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Star Trek: Planet of the Titans

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USS Enterprise, Planet of the Titans, aft

USS Enterprise concept painting by Ralph McQuarrie

Star Trek: Planet of the Titans (alternatively called Star Trek: Planet of Titans) was to have been the first motion picture based on Star Trek: The Original Series. It was one of several early attempts to bring Star Trek back after the series had been canceled. The film was in development from 1976 through 1977 before being abandoned.


Set after the five-year mission depicted in the series, the film involved Starfleet competing with the Klingons for claim to the supposed homeworld of the mythical Titans, a technologically-advanced race long thought extinct. As the planet is pulled into a black hole, the USS Enterprise must also face off against the Cygnans, the alien race responsible for the Titans' disappearance. Ultimately, Captain Kirk is forced to take the Enterprise into the black hole to defeat the Cygnans, a decision that sends the starship and its crew backwards in time thousands of years and into orbit around Earth. After introducing fire to the primitive Humans living at the time, Kirk and his crew are revealed to be the legendary Titans. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture)



USS Enterprise study model designed by Adam and McQuarrie for Planet of the Titans, ultimately seen in "Unification I" as the "B-24-CLN"

The film was to be produced in England, with Jerry Isenberg serving as executive producer. Hired to direct the film was Philip Kaufman, later known for directing such films as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (starring Leonard Nimoy), The Right Stuff, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Ken Adam of James Bond fame was hired to be the film's production designer. Adam sketched new concepts for the starship Enterprise featuring a flattened triangular engineering hull. Artist Ralph McQuarrie, of Star Wars fame, was hired to do conceptual drawing and paintings, featuring variations on Adam's Enterprise, many of which were speculative images not based on the then-unfinished script, such as images of the starship approaching an inhabited asteroid. (The Art of Ralph McQuarrie)

British writers Chris Bryant and Allan Scott wrote the initial fifteen-to-twenty page treatment which, upon acceptance from Paramount Pictures, they turned into a screenplay, which was submitted on 1 March 1977. The following month, the script was rejected by Paramount. Kaufman then took on the task of writing the script, in which he wanted to focus on Spock and a Klingon character he envisioned being played by legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. Kaufman later revealed his vision for the project as being different from what was perceived by the audiences of the Original Series, "My version was really built around Leonard Nimoy as Spock and Toshiro Mifune as his Klingon nemesis... My idea was to make it less "cult-ish", and more of an adult movie, dealing with sexuality and wonders rather than oddness; a big science fiction movie, filled with all kinds of questions, particularly about the nature of Spock's [duality]-exploring his humanity and what humanness was. To have Spock and Mifune's character tripping out in outer space. I'm sure the fans would have been upset, but I felt it could really open up a new type of science fiction." [1] That Kaufman was able to envision a different spin on Star Trek as was hitherto commonplace, was due to the fact that the studio had, for the first time in the franchise's history, completely and intentionally kept Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry utterly out of the loop, he being considered a nuisance to work with by the studio. Still, Roddenberry confederate Assistant Producer Jon Povill kept him, against the wishes of the studio, abreast of the production by continuously consulting with him. (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p. 17; The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 27)

Kaufman's script was never completed, as Paramount pulled the plug in May, just weeks before the release of Star Wars. Initially budgeted at US$7.5 million, the film had an estimated budget of US$10 million at the time project was halted. Planet of the Titans was shelved and never revisited. Paramount, reluctantly bringing back Roddenberry into the fold, next moved ahead with a proposed Star Trek: Phase II TV series, which eventually became Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Study modelsEdit

USS Enterprise study model B-24-CLN study model
USS Enterprise study model
B-24-CLN study model
USS Enterprise study model in Space dock Surplus Depot Z-15 Earth Spacedock Surplus Depot Z15 (bottom)

Several small study models of the Enterprise designs were created during the project's short life, of which two at least made an appearance in later Star Trek productions. Stored away for the better part of a decade they have been stated to have appeared in the "starship graveyard" scene in the aftermath of the Battle of Wolf 359 in TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" (The Art of Star Trek, page 56), though their presence there has not been confirmed. [2] One of the models was partially visible behind the hub of the spacedock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock when the Enterprise enters.

The other model was present as B-24-CLN at the Surplus Depot Z15 in TNG: "Unification I". Both models therefore became canon albeit without class designations or names. The B-24-CLN study model, constructed out of wood and plastic, detailed with hand-applied tape and ink and measuring 15" × 8", eventually turned up on 8 August 2010 as Lot #12 in the Propworx's "Star Trek Prop and Costume Auction", estimated at US$1,000-$2,000, where it sold for US$3,500.

Pre-production staffEdit

† - as identified by former Cinefex reference author Kevin H. Martin [X]wbm

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