The Star (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Scene from The Star
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Gerd Oswald|
|Written by||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, far in the future, a medical doctor and a priest debate about the existence of God in the wonders of the universe. Dr. Chandler believes them to be random patterns, but the priest, Father Matthew Costigan—also an astrophysicist—believes it is God's grand design. While having their friendly debate and wishing each other a merry Christmas, 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. The planet was so far from the star when it exploded that it escaped the worst.
Upon landing on the now-dead planet, the explorers discover that the planet holds the last remains of a race which was destroyed when the supernova hit. Their civilization was quite advanced, with remnants of art and other pieces of their culture. Along with a computer record of their entire history comes evidence that they had had a 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". In front of Dr. Chandler, Father Matthew cries out to God, to question why it had to be these people who had to lose their lives, why it could not have been a star with no life around it. 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 love 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 it. Their time had come, and in their passing, they passed their light on to another world. A balance was struck, and perhaps one day, whenever we've fulfilled whatever destiny we have, maybe we too will light the way for another world." The doctor's words and this quiet artifact consoles and encourages the priest.
|“||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.