“Star Trek” 2009, J.J. Abrams‘ reboot of the Trek franchise, gave fans a whole new look at the original crew of the Enterprise. Though the characters were familiar, Abrams created his own Trek timeline so he could tell the story he wanted to tell.
However, he did include several nods to “The Original Series,” the most iconic of which was Captain James T. Kirk taking the Kobayashi Maru test. All command track cadets of Starfleet Academy take the Kobayashi Maru to determine how they’ll deal with a no-win situation. In “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” Kirk revealed that he was the first cadet who’d ever beaten the Kobayashi Maru. However, he also admitted that he’d “changed the conditions of the test” by reprogramming the scenario. Though he refused to use the word “cheating,” he freely admitted that he had, in fact, cheated.
“Star Trek” 2009 depicted Kirk’s infamous Kobayashi Maru victory as well as the disciplinary hearing that followed when his cheating was discovered. Two deleted scenes showed exactly how Kirk managed to reprogram the test and the fallout of his actions.
Hacking the System
Right before the scene shown above, there was supposed to be a scene explaining how Kirk actually hacked the Kobayashi Maru. In the DVD/Blu-ray commentary for the film, the production team revealed that that Gaila, the Orion cadet that Kirk was dating, played a pivotal role in his victory over the simulation, though she didn’t know.
The producers stated that Kirk was romantically involved with her specifically because she had access to the systems that controlled the Kobayashi Maru. In the scrapped scene, Kirk sent a message to Gaila, which she opened during his test. The message contained a virus, which reprogrammed the simulation when it was opened.
During the disciplinary hearing scene, the producers explained that Gaila was in the background glaring at Kirk because she was mad about unwittingly playing a part in his plot to cheat. Had the scene explaining her manipulation been included, her anger during the hearing would have made a lot more sense.
Another deleted scene, which can be watched above, showed Kirk trying to make amends to Gaila. Unfortunately, it didn’t go quite as he expected.
Kirk approached an Orion girl in a corridor of the Enterprise. He launched into what seemed to be a heartfelt and genuine apology. As he waited for a response, he realized that he was not talking to Gaila. In reality, he’d just apologized to a random Orion crew member.
In the DVD/Blu-ray commentary, the producers revealed why they’d cut out Kirk’s manipulation of Gaila and the subsequent apology. Abrams said that when he screened the movie for his close friend, critically acclaimed director Matt Reeves, the biggest feedback Reeves gave was that he hated Kirk. Reeves thought that Kirk came off as so cocky that he was completely unlikeable.
So, the production team went through the film’s first cut, looking for scenes to cut to make Kirk look better. The extra Kobayashi Maru scenes were deleted in the process. Though the movie is fine without these scenes, they would have added some interesting context.
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