When a franchise tries to please their fandom, it can go horribly wrong or wonderfully right. Since Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek writers and producers have run the gamut of success and failure. While most of the Star Trek movies have been well-received, fans have been displeased with a few of them. Star Trek Generations is not a favorite of many.
The movie was intended to be a changing of the guard. The original crew moves aside so the newer crew of The Next Generation can take over. Generations has been called “dull”, “mediocre”, and basically a longer episode of the TV series. The movie has middling scores across the board, whether you visit IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, or Metacritic.
With the experience of the original cast combined with The Next Generation, strange and mind-blowing behind-the-scenes stories were bound to happen. This list contains items going back to the very beginnings of conception to after the movie was done filming.
Gene Roddenberry had never really wanted to blend crews from different series together, but Berman felt for Generations, this was the right thing to do. If Roddenberry had been alive during the movie’s development, Generations might have taken a different path. Maybe a path to better reviews from fans and critics.
Here’s 15 Mind-Blowing Things You Didn’t Know About Star Trek Generations.
15. The Writers thought TNG had been canceled
Everyone – from Star Trek fans to those involved in movies before The Undiscovered Country – figured the seventh Star Trek movie would star the cast of The Next Generation. So, in 1992, Paramount entrusted Rick Berman to conceive and develop the next feature film.
Berman contacted Ronald Moore and Brannon Braga – two experienced Star Trek writers – to meet with them. Both Moore and Braga had first thought Berman planned to tell them the TNG TV show had been canceled. That would have been premature at that point.
But Berman revealed that Paramount struck a two-movie deal. Berman wanted Moore and Braga to write the first movie in that deal. So, Berman and the two writers worked out the story. Moore and Braga took one month – from May 1993 to June 1993 – to complete first draft of the screenplay.
14. Original Cast As Cameos Only
A lot of confusion surfaced on how to utilize the Original Series’ cast in the transition from old to new. Paramount had no issue with using the original cast, giving Rick Berman the go ahead. Berman felt it was a good way to pass the torch.
Different screenplay drafts included the original cast in different ways. In the first draft, the Star Trek cast would only appear in the prologue as guests of honor on the Enterprise-B. Those characters would take up positions at their old stations before the Nexus attacks the ship. This didn’t sit well with many of the original cast members.
13. The reason there was no Spock
Leonard Nimoy had no interested in appearing in Generations, either in a major role or as a cameo. At first, he was given the chance to direct the movie, but Nimoy refused. The reason he didn’t want to play Spock was because he found no reason for the character to be in the movie.
Nimoy commented one time, “If you took the dozen or so lines of Spock dialog and simply change the name of the character, nobody would notice the difference.”
That ironic statement came true: Spock’s lines were slightly altered and given to Montgomery Scott, played by James Doohan. Doohan didn’t like TNG at first and would watch the “good ones” when his family told him they were one. He felt they were doing the same shows as the original cast had done.
12. DeForest Kelley’s health problems
DeForest Kelley has stated he felt he had an appropriate farewell in The Undiscovered Country. He did decline returning to the Star Trek universe, but some part of him wanted another chance to play his iconic character, Dr. McCoy. And who could blame him?
At the time of casting the original series’ actors into the movie, Kelley’s health had been declining for some time. Union requirements for anyone on a film set include actors having on-set insurance. Kelley was unable to get the required insurance, so he was unable to take part in the movie.
11. Kirk Died, Then Didn’t
Killing off Captain Kirk was a tough but major decision that obviously set off fierce debates. When Brannon Braga, Ronald Moore, and Rick Berman were doing initial brainstorming, Kirk’s death found its way into the story, but the idea never made it into the first screenplay drafts.
Moore remembered, saying “we wanted to aim high, do something different and big. We had to have a strong Picard story arc, so what are the profound things in a man’s life he has to face? Mortality tops the list.”
They decided not to have Kirk die. Instead, killing a character from the The Next Generation cast was proposed, but was quickly vetoed. Again, killing Kirk was suggested. Moore said when that happened, “we all sorta looked around and said, ‘That might be it.’”
10. Short Shooting Schedule
Paramount gave Rick Berman and David Carson an extremely tight production schedule: only six months. This time included when The Next Generation would end its long run and when Paramount planned to debut the movie.
Even as The Next Generation was shooting the last episodes of the show, production began on the Generations movie. Most of the schedule in the beginning included shooting scenes that didn’t require cast members of The Next Generation to be there.
After the show ended, there was only a ten-day break until the TNG cast had to report for Generations shooting. Because of that, the last episode, “All Good Things…” did not feel like a goodbye for TNG. For many of the cast members, Generations was the true goodbye.
9. Uniform Hand-Me-Downs
When the TV series was done filming, shooting for the movie ramped up. One issue remained: the design team fell behind in making some important costumes for Generations – especially the uniforms for the main cast.
The two actors who had their uniforms completed were Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner. Luckily, the uniforms were Deep Space Nine versions so a short-term solution presented itself.
Deep Space Nine had completed shooting for the summer, so uniforms for that show made it onto Generations. Jonathan Frakes used Avery Brooks’ uniform; Frakes had to roll up the sleeves to make it fit better. LeVar Burton used Colm Meaney’s uniform, but it was clearly too large. Michael Dorn was left in the dust and had to use his TNG uniform. Terry Farrell’s uniform wasn’t flattering for either Marina Sirtis or Gates McFadden so they also used their television costumes.
