3. Major Highlight
In any case, the highlight has one of a few screenplays Roddenberry wrote as Star Trek: The Motion Picture was being created.
One adaptation was a time travel story where the Enterprise group endeavors to stop the Kennedy assassination. Another was, well, here’s director Richard Colla with her statement:
“Gene showed me that treatment, which was much more daring than Star Trek: The Motion Picture would be. The Enterprise went off in search of that thing from outer space that was affecting everything,” he said. “By the time they got into the alien’s presence, it manifested itself and said, ‘Do you know me?’ Kirk said, ‘No, I don’t know who you are.’ It said, ‘Strange, how could you not know who I am?’ So it shift-changed and became another image and said, ‘Do you know me?’ Kirk said, ‘No, who are you?’ It said, ‘Strange, how could you not know who I am?’ So it shift-changed and came up in the form of Christ the carpenter, and says, ‘Do you know me?’ and Kirk says, ‘Oh, now I know who you are.’”
As crazy as this sounds, it’s very much in accordance with the Star Trek universe, where religion is seen as something that mankind has developed beyond. Kirk thinking about Jesus makes one of Trek’s hidden subjects very factual.
4. Michael Jan Friedman Not A Fan Of The Idea
While all this is all extremely fascinating, Michael Jan Friedman, the author, who was later employed to adapt the unmade screenplay into a novel, was not a fan of what Roddenberry put on the page. Here is what Freidman stated;
To the best of my recollection, I received both the script and a short narrative version of it. Naturally I jumped at the chance to translate and expand it. Gene was — and still is — one of my heroes, for God’s sake, no pun intended. As he had already left the land of the living, this was a unique opportunity to collaborate with him. But when I read the material, I was dismayed. I hadn’t seen other samples of Gene’s unvarnished writing, but what I saw this time could not possibly have been his best work. It was disjointed — scenes didn’t work together, didn’t build toward anything meaningful. Kirk, Spock and McCoy didn’t seem anything like themselves. There was some mildly erotic, midlife-crisis stuff in there that didn’t serve any real purpose. In the climactic scene, Kirk had a fistfight with an alien who had assumed the image of Jesus Christ … So Kirk was slugging it out on the bridge. With Jesus.