The producers of Star Trek were open to receiving scripts written by fans. There were several episodes of the numerous Star Trek TV shows that came from ideas and scripts that had been sent in by fans, some of whom were hired to work on the show, while others used the exposure to help their own literary careers.
It was due to this open-door policy that the producers of Star Trek were flooded with ideas from both fans and the internal writing staff. The sci-fi nature of Star Trek meant that writers would often pitch ideas that included huge sets that would be impossible to recreate on a TV show budget. The social freedom of the Federation also meant that a lot of ideas concerning race and sexuality were pitched, but were denied for being too controversial for the time.
We are here today to look at the best (and worst) ideas that were considered for Star Trek episodes but were canceled before production could begin. From the original mutiny within Starfleet, to the time-displaced parent of one of the evilest men in history appearing on the Enterprise.
Here are 15 Canceled Star Trek Storylines We Never Got To See!
15. The Original Conspiracy
“Conspiracy” was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that involved parasitic aliens taking over key members of Starfleet, as part of a secret invasion of the Federation. The crew of the Enterprise was able to foil the parasite’s plan before they could do any more damage.
The version of “Conspiracy” that we saw was created due to a veto by Gene Roddenberry. The original script for “Conspiracy” dealt with a military coup among high-ranking Starfleet officers, which Captain Picard would have had to stop.
Gene Roddenberry hated this idea, as he felt that Starfleet represented a moralistic ideal for humanity that no one would want to overthrow. This meant that “Conspiracy” had to be changed to include mind-controlling parasites that were behind the attempted coup.
14. Kirk, Spock, & McCoy Replaced With Androids
It’s hard for anyone without god-like powers to make a fully realistic android in the Star Trek universe. Data and his brethren were the closest and even they had aesthetics that marked them as being different from regular humans.
The issue with making a realistic android would have come up in “The Aurorals” which was an episode planned for Star Trek: The Original Series that never came to light.
“The Aurorals” would have featured Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy, and Mr. Spock being captured by a race of infertile aliens so that their DNA could be used to repopulate their species. They would have been replaced by androids, who weren’t accurate enough to fool the crew, so the Enterprise officers would have to stage a mutiny to find out the truth.
13. A Ship Of Ice And Fire
“Blood and Fire” was an infamous episode that was written for Star Trek: The Next Generation. The story of “Blood and Fire” would have included a gay couple aboard the Enterprise and a disease that acted as an allegory for HIV and AIDS. The episode was canned due to its controversial subject matter, which caused its writer to leave the show.
“Blood and Fire” almost saw production in another form, as a rewritten version of the story called “Blood and Ice” was considered for season five of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This version of the episode removed the gay characters and changed the nature of the disease so that it created zombies instead.
The reason “Blood and Ice” was never produced was due to the fact that the showrunners felt the idea was too hokey for that point in the show’s run, though they probably would have used it during season one of The Next Generation.
12. The Planet Of The Fan Base
The fans of Star Trek might be the most dedicated and vocal of any fandom in existence. They were able to maintain interest in the show during the years when there were no prospects of Star Trek ever being brought back and helped the universe to grow with their own creative endeavors.
The creators of Star Trek: Voyager wanted to make an episode called “Visit to a Small Planet” where the crew encountered an alien race that loved them in the same way that the real-life fans did. The Voyager crew would have landed on a planet where the natives had been watching their exploits and created their own fandoms around each crew member.
11. Keeping Up With The Cardassians
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine introduced the Changeling race to the series. The war with the Dominion meant that Changeling operatives were sent to infiltrate all of the major factions in the Alpha Quadrant, which included the capture and replacement of Dr. Bashir.
It seems that another race had planted an operative aboard Deep Space 9, as there was going to be a story where it was revealed that Miles O’Brien was actually a Cardassian spy. The original Miles O’Brien had been replaced during his time aboard the Rutledge, with the spy being altered to look like him and having his memories changed so that he believed he was actually O’Brien.
One of the reasons this story never came to pass was due to the fact that Miles had a human daughter, and the writers were struggling to explain how the spy could have accomplished this without knowing of his true identity.
10. The Cat Chase
The vast majority of the alien races in Star Trek just happen to resemble actors wearing cheap rubber prosthetics. This is a symptom of the show’s limited budget, which meant that a lot of the ambitious ideas had to be toned down in order to make them cost-effective.
“Beware of Gryptons Bearing Gifts” was an episode planned for Star Trek: The Original Series which featured the Enterprise and her crew being shrunk down to the size of a matchbox by alien technology. The crew would have had to endure Ant-Man-style shenanigans, where they would have been pursued by a house cat across the room.
“Beware of Gryptons Bearing Gifts” would have been far too expensive to produce, as brand new sets with giant household objects would have to have been created. The producers were also worried that some of the ideas were too similar to other planned episodes, so it was canned.
9. The Fate Of Pavel Chekov
The vast majority of the Enterprise crew from The Original Series appeared in the Star Trek shows and movies that were set later. Bones, Kirk, Scotty, and Spock appeared in The Next Generation and Generations, while Sulu appeared in Voyager.
Pavel Chekov was planned to make an appearance in the later Star Trek shows, though this never came to pass. There was going to be a scene in Deep Space Nine where Worf would have had hallucinations of Chekov, but this idea never got very far.
