Fans of the original Star Trek series may be excited to see the original script for Harlan Ellison’s award-winning teleplay to the classic episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” will soon be adapted into comic book form. It will be a director’s cut of sorts, as Ellison has been vocal over the years that his original vision was better than what ended up on the screen, modified by Gene Roddenberry and at least four other writers. Ellison published the complete script and notes in his 1996 book about the episode’s “evisceration”. Nearly fifty years later Ellison won’t let his anger rest, having filed a lawsuit in 2009 that was later settled. Ellison is back yet again, and now fans will get to see his original work in visual form, produced by a Star Trek creative dream team.
Scott Tipton and David Tipton will adapt the Ellison teleplay to the comic script, and powerhouse Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation² painter/artist J.K. Woodward will provide the artwork for the story. Juan Ortiz, whose Star Trek work we’ve reviewed here previously at borg.com, will provide the cover art in his own unique retro style.
Trek fans really couldn’t ask for more, although considering fans count the episode among the most revered and well-crafted of the series, it may not be many fans’ first choice for an episode that could stand to be redone, or undone for that matter (cough cough “And the Children Shall Lead,” (ahem) “The Way to Eden”, (ahem) “Spock’s Brain”).
The original teleplay included a much smaller role for Dr. McCoy, and an alternate timeline that included a starship, but it wasn’t called Enterprise. In a strange quirk of TV history, the unedited version of the script by Ellison being adapted this year won the Writers Guild of America award for best dramatic hour-long script back in 1968, to the dismay of fan-favorite Trek writer Gene L. Coon, who claimed credit for the teleplay as broadcast.
If you don’t recall the episode offhand: First broadcast on April 6, 1967, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock find themselves in Earth of World War II. There they encounter Edith Keeler, played by a young Joan Collins. Dr. McCoy alters the timeline, setting a dark course for the world, unless it can all be undone, but at a sad and terrible price. The episode won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. It’s also known for the “Guardian of Forever,” that classic piece of large, round set decoration that served as an early sci-fi time portal, made to look like stone.
Look for Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever, Issue #1 in comic book stores everywhere this June, and we’ll preview it here.