Read Unused ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Episode Outline Featuring The Guardian And Two Spocks

Almost exactly 30 years ago, the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation were working on getting Leonard Nimoy to reprise his role as Spock for the second season premiere. Tasked with coming up with an idea for Spock’s return, Tracy Tormé developed the story for “Return to Forever,” which was a follow-up to the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode “City on the Edge of Forever.” Today for the first time, the outline of that story was posted online.

Two Spocks meet in “Return to Forever”

Leonard Nimoy possibly appearing in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation for an episode titled “Return to Forever” was revealed in the 1990s in both Starlog and Cinefantastique magazines. Tormé revealed more in the 2016 book The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams by Mark Altman and Edward Gross, where the writer explains that he was asked to come up with something that “would be really cool” for Nimoy. Tormé’s cool idea was to use a classic element from the TOS era to get the 24th century Spock to interact with his 23rd century counterpart:

They were going to go back to what was now the most forbidden place in the galaxy, which was that time portal, and they were going to have to actually violate the rules about non-interference, and it was going to create a Pandora’s box with a whole terrible, unforeseen thing which only the Spocks from the two different time periods coming together could actually fix.

Kirk and Spock inspect the Guardian of Forever in the TOS episode “City on the Edge of Forever”

Today we can now read the actual story outline from August 1988, thanks to our friends at the @trekdocs Twitter account, which regularly reveals genuine documents from Star Trek history.

Below are all four pages of the Tormé outline for “Return to Forever”:

The story calls for the 24th century Spock to join the crew of the USS Enterprise-D to travel to the Guardian planet, where they encounter Spock from the 23rd century emerging from the Guardian of Forever. Doing the math, the Spock that was “78 years younger” would be the Spock from around the time of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which was the most recent TOS era film at the time this outline was written. So, for this episode it looks like Leonard Nimoy would likely have played both Spocks, likely with aging make-up for the older 24th century Spock from the TNG era.

Things never progressed any further than this outline due to talks with Nimoy breaking down. In The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years. Tormé discusses how his involvement with writing an episode for Nimoy’s return unfolded:

I was very excited about that and got going on it and was off to a very fast start. I was really looking forward to showing it to everybody, and then the word got back to me that the deal with Leonard fell out, he’s not going to be doing it. I was very crestfallen, because I thought that would be a really interesting show.

Spock did come back, and met young Spock too

Nimoy eventually did a two-part episode in 1991 for the 5th season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with “Unification.” That story focused on the TNG-era Spock trying to bring the Romulans and Vulcans back together and didn’t involve The Guardian, time-travel or any extra Spocks.

Leonard Nimoy in “Unification”

Spock later did some time-traveling, although without the help of the Guardian of Forever. In 2009’s Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy again played Spock, which featured him going back in time to an alternate 23rd century thanks to a black hole. While there he did interact with his younger self, played by Zachary Quinto. The two Spocks also interacted in the next film, 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness. 

Spock meets Spock in the 2009 Star Trek film

 

Check out more articles about Star Trek history here at TrekMovie.com.

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Micky Gee

Reads just like a bad season 2 TNG episode. Grateful this never got made. Waiting until after the show had hit its stride to bring back Spock may have saved the entire franchise.

Athus

Spock never saved TNG, that show was a success with out using Spock. They never needed that, not like Discovery, that it is on desperate needs of bringing spock.

Spock Jenkins

DSC has been a massive hit – whether you like it or not.

DonDonP1

Agreed. With respect to those who were like “season two will drool,” season two will RULE!

Denny C

It’s a doing what it needs to, it’s not a massive hit. A massive hit would be numbers on par with The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. It’s not even close to that but it’s doing what it needs to.

Tiger2

Agreed Denny C. I think it’s pulling it’s weight for a site few people still even knows exists or even wants, but on the overall popular culture landscape, it’s still basically just a blip on the screen. There are still people out there who doesn’t even know a new Star Trek show is on. That would’ve been unheard of in the TNG era.

Denny C

They should have started with Picard and worked their way to Discovery. That would have jumpstarted Star Trek, built anticipation for a new series and boosted CAA’s numbers.

Tiger2

It’s probably doing fine for AA but my guess is it probably has around 2 million viewers given AA has about 2.5 million subs. To be frank it’s probably doing under 2 million. But it’s probably the most watched program on that site by a mile so yes it’s probably a ‘hit’ for AA but I don’t think it’s doing all that well, hence why Spock and Picard will be coming to AA soon.

Michael Hall

That’s a huge supposition on your part, and not really supported by the evidence. You can just as easily argue that the willingness of CBS to sink major resources into a Picard show is a direct result of DSC’s success, as opposed to a lack of it. Unless you’re privy to such information, it’s just fannish speculation in the absence of any real facts.

