"Most seventeen-year-olds do."
At the age of three, in 2252, he was the sole survivor of a transport ship crash on the desolate planet Thasus. With the loss of his parents, the planet's inhabitants, the Thasians granted Evans a wide array of powers so that he could survive on their inhospitable homeworld. Although they were able to restrain him temporarily, they were unable or unwilling to remove the powers.
Evans' powers included:
- The ability to make matter vanish, to create matter, and to rearrange the structure of matter
- The ability to influence the operation of mechanical devices
- The ability to alter the physiology of living beings and to influence their mental processes
Evans spent fourteen years on Thasus before the Antares discovered him in 2266, by which time he was seventeen years old. During his time on the cargo ship, an Antares crew member taught Evans card tricks. Using his psionic powers, he eventually took control of the Antares and its crew members. The ship transferred Evans to the USS Enterprise, so that he might be reunited with his only known relatives on Colony 5.
Aboard the Enterprise, Evans claimed to have learned to speak by talking to the crashed ship's memory banks. He'd survived on food concentrates for a time, discovering edible native foods before his supplies were exhausted. Spock and McCoy debated this, Spock contending that Charlie's survival argued for the existence of some form of intelligent life on Thasus. There were gaps in Charlie's knowledge, and he demonstrated great immaturity on a number of occasions. He fell in love with Yeoman Janice Rand, and even caused Uhura to lose her voice.
When Captain Ramart of the Antares attempted to warn the Enterprise about Evans, the Antares exploded. Charlie was questioned in connection with this incident, and revealed he had removed a baffle plate on the shield of the Antares' energy pile. While Spock believed that this act demonstrated Evans had a total disregard for life, Kirk argued that he was a child who didn't understand what life was. Evans rationalized his act by saying, "It would've blown up anyway. Well, they weren't nice to me! They wanted to get rid of me. They don't, now."
As before on the Antares, Evans gained control of the Enterprise. Kirk speculated that he might be a Thasian, but medical scans taken by McCoy showed Evans' physiology matched that of 23rd century Humans, leading McCoy to suspect that, despite his abilities, Evans was Human. When Kirk believed Evans had overextended himself and the crew took advantage of this to overwhelm him further by turning on all the technology aboard the ship, Evans was defeated.
The Thasians, having discovered Evans' departure from their world, caught up to him before the Enterprise reached Colony 5. Claiming it was impossible for Evans to live a normal life, they transported him aboard their vessel and departed.
Pressed to explain what had become of the objects he had made "go away," Evans could not or would not do so. Whatever happened to them, they were not destroyed, since the Thasians were able to restore them. It was probable that Evans didn't fully understand his own powers. (TOS: "Charlie X")
Background information Edit
Charles Evans was played by Robert Walker, Jr.
The conceptual genesis of Charles Evans can be traced back to a 1964 document, Star Trek is..., which Gene Roddenberry used when first pitching the series. In that proposal, the character was referred to as "Charlie" but was a man, rather than a teenager. Also, he was suggested to be featured in a story (entitled "The Day Charlie Became God") wherein he was initially "normal" but "accidentally gains infinite powers."
While the episode was in development, the character was talked about at a meeting that Gene Roddenberry and Associate Producer John D.F. Black had with NBC Manager of Film Programming Stanley Robertson. The character was thereafter further discussed in a meeting between Black and writer D.C. Fontana, while Roddenberry was temporarily absent from the making of the series. In a memo Black sent Roddenberry after his return (the memo was dated 22 April 1966, while the installment was referred to as "Charley X"), Black stated that he and Fontana had agreed the character was "a real boy" and could "make people appear and disappear."
