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This franchise has had plenty of troubles on the big and small screen.

The series

  • Star Trek: The Original Series was rife with problems. The root cause for much of it was the network wanting an action-oriented Space Western and the production team wanting to do serious science fiction. Low budgets were also a big problem, something you'd probably figure out from watching almost any episode. Things got especially bad in the infamous Third (or "Turd") Season. The show was renewed thanks to a fan letter-writing campaign, but with budgets slashed further and a move to the Friday Night Death Slot. This led to Gene Roddenberry quitting his job as Show Runner. As a result of all this, the third season had a marked decline in quality with an accompanied increase in campiness. Leonard Nimoy found himself frequently clashing with writers and directors who wanted Spock to do Out of Character things like use violence or hit on the Girl of the Week. By the end of that season, the show had predictably crashed and burned itself into Cancellation.
    • If there's any single episode of TOS that suffered from this trope, it was "The Alternative Factor" during the first season. John Drew Barrymore, John's son and Drew's father, had been cast as Lazarus, the main guest role... and then didn't show up on the first day of filming. His agent and lawyer couldn't find him, so they cast someone else in a big hurry (Barrymore's absence led to him getting suspended by SAG for six months after Desilu filed a grievance). The beard for the replacement was improvised from what had been designed for Barrymore, and it shows. The script has howler lines like "Starfleet has been getting reports from all over the galaxy and far beyond..." It also had a subplot in which Lazarus became romantically involved with a black member of the crew — which admittedly seems out of place on the eve of universal Armageddon and didn't have much to do with anything. That was actually filmed... and hastily edited out when NBC got paranoid about how the Southern affiliates would react, resulting in the finished episode's choppy feel.
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    • "The City on the Edge of Forever" may be a contender for the high point of the entire Star Trek franchise, but it had a troubled time getting there:
      • Harlan Ellison's first draft was agreed by just about everyone to be a masterpiece in its own right, but didn't really feel like a Star Trek episode, with Gene Roddenberry's chief complaint being the inclusion of a drug-dealing character who helps get the plot of the episode underway, along with Kirk having him executed via firing squad in the episode's climax. On top of that, Ellison added in an element of barely-suppressed Fantastic Racism between Kirk and Spock, even though Kirk making bigoted remarks had served as an instant Out-of-Character Alert in "What Are Little Girls Made of?" earlier in that season.
      • The job of rewriting Ellison's script was given to script editor Steven W. Carabatsos, only for the resulting script to turn out so awful that it nearly resulted in Ellison quitting the project in fury, and played a major part in Carabatsos being let go from the series and replaced by D.C. Fontana shortly afterwards. Ellison then went back and did another rewrite himself, with input from producer Gene L. Coon, and despite deleting the racial elements and changing the drug dealer's demise to a Karmic Death inflicted by the Guardian of Forever, Roddenberry still wasn't happy with it.
      • At this point, Fontana herself took a shot at the script, essentially starting over using Ellison's basic story outline as a start point. This time, everyone involved agreed that Fontana had absolutely nailed the story, with only a few small rewrites subsequently being done by Roddenberry and Coon, mostly to account for actor, set and prop availability.
      • Filming was comparatively more smooth, though the demands of the shoot meant they needed an extra two days to film everything. Production designer Matt Jefferies was also laid low with a flu virus in pre-production, resulting in his supervisor, Rolland M. Brooks having to design the Guardian of Forever.
      • Before the episode was broadcast, Roddenberry publicly badmouthed Ellison's work on the episode, which infuriated the writer and caused him to demand that he be credited under his pseudonym, "Cordwainer Bird." Since it was already widely known even in 1967 that he used this to flag works which had been wrecked by Executive Meddling, and that this would cause viewers to expect the episode to suck even before watching it, Roddenberry used every means he could to drag out the Writer's Guild arbitration process until the episode was ready to air, and it was too late to do anything more about it. However, this also meant that Fontana, who should have been credited as co-writer, ended up having to go without credit.
