Friday, December 30, 2011

Warp Back In Time To The Lost Star Trek Concept Art By Ralph McQuarrie and Ken Adams

Friday, December 30, 2011 - by Maurice Mitchell 2

After working on the ground-breaking special effects for Star Wars, Ralph McQuarrie and production designer Ken Adams were tasked with bringing another science-fiction powerhouse to the big screen: Star Trek: Planet of the Titans.

From 1976 to 1977 they worked hard to bring McQuarrie's unique vision to life with Star Trek, but the project was eventually abandoned.

Ralph McQuarrie's official website explains it this way.
Immediately after Ralph finished work on Star Wars Episode IV[: A New Hope] he began designing 'Star Trek - Planet of the Titans'. This was Paramount's first attempt at taking Star Trek to the big screen .
The production design was handled by Ken Adam (of James Bond fame) and the director was Philip Kaufman.
The plot concerned a battle between Starfleet and the Klingon Empire over ownership of a world, a world that legend had it was once inhabited by an extinct, but technologically superior race known as the ‘Titans’.The Federation fights with the ‘Cygans’ a race that were apparently to blame for the Titans disappearance. A black hole consumes the planet, followed by the Enterprise. The Enterprise is pushed thousands of years into the past, back to a time when primitive man still roamed the Earth. Kirk and crew introduce the natives to fire and the story comes full circle as we discover that the crew of the Enterprise themselves were actually the Titans of legend.Although the project was abandoned Paramount moved forward developing a new television series ‘Star Trek: Phase Two’.
This also floundered after the success of Star Wars Episode IV - when the decision was made to adapt the pilot episode ‘In Thy Image’ into a movie instead. This would eventually become 'Star Trek the Motion Picture'.
Director Kaufman described it this way:
"My version was really built around Leonard Nimoy as Spock and Toshiro Mifune as his Klingon nemesis. My idea was to make it less 'cult-ish', and more of an adult movie, dealing with sexuality and wonders rather than oddness; a big science fiction movie, filled with all kinds of questions, particularly about the nature of Spock’s [duality]—exploring his humanity and what humanness was. To have Spock and Mifune’s character tripping out in outer space. I’m sure the fans would have been upset, but I felt it could really open up a new type of science fiction."
  Adam's and McQuarrie's designs were never used, but stand as a testimony to their enormous skills. Eventually, he would go on to create illustrations for Star Trek: The Voyage Home.

Most of the images below along with their descriptions can be found in the book "Art of Ralph McQuarrie".
 
"Enterprise" by Ken Adams
"Planet of the Titans"sketches by Ken Adams
"Superbrain" by Ken Adams
Ralph's rendering of designer Ken Adam's concept for the Enterprise.

"Asteroid Docking Bay production painting." by Ralph McQuarrie


McQuarrie: There was no script, we were just winging it, coming up with all kinds of ideas. I was able to introduce my inhabited asteroid concept, which again went unused when the the plans for a feature film were dropped for a few years.
"Asteroid Docking Bay Interior production painting and thumbnail sketches." by Ralph McQuarrie
"Enterprise interior" by Ralph McQuarrie

"Vulcan shuttle and interior" by Ralph McQuarrie
"crew uses tiny pod to cross to opening in shaft)"


McQuarrie: I had devised a concept for the end of the film... Some alien form has designed a way to use the power of a black hole's gravity to form a spherical shroud around the black hole. If you have a dense enough material, gravity cannot penetrate it. There are two openings in the shroud that they would use to pull ships in. The saucer of the Enterprise (which was detachable) ends up in the shroud. They meet the aliens and had a dramatic finale. These two images are of the Enterprise saucer in the shroud.

"Detached Enterprise saucer concept sketch." by Ralph McQuarrie


McQuarrie: The disc of the enterprise (sic) would separate from the rest of the ship to land on the surface of planets.
This detached saucer idea would be incorporated into the design of the "Enterprise-D" for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
 
See more of Ralph McQuarries work at http://www.ralphmcquarrie.com/ 
 
Via io9
Images from trekbbs

About the Author

Maurice Mitchell
Lover of science fiction and art.

2 comments:

  1. Wow that Enterprise looks pretty ugly. Like a slab of metal with wings. Glad they went a different direction

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, it's a unique design, but I hear he didn't actually design it. Just made the paintings.

    ReplyDelete

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