The film that could have been
Former “Star Trek” producer Harve Bennett got yabbing to Trek Nation about what could’ve been a future “Star Trek” film.
“Starfleet Academy” was a prequel, set at a time when Captain Picard had yet to discover diapers, and Spock wasn’t even a mindmelded thought in Kirk’s brain.
“I was very involved with that. We had a green light to picture which was cancelled only when there was a regime change at the studio and a concern that we should do something more conventional for the then-25th anniversary. We had 19 months to do it in”, he explains. “19 months? There’s no way to do a special effects picture in 19 months. The best time we had was Star Trek III, which was two years from concept to release date. And the reason for that is, we would write the script normally and that was an easy script, that was six weeks and we were ready to go. But the special effects planning takes the better part of the year. I said, ‘It can’t be done.’ And then my time was up, so I left.”
There were rumours that the film might be getting back on track, but nothing’s as optimistic as that Chinese whisper, it seems.
“Before Sherry Lansing left [Paramount Pictures] last year, we had a meeting, about two years ago, in which I proposed that now was the time to do Starfleet Academy. And she loved it. We would have made it. But then she said the television department had asked her not to do it, because Enterprise was being produced and they thought that should be the prequel. Therefore, we did not do that. Could we make it now? If somebody wants to, I’m there. Technically, I’m retired, and non-technically but actually, I’m writing my own book. I’m considerably happy not to go into downtown Los Angeles every day”, he says.
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley would have starred in the film, he says.
“Some of the steam went out of it when my dear DeForest Kelley died. He was going to be in it along with Bill [Shatner] and Leonard [Nimoy], those were the only two regulars, and they were involved in a flashback. That’s how we incorporated the three main characters into the prequel: it was a memory. Kirk comes to the Academy to address the classmates and remembers his time, when they were 17.”
OK, so a new “Star Trek” movie mightn’t be in the works – but that doesn’t mean a new “Star Trek” spoof, and one starring William Shatner, isn’t in the cards.
Robert Meyer Burnett, writer and direct of 1998’s “Free Enterprise”, in which Shatner played an eccentric version of himself who forms an unlikely friendship with a couple of Trekkies, recently told IGN FilmForce a sequel is in the works – and it’s Shatner whose championing it.
“Shatner is waiting for us,” said Burnett. “Actually, he wants to come up with some ideas for the sequel.”
Rafer Weigel and “Will & Grace” fave Eric McCormack have already committed to reprising their roles in the sequel, but the writer says he can’t reveal what they’ll be getting up to this time around.
So with Kirk on board, what about getting Spock too?
“Believe it or not, we’ve never approached [Leonard] Nimoy,” said Burnett. “Haven’t talked with him, but we would like to have him.”
Live Long and Prosper.