There was once a time when Star Trek almost had a chance to meet the Beatles.
Well, kind of. It wasn't really Star Trek, more like Gene Roddenberry. And it wasn't really the Beatles. More like Paul McCartney.
But the two had hoped to make music together in a way Roddenberry knew best — creating a story set in space. But then that pesky Star Trek franchise got in the way again.
"I have no idea whatever happened to that," Roddenberry's assistant at the time, Susan Sackett, said. "It's probably stuck in a file, like the end of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'"
Sackett and others are part of an oral history book from writers Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, "The Fifty Year Mission: The First 25 Years." The Hollywood Reporter recently released excerpts from the book, which hit bookstands on Tuesday.
Roddenberry, who was in limbo after the cancellation of "Star Trek" and the failure of a couple television and movie projects, was looking for the next big thing. Luckily for him, "Star Trek" was gaining popularity and McCartney — now the frontman of the band Wings — wanted to work with him.
"He invited us to a concert, which was great, and we met backstage," Sackett said. "Paul hired Gene to write a story about the band, and it was a crazy story. Paul game him an outline and Gene was supposed to do something with it."
McCartney's idea? A competition of bands from outer space.
"Gene was open to things at this point," Sackett said. "'Star Trek' wasn't happening, and he wasn't getting his scripts produced, but he had a family to feed. Gene began working on it, and it was about the time they started talking about bringing back Trek, so he never got to complete anything for Paul."
The book excerpt, which you can read here features comments from various people involved in Trek including William Shatner, author Michael Jan Friedman, and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" associate producer Jon Povill. Roddenberry had some ideas he wanted to explore on the big screen, with many fans already knowing about his repeated attempts to try and write a story about Kirk saving John F. Kennedy from assassination.
But one story idea they might not have heard about was Roddenberry's hopes to have Kirk find Jesus. Literally.
"Gene showed me that treatment, which was more daring than 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' would be," said Richard Colla, who directed another Roddenberry broken pilot, "The Questor Tapes."
"The Enterprise went off in search of that thing from outer space that was affecting everything. By the time they got into the alien's presence, it manifested itself and said, 'Do you know me?' Kirk said, 'No, I don't know who you are.' It said, 'Strange, how could you not know who I am?'"
The being shape-shifted a few times until he appeared as Jesus. And that's when Kirk recognized him.
Barry Diller, the head of Paramount Pictures at the time (and a devout Catholic), said no.
Roddenberry, however, later said that the crew wasn't actually meeting God, but "someone who had been born here on Earth before, claiming to be God."
"I was going to say that this false thing claiming to be God had screwed up man's concept of the real infinity and beauty of what God is," Roddenberry said. "Paramount was reluctant to put that up on the screen, and I can understand that position."
The book is from Gross, an entertainment journalist who wrote books like "Captain's Logs: The Complete Trek Voyages," an Altman, probably best known as the co-writer of the Shatner farce "Free Enterprise" in 1998.