Robin Curtis Talks Spock Love Child & Romulan Saavik

The Vulcan character of Saavik from the 1980s Star Trek movies has been the subject much fan discussion over the years. And in a new interview Robin Curtis, the second actress to play the part, discusses some of these issues including the never-fulfilled Spock/Saavik love child storyline and the potential Romulan heritage of the character.


Robin Curtis talks about  Saavik pregnancy cut from Star Trek IV 

After Kirstie Alley declined to return to the role of the Vulcan Saavik for Star Trek III, director Leonard Nimoy picked Robin Curtis to fill the role. Curtis was also brought back as Saavik for Star Trek IV, but just a brief cameo. In a new interview with the official Star Trek site, the actress talks about coming back and what might have been:

That was just such a weird left curve, to be honest. Given what had happened with Kirstie Alley, they negotiated for each film after the third, for the fourth, the fifth and the sixth. For somebody who’s 28 years old and had never made than a few bucks a year, that’s quite an event, to have a contract that provided for three films in years to come. Then, weeks and weeks before the filming (on Star Trek IV) was to begin – and the contract would then be void, because it had a timeframe on it – my people were reaching out to Paramount, saying, “What’s going on?” They wouldn’t say anything. They wouldn’t reveal. They kept putting us off. That, of course, raised a flag. “Something’s not right. This character isn’t being groomed. They will not be following the storyline that we had been led to think they would,” which was that Saavik would be pregnant and there’d be this whole connection between her and Spock. Lo and behold, all this hope that there might be greater involvement for
the character turned into those few lines.

Specifically on the issue of Saavik being pregnant (with Spock’s child), Curtis added:

I do think there were a couple of lines that might have hinted that something was going on with her, and those were eliminated. So I handed over the disk and simply wished him a journey free of incident, and that was it. That was such a comedown from where they had led me to think it would go.

Curtis as Saavik with Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"

In past interviews producer Harve Bennett says it was director Leonard Nimoy’s decision to remove discussion of Saavik’s pregnency because he was "very uncomfortable" with it. Nimoy has also said that the decision to limit Saavik’s role in the film (by leaving her on Vulcan) was to simplify the film as she would be "extraneous on this trip."

Curtis also weighed in on the often-discussed topic that Saavik was actually half-Romulan, saying:

My understanding was that Kirstie Alley and (Khan writer-director) Nicholas Meyer wanted Saavik to be Vulcan and Romulan and he directed her to include elements of both. And the books may have elaborated on that. I’m aware of the argument about the books, in general: Are they or aren’t they official, or canon? But in the case of Star Trek III and Saavik, it really didn’t matter. Leonard felt that Saavik was Vulcan. That was his choice, and his choice was my choice. I played Saavik the way he asked me to play her.

Ironically, Curtis did get a chance to play a Romulan in the two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Gambit" in 1993. 

Curtis as Romulan Tellera with Patrick Stewart as Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

Read more from Curtis in the full interview: Part 1 & Part 2.


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Met her in 1990 at a UK convention what lovely lady!

I agree, great lady and a welcome addition to Trek

A Spock romance with another crew member would have been such a bad idea. And yes I do get the irony of what i’m sayong there.

I really liked Robin as Saavik. In fact I also like Kirstie as Saavik. Do I have a favourite in the role? Thats a tough choice. I can’t decide.

Yes I can, its Robin. The scene’s she played with a rapidly aging youth Spock were excellent.

Robin was great but I like Kirstie better.

I don’t know about a Spock/Saavik romance.

But I sure would love to have a romance with Robin Curtis!

If Nimoy was uncomfortable with it, I’m fine with them removing it. Nobody’s ever had a better handle on Spock than he did.

I met and spoke with her in the early 90’s as well, here in South Carolina. I made a joke about her Eggo commercial. She gave me (what seemed to be) a sincere laugh in response and immediately fell in love with me……or vice versa; hard to remember which, that was a long time ago.

But seriously, she’s a sweet, smart and talented lady.

Hey are we sure she’s a real Romulan in “The Gambit?” She’s able to use the Vulcan weapon and according to Wikipedia, she’s a Vulcan.

