Star Trek: The Next Generation is today an iconic fixture of science fiction in popular culture. The adventures of Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise-D are well known, but it turns out the show’s original pitch was quite different.
For starters, it did not include Picard or any version of the Enterprise. The Trek Files podcast, hosted by Star Trek expert Larry Nemecek, posted to its Facebook page some of the early conceptual work done for Star Trek: The Next Generation and it reveals a very different vision of the 23rd century.
Falcon Crest producer Greg Strangis was working on Star Trek: The Next Generation after the original Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, declined to return to his creation for a new series. Strangis’ idea involved the starship Odyssey, which had a Vulcan as its captain. Captain Rhon, as he was called, was to be killed off in the pilot episode and live on only as a hologram summoned by acting captain Richard Kincaid when he needed guidance. The crew would also have been embroiled in a war between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire.1comments
According to Trek Files, Roddenberry saw these plans and was so displeased with them that he decided to take up Paramount on their initial offer just to make sure this version of Star Trek didn’t become reality. It seems like the only portion of Strangis’ pitch that made it into the final version of Star Trek: The Next Generation was the concept for Commander Mynk, a Klingon serving onboard the ship as a Federation officer, which seems like the groundwork for Worf’s character.
Some of these concepts did eventually work there way into Star Trek elsewhere. While not a commanding officer, Star Trek: Voyager did include a hologram character, the Doctor, as part of its main cast. More recently, Star Trek: Discovery followed through on the idea of having a Star Trek series set in the midst of a war between Klingons and the Federation, and also on the idea of killing off a commanding officer in the show’s pilot episode.