Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is still considered by most to be the best film in the franchise, but that doesn’t mean making the movie was easy. In a new interview writer/director Nicholas Meyer talks about how William Shatner had problems with the script and how he fought with the studio over the treatment of Spock’s death. Details below.
Meyer On Dealing With Shatner and Being Overruled On Spock’s Death in Star Trek
In an interview promoting his upcoming appearance at the Destination 3 convention in London, Star Trek II (and VI) writer/director Nick Meyer talked to the official Star Trek site about his time with the franchise. In regards to Star Trek II Meyer recalls the experience fondly, but he also did note a couple of areas of tension with making the film. Firstly, Meyer talks about how he first had trouble with William Shatner and the script for Wrath of Khan, saying:
I know that, originally, Bill Shatner didn’t like the script at all, and I was very floored by this because everybody else did like it. And I sort of listened to his complaints with mounting alarm, and the form it took was that I just kept having to get up and go to the men’s room. Just kept peeing and peeing and peeing as though I was either very humiliated or very enraged or some combination of both. When he left, I was in a real depression. Harve said, “Well, you know, just a minute. If you parse this into bite sizes, it basically boils down that he wants to be the first man through the door.” So, I could understand that. I went back and 24 hours later I’d done a rewrite, and he was very pleased.
Meyer also discussed how he was overruled in how Star Trek II dealt with Spock’s death, saying:
When Paramount saw the movie, when Leonard saw the movie, and everybody said, “Well, gee. Gee. Maybe killing him isn’t such a good idea.” And at that point, we got into the whole thing about “Remember” and showing his coffin on the planet, and stuff like that. All of which at the time I furiously objected to. I just thought this was so unfair to an audience of people who really care about this sh-t, and then saying, “You know, oh, it was just a dry hustle.” No, I didn’t think that was right. And in retrospect, you know, maybe I was wrong about that. At the time, I just thought that my vision of the thing was being insensitively overruled. But that’s when they made that insert, about “Remember” and put him on the planet in his torpedo.