Scrapped 1970s Star Trek film script would've pit Kirk against evil alien Jesus

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Jul 5, 2016, 6:12 PM EDT

The 1970s were an interesting time in Hollywood, and somewhere on Earth-2, they’re still watching old Betamax copies of a Star Trek flick that would’ve found Capt. Kirk fighting evil alien Jesus.

As part of an excerpt from The Fifty-Year Mission, The Hollywood Reporter dug into an aborted Gene Roddenberry script that floated around in the 1970s about an alien who assumes the image of Jesus Christ. There’s also some weirdly sexual, midlife crisis subplots buried in there, too. The excerpt includes some comments from author Michael Jan Friedman, who was once tasked with writing a novel-length adaptation of the script.

Check out the WTF-inducing excerpt below:

“Gene had written a script for the first Star Trekmovie. Certain elements showed up in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but most did not. So there was this mysterious script floating around that people talked about as if it were the Dead Sea Scrolls. After I had written several successful Trek novels, Trekeditor Dave Stern asked me to turn Gene’s efforts into a novel called The God Thing. To the best of my recollection, I received both the script and a short narrative version of it. Naturally I jumped at the chance to translate and expand it. Gene was — and still is — one of my heroes, for God’s sake, no pun intended. As he had already left the land of the living, this was a unique opportunity to collaborate with him. But when I read the material, I was dismayed. 

I hadn’t seen other samples of Gene’s unvarnished writing, but what I saw this time could not possibly have been his best work. It was disjointed — scenes didn’t work together, didn’t build toward anything meaningful. Kirk, Spock and McCoy didn’t seem anything like themselves. There was some mildly erotic, midlife-crisis stuff in there that didn’t serve any real purpose. In the climactic scene, Kirk had a fistfight with an alien who had assumed the image of Jesus Christ. So Kirk was slugging it out on the bridge. With Jesus.”

Sure, there have been some Star Trek duds over the years in regard to TV, but this sounds like a boneheaded TV plot given the feature treatment. From Roddenberry. Which is just, you know, fascinating. Here’s hoping a copy of this original script might someday surface, because it would certainly be worth checking out.

You know, for posterity’s sake.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)