Tiger2

Yeah it’s just an opinion lol. I did say it was a ‘guess’, right? I’m not pretending to be ‘privy’ to anything. ;)

But I ALSO said its probably the most watched program on there by a mile. It’s not like I’m putting it down. And I can be JUST as wrong on that supposition too, right?

So clearly I’m not trying to put the show down, I just seriously doubt it’s bringing in what they wanted and why they are bringing in Spock and Picard. Especially because the producers were adamant we wouldn’t even SEE an adult Spock on this show just all year. They repeated that same mantra even after the season finale happened. So my guess is CBS wasn’t happy with the viewership and made it clear they want to bring it up and hey, looks like Spock is showing up after all!

And I doubt they planned to even do another Trek show THIS soon and definitely not with Stewart until they felt they realized one show alone would be enough. But I said this many times, I don’t think it’s DIS so much as people still don’t think AA itself is worth it.

I could be still be completely wrong on all of that, it’s just my hunch. The Spock thing is really what’s driving it though.

ML31

Yep. We do not know the inner workings going on at CBS. But I think the conclusions that Spock and Picard are appearing as a result of poor subscribers is fair and very reasonable. It’s possible CBS was planning the STEU all along. But I’m guessing they had no plans to move it forward this fast. I’m also convinced the STEU did NOT include Picard. Approaching him totally feels like an attempt to bring in more subscribers, just like having the Enterprise and Spock on STD.

Tiger2

Yes I think they had always planned to create more Star Trek shows on the site. Besides the fact it’s a total no-brainer Kurtzman said that was possible before DIS came on the air.

But like you said I seriously doubt they had any plans to do it this fast. And I don’t think a Picard show was ever in the cards. Even people like me who knew we would get a post-NEM show SOME DAY thought it would be after DIS was done and never even considered having TNG actors back. So its great news for a lot of us for sure but it feels more like a reaction AA and DIS isn’t pulling in the numbers and buzz as planned so they needed something else to get people interested in the site.

Or I could be completely wrong and its EXACTLY what others are saying and that DIS is a bonafide success and because of that decided to fast track more Star Trek. Yes that is completely possible too. I don’t want people yelling at me lol. It’s simply how I feel about it, it’s not a fact, nothing I say rarely here is. I’m simply just going on my gut and based on what we do know that’s been publicly revealed. I don’t pretend to know one way or the other though. None of us do.

ML31

Spock Jenkins, that really depends on your definition of what a “hit” is. I think it fair to say it is likely by far the most watched show on CBSAA. In that sense, it is a hit. But is CBSAA getting tons of subscribers to watch it? Very doubtful. In that sense, STD has NOT delivered and by no means could be considered a “hit”.

Devon

DSC was doing just fine. Quit being dumb.

Athus

Yea, well, give me the numbers… ohoo.. you cant? Then sorry, you dont know how STD is doing. All we know is that they already pull the Spock card.

Captain Ransom

Hey Athus… how do you know if it’s doing poorly? Show me the numbers. Oh wait you can’t and have no idea if it’s doing badly. Both TNG and DS9 pulled the Spock card as well. What’s your point?

Tiger2

When was Spock on DS9?

Oh it just hit me, do you mean Trials and Tribbulations? OK, but that’s a LOT different though. That was done for Trek’s 30th anniversary and was during the fifth season when it was well established. It was just a cool one off episode.

He wasn’t brought in the way he was for TNG and definitely DIS where literally the season’s entire story line is about him. That kind of bothers me to be honest but the story line does sound cool at least. It sounds 100 times better than the Klingon war.

Disinvited

Tiger2

Re: When was Spock on DS9?

TRIALS AND TRIBBLEATIONS

Disinvited

Tiger2,

LOL. You must have edited that while I was typing my answer.

Tiger2

LOL that’s exactly what happened! I edited it a few minutes later when I figured out that’s what he meant.

HubcapDave

If Disco was doing really crappy, they’d pull the plug. They didn’t pull the plug.

ML31

Yeah. We actually have no idea for 100% certainty how many subscribers CBSAA is pulling in. But there is plenty of evidence it is not that good. First, CBS is not chirping about how great their service is doing. They absolutely would have press releases if they were. They did it when the show started. Then suddenly it stopped. Then there is the Enterprise, Pike and Spock stunt a mere 16 episodes it. That would be equivalent to TNG bringing in Spock or Scotty only 2/3 of the way through their first season. One could argue that TNG was doing just fine at the time they did THEIR stunt casting. And those were just one off episodes. Not an entire season or even 10 episode arc. I think it reasonable to conclude that CBSAA is NOT drawing the kind of subscribers anywhere close to what CBS was hoping they would get.

alphantrion

Shouldn’t Anthony interfere here because of an insult? or am I reading too much into a comment?