I agree that Robin is a lovely woman. I’ve always liked the Saavik character. Could we put the Saavik character in the next Star Trek movie? How about as Kirk’s love interest? I vote Olivia Wilde (Cowboys and Aliens),

I liked the Curtis Savvik better than the Alley one, but was never a fan of her curly hair. Not a big deal, I know, but it didn’t look Vulcan enough for me.

Well, the critics talked about her wooden, lackluster performance as Saavik — it would be intriguing if she”d actually been directed to play it that way. She was a Vulcan (a Vulcan terrorist, whose cover was being Romulan) in the Gambit, no? Don”t remember it well.

in Gambit. Not in the Gambit.

Wow, would have been interesting to see her as Alexander’s mom.

Sorry, no offense to Robin, but Kirstie Alley owned that role. Plus, back then — Kirstie Alley was ssssssmokin HOT!! I got within a few feet of her at The Ultimate Fantasy in Houston in 1982. I’m sure I was drooling…lol!!

Robin Curtis did a great job in trek 3. But Kirsty Alley was just Smoking Hot. I wish she would have been there for Trek 3 and 4 and 5 and 6. been great for her in Trek 6. She could have kicked Valeris A$$. Lol.

I preferred Robin Curtis as Saavik. Kirstey Alley was good, but Robin Curtis nailed the Saavik character.

#10 – At this point, Saavik would have been too young to be a Kirk love interest, that is, if she survived Vulcan’s destruction. Hope she did.

Re: Olivia Wilde playing Kirk’s love interest – well, that could be a little deja vu for Olivia and Chris Pine. Olivia Wilde plays Hanna in Welcome to People and she is the girlfriend of Sam (Chris Pine).

I have to agree with Nimoy on that one– the Spock/Saavik love child thing always seemed like a REALLY stupid and bizarre idea to me.

As for Curtis vs Alley, I think Curtis was technically the better Saavik… but Alley originated the role and should have been the one to continue it (even if she doesn’t really do much in TWOK except pout and look sexy).

Okay so, that was cut, season 5 of ENT would have the Romulan War prelude, Future Guy being a Romulan and T’Pol being half-Romulan but that was cancelled, then JJ goes and destroys Romulus…

Nobody loves Romulans.

I thought I was the only one, but I’m sure I was among the many fans at the con mentioned at the interview’s start who stated that Miss Curtis was their first Saavik.
And darned proud of it!

I have always been a Robin Curtis/Saavik fan.
“I liked the Curtis Savvik better than the Alley one, but was never a fan of her curly hair. Not a big deal, I know, but it didn’t look Vulcan enough for me.”
Did you even notice that Kirstie Alley’s Saavik had big round human eye brows not the up-swept Vulcan/Romulan ones? Never liked her portrayal because of that – just looked like a human with deformed ears.
Obviously a child did happen whether it was Spock/Saavik or Spock/someone else as referenced by Sarek’s wife ‘Perrin’ in STNG “Unification”. It goes by so fast but indicates Spock put his affairs in order providing for his ‘family'(Saavik and child?) upon leaving for Romulus. I always accepted that as the case. Little hints like this and in ST4TVH, Saavik stands close to Spock’s mother Amanda as the Bird of prey lifts off.
Just my own personal opinion. Don’t really know what the non-canon novels say but I have heard that different authors tell different stories. That’s why they can’t be considered ‘canon’ in the Star Trek universe. My version is as good as anyones.

#20 That’s what I like about Trek, anyone can write a fanfic based off the shows/films and it’s as canon as any other story out there.

I preferred her interpretation of Savvik to Kritie Alley’s. Curtis portrayed to real Vulcan, not a sex-upped hyper-Vulcan. And she nailed the role in Trek 3.

Thanks Robin! Time has shown that it is better to be the best versus winning a popularity contest with morons voting.

“Specifically on the issue of Saavik being pregnant (with Spock’s child), Curtis added”

Are you sure that this is correct? Perhaps it was David’s and Saavik’s love child.

