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Idea & Info Wanted: Star Trek VI: The Roddenberry cut?

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This would seem to be something that fits here… I have read that Rene Roddenberry (who unfortunately died a few days after screening the film) disliked many parts of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and that he sent an extensive “list of cuts” to the filmmakers, who rejected his ideas (Roddenberry’s creative control over the property had diminished over the years, to the point of him being little more than an advisor). From what I gather, it mainly had to do with the harsher anti-Klingon sentiments expressed by starfleet characters in the movie, but that would still only account for a couple of scenes at most.

While I actually like this movie (GR may have invented Star Trek but like the creator of a certain other franchise, all of his ideas weren’t golden and he benefited from editors and collaboration), and prefer an extended cut than an abbreviated one, I wonder if a list of these “cuts” exist, to the point where a fan editor could craft an edition of the film that would have been more “in line” with his vision for it?

Any info is appreciated…

<i>TCBOO</i>

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I don’t believe the list of cuts were ever preserved. I imagine it was more a list of things the characters “wouldn’t” do, not a list of scenes to cut. He was the kind of guy who would want a ground-up rewrite on things he didn’t like.

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Roddenberry hated the whole militaristic StarFleet from ST2: Wrath of Khan onwards.
TNG is basically his course-correction, as he mostly had creative control over that project.

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Keep in mind that Roddenberry was unhappy with every “Star Trek” movie because he wanted the Enterprise crew to go back in time and save JFK, and the studio consistently rejected the idea.

I have to assume Roddenberry would’ve wanted them to cut all references to Kirk hating Klingons, because Kirk can’t be a bigot, which would completely remove his whole character arc.

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Interesting stuff, and I’ve also read that Season 1 of TNG is the “most Roddenberry” of all of TNG. He had died by the time of the fifth season (which is dedicated to him) but its also been said that his influence over the writing of the series had ended by the end of the third season. So Season 1 was his, season 2 a little less so and by season 3 others were doing it (using his foundation of course).

I could agree that the Picard we see in the TNG movies appears to be going through a mid-life crisis (some changes in his character one could attribute to his assimilation by the Borg, an idea I’m not sure G-Rod had anything to do with) and a lot of things changed… turning the cerebral character drama focused on diplomacy and ethical debates about science turned basically into a series of action flicks, remakes of old stories, and time travel shenanigans.

The crew saving JFK sounds silly, but would have been interesting to see. Let me guess, they’re going to say that in the real timeline Kennedy always survived? Because otherwise that would seem to go against everything they ever said or did about Time Travel… which is they don’t change things, only learn from it, or fix changes made by others (even though TNG eventually establishes that “many worlds” hypothesis as canon).

Too bad though. So I guess delete “guess who’s coming to dinner” “I’ve always hated Kligons…” “the smell / only the advanced models can talk” and the already cut “would you let your daughter marry one?” lines. But making Starfleet less military would require a lot of work, basically a reshoot. In-universe it makes a bit of sense that Starfleet starts out more like explorers, a kind of scientific merchant marine with defensive weapons or golden age of the United Nations–following the then future history of the Eugenics Wars/WWIII and united earth peace, but is forced to militarize because of the Romulans and Klingon aggression in the Kirk era, and then again in the Picard era (after a period of relative peace and stability) because of the Borg (Dominion in DS9).

<i>TCBOO</i>

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“The crew saving JFK sounds silly, but would have been interesting to see. Let me guess, they’re going to say that in the real timeline Kennedy always survived?”

I got it a bit wrong – apparently, the idea was that the Klingons changed history via the Guardian of Forever, seemingly so that the human race doesn’t exist (not explained in the articles, but I’m guessing – from both context and because it’s Roddenberry – that this involves them interfering with the Cold War rather than the simpler thing to go back and interfere with evolution). The Enterprise (not sure why it hasn’t changed) goes back in time to stop this, but accidentally crashes in November 1963. A UFO crashing is big news, and so JFK cancels his trip to Dallas. It sounds like Gene was planning on going with “Tomorrow is Yesterday” time travel logic, and that when Kirk fixed whatever the Klingons did, the rest of it would just kind of fix itself. When they get back to the present, everything is fixed except McCoy is married now. But then there was a subsequent rewrite where they leaned more heavily on being a “City on the Edge of Forever” knock-off and felt that the crew needed to kill JFK to fix history. There seem to be quite a few people making the claim that there was an actual draft where Spock was the gunman on the grassy knoll.

To be honest, I would kind of love it if this movie existed, but I don’t think we would’ve gotten any more if they ever made this one.