Before JJ Abrams Star Trek’s Prequel Was About Kirk’s Ancestor In An Earth-Romulan War

TrekLogoOnly a few years ago, Star Trek was in bad shape. Nemesis had been a box office disappointment, bringing in only $67 million worldwide, against a production budget of $60 million. And with the cancellation of Enterprise, for the first time since 1987, there was no new Trek series on the air. Needless to say, it was time to try something different. We all know that this road eventually led to J.J. Abrams’ “alternate timeline” reboot films which have, in spite of a lot of vitriol from long-time fans, still mostly been a critical and financial success for Paramount. But speaking of alternate timelines, there are many different paths the franchise could have taken before Abrams landed the gig. One of those paths was Star Trek: The Beginning, the first of a proposed trilogy of films which would have been set between Enterprise and The Original Series and would have explored the war between humans and Romulans.

We recently found a copy of the Beginning script caught in the pattern buffer of our transporter and were able to give it a read. Sit back, get comfortable, and let GFR be your guide through a Trek that could have been…

KirkIt’s set in 2159 and involves mostly new characters, including an ancestor of Kirk.
The main protagonist of STTB is Tiberius Chase, a top-gun starfighter pilot in the United Earth Stellar Navy. This is the early days of the so-called Coalition of Planets, and the Earth military has yet to merge with Starfleet, which is still strictly an exploratory organization at this point. While most of the cast is brand-new characters, there are appearances from a couple of familiar faces, including the Andorian Commander Shran (played by Jeffrey Combs in Enterprise), and Vulcan Ambassador Skon, who is the father of Sarek (who is, of course, the father of Spock). Enterprise‘s Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) is referenced but not seen: once hostilities break out with the Romulans, it’s mentioned that the Enterprise is visiting Risa and too far away to be of any help.

The script opens with Chase competing in a sailboat race against several other UESN cadets, and we see Chase demonstrate both the leadership and the cunning refusal to lose that we know so well from one James Tiberius Kirk. Unfortunately, while Tiberius is a brilliant pilot, he’s being held back by his family: he grew up among some hardcore Earth-first xenophobes, and the brass of UESN don’t trust him or intend to let him forget it. We meet several of Chase’s friends and peers over the course of script, but Chase is by far the major player, and it’s his actions — and his disregard for the chain of command — that eventually turns the tide in the brewing war between Earth and the attacking Romulans. The script also has Chase romancing Penelope Gardner, the daughter of Chase’s commanding officer, and she is described as a “school teacher from Iowa.” You might recall Iowa as the home state of James Kirk…

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  • PoppaAl

    Thank heaven that never happened!

  • Tim OBrien

    Sounds terrible. Article shows that J.J. and the recent Paramount institution just do not understand the source material and have no business being anywhere near it.

  • jodeo

    Time for a Star Trek reality show. Wayyyy overdue. Followed by Star Trek’s Got Talent and Trek Dynasty.

  • Chris Adams

    The screenwriter seems to have forgotten that the connection between the Romulans and the Vulcans was not widely-known at the time of the Earth-Romulus war – in “Balance of Terror”, the crew of the Enterprise sees a Romulan for the first time (played by the same actor who played Sarek) and are shocked to see that he resembles Spock. Spock then has to explain the deal, and face the prejudice of a dude on board whose family died in the war.

  • MrSatyre

    Why does Hollywood always try to make everything and everyone connected? Here we see an ancestor of Kirk. Why? Because they believe Star Trek fans are incapable of getting involved in a story that DOESN’T include names and faces they are familiar with? Shows just how incredibly narrow-minded and prejudiced they are against the very people who they depend on. Still, when there are 7 Fast & Furious movies and four Transformers movies, I guess the movie-going public IS pretty stupid after all. ;-)

    • jimpeachey

      That’s very true, even the JJ franchise, which i really do not like, has to to keep referencing original names and themes to keep it going! Why did we need a Khan reference at all as there are plenty of other themes that could have been used.

  • Jake

    This idea could have been awesome. And if they were smart they could have said that Enterprise was set in an alternate timeline and this movie was set in that timeline, thus meaning the only canon they had to follow was Enterprise. They could have done it nicely, if they wanted to capitalize on the name Kirk, they simply had to say ok its not Tiberius chase, its Tiberius Kirk. The Spatan could have been the ring ship enterprise. And none of us trekkies who despise the JJ films would be pissed off

  • Justin

    Eight movies and thirty years between appearances of the most popular antagonist of the franchise isn’t long enough? I respectfully disagree. Kahn belongs in every second film of any Star Trek franchise. He should have been leading the Borg in First Contact. Just imagine Montabáln seducing Data.

  • Pani B

    If you ask me I’d say this could work but not as a prequel but as a continuation of the current timeline. It is quite fitting with the first one, though a few tweeks need to be made obviously. Tiberius would just have been another run of the mill Kirk so why not just use Kirk? Fanboys are never happy but always part with their cash regardless so they’re already on board. An all out Space War epic with Trek is defo a route worth taking!