A very early iteration of ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s’ script concluded with William Shatner’s Captain Kirk fighting an alien that was disguised as Jesus.
Edward Gross and Mark A Altman’s book ‘The Fifty Year Mission’ reveals that Gene Roddenberry, ‘Star Trek’s‘ creator, brought on Michael Jan Friedman to turn his script into a book.
This included a mishmash of random ideas, such as a time-travel adventure that would have seen the Enterprise crew trying to stop the Kennedy assassination. However it was the introduction of an alien that could shape-shift into a variety of biblical characters that really stood out.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Jan Friedman explained, “In the climatic scene, Krik had a fistfight with an alien who had assumed the image of Jesus Christ. So Kirk was slugging it out on the bridge. With Jesus.”
Friedman added that Roddenberry’s work also included “some mildly erotic, midlife-crisis stuff,” while he also admitted that he was “dismayed” by it and couldn’t help but conclude that it was far from “his best work.” Friedman also insisted that “Kirk, Spock, and McCoy didn’t seem anything like themselves” and that the “scenes didn’t work together” or “build toward anything meaningful.”
Friedman was brought on to turn the original screenplay for ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ into the novel, which was entitled The God Thing, after Paramount Pictures rejected most of Roddenberry’s ideas for the film.
[Images via Newmarket Films & Paramount Pictures]