Journal of the Emerald Specter 80: Star Trek

I’ve been listening to a lot of Star Trek based podcasting recently and decided to try another “what would I do” thing.

My DCEU experiment wasn’t as popular as I had hoped, though I hope that it will gain some more views and interest in what I’d do (exactly) with a phase two or three or four.

This experiment? I traveled back in time and discover that there was no Star Trek… at all. Thankfully I have some Star Trek reference material with me and I’m going to bring the world Star Trek… the way it should have been done.

There is no Gene Roddenberry, which initially worries me, but the world must have their Star Trek. Things will be a bit different, though.

The year is 1958, and I heavily invest in the stock market… some well placed investments make me billions by 1961, independently wealthy and ready to make something fantastic.

I present the script for a feature film called Star Trek to be released in 1963. What’s the script? Well, a crew of exceptional people are needed to intercept a phenomenon headed towards the center of the United Federation of Planets: Earth.

If you think you’ve heard of that before, you have. I’m setting the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture in the very first slot… but I made some casting and character changes. This is long before the Kirk and Spock you’re familiar with, so I decided to add something from the history that we’re all familiar with.

The captain of the Enterprise is Robert April, with a few other little sprinkles of interesting around him. Captain Robert April is played by Gregory Peck, who was drawn to the project after the success of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962, Star Trek being a progressive outlook on humanity’s future. Leonard Nimoy does appear as Spock, and in the role he plays in TMP… but he is a Vulcan who is trying to figure out his place in the universe (as a new Lieutenant in Starfleet). We see V-Ger, all out special effects, and the crew of the Enterprise seems to fly off happily after the film ends.

Part of the deal with this film, which does gangbusters at the box office, is to create a series after the film to further develop the universe. Gregory Peck wasn’t signed to do a series and I didn’t want to have him beyond the movie… because I signed the original crew of the Enterprise (starring Jeffrey Hunter with Leonard Nimoy as a Lieutenant Commander several years later) in the “pilot” called The Cage.

The pilot airs in late 1965, unlike in our reality, and just as expected, Jeffrey Hunter doesn’t want to do more… so we get to advance Spock once again to First Officer/Science Officer under William Shatner as Captain James Tiberius Kirk in early 1966 for the first season of the new series.

Since the network (NBC) isn’t paying for this series, they allow this to run for a guaranteed five years… we actually get our Five Year Mission.

Season One goes off as before, not including episodes Miri, Catspaw, or Shore Leave and the Menagerie is moved later in the season (to the season finale). Season Two also goes off as before, not including episodes The Ultimate Computer or Assignment: Earth. Season Three goes off as before, not including the episode Spock’s Brain.

This leaves us with a gap to fill, which I had planned for already… that is now Season Four, where the stories told in the Animated Series but are reworked to be more adult (less “cartoony”) in nature and be a solid 22 episode season. That leaves nothing for Season Five, though, right?

After working under my guidance for over five years, the writers would be tasked with original stories (I use the word original, only because I know the future here) for Season Five. This would also be a 22 episode season and would be oriented towards exposing the world to the first serialized version of Star Trek, with a few “mini-arcs” present without a “part 1, part 2” scenario.

Then, in spring of 1971, Star Trek leaves the air as a cult favorite. Fandom grows around the concepts and a clamoring for more is put out into the world. Hints of a movie are released in magazines and newspapers and work begins on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. As final touches were being added for the 1982 release, work on Star Trek III began behind the scenes in secret. Since I’m paying for the special effects, I spare no expense to ensure that the version I (we) remember doesn’t look decidedly less awesome than TWOK.

As Star Trek II was a hit, rumors about the ending were running amok and the revelation that there was another Star Trek movie deep in production was released to the population, drumming up hype early. Since the special effects were going to be far better than the original versions, I had high hopes for this installment.

In 1984, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock hit screens and received a positive series of reviews, not nearly the showing I had hoped but better than the one in the original timeline.

Did I already start work on the fourth installment of the series and the end to the “trilogy” of post-series Trek? Yep.

In 1986, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home hit screens and was lauded as being the best Star Trek movie by non-fans. Fans still looked toward TWOK as the granddaddy of movies, but the reception allowed everyone to come and enjoy a wonderful movie. Behind the scenes, the next version of Star Trek was already being worked on.

Once again, since I’m paying for the whole thing, I sit down with some television executives to work up the next Star Trek for public consumption. The series would be shown on ABC this time, with Patrick Stewart in the lead role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. I set up Star Trek: The Next Generation with the idea that I’m fixing what I know didn’t work in the original timeline. The show debuts in 1987 on ABC and becomes a hit.

Only side notes about this series. Uniform designs are from the original third season to completely avoid the spandex design. Special effects were spared no cost and the plan of seven seasons was followed through. The cast was informed when they came on board that they would be expected to do a few feature films after the show’s run, which they had no issues with. The final note is that Season Two’s introduction of Polaski as a replacement for Crusher was scrapped, instead adding Polaski as an additional character in the medical department. This altered the show’s timeline a bit as she became a part of the remainder of the show’s events rather than just up and disappearing.

While the Next Generation is on the air, 1991 sees the release of Star Trek V: The Undiscovered Country into theaters. Our original timeline makes this the sixth movie, but since that story had some issues, I opted to remove it from the timeline. This sees the retirement of the main cast of characters but also gives us Captain Hikaru Sulu, who was optioned for the sixth installment of the film series as the lead.

Before I go into that, though, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiers in 1993 with a new cast and runs at the same time as Next Generation. The series starts off with a positive outlook and runs as remembered in the original timeline. There was a rider in the contracts in this version, though, that required theatrical appearances of the cast (if not as a whole, then in other productions).

In 1993, George Takei and the on screen crew of the Excelsior (to include Tim Russ as an ensign science officer) in Star Trek VI: Lions of the Night, where the crew is forced to fend of a Kzinti invasion of Federation space. If you know about failed projects, then you’ve heard of the concept here (see Memory Alpha, scroll down for this project).

Since I’m the one developing this and paying for the whole thing, I’m saying that my attempt to bring a large solution to Star Trek’s movie future utilizing the original cast has hit it’s first bump. While the reception of critics was poor, fan reception wasn’t great (but fairly positive). My attempt to make a sequel with George was met with resistance from George himself, thus I moved on with the next idea…

As Star Trek: The Next Generation wrapped in 1994, plans for their first foray into movies was at hand. While filming the finale of the series, the crew was also filming their first movie: Star Trek: Generations. Unlike the original timeline version, less emphasis was put on Picard’s family, the “space ribbon” is a little more defined, and time inside the ribbon progresses to avoid the weird situations we saw inside it originally. Shatner does appear as Kirk but isn’t pulled out by Picard, rather feels the need to help on his own and joins Picard in saving the day (ending in his certain death).

More well received than Lions of the Night, Generations was given more leeway with production because of the previous installment. Little did the world know the next movie was under development!

On the TV side, Star Trek: Voyager was placed onto TV screens in 1995 and would run for seven seasons. There would be continuity ruining episodes removed from the series as a whole and as with DS9’s cast, the rider for feature films was in place to guarantee a Star Trek feature film future.

In 1996, Star Trek: First Contact was released and was definitely better received than Generations. In 1998, Star Trek: Insurrection was released with far better special effects and notes on how this is a “return to Star Trek’s message” roots. This movie, my version, was much better received than the original due to more action being added to the script and a deeper mystery element to draw in the audience. Was it considered the greatest movie? No, but it was more popular.

As Deep Space Nine was wrapping in 1999, the cast didn’t want to do a “DS9” movie series. The “appears in other films” contingent was enacted and some plans were made for the next two movies. Yes, TWO movies. Voyager wrapped in 2001.

Directly on the heels of the ending of Voyager came the new series Star Trek: Enterprise, featuring Scott Bakula of Quantum Leap fame leading a new crew of an experimental Enterprise on missions exploring the galaxy. The Xindi storyline would be introduced much earlier than the  original timeline and the series would run for six seasons, since I am paying for the whole thing. There would be riders for movies as well, as would be the standard since DS9. The show would end in 2007 with the formation of the Federation.

In 2002, Star Trek: Nemesis hit the screens and before you roll your eyes at me… this one was much different. Shinzon, a Reman warlord and scavenger, returns to Romulus with a new ally: a rebuilt Lore. Lore aids Shinzon in taking down the Roman government, a hostile takeover, and then takes a fleet to Federation space for the first salvo in a planned war. The Enterprise-E is forced to fend off the attacks by leading a counter-attack (joined by the Defiant with Colonel Kira, Lieutenant Ezri Dax, Chief O’Brien, Dr. Bashir, Lieutenant Nog, and the commanding officer Captain Worf). When hope looks lost, Data sacrifices himself to blow up the lead ship with Lore on it, leaving an unprepared Shinzon to die and the rest of the hijacked ships to retreat. The Federation and the Roman Empire begin peace talks in the wake of the “old guard” being wiped out.

In 2004, an extragalactic threat would arrive to test the Federation. In Star Trek: Revelations, the Enterprise-E is commanded by Admiral Picard, who leads the fleet to take on what they discover to be machines… the machines, in fact, that created V-Ger. Enterprise is joined by Defiant (Worf commanded as before), Voyager (commanded by Chakotay and filled with the rest of the Voyager crew), and Titan (Riker’s new command). A fundamental “man vs machine” theme would run through this one and man would win… at a high cost. Defiant wouldn’t make it out of the conflict, Voyager would be severely damaged and several crew members would have died, as well as Enterprise suffering greatly in the results. Deaths of characters would include Kira, O’Brien, Nog, Paris, Chakotay, and Neelix. Picard and Admiral Janeway would have Riker seek out any remnants of the invasion, gaining the crew of Dax, Harry Kim, Seven of Nine, and a newly promoted Captain LaForge.

This movie, while not hated, wasn’t the blockbuster I was hoping for. Critics gave it generally favorable reviews but fans panned it stating “too many characters died” in the melee. Taking that under consideration, I put into production one more movie before my time in this timeline ends (due to being very old and in poor health by this point). I also opted to delay the release of this movie by an extra two years to ensure the highest quality.

In the summer of 2008, Star Trek Beyond hit the screens to thunderous applause. Unlike the original timeline version, which was part of the reboot franchise, my Beyond was a continuation of the timeline I’d already started. Audiences were stunned when the Enterprise NX made it’s way towards the planet Kismet, where they are forced to battle a fleet of ships that act in coordination with each other. The ship crashes on the surface of the planet as most of the escape pods are sent safely away. Those who did not make it were T’Pol, Trip, and Reed who learn that there is a species of cyborgs mutating the inhabitants for an impending invasion. Fast forward to the 24th Century, Captain Riker in command of the Titan comes upon Kismet while investigating and discovers that there is a large station in orbit of Kismet sending signals out of the galaxy. Some spy work from the crew and a battle cripples the Titan, forcing it to crash onto Kismet’s surface. They manage to disable the cyborg and mutant populations, as well as send a signal that this galaxy cannot be conquered to prevent another invasion. We discover that this was the “advanced party” for the machine invasion and mutants were being used as slave labor.  The film ends with a goodbye to all the franchises we adored along the way and the reigns of Star Trek were turned over to Paramount for future plans.

That’s a hell of a ride. I’d love to hear some feedback on my non-original timeline versions of movies and I’ll be back again in the near future.