2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. All year long fans of the movie have been wondering if Paramount would do anything to celebrate. At San Diego Comic-Con, we got news fans should appreciate
During the Inlgorious Treksperts podcast Comic-Con panel which was focused on the anniversary, an announcement was made from the audience by David Fein, the producer of the 2001 Director’s Edition of TMP. He revealed that he and members of the team who worked on The Director’s Edition were in talks with Paramount to develop a 4K version for release on standard HD Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Prior to the JJ Abrams films, The Motion Picture was one of the few truly cinematic Star Trek movies. It is best experienced on the big screen, and in as high a quality as possible. So having a proper 4K restoration (and a new version of The Director’s Edition) would make this already visually stunning movie really come to life for Trekkies new and old.
The Director’s Edition was created in 2001 by working closely with director Robert Wise. In addition to edits for pacing, a number of small fixes and changes were made to the visual effects, and a new sound mix was created. TMP was rather famously rushed to completion in December 1979, because of this Robert Wise considered The Director’s Edition to be his “final cut.”
Visual Effects supervisor speaks about bringing TMP: DE into 4K
Following the panel, TrekMovie spoke exclusively with Daren Dochterman who is a co-host of Inglorious Treksperts and was the Visual Effects Supervisor for the Director’s Edition of TMP. He revealed that originally Paramount had planned a 40th-anniversary re-release of the theatrical version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which would have been released this fall. But soon the project evolved and in the last couple of months, Paramount has been in talks with Fein about creating a proper 4K version of the Director’s Edition. While the final decision has yet to be made, Dochterman says: “the green light has not yet been given, but it is a yellow light. We have been given permission to talk about it at San Diego Comic-Con.”
The team returning to work on the project also includes Mike Matessino, who was the Restoration Supervisor. Dochterman said they also hope to bring in additional members of the team who worked on the original DVD project. “We want to get as many of the original people as possible because they know their stuff and know what they did,” said Dochterman.
According to Dochterman, the team is currently “figuring out the details” on how to move forward, and Paramount “is interested and wants it to happen.” Work has yet to start, but one thing that will be of big help is that the original team have kept all the assets from their work on the Director’s Edition DVD.
A timeline has yet to be worked out. Dochterman thinks it is possible that their work on the project could be completed this year if work started soon, however, he does not expect everything can be completed in time to allow for a Blu-ray release this year. “If it is going to happen within the next couple of months, we would definitely have a big announcement by the actual 40th-anniversary date [December, 6]”
Dochterman said he was not aware if the release would include new special features that weren’t part of the original DVD, but expected it would at least include something about the process of creating the 4K version. He also said the team is hoping there will be more, noting “There are some things we may have that might be very interesting for people to see and I would like to see those things included.”
Dochterman ended by noting how excited he and the other team members were about the project, saying:
We have maintained enthusiasm for doing this over the years and it’s nice that the studio seems as enthusiastic as us.
More 40th celebration to come
There’s more celebration of The Motion Picture planned at Star Trek Las Vegas in two weeks. There will be a special “Star Trek: The Motion Picture 40th Anniversary Retrospective” panel.
Join Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s Special Effects Supervisor and Oscar-Nominee Douglas Trumbull — whose career highlights include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner and one of the pioneers of IMAX — and our illustrious panel of FX experts Rick Sternbach (illustrator for Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Doug Drexler, and Michael and Denise Okuda as we look back at this ambitious and under-appreciated epic film.
TrekMovie will continue to monitor this project and anything else related to the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and bring updates as they become available.