An airline pilot was arrested Monday after the Turkish passenger plane he was flying skidded off the runway at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen International Airport earlier this month… .
Superman and Lois star Elizabeth Tulloch teased the production of the new CW Arrowverse spin-off with a photo of the pilot script. The new series spins out of the events of the massive Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, a 5-hour story told throughout all the CW DC TV shows. Supergirl actors Tulloch and Tyler Hoechlin, as Lois Lane and Superman, will portray the iconic comic book characters in an entirely new light: as parents. Although Supergirl had already established the couple with a baby son, the end of the mega-crossover event saw Lois ask Superman to return home to help with their boys, as in two super boys!
As production on the straight-to-series ordered show begins, Tulloch posted a picture of the pilot episode’s script to her Twitter account. Episode 101, titled “Pilot,” is written by Todd Helbing, from a story by Helbing and Greg Berlanti. The pilot’s cover photo also reveals Lee Toland Krieger (Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), will direct the first episode.
Related: Superman & Lois Show Casts Its Super Sons, Releases Character Details
Arrowverse shows are known for their humor, and it seems like a show focused on Lois and Clark as parents to a couple of teenaged boys is a comedic goldmine. Early casting notices for the series called for two teenage boys, leaving many to speculate Jon Kent would be aged up and perhaps joined by Damian Wayne. However, we later learned the teens are named Jonathan and Jordan Kent and would be played by Jordan Elsass and Alexander Garfin, respectively.
As production on the series moves forward, expect more updates from the cast and creators. In the meantime, fans will have to continue to wonder which of the two Kent sons ends up with superpowers, which other classic DC heroes will join the series, and what types of threats Superman and Lois will face outside of adolescent angst.
More: Crisis On Infinite Earths Twist Sets Up The New Superman Show
Source: Elizabeth Tulloch via Twitter
Ever since the trailers for Star Trek: Picard appeared, fans have engaged in lively debate about the particulars of the series, which has debuted exclusively on CBS All Access. The pilot episode, which arrived on January 23rd, confirmed some of their theories and debunked others, though its divisive nature has had no effect on how much fans are enjoying it.
RELATED: Star Trek: The 10 Biggest TNG Twists & Reveals, Ranked
Jean-Luc Picard, a beloved character first introduced as the captain of the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation, has been pulled out of his reclusive retirement as an admiral and placed in between conflicts involving the Federation, Romulans, and very possibly the Borg. There are cameo appearances by legacy characters from Next Gen, new characters introduced who are integral to the storyline, and several engaging plot twists to ensure fans’ continue to follow Picard’s adventures. Lets look at 5 fan theories that were proven right by the pilot episode and 5 that were debunked.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard never saw The Federation as an impermeable organization devoid of corruption. He knew all too well that moral failing could occur at the highest level of authoritative government if it gave in to paranoia and marginalization. As a result, he often clashed with the admiralty.
In “Remembrance”, we see that one of the main reasons Picard left Starfleet was because the Federation refused to give Romulan refugees aid after a super nova destroyed Romulus, and turned away those in need by succumbing to fear. Fans suspected it would take the Federation being morally bankrupt for Picard to revoke his allegiance.
Since Data was blown up in the last film to feature the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, there were many theories surrounding his appearance in the trailers leading up to Star Trek: Picard. Was he simply a hologram? Or could he be B-4, the Data prototype model, equipped with Data’s memories?
Data had begun the process of making B-4 the equivalent of a backup hard drive at the time of Star Trek: Nemesis, and after his death, it seemed that B-4 had at least the possibility of becoming something like Data. But as fans learned in “Remembrance”, his positronic brain was not the equivalent of Data’s and couldn’t handle the transfer.
The Borg have loomed large over the Star Trek franchise ever since they were introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, appearing in Star Trek: Voyager and becoming the main antagonist in Star Trek: First Contact. They have attempted to enslave the galaxy on several occasions and Picard has very personal history with them, so to see a Borg Cube in the premier episode wasn’t surprising to many fans.
RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About The Borg Named Hugh Before Picard
What may have surprised some fans was the presence of Romulans aboard the Cube, and its use as a research facility. The cybernetic technology they gained in the derelict Cube has the potential to make them an even more dangerous threat to the Alpha Quadrant than before.
When Dahj first appeared in trailers for Star Trek: Picard, fans wondered why the mysterious young woman had such a strong need to locate Jean-Luc Picard. Many speculated that perhaps she was a long-lost progeny of his time spent as Locutus of Borg.
Picard’s DNA had been harvested a few times, by the Borg Queen on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and by an overzealous Romulan military faction. Fans thought this was the DNA used to make Dahj, when in reality, she turned out to be a synthetic, or android.
Before Star Trek: Picard premiered, Star Trek fans already knew that Picard had long since rescinded his rank as an admiral in Starfleet. The trailer showed him living out his days at Chateau Picard, his family’s winery estate, content with his dog and his vineyards.
RELATED: Star Trek – Picard: 5 Things We Liked About The First Episode (& 5 We Disliked)
They knew if he’d left Starfleet, it had to be for a good reason. It would take the Federation turning out to be corrupt (which it did) for Picard to revoke his allegiance (which he did). He won’t be donning his uniform again, but he will be assembling a new crew of misfits.
Discerning fans who dissected the Star Trek: Picard trailer marveled at the fact that Dahj had superior fighting abilities, healing properties, and had a strong connection to Jean-Luc Picard. This coalesced in the theory that she was a Q/Borg Queen hybrid.
The nature of her being part immortal, with the ability to manipulate matter and reorder time, as well as being part Borg, indicated that she needed to be hidden from the Federation at all cost and that Picard would have to protect her. It was one of the more bizarre theories and seemed to require too many mental gymnastics.
If Dahj wasn’t going to be Picard’s kin, and she wasn’t going to be a Q or a Borg, then there was only one other possibility for her identity in the minds of some fans; she was an android. As it turns out, she was, but not in the way Star Trek fans might think if they’re basing their definition off Data.
She was created by Dr. Bruce Maddox, an A.I. expert who appeared briefly in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Using a single engram from Data’s positronic brain, he was able to use a process called neuronic fractal cloning to “grow” her into an android consisting of actual flesh and blood.
With all of the legacy character cameos in the trailers, it appeared that Star Trek: Picard was in danger of focusing too much on characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation. While it was fun to see Riker, Troi, and Data, their roles never felt like they overshadowed the rest of the story.
RELATED: Star Trek: Picard: 5 Reasons It’s Not Just For Star Trek Fans (& 5 It Is)
With new characters like the synthetic twins, as well as the crew of non-Starfleet personnel it looks like Picard will explore the galaxy with, the series is shaping up to give Star Trek fans many memorable characters that they’ll grow to love as much as the crew of the Enterprise-D.
Star Trek fans had been wondering how Star Trek: Picard might link to the Star Trek films of J.J. Abrams, which began in 2009, and more specifically the Kelvin Timeline they introduced. In that timeline, the destruction of Romulus by a super nova caused a chain of events resulting in what became known as the “Kelvin Timeline”, separate from the “Prime Timeline”.
Star Trek: Picard takes place in the Prime Timeline, but it incorporates the super nova that Abrams introduced in his film. Romulan refugees then seek the aid of the Federation, which turns their back on them, forcing Picard question and reassess his loyalty to the Federation and Starfleet altogether.
If fans theorized there was no possible way for Data to be alive in Star Trek: Picard, they were right (mostly). Data’s physical body was completely destroyed in Star Trek: Nemesis, and B-4 (his prototype) didn’t have the positronic brain capable of handling the complexity of Data’s memory system.
Data so far survives in Picard’s mind, appearing in his guilt-addled dreams as a familiar face. He plays poker with his former captain while contemplating the vagaries of life, in the sort of candid yet abstract way only Data could. It remains to be seen if Data will continue to haunt him for the rest of the series.
NEXT: 10 Ways Picard Connects To The Other Star Trek Series
Originally, a pilot episode was a marketing tool used by creators of a show to sell the first season to networks. As such, they needed to establish characters, tone, and even give a taste of possible season-long arcs. With so much to accomplish it’s no surprise most pilots have the equivalent run time of a TV movie.
RELATED: Game Of Thrones: 10 Characters That Should Have Been In The Show
However, with the current prevalence of the “Binge Watching” model, sites like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are slowly transitioning away from the traditional pilot episode and instead expect viewers to vote for the content they want to see more of with their attention. Now while they may be dying out, many pilot episodes remain benchmarks of great television, but which are considered the best of all time (according to IMDB, of course)?
While there could be many honorable mentions, after all, TV has been around for a very long time, Freaks and Geeks lands spot number 10. Created by Paul Feig and starring baby faced versions of James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, and many others.
There’s no doubt that this pilot sticks in many of its young viewers’ minds as some of the first really relatable TV they watched. This pilot achieves some amazing set up that builds up and pays off throughout the shows only season. Unforgettably, cool guy James Franco finally loosening up and playing D&D in the show’s finale.
The Sopranos may be remembered for having one of the greatest, most controversial endings in TV history. But while we may never know what happened in that dinner, and that’s largely the point, it’s often forgotten that the show made a strong captivating start six seasons earlier.
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The pilot made sure to set up the mental strain James Gandolfini’s Tony was under, his dynamic with the family and between him and Lorraine Bracco’s Dr. Jennifer Melfi, but most importantly the tone of the show. It’s a masterclass in kicking off a show, but it’s not as well-loved as some other episodes.
Twin Peaks is weird. But as weird as it is you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that’s seen it and didn’t find it brilliantly entertaining. Quite simply it changed television going forward, opening the door for creators to take more risks with experimental storytelling and trust audiences to understand and stay involved when not everything is immediately obvious.
Creators Mark Frost and David Lynch created an enthralling atmosphere from scene to scene that set up a mystery for the ages. In the binging age, it’s clear to see why Twin Peaks has become so popular, it’s impossible not to binge.
The great tragedy of Joss Weedon’s Firefly is fairly well known by now. A show canceled unjustly, only to be brought back for a film by fan perseverance, and continued in comic form. What some might not know however is that the 90-minute long pilot episode “Serenity” wasn’t just messily split into two parts when initially aired, but the entire first (and only) season itself was aired so out of order that the pilot was the last to air.
RELATED: Firefly: Every Main Character Ranked By Intelligence
It’s a crying shame, as this is some fantastic television and a much stronger introduction to Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of the Serenity than episode “The Train Job” provides, the episode used by the network as a first episode. “Serenity” juggles world-building, character introductions, and about three plotlines at once masterfully, and feels much brisker than a TV movie should.
Watching the later seasons of Sherlock, it’s easy to forget that the show began as a series of barely connected episodes that mostly ended on cliffhangers. Interestingly enough the shows pilot and its first episode “A Study In Pink” weren’t actually one and the same, but they did have the same plot and the original “Unaired Pilot” has since become available.
The original pilot that was written and filmed to sell the show to the BBC was initially intended to be aired as the first episode, however, before production on the rest of the season began the BBC decided 90-minute episodes were the way to go. As a result, “A Study In Pink” is basically a reshot version of the pilot with some extra material added.
The Breaking Bad pilot had a monumental task set out for it. Not only did it have to lay the groundwork that every successful Pilot must, but it had to do so in a way that hinted at just how far off the deep end Walter White was going to go.
Jesse was supposed to be killed off early on, and nobody in the writing team knew the payoff for the machine in Walter’s car when it was initially revealed. With the writing teams penchant for setting things up not knowing the payoff in mind, the pilot becomes that much more impressive upon rewatching, little details seem to hint at exactly where all the characters will end up.
At a tie with Breaking Bad and arguably leaving as much of a dent in the history of pop culture, it might feel strange for fans to revisit the first episode of HBO’s fantasy epic. The opening scene sees the introduction of the White Walkers. It’s effective and intriguing, if not preemptive, introducing one of the shows main antagonistic forces so early on.
The first episode does an impressive job setting up the dower innocence punishing world of George. R. R. Martin’s Westeros. It clearly defines the dynamics between the Starks, Baratheons, Lannisters, and of course the Targaryens, all ending with an incestuous reveal that definitely brought viewers back for more.
The third series opening episode to be tied with Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, True Detective hit audiences with what might be a pretty great example of The Golden Age of Television. Starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, the first episode of the show “The Long Bright Dark” did a brilliant job setting up both their relationship an the case that would inevitably haunt them.
RELATED: True Detective: The 5 Best And 5 Worst Episodes (According To IMDB)
In an interview with The Guardian, series creator Nic Pizzolatto stated he “wasn’t interested in doing what everyone else was doing. The point wasn’t to write another serial-killer show”. Audiences pretty unanimously agree that he achieved his goal. True Detective has since gone on to revamp itself each season, following the president Pizzolatto set with the pilot. It’s a show about people, not crimes.
This is a True Story. The first episode of Fargo, like its Coen Brothers’ film predecessor, begins with a title card asserting that the story is based on true events. This has always been a brilliant lie by the Coen Brothers, who wanted to make a film in the True Story genre, without actually depicting a true story. The show’s title card even lingers on the word “True” as a nod to this.
The first episode is arresting from shot one, entirely sinister while at the same time oddly comedic, a hitman drives along at night listening to an audiobook while his victim bangs on the inside of his coffin. It sets the tone for the entire show in record time and the episode just goes on from there, expertly introducing characters and intrigue in engaging and unique brilliance.
While the show may only be getting this single mini-series, there’s no denying it was one of the most talked-about TV shows of 2019 from the moment the first episode was available. Hats off to series creator Craig Mazin, the first episode of Chernobyl is astounding.
Dealing with the initial failure that caused the catastrophic failure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the episode is nothing short of gripping, masterfully executed storytelling. With a run time of 60 minutes, it’s amazing the contained story that the episode manages to convey with so many characters, all while setting the tone, and standard, of the series to come.
NEXT: The Walking Dead: Every Season Finale Ranked (According to IMDB)
The Parks and Recreation series finale had a very clever callback to the pilot episode. The finale aired in February 2015, bringing the NBC sitcom to an end after seven seasons. The last installment of the series signified just how far the characters had come from when they were first introduced.
When Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) was introduced in the Parks and Rec pilot episode, she served as the Deputy Director of the Pawnee City Department of Parks and Recreation. Through her mid-level position, Leslie had high hopes to improve her town while advancing her career. Her first challenge in the series was filling in a giant pit in order to turn the property into a community park. Not only did Leslie and her team eventually get that pit filled, but she achieved many of her career goals by working for the government. There was even an indication that Leslie became the President of the United States.
Related: Parks & Rec: The Character Nick Offerman Auditioned For (Before Ron Swanson)
The Parks and Rec series finale focused on the core group of characters as they got together one last time in the Parks Department office. The episode then took time to look into the future of each character in a series of flash-forward sequences. While the group was saying their goodbyes, a man came into the office asking about a broken swing that he wanted to get fixed. Leslie then decided that this would be the last thing they do together to help Pawnee so they all participated in getting the paperwork and approvals to meet the man’s request. The man, however, wasn’t a random Pawnee citizen; he was actually a character featured in the very first episode of Parks and Rec.
The character who asked about the swing turned out to be Jon Daly, the actor who played the drunk man stuck in the slide at the park in the opening moments of the pilot episode. Leslie used a broom to dislodge the man while she told the camera that the government was created to help people. In the time following his drunken slide incident, the man clearly got his life together since he was shown in the finale wearing a polished suit with concerns about the safety of his fellow citizens.
