Walter Koenig wrote his own outline for Star Trek VI

''Star Trek VI: In Flanders Fields'' would have tackled themes of mortality, aging, and loss of purpose.

Everett Collection

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is the final film featuring the entire main cast that we grew to know and love in Star Trek: The Original Series. 25 years after the Enterprise first crossed our TV screens to explore new worlds, the gang got together one last time to give us a story of an unlikely alliance between the Klingons and the Federation. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew races to uncover a faction dedicated to stopping peace talks at any price.

Originally, after Star Trek V: The Final Frontier disappointed at the box office, the studio considered completely changing things up. The concept that was floating around for a while was a film set during the crew's time at Starfleet Academy, starring new actors playing younger versions of the bridge crew. Negative reactions from Gene Roddenberry, the core cast, and fans led to that being stopped quickly. (A similar concept was much more well-received with 2009's Star Trek.)

It was at this point that Walter Koenig, who famously played Pavel Chekov, wrote his own treatment for this final Star Trek film. Koenig, who had already written for Star Trek: The Animated Series and Land of the Lost, created an outline that he later included in his 1998 book Warped Factors: A Neurotic's Guide to the Universe. 

Koenig's send-off for the crew was much more serious than the film we ended up with. It included some heavy, thoughtful topics: specifically, the themes of the young replacing the old, the pain of losing purpose, and the impact of legacy.

Koenig's outline, titled Star Trek VI: In Flanders Fields starts with a mysterious blight on Romulan society forcing them to seek Federation aid. Outraged by this new alliance, the Klingon Empire launches a full-scale war. The entire Federation fleet is put on notice, and all crew have to take fitness tests. Our familiar crew gets middling results. "Age," Koenig's outline says, "has at last taken its toll." Only Spock, with the physical and mental benefits of his Vulcan heritage, is permitted to serve.

As a result, the crew is relieved from active duty and given assignments on Earth. They all cope in various ways — McCoy retires to a farm and begins talking to chickens, Uhura struggles to keep up with new technology, and Scotty spends his time drinking and reminiscing on glory days. 

At last the war is won, and as Federation ships limp back to their base, the Enterprise vanishes. Our old crew is called out of retirement, and when McCoy hunts down Kirk, now a bitter recluse, the former captain is only swayed to go back since Spock was on the ship.

What results is a high-stakes battle against repulsive, wormlike aliens whose own race is only kept alive by sapping the life force of the young. Ironically, it is the crew's age that saved them from the same fate — the worms, just as the Federation, saw no value in them any longer. 

"One by one, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov, and Scotty fall on the field of battle," the outline reads, "but not without taking the creatures with them... Kirk, mortally injured, starts toward the dungeon. He never makes it. He gasps his last breath and dies in the mud."

With the battle won but only McCoy left, he makes his way to the dungeon, stopping to remember each of his fallen crew members in their previous adventures. He frees a weakened Spock, who attempts to keep his stoic Vulcan exterior, but crumbles in the face of the loss of his friends.

"Slowly, Spock raises his arm and McCoy reaches out for it, to help him rise to his feet. In this loneliest, most desolate of moments, Spock has permitted himself the one expression of friendship that he has never before admitted to: his need of Leonard McCoy. Spock leans against the doctor for support, and the two men — adversaries in a thousand arguments over the years — walk off together."

What do you think? Would you have bought tickets for Star Trek VI: In Flanders Fields?

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21 Comments

kb7rky 9 months ago
Given that travesty of a comic he wrote for DC years ago, writing is not Koenig's strong suit.
Avie 9 months ago
"Koenig's outline, titled Star Trek VI: In Flanders Fields starts with a mysterious blight on Romulan society forcing them to seek Federation aid..."

This isn't terribly different from the inciting incident in Nicholas Meyer's film in which the moon, Praxis, explodes beginning a chain reaction that leads to the swift decline of the Klingon Empire and their grudging and suspicious peace overtures to the Federation.

And, as for "Koenig's send-off for the crew was much more serious than the film we ended up with. It included some heavy, thoughtful topics: specifically, the themes of the young replacing the old, the pain of losing purpose, and the impact of legacy," these topics were already dealt with by Meyer in "Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan," in which Kirk must confront his aging and own mortality.

Koenig's ideas were workable, but, as the old saying goes, a day late and a dollar short. And, as for the subtitle, "In Flanders Fields," maybe one potential ticket-buyer in ten million would ever grasp the World War I reference. Do you?
JJ614 9 months ago
(((You do know the pic is from V:Final Frontier, right? That was on purpose, right? But it looks like you were alluding to Koenig and VI.)))
WGH 9 months ago
Wow.

