"Planet of the Titans" Revisited

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Maurice, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I recently purchased the very huge, very cool, and very expensive book "The Art of Ralph McQuarrie", six pages of which are dedicated to McQuarrie's conceptual art for what is listed in the book as "Unfilmed Star Trek Feature, late 1970s", better know to Trek historians as Philip Kaufman's aborted film "Star Trek: Planet of the Titans".

    The best thing is seeing large reproductions of several of McQuarrie's concept paintings that most of us have seen before, and conceptual sketches, most of which I'd seen elsewhere. But what made this extra interesting was Ralph's notes on the images. Since much of what's known about this project is rumor and assumption, I thought I'd dig up some of the images in the book and note what McQuarrie says about them, and what hints that provides about what was and wasn't planned for the film.

    NOTE that the images here are ones I've seen all over the net and had on my hard drive. I didn't dare try to put this big ol book into a scanner!

    The caption above seems to confirm that the design of the ship was that of Ken Adam, not McQuarrie's per se, despite what some people want to see as a Star Destroyer influence. This explanation fits with the Adam sketches of the ship seen in The Art of Star Trek.

    Ok, the nonsense about dense material negating gravity aside, the many sketches of the detached saucer, in the "shroud", shown landed, and the various landing pads on what appears to be Earth and Vulcan all appear to indicate that the artists at least were toying with the idea of a ship that routinely separates, leaving the warp drive in orbit while the saucer lands on planets.

    It appears the artists were blue-skying ideas while the scripts were being developed, suggesting many ideas that probably never made it into the actual screenplays.

    As to the Enterprise, some of the sketches in the book show close-ups of the nacelle fronts, which are shown to have domed ends, but these are recessed into the front of the nacelle cylinders: a detail not apparent on the photos I've seen of the study models.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2008
  2. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Thank you so very much for posting this. I remember seeing the pics on his website, but they were not captioned at the time, so I thought the saucer shots were it crashing on a planet. I am a huge 'path not taken' guy with respect to TREK so Kaufmann's unmade TITANS is my holy grail. I figure it would have not necessarily have felt like real TREK (any more than TMP does to most) but that it would have entertained more than TMP, and gotten to market sooner as well, so it would have had a huge impact on what came after.

    I definitely see the MILLENNIUM FALCON in Ralph's saucer, and his enterprise is definitely filtered through his own sensibilities, since Adam's sketches look more ... well, Adam-like than this (I am a huge admirer of Adam.) Downside is that you'd've had the GALACTICA effect, with TREK looking like SW right off the bat, instead of waiting till ST 3 to take on that inappropriate look.

    I just saw Toshiro Mifune in something the other night, and immediately flashed on the stuff about Mifune being the Klingon Captain opposing Spock, according to Kaufmann in a little book, I think it is called best sf films never made. I've never felt good about the idea of doing 3/4 of a trek movie w/o Kirk (witness GENERATIOINS), but I gotta say, I'd've been first in line for this one.

    The black hole shroud thing I don't get at all, it sounds like it is pinched from John Black's rejected trek pitch about the black hole that blows up, rather than the hole that send the E crew back (or forward) in time at the end.
     
  3. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

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    Funny you should mention Mifune, because if memory serves, he was also the choice to play Admiral Nogura for TMP, once it was bumped up to feature status. James Shigeta was going to play Nogura if the Phase II series had progressed.
     
  4. Peach Wookiee

    Peach Wookiee Cuddly Mod of Doom Moderator

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    That looks neat!
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have more to post on this... but I didn't want to do it all in one message: figured I'd see if there was any interest.

    I agree that I like Adam's renderings of his designs better. They feel sleeker than McQuarrie's take. I would've loved to get my hands on the study models...where they sold at the auctions?

    I edited the Planet of Titans entry on Memory Alpha to make it more accurate, and also corrected some of the captions which attributes the Titans designs to Phase II (and added an entry for Study Models, since they erroneously referred to the study models as Studio Models), and I revised their entry on McQuarrie to correct Titans errors there, and to add mention of his work on Star Trek VI. Whew!

    There's an entry on the project in "The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made".

    As to Mifune...I love the man. I love him in High and Low in particular, amongst many great performances. I was thrilled when I picked up a capsule toy in Japan and opened it to find it was Mifune as his nameless Samurai from Yojimbo...in black and white! Yay!
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2008
  6. Jon1701

    Jon1701 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've always thought that exterior shot of the asteroid looked cool as f**k.

