20 Facts About Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

TrekMovie finishes out our 20th anniversary coverage of Star Trek V The Final Frontier with 20 fun facts all about William Shatner’s turn in the director’s chair.



STAR TREK V: 20 Fun facts

1. The original title for the film that William Shatner wanted was "Star Trek: An Act of Love"

2. The name "Sha Ka Ree" is a sound-alike for Sean Connery (the actor they production team originally hoped would play Sybok)

3. STV is the first feature film made after Star Trek: The Next Generation went into production, and there is much to "engage" in Star Trek V. For example, the corridors in the film are from the Enterprise D as is the sickbay set. The steps that were brought out for Kirk and company to utilize when disembarking from the shuttle were reportedly those of Patrick Stewart’s trailer (they had forgotten to make stairs and quickly redecorated what was available).

4. Laurence Lunkinbill is married to Lucy Arnaz in real life. That means he was Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s son-in-law (it was Lucy’s production company Desilu who originally owned and produced Star Trek).

5. Klaa’s ship is named the Okrona, after Marc Okrand who wrote much of the Klingon language.

6. The crew person to whom Kirk gives his jacket when first appearing on the Enterprise is Shatner’s daughter Melanie Shatner (who was also featured during the episode "Miri").

7. The band Hiroshima which plays the ‘Uhura fan dance’ song "The Moons A Window" on the soundtrack is still an active band with a new album. They are well known in the jazz and new age music community.

8. The history and origins of the alien who pretends to be God in Star Trek V is the subject of The Q Continuum books from Greg Cox.

9. Harve Bennett, the producer and writer who helped save Star Trek starting with The Wrath of Khan, is featured as Admiral Robert Bennett who gives Kirk his orders during the film.

10. Owens Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert is the real world location for Nimbus III. Its stark environment is contrasted with the beauty of Yosemite during the film’s first moments.

11. Both Todd Bryant (Klaa) and David Warner (St. John Talbot) would return with roles in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Bryant played the Klingon interpreter and Warner was Gorkon.

12. Uhura’s erotic fan dance was initially suggested as a joke by writer David Loughery, to his surprise it was approved.

13. Kirk continues his tradition of calling Klingons "bastards" in this film, something that starts in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

14. The comic book adaptation features all the deleted scenes, including what the infamous Rockman scene could have looked like.

15. Star Trek V was the first Star Trek film that both Herman Zimmerman and Mike Okuda were crew

16. Star Trek V was #1 at the box office its first week earning $17 million dollars. It would eventually earn $52 million domestically and about $70 million internationally. While profitable it was a disappointment, earning about half of what Star Trek IV did a few years before.

17. Star Trek V The Final Frontier wasn’t the first "Star Trek V" that William Shatner starred. In 1986 while on Saturday Night Live, he played Captain Kirk in the infamous skit "Star Trek V: The Restaurant Enterprise"

18. Before Nokia and Budweiser’s product placement in ST09, this film also had product placement. Kirk and company are wearing Levi Jeans and Levi Strauss & Company is credited in the film.

19. Star Trek V is one of the few films that has been allowed to film at Yosemite National Park. Because of its environmentalism themes, Star Trek was allowed to film where few have filmed before.

20. The special edition regular DVD release of Star Trek V has an Easter Egg worth checking out. On the special features of disc 2, go to the main menu and click on "Deleted Scenes" Go to "Behold Paradise" and then move the DVD arrow to the left. A symbol will be there and you could now enjoy a brief joke scene. Other bonus features are a very cool press release video and Shatner discussing how Kirk represents every person and hugging mountains



Bonus: Good Morning America 1989 Shatner and Nimoy interview


See you at the 30th anniversary
Well that pretty much wraps up our 20th anniversary coverage for Star Trek V. Maybe some day Paramount will give Shatner the money to create a digitally enhanced special edition of The Final Frontier, but we won’t be holding our breath.


Sort by:   newest | oldest
June 14, 2009 8:43 pm

Never did care for the film. Maybe I’ll give it a second look.

Brett Campbell
June 14, 2009 8:43 pm

Interesting tidbits. Thanks!

750 Mang
June 14, 2009 8:43 pm

“What does God need with a Starship?”

Harry Ballz
June 14, 2009 8:46 pm

I love TOS cast, but Shatner can’t direct traffic! He should just stick to acting!

