The Movies

On November 18, 1994, the first Star Trek movie starring the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation hit the screens all across the U.S.A. This appendix contains some of the information that has been published in the press.

Great Trekspectations

When the news broke that Paramount would be making Star Trek: Generations-a feature film starring members of both the original and Next Generation casts and reportedly costing $25 million-rumors began multiplying like Tribbles. Entertainment Weekly activated its cloaking device and signed on to America Online and the Internet-where Trekkies flock-to eavesdrop on the gossip. Here's what we heard.

THE CAST

Rumors: First, it was said the entire cast would appear in the film. Then word spread that Scotty (James Doohan) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) would not, because at their advanced age (both are 74), Paramount wouldn't insure them.

Facts: Scotty, Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Kirk (William Shatner) are the only original characters in the film. Producer Rick Berman said Kelley and Leonard Nimoy were offered small rolls but felt they had said goodbye in the last film. All the The Next Generation's cast will be in the film.

THE PLOT

Rumors: After Malcolm McDowell signed on as the villain Soran, the conjecturing took more turns than a Ferengi freeway. Some guesses: Data is given an emotion chip and gets it on with Klingon sisters; Riker (Jonathan Frakes) dies; the Enterprise gets offed. In one bootleg script, an "energy ribbon" acts as a time bridge between the two generations, uniting Kirk and Picard, who battle Soran together; after saving Picard's life, Kirk dies in his arms.

Facts: Trekkers say Doohan showed up at a convention March convention and spilled that the black-market script was near the truth, but his agent says, "He wouldn't have even seen the script by then."

THE PRODUCTION

Rumors: Shatner didn't recognize Frakes on the set; Shatner and Stewart have fought; Shatner and Stewart have bonded.

Facts: Shatner won't comment; a Stewart spokesperson says he and Shatner "get along great." Berman says the two (who haven't yet shot their scenes together) have become "fast friends."

THE FUTURE

Rumors: A second Generation movie may center on Q (John de Lancie). A third might feature Picard's nemesis, the Borg.

Facts: The film's unit publicist, Don Levy, says, "We're not planning future movies before we get halfway through shooting this one."

Entertainment Weekly - May 6, 1994

Chris Nashawaty

Box Office Receipts

The following table lists the box office receipts for the movie, up through press time:

Wk Pos Scr $/Loc Weekend Gross Total Gross
1 (11/18) 1 2,659 $8,694 $23,116,934 $26,146,569
2 (11/25) 2 2,681 $4,920 $13,190,324 $49,016,317
3 (12/02) 2 2,681 $2,177 $5,836,333 $57,630,192
4 (12/09) 4 2,245 $1,282 $2,877,922 $62,428,934
5 (12/16) 7 1,739 $1,062 $1,846,963 $65,328,308
6 (12/23) 15 1,201 $1,380 $1,657,871 $68,186,934
7 (12/30) 15 1,029 $1,752 $1,803,245 $71,293,610
8 ( 1/06) 17 678 $1,149 $778,732 $72,448,184
9 ( 1/13) 283 $1,459 $412,980 $73,114,817
10 ( 1/20) 235 $1,039 $244,060 $73,434,334
11 ( 1/27) 215 $790 $169,773 $73,676,885
12 ( 2/03) 133 $665 $88,489 $73,824,232
13 ( 2/10) 82 $751 $61,610 $73,919,128
14 ( 2/17) 65 $960 $62,423 $74,009,623
15 ( 2/24) 47 $617 $29,021 $74,048,309
16 ( 3/03) 20 665 $799 $531,556 $74,588,117
17 ( 3/10) 502 $587 $294,617 $75,074,114
18 ( 3/17) 264 $609 $160,885 $75,355,531
19 ( 3/24) 155 $586 $90,769 $75,510,568
20 ( 3/31) 83 $567 $47,054 $75,595,908
21 ( 4/07) $16,319 $75,628,782
22 ( 4/14) $75,638,153
23 ( 4/21) $75,645,682
24 ( 4/28) $75,652,048
25 ( 5/05) $75,657,647

Fall Movie Preview

Kids of all ages delight in those comic-book hypotheticals like "What if Superman fought the Hulk?" or "Could Darth Vader kill the Terminator?" But this one might give even Data fits: Who's the better captain, Kirk or Picard?

