The Star Trek franchise has produced a number of massive hit movies and shows since it first premiered in 1966, but not all Star Trek ideas have been winners. In various attempts to capitalize on the success of their major shows and movies, the minds behind Star Trek have come up with a number of ideas that were left behind in the development.
Since the very first Star Trek success of The Original Series, ideas for movies, spinoffs, and new series have abounded. A few of these ideas made it out of development hell and finally reached the screen, but dozens of projects were cancelled or rejected by networks, production companies, and the creators themselves.
Many of the most popular characters of the Star Trek series almost had their own spinoffs. The familiar crews had quite a few abandoned adventures that were left on the drawing board. Several new crews were created, but never even had a chance to embark on their first mission.
Certainly, some of these series and movies would have made for some strange entertainment, but many of them have potential that fans would still love to see on the screen.
Here are the 17 Canceled Star Trek TV Shows And Movies We Never Got To See.
Before The Next Generation, there was supposed to be another live-action series called Star Trek: Phase II. As cancelled projects go, Phase II got further than most. Gene Roddenberry was brought back as its writer, concept art was done, new characters were created, sets were constructed, and several scripts were written.
The series was ultimately undone not by creative decisions, but by network deals. A deal for Paramount to create a new network on which the show would premiere fell through. Pre-production had already begun, but the project was downgraded to a standalone television movie.
However, after the success of Star Wars, the studio decided to bring Star Trek to the big screen and abandoned Phase II for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Several of the show's scripts lived on as episodes of The Next Generation.
Star Trek's movie franchise took a hit after Star Trek: Nemesis and movies were abandoned, but there was supposed to be a Next Generation movie after that. Nemesis writers John Logan and Brent Spiner planned for it to be a crossover sequel.
Spiner detailed, "One of the ideas that John Logan and I had about what the next film would have been was a Justice League of Star Trek. Something would bring all the great Star Trek villains together, from Khan to Shinzon, and Picard is the only person who could stop them and he actually has to go through time and pluck out the people he needs to help him."
"He goes back to the moment before Data blows up and takes him back to get Kirk and Spock, and go even further back and get Scott Bakula's character, Archer," he said.
Star Trek was planned to create spinoffs as early as the second season of The Original Series. The very first attempt to create a new Star Trek-based series was Original Series episode "Assignment: Earth". The episode featured Gary Seven, a benevolent alien claiming to be sent to help Earth.
This episode was supposed to start entire series about Gary Seven. As Star Trek was being threatened by the cancelation bear at the end of its second season, Gene Roddenberry wanted to set up a new show for the fall season and felt this was the best way to do it.
The drafted script for the Gary Seven pilot made no mention of Star Trek, perhaps intending to leave the series behind in the event of its cancelation.
However, Star Trek was renewed for a third season and plans for Gary Seven's spinoff were abandoned.
In the uncertain times after the end of Enterprise and before the Abrams Star Trek reboot, writers planned an animated series that would pick up where Enterprise left off. Final Frontier was set in a dark, post-Voyager future.
In this future, the Federation has fought another war with the Romulans, in which the Romulans took over Klingon homeworld Kronos, the planet Andoria was destroyed, and the Vulcans left the Federation.
Following the brutal war, Captain Alexander Chase and his crew try to bring the Federation back to its old ways of seeking out new life and new civilizations.
CBS expressed interested, and the creative team developed concept art and scripts, but once the new Star Trek movie series was launched, Final Frontier was shelved by the network.
Klingon security officer Worf is one of the most popular characters of the franchise, appearing in both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. After the success of his character, Michael Dorn pitched an idea for a spinoff focusing on Worf and the politics and feuds of the Klingon Empire.
Michael Dorn explained how the series would fit into the dark, gritty tone of modern television, stating, "The Worf Chronicles idea was right in that wheelhouse, because the Klingon Empire is gritty. It does have a dark quality. It's Shakespearean, it's about assassinations and coups, the power behind the throne."
The series was not picked up by the network, and after the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, Dorn and his fans doubt that it ever will be.
