Star Trek: The Original Series episode “City on the Edge of Forever” finds Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock travelling back into Earth's past after Dr. McCoy, who alters the timelime in such a way that the Enterprise ceases to exist and strands the landing party. It's a great story about love and sacrifice, yet Harlan Ellison's original teleplay is even better.
Quite a number of changes had to be made to get Ellison's script to fit Gene Roddenberry's vision of Star Trek in terms of story as well as budget. Ellison wrote characters whose humanity was recognizable, making their choices believable, but they didn't always meet the high standards Roddenberry set for Starfleet crew members. Ellison delivered realism but Roddenberry wanted idealism. Naturally, Roddenberry won out and the episode has long been considered one of the best of the series.
But that hasn't stopped Ellison fighting for and sharing his version. He submitted his original teleplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for best dramatic hour-long script. It was published in 1976 in Six Science Fiction Plays, edited by Roger Elwood, and in the 1995 book, The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became the Classic Star Trek Episode. It is currently being adapted into a five-issue mimiseries from IDW, the first issue of which is now on sale.
Adapting the teleplay for the comics series are writers Scott Tipton and David Tipton; interior art will be painted by J.K. Woodward. Each issue of the series will feature a special cover by artist Juan Ortiz. Variant covers will be provided by Paul Shipper.
Harlan Ellison says: “It was a superlative joy of my long life to have worked with Leonard Nimoy, who became my friend, and many others at Star Trek; and an equally heart-happy joy to be working with J.K. and the Tipton Bros. and Chris Ryall on this long-awaited visual of my (humbly, I say it) brilliant original ‘City…’”
“Presenting Harlan Ellison’s brilliant original script for ‘City on the Edge…’ has been a goal of ours since IDW first began publishing Star Trek comics in 2007,” said series editor and IDW Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall. “The episode justifies its position atop ‘best Star Trek episodes’ lists but even it ain’t nuthin’ compared to what Ellison did in his original teleplay. This is truly going to be a Star Trek adventure unlike any other, even to fans who have that beloved episode memorized.”