8. Picard’s Bald Cap
After he finished shooting Generations, Patrick Stewart began his roles for two other movies, The Pagemaster and Jeffrey. Even while filming Generations, Stewart had been preparing for the other roles.
However, Rick Berman had strong opinions about the Christmas scene in Generations. The original scene didn’t meet Berman’s approval, so it needed to be reshot. Stewart was called back to shoot the scene.
But Stewart had kept his hair longer for Jeffrey. In order to maintain continuity throughout the movie, a hairpiece was applied to ensure the hair matched every other scene in the movie with Picard. The Christmas scene was one of a number redone, but one of the more amusing reshoots since fans were used to seeing Stewart with little hair.
7. Shatner didn’t like Stewart being Captain of the Enterprise
With a long-running franchise, it must be hard for older casts to watch newer, younger actors/characters take over the universe. Especially when the older cast is handing over the reigns to the new crew.
William Shatner had some great lines, but he has said he found many of lines of dialogue hard to say. One of the hardest lines to deliver, according to Shatner, was “Who am I to argue with the Captain of the Enterprise?”
When thinking back on Generations, he has said, “I refer to Picard as Captain of the Enterprise on a couple of occasions in the film.” Adding, when he said the lines, “The reality was there. Patrick Stewart is now the Captain of the Enterprise. The irony was that the series was over for him, too, though he has movies to come.”
6. Sulu’s Daughter
In addition to Leonard Nimoy flat-out refusing to appear in Generations, George Takei also declined to be in the movie.
The plan for Sulu was to have him stationed at the helm of Enterprise-B for one scene. Takei simply said no as he didn’t want his character to be demoted just to serve under Captain Kirk one more time. Sulu had been promoted to Captain and was in command of the USS Excelsior. This promotion occurred three years before the events in The Undiscovered Country.
Takei felt his character earned his command and to temporarily reduce the rank wouldn’t make sense. So the character of Demora was created, who was Sulu’s daughter. She said the lines originally meant for Hikaru Sulu.
5. Sirtis’ Burnt Butt
The big battle scene with the Klingons was planned to be shot in one go. The director wanted to capture genuine reactions of the actors and it sort of worked.
The “planet came out of nowhere,” and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) found the entire sequence fascinating. But when she sat down on her chair, a burning chunk of debris singed her rear. She said, “What was funny was that my chair caught fire and burned my bottom.” While the crew set up for the next take, Sirtis checked to make sure nothing else was burning on the seat before she sat down again.
4. The First Website
Now days, it’s uncommon for a movie not to have a website online to promote it. In the 1990s, the opposite was true. Generations was the first Star Trek movie to have a website designed to advertise it.
The home page resembled the L-CARS interface familiar to Star Trek fans. The main menu included links to view “Movie Preview,” “Sights and Sounds,” “Behind the Scenes,” and the “Star Trek Shop.”
You could download a teaser and full trailer previewing the movie, watch GIFs of characters with sound bites, read about the history of Star Trek, and see who was involved with the movie.
The e-commerce page showcased eleven products, like video cassettes of Deep Space Nine and the full movie collection with the original cast. There were also computer products like a screensaver and a CD-ROM of the Interactive Technical Manual.
3. First Time Movie Director
Generations director David Carson was surprised when chosen to helm the movie. Carson had no experience with big budget movies and only directed a few TNG episodes, including “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. He also directed four episodes of Deep Space Nine, including the pilot, “Emissary”. Paramount selected Carson because of his experience directing television shows. Up until Generations, he had directed numerous TV shows from science fiction to drama to comedy.
The studio needed someone who could work on tight shooting schedules and get things done quickly. Essentially, Paramount wanted the movie done fast. And Carson delivered: he finished the movie on time and, more importantly, under budget. Although he hasn’t been as prolific since before 2007, Carson remains active in the industry, mainly in the producer capacity.
2. Captain Kirk Really Didn’t Die
William Shatner is vocal about his opinions on nearly all matters, especially when it comes to Star Trek. Just take a look at his Twitter account if you’re curious.
When Shatner learned he’d be dying in Generations, he had a few “concerns” about that plot point. Not that his thoughts were fortuitous, but his death scene didn’t go over well with the studio and audiences. This cost the studio an additional five million dollars.
He ad-libbed a line as he died. “Oh my…” was a reference to mortality and the phrase “Where no man has gone before.” And Shatner heard the displeasure of fans about Kirk dying in Generations. So the actor wrote a novel called The Return, where Captain Kirk is revived by Borg technology.
1. Star Trek Cameos
There were a few interesting cameos in Star Trek Generations, one was obvious, but two that weren’t. Whoopie Goldberg reprised her role as Guinan for the movie. Her character’s race is El Aurian, which is the same race as Malcolm McDowell’s character. Goldberg isn’t credited for her participation, but she has said, “I’ve done it as a tribute to my love of the show.”
Tim Russ, who is most known for his role as Tuvok in Voyager, played a member of the Enterprise-B crew in the movie. Before the movie and TV show, he played Devore, a terrorist in the TNG episode, “Starship Mine”. Russ also auditioned for the role of Geordi La Forge in 1987.
Jenette Goldstein played a science officer aboard the Enterprise in Generations. She had also been first considered for Tasha Yar, which was inspired by another Goldstein role, Vasquez from Aliens.
What did you think of Star Trek Generations? Let us know in the comments!
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