June 22 2024


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Star Trek IV: What Might Have Been

2 min read


As every fan knows, there are things that never make it into a movie, and that was the case when it came to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home too.

Some of the changes were minor, such as name changes, but a few scenes never made it into the final cut of the film.

The name changes include Admiral Lance Cartwright, who was originally the character of Admiral Harry Morrow (seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – the meanie who forbad Kirk from going to the Genesis Planet to retrieve Spock’s body).

Gillian Taylor would have been Shelley Clarke. Her precious whales would have been the less imaginative Adam and Evie instead of George and Gracie.

Two scenes that didn’t make it into the movie included one in which Commander Christine Chapel, who greets Ambassador Sarek who is trying unsuccessfully to enter the Federation Council’s meeting where the fate of his son and his son’s crewmates will be decided. Chapel puts the guard who would deny Sarek entry “in his place,” telling him that “this man is Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan, as any school child would know.”

And one scenario that was long rumored would have indeed taken place; in early drafts of the script, Saavik was pregnant with Spock’s child. In the original script, Amanda tried to tell her son during their conversation, but wasn’t able to do so. “Kirk and Saavik discuss the situation, with Saavik eventually not telling Spock.”

It’s hard to believe the movie was released almost thirty years ago.

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28 thoughts on “Star Trek IV: What Might Have Been

  1. There was also the failed cut-scene where Sulu meets his young great-grandfather. They couldn’t get the kid to say his lines or hit his marks, IIRC. I think there were many others, but they elude me now.

  2. > There was also the failed cut-scene where Sulu meets his young great-grandfather

    If that’s the case, you’re probably missing a few “greats” before that.

  3. Don’t forget that the entire thing was conceived as a vehicle for Eddie Murphy!

    It’s not that hard to believe TVH is nearly 30 years old, because it’s aged the worst of any of the Trek films. To today’s viewer it just screams “’80s Paramount comedy”, and its 1986 setting was clearly meant to connect with the audiences of that particular point in time (as opposed to, say, “City on the Edge of Forever”, whose 1930 setting was a period piece for the audiences of 1967).

    It’s certainly not a bad movie, but it’s my least favorite of the six TOS films because as a conclusion to the “Genesis Trilogy” it’s a disaster. Compared to the heavy, operatic events of TWOK and TSFS, this adventure is a completely inconsequential bit of fluff that is wildly out of tone with its predecessors, sports a horrible musical score, throws the character of Saavik out the window in the first fifteen minutes (there was no reason not to have her accompany the rest of the crew back to Earth in the Bounty — why did they bother having her show up at all?!), and, in the final five minutes, completely undoes everything that the preceding two movies had built up by granting total amnesty to Kirk and his command crew and having them all warp off on an exact replica of their old ship as though nothing had ever happened.

    About the best thing TVH has going for it is Catherine Hicks running braless through Golden Gate Park. (And that ain’t bad at all.)

  4. There were more scenes, and some of them were in fact filmed. Sulu’s ancestor child was acted by a kid that Takei said was being yelled at by his mom and crying. They stopped trying before they had anything usable I believe. More importantly, Sulu got promoted to Captain in the little shuttle scene near the end.
    (Or was this in 3?)
    Takei said Shatner intentionally ruined the scene with listlessness to keep Sulu from taking any spotlight off Kirk. (He was therefor never known as Captain until VI).
    Eddie Murphy at a baseball game was never filmed, fortunately. That would’ve seemed like cramming Richard Pryor into a Superman movie for some reason, and why would anyone do that?

  5. You mean we missed Spock’s pon farr before knocking up Saavik? Geez, you think his randy pal Kirk would have instructed him on appropriate protection…

  6. This is presumed to have taken place on the Genesis planet, where a teen/young adult Spock goes into pon farr and Saavik tries to calm him down. The assumption (or rather the horny fanboy theory) is that Saavik must have screwed him, and the further assumption is that either she was caught without a rubber or wanted to have his child.

    I call bullshit, not just because I think it’s an awfully stupid idea in the first place, but because there is nothing onscreen to indicate any sex took place. The very next scene they’re both curled up next to each other, but both fully clothed, not even Saavik’s away-team jacket undone. Not bloody likely, especially not after impulsive, hot-blooded, passionate pon farr sex.Not to mention that everything in canon* shows that she sees Spock as a father figure, and holds no romantic feelings towards him. *(Apologies to Vonda McIntyre and Carolyn Clowes. However, their books say the same.)

    Besides, studies indicate the fury of pon farr can be abated with a good blow job.

  7. It’s the sporadic Daniel Ireland stalker/impersonator. Its words are not important, we do not hear them.

  8. According to the almighty Wiki (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Hikaru_Sulu), I apparently only missed one “great”:

    The script for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home called for a scene shortly after Kirk told his crew to break up because they looked like a cadet review, Sulu encountered a young Japanese boy who mistook Sulu for his Uncle. Hikaru told the boy that he must be mistaken, and then asked the child for his name, which was revealed to be Akira Sulu, Hikaru’s great-great-grandfather. The Japanese boy was hired for the movie but was too shy to play his part and the scene could not be filmed. This scene was retained in the novelization of the movie.