Parks and Recreation‘s creator Mike Schur had asked Daly to reprise his role as a way to show how much how much has changed since the pilot. The fact that the drunk man turned his life around proved that Pawnee did improve over the years and the Parks Department crew had a lot to do with the positive changes within the town. The citizens didn’t always support Leslie’s choices but there’s no doubt that she made Pawnee a better place to live. The callback effectively brought the plot full circle and proved that Leslie never stopped when it came to assisting her town.
Next: Parks & Rec Jokingly Predicted Game Of Thrones’ Ending
In the original Lost pilot episode, Jack was supposed to die in a shocking, last-minute twist, and he would have been played by Michael Keaton. Through six seasons, Jack Shephard was the main protagonist of the show and the leader of the core group of Flight 815 survivors who crashed on the island.
Jack (Matthew Fox) was introduced as a spinal surgeon who left Australia for Los Angeles to bring his deceased father’s body back home for his funeral. After the plane crash, Jack found himself making decision for the survivors, and before long, they were all looking to him to lead. Over the first few seasons, Jack developed a will-they-won’t-they dynamic with Kate (Evangeline Lilly), an antagonistic relationship with Sawyer (Josh Holloway) that eventually grew to a mutual respect, and deep philosophical differences with Locke (Terry O’Quinn), who disagreed with Jack’s skeptical beliefs about destiny and the island.
Related: Lost: How To Do A Reboot (& Have It Not Suck)
All of these storylines would have been radically different if Lost went with its original idea for the pilot episode. The pilot was to star Michael Keaton as Jack, but this was far from its only difference. In Lost pilot that aired on TV, Jack, Kate, and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) went into the jungle to find the cockpit of the plane. While there, the smoke monster killed the co-pilot (Greg Gunberg), but Jack, Kate, and Charlie survived. In the original pilot, however, Jack would have died in place of the co-pilot.
Though Jack was supposed to die, he was still going to be presented as the lead, just as he was in the final version. His death was to be sudden and shocking, and something that would let viewers know that no one was safe. According to Keaton, he liked the idea behind the twist and was fine with playing the character, especially since it was only for the pilot episode. But the producers eventually decided that audiences were going to like Jack, and that it would be better to keep him. So when the pilot was reworked to keep Jack alive as the lead, Keaton passed on the role, as he wasn’t interested in shooting full seasons.
There’s no telling how different Lost would be if Jack had died early. While it’s certainly true that Lost was an ensemble show where no one character defined the series, Jack’s six-season journey from being a skeptical, hard-headed leader to a big believer in destiny – someone who was willing to sacrifice his life for the island – was integral to the story.
More: The Biggest Misconceptions About Lost’s Ending
Days after The Mandalorian, the first-ever live-action Star Wars TV show, premiered on Disney+, director Jon Favreau teased the start of filming on season 2. So far, The Mandalorian has been released to mostly positive reviews from critics. When Disney+ finally launched after months of buildup this week, The Mandalorian was one of its biggest draws. Early reports indicate that more than 10 million customers have signed up for the new streaming platform.
In addition to the pilot of The Mandalorian, Disney+ launched with oodles of Marvel and Star Wars movies and TV shows for fans to enjoy. Already, The Mandalorian has been renewed for season 2, and more Star Wars TV shows could be on their way. A potential series about Obi-Wan Kenobi could also be coming to the streaming platform in the near future. In addition, Disney is investing in new Marvel TV shows including Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki. For his part, Favreau has been involved in some of the biggest pop-culture releases of the past decade, as both an actor and director. In addition to executive producing The Mandalorian, he directed the first Iron Man films and Disney’s 2019 version of The Lion King. As an actor, he’s appeared numerous times in the MCU, most recently in Spider-man: Far From Home.