    I still do. :cool:
     
  7. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

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    It is pretty cool looking. I'd love to see them use that in the new movie, but I don't think that's likely.

    It would be great though, wouldn't it?
     
  8. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Full of Country Goodness and Green Peaness Premium Member

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    I'm surprised they didn't use it — or something inspired by it — at some point during the 30-odd years since Planet of the Titans was kicked around, particularly after the visual effects went (almost) all-CGI in the late 90s.
     
  9. Gep Malakai

    Gep Malakai Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^The Defiant in the Tholian asteroid facility in "In a Mirror Darkly" from ENTs fourth season came pretty close.....
     
  10. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Toshiro Mifune as a Klingon would've given as, imo, a better and more nuanced Klingon than what we ended up in latter Treks. Less over the top, Norse-Viking and more subtle, subdue Samuri-like. It would've been, to borrow Gowron's phrase, "glorious."

    I have to agree with you on a movie featuring Spock heavily and Kirk less. As Nimoy has pointed out in several interviews, the character of Spock works best when he has the character of Kirk and Shatner's energitic performance to work against. In Mark A. Altman's book Captain's Log, he quotes Nimoy from another source as saying that Spock isn't sucessful when he is left in command by himself like in "The Gaileo Seven."
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Where did you hear this? I know Shigeta played Nogura in a fan film called Yorktown II back in the late '80s or so; Starlog covered it, since it was apparently a pretty prominent fan film with involvement from many professionals including George Takei (with the filmmaker playing Sulu's son), Andrew Probert (who designed a Klingon scout ship for it), and composer Bill Conti. But I don't remember anything about Shigeta being slated for Phase II.
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [LEFT]
    [/LEFT]
    [LEFT]McQuarrie labels the corridor as Vulcan, but the curve makes me think Enterprise interior.

    It would be interesting to know how much of this Vulcan stuff was the artists just blue-skying and now much was informed by the script under development.

    The final image, with the hologram, looks like a Vulcan who's being restrained...but who can be sure?

    In fact, the burned out nature of the planet in the sketches above makes me wonder if it's not Vulcan at all, but the titular Planet of the Titans. Curiouser, and curiouser...

    [/LEFT]
     
  13. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

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    Christopher;

    For the life of me, I can't recall where I read this, but I'm certain I did. I want to say that most likely it was in the Reeves-Stevens' book on Phase II, but I'd have to flip through my copy to see if I can confirm that.

    What's really a shame is that Mifune wasn't able to play him in TMP.
     
  14. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for the additional pix DS9, I'm really enjoying these! Keep 'em coming.


    :techman:
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My pleasure. I enjoy research, and I'm determiend to set the record straight(er) on this darned slippery project! If only someone had the freaking screenplay that Paramount (rightly or wrongly) rejected!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2008
  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    The Vulcan stuff is in the story, since Spock goes through some ritual that reveals his eventual death to him, which leads him to rejoin the ship when it goes back out in search of the titans.

    But whether that stuff is Vulcan or the titanplanet ... it doesn't look like the awesomeweird stuff Adam drew for the space brain on the titan planet, which was like giant rock candy in a way (others have said Liebskind the architect seems to have borrowed from Adam's titans stuff.) But it doesn't look vulcan to me either.

    Are there any other pieces of art?
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You've obviously seen some pieces I haven't, and I've never heard this thing about Spock seeing his own death. Where did you pick up those tidbits?

    I'm almost through the art I have that I can confirm as Titans stuff. I have some bits that I'm not sure where they're from, so I hesitate to post them for fear it'll contribute to incorrect folklore about the film.
     
  18. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I'm pretty sure it was from some Susan Sackett stuff, maybe Making of TMP? Either that or one of the unauthorized books from Pioneer. Anybody else confirm my stuff? (I don't have the books anymore.)
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hmmm...I'll have to look through my old Trek books and see if I have that stuff. But I've seen various scripts misdescribed in the books, so I'm cautious about reporting such things as fact. On the other hand, what you describe might well fit with the images I posted...that "hologram" image might well be the ritual you related.
     
  20. MarianLH

    MarianLH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    [LEFT]

    But it might also represent the interior of the dome shown in the sketch just to the right.
    [/LEFT]


    Marian