After "Star Trek V" crashed and burned, it looked as if Capt. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Scotty and the rest would be put in permanent dry-dock. Paramount Pictures, we were told, was so unhappy about the poor business generated by "Star Trek V," directed by star William Shatner, that it seriously considered scrapping the big-screen series. Then, someone came up with a new wrinkle: Why not launch a prequel? Flash back to the days when Kirk and his buddies were at the space academy. They would be played by younger actors who resembled Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, etc.
Once again, the trekkies rebelled en masse, as they did when the TV show was canceled. "No Shatner, Nimoy or Kelley," they said, "no new `Star Treks.' "George Takei, helmsman Sulu in the series, picks up the story here. Takei was in San Francisco earlier this week at the behest of Mill Valley Film Festival, showing his latest film, "Blood Oath."
"It was a big brouhaha, I don't mind telling you," Takei says. "Paramount decided to recast the characters the fans had grown to know and love. There was such a hue and cry at (Paramount chief) Frank Mancuso's office. So they dumped the idea. Now they say, `Yes, we're going to do "Star Trek VI" properly.' "
"Star Trek VI" was originally set to open Sept. 8, 1991, to coincide with the 25th (or silver) anniversary of the first TV episode. That opening has been pushed back because of script problems and Nimoy's refusal to return as director.
Now, according to Takei, Paramount is negotiating with writer-director Nicholas Meyer, who directed "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." Takei says he has talked to Meyer's agent, who said, "It's a done deal, though we haven't signed the contract."
Takei is brutally forthright about what went wrong on "Star Trek V." "It didn't make any money because it was not a good movie. The script was confused. There were four or five plots and none of them was woven together and resolved . . ."