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The Precursor to "The Tholian Web"
written by Judy A. Burns & Chet L. Richards
STORY OUTLINE, dated May 1, 1968

report & analysis by Dave Eversole

 

Yet another outline which was scripted with few changes. I’ll note the original points of the story which were changed.

The starship which disappears into another dimension is named the Scimitar. It was the Defiant in the aired episode.

The Enterprise personnel who beam aboard the Scimitar do not wear spacesuits. Rather they are protected by "life support shields," strikingly similar in concept to the "life support belts" from the animated Star Trek series.

The outline does not indicate that the Scimitar personnel turned on each other. Here the malady brought on by the overlapping of the two dimensions is simply physical paralysis, not mental distress and distrust.

Several scenes were written showing Kirk and crew walking through the walls of the Scimitar.

Once Kirk disappears into the overlapping dimension, there is no immediate attempt to retrieve him.

During Kirk’s memorial service, Uhura, emotionally distraught, leaves, then sees Kirk’s "apparition" in her cabin. McCoy examines her, immediately releases her back to duty. He explains that other than Spock, Uhura is the least affected member of the crew.

The Tholian leader’s name is LoCene in the outline, Loskene in the aired episode.

  Kirk’s "work together" message to Spock and McCoy is audio only in the outline.

Chekov has a fuller role in the outline, suggesting several viable options to Spock, including taking the Enterprise briefly into the alternate dimension to rescue Kirk.

Once Kirk is rescued, the Tholians enter the parallel dimension and approach for another attack. Kirk skillfully defuses the encounter and initiates a peaceful overture (backed up by the Enterprise’s superiority in this weird alternate dimension). The Tholians accept, both ships return to normal space and the outline ends on an upbeat note.

One of the finest third season episodes, taut and suspenseful from Fade In to Fade Out. The few changes were mostly for the better. Spock would have immediately ordered an attempt to "interphase" and rescue Kirk, for example.

I wonder whatever happened to the Defiant...


Judy A. Burns: Television writer and producer who worked in the medium from 1968 to 1988. Series for which she wrote include The F. B.I., Mission: Impossible, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Magnum, P. I. and MacGyver. She was a co-producer on Magnum, P. I. and a producer of Airwolf. She is thanked in the credits of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan--reportedly, producer Harve Bennett sought her opinion on the storyline. Ms. Burns is currently a professor of screenwriting at UCLA.

Chet L. Richards: Television writer whose only sale to television was this episode. No other information could be found on him.


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