DeanH

Initially, we learned TNG was doing badly behind the scenes and the first season was a little sketchy with some poor acting and writing. Fortunately we fans and the producers stuck with it and the show went on to be great, even without bringing back Spock. Once the show was an unquestionable success, he then made an appearance in Reunification.

Tiger2

Exactly DeanH!

What bothers some of us isn’t so much Spock is coming on, but that it feels like a reaction to get more people into Discovery. Again that’s not a bad thing in itself, I just wish they could trust in the characters and actors they have now.

I do believe Spock is coming because it’s an overreaction by the suits from fans who complained it’s not TOS enough or maybe think familiar characters gives the show more buzz in general. Or maybe it is nothing more than someone came up with a cool Spock story and included it. FINE, but I still don’t get why it has to be Spock? And for literally an entire season at that?

No show has ever done this before. Yes some appearances for an episode or two, but that’s it. And again, I’m trying to be fair here, I’m really am and that maybe we will get a lot of side stories that has nothing to do with Pike and Spock but Discovery focused. That can very well be the case.

Unfortunately no one is talking about those much. So far it’s Enterprise, Pike, Enterprise, Spock, Number One, Spock, Enterprise. Besides learning Section 31 is showing up, Klingons and a comment about exploring the bridge crew the main focus is on these guys in promotion.

ML31

” And again, I’m trying to be fair here, I’m really am and that maybe we will get a lot of side stories that has nothing to do with Pike and Spock but Discovery focused. ”

I’m thinking because of the short season that will not be the case. There just is no time for such things. Again, I am NOT a fan of short seasons. At all.

Tiger2

Yeah I don’t think it will be either sadly. Maybe we’re wrong but I have a feeling they will do what happened in first season and focus on 1-2 arcs. And it’s two episodes shorter next season as well.

DIGINON

What makes you say that Spock will be in “literally an entire season”? One of the show’s editors posted recently that he just edited his first Ethan Peck Spock scene. I believe that was around episode 8. Pike will be there for the whole season (confirmed by the actor) but it seems that (adult) Spock will be introduced only later during the season. You are talking about overreaction but I think it’s (some of) the fans who are overreacting here.
You also say that this has never been done before but DS9 (which you’ve said you like) actually took two TNG characters and made them series regulars.

Tiger2

No I mean I think the entire season will revolve around Spock which I still don’t like. I know Spock himself won’t be in every episode but I gather that’s what the story line will be since Pike IS in every episode.

And yes Worf came on DS9 but that was the fourth season and 75 episodes later. By then the show and characters were clearly well defined. People are having an issue with Pike and Spock because you CAN’T say that about Discovery at all. I mean we literally don’t even know what the show is about because the story it started with, the Klingon War, is over. It just seem like before they threw in these characters they could’ve had a season building on the show and it’s own characters first. The only characters we got any real development with first season was Burnham, Saru, Lorca and Tyler. And we know what happened to the last two lol. The show only has 13 episodes next season, does the ENTIRE season has to be about Spock???

I knew more TOS characters would show up, I mean the show is basically designed like a back door to do it, but I was hoping it wouldn’t happen until the 3rd or 4th season. To do it this quickly and for so long at that feels like its more of a ratings issue than a creative one. I can be wrong though. And hopefully it’s worth it.

Tiger2

Oh sorry you mentioned Chief O’Brien as well. Sure, but that was just giving a background character a chance to have a bigger role on a new show. He was there to be a familiar face for TNG fans but he wasn’t there to give the show any big promotion or ratings. O’Brien was just a small character in TNG who wasn’t even given a first name until the fourth season lol. But Rick Berman really loved the actor and thought the character should be given more to do so he was put on DS9, which was a great call because O’Brien became a fan favorite after being on that show.

No one is saying it’s automatically wrong to put characters from one show on another, it’s just how and why it’s done mostly. Pike is clearly shoehorned in because it’s a guy who already is Captain of another ship. The situation in general just feels forced to get an iconic character on DIS. It doesn’t mean it won’t be good though.

ML31

I agree with that observation DeanH. Spock and Scotty both showed up after the it TNG showed they were indeed their own thing. Sure it was stunt casting. Sure, Nimoy showed up mainly to promote the upcoming TUC. But the point is at that stage TNG really didn’t NEED to mine those characters. STD is so obviously doing it because they don’t have the subscribers they hoped they would get. So they are bringing in Star Trek’s (arguably) most popular character. And for the record, this was the very reason, I think, they made Burnham Spock’s adoptive sister. In case they needed to bring in Spock it would give them a ready made excuse. Pretty sure we all knew this the instant it was announced.

