I've read Ellison's 1st draft City. Even it is filmable.
As a very expensive feature film, sure.
Think so? Let's test that.
Since this rumor of an impossibly expensive script keeps rearing its head, let's look at what Ellison's script called for vs. the episode we saw.
Here's a rough
breakdown of Ellison's City 1st Draft:
- EDITH KEELER
- 1ST GUARDIAN
- RENEGADE (ON CONDOR) (4 lines)
- JANITOR (9 lines)
- COOK (8 lines)
- TRANSPORTER CHIEF (1 line)
- VOICE OF TRICORDER
That's 15 speaking parts. The aired episode had 12 listed on imdb.NON SPEAKING PARTS/EXTRAS
- GUARDIANS 2 AND 3
- 7 POOR MEN ON STREET
- MEN ACCOMPANYING TROOPER
- 4 SALVATION ARMY TYPES
- MISC. PEDESTRIANS
Ellison doesn't call for any big crowd scenes. He suggests groups of about 6-7 men, and even call out for how the same extras could be reused in several scenes (the men who chase Kirk and Spock become the fellas backing up Trooper). The aired episode has similar numbers of men in small crowds.SETS
- KIRK'S CABIN
- BECKWITH'S CABIN (REDRESS OF KIRK'S)
The aired episode used three of these, leaving out on the cabin sets.GUARDIANS' PLANET
- FLAT EXPANSE
- GUARDIANS' PLATEAU
The aired episode had one location1930 EARTH
- NEW YORK STREET (VARIOUS SPOTS)
- EDITH'S APARTMENT
- TENAMENT STAIRWELL & VESTIBULE
- RESTAURANT KITCHEN
- LIMBO SET (BLACK W/ LIGHT FX)
A similiar number of interiors to the ones in the aired episode. For the episode exteriors they shot around the Forty Acres street backlot in various places, which could just as easily served to cover the setups here.
- ENTERPRISE FLYBYS (STOCK)
- TRANSPORTER EFFECT (3)
- VORTEX EFFECT (could be anything)
- HISTORICAL STOCK FOOTAGE SUPERIMPOSED
- TIME VORTEX TRANSITIONS (4)
- PHASER BEAMS (4)
- PHASER DEMATERIALIZATION (2)
- TIME TRANSITION EFFECT (OPTICAL PRINTER)
- BECKWITH FATE VFX
This is the only part of the script that's much bigger than what was aired. BUT, the finished episode had matte effects using the tricorder that are not called for in this script. THE GUARDIANS
As to the Guardians, they are described as nine feet tall, terribly old (makeup) with tall mitred headpieces and shapeless robes. They're not giants talking statues. They would have been done by standing the actor and extras on boxes, making them up, and draping their robes over what they were standing on. The script calls for no ruins, no physical structure, just a spot where the vortex effect appears. This could easily have been done on the planet set with their stock rocks.
The first draft would have been too expensive to do under Trek's budget, but not on an order of magnitude. And it certainly wouldn't have been a very expensive feature. Based on the above, if I had to ballpark it, I'd say the first draft, if shot, would have cost maybe 1.5 times what the final episode cost.
By Ellison's second draft he'd already tossed Beckwith, LeBeque and the Guardians, and thrown out the whole "ship in danger crap Roddenberry had asked for, losing the Renegade and his pirate crew, and several associated transporter effects. The Guardian already became a disembodied voice.
I could go on, but I believe I've made my point.
If anyone wants to persist in arguing this, I'll be happy to get even more specific.