Category: tmp

Mark Lenard as the Klingon commander.

Mark Lenard as the Klingon commander.

In the Star Trek: the Motion Picture novelizat…

Production photographs of the absolutely horrific and memorable transporter accident in Star Trek: the Motion Picture (1979). 

Though she wasn’t given a name in the movie, the woman who died in the transporter accident was played by Susan Sullivan, who played Dr. Banner’s girlfriend in the Incredible Hulk television series. She had no dialogue in the finished film, and we didn’t even see her face clearly – amazing since they hired a well known actress. This is because this character, on screen for five seconds, originally was going to have a way bigger role. 

In the Star Trek: the Motion Picture novelization, the female transporter accident victim was identified as Lori Ciana, a science officer who was Captain Kirk’s ex-wife

The finished film didn’t have time to go into this, but Kirk’s grief over her death was meant to be a point where Captain Kirk breaks all ties to his earthbound life, and was the cause of his decision to leave earth and return to his life in deep space exploration. When Roddenberry lost control of the series after the first film, he was never able to return to this character again, along with so many other ideas examined in the Motion Picture novelization (like the very unusual way that TMP’s novelization implies that countries still exist on 23rd Century Earth in some way). 

As most Star Trek fans know, Star Trek: the Motion Picture was originally going to be a pilot for a TV series, Star Trek: Phase II. The loss of Lori Ciara would be a defining piece of characterization in that series. The “hero has a dead wife that makes him sad” idea would be used in other Roddenberry TV pilots in the 1970s, notably Andromeda

The idea that Captain Kirk had a relationship in his past with a blonde lady scientist that went sour was re-used in the very next film, with Dr. Carol Marcus. If I had to guess (and I’m no mind reader), I’d say that these two characters were both ways to counter the baseless belief in pop culture that Captain Kirk was a womanizer or “Peter Pan” incapable of long term relationships. 

The uniforms in Star Trek: the Motion Picture …

The uniforms in Star Trek: the Motion Picture were judged to be a misstep, but there was a science fiction reason for their existence: Gene Roddenberry had an idea that in the future, clothes were disposable, worn only once and then recycled. The belt buckle was a constant medical status reader.