written by Don Harden
originally published in Stardate 16, October 1982
The magazine Media Spotlight for March 1977 contained an interview with Gene Roddenberry in which he was asked whether there were any episodes filmed or scripts written for the possible fourth season of Star Trek. Roddenberry replied, "No, there were none. There have been a lot of rumors that there were, but there werent. There were 79 episodes plus the first pilot (which hasnt been shown on TV)."
Upon some investigation, Roddenberry turns out to have been only partially correct. While it is true that no episodes had been filmed for a fourth season, it is also true that there indeed were some unused scripts which could have been used had the series ran for a fourth year. For example, there has been made mention of NBC-TVs refusal of an option for two additional episodes for the end of the third year. Those two scripts could have been held until the possible fourth season. There were also scripts written specifically for the fourth season.
In his fanzine, The Clipper Trade Ship, James Rondeau has discussed some of the various "unshot" Star Trek scripts from time to time. One was Paul Schneiders "Tomorrow the Universe," involving an Adolph HitIer character which was reworked into "Patterns of Force." Another was "He Walked Among Us," by Norman Spinrad and Gene L. Coon, which was unused because of its controversial religious theme. It was, however, "cobbled up" and portions of it crept into other second season episodes. Another unshot story was "Sargasso of Space," but Rondeau reported once that this outline is not in standard format and was uncredited. Some have speculated that Dorothy Fontana wrote it, while others theorize that it may well be a fan effort. Orion Press, in fact, published a novelization of this script which substantiated this theory.
Other unused story outlines included "The Aurorals," "Pandoras Box," "Rock-a-Bye-Baby, or Die," "The Lost Star," John Meredyth Lucas "The Godhead," Theodore Sturgeons "The Joy Machine" (which has now itself been turned into a novelization) and Joan Winstons "Perchance to Dream." Winston, on page 190 of Star Trek Lives, said she asked Roddenberry if she could submit her idea for a script. Roddenberry told her, "Why dont you work it up into a full outline with a teaser and four acts. We might be interested if we go for a fourth season."
Another script that was unused and said to have been specifically written for the fourth season was Jacqueline Lichtenbergs "Remote Control," dated December 5, 1968. This particular story appears in the fanzine Interphase #1 in script format.
Marion Zimmer Bradley, known for her Darkover series, also is reported to have written at least two scripts for the fourth season. One of these has been printed in a fanzine.
DeForest Kelley, in a discussion at the SpaceTrek I convention in St. Louis during April 1982, said that the character of McCoys daughter, Joanna, definitely would have been introduced in the fourth season, had the fourth season materialized. Whether that also would have meant the return of D. C. Fontana in some production capacity is not know. She probably would have only returned to Star Trek as a writer. In order for her to have returned as the script consultant, she would have had to watch and review all of the third season episodes in order to be fully up-to-date on the continuity of the series. She revealed publically for the first time in Starlog #41 that, to this day, she has refused to see any of the third season shows except for one that she wrote, "The Enterprise Incident."
It is interesting to note that Fontana has also not been involved in any of the star Trek revival projects of the 1970s. It was explained by some that Fontanas story editing abilities would not be needed for a one-shot feature film. If that is the case, then why wasnt she involved in any of the series proposals, such as that of Paramounts attempt in 1977 for a "fourth network"?
Yet another wrinkle on the subject of scripts and story editing comes from David Gerrold. He reportedly had an interview on Good Morning America in the late 1970's and said that about three-quarters of the way through the third season, he was hired on a permanent weekly salary basis as a writing assistant for Star Trek. He reportedly added that he helped Roddenberry revise and review scripts for the third and fourth seasons, even though the fourth season never appeared. But if he was in such a position at that time, then he should not have had any trouble selling his story ideas such as "Castles in the Sky," "Bem" and "More Tribbles, More Troubles" to the third season producer.
Sandra Marshak, on page 172 of Star Trek Lives, said she asked Leonard Nimoy whether he would have returned as Spock in the fourth season. She said, "He was never asked, not by anyone. Our impression is: he would have. There would have to have been some changes, he told us, and we agree."
A more complete quote from Nimoy on this subject, which gives a slightly different impression, comes from the 1976 interview show by PBS, "The Man Called Spock" with Bill Varney. Nimoy said, "My feeling at the end of the third season was if the show were to continue, I would want to see some drastic changes take place to move us back into the territory where we rightfully belonged, which was really fine science-fiction with good interesting ideas in the scripts. That had not happened in the third season, and I couldnt make my voice properly heard to the people who should have or might have been listening and I felt very frustrated. Under those conditions, I was not anxious for the series to continue."
In other places, it has been stated that actor Martin Landau of Mission: Impossible had tested at one time for the role of Spock. It is possible that, had Nimoy refused to play Spock in a fourth season, Landau could have been brought in as a replacement. Its probably a moot question now, but it would have been fascinating to see Nimoy taking a role vacated by Landau on Mission: Impossible while, at the same time, seeing Landau taking a role that Nimoy vacated on Star Trek.
One thing that might have been tried in the fourth season would have been to give Kirk a regular Klingon adversary. William Campbell, who played the Klingon Koloth, mentioned on page 120 of The World of Star Trek that he was told that he might be hired for as many as 13 shows per season. However, he was unavailable later in the second season when they needed another Klingon. This same idea was also apparently presented to Michael Ansara, who played Kang. In Star Trek Fotonovel #10, "Day of the Dove," he said, "I always thought it would have been interesting if Kang had become a series regular, thus representing a constant threat r to Kirk and the Federation."
Had Star Trek ran for a fourth season with 24 new shows, the series would have totaled nearly 103 episodes. This might have made it too expensive for most stations to carry in syndication. On the other hand, had it run that extra season in an earlier time slot along with proper promotion by NBC-TV, it could easily have run for as long as M*A*S*H, but that is indeed a big if.
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