Star Trek has been around for nearly half a century now and in that time, it’s managed to cross into practically every medium, from television and movies to books and video games. And over the course of the franchise’s long and sometimes tumultuous history, there have been a lot of different incarnations, with some of them garnering much more praise from fans than others (Star Trek: Generations just never seems to get as much love as The Wrath of Khan). With Star Trek: Discovery now on TV and a few different movies in the pipeline it seems like a great time to take a look back and some of the proposed Star Trek projects that never made it out of the space port.
12. Star Trek: The Beginning
Set four years after the Enterprise TV series, Star Trek: The Beginning would have been the 11th movie in the franchise and was supposed to bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original 1966 series. The film would focus on Tiberius Chase, a Starfleet pilot and ancestor of Kirk who gets involved in the events of a Human/Romulan war. After the Romulans hit Earth with a sneak attack, they demand the complete surrender of all Earthlings including the Vulcan inhabitants. As Starfleet tries to combat the Romulans attacking Earth, Chase and a group of rebels disobey orders and hijack a starship to take the fight to Romulus.
Band of Brothers writer Erik Jendresen was reportedly writing the screenplay before Paramount changed presidents and decided to go with the Abrams film. With Jendresen lending his style to an all out Human/Romulan war, The Beginning had the potential to be a much bleaker and deeper story than many of the previous Star Trek films.
11. Star Trek: Deep Space Five
A lot of people might not know that the show Babylon 5 originally started out as a pitch for a new Star Trek series. If Paramount had green-lit the project, it’s pretty easy to see how the show would have fit into the Star Trek universe. In fact, there have been some allegations that Paramount might have stolen ideas from the pitch and used them in the development of Deep Space Nine. But even the Babylon 5 writers admit that the Deep Space Nine creators were probably unaware of the original pitch.
10. A Sequel To Star Trek: Nemesis
This would have been a direct follow-up to the 10th Star Trek movie, and instead of just featuring the cast from The Next Generation, it was going to bring in the Voyager and Deep Space Nine crews as well. The story would involve Captain Picard and an upgraded Enterprise meeting with Admiral Janeway and the USS Voyager at the Deep Space Nine station. The Enterprise, Voyager and Defiant would all then join forces to assist Captain Riker and the USS Titan in a battle with the Romulans.
It was the dismal performance of Star Trek: Nemesis at the box office that eventually resulted in this movie getting axed. It’s too bad that The Next Generation legacy, which many people consider to be the heart of Star Trek, had to end on such a low note. Although you could probably argue that the original cast suffered a similar fate with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
9. Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Worf Chronicles
In a series that would have seen Michael Dorn’s character extend beyond the seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, four seasons of Deep Space Nine and four movies, the show would have depicted Worf as a powerful person in the Klingon Empire who helps improve relationships with the Federation.
This was largely an independent project written by Dorn himself. He even did an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit earlier in the year to try and generate additional interest and support for the idea.
8. Star Trek: IMAX
This short film was meant to showcase the CGI technology of IMAX and would have primarily featured Chief O’Brien and Chancellor Gorkon. The script was written by Rick Berman back in 1997 but, for business reasons, it was put on hold. It’s probably safe to assume that the project is dead in the water at this point.
7. Lions of the Night
This was intended to be a CG animated series that would have utilized the velvety vocals of George Takei as Captain Sulu of the Enterprise-B. Apparently, back in the ’90s there was a lot of fan support for a Sulu-centric series and Lions of the Night was the closest that it ever got reality. The initial story would have seen Starfleet resisting an invasion by the Kzinti—an alien race originally featured in Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Lions of the Night was a project left by the wayside after the apparent decline in interest for Star Trek during Enterprise‘s run. It’s too bad nothing ever came of it because this series could have provided a great opportunity shed some light on the “lost era” of Trek, which takes place between the original series movies and The Next Generation.
6. Star Trek: The New Animated Series
Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers: Prime) pitched the idea for a new animated Star Trek series that would feature the characters from the 2009 movie. It would have displayed a similar animation style to Transformers: Prime and feature some of the same voice talent. However, the higher ups at CBS commented that the success of a single film might not be enough to warrant the production of a new animated series, and that the network probably wouldn’t consider a TV project until the films had run their course.