Spock Jenkins

I’m sure Harlan Ellison would have tried to put the kibosh on it – he was extremely trigger-happy and litigious: when media rumours sprang up that STAR TREK 2009 may involve the Guardian, he went online and ranted about suing JJ and Paramount – then had to retract his appaling rant when it was clear the rumour was entirely speculative and had no basis in fact.

Karidian

Ellison never wanted to “put the kibosh on” anything. He wanted to be PAID, and good for him for feeling that way.

kmart

Damn right!

Binyamin

He wanted to get paid for writing an episode that would have been completely forgettable, not the all-time classic episode it was turned into without his help (or approval)

Disinvited

Binyamin,

A conclusion certainly not supported by his memorable scripts for DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND and SOLDIER prior, and definitely proven false by his WGA Award from his peers for the, unmodified by others, script submitted by him.

Denny C

He was an ornery S.O.B. and, well, that’s why so many of us loved the guy. He also had one hell of a sense of humor, too and knew when to admit when he was wrong. So, yeah had they moved forward he would have wanted some sort of recognition for his original work (check in one hand, on screen credit in the other).

Gary

Did Ellison give his permission to use the Guardian in the animated episode “Yesteryear”?

Disinvited

Gary,

YESTERYEAR was done in 1973. Ellison and the copyright office hadn’t discovered that Desilu, due to the chaos caused by its financial woes, failed to file a claim of publication when THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER 1st aired on NBC, as was standard industry practice for their writers’ contracts, until 1975 when the Copyright Office granted the copyright to Ellison for publishing his script in print then.

Paramount later tried to file a retrodated 1975 copyright publishing date for changes made to the episode for syndicated reruns back (I believe the main issue for editing the episode was they hadn’t secured the right to a song for airing in syndication.) then to secure their copyright for home videotape sales in the late 70s only to discover the Copyright Office had already awarded it to Ellison in 1975 for his publication.

Ever since, Ellison only ever used this strong legal position to fully enforce his rights as had been awarded in the standard WGA negotiated contract that he had signed originally.

Spock Jenkins

I wonder who they could have got to portray Young Spock at that time?

CGI de-aging would not have been an option back then.

dayxday

By casting a younger actor to play younger Spock.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Everything old is new again…even under Gene Roddenberry’s creative control the idea was in play 30 years ago.

kmart

I assume Nimoy would play both roles. You use pulls and all the old-school makeup techniques they talked about using for TMP (but didn’t use there) along with some lighting tricks, and voila’!

Michael Hall

Yes. That seems pretty obvious, if you look at it from the vantage point of 1987-88. The “young” in Young Spock was only relative.

Corinthian7

Younger Spock was 78 years younger ie he’d be the same age as Leonard Nimoy who was still playing the character in the movies that would have been set 78 years prior to the episode. No de-aging or recasting would have been required but old Spock would have been made up to look considerably older than when he appeared in Unification

knotthatone

I figured they’d pull it off with old stock footage & some greenscreen work.

HubcapDave

I would figure the “young Spock” to be movie-era Spock, with the older Spock playing it with aging makeup.

Michael Hall

Not certain what to make of this premise, which for all its TV Guide log-line potential only seems to be about half-there. Who is this mysterious not-boy, and why is Young Spock pursuing him through time? Why is he wreaking havoc, and what does Spock do to stop him. I’d need to know those details to make anything like a final judgement, but as it stands it doesn’t look to have been any great loss.

kmart

This is AWFULLY thin, and is nowhere near as enticing as I hoped it would be. Then again, I’m not a big fan of Torme’s TREK work, though his original version of THE ROYALE would have been a billion times better than what we got (don’t know if it would have been ‘good’ though.) FIRE IN THE SKY was good.

Wally

FIRE IN THE SKY was good… at traumatizing a generation who saw it at too young an age! That scene aboard the ship, yeah, say no more.

Thorny

I’d forgotten FIRE IN THE SKY was Torme. Yeah, that was a good movie. But the alien ship is nothing whatsoever like Walton claims his real experience to have been.

kmart

I’ve actually got an autographed copy of the most recent edition of the Walton book, but hadn’t ever read it (was figuring I could sell it for $$$ as I got it cheap used, and in mint condition.) Maybe I should gingerly read it before letting it go?

Sam

All that’s here is a rough treatment. You would need something approaching a first-draft script to make any real judgement on it.

I doubt it could have been any worse as a 2nd season opener than “The Child”, however it’s probably just as well that this never got made.

The TNG/Berman-era staff in general just didn’t seem to have that strong a fix on TOS.

Michael Hall

I wrote that I would need more details before passing judgement. As it stands, though, it’s not much. Maybe that’s why Nimoy ended up passing, who knows?

Captain Ransom

A lot of the scripts and treatments from the scrapped sequel “Phase II” were recycled into TNG episodes. Decker and Ilia became Riker and Trouble.

