This year marks the 30th anniversary of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, in which Captain Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Starship Enterprise crew travel back in time to the present — circa 1986 — to collect two humpback whales, which are key to helping them solve an alien crisis in the 23rd century. Despite having arguably the silliest premise in the history of the Star Trek franchise, The Voyage Home was — until J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot — the most profitable movie in the series. It might have been even more of a cash cow, if a certain A-lister had — as initially planned — taken part in its eco-conscious action.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Steve Meerson adds his take on a story that’s circulated before about a Star Trek IV role for Eddie Murphy in his and co-writer Peter Krikes’ original treatment, which had a role for the Beverly Hills Cop star as a Berkeley astrophysicist who assists Kirk and Spock in their mission. As Meerson tells it:
“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.”
When Murphy’s deal eventually fell through, the script was rewritten to feature Catherine Hicks’ Dr. Gillian Taylor, who eventually served as Kirk’s de facto love interest in the sequel. As such, Murphy never got a chance to strut his stuff in a genuine sci-fi venture — unless, of course, you count 2002’s The Adventures of Pluto Nash. And, well, the less said about that one, the better.
To read about Murphy’s fleeting involvement in Star Trek IV, as well as the debate over who deserved writing credit for its finished script, check out the full THR article.
Eddie Murphy had the best response to the movies that make him cry: