15 Weirdest Star Trek Episodes That Almost Happened
The Star Trek franchise is one of the few series that can claim to have done it all. There have been many Star Trek TV shows, movies, novels and video games; the series has won numerous Emmys, Hugos, Saturns and even an Academy award (for Best Makeup, but still…). Spock even had his own album (not Leonard Nimoy, the actor; Spock, the character).
Star Trek is a series that has six TV shows (soon to be seven) and is approaching it’s fiftieth anniversary. It is no surprise that the franchise has had more episodes and movies planned than actually made it to screen. The show even had a whole series that nearly came to pass – Star Trek: Phase II, a direct sequel to Star Trek: The Original Series involving the original crew (minus Spock). Star Trek: Phase II was shelved due to the success of Star Wars, leading to the series of films instead.
With so much unused material building up since the 1960’s, we are here to countdown the interesting concepts left on the cutting room floor. From killer teddy bears terrorizing Captain Kirk to the Voyager crew encountering a planet full of Star Trek fans, here are the fifteen Star Trek episodes that almost happened.
15. WEB OF DEATH
It’s not just the writers who got to pitch ideas for Star Trek; several people got jobs on the show through sending in unsolicited scripts that were accepted and, later, made into episodes. In some cases, the actors also got to suggest episode ideas.
The episode known as “Web of Death” was pitched by none other than Captain Kirk, William Shatner himself.
When Star Trek: The Original Series was still in pre-production, William Shatner wrote an episode treatment and gave it to Gene Roddenberry for consideration. Gene was dreading having to read what was surely going to be a garbage script but… he was actually pleasantly surprised. The episode idea was good, but it would have cost most of the seasons budget to realize.
“Web of Death” is about the Enterprise being sent on a mission to find the Momentous, a ship that had gone missing. The ship is found, but all crew members are missing. It turns out that the Momentous was caught in the web of some giant alien spider, that devoured the whole crew. The Enterprise too is trapped, with a colossal spider threatening to wipe out the crew at any moment…
14. TOM PARIS’ BORG ARM
One of the contributors to Star Trek: Voyager was a man named Harry ‘Doc’ Kloor. The ‘Doc’ middle name isn’t meant to be ironic either – he was the first person to ever be awarded two PhD’s simultaneously in distinctive fields. Alongside his distinguished scientific career, he also wrote episodes for numerous science fiction shows.
Despite his many accolades, there was one thing Harry Kloor could not do – make Tom Paris interesting.
Tom Paris was one of the most boring characters on Star Trek: Voyager. As the helmsman of Voyager and a former member of the Maquis, his job was mainly to complain about whatever plan of action Captain Janeway was about to make.
One of Harry Kloor’s first scripts for Star Trek: Voyager involved Tom Paris being pursued by aliens and crashing onto a strange planet. Paris would survive the accident, but would lose his arm in the process. He would be found by aliens who happen to possess advanced medical technology. His arm would be re-attached using Borg technology, giving him a cool, goth-tech arm.
Sadly, he pitch was rejected on the grounds that it would be too gruesome to depict a character whose arm gets ripped off.
13. BIRTH OF THE BORG QUEEN
In the movie Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg go back in time in order to stop the founding of the Federation and destroy humanity. The Enterprise follow the Borg back in time in order to stop them .
From previous encounters with the Borg, it was established that they act as a collective with no leader. This was changed in Star Trek:First Contact, when Captain Picard encounters a Borg Queen – a singular entity who acted as a commander of the Borg. It was later established in Star Trek: Voyager that there are many identical Borg Queens throughout the galaxy, and they were derived from a single child belonging to a race known as “Species 125″.
The Borg Queen was intended to be given an origin story in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. Alice Krige (the actress who played the Borg Queen) would return as a Starfleet Medical Officer who makes contact with the Borg. The story would focus on her journey to find them and, ultimately, be assimilated into the collective.
Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled, however, before this episode could be produced.
It’s not unheard of for writers to re-purpose scripts for movies. Die Hard for example, was originally meant to be a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s action film Commando before being changed.
Due to having several series running at the same time, Star Trek may be the biggest offender in re-using scripts. Several episodes intended for Star Trek: Phase II, for example. ended up being reused for Star Trek: The Next Generation (such as “The Child” and “Devil’s Due”).
There was an episode pitched for Star Trek: The Next Generation based around the Roswell UFO incident. A Ferengi ship would end up time-travelling to Earth in the 1940s with the Enterprise in pursuit. The Ferengi ship would crash in New Mexico – creating the Roswell myth. It would be up to Captain Picard to extract them without messing up the timeline.
The episode was pitched but rejected due to their already being a time-travel episode that season. It would later be re-purposed into the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Little Green Men”, which focused on Quark and his family time-travelling and becoming the origin of the Roswell incident.