I would have hated it as a kid but love to see it now.
Sooner 9 months ago
That was an excellent script idea, very deep and far more meaningful than what ended up on screen. Koenig shows some real depth of thought.
JJ614 Sooner 9 months ago
I could be wrong, but I believe Koenig actually loves ST more than some of the actors.
Wiseguy70005 JJ614 8 months ago
You mean some of the "other" actors?
MC1707 9 months ago
Having been a fan since the first show, I would have gone to see this because it’s Star Trek, but would have been extremely disappointed in an ending like that. No one really wants to see their “friends, family, or favorites” die…. Even if it just a movie and not reality. I really can’t get into the new 2009 on movies with the younger version of Kirk, Spock, etc, characters. Watched the first obviously but, none of the others. It’s just not, “our Star Trek.” Probably a generation thing.
JJ614 MC1707 9 months ago
Perhaps, but I don't think it's necessarily a generational thing. I was 13 in 1966 when I fell in love with ST that September 8. But I’ve also watched and liked (or loved) every new iteration except one. Until 2009, I loved “Enterprise” the best. But when the new Pine/Quinto movies came out, they quickly became #1.
I contend if Chris had been born in time to play Kirk in 1966, the original ST would never have been canceled and would have lasted until Nimoy couldn't play Spock any more. A Pine/Nimoy command team, IMO, would have been unbeatable. And Chris is a likable guy who cares about his co-workers. He does anything without ego.
The one I can't stand is Strange New Worlds, but not for the reasons anyone else doesn't like it. I was one who begged the studio for an Anson/Pike-Ethan/Spock episodic series. And the studio announced they heard us and were going to produce it.
And they promised to stay as much canon with TOS as possible.
And then – they didn’t, without any warning.
From the first episode, it became the T'Pring Show. And went as far from canon as possible. (In TOS, Spock hadn't seen T'Pring since they were kids. In SNW - SPOILER ALERT - and I DO MEAN IT SPOILS IT - Spock and T'Pring are sleeping together all over the place on Pike's Enterprise, long before Kirk was captain. And THEN they bring in Kirk....when in TOS canon he was serving on the Farragut and never...well, I'll stop - but if they'd just said it'd be just another alternate universe, I'd have been fine. I spent a solid year PRAYING to live long enough to see the premiere of SNW - and then when it came on...turned it off in disgust and disappointment.
Stoney 9 months ago
I think it would have made for a great story
texasluva 9 months ago
I am sure glad not to see all the deceased bodies of the Star Trek crew in Koenig's story. Below a couple of trivia's on this movie.

In a featurette on the special features from the Blu-ray, William Shatner talks about how he was upset with Nicholas Meyer for breaking a promise regarding one of his lines. The line in question was when Kirk says "Let them die" during the scene when he and Spock are talking after the classified briefing. Shatner wanted to say the line, then gesture as if he didn't mean to say this, and he made Meyer promise to show this on camera. However, in the final cut, after Kirk says "Let them die", this cuts to Spock looking surprised, and only goes back to Kirk, cutting over when Kirk gestures with regret.

Frankie and Johnny (1991) was being filmed in the same studio, and required Al Pacino to have a surprised expression on his face after opening a door. Director Garry Marshall arranged for Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to be on the other side of the door that Pacino opened.

If you would like to read another 50+ Trivia on Star Trek VI and very interesting. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102975/trivia/?ref_=tt_trv_trv
KJExpress texasluva 9 months ago
I remember Shatner talking about that "Let them die" comment. I felt it was okay for Kirk to have those feelings, but I can understand his disappointment with the director.

I did not know about Kirk, Spock and the door. Lol. Surprise, surprise! Spock showed up on an early Carol Burnett show sketch and the surprise on her face was real. 😲
Runeshaper 9 months ago
Koenig's story gave me chills! It sounds solid, but I'm not sure that I would want to see that ending.
KJExpress 9 months ago
I would have bought a ticket regardless, but I'm glad they didn't all die in the final movie.
Bapa1 9 months ago
Sounds better than the original script. Don't forget though, Kirk, Scotty and Chekov appeared in the first ST:TNG movie.
JJ614 Bapa1 9 months ago
And see, I'd MUCH prefer Koenig's ending to that "Generations" movie. It was a slap in the face to Captain Kirk. At least Koenig was writing him to die as the hero he was.
Generations killed Kirk very disrespectfully, IMO. He deserved better. I mean, good grief - Kirk's final words: "It was ...fun. ...Oh my." Which of course, Takei famously took and says all the time IRL.
Snickers 9 months ago
Would have bought a ticket without a second thought. Would been a fitting end to for the series.
Snickers Snickers 9 months ago
Need to proof read my comments better before I post. Should have said would have been a fitting end for the series.
texasluva Snickers 9 months ago
We've all done the same. I use a 5 minute rule unless someone has replied to my post. If it's really bad I then sort of whistle (like getting away with something) and quickly delete, looking around to see if anyone has noticed 🙄. Then tiptoe out 😏.
Snickers texasluva 9 months ago
Well at least I can blame the pain killers this time. LOL!
WGH Snickers 9 months ago
I agree. Having served in the military, dying for your country is not desirable but a reality.

Makes it all seem much more real. But I can solo dying in the new Star Wars movies. Or Qui-Gon Jinn. Darth vader. The emperor. Main characters die in Star Wars.
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