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"