3

"Star Trek: Phase II" was the working title for a revival of the original "Star Trek" series in the early 1970s. But that title is so unique in television and movies that it sticks out. Why Phase II? I can't think of another TV or movie that used that term (except for Marvel's use in the MCU).

Who coined this unique title (I assume it was Gene Roddenberry) and why? Was this name inspired by some other less-known use in TV or movies? Or was it a reference to a common naval/exploration/astronautic use? Are there any quotes from anyone involved about how this working title was chosen?

10
  • 2
    "Phase Two" and "The Next Phase" have been a pretty common expressions in US English since the 1940s at least; google.co.uk/books/edition/The_War_Phase_Two/… / google.fr/books/edition/The_WEA/zdKCPQAACAAJ?hl=en
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 5 at 19:08
  • 1
    Are you asking specifically about "phase 2" versus "second phase?" History (e.g. first, second.. phase of a battle), biology, and other scientific descriptions (e.g. visible phases of Venus) have been given ordinal designations since at least the 19th century.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 5 at 19:23
  • 1
    May be of interest. I don't recall the Reeves-Stevens book going into the origins of Phase II as a title. Or if the working title was likely to make it to screen. forgottentrek.com/phase-2 Commented Jan 5 at 22:02
  • 3
    This is a good question about the history of language use (in a sci-fi context). Not sure why you are getting the downvotes or close votes.
    – Lexible
    Commented Jan 7 at 3:55
  • 3
    "Part II" is extremely common in media. "Phase II" is virtually non-existent in media, and IMO understanding why someone chose it could be interesting. If it was "Star Trek: 2nd Down", asking if/why Gene chose football terminology would be a reasonable question and I'd disagree with the response "because that's an English phrase"
    – Plutor
    Commented Jan 9 at 19:53

1 Answer 1

1

I can't find any indication of who precisely gave it that working title. Several articles (including one below) hint it was the then-president of Paramount, Barry Diller, who was driving the project at the time. Phase II was purely a working title because it was part of a far more ambitious project: launching a new broadcast network

In 1977, Paramount, after realizing that their canceled show was only increasing in popularity, decided to put a brand new Star Trek series into production. This was to be a big-budget, far more complex version of Star Trek, featuring much of the same cast along with a few new characters, but was to feature even better writing and an even headier tone. This new show, called Star Trek: Phase II (a.k.a. Star Trek II), was to be the flagship TV series in a proposed Paramount-owned “fourth network” (back when there were only three major TV players), making it one of the more ambitious sci-fi projects of the decade. Star Trek: Phase II was originally the idea of Paramount's president, the media mogul Barry Diller, but creator Gene Roddenberry was brought back to serve as the show's executive producer and head writer.

The goal was that this new Paramount Television Service (PTVS) would have a new Star Trek show as its main hook to draw viewers. As this was meant to be a pure continuation of the original series, the "Phase II" bit signaled to fans that they would be getting more of the same show they had grown to love in syndication, but with bigger budgets for special effects. Remember that Star Wars also launched in 1977, helping to drive renewed interest in sci-fi.

PTVS had its plug pulled by the board of Paramount, dooming the prospect of another TV show

Despite Barry Diller's best efforts, the Paramount board, and studio chief Charles Bluhdorn, passed on the network, as Bluhdorn worried that PTVS would lose too much money. Six months before the launch, Paramount canceled the network before PTVS was set to debut.

Addendum

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.