Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry always seemed to be piloting the USS Enterprise by the seat of his pants. In search of funding and TV ratings, Roddenberry and team scrambled to produce scripts and episode often leaving massive questions in Star Trek canon.
The Original Series spawned what is known as Star Trek canon. For Trekkers/Trekkies, the canon serves as a debatable biblical law of the the series. Originalists demand utter obedience to the canon. More modern fans poo-poo TOS as a mere starting point in franchise history and view the series as an organic, evolutionary being.
Somewhere in between these theories lies an acceptable compromise. While much of Star Trek legend was established in the first series, it’s fly-by-night nature left glaring holes and questions. The series Enterprise should’ve existed to explain and fix those holes. That series found its footing and addressed that style in its final two seasons. But, overall, there’s quite a bit that needs ‘splainin’.
1. Imagine using Scalosian water to tackle emergencies: You remember the irradiated water from the episode Wink Of An Eye? It sped up a person’s metabolism to veritable light speed. At the end of the episode, Mr. Spock uses the water to affect repairs on the ship. What would’ve taken days was repaired in mere minutes.
Question: Why isn’t Scalosian water standard on every Starfleet ship for emergencies?
Answer: Well, if you fell, say, out of a Jefferies Tube, you’d probably get cell damage, age rapidly and die. It is also known to cause sterility in men. Starfleet probably performed a risk assessment and decided against it. Besides, heading back to Scalos could lead to a successful hijacking.
2. McCoy left his communicator behind in Piece Of The Action: Kirk and Spock bust McCoy’s shoes over leaving his communicator behind on the “highly imitative world of Sigma Iotia II.” The pair go so far as to suggest the Iotians would disassemble the communicator, learn about the transponder, which is the key to all Federation gear, and throw off the yoke of their new-found Federation oppressors.
Question: What ever happened to this?
Answer: We’ll never find out, but imagine a Piece of the Action run by The Sopranos.
3. The Guardian of Forever is dangerous: In the famous episode “The City on the edge of Forever” we learn of a time portal known as the Guardian of Forever. The portal can take anyone back to any moment in Earth’s history. It is, quite possibly, the most dangerous thing in the galaxy.
Did the Guardian display Earth’s history because the people who appeared before it were human? If a bunch of Vulcans showed up, would it show Vulcan’s history?
What did the Federation do with this planet and the Guardian?
Answer: The Federation could’ve sent a team of scientists and historians to study the Guardian and record ancient history. But, at the same time, anyone bent on messing with time would merely have to hop through the portal to change everything. Our guess is the Federation established a sort of “Stargate” security facility around the portal. Still, this has alternate episode written all over it.
4. How many Hortas does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? In Devil in the Dark, humans and Horta end their brief war and settle on a comfortable detente. The Horta are free to roam the planet, munching on rock while the humans collect what’s left behind.
Question: How long does it take for Hortas to completely mine out a planet? Wouldn’t it be a hollow shell in a millennia or less given their birthrates?
Answer: Horta eventually become valuable citizens in the Federation and play a myriad of roles in books and other Star Trek canon products.
5. What happened to Gary Seven? In Assignment Earth, Kirk and Spock battle an advanced human (who was reared off-world) named Gary Seven. There’s a lot to like in this episode as Gary Seven has a James Bond-like cool, a cat that can transform into a sultry woman and young, beautiful Terri Garr who plays Roberta Lincoln.
Question: Seven and Lincoln clearly will work together at the end of the episode indicating a possible spin off series. What happened?
Answer: Gene Roddenberry created Gary Seven as a hedge. In other words, a cheaper alternative to Star Trek if NBC failed to renew for a third season. Assignment Earth serves as a rare episode-and-pilot-in-one and an interesting addition to Star Trek canon.