The premise behind the question-that the two commanders of the starship Enterprise could somehow be brought together-drives Generations, the seventh Trek film (although to emphasize the new start, it won't be numbered in the title) and the first to employ the cast of TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation. Using what Paramount publicists call "a unique astronomical phenomenon bridging different time frames," the 23rd-century Kirk (Shatner), an encounter that Stewart solemnly calls "historic." It's certainly the biggest celestial meeting since Jupiter was introduced to the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet.

The plot is standard issue: A villainous alien (McDowell) threatens to destroy the universe, and Picard, Kirk, and crews must stop him. Thrown in for good measure is a personal tragedy for Picard and an emotion chip for the android Data (Spiner). It's all pure Trek. As Sirtis, who plays empath Deanna Troi, notes: "If it's not broke, why fix it?"

Trekkies asked the same question in May when Paramount, sure that Next Generation's future lay on the big screen, pulled the plug on its high rated series. Even cast members were apprehensive. "Why couldn't we have carried on?" asks Sirtis. "Just because it's successful on TV doesn't mean a movie's going to be."

To ease the transition from the veteran crew to the new, producer Rick Berman also signed on Doohan (Scotty) and Koenig (Chekov), but two officers bowed out: DeForest Kelley (McCoy) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock). "Both felt they had made a suitable departure in the last film," says Berman, who admits that the real purpose of having the old crew aboard is to wrap up the 23rd-century saga, something the film does with a um, minor plot development. "You know," says McDowell nonchalantly, "I get to do away with Captain Kirk." An Englishman who says he has never seen either TV series, McDowell was impressed with the way Shatner took the death of a character he has played for nearly 30 years: "He was fairly jolly about the whole thing."

"I thought it was a really brave thing to do," says Sirtis. But it's easy to be brave when it's sci-fi. "Kirk's death writes the final chapter of that era," Berman says, then adds, "but in Star Trek, people do have a habit of coming back."

What's at stake: For Paramount, a new franchise. For Trekkies, a new panel discussion at the next convention.

Entertainment Weekly - August 26, 1994

Writers Blocked

What happened to that famous Vulcan patience?" Capt. Kirk asks a concerned Mr. Spock as he tries desperately to save the newly christened Enterprise-B from a powerful cosmic "energy ribbon" in Star Trek: Generations.

"It does have its limits," responds Spock.

Moments later the mysterious space phenomenon slices into the Enterprise, sucking James T. Kirk into its fiery maw. Having offered its sacrifice to the energy ribbon, the starship turns and flees. Kirk's long-time colleagues are stunned, staring mummy-like into nothingness.

"I never thought it would end like this," says Scotty.

"All things must end, Mr. Scott," replies the ever-stoic Vulcan.

All things must indeed end. But in Hollywood, it seems that a screenplay is always a work-in-progress. Typically, a script endures a series of rewrites prior to going before the cameras. Then, on the set, there are further alterations as the actors and director immerse themselves in the typed pages. Next, the film is delivered to the editing room, where whole scenes and even subplots may be trimmed or discarded. Yet even at this late stage, the battered screenwriter's ego may find no rest. Occasionally, as with Star Trek: Generations, actors and crew are called back to the set for frantic, eleventh-hour reshooting. This is the reason that uncredited script doctors such as Joss Whedon (Waterworld) are often the best-paid word-smiths in the industry.

Brannon Braga and Ron Moore, who penned the original draft of Star Trek: Generations, saw their work altered and shuffled like any other Lotus Land blueprint. The original opening scene, as it appears above, was reworked for the simple reason that Leonard Nimoy and DeForrest Kelly opted not to reprise their roles as Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. But that was one of the easier alterations the writers had to face.

