Star Trek: The Next Generation recently celebrated its 35th anniversary (September 28th).
The original proposal of Star Trek: The Next Generation was created in 1986 by Greg Strangis and didn’t involve Gene Roddenberry at all which is why it didn’t see the light of day. When Paramount PIctures sent the pitch to Roddenberry, he hated it (with good reason) and wrote a proposal of his own, which, thankfully, didn’t resemble that of Strangis’.
It’s not that Strangis’ idea was bad, per se, but it was vastly different from The Next Generation we now know. According to The Trek Files [via Inverse], the original captain of the USS Odyssey [not Enterprise] was going to be a Vulcan named Rhon who didn’t last long as the commander of the ship. In fact, he was to die in the pilot episode, but he would hang around as a hologram (much like what Captain Janeway does with Star Trek: Prodigy) so he could be available in times of great need.
Can you imagine Star Trek: The Next Generation without Captain Picard?
In this pitch, once Captain Rhon had perished, Richard Kincaid, who is described as a young guy, would have taken over as acting captain. His science officer was another Vulcan, Cadet Commander Brik, and there would have been a Klingon named Lt. Commander Mynk serving aboard the ship as well even though the Federation would have been involved in a war with the Klingon Empire at the time.
It sounds like Strangis wanted to include Kincaid as a Captain Kirk figure, with more aliens aboard the Odyssey than were aboard the original Enterprise. That and a Klingon serving aboard the ship were really the only two things Roddenberry kept in his own proposal.
Do we even want to imagine The Next Generation without Captain Picard? We would have missed out on so many exceptional episodes, and one has to wonder if the series would have worked had Roddenberry approved Strangis’ pitch. It was so vastly different from The Original Series, which I’m sure was the point. But it might have been too different for fans of the first Star Trek series who were missing Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy. Thankfully, Roddenberry stepped in, and we are all eternally grateful for his contribution to The Next Generation.