I'm going to assume from the plural in the title of this thread that we are not limited strictly to the initial Canadian "What If" but are instead free to pursue other alternate realities as well... Please correct me if this is in error.
|Posted: 12 December 2019 at 1:20am | IP Logged | 8
Positing a reality where Roddenberry and the surviving passengers of the plane crash spent time in Italy following their accident, we have Roddenberry tour the country before returning home. While exploring, he comes upon a film crew and strikes up a conversation with some of the creative people there. He is struck by the relative freedom of expression allowed and the speed with which films there are made.
Returning to L.A., he joins the police force, becomes a consultant to televison series, and a writer. Frustrated by various impasses in his career and the lack of vision on the part of the networks when he wants to cast black actors for the proposed series RIVERBOAT, he elects to try his luck in the country he remembers so well.
In Italy, he makes a small number of Westerns, proving his capability to turn in a solid production. He begins to venture into other genres, creating films about American policemen, lawyers, and a fantastical airship that travels to weird, unmapped countries. This later film catches the attention of Italian film producers who wish to see something similar done with a somewhat larger budget, although still nothing to compare with anything done in Hollywood. Unable to remake the film outright due to rights issues, Roddenberry re-conceives it as a science fiction outing with nutty "transporter" devices and "matter-antimatter propulsion."
While the artist Roddenberry hires for the production insists upon flaming jets from the rear of the nacelles of the more fancifully designed starship and a glass enclosed materialization chamber, the resulting film proves popular enough that it and its multi-ethnic crew continue to make five or six films together before Roddenberry grows tired of the series and shuts down production to make an Italian Robin Hood and an artfully naughty film about college girls pursued by a murderous and charming professor of theirs.
Roddenberry enjoys success in his new country making speculative films about self-aware androids seeking enlightenment, investigations into the spooky and supernatural, and post-apocalyptic futures filmed in Italian desert.
In time, the low-budget Italian cheapies featuring the crew of the starship find their way to American television, airing at four p.m. on channels across the country. International acclaim builds around these cinematic curiosities and the film studio prevails upon him to return to idea, initially with members of the original cast. When they prove troublesome and expensive, he restarts the franchise, placing it further into the future and tells the story of the Next Generation of explorers...
Others come in and build upon his success and Roddenberry is finally too ill to oversee the vast network of strangely inter-related features being churned out by the studio and appearing on Italian television. American TV producers license the rights and make a glossier, more formulaic version for television here, to limited success, with prime-time soap opera and tumultuous affairs dominating the more imaginative elements. Nevertheless, fan interest is there and there's soon talk of bringing the breathless lovers and high-powered, double-dealing space execs of Star Trek to the big screen... While fans wait on tenterhooks, they console themselves with the original series of subtitled, subtly political good fun and white-knuckle adventure films.
Edited by Brian Hague on 12 December 2019 at 1:21am