William Shatner thinks there was something rotten in the state of the USS Enterprise when it came to the death of Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock.
Spock rather sensationally died at the climax of the second ‘Star Trek’ movie, ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’.
However, Shatner has said he now reckons it was a rouse all along, a rouse to get Nimoy the directing gig of the next movie, ‘Star Trek III: The Search For Spock’.
Shatner, who was speaking ahead of a limited re-release of ‘The Wrath of Khan’ to celebrate its 35th anniversary, reckons that the plan was hatched by Nimoy and producer Harve Bennett, so that Nimoy could insist on directing the third Star Trek movie.
“I believe it was all planned – I now believe (Nimoy) and Harve cooked this up,” he told USA Today.
“I suddenly realized that I, as well as many other people, had been taken in by the death of Spock.
“Leonard was so marvellous at working the territory that he got a directing job out of it.”
He added that filming Spock’s death – in which he selflessly enters a radioactive chamber to save the Enterprise – affected him emotionally at the time.
“I was thinking my good friend Nimoy is in essence saying goodbye to the whole part. No one told me they were thinking otherwise,” Shatner added.
“But I would have enjoyed being in on it. I get the secrecy. But it’s all great.”
But Nicholas Meyer, who directed the movie, disagrees with Shatner’s take on the matter.
“Here’s what happened,” he said. “Leonard was very ambivalent about doing another Star Trek movie. And Harve Bennett lured him with the promise of a terrific death scene, which (Shatner) and he played so touchingly.
“And Leonard was starting to feel really good (about the movie) and was thinking whether he was making some kind of a mistake,” says Meyer, adding that it was the studio that wanted to leave the door open for Spock to come back.
“I fought it. I thought it was unforgivable to take people who were so wrapped up in this character and sort of dry hustle them and then say, ‘Oh, we were just kidding.’ But in the end, it was a battle that I lost.
“We left dangling the prospect of hope. And Star Trek is about hope. That’s the truth. It was not always planned that (Spock) was going to come back.
“In retrospect they were right, and I was wrong.”