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Star Trek: Phase II

Star Trek: Phase II or Star Trek II was the first live-action sequel to be Star Trek planned. However, the series was not realized because it was decided to make a movie instead.

History of origin Edit source]

Movie or new series? Edit source]

Until 1975 there were rumors about a continuation of the original series, which however always turned out to be irrelevant. It was not until December of that year that the first concrete information was released - this time also from an official source - regarding a “resurrection” of the franchise, but not as a series but as a movie. [1]

Previously there had already been a number of discussions in which Paramount Pictures wanted to realize a new Star TrekProject initially only wanted to grant two to three million dollars. This in turn sparked a discussion about whether to aim for either a television or a cinema production. You were more or less on dry land and had to start all over again, as nothing was left of what had once been available to the series: neither sets nor props - not even Spock's ears. When Gene Roddenberry then remarked that even a television production would only achieve the quality of the old series with a small budget, he was able to convince those responsible to provide the funds for a feature film. [2]

The numerous proposed film ideas included: [3]

On May 8, 1977, the first cinema project pursued by Paramount Pictures ended Star Trek-Franchise with final rejection of the script too Star Trek: Planet Of The Titans. [4]

Chronology of failure Edit source]

June 1977 Edit source]

On June 10th, 1977 Paramount Pictures announced - in the form of the chairman of the board, Barry Diller, the president Michael Eisner and the young studio manager Jeffrey Katzenberg - the founding of its own television network. During this press conference, the public was informed about the start of production of a new one Star TrekSeries, which was to serve as the draft horse of the new station. The two-hour television pilot film should therefore be broadcast in February 1978, the following thirteen commissioned episodes should run on a weekly basis on Saturday evening at prime time from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. [2], [4], [5]

Gary Nardino, who has been with Gene Roddenberry since producing the first Star Trek-Series was friends, was responsible for the series production as president of television productions at Paramount. Roddenberry, to whom Nardino practically gave a free hand, immediately took action and put together his production team. He brought Robert H. Goodwin on board as executive producer for the technical side of the series production, although he was initially not interested in this project. Goodwin was originally supposed to oversee the production of the television films on the new Paramount Network, but was persuaded by Roddenberry to start series production. Goodwin knew Star Trek not yet and initially had difficulties to get used to the already existing basic structures of the series. Harold Livingston, whom Roddenberry hired to produce the scripts, created similar conditions. Roddenberry had enlisted young Jon Povill as his assistant early on. Povill was a fan of the original series and, unlike Goodwin and Livingston, knew a lot about the job. Livingston therefore tried to give Povill the status of a screenwriter, but Roddenberry was reluctant to let his assistant go. This led to a serious rift between the two producers in September 1977, as Livingston threatened to abandon series production if Povill did not finally become editor. Roddenberry gave in, but he never forgave Livingston for the threat. [2], [4], [5]

For the artistic design, Roddenberry absolutely wanted to fall back on Matt Jeffries, whom he had already referred to for the work Star Trek got to know and appreciate. But Jeffries also worked for Michael London on his series Our little farm. Since London did not want to let him go, Jeffries was forced to partially at night Star Trek-Series project to work. As this became too much for him, he soon handed the artistic direction into the hands of Joe Jennings. Roddenberry turned to Jim Rugg for the special effects. [2], [4]

July 1977 [edit | Edit source]

On 07/15/1977 Roddenberry commissioned his executive producer Goodwin to create a rough version of the Writer's Guide (serial bible). This guide was needed for recruiting writers to come up with ideas and scripts for the series. Just four days later, Goodwin delivered a first rough draft. The first contracts with authors were already in place in the last week of July. A first idea by Arthur Heinemann was rejected by Livingston and not pursued further. On July 25th, 1977 Roddenberry commissioned the author Alan Dean Foster to write the story Robot's Return rewrite. Foster delivers his story a little later: In Thy Image. Everyone involved agreed that this should be the pilot of the series, even if Livingston no longer planned with Foster, who, to his annoyance, he did not trust to develop a script from the story that could be filmed. [2], [4], [5]

August 1977 Edit source]

