Star Trek: Nemesis is the tenth film in the Star Trek movie franchise and the fourth and final film featuring The Next Generation crew. It was not a success financially, nor was it a success with critics or fans. Some say getting a bad Star Trek movie is better than not getting one at all, but most agree that Nemesis didn’t improve the franchise. In fact, it may have hurt it.
Before Nemesis, a Star Trek movie was released every two to three years. After Nemesis, Paramount decided to hold off on any more movies for a while. If Nemesis had been successful, it’s possible we would have seen Deep Space Nine or Voyager movies before the reboot films launched in 2009.
While most of the Star Trek series and films had strange or odd behind-the-scenes stories, Star Trek: Nemesis seemed to have many that were created by the cast, crew, and Paramount. Some of the shocking things could have been avoided. Many of the anecdotes come from Star Trek conventions or comic-cons where cast reunions occur, and thos about Nemesis are spoken with varying emotions, but most often with anger and frustration.
Here are 15 Shocking Things You Didn’t Know About Star Trek: Nemesis
15 Lost the Wrath of Khan director and rejected LeVar Burton
Nicholas Meyer is well-known to Star Trek fans as the director of Wrath of Kahn and Undiscovered Country. When producer Rick Berman asked Meyer to direct Nemesis, Meyer expressed interest. However, before filming would begin, Meyer stated he’d want to completely rewrite the script. Berman had to refuse since he had given John Logan control over the story and screenplay. Because Berman wouldn’t allow a full rewrite, Meyer declined the directing offer.
At this point, Berman thought about asking LeVar Burton to direct the movie since the actor had directed quite a few episodes of Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Many thought Burton would easily get the opportunity like Jonathan Frakes had been given with First Contact and Insurrection, but Paramount executives rejected Berman’s proposal and told Berman to get someone else.
14 Director Had No Star Trek Experience
Paramount wanted “fresh blood” to direct the movie, hoping that by doing so, Nemesis would have better reception than Insurrection. Stuart Baird, with Executive Decision and U.S. Marshals under his directorial belt, took the helm of the movie. One issue that Paramount didn’t see at the time was Baird did not regard himself as a Star Trek expert. Or even a fan.
Baird had never seen one episode involving The Next Generation cast or watched one after he took the job. In the following years, when interviewed, he has often said he felt because of his inexperience with the Star Trek universe, the cast of Nemesis resented him and questioned any direction he provided. Marina Sirtis and LeVar Burton were very disapproving of Baird’s refusal to watch any episodes, which may have caused some of the failure of the movie.
13 Wil Wheaton deleted from film
The character of Wesley Crusher was a love-him-or-hate-him kind of character. Many fans found him annoying, especially in the early years of The Next Generation. But others managed to enjoy Crusher’s endearing qualities as he made the Enterprise-D a better place. Either way, he was a fixture you couldn’t avoid in The Next Generation cast. Except when it came to Nemesis, that is.
Nemesis was planned to be the first Star Trek movie to involve Wesley Crusher – played by Wil Wheaton. However, nearly every scene with Wesley was cut, except for a part during the wedding scene. Here, his appearance was only deemed a cameo since Wesley didn’t have any lines, and he was visible only in the background. The deleted scene is included on a collector’s edition of the DVD. In the scene, Wesley talks about his Starfleet career and current starship post.
12 Jeri Ryan refused to reprise her role as Seven Of Nine
Added in the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine proved to a fan favorite - so much so that plans were generated to put the character into Nemesis. When Jeri Ryan finished with Voyager, she moved right into the series Boston Public. Nemesis was filming at the same time, and Paramount told Berman to “put Jeri Ryan in the movie.”
Though she was flattered, she wanted to break out of Star Trek. Plus, she had “just did four years in a catsuit.” When she asked how Seven of Nine would be used in the movie, she was told they would just “plug her in.” In the end, Ryan said no as she was happy doing Boston Public and it wouldn’t make sense for her to appear when her character never had interaction with The Next Generation characters.