Always thought she was a bad actress until I saw her in other things. I have to lay all the blame on Leonard’s direction. Curtis’ delivery was stereotypically Vulcan, played broadly and very robotic….not with the subtle touches given by others such as Mark Lenard and, of course, Nimoy himself. Funny that Nimoy himself is to blame. Oh well, Can’t win ’em all. I much prefer Kirstie Alley’s interpretation of the character.

Except that Kirstie had no idea what she was doing as far as the character goes. Kirstie played it more like a Romulan.

TNG episode Gambit should have had the Robin Curtis character be Saavik instead of Tellera since Vulcans have long lives and Spock was still around. It would have been a nice tie in to TOS.

22. Whoa, preferring Alley’s performance automatically makes one a moron?

I didn’t think it was sexed up at all. Okay, not that much. Of the Alley, Curtis and Cattrall interpretations (heck, Valeris was, arguably, a Saavik stand-in), I still like Alley. (Catrall comes in second). Even without the Romulan backstory (the line was cut, alas), I like Alley’s unsteadiness and confusion as a very, very young Vulcan surrounded by alien humans. I’d argue that it kind of paved the way for the writing of the very young Spock in Trek 09.

Curtis’ Saavik was written as, or at least directed to be, a completely different character. She wasn’t a brand-new cadet and, heck, there wasn’t much there there except for a few recycled “so human” lines. Same goes with David in the flick. The Grissom/Genesis planet stuff was the weakest in the film. They were all, with Kruge, given the, “oh yeah, we have these charcters who have nothing to do with our heroes and gotta give them something to do” treatment. The movie bought back the late-TOS, slightly campy feel and that’s both a strength and a weakness. The characters aren’t quite adults wih complex personal lives in his thing — which you could still buy in Trek II.

It’s a movie of moments. And, don’t get me wrong, it did a fantastic job of portraying the Trek universe… but it also started feeling a lot more comic-book/cartooney here…

23. Of course. Spock was in heat and Saavik, er, helped him out. Bonding taken quite literally.

I wasn’t a fan of this and I think t was wise to keep it entirely speculative.

I preferred Ms. Curtis’ performance as well. Her interpretation was far more Vulcan that Alley’s. I know that Mr. Meyers preferred Kirstie, but in my eyes, Curtis was Saavik.

I met her at her first “Star Trek” convention appearance. She was fun. As she stood facing the audience she told us she was knowledge of TREK was rather limited, and then threatened anyone in the audience with a rolled up tube sock if they asked her a “Star Trek question” since she was relatively new to the franchise. Naturally, the very first fan took her up on that one and asked her a Vulcan question. She lobbed the sock at him, hitting him and it bounced off of him. The audience roared with laughter!

She also endeared us in audience, especially me, with the fact that she said she never forgets a person and their name. Two days after I had asked her a question, she saw me as we both were wandering the dealers room. She saw me and said, “hi Doug, how are you doing today?”

I certainly felt special that day!

If I recall, Valeris was, at one point, meant to be Saavik. While I can see people getting angry at that especially with her being a traitor. But I liked the idea. Would have made it far more emotional.

I too, thought Robin Curtis was better than Kirstie Alley. I’ve never been impressed with Alley’s “acting”. I’ve seen a bunch of movies she was in, as well as “Cheers” and she’s acted like herself everytime.

Also, in TNG, Robin Curtis played a Vulcan disguised as a Romulan. She was good in that episode too.

Nice enough lady, but her singsong “Admiral, David is dead” was the worst line reading in the whole movie series.

It would have been SO much better had Saavik been in ST6 instead of the disposable Valeris. What happened with the original plan?

I’m absolutely baffled that anyone could prefer Curtis to Alley. Her version of Saavik was so bland and uninteresting compared to Kirstie. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nimoy cut her out of Star Trek IV more for her performance in III than story issues.

As far as anyone confused about the pregnancy, I think it was pretty obvious Spock and Saavik have sex in Trek III. How else did she ‘assist’ Spock in his Pon Farr? We know it’s either fight or f**k, so to speak, and they sure didn’t look like they were getting ready to fight.

– In the TNG episode, it was revealed at the end that she was a Vulcan pretending to be a Romulan.

