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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old January 27 2013, 04:24 AM   #1
Lance
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The "original ending" of TMP?

Various different factual works have specified that at some point, The Motion Picture was supposed to end with a battle between the Enterprise and a set of Klingon ships. Maybe it was just a broad idea, maybe not. But one thing we do know is that Andrew Probert went as far as providing a few sketches on how this could come about (including a sequence where the 1701-refit undergoes a saucer seperation).

From Memory Alpha:

a saucer separation involving the refit Constitution-class Enterprise (NCC-1701) was story boarded by Andrew Probert for a possible scene at the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The general gist of the scene was that the saucer section would fight alongside the drive section, evening up the battle against a small Klingon fleet (a bit like the way the USS Prometheus was later designed to do in VOY's "Message In A Bottle").

Do we know if this sequence ended up in any actual draft scripts for the film? Or was it only ever a conceptual idea, never getting green-lit or as far as being scripted?

I was thinking about it the other day and was trying to figure out how it could have been included. I doubt it'd have been a seperate fight at the end of the existing story, because it would just feel tacked on. Is it possible they considered making it so, instead of being destroyed at the start of the movie, the three Klingon ships are instead swallowed by V'Ger, like the Enterprise is? And when V'Ger is defeated, it regurgitates the Klingon ships in orbit of Earth, leaving Enterprise with the problem of three angry Klingon ships?

On reflection, it might have made for a stronger film if the Enterprise had encountered the Klingons inside V'Ger. And they all had to work together to uncover the secret of how to escape. It'd certainly be a very Star Trek idea, even if the Klingons then became turncoats when they all got out of V'Ger, and opened fire on the Enterprise again.
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Old January 27 2013, 05:17 AM   #2
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

I was under the impression this was entirely Probert's idea. Albeit offered at a point where the film was really struggling to come up with an ending, so in answer to the question, I don't think there was any "proper" script involving this ending, it was just offered up by someone involved in the production via the visual medium he knew best when everyone else taking part was trying to come up with an ending as well.

As I understood it, his thinking was the Klingon ships would be the same ones eaten up by V'ger at the start of the film, released by the probe as a result of... Whatever switched off the main plot (as yet undecided when he pitched this).

So the klingons would have actually had good reason to be on the offensive- from their POV they'd have gone from being in their own space under attack from a blue cloud to being in orbit of the home planet of their deadliest enemy without explanation.

Whilst a nice idea, it's easy to see why it never got any further. It would have added on an extra sequence after V'Ger was dealt with, that didn't really have anything to do with that main plot.

Plus it would have been odd to have the Klingons survive their seeming death at the start.. only to come back and go into battle with the split Enterprise. If our heroes had destroyed them... it makes the Klingon ships surviving being absorbed seem a bit pointless.If the Klingons live.. it makes any battle sequence even more pointless padding to the end of the film.
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Old January 27 2013, 05:39 AM   #3
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

The versions of the telemovie scripts of "In Thy Image" end with Will Decker departing with Vejur (or N'sa) for destinations unknown, while the floating light/probe that took Ilia's form reverts to a small, burnt, pitted, mechanical device lying on the ground. As they commiserate the demise of "Tasha" (named by Chekov because its pearlescent appearance reminded him of an aunt's ring), the real Ilia steps out unscathed, rejoining the crew as a "Phase II" regular.

The plan was to alter the beginning of whichever completed script (of the 12 other teleplays in various degrees of completion) was going to be Episode #2, to explain how Decker was able to return to the ship. Decker was also a continuing character, and would possibly have become the series lead after the initial 13 episodes - if Shatner's movie career took off as he'd planned. Or, Shatner's character would be promoted to semi-regular guest admiral.

The idea that Ilia could could come back from being digitized meant that the three Klingon vessels could also come back, hence they realized they could have a last-minute SPFX shoot-out at the end, lest audiences think the Vejur cloud storyline wasn't a big enough finale.
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Old January 30 2013, 07:43 AM   #4
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

What drafts of the In They Image script for TV have Decker merging with V'ger?
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Old January 30 2013, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

Maurice wrote: View Post
What drafts of the In They Image script for TV have Decker merging with V'ger?
The one sold through Lincoln Enterprises in the 1980s as "In Thy Image". Not so sure it's a "merge"; I said "departs". (I believe you and I discussed this script a few months ago - it also features Kirk swimming naked with a woman named Alexandra, the character who morphed into Vice Admiral Lori Ciana in Roddenberry's TMP novelization - and you chased it up.)
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Old January 31 2013, 12:53 AM   #6
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

I kinda liked Nimoy's alternate Spock ending.

