Release of 4K Version of ‘Star Trek V’ Renew Calls for ‘The Shatner Cut’

Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Laurence Luckinbill, and William Shatner

Paramount Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Laurence Luckinbill, and William Shatner

Fans of the classic “Star Trek” film series have waited for this announcement. The first four Trek films, which feature the crew from “The Original Series,” was released in September 2021. That is, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” and “Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home” are all available for fans to watch on ultra high definition Blu-ray, which is commonly known as simply as “4K.”

Now, thanks to reporting from Bill Hunt on his site Digital Bits, fans know that those two remaining films — “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” will be available for purchase in the United States in September 2022. Included in Hunt’s news was that “Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Director’s Edition” will also be available this September. This version of the film debuted on Paramount+ on April 5, 2022, and featured completely remastered effects, sound, and new footage. 

‘The Motion Picture – Director’s Edition’

“Obviously, none of this is official until Paramount actually makes it so in a press release, but now we can safely assume that the remaining original cast films will all arrive in September,” said Hunt in his story

“As for the ‘Next Generation’ films in 4K Ultra HD, our guess would be that Paramount intends to drop those in time for the holidays this year or early next year,” Hunt said.

To put out the best version of “The Motion Picture” possible, Paramount assembled a team of experts who worked with director Bob Wise in 2001 to create a director’s edition. Among them was Daren Dochterman, who Heavy interviewed in April. Dochterman served as Associate Producer / Visual Effects Supervisor on the project. 

Dochterman detailed the amount of work and effort that he and his team put forth to bring “The Motion Picture” to the level it deserved. Paramount would not have paid Dochterman and the other experts to do all they did unless the company thought fans would purchase the new 4K discs.

In that same interview, Heavy asked Dochterman if he thought a similar effort could “save” a different film — “Star Trek III.” We asked if he and the other experts could go into the edit bays, cut out scenes and add new effects in the way they did with “The Motion Picture” to create a better outcome. Perhaps a “Director’s Edition” of “The Search for Spock” could then be released. 

“The main problem with that is, first of all, we don’t have the director of the film available,” Dochterman said. The director of “Star Trek III” was the late Leonard Nimoy. Dochterman also noted that the problems inherent with “Star Trek III” go beyond what anyone could do by adding visual effects. 

Point taken. Because Nimoy is unavailable, there will likely never be a director’s edition for the third and fourth “Star Trek” movies. 

But, the director of “Star Trek V” is very much alive. In fact, the director of “Star Trek V” became the oldest astronaut in history in 2021 — William Shatner. The idea of bringing Shatner back to finish the film the way he intended back in 1988 is something fans have been agitating about for quite some time. 

Trek Report asked the question in June 2020, if fans will ever see “The Shatner Cut?” At that time, there were new petitions making the rounds of Twitter and other social media (like this one), urging Paramount to let Shatner have the funds and a team to create his vision. 

’Star Trek V’ – Not In Front of the Klingons

“I got the chance to direct a several-million-dollar movie, ‘Star Trek V,’ and I did not get the help I needed in allocating my budget, so when it came to shooting the ending — needing a good villain and lots of computer graphics — I had run out of money,” Shatner told CinemaBlend in 2016

“I had to use footage that I had already shot — and spit on it a lot. I wanted to give [the audience] earth-breaking granite monsters spewing rocks and fire,” Shatner said. “Instead, I had a few pebbles in my hand that I threw at the camera.”

Shatner also planned to have a group of Rock Men to menace Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) at the galaxy’s center. This was the famous scene where Kirk asked, “why does God need a starship?” 

At the time of the Trek Report story, Shatner said that he could ask God or Alex Kurtzman for the go-ahead to finish the movie in the way he intended. Since then, his attitude has changed toward a “Star Trek V re-do.”

Shatner talks Directing in 1989

Responding to a fan question on Twitter about the Shatner Cut, the Inglorious Treksperts podcast team said it’s “unlikely.” Dochterman and television and film producer Mark A. Altman are the prime voices behind the Treksperts podcast.

“The problem with this is [Shatner] has said on numerous occasions he has no interest in revisiting ‘Star Trek V,’” said the Treksperts. “It’d be better to call it a Special Edition under the aegis of others, but unlikely anything Shatner would want to be involved with.”

While the Treksperts are usually correct on most all things Trek-related, Shatner has been known to change his mind. In the span of a few years, Shatner has given entirely different answers about returning to Trek as Captain James T. Kirk. 

In 2007, Shatner said that he would not return to Trek for the J.J. Abram’s helmed film because he does not do cameos. In 2016, Shatner told The Hollywood Reporter that he would return to the role, even after not appearing in “Star Trek Beyond.” In 2019, Shatner told KOMO Radio in Seattle that he would return. “I certainly would. You know? A well-written thing? I certainly would. Absolutely.” In 2020, Shatner posted on Twitter that he would not return because “Kirk’s story is pretty well played out at this point.” But, in February 2021, Shatner told Jake Kleinman of Inverse that he would return to Trek “if they wrote an interesting role.”

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