Few science fiction franchises can claim to be iconic, with perhaps only Star Wars coming close to matching the pedigree of Star Trek and Doctor Who. Both children of the 1960s, these two shows have long come at the genre from different angles, produced on opposite sides of the Atlantic. However, those very different universes would have collided back in 2005 if Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies had gotten his way.
Preparing for the return of Doctor Who to British television, Davies gave serious consideration to attempting a crossover with Star Trek: Enterprise. Davies’ idea came at a time of great uncertainly for both shows. Doctor Who had been in television limbo since the attempted revival of the show by the BBC and FOX in 1996, while Enterprise was about to broadcast its final season.
It’s in this environment that Davies got the idea for a crossover. “The very first year, we talked about it,” he told The Times back in 2009. “Then Star Trek finally went off air. Landing the TARDIS on board the Enterprise would have been magnificent. Can you imagine what their script department would have wanted and what I would have wanted? It would have been the biggest battle.”
The crossover, of course, didn’t happen, although it’s easy to imagine it as something that would have been loved and loathed by fans in equal measure, with such a crossover breaking the rules of both shows. However, the former showrunner was so enamored with the idea that he considered working a Star Trek pastiche into the episode that became “Planet of the Dead,” which marked David Tennant’s final appearance as a series regular. That didn’t happen either, though.
In the end, Doctor Who‘s first season was an immense success for Davies and the BBC. It aired at the same time as Enterprise‘s final episode. Star Trek wouldn’t return to television until 2017 with Star Trek: Discovery, while Doctor Who is still going; the thirteenth season of the reboot is coming later this year.
The two shows eventually did cross over in 2012, in the form of the comic books Star Trek: The Next Generation and Doctor Who: Assimilation from IDW. Featuring Matt Smith’s Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise D, the storyline saw the Borg combine forces with the Cybermen. A sequel featuring Deep Space Nine and an alliance between the Jem’Hadar and the Sontarans was nixed when IDW lost the Doctor Who license to Titan.
Today a crossover between two franchises the size of Star Trek and Doctor Who would be a major television event that would probably span a whole season, but would it work? Could we see the Thirteenth Doctor show up at Picard’s vineyard? Could Michael Burnham go on a trip even further into the future? The possibilities are truly endless.