On Star Trek: Phase II

Star Trek: Phase II. In the 1970s Paramount wanted to start a new television network, and they wanted to launch it with a new Star Trek series, bringing back together as many of the old crew as they could. Only, it didn’t happen.

Instead, the pilot story, “In Thy Image,” became Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Two scripts were later recycled for Star Trek: The Next Generation. And Pocket Books published a cool compendium of information of the series-that-almost-was.

Sometimes the idea is floated for Phase II novels from Pocket. Personally, I’d love to see Phase II novels. I don’t know that they would be practical or feasible, however.

The first objection is the “So what?” factor. A Phase II novel would be fairly disconnected with the Trek universe; it shares its roots with the original series, but someone whose frame of Trek reference lies in the 24th century would be lost; Picard’s past isn’t Lieutenant Xon’s future. The Kirk of Phase II isn’t going to be lost in the Nexus. The Spock of Phase II isn’t going to become an Ambassador, isn’t going to die saving the Enterprise, isn’t going to be reborn on the Genesis Planet.

I think that’s a false argument. For once with Star Trek, the fates of regular filmic characters aren’t known, and they can be grown and changed in any direction. Sulu could be killed, Chekov could be maimed, Scotty could meet his true love and leave Starfleet. In other words, the character growth that readers have always wanted with the classic characters can be fulfilled with Phase II, even if it is its own little pocket universe.

Is a Phase II series feasible? Perhaps not. I’ve heard that the Phase II book didn’t sell well, and Pocket seems to developing enough novels-only franchises that the schedule probably can’t accomodate much more.

But I’d still be interested to see Pocket try a Phase II novel or anthology.

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