NBC specifically found fault with the character's superpowers. In a letter from Stanley Robertson to Gene Roddenberry (also dated 22 April 1966, after an initial story outline was issued), Robertson commented, "We realize that there is great public, as well as scientific, interest in the research currently being done in the broad area of mental manifestations eluded to here in a very exaggerated fashion. It is logical to believe that in the era and locale in which our series is set that some portions of the 'powers' attributed to Charlie X may possibly be accepted facts [....] The fact of Charlie X having some of the powers he demonstrates in this story outline can be possibly believed."
At roughly the same time (i.e. as of 28 April 1966), Charlie was written as being partly alien – a half-Ferndok hybrid on his mother's side. Also, at the conclusion of the story, he would have made himself literally vanish, rather than being taken away by any aliens.
In a memo he sent John D.F. Black (on 28 April 1966), Associate Producer Robert Justman proposed, "Perhaps one closing line from Charlie would make apparent to the audience that he intends to get rid of himself for the good of all concerned and actually says goodbye to the others on the bridge." However, the character's removal by a Thasian was thereafter suggested in a revised story outline of the episode.
A runner-up for the role of Charles Evans was actor Michael Pollard. In a memo Gene Roddenberry wrote Casting Director Joe D'Agosta about this matter (on 30 April 1966), Roddenberry introduced the idea to D'Agosta by relaying, "Someone has recommended [...] Pollard for consideration when we do 'Charlie X'."
In the first draft script of "Charlie X", Charlie forced a young female yeoman to her knees, out of frustrated disappointment that she didn't look like Rand. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 39)
Robert Justman resisted the idea, established in the episode's first draft script, of Charlie being taken away by Thasians at the end of the story. In a memo he wrote about the first draft script and sent Gene Roddenberry (on 7 June 1966), Justman lamented, "You know, Charlie is more fully resolved in this version and much more of a person than he was before. And I kind of hate to see him get zapped out of existence at the end of the show. I also hate to see a show of our[s] end on a downbeat note." Justman went on to question if it would be possible for Charlie, thanks to the influence of the Thasians, to not have to return with them, but instead be stripped of the powers they had given him.
When first referred to in the final draft script of "Charlie X" (dated 5 July 1966), Charles Evans was described as "a handsome seventeen-year-old boy." He was also characterized, later in the script, as having a "handsome boyish face." In a scripted but ultimately unused line of dialogue, Evans admitted that, prior to his arrival on the Enterprise, he had never considered there might be other people of the same age as him. In other omitted lines, Charlie's law was cited as governing his behavior.
"Charlie X" Director Lawrence Dobkin was only peripherally involved in the casting of Robert Walker, Jr. as Charles Evans. "Only in the sense that they said, 'We think we'd like to use him, unless you object.' You know, 'Do you object to...?' [....] When they talked about Charles Evans, I welcomed it when they said young Robert Walker," Dobkin recalled. "And I said, 'I don't know him, except from the photographs. Is he like his father in the qualitative sense?' And they said, 'Yes, very much,' so he's got to be splendid. I think they had interviewed him: I don't remember if he was in to read or not [...] [but] I don't believe I got involved in the [episode's] casting." (The Star Trek Interview Book, pp. 169 & 170) The part was given to Walker by 8 July 1966, when the episode's cast list was issued.
Robert Walker, Jr. was twenty-six when he portrayed Charles Evans, and later referred to himself as "a late developer." He thus felt he could very much relate to Evans, finding that, at the time of playing the role, he had a lot of similarities to the character. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 28)
D.C. Fontana, who wrote the episode's teleplay and was credited with writing the episode in general, remarked, "I thought Robert Walker, Jr. was an especially good choice for Charlie." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 28)
Charles Evans also featured in a sequel story pitch that Nick Sagan suggested to Star Trek: The Next Generation, though that episode was ultimately never produced. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 293)
A fan of this character was Ira Steven Behr, who once lived near a Malibu store which Robert Walker, Jr. ran. At times when Behr saw Walker, Charles Evans frequently entered Behr's mind. "I used to think: 'Oh my God, it's Charlie X,'" Behr recalled. (AOL chat, 1997)