Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is the final film featuring the entire main cast that we grew to know and love in Star Trek: The Original Series. 25 years after the Enterprise first crossed our TV screens to explore new worlds, the gang got together one last time to give us a story of an unlikely alliance between the Klingons and the Federation. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew races to uncover a faction dedicated to stopping peace talks at any price.
Originally, after Star Trek V: The Final Frontier disappointed at the box office, the studio considered completely changing things up. The concept that was floating around for a while was a film set during the crew's time at Starfleet Academy, starring new actors playing younger versions of the bridge crew. Negative reactions from Gene Roddenberry, the core cast, and fans led to that being stopped quickly. (A similar concept was much more well-received with 2009's Star Trek.)
It was at this point that Walter Koenig, who famously played Pavel Chekov, wrote his own treatment for this final Star Trek film. Koenig, who had already written for Star Trek: The Animated Series and Land of the Lost, created an outline that he later included in his 1998 book Warped Factors: A Neurotic's Guide to the Universe.
Koenig's send-off for the crew was much more serious than the film we ended up with. It included some heavy, thoughtful topics: specifically, the themes of the young replacing the old, the pain of losing purpose, and the impact of legacy.
Koenig's outline, titled Star Trek VI: In Flanders Fields starts with a mysterious blight on Romulan society forcing them to seek Federation aid. Outraged by this new alliance, the Klingon Empire launches a full-scale war. The entire Federation fleet is put on notice, and all crew have to take fitness tests. Our familiar crew gets middling results. "Age," Koenig's outline says, "has at last taken its toll." Only Spock, with the physical and mental benefits of his Vulcan heritage, is permitted to serve.
As a result, the crew is relieved from active duty and given assignments on Earth. They all cope in various ways — McCoy retires to a farm and begins talking to chickens, Uhura struggles to keep up with new technology, and Scotty spends his time drinking and reminiscing on glory days.
At last the war is won, and as Federation ships limp back to their base, the Enterprise vanishes. Our old crew is called out of retirement, and when McCoy hunts down Kirk, now a bitter recluse, the former captain is only swayed to go back since Spock was on the ship.
What results is a high-stakes battle against repulsive, wormlike aliens whose own race is only kept alive by sapping the life force of the young. Ironically, it is the crew's age that saved them from the same fate — the worms, just as the Federation, saw no value in them any longer.
"One by one, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov, and Scotty fall on the field of battle," the outline reads, "but not without taking the creatures with them... Kirk, mortally injured, starts toward the dungeon. He never makes it. He gasps his last breath and dies in the mud."
With the battle won but only McCoy left, he makes his way to the dungeon, stopping to remember each of his fallen crew members in their previous adventures. He frees a weakened Spock, who attempts to keep his stoic Vulcan exterior, but crumbles in the face of the loss of his friends.
"Slowly, Spock raises his arm and McCoy reaches out for it, to help him rise to his feet. In this loneliest, most desolate of moments, Spock has permitted himself the one expression of friendship that he has never before admitted to: his need of Leonard McCoy. Spock leans against the doctor for support, and the two men — adversaries in a thousand arguments over the years — walk off together."
What do you think? Would you have bought tickets for Star Trek VI: In Flanders Fields?
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