The reimagining of classic Star Trek episodes continues in comic book form with this classic Spock-centric episode “The Galileo Seven.” In 1966, the story featured a wonderful, if hard-to-swallow premise: members of the Enterprise crew are literally lost in space and the Enterprise doesn’t have any idea where they are. To make matters worse, Kirk is being bossed around by a high ranking government official who wants the Enterprise to hightail it to a colony in order to drop off medical supplies. Because the shuttlecraft only has a limited amount of oxygen, and the Enterprise has a limited amount of time, the clock is ticking. Meanwhile on the shuttle, Spock is in charge after a tricky crash-landing. Now with the dynamic between Kirk, Spock, Bones and everyone else slightly altered in this new Star Trek universe continuity, how does the new version of the story differ?
The set-up for “The Galileo Seven” is essentially the same as the classic episode: though the Enterprise is on route for a Makus III to deliver much-needed medical supplies, Kirk is compelled to dispatch a shuttlecraft full of some of his best people to check out a nearby unusual phenomenon. This doesn’t make much sense in the classic episode and it also doesn’t make sense here either. In the era of The Next Generation you can easily imagine Picard ordering Data to just leave a probe there while the ship hits the road at warp factor let’s-get-this-shit-done. However, at this time in Trek history things were still up-in-the-air as to how much actual exploring the crew of the Enterprise was really supposed to do. So in defense of what might seem like a reckless act on Kirk’s part, in the old show, this episode reinforced the idea that exploring new space stuff was just as important as sick space colonists.
As before, the shuttlecraft Galileo is launched with Spock, Scotty, Bones, a gun named Boma, two random yahoos, and Yeoman Rand! In the original episode the only female member of the Galileo‘s crew was Yeoman Mears, a brunette with a decidedly non-beehive hairdo. A little research reveals the original episode intended to have Rand, but Grace Lee Whitney was no longer appearing on the show at that point. But in comic book format, this has been retroactively corrected. This dovetails oddly with the recent casting news that J.J. Abrams has cast blonde actress Alice Eve. Does this comic version of Rand look like Alice Eve? A little. We know at least Robert Orci is being consulted on these comics, so who knows — maybe Rand will be in the next movie!
The rest of the comic proceeds almost exactly like the original episode with the shuttle crash-landing on a planet and the crew being hassled by giant space cavemen with giant spears. The only truly notable thing here is Bones has a conversation with Spock in which he sort of accuses Spock of wanting to get command of the Enterprise again, because in this continuity, Spock was in charge before Kirk. But beyond this, not much has really changed. The issue ends on a cliffhanger with Scotty telling Spock that they crew has to lighten their load in order to achieve orbit. Now Spock’s faced with a big decision: who gets left behind?
This was one of my favorite episodes growing up, and it looks like they’ve got an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” stance with this rebooted adventure. It does make me wonder if they’re re-imagining some of these plots with the reboot crew, not because it’s an interesting idea to see what’s changed, but because Orci and Kurtzman feel it’s necessary that the new crew have some of the same experiences together. “The Galileo Seven” was one of the more important episodes where Spock’s development was concerned, and it almost seems a more likely plot to happen among this younger Starfleet crew: Spock had already been a Federation officer for some time in the Original Series episode, and most of the crew was ostensibly older and more experienced. It makes sense for an untried crew to hold onto more prejudices—Spock hasn’t been trailblazing for that long.
Outside of that, I was psyched to see Yeoman Janice Rand in the shuttle, which might add further credence to my theory/hope that the recently hired actress for the new Star Trek film could be playing her. I would love to see her in the next film; she was removed from the 60s show to free Kirk up for other female attention, and it was a damn shame because she was fun to have around. If they could make Rand (and maybe Nurse Chapel? Please?) more relevant in the upcoming films and comics, it would add a much-needed balance that the Original Series crew had always lacked in the gender department.
I was really pumped for this series after the strong first issue featuring the Gary Mitchel storyline from “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” My enthusiasm waned with the concluding issue of that story, mostly because it wasn’t too different from the old version, and the ways in which plot threads played out weren’t even remotely as cool as they were in the classic version. This new version of “The Galileo Seven” is even more problematic as almost nothing is changed from the old version. Sure, Uhura is muttering under her breath for Spock to make it back because in the new universe, they’re lovers. There are a few backhanded comments to Kirk from Commissioner Ferris about how Kirk has a rep for being a punk, though these also fall short of really making the story feel different. I got a little excited with the idea of Rand being around in this version of Star Trek, but she doesn’t really do anything.
My favorite part of the reimagined 2009 Star Trek was Simon Pegg’s Scotty. As much as I have nostalgia for the role originated by James Doohan, I don’t think the character is remotely interesting. Pegg fixed some of this with his crazier Scotty. We get shadows of that in this version of “The Galileo Seven,” but for the most part I still hear Doohan’s voice. In fact, unlike the Gary Mitchell two-parter, where I really felt like this was the new cast, in this issue I just heard the voices of all the old actors. I’m not sure if this is because most of the dialogue was identical, or because the story wasn’t all that dynamic. Either way, I’m hoping for some exciting twists in the next issue before this new IDW series becomes as lost in space as this little shuttlecraft.
Emily Asher-Perrin is the editoral assistant for Tor.com
Ryan Britt is the staff writer for Tor.com.