The Original Star Trek Pilot, and What Could Have Been


The Cage
I was writing a review for one of the comics in the Star Trek: Early Voyages series by Marvel and I started going on about what could have been if the series had been made with Christopher Pike as Captain.  That is what the series is about and it is really good.  I highly recommend it. Well as I wrote the it sounded more like a blog.  So here it is.
 
With only one episode it is hard to see why a character could be so impactful and it is not just because he was the first.  The whole crew was great from the sweet young Yeoman J. Mia Colt to Spock himself.  Spock being the only character from Pike's crew to go on to be a part of Kirk's crew.  
 
Now without sounding sacrilegious I never liked Kirk much but thought Pike was what a Captain could really be.  So, I would wonder what would have happened to the whole Star Trek Universe if the pilot with Pike was picked up instead of Kirk.  One big thing is that the actor Jeffery Hunter died a few months before the last episode of the original series.  This means that any movie that came after would either not exist, had stared another actor as Pike or made someone else as Captain like Spock for example. 
 
Love That Man!?
The big thing that is for sure is there would be no William Shatner.  Now, Shatner's personality had greatly effected what Star Trek was up until the first few seasons of the Next Generation.  It does not matter if you like the actor William Shatner or his character on Star Trek but I strongly believe that he held Star Trek back from what it could be by his impact on how the episodes were made.  There have been many comments made from actors and people who worked on the show such as writers who would portray Shatner as abrasive, arrogant and as an ego manic.  Complaining he did not have enough lines, screen time and making it difficult to film anything that didn't really make him the star.  In other words making it very difficult to have an ensemble cast.  These traits kept most the other actors in the background.
 
A New Crew
If Pike remained not only would the interaction be different and in my opinion better it would also have many different actors.  They still would have needed to add a few more characters such as a helmsmen, chief engineer communications officer and the nurse would be different as Christine Chapel and Number One were played by the same actress.  Having a prominent female officer as second in command sure would have a positive impact in the 1960's for sure.  
 
So imagine a crew of Pike as Captain, Number One as First Officer, Spock as Science officer, Jose Tyler as Navigator, Hikaru Sulu as Helmsmen, Nyota Uhura as Communications, Philip Boyce as the Doctor, Janice Rand as Nurse, Montgomery Scott as Chief Enginer, and J. Mia Colt as Yeoman.  Is is a Pipe dream?  Sure but, it is fun to imagine. All that said the comic series is a lot of fun.  It really shows what it could have been.
15 Comments
15 Comments
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

I've always had a big wonder myself how it would have been had Pike retained the captaincy of Enterprise instead of Kirk.  Very thought provoking words here!

Posted by Liberty
@RedheadedAtrocitus: Thant is quite a compliment. Thank you.
Posted by turoksonofstone
@Liberty:  
I wish they would make a new series set in the TOS time period, different crew and ship, think it could do well.
Posted by Liberty
@turoksonofstone said:
@Liberty:  I wish they would make a new series set in the TOS time period, different crew and ship, think it could do well.
I think it could do really well.  I wanted them to do the same thing but Enterprise came out instead.  They could introduce a daqtecendent of someone from one of the later series like Tom Paris' grandfather or something.  They could also refer to the Original Series.  Remember when the Enterprise had a mock battle that went bad with a few other ships.  You could have the same story from their perspective.  They could also come in after the Enterprise and deal with a situation that was messed up after the Enterprise left.  That kind of thing.  They could also have the first alien Captain.  
Posted by turoksonofstone
@Liberty said:
@turoksonofstone said:
@Liberty:  I wish they would make a new series set in the TOS time period, different crew and ship, think it could do well.
I think it could do really well.  I wanted them to do the same thing but Enterprise came out instead.  They could introduce a daqtecendent of someone from one of the later series like Tom Paris' grandfather or something.  They could also refer to the Original Series.  Remember when the Enterprise had a mock battle that went bad with a few other ships.  You could have the same story from their perspective.  They could also come in after the Enterprise and deal with a situation that was messed up after the Enterprise left.  That kind of thing.  They could also have the first alien Captain.  
Awesome concepts. I would also tune in for a series about the Klingons. 
Posted by Liberty
@turoksonofstone: That is very interesting.  It would be neat to see how that would work as they are so often pitted as the antagonist.  This reminds me of another idea I had.  This idea would be a series set in the Star Trek universe but not a particular time.  The characters could change depending on the story they were telling.  Kind of like the Twilight Zone.  The exseption is you could bring characters back when you wanted like a few episodes of William Riker or Hikuru Sulu or anyone else as a Captain.  You could have episodes based on and from the perspective of non federation characters like Klingons, Romulans and so on.  You could have an episode based in Kirk's time one week and have another in Picard's time.  The only problem would be the sets.  I don't think this would be an done right however.  There were always sets made for other planets and bridges and such.  It would be just different sets.  there could also be more outside episode.  Like a jungle mission during one of the many wars or a survival tale of a crashed escape pod.  I could write another blog about it.  =]
Posted by turoksonofstone
@Liberty:  
Sort of a Star Trek presents..style show. interesting. Maybe it could be set at the far future Starfleet Academy and the stories could be "lessons" in class.
Posted by Liberty
@turoksonofstone: That is a good idea but I was thinking of no theme at all but if I had to pick one it would deal with time travel.  They have already set up a federation group that fix time when it has gone wrong.  It is a little to Quantum Leap.
Posted by turoksonofstone
@Liberty said:
@turoksonofstone: That is a good idea but I was thinking of no theme at all but if I had to pick one it would deal with time travel.  They have already set up a federation group that fix time when it has gone wrong.  It is a little to Quantum Leap.
no theme at all works for me too.
Posted by Silkcuts

I love William Shatner.
 
Great Blog!
Glad you are back.

Posted by Liberty
@Silkcuts: Yuk!  =]
 
I'm not back yet I am just catching up a little bit.
Posted by Protoon

Really cool article!!

I've always like The Cage; it's actually one of my favourite Star Trek episodes, and I definitely prefer it to the second pilot Where No Man Has Gone Before. It would have been great to have a female first officer in the series: we had to wait for DS9 for that.

Do you know the film Forbidden Planet? I've always thought The Cage shows a lot of influence from that film. The stories have elements in common (principally, a starship crew investigate a distress call from a lost expedition on a mysterious planet). There is also a scene in the film where the crew use a device to shield them from harm while the ship drops out of hyperspace: this scene, in my opinion, is the genesis of the look and sound of Star Trek's famous transporter pad.

Posted by Liberty
@Protoon: No I haven't and I am shocked.  I own movies like Metropolis and have seen what I thought was all the classic Sci Fi films like The Day The Earth Stood Still, but I missed this Gem and will have to see it.  I also agree the Cage is a way better pilot.
Posted by LordMaverick

Great analysis! I'm glad there are still other original Star Trek fans out there

Posted by Liberty

@LordMaverick: Thanks. Boy are you taking me down memory lane by reviving my old posts. =)