The writer of the famous Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” was an author named David Gerrold. The Tribbles weren’t the only adorable enemy that he wanted to have Captain Kirk face. David Gerrold once pitched an episode named “Bandi”, where an alien life form was brought upon the Enterprise that had the ability to control people’s emotions.
So what was Bandi exactly? A three-foot tall teddy bear… who was evil.
Bandi manages to take control over the crew of the Enterprise, when Kirk orders the crew to kill Bandi, Bandi orders the crew to murder Kirk on sight. Kirk has to survive the onslaught of his mind-controlled crew whilst Spock, the only one unaffected by Bandi’s emotion control powers (due to being a Vulcan), kills Bandi.
The moral of the episode was to never remove creatures from their native habitat. It was a good thing they had Spock on board otherwise Captain Kirk would have been killed and replaced by an alien version of Ted.
10. THE HUMAN OPTION
When Seven of Nine (played by Jeri Ryan) was introduced in the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager, she quickly became one of the most popular characters on the show. Seven was originally the last surviving member of her Borg collective and is left alone on Voyager. In many ways, she mirrored the characters of Spock and Data – characters who lacked emotions trying to live among those that did.
Seven of Nine was going to have an episode focused on her called “The Human Option”. After an accident, most of Seven’s Borg implants are removed and she becomes biologically close to being fully human again. As her immune system starts stars working, it begins to attack the remaining Borg implants, causing Seven considerable pain. For the first time since her assimilation, Seven of Nine requires sleep again.
The constant pain her body endures forces Seven to ask for the Doctor to restore her implants and make her part Borg again. After arguing with Captain Janeway about losing the opportunity to regain her humanity, Seven convinces the Doctor to re-activate the implants.
The episode wasn’t produced due to it being similar to another planned episode at the time.
9. T’POL’S FATHER
T’Pol from Star Trek: Enterprise became popular in much the same way that Seven of Nine did. She was a rehash of a popular male character (in her case, Spock), while also being a sexy woman in a form-fitting outfit. Among the dreary crew of the original Enterprise, T’Pol was a clear favourite of the creators due to the amount of attention and storylines she received.
Due to Star Trek: Enterprise being cancelled, the plans for the fifth season were never used. One lost episode revolved around T’Pol’s family. It was established in the series that T’Pol’s father had died when she was young. One of the planned episodes was going to drastically change her backstory.
It was going to be revealed that T’Pol’s father was a Romulan secret agent, making her half-Vulcan/half-Romulan. It would also be revealed that he faked his own death and was going to return to the series as an antagonist in the upcoming war against the Romulans.
8. THE TERMINATOR DRONE
Along with Tom Paris and his Borg arm, Harry Kloor pitched other episodes for Star Trek: Voyager. Five of these were produced (“Real Life”, “The Raven”, “Scientific Method”, “Drone” and “False Profits”) while many others were not.
One episode that was rejected was “The Terminator Drone”, where an unstoppable monster is unleashed aboard Voyager.
The premise of the episode involves Seven of Nine’s Borg nanoprobes infecting the holo-emitter (the device that allows the holographic Doctor to exist in the real world). Due to holograms being made of solid light, they were indestructible when faced with conventional weapons. With the Borg influencing the emitter, the crew would have to face something they couldn’t destroy.
The episode was eventually reworked into “Drone”, where the Doctor and Seven of Nine accidentally create a baby Borg drone. This new Borg (named “One”) rapidly grows and ends up sacrificing himself to save the crew from a Borg Sphere. A far cry from the monster he was planned to be.
7. DEEP MUDD
Harry Mudd, played by Roger C. Carmel, was one of the few recurring villains in Star Trek: The Original Series. He only appeared twice (three times if you count Star Trek: The Animated Series), but Harry Mudd left a huge impression on the audience, being a flamboyant mixture of con-man and pimp. He was specifically designed to be the kind of villain that the 1960s audiences were more familiar with on television – in stark contrast to the weird stuff that the Enterprise ran into every week.
There was intended to be a third Mudd episode in the original series called “Deep Mudd”. Harry Mudd steals a space yacht (which he names Jolly Roger) that is armed with powerful weapons and forms a pirate crew. He was to go around pillaging ships until the Enterprise arrives to stop him. Unfortunately for Mudd, he doesn’t fully understand how his ships weapons work, and it’s up to Kirk & Co to save him.
The episode was not produced due to the cancellation of Star Trek: The Original Series. Harry Mudd was slated to return in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the death of Roger C. Carmel in 1986 ended those plans.
6. THE LOST LA FORGE EPISODE
It might seem to the wannabe writer that sending spec scripts into TV shows is only going to get those scripts tossed into the bin without a second glance. This is not always the case, however, as can be attested to by Lisa Klink – a Star Trek fan who ended up becoming a staff writer after sending in an unprompted script.
Lisa Klink’s idea was for an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation involving Geordi La Forge. The Enterprise would encounter an alien race that only Geordi could communicate with due to his visor. He would be able to hear the thoughts and emotions of all of the aliens at once, leading to him being overwhelmed.