On August 3, 1977, a momentous internal studio meeting took place, which decided the fate of the series and sealed it at this early point in time. In addition to Gene Roddenberry and Robert Goodwin, studio greats Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Gary Nardino and Arthur Fellows also took part in the meeting. Goodwin introduced them to the concept for In Thy Image in front. Eisner was absolutely thrilled and hit the table with his fist: This was exactly the film he wanted to produce; however not as a pilot of a series, but for the big screen! At that moment the new one was Star TrekSeries already history. Up to this point in time no set had been built, no script had been written and no meter of film had been exposed. Eisner was probably so enthusiastic because the failure of the in-house television network was already becoming apparent: Paramount had not succeeded in attracting enough advertising customers to support the network in the past two months. Before this meeting, given the sums already invested, stayed in the new one Star Trek-Project only the rather embarrassing alternative of producing a pilot film and offering it for sale to the established television networks. Given the cinema potential of In Thy Image However, Eisner saw the way to pull Paramount out of the affair without losing face. Unofficially, the series had already died. Nevertheless, at the same meeting it was decided to at least officially continue series production. One was afraid of announcing a movie at this early stage and then possibly failing again with this project. Only a few production members were privy to the decisions of that August 3rd. The game of hide-and-seek that followed lasted for five months ... [2], [4]

By August 16, 1977, Harold Livingston had met with almost thirty different authors - including "old friends" such as Theodore Sturgeon, Norman Spinrad, David Gerrold and Walter Koenig as well as established writers such as Thomas Ardies and Richard Bach - and exchanged initial story ideas . Livingston asked seven of them to develop their script ideas. In view of the set deadlines, however, the company was already heading for a tangible crisis. The development of scripts without having an already finished pilot film as a guide was extremely untypical for the industry. All the more important was the support of the Povill, which Roddenberry was reluctant to provide, as a script editor and monitor of the desired series continuity. Povill, who was not one of those who already knew about the end of the series, accepted his task with a lot of vigor and willingness to work. [2], [4]

Officially, things were moving forward: at the end of August, several sets were already under construction, including the model of the converted USS Enterprise was available. In addition, Robert Collins was a director for In Thy Image found. November 1st, 1977 was set as the date for the start of filming. Collins should also make the first test recordings with the new characters Xon, Decker and Ilia beforehand. [2], [4]

In August 1977, Starlog magazine interviewed series creator Gene Roddenberry. In addition to problems with the previous, ultimately failed film projects, Roddenberry also spoke about his wishes for the new series. He announced that life on earth would be a theme in the 23rd century. He also described the possibilities that were not open to him in the original series: He was looking forward to ignoring the 1/3 woman rule once set by NBC. From now on he wanted to increase the proportion of female crew members on board the ship and also show women who are active in command positions. In addition, everyday life on board should be presented more specifically and questions such as the following answered: Are there toilets on board? Is the laundry being washed or is it being replicated again? Do the crew members wash themselves with water or do they use a sonic shower? How do you get a new haircut and still shave this century? [6]

September 1977 [edit | Edit source]

At the beginning of September they came to the creation of the script In Thy Image In dire need of time: Livingston's first choice to rework the story submitted by Alan Dean Foster was Steven Bocho. But this was not available at the time. The second choice, Michael Cimino, was not interested and the third choice, William Norten, gave up on September 5, 1977. Also the British writer David Ambrose, who later wrote the script deadlock should contribute was considered. Livingston was forced to step into the breach on September 8, 1977. [2], [4], [5]

On September 26, 1977 David Gautreaux was cast for the role of the young Vulcan Xon, he prevailed on that day against seven other candidates. On that day, a suitable actor for the role of Commander Decker was searched for, albeit in vain for the time being. Further casting tests were to take place on October 24, 1977 in New York and three days later in Hollywood. [4], [5]

October 1977 [edit | Edit source]

In October the schedule for the series got completely out of hand. You couldn't keep a single one of the previously set appointments. The studio, which was no longer interested in series production anyway, had no reason to intervene. The start of shooting for In Thy Image was thus postponed by almost a month to November 28, 1977. It was not until October 21, 1977 - about three weeks later than originally planned - that Livingston delivered his first rough version of the In-Thy-Image-Script from. Only four days later he puts the character of the decker up for disposal in a memo to Roddenberry. [4]

In the third week of October 1977, David Gautreaux was informed of plans to drop the series in favor of a feature film. During the two days that the casting for the character Ilia took place, everyone involved in the production was informed of the unofficial end of the series. So did Persis Khambatta, who was eventually cast as Ilia. [4], [5]

