Monday, July 29, 2013

Ask JKM a Question: Star Trek's "The Magicks of Megas Tu" and The Final Frontier (1989)...


A regular reader, SGB writes:

“Regarding Star Trek The Animated Series "The Magicks of Megas-Tu,” I agree that this animated series episode would have been a great original series live-action episode.

I think Star Trek V:The Final Frontier(1989) should have been a direct sequel to "The Magicks of Megas-Tu" with the Lucien character revisited as Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) was a direct sequel to TOS "Space Seed" episode with the Khan character revisited. What do you think?"



SGB, I always enjoy your questions and speculations about connections in the Trek universe. Thank you for the question. It makes for interesting reading and discussion.

Certainly, in many substantive ways, “The Magicks of Megas-Tu,” -- written by my friend Larry Brody, a great TV writer who also penned the foreword to one of my books back in 2007 -- does play like the origin point for many aspects of 1989’s feature, The Final Frontier.

Consider, “The Magicks of Megas-Tu” is:

                        …set at the center of the galaxy, like The Final Frontier.

…boasts alien life forms that may be the origin of our mythological/religious beliefs about God or the Devil.  Again, The Final Frontier repeats this idea.

...involves the idea of man confronting his superstitions and finding that they are not true.

Given the broad similarities between narratives, the movie could have been re-parsed, at some point in the creative process, as a sequel to the animated episode.  At the very least, it would have been neat to get a mention of the Enterprise’s previous visit to the center of the galaxy in The Final Frontier. 

Of course, The Enterprise-D also went to the same location in the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) in an episode titled “The Nth Degree.”  That installment also failed to make mention of any previous starship excursions to the center of the galaxy.

Why no mention of either adventure, when it would have been very easy to have Lt. Data (Brent Spiner) deliver a historical factoid in typical throwaway fashion? 

Well, in some circles, The Animated Series is considered apocryphal. 

And The Final Frontier is widely considered a financial and critical failure.  

Still, one quality of The Next Generation that I have always admired is its willingness to reference and build upon even unpopular previous installments.  Put the three tales together, and you have a "center of the galaxy" trilogy, after all.


But onto the meat of your question: I suppose, at some point, the creative team behind The Final Frontier might have considered having Kirk and co. encounter Lucien a second time, masquerading as “God” at the center of the galaxy.  

However, they must have gambled that he was too obscure a character in Star Trek history at that point…

I do think "Magicks" is a great episode, though.  And I tend to like The Final Frontier a great deal more than many other Star Trek fans seem to.

Don't forget to send me your Ask JKM questions at Muirbusiness@yahoo.com

1 comment:

  1. John thank you for analyzing my question. Good points about TNG. I always think of TAS as canon in Star Trek. Like you, I am in the minority too because I like Star Trek V:Final Frontier(1989). The characters are all very real in that film. Plus, I loved the 1701 hangar deck full-scale set complete with two shuttlecrafts.

    SGB

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