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Shatner Pitched 'Academy' Show To Paramount

By Christian
March 28, 2005 - 2:46 PM

William Shatner (James T. Kirk) last year pitched an idea to Paramount Pictures about a new Star Trek television series called The Academy, featuring adolescent versions of the Original Series triumvirate of Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

Shatner revealed the news to fans during Creation's Grand Slam convention, which took place in mid-March in Pasadena, California. Shatner said he had developed the idea together with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, who worked as staff writers on Enterprise's fourth season, and who previously cooperated with Shatner on Trek novels such as The Return and Captain's Blood.

When Shatner pitched the idea to Paramount, he apparently went directly to the studio's top executives, without involving current Trek executive producer Rick Berman. Paramount eventually rejected Shatner's idea, but the actor is not letting go of it completely. He revealed he has signed a contract with Pocket Books to turn The Academy into a two-novel book series that is tentatively scheduled for publication in 2006. Presumably, the Reeves-Stevenses are again co-writing these novels with Shatner.

This isn't the first time Paramount has considered a Starfleet Academy story. Before Star Trek VI turned into The Undiscovered Country, Trek movie producer Harve Bennett developed a movie called The Academy Years, in which a young cadet Kirk would have defended Spock against anti-Vulcan prejudice on the Academy. 'Bones' McCoy, already a physician, would also be a part of the class, having decided to join Starfleet to put behind him the tragic death of his father. Finally, one of the cadets' instructors would have been a teacher of mechanical sciences named Montgomery Scott.

With the exception of a few wraparound scenes starring Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as an older Kirk and Spock returning to the Academy, The Academy Years would have featured an all-new cast. Bennett completed a script for the project and went as far as scouting for locations, but heavy opposition from people such as Gene Roddenberry eventually killed the project. Bennett left the Star Trek franchise, and Paramount ended up developing The Undiscovered Country for Trek's 25th anniversary in 1991.

Thanks go out to Seth Forbes and Lysette Van Erp for this!

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