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Planet Of The Titans: The Lost Star Trek Movie You'll Never See, Explained

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Following the monumentally successful run of "Star Trek: The Original Series," creator Gene Roddenberry set his sights on a feature film adaptation of "Star Trek" in the mid-1970s. His initial idea was given the title "Star Trek: The God Thing" — a story featuring the "Star Trek" cast encountering an alien referring to itself as God, who plans to destroy Earth — though this concept didn't get very far and was eventually canned. Then came the next big idea called "Star Trek: Planet of the Titans," which had all the potential to be quite a wild watch.

Throughout this journey, "Star Trek" fans would've been in for some real surprises, twists, and turns. The cast of the original "Star Trek" series would reunite aboard the USS Enterprise, visiting the homeworld of the fabled Titans of Greek mythology. Along the way, they'd encounter Klingons and Cygnans and get sucked into a black hole that sends them back to the earliest days of humanity. They'd even teach these prehistoric people how to create fire, thus kicking off the rapid advancement of human civilization (via "The Greatest Science Fiction Movies Never Made" by David Hughes)

With writers Chris Bryant and Allan Scott writing the script, Captain James T. Kirk and Spock themselves, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, on the cast list, and legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie putting together concept art, "Planet of the Titans" seemed like a sure thing. However, it ultimately didn't make it to the finish line for various reasons.

Multiple factors contributed to the death of Planet of the Titans

"Star Trek: Planet of the Titans" entered pre-production in 1976, though the script by Chris Bryant and Allan Scott wasn't completed until the early months of 1977. Paramount Pictures rejected the draft, thus sending the entire production, which had taken quite a while to get off the ground already, into a tailspin. The decision was subsequently made by the powers that be to give up on "Planet of the Titans" — then called "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" — altogether due to multiple supposed factors.

According to sources such as "Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series" by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and "Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages" by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, there are three main contributors said to be behind the death of "Planet of the Titans." In addition to production taking forever to get rolling and becoming increasingly expensive, the undeniable success of 1977's "Star Wars" allegedly gave Paramount leaders cold feet. Also, Paramount Studios Chief executive officer Barry Diller reportedly felt the story treatment drifted too far from the original "Star Trek" TV series.

With that, "Planet of the Titans" was abandoned in favor of a TV revival called "Star Trek: Phase II" that also never became a reality. Thankfully, "Star Trek" fans would see all their favorite characters, from Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) to Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), reach the big screen for the first time in 1979 when the "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" we all know finally premiered.