See The 70s Enterprise Redesign Star Trek Built But Never Used

A Star Trek fan account displays images of the Enterprise from the abandoned Star Trek: Phase II.

By Michileen Martin | Published

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Did you know that a decade before Patrick Stewart and his crew boarded a new Enterprise, there was almost a sequel series with the working titled Star Trek: Phase II. It’s true, and recently a fan account posted images of what would’ve been the redesigned Enterprise. You can see three tweets containing the images of the Phase II redesign below, followed by two shots of the Enterprise as it appears in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture for comparison.

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The Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
The Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

When Paramount ultimately chose to abandon Phase II and instead incorporate much of the story for the pilot episode into the first Trek movie, the Phase II Enterprise model was altered in favor of a new design. While the tweet from portalrealm claims the Phase II model was finished, there are dissenting accounts deeper in the thread, including from one fan who says the Phase II model was never completed. In fact, a mold from the Phase II model was later altered to look more like the version from Star Trek: The Motion Picture for display at Planet Hollywood.

So there are some differences between the Phase II Enterprise and the Star Trek: The Motion Picture version that could be boiled down to the former’s model not being completed. For example, the Phase II model is missing the Starfleet insignia and has a greater emphasis on window markings.

Perhaps the most noteworthy differences between the two versions are the surface area and the deflector. The deflector array on the Star Trek: Phase II version seems sunken in with a bronze coloring, while the version from the 1979 film glows a solid blue. Also the ship in the film appears to have a much smoother, whiter surface area.

According to Memory Alpha, Star Trek: Phase II was expected to premiere on CBS in 1978 with the two-hour pilot “In Thy Image.” Gene Roddenberry hoped to recruit the entire lead cast from the original series, including William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, though there were reportedly issues with both stars. There was bad blood between Nimoy and Roddenberry over a legal dispute, and Shatner clashed with the studio over his pay.

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James Doohan, William Shatner, and Walter Koenig in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

When Phase II was scrapped, however, it ultimately had less to do with the talent and more to do with the advertisers. Sponsors were apparently not impressed with the revived interest in Star Trek, and Paramount failed to scrape together enough advertisers to justify a series. Instead, the story of “In Thy Image” was reworked for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Lacking any kind of charismatic antagonist and feeling a lot slower than the more successful Star Wars, the first Trek film did well at the box office but usually isn’t a fan-favorite. The follow-up, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, shifted gears completely and remains one of the most beloved entries in the movie series.