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    • The effects for the show itself also proved no end of production issues with the crew:
      • The main company hired to do the series, The Howard Anderson Company, managed to do both pilots on a decent time scale. But when it came to the first actual episode produced ("The Corbomite Maneuver"), their workload increased to the point where there was no choice but to hire other vendors to help out with the show.
      • One of these, effects veteran Linwood Dunn's company Film Effects of Hollywood, would go on to produce most of the effects during the first and second seasonsnote . By the time Season 2 started, Dunn and the studio were clearly not getting along with each other (The company worked on the series on an episodic basis), resulting in sub-par effects given to the supervisors and editorsnote . The company left the series by the time of Season 3 due to budget cuts, but their involvement left a sour taste in everyone's mouths.
      • The 11-foot model of the Enterprise was, in fact, one of the reasons why Dunn's company was hired to begin with. As the ship proved too huge for both of Anderson's studios for crew to work with. Once Film Effects was dropped from the series, the model and its 3-foot counterpart were subsequently retired, with heavy use of Stock Footage being used for the ship for the third season.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series had troubles mostly in the pre-production phase, as the producers initially only intended to bring back William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan and Majel Barrett, creating Suspiciously Similar Substitutes Arex and M'Ress for Sulu and Uhura respectively. However, the lead cast members put their foot down and refused to do the series unless George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig were brought back. There wasn't the budget to bring back all three, however, resulting in them having to agree to a compromise measure whereby Takei and Nichols would return as regular cast members, and Koenig would be allowed to write an episode of the series (Arex and M'Ress were retained, albeit with the former replacing Chekov rather than Sulu). However...
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    • The episode that Koenig wrote, "The Infinite Vulcan," was completely rewritten from top to bottom by Gene Roddenberry, ending up with nothing in common with Koenig's original script other than that it involved a giant clone of Spock, and plant people (the latter of which wasn't actually Koenig's idea in the first place, but rather Roddenberry's). Koenig fumed, but consoled himself with the thought that he'd at least be allowed to come back and voice the story's Big Bad — only to find out, at a Star Trek convention of all places, that he wasn't even going to be allowed to do that.
    • Another episode that suffered from heavy meddling by Roddenberry was the second season story "Bem". David Gerrold had first pitched it for the third season of TOS, but then-producer Fred Freiberger didn't like the story, and also didn't think it could be produced on a diminished third season budget. Gerrold instead submitted it for TAS, and Roddenberry bought it, but then told Gerrold he couldn't have two of his scripts put into production since it would create the appearance of favoritism. Gerrold understandably decided to have "More Tribbles, More Troubles" produced instead, as it was a sequel to a highly popular TOS episode... only for Roddenberry to then have two scripts by another former TOS writer, Margaret Armen, put into production. It was eventually made for the second season, but not until after Roddenberry had demanded the inclusion of a Sufficiently Advanced Alien antagonist, though Gerrold did at least turn this requirement to his advantage by demanding that Nichelle Nichols voice the resulting character, as she almost never got to voice anyone except for Uhura.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation had a similarly rough ride for its first couple of seasons, mostly due to Gene Roddenberry's declining health, substance abuse, spaced-out mental state, and the ridiculously high turnover rate in his writing staff for the first two seasons. Roddenberry's lawyer took control of the writing staff for most of the first season (supposedly rewriting scripts, against Writers' Guild rules, at one point), leading to the departure of TOS mainstays David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana after he began retaliating against them for complaints (Gerrold left amicably, or so he thought, only to be blackballed after Gene "The Great Bird" Roddenberry told everyone he was fired for his incompetence). Near the end of the season cast member Denise Crosby, who got pissed off at being a glorified extranote , also left.
    • The prototype uniforms smelled bad (spandex retains bodily oils more than the newer cloth uniforms) and gave the actors back problems.
