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

Where we could have boldly gone...

By David Wharton | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

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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