When reruns of the original Star Trek became a hit in the ’70s, Paramount resurrected the series for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, featuring the indubitably artful acting of one inimitable William Shatner. But did you know Gene Roddenberry’s first treatment for the movie included a scene wherein James T. Kirk has a fistfight with an alien who’s taken on the presumed appearance of Jesus Christ? Oh Jesus.
That was revealed in an excerpt from The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek — The First 25 Years printed in The Hollywood Reporter (hat tip to The Playlist). The book by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman is on stands now, and if the excerpt is any indication, it’s going to be a fun read.
Remember “The God Thing,” an unproduced script in which (we’re going to really summarize here) the crew of the Enterprise encounters an alternate-dimension being who declares itself to be God? Roddenberry was going to use that plot for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, including (and this part was news to us) a Kirk/Jesus fistfight on the bridge.
That last part was revealed by Michael Jan Friedman — one of the writers who worked on the unpublished novelization of “The God Thing” — who found himself disappointed by the script he received.
“Gene [Roddenberry] 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. […] 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.”
So just imagine this, but with “mildly erotic midlife-crisis stuff” and Jesus:
Star Trek Beyond, eat your damn heart out.