Star Trek 2004: The Reboot We Almost Saw

star trek 2009 2004 J Michael Straczynski bryce zabal paramount reboot young kirk spock mccoy bablyon 5 new series cancelled jj abrams

A fourteen-page document, which Straczynski and co-writer Bryce Zabal used to pitch their ideas to Paramount, outlines the idea for this new Star Trek. Opening by suggesting that the franchise had stagnated (perhaps a fair position to take), Straczynski and Zabal made the case that they needed to be daring with the Star Trek universe once more, and the best way to do that was to start all over again – thus setting their series up to cure all the perceived ills of Enterprise.

Particular focus is given to Kirk, Spock and McCoy – or as Straczynski and Zabal put it, “the warrior, the priest, and the doctor” – who were intended to be the grounding presence and heart of the new show, much as they had been in the original. The pitch likens these characters to icons such as Superman and Batman, or Bond and Sherlock Holmes – the point is clear, then, that Straczynski and Zabal believe wholeheartedly that new actors could take on the iconic roles and redefine them. Indeed, it’s even suggested that a public “Search for Spock” approach to casting could form part of the promotional campaign for the new series; this was intended to be a cultural event, in a manner not wholly dissimilar to how Doctor Who launched on the BBC just a year later.

Straczynski and Zabal put forth their plans for the pilot episode: a two-hour movie event which would tell the story of how Kirk and McCoy first met Spock, discovering along the way “a lost city on an uncharted world, nearly a million years old”. They would also encounter an ancient and mysterious race, who would form an important part of the series’ mythology – the reason for Kirk’s appointment to the Enterprise, and the iconic five-year mission, would be to seek out this strange new life, to learn more of their ancient civilisation, and discover the secret hidden in the stars.

A recent article about Star Trek! In 2004, there were plans for a reboot of The Original Series; in this post for Yahoo TV, I take a look at the pitch made by Babylon 5 writer J Michael Straczynski, and evaluate just whether or not it actually would have been a good idea.

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