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Star Trek – The Fearful Summons by Denny Martin Flinn (Review)

This June, we’re taking a look at some classic Star Trek movie tie-ins. Check back daily for the latest reviews and retrospectives.

One of the great things about a franchise as expansive and as well-documented as Star Trek is that no idea is even completely lost to history. The franchise is sprawling enough that episodes and films inevitably end up lost to history. Scripts are written and re-written, with ideas changing dramatically from original conception through to the final released version. Even Star Trek: Phase II is well accounted for, affording fans a glimpse at how things might have gone for the franchise.

It’s interesting to imagine the possibilities that exist at given moment for the franchise – how radical things might be now had a particular event gone a different direction. Imagine Bryan Fuller and Bryan Singer bringing Star Trek back to television with Angela Bassett in the big chair. Or Spock on the grassy knoll. Or Oscar nominee Geneviève Bujold as Janeway. Or a first season of Star Trek: Enterprise set primarily on Earth during the development of the warp five drive.

So much of the franchise is discussed and analysed that ideas like this tend to bubble through. Occasionally, the franchise allows an echo of what might have been to break through. Star Trek: The Next Generation adapted two aborted scripts from Star Trek: Phase II into The Child and Devil’s Due. Harlan Ellison’s original script for The City on the Edge of Forever is being adapted into a comic book. That is to say nothing of writers like D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold working with fan productions.

However, Denny Martin Flinn’s novel, The Fearful Summons, is a particularly interesting glimpse at what might have been. It’s essentially a novel based around his original idea for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It’s a rather bizarre and occasionally awkward glimpse at what might have been for the franchise.

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Star Trek: Excelsior – Forged in Fire by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels (Review)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

I have to admit, when I first saw Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, I was a bit surprised to be introduced to Captain Hikaru Sulu. This was a character who didn’t even have a first name before The Undiscovered Country. The name chosen – “Hikaru” – was taken from Vonda N. McIntyre’s 1981 tie-in The Entropy Effect. Still, I suppose it could be worse. Uhura didn’t get a first name on screen until the release of Star Trek in 2009.

So it seemed strange that this supporting character should find himself the commanding officer of a starship, let alone a state-of-art ship of the line which opened the fond farewell to the original series crew. Still, the character of Captain Hikaru Sulu remains one of the most interesting branches sprouting off the trunk of Star Trek. Takei would reprise the role on Star Trek: Voyager, hold down a couple of Simon & Schuster audio adventures and even feature heavily in tie-in novels and comic books. Takei is quite fond of recounting his campaign to launch a television show centred around the character.

It’s quite remarkable, as Sulu is probably the only major character who could credibly “spin-off” from the original Star Trek show, which is remarkable for a supporting performer whose most iconic moment in the classic Star Trek show was waving a sword through the corridors while practically naked.

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