– Her long, curly hair in ST III kind of threw me, as Kirstie Alley had her hair up in ST II. Keep in mind that back then you saw the movies years apart in the movie theater. If they hadn’t changed the hair, I might not have even noticed that it was a different actress at first. It wasn’t until later viewing on video where I noticed that Saavik had her hair down in the funeral scene at the end of ST II. It probably would have been a better choice to keep the hairstyle the same between the movies.

– I’m not going to fault her acting in ST III, because she was playing a Vulcan for darned sake! How can you call someone’s acting wooden, playing a character who is Vulcan and is supposed to be wooden?? Wouldn’t that actually be considered GOOD acting?

– She’s aged better than Kirstie Alley has.

— Kirstie’s big break was Cheers. Without that gig, who knows if her career would have gone anywhere or not.

— I agree that there wouldn’t have been anything for the Saavik character to do in ST IV. It was a wise choice to ditch her like they did, for story purposes. What would she have done if she had gone with them? Stare at screens on the ship and give a couple of lines here and there? All it would have done is take lines away from Sulu, Uhura and Chekov. Plus she had nothing to do with stealing the ship and had no reason to go back to stand trial.

– In hindsight, it might have been better if she had also died on the Planet Genesis at the end of III. Maybe she could have saved Spock from falling into a pit, but ending up falling in herself.

I prefer Curtis/Saavik and fully Vulcan. I wouldn’t like to see a child between Spock and Saavik either!

Live long and Prosper!

I disagree- to have Saavik in ST6 would have betrayed her character.
As for Robin she is such a nice person- truly appreciates the fans- met her at a con once.

Anybody else a fan of the idea of useng “Kirstey Alley’d” to refer to an actor or actress that bails on reprising a role because of money “concerns”?

I know I am. :D

Would have been cooler if Saavik had David’s baby; Kirk’s half-Vulcan grandson.
Then in part 5, Sybok could have taken Saavik & her son hostage & it would have been way more meaningful.
And then finally in part 6, we have Saavik instead of Valeris, so when she betrays Spock & the Federation, it could have led to a much bigger emotional impact.
Ah, what could have been.

It’s interesting that Alley bailed on the Savvik role, then ended up getting her big break in “Cheers” because of… Shelley Long bailing from that show.

Robin Curtis is now a realtor in ( I think) New York state.

Funny how many ex-actors go into real estate sales!

34. But that’s just it — I don’t think Vulcans need to be wooden. Nimoy, Lenard, heck, even Celia Lovsky (sp?) (and, arguably, T’Pring and Stonn) weren’t wooden. Neither was Alley.

Nimoy’s Spock was never a monotone robot. By TNG and after (until Quinto), all Vulcans had that bad wig and that souless delivery. The Enterprise Vulcans may be a partial exception.

Striving not to be governed by emotion doesn’t have to mean boring and flat.

Trek 09 got the Vulcans right, I’d argue.

38. That was Meyer’s original plan for Trek VI — Saavik as the conspirator. Somebody (Roddenberry?) was against it? I do not recall.

30. Oh, sorry. You’d already said the Saavik/Valeris thing.

Wasn’t Cattrall originally wanted (by Meyer) to play Saavik in Trek II?

I always preferred Robin Curtis. Never liked Kirstie Alley as Saavik.

Robin Curtis has always been my preferred Saavik. Curly hair aside, which I agree is a bit odd for a Vulcan, I always saw her (and will continue to see her) as a Vulcan/Romulan hybrid who was striving to reflect her mentor. This accounts, at least for me, to what a previous poster called her ‘sing song’ delivery at the time of David’s death in Trek III.

The novelization of Trek III certinaly puts out there that Saavik and David had a relationship after they left the Enterprise, so Saavik carrying David’s child could have been a great concept… I do tend to agree that carrying Spock’s pon-faar child would have done a degree of disservice to the dignity of the Spock character from a Vulcan perspective, perhaps turning him into much more of an outcast. Of course, I was always a bit suprised that he didn’t become something of an outcast among Vulcans in the wake of the unorthodox rejoining of his katra to his body at the end of TSFS.

