Gene Roddenberry Wrote A 'Star Trek' Movie In Which Kirk Fights Jesus
By the mid-'70s, Gene Roddenberry was pretty much over his Star Trek creation and presumably ready to move on to newer and stranger worlds. He tried tackling different projects, including the one where Paul McCartney hired him to write an intergalactic Battle of the Bands movie about McCartney's post-Beatles band, Wings (a hundred bucks says the antagonist would've looked and/or sounded like John Lennon).
But Paramount had other plans and wanted Roddenberry to write a full-feature Star Trek movie. What we ended up getting was the critically divisive Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 (not written by Roddenberry). What we almost got was one bizarre movie with a climactic title fight between James T. Kirk and Jesus H. Christ.
Roddenberry's script detailed a tale about the now old Admiral Kirk and his aging Starfleet commanders having to deal with an alien force on its way to Earth that may or may not be God and/or the Devil. When Kirk comes face to face with this entity, it shapeshifts into different forms to see if Kirk recognizes any of its images, like those cards that teach kids what a cow looks like. At one point, the space-thing turns into Jesus — notably, this is the only time Kirk recognizes an image — and Kirk ends up having a brawl with alien Jesus while, and this is very important, dealing with some sort of mildly erotic midlife crisis. Sure, there's probably a metaphor here, but who can think of one when we can't stop laughing at the thought of old man Kirk punching Christ just to get some sort of rise out of it. Oh. There it is, we guess.
The draft is based on a novel Roddenberry was working on called The God Thing, and the wild "Space Boners And Also Jesus" story ended with the Messiah entity somehow granting the crew newfound youth because the moral of this story seems to be that if you hate being old, just punch a Jesus in the face and you can bang like a 20-year-old again. Of course, the fact that Paramount had changed management and was now run by a devout Catholic didn't really help to get the script approved. Conservatives at the time would probably not have appreciated it, either, even though Roddenberry said later on that the point was more about how this thing claiming to be God messed up humanity's perception of "the real infinity and beauty of what God is." Right. That doesn't explain the ending at all, but sure. That's what everyone would've taken away from a movie where Kirk gave the image of Jesus a throbbing...shiner.
This, of course, explains where the idea of the alien claiming to be God or whatever in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier came from. There's also the fact that, as wild as this original Star Trek movie script sounds, it probably would've been less boring than the one we got.
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