During the 1990s heydey of Star Trek when both Deep Space Nine and Voyager were still on the air, producer Rick Berman was involved in plans to produce a new Star Trek film in IMAX format.
The movie would have mainly focused on Colm Meaney's character Miles O'Brien. Rick Berman had a high opinion of the story that would have been featured in the movie.
Rick Berman explained, "We developed and wrote a wonderful script. Paramount loved it and the IMAX people loved it. It was a story that would have mainly featured Colm Meaney's character and a bunch of new characters in the 35-40 minute movie. For business reasons, in terms of the dealings that went on between Paramount and IMAX, it's on a back burner."
In another attempt to create a spinoff from the sinking second season of the Original Series, Gene Roddenberry and writer Darlene Hartman had the idea to create the series Hopeship.
The series would revolve around the adventures of a Federation hospital ship and its crew. It would have attacked the themes of Star Trek from the view of the medical personnel.
The series would have featured Doctor M'Benga, moving him over from his two-episode part on the Original Series, where he was McCoy's backup Chief Medical Officer.
It could have been an intriguing series, especially in the sociopolitical climate of the 1960s and '70s, but the idea was ultimately abandoned. Later, Darlene Hartman did adapt the idea into a Star Trek novel, but Hopeship never got the chance to appear on screen.
In the early 1970s, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was still trying to find the right way to tap into Star Trek's potential to launch a series of movies. Before Star Trek: The Motion Picture came into development, there was an early script called The God Thing.
The plot was similar to Star Trek V, dealing with the meaning and reality of God, but Roddenberry had some different ideas about how to develop the characters for this movie.
Roddenberry explained, "Most of the regular crew have been promoted and, for the most part, are pretty unhappy with shuffling papers and other administrative jobs. Scotty has become an alcoholic, and McCoy has given up treating Human patients to become a veterinarian, loudly proclaiming animals as the only sensible patients he has ever had."
The story was meant to launch the new series, Phase II.
Soon after the end of Deep Space Nine, Quark's actor Armin Shimmerman developed an idea for an animated series about Star Trek's most notable Ferengis.
It would have centered on the teenage years of Quark and Rom, exploring pre-Deep Space Nine and more Ferengi-based plots. It's unclear what kind of trouble Quark and Rom would have gotten into in the series, but Shimmerman seemed confident in the developed stories.
Shimmerman stated, "We got pretty far with that, but in the end, when we got to the last pitch session with MTV, they said they didn't want a space cartoon show. But everyone was very happy with the ideas that we had come up with."
It seems like the franchise almost had series centered around a number the most famous (and infamous) alien species.
While searching for the perfect plot for the Star Trek movies, Paramount went through many ideas and story treatments. One idea was The Billion-Year Voyage, where Captain Kirk and the crew encounter a civilization far more advanced than their own.
They travel to the planet of the technologically advanced "Great Ones" while the ship is attacked by invisible Klingons-- yes, invisible Klingons.
In order to defeat the Klingons, Kirk has to use one of the Great Ones' advanced technologies, the thought amplifier, which allows him to read the minds of the Klingons and his crew.
After defeating the Klingons, Kirk leaves it to Starfleet to decide what to do with the Great Ones' technologies. The plot certainly feels like classic Star Trek, but it was ultimately abandoned.
Before The Next Generation, Gene Roddenberry was still looking for the right idea for the second Star Trek series. One idea that Roddenberry considered focused on a ship run by Starfleet Academy cadets. Roddenberry stated, "It had a Vulcan captain and a lot of space cadets who seemed to mainly say, 'Gee whiz, Captain.'"
"My premise was relatively simple: It was a time when, in the future in the existing Star Trek, the Klingons weren't enemies anymore and were allies. I wanted to create Starfleet Academy on a ship," he continued.
"You'd have a lot of younger players and older, senior leaders, and it was going to be the naval academy on a starship [....] I wanted to create a universe where there was a parallel to the world we were living in at the time," Roddenberry said.
