Home News The Voyage Home Had to Follow A Strict William Shatner Rule

The Voyage Home Had to Follow A Strict William Shatner Rule

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Trekkies have long known about William Shatner’s egotistical behavior on set, and how he always saw himself as the one true lead of “Star Trek.” Extending from that assertion, Nimoy and DeForest Kelley were his co-leads, while the other actors were mere backup members of an ensemble. Because he felt he was the star, Shatner was known to be brusque and dismissive to other actors, and often hogged the spotlight, tried to steal other actors’ lines for himself, and generally behaved like a big ol’ a-hole. It wouldn’t be for years that Shatner and some of his co-stars — but only some of them — would reconcile and, in some cases, become close friends.

In 1986, Paramount seemed willing to kowtow to Shatner’s ego, and demanded that Kirk be put front and center in “Star Trek IV,” even if it’s not Kirk’s story. Meerson recalled the instructions clearly:

“The approach we were told to take is that Kirk really had to be the one to lead everyone. […] Not necessarily that he had to actually have the idea to do something, but it had to appear as if he has the idea.” 

Krikes recalled how illogical the mandate was, and how, when you watch the film, you can see how Kirk has been arbitrarily inserted into various scenes where he doesn’t belong. For example, there’s a scene near the end of the movie in which Spock (Nimoy) has a conversation with his father Sarek (Mark Lenard). Kirk is present in the background, watching the conversation. There is no reason for him to be there. But, golly, that’s what Paramount wanted.



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