On July 22, 2016, moviegoers will be returning to the upgraded, action-injected, shaky-cam, super-sexified watershed sci-fi franchise when Star Trek Beyond is scheduled to hit theaters. The third entry in the continuity famously rebooted by J.J. Abrams in the 2009 Star Trek film, Beyond, helmed by a new director in Justin Lin, will apparently attempt to embrace the mythos’ original credo of exploring new worlds and new civilizations.
Cast member Simon Pegg (Scotty), who ended up being tasked with writing the film’s script alongside Doug Jung, has been especially loquacious about the intended tone of the upcoming threequel. While not revealing any plot specifics, Pegg made waves in the fan community back in May when he stated that Paramount essentially scrapped the original draft of the script by longtime Abrams collaborator Roberto Orci, hoping to get a script from the Pegg/Jung team that was more accessible to average moviegoers and not “too Star-Trek-y.” Likewise, we already know that perennial fan-favorite actor Idris Elba and an alien makeup-caked Kingsman: The Secret Service breakout star Sofia Boutella are serving as mysterious villain characters.
Consequently, it’s looking very likely that Beyond will have Kirk and the Enterprise crew tackling a threat from villains previously unknown in the classic continuity. While the prospect is intriguing, it probably comes as a disappointment to fans looking for characters to bridge this alternate-universe continuity to the original 1966-1969 Star Trek television series.
With that in mind, we figured that we would take a look at some antagonistic forces that the Enterprise crew encountered in the classic show and see if there’s any candidates that could be workably upgradable to be the Big Bad in a future entry of the Star Trek cinematic Abramsverse.10. Dr. Janice Lester Turnabout Intruder: Season 3, Episode 24
June 3, 1969
In what would turn out to be the final episode of the original series, a standard rescue mission of an archaeological expedition has Captain Kirk falling victim to a trap set by a scorned, mentally unstable ex named Dr. Janice Lester (Sandra Smith) who blames him for her own lack of achievement in Starfleet.
Using a body-swapping device, Lester forces her own essence into Kirk’s body, sending Kirk’s essence into her vacated shell. As a façade of Kirk, looking to bypass perceived sexism and finally prove her potential in command, she tries (obviously unsuccessfully) to kill her old body, making the Freaky Friday-style essence swap permanent. However, her brief reign as captain is erratic and corrupt, culminating in a shocking attempt to quickly deal out death sentences for mutiny.
“Turnabout Intruder” is not considered to have aged well, due to the idea of Lester’s ambitions being perceived as an unfair allegory for contemporaneous feminism. However, a modernized take on the Janice Lester character could have potential when relieved of that baggage. Perhaps her enmity toward Kirk could be channeled by developing pre-Genesis type terraforming tech with hidden malevolent intentions. With Alice Eve’s role as Dr. Carol Marcus, the future developer of Genesis in Into Darkness present, there could also be an intriguing dynamic between Kirk’s scorned former lover and his would-be baby-mama.
9. Garth of Izar Whom Gods Destroy: Season 3, Episode 14
January 3, 1969
Basing its title on the Latin axiom “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad,” this episode offered up a subject, Garth of Izar (Steve Ihnat), clearly set to be a character immersed in tragedy. A legendary former Starfleet captain, war hero and paradigmatic figure for many in the service, including Kirk, Captain Garth was tragically stricken with a maddening disease that made him dangerous and delusional.
Unfortunately, Kirk and the Enterprise crew find this out when transporting a supply of potentially curative drugs to an insane asylum on the planet Elba II (a relevant reference to Napoleon’s place of exile.) There, Kirk and Spock discover that the fallen institutionalized hero has utilized his alien-taught ability to shapeshift to take over the facility and institute his own demented rule. Aided by other sprung patients, including a gorgeous but equally sociopathic Orion woman named Marta (the recently deceased Yvonne Craig), Garth attempted to exact revenge against his former crew, who mutinied against him due to his madness, by attempting to take control of the Enterprise. In the end, his protean ruses are thwarted and he apparently gets the treatment he needed.
During the buildup to 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, there were many who believed that Garth was the then-secret villain that Benedict Cumberbatch was portraying. Unfortunately, the usually compelling Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the iconic Khan left many feeling flat. Coupled with the current fan enthusiasm for the Garth character with the anticipated fan film Axanar, which focuses on the captain during his heroic heyday, an opportunity could still be there for him in the new movie universe. Perhaps Garth escapes and starts a galactic crisis, going all “Rogue Nation,” plagued by his megalomaniacal symptoms.
