Details are scarce on the shape Quentin Tarantino’s proposed Star Trek movie will take, although thanks to the director’s word himself we may actually have a good idea of which episodes he wants to tackle.
Tarantino is attached to develop and possibly direct a new Star Trek movie. Just let that sink in for a moment. Now that a writer’s room is being assembled to put the wheels in motion, and with mega-producer J.J. Abrams backing the auteur director’s vision for the potential film, it’s a genuine possibility that “Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek” is actually on the horizon.
While nothing is set in stone yet, Tarantino has mentioned his affinity towards the esteemed science fiction franchise in the past. In a 2015 appearance on The Nerdist Podcast, the Pulp Fiction director briefly brainstormed potential ideas for his take on the classic property. In particular, he said, “You could take some of the great classic Star Trek episodes and easily expand them to ninety minutes or more and really do some amazing stuff!” He mentioned two episodes in particular: 1967’s “The City on the Edge of Forever” from the classic series, and the 1990 Next Generation episode, “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”
The City on the Edge of Forever (This Page)
The City on the Edge of Forever: Tarantino’s Top Pick
Of Star Trek: The Original Series, Tarantino stated, “The only thing that limited them was their ’60s budget and eight-day shooting schedule.” Now that he’s working on a Star Trek film of his own, it’s possible he’s aiming to adapt the timeless episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.”
Commonly cited as the greatest Star Trek episode, and indeed, one of the greatest television episodes ever made, “City” is a time-travel story that sees Doctor McCoy, accidentally driven mad by an overdose of cordrazine, escape to the past via the mysterious Guardian of Forever. Kirk and Spock follow him to 1930s New York City where they discover he will alter history; by sheer chance, McCoy will stumble upon and save the life of Edith Keeler (played in the episode by the great Joan Collins), which causes a chain-reaction of events leading to Nazi Germany winning World War II. It’s up to Kirk to keep that from happening. In the meantime, though, he winds up falling in love with Keeler and is forced to wrestle with his romantic feelings versus the need to save the world from a terrible future.
In the 2015 podcast, Tarantino calls the episode “one of the classic stories of all time.” Could he have an eye to turn this time traveling romantic tragedy into the basis of his Star Trek film? A straightforward adaptation could definitely be a crowd-pleasing epic, blending the heavy drama of the episode with fish-out-of-water antics such as those seen in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. However, the storytelling potential of the Guardian of Forever is endless, which makes it puzzling that the entity has made only a scarce few appearances; after “City,” it went on to play a role in “Yesteryear,” an acclaimed episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, as well a few missions in the ambiguously canonical video game, Star Trek Online. Granted, many other forms of time travel are utilized across the franchise, but The Guardian of Forever deserves another shot.
One element which could put a fresh wrinkle into the story would be incorporating William Shatner, whom Tarantino described as “my key into the series.” Perhaps, instead of Doctor McCoy going nuts and traveling back in time, they could find a way to bring back the original Captain Kirk, saving him from his unfortunate (and disappointing) death in the lackluster Star Trek: Generations, only to have him go back in time in an effort to prevent one of the great losses in his life, the death of Edith Keeler. Or maybe, rather than returning to the specific events of that episode, Kirk Prime would try to fix something else, such as the death of his son David (as seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock). This, in turn, might change the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in which David’s death drives his hatred towards the Klingons. Without such personal animosity to overcome, perhaps history would play out differently and lead to an unpredictably worse future. If they wanted to really get crazy with it, they could even find a way to incorporate the controversial Temporal Cold War storyline from Star Trek: Enterprise… But maybe it’s best not to kick that particular beehive.
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