In 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Captain James T. Kirk is confronted by an alien that claims to be God and demands the Enterprise, eliciting Kirk's classic response, "What does God need with a starship?"
It's a valid question, but you know what else would have been a valid response? Punching that false God square in his fucking face. And as it turns out, that's just what Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry wanted to see happen in the very first film. More specifically, he wanted Kirk to have a fist fight with the image of Jesus Christ.
THR has a preview of the upcoming book The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek - The First 25 Years, and in their excerpt, Roddenberry's plan for Star Trek: The Motion Picture's Christ v Kirk fisticuffs plot is revealed.
Director Richard Colla, who worked on Star Trek: The Next Generation among many other things, claims Roddenberry showed him a script treatment that saw an alien manifest itself before Kirk and ask, "Do you know me?"
Kirk said, "No, I don't know who you are." It said, "Strange, how could you not know who I am?" So it shift-changed and became another image and said, "Do you know me?" Kirk said, "No, who are you?" It said, "Strange, how could you not know who I am?" So it shift-changed and came up in the form of Christ the carpenter, and says, "Do you know me?" and Kirk says, "Oh, now I know who you are."
But to see Christ is not to know him. One must accept Christ into their heart, and get a few cheap jabs in on his spear wound, so then Kirk would have started clobbering Jesus. Also, either before or after that, there'd be an unrelated, very sexy mid-life crisis.
Author Michael J. Friedman, who was hired to adapt Roddenberry's script into a novel due to it being too bat-shit of a movie idea, explained:
[The script] was disjointed -- scenes didn't work together, didn't build toward anything meaningful. Kirk, Spock and McCoy didn't seem anything like themselves. There was some mildly erotic, midlife-crisis stuff in there that didn't serve any real purpose. In the climactic scene, Kirk had a fistfight with an alien who had assumed the image of Jesus Christ.
So Kirk was slugging it out on the bridge. With Jesus.
You know, for these new Star Trek being so heavily action-oriented, I never thought that action could so quickly feel so wildly inadequate.