All that being said, I can’t point to any consistent feel for the Vulcans over the course of the Star Trek saga… they have varied, from arrogant to isolated to, at times, in your face. I do agree that nuTrek seems (on the basis of 2 hours of screen time – admittedly not much of a sample) to have a strong feel for Vulcans that I appreciate.


It’s my understanding that the primary reason Alley didn’t return as Saavik was because after the success of TWOK, when she was asked to reprise the role, she demanded a salary equal to or greater than DeForest Kelley’s! Considering that Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer had delivered ST II for such a small budget (and considering Paramount’s trepidation on taking a chance on Nimoy as a first-time director and handing him a production budget that was no bigger than the previous film’s), the decision was made to look for a different actress to play Saavik.

As to Curtis’ allegedly lackluster acting, I think the “blame” (if you want to call it that) must go to Nimoy as the director. I specfically recall reading an interview with Curtis not long after the film’s release in which she said she wanted to in some way reflect Saavik’s Romulan side (the deleted snippet in which Spock and Kirk discuss Saavik’s Romulan heritage in TWOK can be found on YouTube). However, she said that Nimoy kept instructing her to play the part “…drier, more Vulcan.”

And, lastly, the Valeris character in ST VI really was intended to be Saavik! Nick Meyer’s original story had a much more tragic element in it, in that Saavik also harbored bitter feelings toward the Klingons (having some form of survivor’s guilt at David sacrificing himself to save her in ST III), as well as a form of hero worship of Kirk to the point of taking his hatred of Klingons misinterpreting it. It made her betrayal much more of a blow to Kirk and Spock – for Spock, feeling betrayed that Saavik would take such a dark path, feeling a failure as her mentor, and for Kirk, massive guilt at having failed as a role model for the formerly promising young officer and seeing the possible negative effects of his own leadership. It was meant to be an emotional punch to the gut for the crew. But it was Roddenberry who ultimately vetoed the idea, declaring that Saavik had achieved “beloved character status” among Trek fandom. It infuriated Meyer, who said, “I created the character of Saavik, not Roddenberry!”. But in the end, Roddenberry won out and thus we got Valeris.

In my opinion, Robin Curtis played Saavik like a true Vulcan, so her performance is spot on and how I expected it to be: devoid of emotion.

When I saw Kirstie show emotion, especially during the funeral of Spock, I was taken back a bit.

To me, Robin was the hottest Vulcan to appear on screen before T’Pol showed up in Enterprise.

#41. “Striving not to be governed by emotion doesn’t have to mean boring and flat.”

Exactly. Contrary to what many actors, including Curtis, post TOS, have delivered, Vulcans are not one- note robots.

While I have a fondness for Robin Curtis, as she and I both went to the same small college, I also know I once heard Nimoy say at a convention that they didn’t think she would be right as Saavik in ST 6, so rather than recast the role again, they made it a new character. Nimoy’s comment was memorable because it was pretty straight forward and honest, which often isn’t the case in Hollywood. The feeling I had, based on what he said and how he said it, is that he just wasn’t crazy about her portrayal of the character.

Re; Alley vs Curtis, I always felt they both contributed something to the character and I really don’t have a preference. Yes, the novels did latch on to a dual Vulcan-Romulan heritage and in the Vulcan’s Soul Trilogy her and Spock were married (the later books involving Spock–while not contradicting it outright, seemed to have dropped it-though the Watraii incident has been brought up from time to time).

45–It was interesting the Roddenberry vetoed an idea about a character he had not created. I do tend to agree with Roddenberry in this case though. Saavik, while intense at times, would not betray Kirk and Spock, IMHO.

This was one area Roddenberry seemed to have control over in Star Trek (even in his reduced role as Executive Consultant). While he had no real story or production control, he did seem to have veto power over character development until the end.

I always thought the Spock/Saavik love child was a missed opportunity. Having thought it over through the years and reading now that Nimoy was uncomfortable with it I can see why. Saavik relieving teen Spock of his Pon Far needs – though possibly biologically necessary – could come across a bit, um, pedophilic. Good call by Leonard Nimoy.