisphere. This star was the same star that shone down on Earth the day Jesus was born, "The Star of Bethlehem." Father Matthew has an outburst and exclaims that it is unfair that such a star should have exploded near a planet that was harboring life.
Dr. Chandler attempts to comfort him by reading a poem he found among the archives of the advanced culture. It says that no one should mourn for them, for they lived in peace and saw the beauty of the universe. It says to grieve for those who live in pain and those who never see the light of peace. Dr. Chandler says that whatever destiny was theirs they fulfilled and they passed their light onto another world. The doctor's words and this quiet artifact consoles and encourages the priest.
Poem found in the cave
|“||Mourn not for us-for we have seen the light. Have looked on beauty. Have lived in peace and love. Grieve but for those who go alone, unwise, to die in darkness and never see the sun.||”|
|“||The survey ship Magellan, bearing with it the last legacy of a long-dead people. A legacy to be kept and cherished and, in time, bequeathed to a world still unborn. From the current inhabitants...of the Twilight Zone.||”|
This episode is based on a short story, "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke, which was first published in Infinity Science Fiction (November 1955). However, while Clarke's story ended with the priest in despair after the revelation that the alien civilization had perished in order to light "the Christmas star," the TV episode included the addition of an epitaph by the aliens, revealing their optimism about their place in the universe.