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The Mandalorian pilot just premiered this week to much fanfare, but the cast and crew are already hard at work on season 2. On his Instagram page, Favreau teased fans with a message from the set of The Mandalorian, writing, “Greetings from the set of #TheMandalorian season 2.” Along with that brief message, the director shared a single image of a dusty Mandalorian battle helmet, seen below:
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The Mandalorian, complete with its shocking twist ending, has broken new ground for the Star Wars universe. The show tells new stories and introduces new characters, but it also includes numerous easter eggs and references to previous Star Wars movies. Boba Fett, also a bounty hunter, has proven to be one of the most popular Star Wars characters ever created, and now Pedro Pascal plays a new galactic bounty hunter in the Disney+ show. Star Wars fans have previously enjoyed animated TV series set in George Lucas’ universe, but The Mandalorian finally brings the franchise to prestige TV.
Disney appears to be investing heavily in this new format for both Star Wars and Marvel. Kevin Feige, architect of the MCU, has revealed that the new Disney+ Marvel TV shows will tie into the upcoming Marvel movies. So far, the Marvel movies and TV shows have existed within their own spheres. With The Mandalorian and upcoming Marvel TV shows, Disney is betting that movie fans will be hungry for more stories based on their favorite characters. With millions of customers already streaming Disney+, it’s a bet that seems to be paying off. Disney+ customers can continue streaming season 1 of The Mandalorian every Friday through the end of the year.
Next: Is The Mandalorian The Biggest Betrayal Of George Lucas’ Star Wars Vision?
Source: Jon Favreau
Timothy Beck Werth
The Arrow spinoff featuring the Canaries has begun filming, as star Katherine McNamara shares the good news with fans. The news comes following the premiere of Arrow‘s eighth and final season last week. The last season will have a total of 10 episodes, and feature the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover near the end of its run. Crisis on Infinite Earths is the longest event ever attempted by the Arrowverse, with characters from all six shows on The CW coming together to save the multiverse. The Crisis played a big role in Arrow‘s premiere, as Oliver traveled to Earth-2 looking for a material that might prevent it, or at least lessen the damage.
The new show, titled Green Arrow and the Canaries, will feature Oliver’s daughter Mia Smoak (McNamara) as she becomes the new Green Arrow. McNamara joined Arrow last year for the show’s flash forwards set in 2040, which is likely when the spinoff series will take place. Green Arrow and the Canaries will also feature Earth-2’s Laurel Lance/Black Siren (Katie Cassidy Rodgers) and Dinah Drake/Black Canary (Juliana Harkavy). Rodgers has been with Arrow for most of its run, though she originally played Laurel from Earth-1. Harkavy joined the show in a recurring capacity in season 5, and has been a series regular since season 6. The spinoff series was first announced last month.
Related: Arrow Finally Has A Proper Black Canary After Eight Seasons
McNamara posted the video celebrating the start of filming on Green Arrow and the Canaries earlier today on Twitter. In it, she says: “So, today’s pretty special. It is the first day of shooting on the backdoor pilot, as it were, of Green Arrow and the Canaries.” She also spoke on how she was feeling about the day ahead, continuing, “It’s really exciting. I really don’t know what’s in store, but whatever it is, it’s gonna be pretty badass.” Though the new series has so far only confirmed McNamara, Rodgers, and Harkavy to star, it doesn’t mean other great female characters from the world of DC can’t eventually join the fun. Check out McNamara’s video about the Arrow spinoff series below:
Green Arrow and the Canaries won’t be the first spinoff of Arrow: The Flash also got its start that way. In 2013, eventual series star Grant Gustin guest-starred on Arrow before eventually filming a standard pilot for The Flash. Additionally, many characters on Legends of Tomorrow started out on Arrow, including Ray Palmer/The Atom and Sara Lance/White Canary. Plus, though none of its characters originated on Arrow, the new series Batwoman is similar in style, focusing on hand-to-hand combat the same way that Arrow does. Even if Green Arrow and the Canaries doesn’t go to series, the show that started it all will still be represented.
It’s difficult to figure out exactly where the Canaries-led spinoff will land in Arrow‘s final season. With only 10 episodes, the series is likely nearing the end of filming, suggesting the backdoor pilot will air near the end of Arrow‘s run. However, as shows sometimes film out of order, especially for backdoor pilots, the filming start date may not indicate anything about when it’ll air. Complicating matters, the Arrowverse is also in the middle of filming on Crisis on Infinite Earths, meaning that many things are being filmed out of order right now. At any rate, Arrow fans should be excited to hear that filming has begun on Green Arrow and the Canaries, no matter when it ends up airing.