Thorny

Funniest spell-check autocorrect of the day!

Captain Ransom

Damn autocorrect

Captain Ransom

You do know it is a draft… A pitch… If accepted, it would have progressed to a script.

Michael Hall

I’ve read pitches, some of them even for Trek, that were more fleshed-out than this, sorry.

Captain Ransom

And I’ve seen some that were half a page long. And some were just a sentence. It means nothing until a script it made. You can’t judge a story by a treatment. Of course it isn’t fleshed out.

Tiger2

Agreed Captain Ransom!

It was just a draft of a treatment! My guess is it would’ve been fleshed out more once they got Nimoy on board and knew the story was going forward. The writer even said before he could show anybody what he even had Nimoy had already pulled out. It was just the beginning of an idea in the earliest form possible. My guess is even what he wrote would’ve changed quite dramatically once others had their say but they never even saw it.

skyjedi

This story treatment makes Unification look like King Lear.

Corylea

Seriously. Glad this never got made.

Tiger2

LOL agreed. I didn’t love Unification when I first saw it and even felt it was boring. But when I got older I really learned to appreciate it. I just wish they continued the story line a bit more but it’s probably hard to do without always asking how come Spock isn’t there.

Michael Hall

Part 1 was mostly without Spock but at least had an intriguing mystery to propel the storyline. It ended up being much better than the second half. Michael Piller wrote Part 2, and he felt the same way.

Tiger2

Yeah I know Piller wasn’t as happy with Part 2. How they ended it seemed too far fetched even for Star Trek lol. But one of my favorite scenes from the franchise is that talk between Data and Spock and how they were a like but different. That scene is classic Star Trek.

But the episode definitely could’ve been stronger overall but I really do love the story line in itself with Vulcans and Romulans trying to unite. Would love SOME kind of continuation of it on the Picard show but not holding my breath. Especially if Romulus really is star dust now. ;)

Binyamin

Second parts were often weaker than the first. None more so than Best of Both Worlds. Riker: Fire! {fade to black} writers: now what?

Anthony Thompson

Join the discussion…So true. Part 2 was a major disappointment. They should have fleshed out how to resolve the entire story, with or without Stewart.

ML31

I think you would be surprised how often season ending cliff hangers are written with no idea how to get out of it. According to commentary the final episode of Enterprise Season 3 was written with no idea what would come next. I think a writer even said, “That’s someone else’s problem.” I suspect no one knew what to do after “Fire” because it was uncertain of Stewart was coming back. Sure, it could have been prudent to prepare two outlines in advance. But that rarely happens.

ML31

Forced to agree on that one. Unification was a TREMENDOUS disappointment. The best part of it was the conversation between Spock and Picard at the beginning of part 2. The rest was standard TNG meh…

Phil

So, the Guardian is the most guarded object in the galaxy, but the Nexus is open to all. Makes perfect sense….

Curious Cadet

@Phil — exactly how would they guard the Nexus?

kmart

Same way they would guard anything else, picket ships, though in this case they would have to be at warp instead of orbiting. But we never see Starfleet protecting undeveloped worlds from interlopers, so that is a huge gaping hole in the whole prime directive, since it by default lets everybody else interfere or cash in.

skyjedi

The Nexus is the midi clorians of star trek, never to be mentioned again. Just as they never mention that Kirk died on some random planet, at least he was not a coward on an island for 30 years that is just sad and wants to die.

Thorny

They did try (sort of) to explain that you couldn’t beam into the Nexus. You had to be somehow swept up by it. And if it is orbiting the galaxy every 60-odd years, I don’t think a Starship would be able to keep up. So the Nexus isn’t quite so vulnerable to abuse. (Dr. Soran had to make a star go nova to pull it off.)

The Guardian being heavily guarded seems to come from the excellent novel “Yesterday’s Son”.

Ricky

I don’t understand why Leonard Nimoy was included in all the follow up series/movies but not William Shatner or Deforest Kelley for that matter. It’s such bull that he died in Generations and they “don’t know” how to bring him back. They “DON’T KNOW” gimme a break, this is science fiction. I think there may be more to it than that. If Shatner were brought back for the next movie it would surely be a home run if he were given a decent storyline.

Corylea

Leonard Nimoy was willing to do a cameo, but Shatner wasn’t. Mr. Nimoy was willing to serve the film, whereas Shatner … wasn’t.

Disinvited

Corylea,

That’s just the hogwash of fansplaining. JJ absolutely never made any offer, cameo or otherwise, for his 1st TREK film and when he did for Orci’s TREK 3, Shatner was on board.

Daniel Henderson

And Shatner was suppose to be the Mirror Tiberius trying to steal the Defiant in the Enterprise Mirror episodes, but they couldn’t work out the money AND the time off from Boston Legal it would have taken to get it done.