June 14, 2009 8:47 pm

It’s hard for me to say that any Trek “failed”, but this one did, IMO.

June 14, 2009 8:49 pm

“Star Trek: An Act of Love”

I won’t even get it to what such at title could imply.

June 14, 2009 8:55 pm

I saw this when I was 9, and even then I thought it was dog poop,

750 Mang
June 14, 2009 8:58 pm

It’s still better than Insurrection and Nemesis. If for no other reason than it features Shatner, Nimoy, and DeForrest Kelly together for almost the last time.

But it’s better than those two movies for other reasons also.

June 14, 2009 8:58 pm

That Good Morning America video was priceless.
Thanks for posting it.

: )

New Horizon
June 14, 2009 8:59 pm

4. Harry Ballz – June 14, 2009

The directing was fine. It was the script and dodgy effects that hurt the film. Trek V has some of the most dynamic camera work of any of the original series movies. The man knows how to stage a scene. There were a few dodgy ones, but overall…he did quite well.

June 14, 2009 9:02 pm

Thanks trekmovie for this coverage of Star Trek V!

Star Trek I and V are my favorites. I’m an odd Trekker.

Big Bill C
June 14, 2009 9:02 pm

I wish that Paramount would give Shatner the money to do a director’s cut of STV, new CGI and all. One of the problems with the current version of the film is that, as you watch it, you can actually watch the money run out. A new director’s cut would solve a lot of that.

June 14, 2009 9:05 pm

Reason 5539 Picard is better than Kirk:

They had to steal PICARD’s stairs for KIRK’s movie.

June 14, 2009 9:08 pm

I still would rather watch this than Insurrection. I give the film a C. I guess I’ll chime in with my major hates:

Sybok- I mean, please. I reject this reality and substitute my own. To this day I insist that Spock is and always has been an only child.

Scotty smacking his head- no explanation needed.

Horrid FX- Truly awful.

Other than that, If I can make it through Spock’s Brain and The way to Eden is to Follow the Space Hippy with the big ears, then I can watch this.

June 14, 2009 9:10 pm

Eh, the bad VFX never bothered me. Though I just noticed that picture above does make the shuttlebay doors look comically small.

June 14, 2009 9:11 pm

Act of Love? More like suicide! Hahahahahahaahahahah
Actually, when I first saw it in the theater, I left thinking….Did I Like This? I had to see it a second time to figure out, that it lacked something……I’ve learned to enjoy it more olver the years as a better than average tv episode, rather than a feature film. I believe if paramount had loosened the purse strings, Shatner’s vision and the film’s outcom would have fared better than the cheap wad of cash the suits gave him to make a major motion picture. They made a TON of $ on ST 4, so why did the studio give Bill a $1.49 to pay for his lone rock creature and a 3rd rate crappy effects house?

June 14, 2009 9:14 pm

Cool list! Not a great movie, but a cool list.

June 14, 2009 9:17 pm

That SNL sketch was actually quite funny.

Brett Campbell
June 14, 2009 9:22 pm

I never saw that SNL sketch in its entirety. It was pretty funny.

Millennium Vulcan
June 14, 2009 9:22 pm

I have always felt that the negative fan reaction to ST:V was hyperbolic and somewhat unfair. While I agree that the film has it’s share of weaknesses (like all Trek movies IMO), it is not the flaming pile of manure most fans make it out to be.

Though ST:V was not the first Trek movie I saw in a theatre (that was ST:IV), it was the first one I saw as a true Trekker (thanks to TNG).

Brett Campbell
June 14, 2009 9:24 pm

Phil Hartman as Bones was great. Such a tragic loss, what happened to him.

June 14, 2009 9:29 pm

That youtube video of Kirk, WOW, he was pretty thin back then. Not bad at all for his age at that time. Wish I was that trim! Amazing how philisophical he tried to sound about the mountain climb.

Brett Campbell
June 14, 2009 9:30 pm

The Good Morning America clip was interesting. That anchorwoman … I forgot how big hair was in the ’80’s!

June 14, 2009 9:30 pm

Star Trek V: The Restaurant Enterprise… is one of the best bits of Trek ever. Shatner never played Kirk better. :) Look at how he handles Khan!

