A deleted scene from “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” continues to stir conversation decades after it was cut from the William Shatner-directed film. The two-minute sequence takes place in an office on Nimbus III and involves a conversation between the Romulan diplomat Caithlin Dar (Cynthia Gouw), the human ambassador St. John Talbot (David Warner), and the Klingon general Korrd (Charles Cooper). They’re ostensibly gathered to discuss peace, but Talbot behaves indifferently toward Dar and Korrd is rude. Both male characters are also sexist toward Dar, who proceeds to stand up for herself.
As previously reported by Heavy, Warner died on July 24, 2022, at the age of 80. Cooper, according to the Los Angeles Times, died on November 29, 2013, at the age of 87. Both Warner and Cooper, Memory Alpha notes, appeared in other “Star Trek” productions after “Star Trek V.” Gouw, according to her website, has acted, modeled, and won three Emmy Awards as a journalist. She currently has 235,000 followers on TikTok, where she offers tips for aging gracefully. Heavy spoke with Gouw in late July 2022 about the deleted “Star Trek V” scene, the fact that her voice was dubbed, her memories of working with David Warner, and what she’s working on at the moment.
Gouw Had Never Seen Her Deleted Scene… Until Now
What did you think of the deleted scene and how it might have fit into the story?
You know, I have never seen that scene until now. Wow. A bit surreal., Upon seeing it, the whole thing just clicks into place—the clash of cultures and the insults, irony, and humor. As a viewer, you eagerly anticipate how the Klingon will inevitably misbehave –and the sight of Talbot as a washed-up ambassador is such a juicy contrast to the relative freshness and idealism of Caithlin’s character. You’re thinking, buckle up, this will be a fun ride. In the deleted scene, I think Caithlin Dar is far more multi-dimensional, and for other reasons, than what you saw in the final cut. You see her determination as she attempts to positively spin the situation despite the decay and cynicism of Talbot and Koord.
What do you recall of shooting it with David Warner and Charles Cooper, and of Shatner directing it?
Well, the scene was a lot of fun to do because of the dynamics between these diametrically opposite characters. Our call time was 7 a.m. with daily grueling makeup sessions which lasted at least two hours — considering my eyebrows, silvery makeup, and installing my elaborate and rather, ahem, large hairpiece. Leonard (Nimoy) often sat in the chair next to me, getting his makeup done, which made those long sessions, somehow, not long enough. (Laughs) We waited on Charles because his full Klingon regalia took a lot of time. On the other hand, David, that good-looking chap, just needed a light feather dusting. It wasn’t until late afternoon that we started filming the scene and we got that entire scene shot in one day. The best directors love their actors or were actors themselves, so Bill was all energy, insight, and kindness. His enthusiasm in crafting the scene kept our spirits up even into the late hours of the night. We shot Charles’s scenes first, then mine, then David graciously went last. It was very late at night when we wrapped. Much later, Bill called me in to dub my voice, citing background noise and bad audio. Bill asked me to lower my voice considerably during these dubbing sessions. I don’t know why my voice was dubbed. Charles and David’s voices weren’t.
Honestly, I was disappointed with the final cut. The dubbing of my voice made my performance seem disconnected and made my character seem a bit wooden—which critics amply pointed out. I think the final cut wasn’t based on my true work. For years, I never revealed that my voice was dubbed. I knew Bill was under a great deal of pressure with studio and labor problems that were out of his control and I also felt a great deal of loyalty and gratefulness to him for casting me. However, with the resurfacing of this deleted scene, I think the fans can judge for themselves which version of Caithlin Dar they prefer! That said, “Star Trek V” didn’t get the respect and consideration it deserves. I think the studio’s rigidity in keeping the film to 1:45 didn’t allow the characters to fully develop. I do hope Paramount lets Bill do his director’s cut, using my true voice. It isn’t right that the other “Star Trek” films got that opportunity—and “Star Trek V” hasn’t yet, at this point. Bill deserves his shot. Despite the give and take of “Star Trek V,” I am eternally grateful to be one of the countless professionals who have been given this opportunity to be in such a miraculous franchise. Plus, the love I have seen from Trekkies in person, over time, is such an awesome and humbling thing.
The scene is meant to make St. John and Kordd come across as sexist against women and racist against Romulans. In today’s parlance, people would describe them as misogynistic and say they’re mansplaining to Caithlin. What did you think about all that back in the day — and now?
I think the tolerance for that kind of behavior back in the day was unfortunate and the “boys” were undermining her at every turn with their patronizing and misogynistic comments. However, as she is written and in the deleted scene, we see how Caithlin has gusto, despite her youth, and doesn’t back down when facing a more imposing elder. She ignores Koord’s scoffing at her idealism in volunteering for the Ambassador position and she directly confronts him with bravery on his boorish and sexist behavior.
To Gouw’s Surprise, Her Voice as Dar Was Dubbed
How surprised were you that the scene got cut? Do you know if Shatner himself ordered it cut — or did the studio or the editor? And did Shatner ever discuss why it got cut?
Actors weren’t allowed to see the dailies, so I was really surprised at the premiere when I saw the film for the first time. It was so much more different than what I expected. On top of that, the scene being cut meant the three hostages immediately became ancillary to the whole plot. I wasn’t privy to the details, but I’m sure Bill supported his own strong vision of the scene’s inclusion in the film so that the characters could be more developed but it seems he did face studio pressure to cut the film down. Regardless, the final cut was an epic ride and I am glad to have lived to see it and grateful that my 3 kids were able to see it too.
How surprised were that A) it ended up in the DVD’s deleted scenes and that B) all this time later, people are talking about it again?
I’m not surprised at all. It was a terrific scene. It adds an undeniably richer texture to the film and fills out the characters and answers a lot of questions on who these three people are. You know, “Star Trek V” has such an incredible message filled with hope, humor, and deep connections between individuals. “Star Trek” fans are the absolute best and I proudly count myself as one of them—as I rushed home to watch episodes after school. I love this unique universe which moves us all with its profound emotional connections—so it’s no surprise that fans want more. I want more. I hope one day to work in “Star Trek” again.
You mentioned David Warner a moment ago. He passed away in July 2022. What other memories can you share of your time working with him?
David was such a joy to work with. We spent so many long hours together as a trio, David, Charles, and me, as we worked for eight weeks in the desert and at the lot at Paramount on Melrose Avenue. To pass the time, we would play Scrabble and cards. I got my proverbial ass handed to me each and every time. (Laughs) I’d like to think it was just me being a 20-something against a more mature Brit with a stunning vocabulary. But, really, whom am I fooling? David and I collectively decided that the arc of our characters would be that after initially being at odds at the beginning of the film, we would fall in love, and become a couple at the end. David had a great and often gentle spirit. He was a generous acting partner with a wonderful sense of humor. Through his films, his undeniable talent lives on forever.
What are you working on these days?
At nearly 60, I’m still exploring brave new worlds and civilizations. If you are looking, you can find me on Planet TikTok. I’m having fun creating a roadmap for my quarter-of-a-million-strong community on lifestyle, beauty, career, and family—and creating a path to celebrating ourselves, no matter what our age. If you so desire to quest with me, follow me on TikTok and on Instagram @Cynthia_Gouw.