8. Gary Mitchell Where No Man Has Gone Before: Season 1, Episode 3
September 22, 1966
While “The Man Trap” was the first episode to make the airwaves, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was, in actuality, the show’s reshot pilot after “The Cage,” starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike, was shelved by NBC. In the episode, which serves as the chronological introduction to Kirk, Sulu and Scotty, we also meet the Enterprise’s second officer, Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood), who was also Captain Kirk’s best friend.
Unfortunately, this key senior officer would not be long for the legendary five-year mission. After finding the 200-year-old remnant of the S.S. Valiant, which self-destructed under mysterious circumstances, the Enterprise was bombarded by an energy barrier that killed some crew members and rendered Mitchell and ship’s doctor, Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman) unconscious. Soon it was discovered that Mitchell and Dehner were endowed with quickly evolving, god-like psychic powers, and their eyes had gone silver; a phenomenon that apparently affected crew members of the Valiant, leading to its self-obliterating end. While Dehner began to understand the dangerous implications of their condition, Mitchell became corrupted by his new powers. The escalating tension led to a showdown between Kirk and his best friend that resulted in a tragic ending for both Mitchell and Dehner.
With Mitchell also being a brief fan-led front-runner for Cumberbatch’s Into Darkness mystery villain, there is plenty of potential in the new movie universe for compelling pathos-packed personal drama for Chris Pine’s Kirk to experience with the tragic, power-imbued corruption of his friend and colleague.
7. The Doomsday Machine The Doomsday Machine: Season 2, Episode 6
October 20, 1967
Serving as a metaphor for Cold War-era mutually assured destruction, the episode’s gigantic, voracious, devastating dreadnaught is actually an inanimate robotic device from a long-extinct civilization designed merely as tactical, never-used leverage in a war long forgotten. Unfortunately, the roving device, covered with an indestructible cone-shaped hull, has been set loose upon the galaxy, using an irrepressible tractor beam that pulls ships and pieces of planets into its energy-bursting core to be consumed.
The lone survivor of the adrift U.S.S. Constellation, Commodore Matthew Decker (William Windom), witnessed how his attempt to evacuate the damaged ship merely resulted in the Doomsday Device consuming the planet onto which they beamed. Beaten and obsessed with killing what he calls “the berserker,” Decker, left in an irrational state of mind, used Kirk’s temporary absence on board the wrecked Constellation to pull rank on Spock and take command of the Enterprise to wage an ill-conceived attack. His command was short-lived, and he resorted to stealing a shuttle for an attempted kamikaze-style attack on the device. However, his sacrifice inspired an explosive nuclear solution that ultimately solved the dilemma.
From the treasure trove of fodder for human and political drama to the potential for mind-bending action effects, updated concepts and sequences, the Doomsday Machine is undoubtedly something that has crossed the minds of J.J. Abrams and the rest of the rebooted universe’s creative team at some point. Coupled with its status as one of the more revered episodes, this one is a can’t-miss for the new movies.
6. Mirror Universe Kirk Mirror, Mirror: Season 2, Episode 4
October 4, 1967
Perhaps the most famous alternate universe depiction in science-fiction history, the Mirror Universe was introduced in “Mirror, Mirror.” When negotiations with the Halkans for the Federation to mine dilithium on their planet are a bust, Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and Scotty beam back to the Enterprise amidst an ion storm that causes a universe-transcending freak malfunction, sending them to a version of the Enterprise representing a bellicose, territory-seizing empire in which crew rise in rank by subterfuge and the assassination of their superiors (And facial hair properly indicates your status as “evil”).
We have a rather conceptual choice here with Mirror Universe Kirk. When our Kirk and crew get sent to the Mirror Universe, the crasser counterparts were sent to our Enterprise. Despite looking the same and wearing clothing swapped with their counterparts, the violent personality differences were noteworthy and they were immediately apprehended. However, we never really get to see the malevolent alternate universe doppelganger Captain Kirk of the “I.S.S. Enterprise” properly in action. In fact, any relevant details about him are merely embodied by the cutthroat atmosphere of his ship, the secret enemy-disintegrating Tantalus Field kept in his quarters, and his cunningly captivating “Captain’s Woman” cabin cohabitant, Marlena Moreau.