If you’ve never watched that link, be SURE to watch it. I don’t know about it being “infamous”, because with Phil Hartmann as McCoy, Kevin Nealon as Spock, and Victoria Jackson as Rand, it’s inspired casting….

Dana Carvey cracks me up every time…. Kkkkkkkkkkkkkirrrrrrrrrrrrrrk.

Harry Ballz
June 14, 2009 9:44 pm

Aha!! In the Good Morning America interview, Shatner says, “the three of us are like the three stooges” (Nimoy, of course, tries to downplay that)

Over the years I always said I HATED The Final Frontier because the humour was farcical to the point of the main actors behaving like the three stooges!!

“Hey, Spock, how many fingers am I holding up? Woo, woo, woo…”

People said that was an unfair comment on my part! Now, we hear Shatner, at the time in 1989, stating that is what they were aiming for!!

Unbelievable!! I feel both vindicated over my initial observation AND disgusted that people try to defend this turd of a movie!

I can’t stand it when people are handed millions of dollars to make a film and they completely squander the opportunity! Disgraceful!

June 14, 2009 9:45 pm

As bad as it is, the scenes of Kirk, Spock and McCoy camping out, and the entire scene where Sybok ‘shows them their pain’ were fantastic character development moments. And of course, there’s a handful of other minor bits that were good.

Despite being such an awful film, I still dust it off every couple years just for those good bits.

June 14, 2009 9:46 pm

#24, I was stunned to see movie-era Shatner dressed in TOS-era costuming — that was fantastic all by itself. ;D

June 14, 2009 10:17 pm

This movie started out great but became a flamingly horrible disaster. I am re-stating the obvious because the above-described “20 facts” are cool enough to make people think that maybe, just maybe, upon reflection, this movie is alright. It is not. Even allowing for the horrible FX, ridiculous story, and bad acting, we were not even given our own characters behaving as they “normally” would (e.g. Kirk allowing rebels aboard the ship; Kirk not at least bashing Sybok in the f#&@’ing face instead of shooting him, but instead allowing him to take control of the ship; Scotty allowing Sybok and co. to take over the ship (apparently forgetting the intruder alarm system, including anesthezine gas, etc.); the list goes on and on!!!).

Nemesis was a zillion times better than this. Insurrection, I’ll give you that one – no doubt it was the worst movie ever.

Gary Seven
June 14, 2009 10:30 pm

Although very stupid in parts, ST V has, in my opinion, the best character moments of ANY in all of Star Trek. Never has the love, the sense of family, between the “big three” been captured so warmly and directly. I think that in this way, ST V took Trek further and better than ever before.
Again, this isn’t to say I loved the movie; it has many awful aspects. But I value it dearly for its wonderful aspects.
McCoy: “I thought you said people like us didn’t have families.”
Kirk: “I was wrong.”

I also agree with the reviewer, who noted how brave and poignant the following is:
McCoy: We were wondering, is God really out there?”
Kirk: “Maybe he’s not out there Bones, maybe he’s in here (pointing to his chest)…the human heart.”
In these aspects, I believe STV captured the essence of TOS- it’s warm love between very different people (Kirk, Spock, and McCoy) and its message of goodness coming from humanity- better than the new movie.
Before I get bombarded my ST V haters, I am not saying that this is one of the best ST movies or that it is nearly as good a movie as the new one. I am saying that it has some absolutely wonderful and invaluable qualities which make it a unique contribution to Star Trek.

June 14, 2009 10:31 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTJSILpenpM – gag reel from the DVD. Pretty funny :)

Michael Hall
June 14, 2009 10:46 pm

“It’s still better than Insurrection and Nemesis. If for no other reason than it features Shatner, Nimoy, and DeForrest Kelly together for almost the last time. “

Nope, not really. But for all its numerous flaws, THE FINAL FRONTIER, in its ham-fisted way, at least *tries* to be about something. In that sense (and in that sense alone), it’s a better film–or at least better Star Trek–than what we got this year.

June 14, 2009 11:11 pm

Michael #31

Sorry, but the new “Star Trek” film is superior in every way.

I will agree that ST V is a very flawed film, but I do prefer it to the rather bland Nemesis and Insurrection. ST V is not a good movie, but it does have a few nice moments.

Hat Rick
June 14, 2009 11:29 pm

Did William Shatner really say that the sinewy guys who climb the mountain essentially want to make love to the mountain? I mean, it’s getting late so I’m not really sure I heard it right.