Starlog magazine reported on the crucial casting shoots that took place on October 27th and 28th, 1977 on stage 21 in the Paramount studio. 16 actresses and actors were tested in front of the camera on these two days. It was about the three new roles to be filled, Xon, Decker and Ilia. All actors had to audition from a four-page scene in full makeup and costume. The women had to start preparing in the mask at 5:30 a.m. For the role of Ilia, they had to have an artificial bald head. Gautreaux, who also attended the casting date, was asked by Bob Goodwin to help him select the much-needed Decker actor. But from Gautreaux's point of view, the actors who had been announced all turned out to be completely incapable, so that the role had to remain vacant. [5], [6]

At this point, construction work for the sets was in full swing on stages 8, 9 and 10. Stage 9 contained in particular the sets of the Enterprisewhich, compared to the later movie, had a much more colorful interior design: at that time the engine room was kept in reddish-orange tones, while the machines themselves looked bright yellow. The matter-antimatter chamber should give off an eerie red glow. [6]

In the meeting room, deep blue walls were supposed to create a cozy atmosphere, while cheerful yellow tones predominated in the hospital ward. Kirk's quarters, like the ship's transporter room, were to be given an orange motif. On stage 8 was the futuristic quarters of an admiral, which was in the conference scene of In Thy Image should be seen. Stage 10 housed the leisure area of ​​the Enterprise, which was completely set up at the end of October. [6]

At this time, there were also many technical innovations on board the Enterprise planned. For example, several holoprojectors should be used, such as in the conference room. Instead of being physically present, a person could take part in the conference as a projection. The holoprojectors should also be able to use a synthetic computer to reconstruct, for example, a holographic specimen that appears to be alive from a single dinosaur bone found. In addition, the sonic showers mentioned by Roddenberry in the August interview of the same year were already part of the standard equipment of the Enterprise. [6]

At the end of October 1977, the press was still fooled into making plans for the two-hour pilot film In Thy Image, following its television premiere in the US, was to be shown in theaters overseas. [6]

November 1977 [edit | Edit source]

In the following month it was more or less openly about the preparation of the upcoming movie, more specifically about the development of a corresponding script. Roddenberry, who was at the height of his feud with Livingston, worked out his own version of the script and then suffered a major defeat in December 1977 when the studio managers decided on Livingston's version. Still, Livingston took off his hat shortly afterwards in response to the ongoing quarrels with Gene Roddenberry, whom he considered a bad writer. Before the film was made, he had to throw in the towel three times and in the end had to fight to get his name under the script for the film. [2], [4], [5]

In the middle of November, the Starlog magazine reported in an update on the series project, which was submitted shortly before printing, that Paramount had decided to use the pilot film In Thy Image to make a feature film for cinema sales after all. Production was supposed to start on November 28, 1977. The actors for Xon (David Gautreaux) and Ilia (Persis Khambatta) could already be named. But here, too, the actual end of the series has not yet been revealed to the press: Gene Roddenberry and the studio predicted a series return to TV on a weekly basis about a year after the film was released. The reason given for this change of plan was that the studio's network project - the establishment of Paramount Television Services (PTS) - was on the brink at this point. On the part of the studio, the Starlog's report about a significant increase in the (series) budget - a possible indication of the end of the series in favor of a blockbuster movie - was not confirmed. [6]

December 1977 [edit | Edit source]

The first “rumors” reached the press at the beginning of December. Hollywood insider Rona Barrett reported on the supposed end of series production and the development of a movie. The "rumors" were immediately denied by all those involved in production. A press spokesman boldly announced that the series would start together with the new Paramount Network in the fall of 1978 and that the first season of the series should have been expanded from 13 to 15 and later even to 22 episodes. [4]

At this point in time, however, only the scriptwriters who were not directly involved in the production process believed that the episodes would be for a new one Star TrekSeries to work. They also submitted exposés, which Povill, Roddenbery and Livingston provided with comments and requests to submit further versions and sent back to them. On December 14, 1977, Harold Livingston reported in his last official status report on the series that one was inclusive In Thy Image would already have 11 script hours together and the last two scripts should follow in the coming week. At this point in time, the former series managers took on the development of episode scripts only under the premise that they could be used for a future series project based on a movie. In fact, only one script was still being worked on on the studio premises. [4]

January 1978 [edit | Edit source]

On January 19, 1978 Jeffrey Katzenberg made it clear to all those involved in the production that it was only about the development of a movie. He criticized the fact that far too much information had already leaked to the press and the public and once again urged everyone involved not to pass any more information on to outsiders. Otherwise he feared negative effects for the advertising campaign that would soon begin. [2]