While we would eventually see the Mirror Universe become a sandbox for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise decades later, it could actually be an original twist for the rebooted Abramsverse to delve into its own tangential Mirror Universe with Chris Pine stretching his acting chops as both our Kirk and a version of the villainous Mirror Universe Kirk with a movie-justifying evil agenda. It would be a fascinating clash of both civilizations and Kirks.
5. The Gorn Arena: Season 1, Episode 18
January 19, 1967
Very few “guy in a rubber suit” aliens from the original series have captured the imagination of fans more than the warring reptilian race, the Gorn. Yet, their one and only appearance on the original series in “Arena” was represented by a single member of the Gorn species in a bit of involuntary makeshift diplomacy. Unfortunately for Kirk, the context of said diplomacy was a duel to the death between two ship’s captains put on by a member of an apparently powerful, godlike race.
After surviving an ambush by unseen forces who decimated an outpost on Cestus III, Kirk, Spock and McCoy, short a few unlucky red shirts, beam back to the Enterprise and chase down the enemy ship. After both ships mysteriously come to a stop, powerful alien entities known as the Metrons intervene and set up one of sci-fi’s most famous/infamous hand-to-hand duels, in which the loser’s ship would be destroyed. No physical match for the bulky, bipedal (though laughably sluggish) humanoid lizard, Kirk famously deduces that his surrounding elements provided necessary materials to science the hell out of an explosive equalizer. Incapacitating the Gorn, but choosing mercy, Kirk impresses the observing Metron representative.
While Star Trek: Enterprise brought back the Gorn in their 2005 Mirror Universe episode, “In the Mirror, Darkly, Part II,” the CGI creature looked wonky. If the new movies tackle the Gorn, hopefully, they go back to something akin to the hulking, hissing hoss we saw in “Arena.” With an upgraded storyline that complements the gritty combat that we saw in the episode, the Gorn could be a frightening film foe.
4. The Tholians The Tholian Web: Season 3, Episode 9
November 15, 1968
Calculating, hive-minded, isolationist and innately territorial are adjectives that accurately describe the Tholians. The mysterious, highly advanced race physically appear to be reddish, crystalline-bodied arachnids. However, they are best known for their signature space battle tactic, which utilizes two or more Tholian ships that work in concert to spin energy-filled gossamer that entraps enemy ships in a proverbial “web” in space.
We first meet the elusive Tholians in “The Tholian Web” when the Enterprise enters uncharted space looking for its missing fellow Constitution class Federation starship, the U.S.S. Defiant. The ship is found adrift with the entire crew dead after suffering from inexplicable cases of madness. The mystery deepens when the drifting ship starts phasing in and out of space before disappearing permanently; a fate that Kirk, who was on the ship, suffers, leading to him being briefly presumed dead. After some brief failed negotiations, the arriving Tholians begin their attack, resulting in the Enterprise being temporarily caught in a deadly Tholian web until Kirk is retrieved and an escape is engineered.
Interestingly enough, this very episode was followed up 37 years later in 2005 on Star Trek: Enterprise in the two-part “In a Mirror, Darkly” storyline. It was retroactively revealed that the Defiant actually phased away not only back in time, but to the alternate Mirror Universe, where the Tholians there, possibly working with their dimensional counterparts, took possession of the prized vessel. With the current movie universe taking place in a continuity altered from the television shows, the idea of a galactic, universe-transcending conflagration with the Tholians could be an intriguing way to possibly end the series and, as many fans wish, “fix” the timeline back to its original setting.
3. T’Pring Amok Time: Season 2, Episode 1
September 15, 1967
At the center of the critical Spock episode, “Amok Time” was T’Pring (Arlene Martel), the Vulcan woman he was arranged to marry back when they were children. We learn that Vulcans adhere to a biological drive to mate every seven years called the Pon Farr; a process Spock compares to a salmon’s drive to swim upstream to spawn.