It’s getting really, really late.

June 14, 2009 11:55 pm

Damn you people and your low ratings for Trek V in the poll!!!

I still think that if the movie got a beefed up ending and enhanced effects, it would go up a few notches on everyone’s list.

The Wild Man of Borneo
June 14, 2009 11:57 pm

#31 I agree 100% with you. At least it tried to be about SOMETHING.


It is not superior in every way. Not even close. It was air headed and totally aimed for the transformer’s MTV crowd.

I’d take the Trek V any day.

June 15, 2009 12:08 am

#15 “Though I just noticed that picture above does make the shuttlebay doors look comically small.”

OMG, how big is the 1701-A? Tell us the real size… (joking)

June 15, 2009 12:19 am

Thanks for that great list!

Btw, did I ever mention that I like STV? :))

June 15, 2009 12:23 am

I didn’t think of it before, but Shatner’s daughter looks a tad like Amy Winehouse.

And of course, “Restaurant Enterprise” is one of the greatest Trek parodies ever made. Phil Hartman as Bones. Dana Carvey as Khan. It’s glorious.

Hat Rick
June 15, 2009 12:42 am

“McCoy”‘s line about his being a doctor, not a (doctor)… was hilarious!

June 15, 2009 1:04 am

I *LOVE* that SNL skit. Thank you guys for posting it.

“Sulu?! Oh my God!”


June 15, 2009 2:37 am

To me, STV is a movie that deserved a way better treatment. It breaks my heart to listen Shatner’s comment track, and how his vision never came to life. I wonder how this story would be with ILM-quality visual effects and the original concept proposed by Shatner. The story is powerful and promising, and I do like this movie, even more than Nemesis.

June 15, 2009 3:34 am

13. Kilo-Three-Zero – June 14, 2009: ‘Reason 5539 Picard is better than Kirk: They had to steal PICARD’s stairs for KIRK’s movie.’

Reason 5 million Kirk is better than Picard: Kirk walked off with Picard’s stairs and no one could stop him, meaning poor old Picard would have belly flopped on the ground a bit like his movies did. ;)

Seriously though, I’m tired of TNG fans (who represent the majority of Shatner haters) using this movie as a stick with which to beat down Shatner.

A movie torn apart by strikes, studio cowardice, Gene Roddenberry’s vocal hostility, a 50 per cent budget cut just before filming started, a non-ILM FX house having to do the FX work in an era where ILM were the only decent movie FX house and a strike which included one of the strike breaker crew’s vehicles mysteriously exploding can’t all be put down to Shatner.

Star Trek V is a badly flawed film for many reasons and, even with a decent re-edit and new FX, could only be improved somewhat, but I’ll take Star Trek V’s failed ambitions over the unambitious, safe Generations, Insurrection and Nemesis anyday.

Shatner failed to make the movie he wanted, but at least he was striving for something. Gen, Ins and Nem were exactly the films the makers wanted to release and there can be no bigger condemnation than that!

June 15, 2009 4:04 am

50 per cent budget cut?! wtf :S

June 15, 2009 4:41 am

With the advances in CG effects and technology, it probably wouldn’t cost that much for Paramount to finance new effects for Star Trek Vl; just look at some of the stuff James Cawley’s Trek shows are doing with a modest budget. I’m sure CBS digital or Darren Dortchermann could do a great job in a relatively short time or relatively short money. The TOS remastering projects showed that you could retrofit new effects into an existing product and make it look and feel organic. It all comes down to getting people aboard who are fans of the show and care about the product; I’m really surprised some enterprising fans haven’t already done a revised cut.

June 15, 2009 4:50 am

See that photo under #6? Lens flares!

June 15, 2009 4:51 am

Does anyone know where it officially says the Okrona is called so?

June 15, 2009 4:52 am

#45 – Actually, I think it’s just a console exploding….

Robert H.
June 15, 2009 5:15 am

I always found the Final Frontier had the right feel, the right look, and the right attitude, but felt a little like a farce which didn’t help.

Captain Dunsel
June 15, 2009 5:19 am

#47 – Um, no, it’s being worked on.

June 15, 2009 5:47 am

43. Charlie: ’50 per cent budget cut?! wtf :S’

Yep! It’s covered in Star Trek Movie Memories!