10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Canceled Movie Star Trek: Planet Of The Titans
Star Trek started with a single television show. Over the past 50 years, it has grown to include seven television shows and 12 movies. But these numbers don't include the numerous canceled shows and movies Trek left in its wake. Star Trek: Planet of the Titans is one of them.
Titans was developed at Paramount in the 1970s. It was meant to be the very first Star Trek movie and to reinvigorate the franchise which ended with the cancelation of the original show in 1969. Unfortunately, Titans had a deeply troubled development timeline that ended in failure.
10 It Was First Written By Chris Bryant And Allan Scott
Paramount brought Chris Bryant and Allan Scott on board because of their successful thriller Don't Look Now. They wrote the first version of Titans.
They first wrote a treatment that impressed Paramount. With the studio's green light, the two writers started on the actual script. Their enthusiasm waned considerably throughout the project. So when they were let go, it was with a sigh of relief.
9 George Lucas Was Considered As A Director
George Lucas was reportedly one of the names on the long list of directors considered for Titans. Some sources even go so far as to say that he was approached but turned down the job, presumably since it was 1976 and he was wrapping up Star Wars.
Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Wise were also considered for the role of director. In the end, the studio chose director Philip Kaufman for the job.
8 It Was Developed After The God Thing But Before Star Trek: Phase II
The failed Titans project is sandwiched right between Star Trek: The God Thing and Star Trek: Phase II in Trek history. The God Thing was another failed movie concept created by Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Trek himself. It was shelved by Paramount, likely for being too experimental, and the studio moved on to Titans.
Star Trek: Phase II came after the numerous failed movie attempts. The studio decided to turn back to TV for the future of Trek. Phase II saw some of our beloved characters, and a few new ones, on a second five-year mission. Thirteen episodes were conceived for its first season but the project was shelved due to lack of advertiser interest.
7 It's Set After The 5 Year Mission
Titans is set after the five-year mission. The Enterprise discovers a hidden planet they believe to have been the home of the Titans, a mythical and powerful race. The Titans were destroyed by the current inhabitants.
James T. Kirk disappears on their first pass by the location of the planet. Three years later, a formerly-retired Spock joins the Enterprise's return to the planet to search for Kirk.
6 The Enterprise Competes With The Klingons To Find The Titans
The Klingons, a Warrior race, return to Trek in Titans. They fight the Enterprise over control of this planet that happens to be slipping into a black hole. The fight pushes the Enterprise and the planet through the black hole.
They emerge at Earth during an early point in human evolution. As the Enterprise crew teaches early man to make fire, they realize they have become the Titans themselves.
5 It Was Rewritten By Philip Kaufman, The Director
The studio attached director Philip Kaufman to the project. Kaufman was becoming known for his work in Hollywood, including his recent movie The White Dawn. Bryant and Scott departed the project, leaving Kaufman to perform a rewrite himself.
Kaufman's rewrite became a science fiction mystery. He wanted it to be "less cult-ish and more of an adult movie, dealing with sexuality and wonders rather than oddness."
4 Kaufman Wanted To Focus On Spock
Kaufman wanted to explore who Spock really was. He's part-human and part-Vulcan, but what does that really mean? He wanted to use this dichotomy to explore what being human really means.
He meant to pit Spock against a Klingon, ideally portrayed by Toshiro Mifune, presumably to compare the two's humanness. The black hole and the circular idea of time carried over from the original script but most everything else devolved into a 2001: A Space Odyssey-style trip out.
3 Ralph McQuarrie Created Concept Art For It
Concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, hot off his work on Star Wars, joined the project. He painted a space dock inside a hollowed-out asteroid, as well as a new version of the Enterprise.
Though Titans never moved forward, these two designs by McQuarrie were adapted into new material. The space dock asteroid inspired a similar concept in Star Trek: Enterprise. The design for the Enterprise became the USS Discovery in Star Trek: Discovery.
2 The Estimated Budget Reached $10 Million
Back when the project was The God Thing, it was planned to be just a $2 to 3 million "quickie". According to The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the original budget of $3 to 5 million was raised to $6 to 10 million in 1976. Later, it was said to have crossed over $10 million.
The project was getting out of control. Paramount shelved it, returning to TV for the next phase of Star Trek (Phase II, in fact).
1 Paramount Pulled The Plug, Paving The Way For The Motion Picture
Paramount's decision to cease movement on Planet of the Titans actually moved Star Trek closer to The Motion Picture. Next up in development was the television show Star Trek: Phase II.
Phase II was also canceled but transitioned more directly into The Motion Picture, which relaunched the entire Star Trek franchise. One might say the failure of Titans led to the plethora of Trek content we have today.