    • Things got a bit better for the second season where Maurice Hurley took over the writing staff, but since a lot of TV writers chose to sit out the whole 1988-89 season after the 1988 WGA strike it left no more than about four or five writers (two of whom worked as a team) working on the show at any one point. It didn't help that, according to Tracy Torme at least, Hurley didn't get along with anybody and only differed from Roddenberry's lawyer in that he actually had writing experience. There were also rumors that Hurley had a big crush on Gates McFadden and expressed it like any four-year-old would: he had her written out of the second season (replacing her with Dr. Pulaski) when she brushed him off. It wasn't until the third season, when Roddenberry's health wouldn't allow him to even work, which allowed Rick Berman and Michael Piller to gently steal control of the production and the show started to balance out, although even then there were a few bumps along the way, including Piller managing to provoke the entire writing staff he inherited from Hurley into quitting after circulating an insensitively-worded "tips on writing for TV" memo, and Roddenberry still occasionally vetoing story ideas and throwing in bizarre suggestions.
    • The seventh and final season of the show would see production troubles return, albeit not to anywhere near the extent as in the first season. The main issue was that the writers were simply running out of ideas, forcing them to rely increasingly on implausible and technobabble-laden plots. This was compounded by new showrunner Jeri Taylor putting a stop to the show's open-submission policy, as she felt the writers were wasting time trying to knock amateur scripts into acceptable shape and that it'd be better to have all the scripts written by experienced professionals from the very start, but this ended up cutting off the flow of new ideas at the worst possible time. On top of that, Taylor also demanded an increased focus on stories prominently featuring Troi and Dr. Crusher, who she felt had been under-utilized in previous seasons, but the writers struggled to actually do this seeing how the most obvious plot routes (the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Troi and Riker, and Crusher and Picard) had been banned by executive producer Rick Berman, eventually causing the writers to resort to the Crack Pairing of Troi and Worf, something that came virtually out of nowhere and was never referenced again after the show ended. The eventual announcement that it would be the show's final season actually helped things out, as they were able to bring back several recurring characters (including Wesley Crusher and Ro Laren) and give closure to their story arcs, before the show ended with a hugely acclaimed finale, "All Good Things".
    • Even by the standards of the first two seasons, the infamous episode "Code of Honor" stands out. One of the two original writers took his name off it after it was heavily rewritten, and that was before the director they hired chose to populate the aliens of the week entirely with African-American guest actors, whom he proceeded to treat like garbage (though apparently he didn't treat the main cast a whole lot better). Eventually Roddenberry decided enough was enough and canned the director, leaving the first assistant director to pick up the pieces for the remainder of the shoot... which just happened to include the episode's big action sequence. Most of the main cast members (Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton especially) have had some rather choice words about the episode in recent years. Not to mention that many of the writers felt Roddenberry's rewrite put it beyond any chance of salvation. He had supposedly told one of the two original writers, on another episode, that the Enterprise doesn't fire warning shots ... only to add a scene in this episode where it did exactly that. Gah.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was probably the Star Trek series with the least problematic production history, though there were a few speedbumps in the seventh and final season:
    • The first was a result of Jadzia Dax actress Terry Farrell quitting the series after a dispute with executive producer Rick Berman, resulting in Jadzia getting a bridge dropped on her in the sixth season finale. She was replaced by Nicole de Boer, playing the new part of Ezri Dax; the producers tried to distinguish her from the extremely competent Action Girl Jadzia by making her more nervous and incompetent, but this backfired and resulted in a widely negative response to the character, forcing the later spin-off novels to retool Ezri to make her more like Jadzia had been.
    • The second major issue came when they ended up massively over-spending on the visual effects for the destruction of the USS Defiant in "The Changing Face of Evil", leaving them with only about two or three episodes' worth of effects budget for the final six episodes (bearing in mind that the finale was a two-parter). This limited them to largely using Stock Footage for effects shots in the rest of the season, and notably hurt the third-last story, "Extreme Measures," by forcing them to ditch the surreal dreamworld originally planned in favor of just re-using the regular DS9 and Defiant sets with no alteration.
    • The first six episodes of Season 6 were also a doozy. Designed as a very tight story arc involving the Dominion taking over the station and ultimately being expelled by the returning heroes, it quickly became clear that the crew were completely out of their depth in creating such an intensive long term story. The various episode crews were constantly over- or underestimating how much time and resources they would need, and eventually the B-plots of two episodes had to be completely switched so the first could be done on time, requiring some significant rewrites to keep the continuity making sense. Remarkably, this all turned out very well and the arc is generally regarded as one of the best parts of the show.
