Here’s something you may not know: Eddie Murphy was once set to appear in a Star Trek movie, to the point where his part was written into the screenplay.
If all had gone to plan, he would have appeared in 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, one of the most successful movies in the Trek series. It was penned by Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2016, Meerson recalled putting the script of the film – that was, of course, directed by Leonard Nimoy – together.
“They knew they wanted to make a movie that would make a statement about the environment. They knew that they wanted it to include whales. They had a notion that time travel might enter into it. But it’s basically all they had,” Meerson recalled, with he and Krikes eventually coming up with the best part of ten possible outlines before finally getting the nod.
As for Eddie Murphy? “It was always the same story that got approved, but the original draft included a part for Eddie Murphy. Eddie was on the lot at Paramount at the time and arguably was the biggest star in the world. They had told us he was a huge Star Trek fan.”
He would have played a Berkeley astrophysicist in the movie. And when the deal fell through for him to appear in Star Trek IV, that’s when the part was effectively changed to that of Dr. Gillian Taylor, who would be played Catherine Hicks in the final film.
The screenplay would still go through further changes once Meerson and Krikes were done with it, although they would eventually – and not without a battle or two – get due credit in the film’s credits. Nonetheless, there’s still clearly some rawness about the way they were treated. “We were asked to go to a couple of conventions, probably as recent as 10 years ago. But we never really did, because I have to say we felt a little used and abused. The people who know us know what we did,” he said.
This article first appeared on Den of Geek UK in 2016.