11 Jude Law Was the first choice for Shinzon
To play the role of a younger Jean-Luc Picard, Berman and Baird released a call for actors who bore a resemblance to Patrick Stewart, but decades younger. Jude Law was Berman’s pick, but the director felt the movie needed an unfamiliar actor. Baird found one in Tom Hardy.
At the time, Hardy was working on the movie Deserter, so the first audition for Nemesis was done via videotape. Baird sent Hardy dialogue to use, but somehow Hardy got hold of the script for Nemesis. Instead of the younger Picard, Hardy auditioned for another role, one he believed he fit more.
The strategy proved successful: Hardy went to Los Angeles for a screen test with Patrick Stewart. Hardy has stated in later interviews his audition was “appalling,” but he eventually got the role of Praetor Shinzon.
10 Box Office Bomb
If you believe in superstitions, then you might wonder why studio executives decided to open the movie on Friday the 13th in December 2002. For the first time, Nemesis was the first Star Trek film to not debut number one at the box office. Around the same time, Nemesis was in direct competition with the blockbusters Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and the James Bond movie, Die Another Day.
But it wasn’t any of those movies that pushed Nemesis away from being number one, it was a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez: Maid in Manhattan. Nemesis dramatically lost box office business the following weekends after opening. The box office total ended at $67.3 million, which was barely above the film’s budget of $60 million.
9 Nemesis ruined Tom Hardy's life
Tom Hardy had a few supporting roles leading up to Nemesis, but the Star Trek film was supposed to be his breakout role. He took the character of Shinzon very seriously, putting all his energy into the role. Hardy was nervous, especially since half the movie had already been filmed before he was scheduled to report on set. He worked long days, making sure he didn’t disappoint the other cast, director, Berman, or the studio.
But Nemesis was considered a commercial failure, and because of that and the negative Star Trek fan response, Hardy said in an interview, “I went entirely off the rails.” He started drinking heavily (during filming he didn’t drink), and considered committing suicide. It took many years for Hardy to forget the film. When he starred in Bronson in 2008, he was able to move on.
8 Frakes' Back Hair removed with CGI
Actors are typically open to physical appearance changes when it comes to roles. In Star Trek, you don’t really have a choice or any leeway if you take an alien character. For humans or humanoids, there are changes that can be done to enhance or improve on a character.
During the writer’s strike between season 1 and 2 of TNG, Frakes grew a beard, and Gene Roddenberry wanted to keep it because it looked nautical. However, that wasn't the only hair on Frakes had that Star Trek wanted to control. He was asked to shave his back for the love scene with Deanna Troi (which turned violent) in Nemesis, but he refused. In post-production, a digital effects team had to remove it with a computer.
7 Brent Spiner wrote Data's death
For many years, Brent Spiner had wished for Data to be killed off. The actor felt he had played Data as far as he could given how old Spiner was. Data was theoretically timeless, and Spiner’s idea made sense on paper. Killing off Data was an concept first deliberated in First Contact, but the demise didn’t happen. So, when the script was being planned for Insurrection, Data was destroyed, but later rewrites changed that.
Spiner took it upon himself to write a Data storyline for Nemesis. Berman approved, and Spiner received co-writing credit with John Logan. But technically, Data didn’t really die in the traditional sense – not in a human or android way. If you remember, Data’s body died, but his memories, thoughts, and personalities (his “katra”) were uploaded to B-4 first.
6 Marin Sirtis was almost fired
Counselor Deanna Troi took control of the Enterprise in Nemesis, and this was the second time she’d done so. The first being in Generations. But this part of the storyline may never have happened because Marina Sirtis nearly got fired from the movie.
