Star Trek: The God Thing

Star TrekAfter spending a month writing drafts of the same basic story, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry completes the final draft of a live-action script simply titled Star Trek II, though later publications will refer to this script as The God Thing. The script shares many basic structural similarities with the later Star Trek: The Motion Picture, including sweeping upgrades to the Enterprise, Kirk’s promotion out of the captain’s chair, Spock’s return to Vulcan to pursue a purge of his human emotions, and an alien force of unknown power approaching Earth. There, however, the similarities end, as the story depicts an alien entity taking over the minds of Starfleet officers, who begin reciting prayers and exhibiting dangerous degrees of religious zealotry. Kirk and his senior officers, of course, remain unaffected, and disobey the orders of their possessed superiors to save Earth, only to discover that the “God” entity is an alien being which has been influencing human development for thousands of years, having last appeared in a guise which inspired the Judeo-Christian belief system. Likely out of fear of offending its potential audience, The God Thing is swiftly rejected by Paramount, though Bantam Books expresses interest in Roddenberry novelizing his own unused script. Work on that novelization comes to a halt in 1977 as Roddenberry begins work on a prospective Star Trek TV revival, and though other authors will attempt to adapt Roddenberry’s script – including Walter Koenig, Susan Sackett and Fred Bronson, and frequent Trek novelist Michael Jan Friedman – The God Thing remains unpublished. Many elements of the story resurface in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

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