Many Star Trek fans remember Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home fondly. It’s known as one of the best Trek movies of the series and also one of the funniest. The film, which came out in 1986, followed Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and the rest of the Enterprise crew on a mission to save whales and bring them to the 23rd century. It was, in a lot of ways, about the environment. It was also the highest-grossing Trek film until J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot.
Writing partners Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes wrote the screenplay and now, after thirty years since the film’s release, Meerson has revealed that the original draft included a role for Eddie Murphy.
“It was always the same story that approved, but the original draft included a part for Eddie Murphy. Eddie was on the lot at Paramount at the time and arguably was the biggest star in the word. They had told us he was a huge Star Trek fan.”
Murphy, whose 1980s filmography included Coming to America, was supposed to play an astrophysicist, but was instead replaced by Catherine Hicks’ marine biologist, Dr. Gillian Taylor.
However, the path to the final draft isn’t always smooth. Meerson says that the script was reworked by writer Nicholas Meyer and producer Harve Bennett to “Trek it up”.
“At the beginning of the process, it was actually a lot of fun. As the process progressed, it became less fun, because it became more political. And I don’t say that with any bitterness. It’s just the way things work in all businesses. We began to feel like at a certain point that this was going to be taken away from us, which in fact, it was. Harve Bennett said, ‘We need to Trek this up. You guys have done an amazing job, but we now need to Trek this up.'”
You can read everything Meerson has to say here.
What do you think Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home would have looked like had Eddie Murphy remained part of the cast? Let us know in the comments below.