While the La Forge episode never got made, Klink attracted the attention of the Star Trek crew. Soon she was interning on the show, which led to her writing an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and eventually becoming a staff writer on Star Trek: Voyager.
5. HE WALKED AMONG US
Usually when a writer gets something published, it is a joyous occasion. Having someone pay you for your writing is a great moment, no matter how many times it happens.
It must only be through some terrible circumstance that a writer asks for his work to be un-published after it has been accepted. This was the fate of “He Walked Among Us”, the Star Trek episode that went missing for over 45 years.
The episode was written by acclaimed science fiction writer Norman Spinrad (who also wrote the episode “The Doomsday Machine”). In his original version of the script, the Enterprise is sent to investigate a planet inhabited by primitive people who, for some reason, have advanced technology. Captain Kirk finds a rogue Federation scientist on the planet who is arming the people in a massive breach of the Prime Directive.
So why was the episode not made? Spinrad specifically asked Gene Roddenberry to not make the episode, as Gene Coon (the producer on the show) re-wrote the episode into a comedy that starred Milton Berle as the scientist. Spinrad had believed that all copies of the episode where destroyed, until some of the scripts showed up online (whose authenticity he has confirmed).
4. VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET
Star Trek: Voyager almost did an episode that mixed The Truman Show with some lighthearted jabs at the fans expense. This was two years before Galaxy Quest came and used a similar premise.
This episode was to be called “Visit To A Small Planet”, where the Voyager crew encounter a planet full of aliens who actually knew who they were. These aliens had been monitoring Voyager for three years and the entire population of the planet had become fans of the crew. When the ships lands, the crew discovers that all of the aliens are dressed like them (with a noticeably smaller contingent dressed like Neelix – by far the least popular character on the show). Due to most of their information coming from personal logs, the alien’s perspective of the crew members is skewed based on what they had written.
The episode was brought before Paramount, who refused on the grounds that they thought the episode insulted the fans. The writers petitioned hard for the episode, but it was not meant to be.
3. THE MIRROR UNIVERSE EPISODES
The Mirror Universe is one of the more popular elements of Star Trek, and has re-appeared several times across the series run. First appearing in the episode “Mirror, Mirror”, the Mirror Universe is a parallel dimension where, instead of forming the benevolent Federation, mankind formed the vicious Terran Empire.
In this other universe, humanity stole a warp drive from the Vulcans and formed a galactic empire that enslaved the other races in the galaxy. The Enterprise of the Mirror Universe was ruled through fear, intimidation and murder.
In Star Trek: Enterprise, the Mirror Universe showed up in the “A Mirror Darkly” two-parter. A lot more was planned for this incarnation of the Mirror Universe, however, but the cancellation of the show prevented any new episodes from being made. According to show runner Manny Coto, a whole new story arc set in the Mirror Universe was planned to take place across several episodes in Season 5. The show’s executive producer, Brannon Braga, would later say on Twitter that there was discussion about the entire season being set in the Mirror Universe.
2. THE TRIAL OF CAPTAIN JANEWAY
Captain Kathryn Janeway is one of the most polarising captains among the fanbase. Any issues with the character can be laid squarely at the feet of the writers, as Kate Mulgrew is an excellent actress (as can be seen in Orange Is The New Black) who did the absolute best with the material given to her.
With all of that being said, Captain Janeway has her fair share of detractors. Unluckily for the haters, an episode was planned that would have given them exactly what they wanted – “The Trial of Captain Janeway”.
In an interview with Ronald D. Moore, one of the writers on Star Trek: Voyager, he revealed his plans for the crew of the ship to put Captain Janeway on trial. The purpose of the trial was to examine her behaviour since they entered the Delta Quadrant and to judge whether she is still fit for command. All of her actions throughout the seasons would have been used as evidence either for or against her.
According to Moore, the episode was never made due to the other writers wanting to avoid making Janeway look weak. He left the show soon after.
1. BLOOD AND FIRE
The writer David Gerrold was invited to the convention where Gene Roddenberry announced that Star Trek: The Next Generation was being made. A fan in the audience asked if there would be any gay characters in the show, to which Gene said their would be.
When development on the show began, one of the ideas passed down from Paramount was an episode about the then-recent AIDS epidemic. It was from this that David Gerrold wrote “Blood and Fire”, an episode that mirrored the the fear of donating blood during this period. Star Trek is, essentially, a means of deconstructing contemporary issues under the guise of a futuristic setting.
Gerrold wrote in two male crew members who were in a relationship. An idea which Paramount opposed. After many protests on behalf of the writing staff, the episode was shelved. Gerrold ran out his contract and left Star Trek for good.
This was not the end for “Blood and Fire”. A group of fans behind the video series Star Trek: New Voyages asked Gerrold if he could re-write the episode for the Captain Kirk era. He would eventually go on to direct two episodes based on his story.