Disinvited

Daniel Henderson,

According to Coto, the thing that really threw the spanner in the works was Berman’s insistence that Shatner play his look-alike ancestor, Chef, instead of the Mirror story that Shatner pitched.

Disinvited

Daniel Henderson,

Read about it here:

https://www.trektoday.com/news/170305_02.shtml

Brian

DeForest was in TNG. In the pilot Encounter at Farpoint he was an old admiral taking a tour of the ship. Kind of ironic that the TOS characters brought to TNG were the first ones to die in real life.

Disinvited

Sam,

Pike was in two episodes of TOS, Jeffrey Hunter was the first to die in real life and never was near an episode of TNG.

Curious Cadet

@Disinvited — how about a Dr. McCoy series starring Karl Urban during his time before he joined the Enterprise crew

Disinvited

Curious Cadet,

I like Urban’s TV work. I think Urban would be thrilled and enthused. I was always curious about how the pressures of McCoy’s chosen profession, even in the far future, adversely affected his family relationships. I’d watch.

ML31

I’d be curious about that. Does McCoy have an official background? Very little seems to be known. I believe he was supposed to be divorced and he was supposed to have a daughter. I recall there was even talk of a 4th season script where Kirk is attracted to his daughter. Thus challenging the relationship.

Sam

Shatner was never “cool enough” to come back after his Generations stint. It wasn’t that nobody could find a way. It was that Shatner was considered too much a clown and too detrimental for a modern, mainstream revisiting of Trek on an actual film budget. He just wouldn’t have been taken seriously enough. Doug Plinkett brings this up in his 2009 movie review.

Disinvited

Sam,

More fansplaining made up nonsense. Actors are hired, and win Emmies, for acting – not performing fan fantasies about what an actor “really” is like.

Cool enough actor to win 2 Emmies on this side of the millennium and to be on board for Orci’s TREK 3 but somehow not “cool enough” for a freaking Paramount STAR TREK movie? Give him and us a break.

redfish

Kirk is just not as interesting or iconic a character as Spock, nor does he have the same gravitas.

Not fansplaining — just a reason why I would personally not include Shatner in any new script if I were writing. Not that I’d necessarily be interested in writing in past actors in general… I see that largely as fanservice and I generally hate overuse of time travel plots, which it would generally involve, because absent an interesting idea behind them its usually lazy writing.

If Shatner is slated for the next Trek movie it doesn’t give me much hope for it being a quality movie just because it feels like desperation when the reboot should have had its own wings by now to not rely on TOS actors. But then I thought ST Beyond was pretty awful, so its not surprising.

I feel the Trek franchise is really trapped in a funk right now where they don’t have a strong vision guiding it. DSC has some good ideas but more bad ones to go with it. The state of Trek is disappointing to me.

Sam

Paramount doesn’t strike me as being ‘that’ desperate, even after their trying to screw over Chris and Chris. And neither does CBS for that matter (although I see fans wanting to interpret their moves as desperation).

Sam

And who on here wasn’t relieved when Orci left Trek 3? Clearly better instincts prevailed. As for Shatner, he’s won as many Razzies as Emmies (which of the two were for his ST work?) and the Abrams movies had spent too much money to risk reminding wider audiences of why they never could get into ST. The review I cited (and which you’ve ignored) clearly shows I’m not the only one to suspect they’ve been keeping him out on purpose.

Disinvited

Sam,

I didn’t ignore. Just amazed at your willingness to take seriously the observations of a non-serious comedic fictional character on whether or not real people would take an actual professional person seriously. Two things are REAL: Shatner’s peers took his acting seriously enough to award him not one but TWO Emmys for playing the same character across TWO different productions.

As for the RAZZIES, again, the Emmys were voted on by fellows in Shatner’s profession while the RAZZIES only require $40 and their voters aren’t even required to view the performances that they vote down. And what metric of the public’s ability to take someone seriously can it possibly be when Donald Trump’s win didn’t even deny him the presidency?

Sam

The actual substance of “his” reviews and commentary are not fiction, but you would already know this. And in this case “he” gives voice to something I believe most people (including the original poster of this thread) already suspected: that there hasn’t been a place for Shatner in the newer, bigger-game ST films because he would be a detriment to that. Now whether fans acknowledge they suspect this is another matter.

I don’t deny better people have been more able to focus Shatner’s capabilities in his old age. But the day they put him back in a ST movie, it will be budgeted at a modest $75 million with limited advertising for fan audiences only.

Disinvited

Sam,

Any actual substance to “his” fiction belong to an actual author who wasn’t comfortable with those “facts” being presented in a non-fiction setting as his goal was humor free to take cheap shots at his targets and not fact-checked Ronan Farrow type exposes.

