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When initially commissioned by NBC to write a pilot episode for Star Trek in 1964, Gene Roddenberry submitted three story outlines. Out of these three, the one that became "The Cage" was chosen by the network and filmed.

NBC rejected the pilot, but because they had chosen that story themselves from the three choices (and the story was perceived as the main source of the problems), they ordered a second set of three scripts for a second pilot, and the rest is history.

All three of these second-attempt pilot scripts eventually became episodes of the series: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Mudd's Women", and "The Omega Glory".

But what were the other two pilot story treatments rejected in favor of "The Cage"? I've read countless articles, "making-of" books, etc. and never seen an answer to this. Were they eventually revised and made as episodes of the show as well?

Given the "Law of Conservation of Stories" that episodic television is subject to (namely that -- due to budget crunches, tight schedules, writer strikes, and the like -- every remotely-workable plot idea will eventually be pulled out and produced as an episode), it seems unlikely that they were completely scrapped.

  • Actually, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was NOT produced as an episode for the series. It was the 2nd pilot, after "The Cage," because they weren't sure how to react. It was later edited so it could be aired as a regular episode. I understand the original version was too long to air as an episode without editing. – Tango Jul 16 '11 at 3:41
  • Right, of course...sorry if that was confusingly-worded. I'm aware that "Where No Man..." took a different route to being an episode than the other two. – Matt Peterson Jul 16 '11 at 21:01
  • It was probably trouble with tribbles... – Chad Aug 3 '11 at 16:36
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    Chad, it can't be "Trouble with Tribbles." David Gerold wrote an entire book about how he came to write that script and, other than the idea coming from a Heinlein book, the idea came from him during Trek's 2nd season and not from within Trek. – Tango Aug 6 '11 at 8:10
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I combed through Stephen E. Whitfield's The Making of Star Trek to see what I could find.

There is no reference to titles of the other two stories that were pitched along with "The Cage." However, after their viewing of The Cage, as we know, they ordered another pilot. On page 134 of The Making of Star Trek the other stories are stated to be Omega Glory by Gene Roddenberry, Mudd's Women, but Stephen Kandel, and Where No Man Has Gone Before by Samuel A. Peeples. It also states that "Roddenberry was taking no chances on a more 'cerebral' script this time -- all three represented strong action-adventure scripts."

I could not find any reference to whether any of these three stories were the same as, or in any way related to, the original stories pitched with The Cage, but it states that it was after _The Cage_ was rejected that they brought in Peeples and Kandel. Still, that doesn't make it clear if the two were writing original stories or writing stories based on notes or an idea or other previously written stories.

I would consider The Making of Star Trek as the most authoritative source on the very early days of the series, since it was written even before the third season aired, with direct access to Roddenberry, Gene Coon, and others. Whitfield was able to gather information before people were too involved and memories became fuzzy.

However, I found this web page Star Trek Tribute on Angelfier. Considering this is essentially a personal page on Angelfire, I'm not sure how authoritative it is, but it states that Gene Roddenberry's Original outline for "Star Trek" was Dated March 11, 1964. And ran 16 Pages in length! In addition to it's descriptions of the series' concept and characters. It contained several story spring boards, including two which ultimately became the finish first-season Episodes "Charlie X" And "Mudd's Women"! (as Spock would Say "Fasinating".)

It does not state that those two were THE two other stories submitted with The Cage, but it's worth noting that one of those stories was fleshed out as a possible 2nd pilot.

Note: The Making of Star Trek is a LONG book and I haven't read it in years, but I'll be checking through it to see if I can find more information on this in other chapters on other topics.

  • Oh, I see, you never saw the link to the PDF of the pitch itself. The link is pretty subtle, I'll admit. :) – Christopher Aug 6 '11 at 7:22
  • Saw it, not really sure if it's genuine or not, since some parts read like they were lifted directly from The Making of Star Trek and other books I've read. Also, knowing Gene Roddenberry's attitudes about religion (I ran into them while pitching in ST:TNG), the idea about a story with a Christ reference seems quite odd. (I never did figure out, from what I had read and been told when dealing with Trek, how Bread and Circuses made it to production with all the "Son" references.) I'm not saying it's fake, but I'm not convinced. – Tango Aug 6 '11 at 7:58
  • If you find a solid reason to doubt it, let the folks at StarTrekHistory.com and Memory Alpha know, because they're relying on it as truth. – Christopher Aug 6 '11 at 8:27
  • Christopher, if I had a solid reason, I'd give it. There are just a few things here and there that make me go "Hmmmm..." but, in all honesty, I'm not about to spend the hours or days of research to be sure. If the history of Trek (or Trek overall) still mattered to me professionally, I'd probably dive in, but I'm starting a production company on my own, so that just doesn't give me time to explore tangents like that anymore. – Tango Aug 6 '11 at 8:30
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    Thanks for your efforts, Tango. I'd read Whitfield's book years ago, as well. Great read, incidentally, for Trek fans, even today. I've also read both Shatner and Nimoy's books (although like you, I suspect they are a cut below "The Making of Star Trek" in terms of historicity). – Matt Peterson Aug 9 '11 at 15:39
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I'm no Star Trek buff, but what I understand to be the original pitch for the series includes like 25 story ideas, many of which were eventually filmed, including the one that became "The Cage." I would guess the missing two treatments are on that list. Maybe that narrows it down a bit.

  • No, this is not at all accurate. They produced "The Cage" and did not have 25 stories. They had 2 other possible stories, but nowhere near 25. They still weren't sure about how to handle the characters and many other aspects of a regular science fiction series to create more stories. – Tango Aug 6 '11 at 6:32
  • So how come Roddenberry's pitch dated March 11, 1964, has 25 story ideas in it, nearly a year before "The Cage" was complete? Is the PDF a fake? – Christopher Aug 6 '11 at 7:20
  • To say those springboards, as Roddenberry calls them, are story ideas is like saying the sketch of the shape of the foundation of a house is the fully built framework for that house. If you walked into a pitch session with one of those as your story idea, you'd be out the door in a hurry. (I base that on experience in pitching to ST:TNG and David Gerrold's comments.) An actual story idea is much more detailed and includes enough so we can see how the personality of a character effects the story (or vice versa), which wasn't possible until the characters were more fleshed out in "The Cage." – Tango Aug 6 '11 at 7:48
  • Good job rationalizing it away, since your answer showed you had never read the pitch before, but you're really missing the point that, given how many of those "not" story ideas are recognizable as later stories, it's very likely the two missing story treatments are synopsized in them. – Christopher Aug 6 '11 at 7:52
  • When you write a series Bible, or pitch a series, you say, "These are some stories we can tell." So, I'm sorry if I interpret the phrase "story idea" as what experience tells me it means in a script context, which makes it easy to mis-read your comments. Yes, it's possible those stories came from the springboards, but at least one story from the 2nd pilot wasn't in that list, and one springboard could be either "Charlie X" or "Where No Man..." (and both follow an infatuation of Roddenberry's), and we don't know if outside writers were involved, so we dont have enough to know. – Tango Aug 6 '11 at 8:09

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