There was a story planned for the final season of The Next Generation where it was discovered that Chekov had been a prisoner of war for decades. He would become a Federation ambassador and try to steal the new Enterprise as part of a revenge plot against his former captors, that would have involved the destruction of their capital.
8. The Artificial Wormhole
There are phenomena known as “wormholes” that exist within the Star Trek universe. A wormhole represents a passage between two points in space (and possibly time) at a much-reduced range than traveling between them using warp speed. The only artificial wormhole that exists is the one created by the Prophets of Bajor.
Control over access to the wormhole became an important part of the Dominion War, as it was the only way the Dominion could access the Alpha Quadrant.
There was a story pitch for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that involved the Dominion successfully creating their own wormhole, which they could then use to launch a surprise invasion of the Alpha Quadrant. This would have required a dangerous secret mission to destroy the wormhole.
7. Doctor Death
The Chief Medical Officer aboard Voyager was a hard-light hologram that was only supposed to be used in emergencies. The lack of any other suitably skilled physicians onboard meant that he had to be used on a full-time basis. The Doctor (as he came to be known) grew in ways that other holograms did not, due to his extended usage.
The Doctor was intended to undergo an existential crisis in a planned episode called “Do No Harm”. This episode would have involved The Doctor being forced to kill a crew member in order to save the life of another. The fact that he had taken a life would cause The Doctor to go a journey of introspection, as his programming wasn’t meant to deal with such experiences.
6. The Voyager Of Babel
The universal translator is one of those devices that you really shouldn’t think too hard about, as it makes it more difficult to enjoy Star Trek. We will likely never get an explanation as to why the aliens look like they are speaking in English when they are actually speaking a different language, or how they are able to use Klingon/Romulan words at will in regular sentences.
There was going to be an episode of Star Trek: Voyager that would have dared to bring up questions about the universal translator. Voyager would have encountered a space anomaly that would have rendered all of the universal translators inert, which meant that no one on the ship could communicate with each other, as they were all speaking different languages.
5. Kirk Vs. The Godhead
“The Godhead” was a planned episode for Star Trek: The Original Series that probably came closer to being produced than any other episode on this list. The third season of Star Trek: The Original Series was planned to have an extra two episodes produced, with William Shatner on board to direct one of them. The cancelation of the series meant that these last two episodes were canned. “The Godhead” was one of these.
“The Godhead” concerned an alien who had been granted the combined knowledge and power of his species. This caused the alien to become mad with power, which drove it to try and take over the universe. The Enterprise would come into conflict with this alien, as it wanted to steal the ship and use it as its personal vessel for conquering the galaxy.
4. Ezri’s Extraction
Terry Farrell left Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in its penultimate season, as she was given the opportunity to become a cast member on Becker. The nature of Farrell’s character meant that she was easier to replace than most, as Jadzia Dax was host to a symbiont that could be moved to another Trill and pass on its experiences and memories to its new host.
Ezri Tigan became the next host of the Dax symbiont, as she was the only Trill in the vicinity who could house it before it passed away. This meant that Ezri lacked the training to deal with the symbiont.
There was a story planned where Ezri would have the Dax symbiont secretly removed by an alien doctor, as she couldn’t deal with its influence. It’s possible that this story was canned due to it being seen as an allegory for terminating a pregnancy.
3. Lore’s Love For Lal
The death of Data’s daughter Lal in “The Offspring” might be the saddest moment in the whole history of Star Trek. Her neural net wasn’t sophisticated enough to handle the emotions that she was experiencing, which caused her mind to stop functioning.
Data wasn’t able to save Lal, but there was a story idea planned for the series where someone else could have: Lore.
There was going to be an episode of season five of The Next Generation where Lore would return to the Enterprise and steal Lal’s body. He would have used his emotion chip to revive her. Knowing Lore, this probably would have been part of some nefarious plan to get revenge on Data, but it could also have ended in a redemption arc for the character, with Lore helping to give Data back the family he had thought he had lost forever.
2. The Enterprise Vs. The Crab
Just because the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation turn you down, doesn’t mean that your story idea is bad. David Kemper learned this when one of his failed Star Trek pitches was turned into an episode of Farscape.
David Kemper’s story idea involved a colossal alien creature that was similar to the hermit crab of Earth. The Enterprise would investigate a derelict ship, which was being inhabited by an alien that had devoured the crew. The alien would then try and take over the Enterprise and use it as its new home.
This pitch was considered for The Next Generation but went unused. David Kemper later successfully pitched an adapted version of the idea to the creators of Farscape, where it was turned into an episode called “Through the Looking Glass”.
1. Hitler’s Father
Captain Picard mentions a philosophical conundrum in the episode “A Matter of Time”. He discusses whether a time-traveler should use their abilities to save someone who is destined to die, even if there is a chance that the person may become the next Adolf Hitler.
Captain Kirk almost faced a similar situation during his time aboard the Enterprise. There was an episode planned for Star Trek: The Original Series where a time-traveling experiment would lead to a man named Alois Schicklgruber appearing on the ship. It doesn’t take long for the crew to realize that this is the man who would later father Adolf Hitler.
The fact that Hitler’s father appeared on the Enterprise gave the crew a chance to change history forever. They are given the opportunity to erase one of history’s evilest men, but they would need to kill an innocent man to do so, as Alois died when Hitler was only a boy and had little influence upon him.
Which of these canceled Star Trek episodes do you most want to see? Let us know in the comments!
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