Unfortunately for Spock, T’Pring blatantly brought a plus-one in her Vulcan male suitor, Stonn. Using her right to demand a challenge for her hand, she sets up the famous duel between Spock and Kirk. With Spock in a blood fever, an atmospherically disadvantaged Kirk stood no chance, but Dr. McCoy initiates a ruse to fake Kirk’s death and satisfy the ceremony. In the end, T’Pring reveals that her choice of Kirk was part of her machinations to ensure that she ended up with Stonn, since neither Spock nor Kirk would marry her at that point. Even if Spock did marry her, she would enjoy his respected family name and property, while still seeing Stonn while Spock was away on the Enterprise. The confession inspires Spock’s legendary comeback that, “Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”
With the planet Vulcan imploded and Vulcans virtually extinct in the current movie continuity, one would think that the population-proliferating Pon Farr would be an especially potent angle to update. Plus, it would be an intriguing opportunity for current Spock, Zachary Quinto to tackle the quintessential Spock story. While it’s difficult to discern if T’Pring was “evil,” she definitely displayed selfish, sociopathic tendencies, which could make an update as a calculatingly logical movie villain connected to Spock’s past quite viable.
2. The Talosians The Cage: Episode 0 Unaired until December 24, 1988 The Menagerie Parts I & II: Season 1 Episodes 11 & 12
November 17, 1966, November 24, 1966
The mysterious, reclusive, subterranean inhabitants of Talos IV are robed, pale, hairless humanoids, whose giant pulsating vascular domes resemble the stereotypically traditional depiction of aliens. However, as far as the Star Trek mythos is concerned, they are also one of the most powerful races in the universe, whose initial encounter with Captain Pike (Jeffrey Hunter) and crew in the original pilot, “The Cage” proved them to be so dangerous for further human contact that it resulted in Starfleet issuing a galactic law punishable by death penalty for anyone who visits the planet.
In the two parts of “The Menagerie,” which integrated footage from the “The Cage,” Spock risked court martial and death to hijack the Enterprise and take the mentally lucid, but gravely injured and paralyzed Captain Pike (Sean Kenney) to Talos IV for reasons unclear. It turns out that the Talosians are psychic masters of the power of illusion and sustain themselves on the memories/fantasies of the living beings kept in their underground titular menagerie. Spock, out of unrelenting loyalty to his former Captain, was willing to face the dire consequences and bring him to Talos IV to live out his days, content and mobile in their world of illusion with fellow human female captive, Vina (Susan Oliver).
The Talosians could provide an exciting twist on the originally intended kick-off to Star Trek. With Pike featured in the 2009 Star Trek reboot film, played by Bruce Greenwood as a sagely mentor to Kirk, an update on the injury angle and Talos IV could make for some startling, intriguingly surreal Matrix-style drama that bends reality. Adding the potential presence of other alien forces like the Romulans or Cardassians looking to exploit the Talosians and you have an excuse for action.
1. Nomad The Changeling: Season 2, Episode 3
September 29, 1967
When the Enterprise crew first meet the powerful probe, Nomad (voiced by Vic Perrin), they were oblivious to fact that it just wiped out all life in an entire solar system, including the planet Malur with its 4 billion inhabitants. The initial encounter was, expectedly, unpleasant, with Nomad attacking the Enterprise with energy projectiles said to equal to force of 90 photon torpedoes with any counterattack being absorbed energetically.
Invited on board the Enterprise, the probe seems to have an innocuous curiosity about the nuances of human life. Eventually, it is learned that Nomad was originally launched from Earth in the early 21st century. However, an unprecedented Vulcan-on-machine mind meld by Spock reveals that it gained a kind of consciousness when colliding and combining with an alien probe, which altered its original mission of exploration into the rather disturbingly subjective modus operandi to sterilize what it sees as imperfections. In its incidental displays of power, it wiped some of Uhura’s memories and then killed Scotty, only to further demonstrate the breadth of its abilities by bringing him back to life. Eventually, its desire to carry out its objective was thwarted by Kirk in a classic (clichéd) robot-vexing logic paradox.
Admittedly, Nomad is a possibly divisive choice for the top of this list; especially considering that it looks like a floating quasi-futuristic barbecue grill and a rejected Doctor Who sonic screwdriver design. In fact, 1979’s pacing-challenged franchise revival, Star Trek: The Motion Picture seems to have blatantly pilfered elements from the Nomad episode. However, the upgrade potential for Nomad in the Abramsverse could be promising with smarter tactical cunning and expanded spectacle-inspiring abilities. Plus, seeing as it was supposedly launched in the early 21st century (which is now,) perhaps, Nomad could be contextually altered to reflect the dangers of society’s increasing reliance on modern algorithmic based logic programs that continually grow, fueled by data such as our Google and Netflix searches. After all, Star Trek has always been a sucker for modern day allegories.
Is there anyone or anything from the original series that you would like to see in the new movies? Head down into the comments section and let us know!