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Star Trek Just Weirdly Revived a Very Old Gene Roddenberry Original Series Idea

Consider the evidence. Nichelle Nichols was a singer and dancer before becoming an actress. In her memoir Beyond Uhura and in various interviews, she made it clear that Star Trek basically turned her career as a musical performer into that of an actress. And, in TOS and the films, she also sings a fair amount, such as in the TOS episodes “The Conscience of the King” and “The Changeling.” She also sings an impromptu song to Spock in “Charlie X,” and sings the song “The Moon’s a Window to Heaven” in The Final Frontier. Roddenberry doesn’t have direct writing credits on those episodes or on The Final Frontier, but he did hire Nichols and knew full well she was a singer and dancer first and an actor second. So, just by collaborating with Nichols to create Uhura, the idea of having at least one member of the Enterprise capable of bursting into song has been embedded in Trek since 1966. (In a December 1984 Star Trek comic book, Uhura even sings the silly Roddenberry lyrics to the main theme! It’s a comic book page you can almost hear.)

Nichols of course, released several albums of her own, and recorded both “Beyond Anartres,” and her own version of the TOS theme, with decidedly better lyrics than those penned by Roddenberry. But beyond the musical musing of Uhura in TOS, which, may, or may not have been motivated by Roddenberry to begin with, there is other evidence that Roddenberry wanted to do a musical.

According to The Fifty-Year Mission, Roddenberry was contacted by Paul McCartney in the 1970s to write some kind of science fiction musical. To be clear, this wasn’t going to be a Star Trek musical per se, but at one point, McCartney did want to do a musical with the creator of Trek because the former Beatle was a massive Trek fan. There’s even some great photographic evidence of Roddenberry hanging out with Paul.

Roddenberry never lived to see a true Star Trek musical, and never got to collaborate with Sir Paul on their sci-fi musical. But, because “Subspace Rhapsody,” uses a very TOSpremise to allow the Trek characters to burst into song, it seems very likely that if the Great Bird of the Galaxy were alive today, that he would not only approve of singing Spock and Uhura, but would love it, too.

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