Finally, after a very long wait and much speculation, Paramount will be releasing the first four “Star Trek” films featuring the cast of “The Original Series” on 4K Ultra High Definition discs. These films will also be available in a new Blu-ray box collection. These will be available on Sept. 7, 2021.
But, even more importantly, the special edition of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” will also be released soon. This, the director’s cut version of the first Trek movie, will be made available to fans in “six to eight months,” according to StarTrek.com. Before this announcement, the Director’s Edition was only available as a standard definition DVD or for download in high definition from services like iTunes.
According to the article, the restoration team will include David C. Fein (producer), Mike Matessino (restoration supervisor), and Daren Dochterman (visual effects supervisor) — all of whom worked with Robert Wise previously.
Dochterman is the co-host of the “Inglorious Treksperts” podcast, and some are already asking him to comment on the project.
StarTrek.com reports that “the film will be prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The restoration is expected to take 6-8 months and will launch with an exclusive window on Paramount+.”
The Director’s Edition versus The Theatrical Version
That ‘window’ means that fans will be able to stream the “TMP: Director’s Edition” for some time on the Paramount+ streaming service. This is similar to how HBO Max made their recent films “Shazam” and “Wonder Woman 2” available only for a limited time on the streaming service before making it available as a paid digital download, Blu-ray, or 4K disc release.
Noted digital and physical media writer, Bill Hunt of the site Digital Bits, wrote that this new remastered release of the “Director’s Edition” would likely be available on Blu-ray eventually as well.
Hunt spoke with Trek Report in June on the subject of upgrading the first ten “Star Trek” films for a 4K release.
“[Paramount is] very keen on exploring their catalog on disc, and they are pretty good about restoration,” Hunt told Trek Report in the interview. “They are well aware that people want Star Trek — all of those classic films.”
In the article, Hunt said that he advised Paramount in the recent past on their releases and counseled them on releasing all ten TOS/TNG films at the same time on 4K.
Will they include the Lost ‘Memory Wall’ scenes?
Some fans of “The Motion Picture” are aware that some scenes did not make the “Director’s edition” still exist. This includes the ‘Memory Wall’ scene, which Wise cut in favor of Spock’s spacewalk.
Thanks to Forgotten Trek’s Tracy Tobias and Nick Ottens, fans can check out what the scene was actually all about. The site has a complete visual script and commentary and explanation for what the plan of the ‘Memory Wall’ scene was supposed to be.
Otten writes that, according to Trek legend, the scene was “the great lost sequence of The Motion Picture that was only cut because of time restraints.” But, he writes, in reality, the ‘Memory Wall’ was “abandoned because it failed on many levels” and that “Director Robert Wise rejected it during post-production and replaced it with Spock’s spacewalk.”
While the scene was not completed, and the special effects were not finished, the primary photography for the scene, which features Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy), reportedly still exists, which fans can watch here.
This prompted some fans to post images from the infamous scene on Twitter:
Which made other fans wonder if the ‘Memory Wall’ could be salvaged:
While it is unclear if Altman’s opinion aligns with Paramount’s plans, there is precedent for resurrecting and updating films in this new streaming era. The prime example of this was “Justice League.” HBO Max gave director Zach Snyder additional funds to redo the film the way he wanted versus how it was originally released.