Next: Arrow Rewrites Season 1 On Black Canary’s Earth By Killing [SPOILER]
Source: Katherine McNamara
The new Short Trek, “Q&A”, just made some big improvements to the original Star Trek pilot. Written by Michael Chabon and starring Rebecca Romijn as Number One and Ethan Peck as Ensign Spock, “Q&A” depicts a never-before-seen event: the arrival of the Vulcan Science Officer aboard the Starship Enterprise commanded by Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount). This incarnation of all three characters debuted in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, which was set in 2257, but “Q&A” jumps back a few years to 2254, the same year “The Cage”, the original Star Trek pilot, took place.
“The Cage”, which depicted Captain Pike’s (Jeffrey Hunter) encounter with the telepathic aliens of Talos IV, was ultimately rejected as “too cerebral” by NBC, which expected a more action-packed sci-fi series. But Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was told by the network to try again and submit a second pilot. Roddenberry kept Spock (Leonard Nimoy) as the sole holdover and recast Star Trek, starting with William Shatner as the new Captain, James T. Kirk, and DeForrest Kelley as the new doctor, Leonard “Bones” McCoy. “The Cage” footage was later integrated into the two-part episode called “The Menagerie” so that Pike’s adventure (and his tragic fate) took its place as Star Trek canon. Decades later, Star Trek: Discovery season 2 served as a sequel to “The Cage” and brought Spock back to Talos IV, which added a new perspective to the original pilot. Now, “Q&A” continues to improve “The Cage” by answering major questions about Number One and bringing even more insight to Pike and the younger Spock.
Related: How Star Trek Would Have Been Different With The Cage’s Original Cast
Leonard Nimoy had not yet perfected Spock’s persona in “The Cage”; Roddenberry merely intended the Vulcan’s presence on the bridge to show humans and aliens working together peacefully, but this early incarnation of Spock was a far cry from the cool, logical Vulcan fans know and love. Instead, Spock in “The Cage” shows bursts of very human-like emotion such as smiling, laughing, and shouting. “Q&A” tackled this inconsistency head-on: Spock is smiling when he beams aboard the Enterprise, something that Number One notices immediately, and she is displeased when Spock shouts his arrival (Peck even pronounces “duty” with the same inflection Nimoy did in “The Cage”). After they are stuck in a turbo-lift together, Number One admonishes Spock for his emotionalism and advises him to hide his “freaky”. While Spock would later show his emotions in “The Cage”, “Q&A” shows the influence of Number One that would help the Vulcan assemble the unflappable demeanor that will one day irritate Dr. McCoy to no end.
Originally, in “The Cage”, Number One had the cool, efficient, unemotional personality that ultimately went to Spock. “Q&A” shows that this is a persona Number One cultivates for professional reasons; while she is indeed brilliant (she improved the ship’s food replicators), Number One hides her own “freaky” to maintain her authority – and she revealed her true passion to Spock by singing passages from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore”. Number One’s aura is perhaps to distract from the fact that she is the Enterprise’s First Officer and helmsman while only holding the rank of Lieutenant Commander. “Q&A” also revealed Number One’s surname is Una – something fans have wondered about for over 50 years.
When they discussed Pike, Number One described the Captain as “utterly unsentimental” and someone who believes resorting to violence is an admission of failure, despite being one of Starfleet’s most decorated combat officers. Indeed, this is a valuable perspective to have when watching “The Cage” and it adds insight into why a desperate Pike resorted to anger and violence after he was imprisoned by the Talosians. Pike was weary from years of space exploration in “The Cage”, but in “Q&A”, Pike’s explorer’s heart was on full display as he and Spock shared mutual awe staring out of the bridge’s viewscreen at the cosmic sights before them. This invokes the “Wagon Train to the Stars” adventure series Star Trek would become but “The Cage” didn’t quite capture.
