Friday, June 12, 2015

Unseen Trek: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (FIRST DRAFT)

Still from workprint version of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (1965)
Written by Samuel A. Peeples
FIRST DRAFT, dated May 27, 1965
Report and Analysis by David Eversole
Originally posted at Orion Press

Peeples' first draft, amazingly, was changed relatively little — it is about 85% what was finally filmed. Some names are different — here we have Lieutenant Clark Mitchell, Lieutenant Leroy Kelso and Ship's Doctor Johnson (Johnson is only referenced by his last name once, the senior staff are simply tagged as Ship's Doctor, Ship's Engineer, Ship's Physicist, etc.).

Some differences between this script and what aired:
  • The action opens with the Kirk log detailed in my review of the shooting script, then cuts directly to the bridge; no introductory chess game between Kirk and Spock, no first meeting with Mitchell in the elevator.
  • There is no mention of stardates. One of Kirk's logs opens with, "Captain's Log, Report 197."
  • It is stated in the narrative that Spock is senior to Mitchell. Spock is described as red-hued, much as in Roddenberry's first series outline. Perhaps Peeples never saw "The Cage."
  • The Valiant was lost 132 years ago. The Valiant's recorder is brought into an engineering airlock by the tractor beam, not beamed directly onboard via the transporter.
  • Mitchell is even more flirtatious than in the aired version--he even refers to Yeoman Smith as "kitten." Spock is the one who knew and worked with Mitchell for years. Although friends, Mitchell and Kirk are not as close as in the aired version, and there is no talk of any shared history.
  • When the Enterprise passes through the barrier at the edge of the galaxy, everyone is enveloped in a greenish glow and bolts of green "electricity" shoot from their hands and feet.
  • A mass funeral is held in the Ship's Chapel (described as containing symbols such as the Christian Cross and the Jewish Star of David, as well as several unknown alien religious icons) and the bodies of the dead are consigned to space.
  • Much of the action then transpires as aired, though in this draft Kirk does not divert to Delta Vega with the intent of stranding Mitchell. Kelso and three others are strangled onboard the Enterprise, then Clark Mitchell, using his mental powers, diverts the ship to an unnamed planet which he beams down to with Elizabeth Dehner.
  • Kirk regains control of the ship, and, armed with a laser rifle, beams down after them. He makes his way across the mountainous terrain toward Mitchell and Dehner, suddenly finds that the blue sand he is crossing is quicksand. He sinks fast, but pulls a small gun, armed with a steel barb, from his belt, fires it toward a rock wall. A thin nylon-like rope shoots out and the barb embeds itself in the wall. Kirk drags himself free of the quicksand.
  • Using his power, Mitchell blocks Kirk's path with a wall of blue flames. Kirk, using his barb/rope weapon, swings over the flames, lands safely on the other side. Mitchell then attempts to stop him with a gale-force wind, but Kirk continues on doggedly, eventually confronts the two. Things play out as in the aired version, but in the final fight, there is no grave or tombstone. Weakened by Dehner's dying blast of energy, Mitchell is at the edge of a cliff, below him is a thousand-foot drop. He and Kirk fight, and Mitchell, weakened, is forced over the edge. Kirk extends a hand to him, Mitchell grabs hold, but he is too weak, lets go and plummets to his death.
  • Onboard the Enterprise, Spock agrees with Kirk that Mitchell and Dehner should be listed as casualties since they did not ask for what befell them. Kirk and Spock smile at each other, and for the first time there seems to be the beginning of a friendship between the two.
SAMUEL A. PEEPLES (1917-1997): Best known as the writer of Star Trek's second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," but some people forget that he also contributed an episode ("Beyond The Farthest Star") for the animated Star Trek series, and wrote an unused script for the second Star Trek movie (Worlds That Never Were) which discarded the character of Khan and, instead, involved two travelers from an alternate dimension facing off against Kirk and company. Peeples has an impressive array of credits on other television series as writer, series creator and producer. They include: Wanted: Dead or AliveBonanzaBurke's LawThe Legend of Jesse James (which he created), A Man Called Shenandoah, and The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon.

Editor's Note: Although this draft does have Kirk say, "Ship's log, Report 197" in it (on page 67) it also used the stardate system. For example, at the beginning of the script (on page 2), Kirk says, "On stardate 1312.6." Read more about the origins of stardates in this previous post.

Image courtesy of Trek Core.

This article was originally published by Orion Press and is reprinted by permission of publisher Randall Landers. All rights revert to the original authors.

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