Instead of "My task on Vulcan is complete",
Spock's last line-- "If Dr. McCoy is to remain, then my presence here is essential."
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Old January 31 2013, 05:42 AM   #7
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

Yeah, I have that script. Sadly, it doesn't have the actual cover so we don't know what draft it is or when it was written.
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Old January 31 2013, 03:53 PM   #8
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

For whatever it's worth, the saucer separation at the end of the fan film Of Gods and Men appears to take inspiration from that TMP concept art.
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Old January 31 2013, 04:07 PM   #9
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
I kinda liked Nimoy's alternate Spock ending.

Instead of "My task on Vulcan is complete",
Spock's last line-- "If Dr. McCoy is to remain, then my presence here is essential."
I agree, lines like this soften TMP and make it much more TOS in spirit.
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Old January 31 2013, 04:12 PM   #10
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

Maurice wrote: View Post
Yeah, I have that script. Sadly, it doesn't have the actual cover so we don't know what draft it is or when it was written.
It was obviously the one used by Thomas Warkentin when he started working on the "LA Times" daily comic strip, because it takes place just after ST:TMP - and his first two storylines have Lt Ilia alive and well at Navigation.

I assume its the "final draft" of "In Thy Image", before Harold Livingston started turning it into ST:TMP and adding Spock to the mix. There would have been no need to keep working on ITI after that point.
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Old January 31 2013, 09:18 PM   #11
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

It's a pretty wretched script, either way, though an interesting evolutionary footnote.
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Old January 31 2013, 09:28 PM   #12
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

I rather liked the idea of a second 5-year mission continuing with Decker and Ilia. Ilia in particular as a Deltan is much more interesting than a betazoid. I'm part way through my second youtube comic with the characters. I think the TMP era is rather fun.

Although if anybody plays Star Trek online and doesn't mind supplying my with some screenshots of characters engaged in some action shots like shooting and fighting I would be very grateful. Much as I enjoy TMP I think sending a landing party into the bowels of V'ger would have been a fun idea. The movie seriously lacks some action scenes.
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Old January 31 2013, 11:46 PM   #13
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Ilia in particular as a Deltan is much more interesting than a betazoid.
Umm, how? That's a pretty broad sweeping statement. We got decades of Betazoids - and numerous examples - and about an hour of one Deltan. Even Jedda (ST II) is a Deltan in name only, by way of of a script direction.
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Old February 1 2013, 12:02 AM   #14
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

I dislike Betazoid telepathy (I'm more of a Babylon 5 or Miranda Jones style telepathy fan). Deltan abilities are wonderfully nebulous and wider ranging:

Their pheromones arouse some other races, can dull pain, and they are empathic. Seems to me that their schtick revolves around an olfactory sensitivity and generating their own pheromones to influence those around them. How is that not more interesting than, 'He's hiding something Captain' or making Troi wholly absent sincve her abilities would bust the mystery plot wide open?

Deltans are partially telepathic too, forging telepathic bonds with lovers and family members that can span considerable distances. They can project images into each others' minds.

What can we say about Betazoid society after 20 years of TNG? Almost nothing that makes us want to know more. Deltan society on the other hand remains intriguing and teases us with the prospect of an erotic paradise. Such fun.

I may be biased because I was very fond of Zinaida in the TWoK novelisation. I was very disappointed that the recent comic adaptation didn't borrow more elements about Peter and the scientists. Compare Zinaida to Troi, I know which one I'd rather have as a recurring character.

BTW - I love Troi - she was just a character who was too much of an afterthought for too long because betazoids were so poorly realised as a species.
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Old February 1 2013, 12:44 AM   #15
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Re: The "original ending" of TMP?

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
I dislike Betazoid telepathy (I'm more of a Babylon 5 or Miranda Jones style telepathy fan). Deltan abilities are wonderfully nebulous and wider ranging
But perhaps only "nebulous" because we only saw the real Ilia in the first hour of a two-hour movie. The general public had no idea about Roddenberry's novelization elaboration, nor Vonda McIntyre's ideas, nor can we guess how "Phase II" would have developed Ilia's abilities onscreen.

I don't think any of the 13 "Phase II" scripts (and I've read about eight of them) bothered to develop her empathic abilities, nor did they explore the ramifications of her Oath of Celibacy and pheromones on Decker and others. We saw Troi doing Ilia's lines from "The Child" and "Devil's Due".

I think we learned lots about Betazoids - beyond Lwaxana - specifically in "Tin Man" (Tam Elbrun) and "Voyager" (Lon Suder).
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