But I agree with you that directors such as QT, who’s studied Shatner with a minor in TJ HOOKER, probably could extract a more compelling performance from him than, say, Bob Orci would have. But I find that Shatner often finds a way to keep even lesser efforts on some level, interesting or at the very least worthy of water cooler discussion the next day.

Tiger2

I read somewhere long ago there was an idea to bring Shatner to TNG. IIRC he was suppose to still be around and a professor at Starfleet academy. I read he was suppose to be one of Wesley’s professors. My guess is that never got beyond the original idea like this one if its true.

And Kelly was in Encounter at Farpoint as others said.

DeanH

This is just opinion so it doesn’t have any more relevance than yours, but IMO the Shatman doesn’t seem like an actor that is easy to work with. Example, he certainly isn’t pals with his fellow TOS castmembers. Conversely, the TNG gang is well known to hang out together even long after the show ended and today the Disco cast seems to be doing things with each other all the time. On top of that his acting is not exactly Stewart-level, which is surprising since both are classically trained Shakespearean thespians. Nimoy on the other hand seems to be beloved and remembered fondly by all who worked with him.

Corylea

Before I read the treatment, I was excited about it, thinking, “The only thing that could possibly be better than ONE Spock is TWO Spocks!” Then I read the treatment and thought the author used two Spocks rather badly. I’ve read better FAN fiction!

Denny C

A treatment is not a script and a first draft can look significantly different from the final shooting script. Had they moved forward with this story it likely would have gone through significant changes.

I’m shocked this was even considered. Gene was very opposed to even referencing TOS back then; heck, Ira Behr had to go to the mattresses to get Rick Berman to allow a single mention of Spock in the episode “Sarek” only a year later.

Tiger2

They probably felt they needed a ratings boost in the second season and to get people on board with the show. Remember TNG was doing OK but not great then, so this was probably a way to boost the ratings and get TOS fans still opposed to the new show.

Ironically why I think Spock is showing up in Discovery’s second season. ;)

DataMat

It seems that the script didn’t make it through both because Rodenberry didn’t like it, and neither did Nimoy.

Gary 8.5

Sounds like a bad idea.
Glad that they didn’t go with it.

Tiger2

Agreed! I would’ve been fine if no one from TOS ever showed up on TNG but I understood obviously why someone felt the need to do it. But I’m really happy they waited until later to bring Spock on when the show had came into it’s own by then.

Sadly they don’t have the same mentality for Discovery. :(

ML31

They don’t have the same mentality because they don’t have the time. The seasons are so short and they HAVE to get subscribers NOW. TNG had the luxury of time on their side that streaming shows don’t.

DataMat

I believe Roddenberry was insistent that TOS characters stay off TNG. McCoy in EAF was simply a ‘passing of the torch’ moment.
It wasn’t until later on in the third season that they finally got the Sarak character on the show, and he wasn’t a regular anyway. Once Roddenberrys involvement with the show ended, TOS characters began to be considered and we got Unification and Relics as a result.

ML31

That too. But my original comment is still valid. We are both right.

DataMat

Let’s also remember that TNG is set 70+ years after Star Trek VI. TOS characters were all mostly dead or were very old and under the radar.
Discovery takes place during TOS heyday as it were.

Tiger2

Which is exactly why I admired TNG more at the time. They set up the show so NOT to rely on the past or TOS which at the time was a big risk. But one that paid off in dividends because Trek proved it could be more than just about one crew or era. But the idea at the time could’ve fell flat on its face.

I’m really happy Roddenberry took that risk and made Star Trek a more diverse franchise today and not just rely on bankable characters which sadly it’s what AA seems to be doing with Picard and Spock.

Danpaine

Totally agree.

Tiger2

That’s true ML31, TNG and DIS are in completely different boats. TNG not only had the luxury of time, it really was just another TV show when it aired. I mean it wasn’t propping up an entire network or streaming site, it was just an idea that maybe another Trek show could work and gave it a chance. But if it was cancelled first season, it wouldn’t be a big deal to the studio. It’s just another cancelled TV show for them.

But with projects like Voyager and now Discovery they had a bigger burden of being flag ships of start up channels and so it was important those shows were seen as hits on their own or the entire operation could fail. And at least with UPN, it was free. With AA now you are asking people to pay to watch Star Trek for the first time and that brings an even bigger burden no other show had.

So yes I do understand. I still hate it but it’s a completely different situation today so I can’t blame them for it entirely, especially if the issue is just trying to get people to fork over more money for it.

BringBackKirkPrime

I would have loved to have seen this story.

Danpaine

I don’t know how the above story would have worked out given the limited four-page treatment above, but I would have liked to have seen The Guardian make a return in TNG in some form or another, not necessarily with any TOS characters. Just to revisit that great entity in some form would have been cool and a great shout-out to the past.