  9. Ok, I’m gonna get my geek out 🙂 and say you still can’t take the script at face value. There’s still no way that’s right without a few more “greats”. According to the very Wiki article you pointed out, Sulu was born in 2237. TVH takes place in 1986–251 years prior to his birth.

    If Sulu’s dad was *50* (!) before his son was born, that means *he* was born in 2187. And then if *his* dad was also 50 when *he* was born, that means Sulu’s grandfather was born in 2137. Repeat that twice more (great-grandfather -> great-great-grandfather), and his great-great-grandfather was born in 2037.

    Go back one more generation for another parent who waited until the age of 50 to have a kid, and you’re finally in 1987, pretty much movie-time. However, that’s his birth date, so you need to go back a couple more years still for “a young Japanese” to talk to Sulu. I doubt a newborn baby told Sulu he thought he was his uncle.

    Bottom line–the script is still off by one generation (at least), *if* each parent waited until he was 50 to have a child, which sounds ridiculous. If you want something a little more realistic, and each of Sulu’s parent was *25* when an offspring was born, then you’ve just doubled the number of generations.

  10. I was doing this same math in my head last night but was too embarrassed to admit it. :D. (And I’m in my mid-thirties though my paternal great-grandfather was born in 1860, so I was being similarly generous with the numbers).

  11. I don’t think that was the reason; I remember reading about that and remember the dialogue being cut, but I’m pretty sure it was to keep importance, focus and plot direction smooth and simple. shrug.

  12. I think there was more of Sulu and the helicoptor but I’m not sure.

  13. I would take what Takei says about that scene with a huge grain of salt. I seem to recall everyone else saying the scene/dialog was removed for plot reasons.

    Also, watching the shuttle scene again, it makes little to no sense to promote Sulu there. The ending was all about the crew being back together with a new Enterprise. Promoting Sulu would be breaking up the family and ruin the ‘feel good moment’.

  14. You’ve got a point. Although I wouldn’t put it past Shatner to have been a selfish jerk back then, George got hypersensitive to it over the years, and may have read too much into it. These days I feel like his justifiable bitterness is still vivid whereas Shatner barely recalls the gripe. One thing I’ll give Shatner though, is that with a show that always starred Kirk and never once had a Sulu episode, it must have been galling to share credit with actors who barely had a role. Anyway, at the risk of sounding like an obvious, cheesy geek, your logic is sound.

  15. That makes perfect sense, as Davey83 above also pointed out. I guess after all the years George probably has a hard time believing anything Shatner related wasn’t profoundly inconsiderate. And of course, just because they had good plot reasons to leave it out doesn’t mean that Shatner didn’t intentionally try to tank the scene. Not a big team player it would seem. Interesting that a power struggle with Nimoy led to a lifelong friendship instead of decades of animosity. I suppose that once Shatner was declared THE star, while both actors largely succeeded in getting equal contracts, there may have been little to fight about. Too bad that equality led to The Final Frontier and left the franchise in an awful lurch.

  16. I’d argue that the non-disheveled nature of their clothing might be a misdirect (due to fastidious post-coital Vulcan boing rituals), or even an old fashioned “pan to the window” moment of prudish film making. Further, while she may have looked up to pre-death Spock, the old man, as a mentor sort, she wasn’t finger stroking that old body on the G planet. That young man might have seemed like a very different proposition. Evidently those memories were not retained or recovered, but it would be interesting to see how Saavik might fish for certainty on that. “So you remember NOTHING from before the rebirth, right?”

    As for the Vulcan BJ solution, that is not a theory at all. That’s just straight up canon. That sure was one weird episode of Voyager….

  17. I don’t think the Final Frontier is nearly as bad as its reputation. I think Shatner was screwed over with a lot of studio meddling; they forced the “brother” angle; cut his budget midway; forced un-needed humor after its success in TVH… TFF captured the adventure aspect of TOS better then most of the other movies.

    Give this a watch. Its a 1 hour TOS episode style recut of the movie, and its a completely different experience.


  18. Three Men and a Whale. 😀
    I don’t care so much about the continuity issues, but TVH is mostly an 80s comedy set on Earth, which is not what I want from Star Trek.

  19. Which is more likely: Shatner being worried that the character of Sulu might compete with Kirk in popularity, or Takei being paranoid? I’d say the latter.

  20. There’s always the whole movie that would have been had Eddie Murphy remained attached until the end…

  21. Gods’ tits. How could Kang have forgotten the holo-blowup dolls? Ah, that’s right; Kang blotted it from Kang’s memory.

  22. I saw the movie the week it came out when I was eight years old. What’s weird is I could have sworn I saw that scene with Sulu and his ancestor in the theater. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t on the VHS version.

    Maybe I was hallucinating!

  23. The cut promotion sequence was in Star Trek II, and Meyers says it was cut for other reasons.

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