After the opening sequence in which Kirk is pulled into the energy ribbon, the movie jumps 78 years forward to the Enterprise-D's holodeck where Lt. Worf is being promoted in rank on a 19th-century sea vessel. There, the android Data tells chief engineer Geordi La Forge that he thinks this happy occasion would be a good time for him to reinitiate his emotion chip, which caused Data significant internal chaos on the TNG series. Geordi makes an adjustment on Data, and a moment later the android is laughing along with everyone else. Finally, giddy with an unending jolt of happiness, Data grabs Dr. Beverly Crusher and dunks her into the crashing ocean. This is a real belly-buster to everyone on the ship, and when the soaked Crusher is netted and hauled aboard, she, too, is chuckling. But producer Rick Berman and director David Carson apparently decided that Data's easy transformation to an emotional state lacked resonance. In the final screen version, Data, sans emotion chip, tosses Crusher into the sea in a pathetic attempt to join the merriment that he couldn't understand. Rather than eliciting the desired collective guffaw, he brings the festivities to an abrupt halt as the crew fishes an angry and shivering Crusher out of the water. The disaster is what causes the android to juice up emotionally.

Writers Moore and Braga were going after more than just an action-packed space opera with the latest Trek: They sought to address emotional issues that had not been fully explored in the TV series. Mortality eventually became the movie's overriding theme, and related subplots focusing on Picard and Data developed.

For example: Following a scene in the original script in which the Enterprise suffers fatal casualties in an engagement with the Romulans, Cmdr. William Riker reminds a distracted Capt. Picard that he must speak with the families of the deceased crewmen. Picard, preoccupied with his own personal problems, tells Riker to handle it.

"If you don't mind my saying so," Riker says, "it's usually the captain's place to speak with-"

"And it's usually the first officer's place to take some of the burden from his captain," Picard snaps.

This, too, failed to make it to film, perhaps because the producers felt it was aggressively uncharacteristic of the normally stoic Picard. The captain, troubled by the death of his brother, deals with his grief without neglecting his duties or upbraiding his first officer.

Other lopped scenes include those in which Data becomes a logarithmic Lothario. After the Enterprise destroys the renegade Klingon Bird of Prey, the starship's saucer section crashes on an alien planet. Soon thereafter, the stranded crew encounters the Klingon villainesses Lursa and B'Etor, who escaped their ship in a life pod. The Klingons quickly vanish into the landscape, but Troi says that she sensed passion from the Klingon women-passion for Data, who decides to pursue and seduce them.

Later, in what's left of the starship's observation lounge, "everyone is waiting, anxious," write Moore and Braga. "Finally, Data enters. His normally perfect hair is mussed.... he limps.... and his uniform is scratched and torn. He has a slightly odd expression on his face. `I believe I have opened negotiations,' says Data. Then, his arm falls off and hits the floor. Circuits dangle from his shoulder. Data is unperturbed, while we're left with the impression of what sex with a Klingon is like." Upon further consideration, maybe Moore and Braga felt that this "impression" would be less than impressive.

In the original draft's final scene, set amid the wreckage of the Enterprise, Data desperately tries to avoid a horny B'Etor. Moments later, only Picard and Riker are left behind-everyone else having been beamed aboard the orbiting Farragut. "If you don't mind, Will... the Captain is traditionally the last one to leave the ship," Picard says. And in Hollywood, the screenwriter is always the first to walk the plank.

Cinescape - January, 1995 - Edward Gross

Patrick Stewart Movie Quote

They had to go to Nevada for re-shoots and make the battle with Malcolm McDowell on that buckling bridge more exciting. This comes after Captain Picard persuades Kirk (Shatner) to leave the horse ranch mirage to help out the Universe again.

Stewart saves Shatner at one point, but "the bridge gave another lurch, and I went off the side. We filmed this with... Bill hauling me up. None of that... is seen. I'm hanging onto Bill's hand, and he said, `I suppose it's too late to get back on the horses.' And I said, `I'm afraid so!' (We're) extremely dismayed this didn't get into the movie."

USA Today - December 1, 1994

sttng701 July 3, 1995


Paramount Pictures Andrew Tong

Technical design, graphic design, interactive features, HTML & CGI programming by Andrew Tong. || All materials Copyright © 1987-1995 by their respective authors. || Document created: May 28, 1994 || Last Modified: November 09, 2010