The original Star Trek: The Motion Picture is many things, but a great movie isn't really one of them. The plotline of the first film is more than a little odd, but it was very nearly even crazier than that. In a new book celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, we learn that one of Gene Roddenberry's early drafts of what would eventually become the first Star Trek movie included a scene in which Captain Kirk got in a fist fight with Jesus Christ.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is probably nobody's favorite Star Trek movie. The plot, about an old NASA space probe that achieves sentience, is more than a little strange. However, according to writer Michael Jan Friedman, the original draft was even stranger. In an excerpt of The Fifty Year Mission posted by The Hollywood Reporter, the author talks about when he was asked to turn the early script into the novel The God Thing. Friedman was more than a little shocked at some of the material he found.
In the climactic scene, Kirk 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.
Of all the gonzo things that Star Trek has done over the years, Kirk vs Jesus in a fist fight may be the craziest thing we've heard of. It sounds terrible, yet at the same time, we kinda want to see it.
Michael Jan Friedman does say that some elements of The God Thing did find their way into the movie that eventually became Star Trek: The Motion Picture. While he doesn't go into specifics, the movie does deal with a lifeform going in search of their creator, so maybe there was an alien that turned into Jesus in some odd attempt to help the humans find their creator as well.
Of course, the other thing that makes this story odd is that it also bears a striking similarity to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. In that movie, the crew of the Enterprise actually does go looking for God. Still, no fist fight with Jesus however.
The script for Star Trek: The Motion Picture would go through several more treatments before they would finally settle on the movie that we all saw. While the movie may have been a little tough to get through, it did spawn numerous sequels, which in turn led to new series, keeping the franchise alive to this day. The newest entry in the Star Trek universe, Star Trek Beyond arrives in theaters on July 22.