Spock was also just an Ensign when he beamed aboard the Enterprise in “Q&A” but by “The Cage”, the Vulcan had already been promoted to Lieutenant. Perhaps the story of how Spock rose in the ranks so quickly will someday be the subject of another Short Trek or a Pike and Spock Star Trek spinoff.
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Where would the Star Trek franchise be today if the original cast that starred in “The Cage” had never been replaced? More than 50 years after warping onto television screens, the world of Star Trek is as popular and visible as ever. After a rebooted series of blockbuster movies, CBS are now in the process of developing an array of new Star Trek TV adventures to sit alongside the currently-running Star Trek: Discovery. While the future certainly looks busy, Star Trek‘s past has not been forgotten, and Star Trek: Picard is set to bring back Patrick Stewart’s Enterprise-D captain after a lengthy hiatus. Reaching even further back, the days of William Shatner’s Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock retain a lofty status within popular culture.
After developing the concept for Star Trek in the 1960s, Gene Roddenberry wrote “The Cage” as the pilot episode for his brand new undertaking. Noticeably different from what would now be recognized as old-school Star Trek, “The Cage” was rejected by TV networks and Roddenberry was sent away to try again. The visionary returned with “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and the rest is science fiction history. But how would Star Trek have been different if the cast of “The Cage” had stayed on and the first pilot was used as the starting point for the original series?
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The biggest and most obvious change would’ve been Jeffrey Hunter’s Christopher Pike taking over the role of Star Trek‘s Enterprise captain instead of William Shatner’s James T. Kirk. The two protagonists have much in common: bravery, a strong moral compass and the respect of their crew mates, but Kirk and Pike were very distinct personalities. Hunter’s Pike was characterized as the straighter captain – less of a maverick than the brash and hot-headed Kirk. Without those qualities in its leading man, Star Trek‘s weekly moral conflicts would’ve lacked a key, combustible element.
William Shatner’s unique acting style could also be considered a key part of Star Trek‘s early success. Jeffrey Hunter is patently a very capable actor, but played his Starfleet captain in a straighter, more serious fashion. Shatner’s exuberant and fun approach might not be the finest example of the theatrical arts, but his charismatic performance helped Star Trek carve a legacy none the less. Another major element of that legacy is the holy trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy – something that no other trio could’ve replicated.
The Enterprise’s captain isn’t the only position that would’ve been vastly different with the cast of “The Cage.” Leonard Nimoy’s Spock is the only character carried from the original cast into the full series, but his performances differ greatly between the two. In “The Cage,” Spock is more excitable and human, free of the cold, hard logic so closely associated with the character today. Instead, the more robotic emotions are saved for Number One, the second-in-command on Pike’s Enterprise. In rejigging the Star Trek setup, the Number One character was amalgamated into Spock, but if the cast of “The Cage” had remained in place, the Vulcan couldn’t have developed the same iconic persona that Nimoy portrayed so well for half a century.
The primary reason for “The Cage” being rejected was its more intellectual storytelling approach compared to other sci-fi offerings of the era. Roddenberry returned with a more even blend of science fiction and action, and this formed the basis of the early Star Trek formula. Since finally airing in full in the 1980s, “The Cage” has been consistently labelled one of Star Trek‘s strongest ever episodes, and this suggests that the original series would’ve still found a loyal, core fan base, even with the cast seen in “The Cage.” By pitching at a more cerebral level, however, Star Trek would’ve lost mainstream appeal and lacked an entry point for younger fans. It could also be argued that Star Trek‘s more complex storylines only gained appreciation after the series was already established.
Evidently, the landscape of the Star Trek franchise would’ve been very different if “The Cage” cast had stayed in their roles, and it’s also very likely that Roddenberry’s creation wouldn’t have found the same level of success and may been a little too ahead of its time to find success in the 1960s.
More: Picard Can Unite Star Trek’s Divided Fandom
Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is currently without a release date. More news as it arrives.
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