5. Secret of Vulcan Fury
Though there might have been many other Star Trek games that were scrapped along the way, Secret of Vulcan Fury was the only one that got far enough into production to generate any sort of excitement. Two playable demos were released in late 1997 and 1998 that showed a game set during the original series. The story would give some background to the Vulcan/Romulan conflict by introducing a Vulcan space station called “Fury,” that took on and defeated an entire Romulan fleet. Kirk, Spock and company get drawn into the strife when they uncover a Romulan plot to attack Vulcan and step in to foil it.
Due to budget constraints, Secret of Vulcan Fury was shelved before it could be completed. If the developers had planned on getting the original cast members to do the voice work for the game, this was a missed opportunity to see them all in action together one last time.
4. Star Trek: Final Frontier
Final Frontier would have been an animated web series set in 2528 just following a terrible war between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. As a result of the war, Andoria is destroyed, Qo’nos is under Romulan control, and Vulcan leaves the Federation to further its reunification. The show would be set on an Enterprise, but this Enterprise would have been more like a beaten up old battleship than a sophisticated science vessel, and it was to be commanded by Captain Alexander Chase—another off-shoot of the Chase-Kirk family.
The series was originally intended to be exclusive content for startrek.com, but after most of the website’s staff was laid off in a management change at CBS Interactive, the future of the project looked to be in jeopardy. Confirmation of J.J. Abrams’ cinematic Star Trek reboot was all it took to put Final Frontier down for the count. Interestingly enough, you can still see a bunch of design concepts for the show on its still-active website.
3. Star Trek: Federation
Federation was the brain child of Bryan Singer and Robert Meyer Burnett. It revolved around a Federation that has stagnated and is losing members as a result of its human centric nature. Starfleet hasn’t been building many new ships, so the few that remain are badly outdated. This makes it difficult for them to respond when a new enemy, the Scourge, shows up and destroys two colony worlds. The lack of action on the part of Starfleet results in Vulcan, Bajor, and Betazed leaving the Federation. A new Enterprise is then commissioned to try and rebuild Starfleet’s reputation as explorers and ambassadors of the cosmos, but its main objective is to locate the Scourge.
Much like Final Frontier, Federation appeared to be a grittier take on the Star Trek universe that got canned once the J.J. Abrams film was announced. Although it’s unlikely that this project will ever see the light of day, even after the conclusion of Abrams’ movie trilogy, it shows that there was once a lot of interest in taking Star Trek in a darker direction.
2. Star Trek: Planet of the Titans
Even though the original Star Trek TV series only lasted three seasons, its tremendous success in syndication prompted Paramount to take steps to see the franchise reinvigorated. At the time, a number of ideas for a movie or a new show had already been kicked around, but they were never much more than ideas scribbled down on a napkin. Planet Of The Titans marked the first attempt to actually get a movie into theaters.
Like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the film was going to take place after the completion of the five year mission Kirk and the Enterprise crew originally set out on. It was also going to feature a redesigned Enterprise (illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie of Star Wars fame). But the story for this movie would have been quite different from The Motion Picture. It centered around a struggle between Starfleet and the Klingons over possession of the homeworld of the Titans—a technologically advanced race that died out long ago. When the planet is sucked into a black hole, Kirk goes in after it with the Enterprise and battles the powerful aliens who are responsible for the Titans’ disappearance. In the process, he and the crew travel back in time to Earth’s ancient history, where the crew somehow ends up giving fire to primitive man which results in them becoming the legendary Titans of Greek mythology.
Any Trekkie could tell you that this premise exemplifies a blatant disregard for the Prime Directive. Thankfully, even the re-written script was rejected and eventually Paramount pulled the plug after they were unsatisfied with the state of production. However, some of the pre-visualization concepts and models did end up making their way into Star Trek: The Next Generation.
1. Star Trek: The First Adventure
Originally slated to go into production after Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, this movie was going to be a prequel set at Starfleet Academy. It would have shown a young and impetuous James T. Kirk gaining admission to the academy, rooming with Leonard “Bones” McCoy, and forming a rivalry with Spock. Over the course of the movie Kirk would also befriend Montgomery Scott (“Scotty”) and together the party would find themselves saving the old Enterprise from a dangerous threat.
Star Trek: The First Adventure was in development for more than a year before production was shut down to make way for what would become Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. But the basic premise sounds a lot like it could have been used as the foundation for Abrams’ Star Trek movies.