Tiger2

Yes exactly! I think I would’ve loved a Guardian story on it’s own, but they could’ve done it without any TOS characters. You can still honor the past without completely regurgitating it.

Kev-1

Heard about this before, maybe in Starlog years ago. Didn’t know his father was singer Mel Torme — Mel Torme, also a writer, did some very good TV episodes during the 60s (not Star Trek). Anything with Spock and the Guardian is interesting, but this seems to need more details — to be added later?

Wally

Bringing back Spock is okay, I guess, but the Guardian would be nostalgia overload in my opinion. Better to place old characters in new environments and situations, like Scotty and the Dyson Sphere. Never saw one of those before.

Bird of Prey

Wow… This makes me wonder if Torme already formed ideas how exactly the younger Spock should be brought on screen?

Using old footage, like in “Trials and Tribble-ations”?
That episode though utilized technology pioneered in “Forrest Gump”, a movie that wasn’t yet produced at that time!

Or did he simply want to recast young Spock with another actor?
Back when the first Abrams movie came out and did just that (for Spock and the other TOS characters), that move was considered a bit controversial…

Disinvited

Bird of Prey

Not sure TNG casting one of the young actors Nimoy had already personally cast in the first movie he directed as young Spock would have been nearly as controversial?

Bird of Prey

I just came up with a third option:
Let younger Spock be the movie era Spock! So Nimoy could simply have played both Spocks, with the older one aged up via make-up!

Roger

Wow, that story outline is…horrible.

Charlie

It’s been a long time…Gettin’ from there to here…

I Khan Believe it's Not Butter

Glad I missed that issue of Starlog…Terrible story idea.
If it weren’t for the fact that TNG was syndicated to over 200 TV stations, it would not have survived on network TV longer than 12 episodes.
The first season was horrible. The second season was a mess. Things picked up for the third season but started to wain again in the 4th season. By the fifth season I was pretty much done with it.
Jumping to film was unnecessary.
Fans of the show seem to think a film outing some how elevates Star Trek into a higher order just because TOS did it.
TOS did it and succeeded because at the time it was the right direction for it to evolve to.
Everyone simply thought that TNG should do it too. They were basically wrong.
First Contact while the best of TNG films, still fell short from what it should have been. The writers simply played it safe.
The Borg as a bad guy became boring and diluted.

Denny C

The first TNG film should have been First Contact in 1996 which would have built anticipation for a TNG film after the series finale instead of just six months after it. The first six movies were events but by the time TNG made the transition to the big screen they were just Star Trek stories you had to pay to see in a theater.

ML31

I had read there were two outlines for TNG movies during their final season. Both could or could not include Shatner. The plan was to make the first one, whichever it ended up being, with Shat. Then let the TNG guys be on their own for the next. Not sure why but they opted for the Generations story for Shatner. Once that decision was made, First Contact was altered for no Kirk. I wish they did the First Contact treatment with Shatner. It feels like he would have been in the movie a lot more. Perhaps Nimoy would have done it, too.

kmart

The second story developed for GEN was by Maurice Hurley and had nothing to do with FC.

Thorny

The first season was horrible, but still did very well in the ratings, often beating its network competition. TNG would have done as well on network TV, maybe better. The second half of TNG Season 2 was very good. The first half varied from awful to okay, but the second half gave us standouts like Contagion, A Matter of Honor, The Measure of a Man, Q-Who? and The Emissary. Even the Wesley episode (The Dauphin) was pretty darned good (compared to anything in Season 1 or early Season 2 anyway). A Kirk and Picard movie was actually a pretty good idea. They needed more time to develop it properly, since it was being prepped simultaneous with the seconc half of TNG Season 7 and the staff was stretched thin. But Paramount called the shots and wanted a TNG movie at Thanksgiving 1994 (five months after the final TV episode) and wouldn’t take no for an answer. When Nimoy refused to take part in it, the movie should have been re-written until he was satisfied (and he was correct, as it was written). But Berman had no choice. He was committed to a movie in November 1994, so it was filmed as it was, with simply the names Spock and McCoy crossed out and replaced with Scott and Chekov. The movie really needed one more re-write. Kirk’s death scene was already hastily re-written, but there wasn’t enough time for anything more. I’m no apologist for Berman (who was burned out by… Read more »

Daniel Henderson

Supposedly, Harlan was asked around Season 6 or so if he’d do or bless an episode where the TNG crew had to save Edith Keeler and “redirect” her to save the galaxy again. He was mildly interested in the concept but was squashed by Michael Pillar because they’d already had Bones, Sarek, Spock, and just finished doing a Scotty episode and decided it was too much. The problem is that Harlan has written so many “Op-Ed’s” that actually tracking down the right one where he mentioned that is nigh impossible.