Planet of the Titans was another attempt at the right story to bring Star Trek: The Original Series to the big screen. In this script, Starfleet and the Klingons were vying over the planet of the mythical Titans, a long-extinct technologically advanced species.
In the process, the Enterprise was pulled through a black hole and traveled back in time to Cro-Magnon times and ended up realizing that they themselves were the Titans.
A much more complicated rewrite involved the Enterprise instead being sent far into the future, where they met Kirk's son. In this version, they had to defeat a powerful being called The Last Man on Earth, a "beast" created by genetic experimentation.
The Last Man could telepathically control the Enterprise crew and control the black hole that brought them there. Ultimately, this script was abandoned in favor of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
After the final cancelation of Star Trek: The Original Series, Paramount was willing to let Star Trek continue in some form, taking the most popular and beloved character of the series for a spinoff.
The proposed spinoff would have centered on Spock and his time on Vulcan. It is unclear whether the plot would have been Spock's backstory on Vulcan or Spock leaving the Enterprise to go back to Vulcan.
Paramount wanted to do the Spock series and asked Gene Roddenbery to produce, but it was Roddenberry that said no to the idea. Fans would not get to see much more of Spock's time on Vulcan and involvement with Vulcan affairs until much later post-Spock-death movies and guest appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
After the mixed reactions to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a sequel was questionable. Before Wrath of Khan was developed, Gene Roddenberry wrote a script for the second movie called Star Trek III that involved time-travelling Klingons and the assassination of President Kennedy.
One version of this script reportedly showed Spock as the shooter on the grassy knoll. Once the script was written, Paramount rejected the idea, which Gene Roddenberry thought was due to the time travel element.
Instead, the franchise moved forward with massive success The Wrath of Khan. After that, there was less hesitation to make a sequel. Before actual Star Trek III (The Search for Spock) was put in development, a script was written about Khan's time trapped on Ceti Alpha V.
This, too, was abandoned to focus on Search for Spock instead.
Before J.J. Abrams' films ever threw the whole Star Trek timeline out of whack, there was another plan to go back to the early days of Kirk and Spock. A planned movie called Star Trek: The First Adventure would have shown Kirk and Spock at Starfleet Academy.
The story would have also been the origin story for McCoy, an older cadet searching for meaning in the Academy after terminating life support on his ill father.
Producer Ralph Winter explained, "It's a great story finding out about this young cocky character on a farm who goes to flight school and meets up with the first alien that comes from Vulcan and how they meet the other characters."
The premise ended up being similar to the much later Abrams Star Trek films, but without creating an alternate timeline.
The Star Trek franchise considered a number of series that featured the most popular characters, especially in its earliest days. During the run of the Original Series, the network almost did a spinoff with con artist Harry Mudd.
Mudd's actor, Roger C. Carmel, remembered, "Gene said, 'It's a shame that series thing for you never worked out.' I said, 'What series thing?' He said, 'Oh, didn't you know!? Well, after the successful Harry Mudd episodes [in TOS], NBC wanted to know if I would develop a spin-off series for you starring the Harry Mudd character. A space pirate, intergalactic con-man kind of thing.' 'My God, Gene, I didn't know anything about that! What happened?' He said, 'Well, the artists didn't have enough time to develop it.'"
Following the cancelation of Star Trek: Enterprise and the failure of the Nemesis movie, Paramount was looking for a way to bring Star Trek back with a new movie.
Rather than continuing into the future, Star Trek: The Beginning would fill in the time between Enterprise and the Original Series. The main crux of the story was the Earth-Romulan War that Kirk referred to in the Original Series. It was hoped that this would turn into a trilogy of movies that explored the era in more detail.
The plot was set only a couple years after Enterprise and focused on Kirk's ancestor, Tiberius Chase. Paramount was unsure of a movie that would not feature any established characters, and the project was ultimately scrapped in favor of the Abrams Star Trek reboot.
Do you wish any of these movies or TV shows had been developed? Do you know of any other Star Trek movies that were canceled? Sound off in the comments!