Sirtis was negotiating for Nemesis, mainly for more pay. Women typically had more difficult times with contract negotiations than men. Sirtis said at a convention, “Women are paid less than men in Hollywood, like everywhere else.” During the negotiations, Paramount wasn’t happy with how it was going so they “literally threatened to fire me,” she said. She didn’t feel they would recast Troi, “but they said ‘We are going to fire you and hire Jeri Ryan’”
Sirtis responded snarkily to the executives: “Well Jeri Ryan won’t do it for that money, that is for sure."
5 Director Versus The Cast
The lack of knowledge Stuart Baird had about Star Trek, especially The Next Generation, was apparent in how he interacted with the cast and his understanding of the characters. LeVar Burton has stated that Baird consistently called him “Laverne.” Worse though, Baird thought Geordi La Forge was an alien! Maybe the cybernetically-enhanced eyes confused the director.
Both Burton and Marina Sirtis have been outspoken with their opinions on Baird, including opinions about the decision not to watch an episode of The Next Generation after Baird became the director. At Destination Star Trek 3 in 2014, after a question was asked about shooting Nemesis as the “end of an era,” Michael Dorn had a friendly answer. But Sirtis, never one to hold back her thoughts, blurted, “Oh come on, say it! The director was an idiot!”
4 Jonathan Frakes was left out of the creative process
Jonathan Frakes was tapped to direct the two Star Trek movies before Nemesis. Even before those movies, he had directed various episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. Between the shows and movies, he directed an episode each of University Hospital and Diagnosis Murder. Whether it was directing for Star Trek or other shows, Frakes had gained a good amount experience.
But despite that, Baird had never asked Frakes for his advice or opinion on anything dealing with the production of the movie. Frakes’s job was just to play William Riker and that’s it. If asked, Frakes would have accepted the directing job for Nemesis, he revealed one time. He then added, if he had been director, he was positive the movie would have made more money!
3 Scott Bakula Pranked Patrick Stewart
Star Trek is considered a big family, no matter what series or movie an actor or actress was involved in. Sometimes there’s turmoil, drama, or harsh words exchanged between shows, but for the most part, actors are pretty amiable to each other. Occasionally, they even play pranks on one another.
About halfway through shooting Nemesis, the Captain’s chair on the ship vanished. It was presumed stolen. The film crew worked to find a way around the issue, and as they did, the Star Trek: Enterprise cast got involved. The TV series was shooting next door to Nemesis, so assisting with the problem was easy. Scott Bakula decided to help out and give Stewart a replacement chair. Bakula had a wooden chair brought to Stewart’s on-set trailer. Painted on the chair was the word “K-A-P-T-A-I-N.”
2 Canceled 5th TNG movie
Some time after the movie released, information came out that a script for another movie starring The Next Generation cast had been worked on. During filming, Brent Spiner and John Logan were collaborating on a screenplay to end the journeys of TNG. It would have also included a number of historical references to the franchise.
Maybe if Nemesis had done better at the box office and received better reviews from fans and critics, the crew of the Enterprise-D/E might have went on one more adventure. Whether Paramount knew about the Spiner-Logan script was irrelevant since Paramount decided that the Star Trek movies would go on hiatus for the foreseeable future. Paramount called it “franchise fatigue” and would not approve a new movie until the J.J. Abrams reboot in 2009.
1 Nemesis Almost Had New Crew
Berman revealed in an interview in 2014 one of the more shocking things you didn’t know about Star Trek: Nemesis. The Next Generation crew almost wasn’t chosen to fill the Enterprise-E for the movie. Berman fought “tooth and nail” to keep Stewart and the familiar crew in the ship for one more journey.
“The head of the studio had really tried to convince me to do a movie without the TNG cast,” Berman said. Paramount felt the actors were a little older, and it was time to get a fresh crew. But Berman had a different opinion. He felt it would confuse fans to introduce a new crew, especially sense the Enterprise TV series was set to release, which already would be a new crew. Also, Berman was sure that fans wanted more of the TNG crew; it had been four years since the last movie.
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