  • Just getting Star Trek: Voyager to air was incredibly problematic. Originally, Genevieve Bujold was to play Captain Janeway, but had no experience with a television schedule. Reportedly, there were also creative differences: Bujold had a habit of ad-libbing emotions and differing from the director's and producers' vision of the character. According to Rick Berman, no one on set believed she would last a week, but had been brought in by the studio as a 'name' actor for the role. On the second day of shooting, she walked off the set, and did not return. (Making at least one crew member in the betting pool extremely happy).

    This caused a chain reaction of problems: The crew filmed what they could while trying to recast Janeway, but, being Star Trek, they sort of needed to have The Captain be prominent in the first episode. This led to production shutting down for two weeks. When they finally got Kate Mulgrew for the role, after viewing the rushes, they noted that the stage lighting didn't mix with Mulgrew's ginger hair, creating a blinding distraction in every shot. This prompted more reshoots (with a severe "bun" hairstyle on Mulgrew), most of them on-location, which were no longer available and thus more expensive. A favorite joke on set was wondering if the pilot would be finished before the series ended. Adjusted for inflation, Voyager's pilot cost more than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
    • But it was all worth it just to bring smiles to the fans' faces? Right? Actually, the debut of a female Captain provoked bomb threats.
    • In the writer's room, there was apparently a lot of friction over the direction of the series — some of the writers wanted to follow a more serialized pattern, others wanted an episodic approach. As everyone now knows, the latter prevailed: The first season introduced several story arcs that were either aborted or left untouched. The first attempt at a multi-episode character arc, in Season 2, with Tom Paris's erratic behavior and the traitor, was wrapped up in a manner most found unsatisfactory.
    • When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine concluded, Ronald Moore joined the writing staff on Voyager. He left after an episode and a half due to the atmosphere in the writer's room, where he specifically was told, when asked how to write a character, "we don't know, do whatever." This led to a falling out between him and former frequent writer partner (and head of writing staff) Brannon Braga, who was no longer in any mood for collaboration. Braga essentially drummed Moore out of the job by refusing to let him attend meetings, even relocating the script conferences to his own house. In recent years, they appear to have patched things up.
    • Robert Beltran, who had agreed to play Chakotay just to act alongside Bujold, was not a happy camper for the seven year run. Not long into the show's run, He stopped playing nice and openly expressed his loathing of the show's plot, his co-stars, the producers, himself for playing such a formulaic (and at times borderline racist) role, and the fans for watching it (causing some disillusioned Trekkies to flee a convention in tears). His co-stars fired back in separate interviews, and the showrunners publicly told him to muzzle it. There were even rumors that he attempted to force his exit from the show by demanding an outrageous amount of money during contract renegotiations, only to have it given to him without complaint. Years later, Beltran claimed on Reddit that the public took his "flippant" comments too seriously and that his overall experience with the show was positive. Of course, he was plugging a movie at the time.
    • According to one account, Jennifer Lien's departure from the show was a mix of tumultuous circumstances. During production of the "Scorpion" two-parter at the end of the third season, it was decided to bring on a new cast member. The producers didn't want to make the main cast go any higher than 9 members, and were considering cutting Harry Kim's actor, Garrett Wang (supposedly because he was known to be lazy and missed filming for several episodes). However, Garrett's inclusion in a People Magazine article in 1997 caused the producers to scramble to find someone else to fire, and the axe fell on Lien. Reportedly, she didn't even know she had been fired until she read the script for "The Gift", her farewell episode.
    • You may recall how an additional cast member and second pilot revitalized Deep Space Nine. Well, lightning managed to strike twice, but Seven's arrival only aggravated the preexisting tensions in the cast. In spite of Paramount's frantic efforts to paper over the cracks, there were reports of an unnamed co-star making life difficult for Jeri Ryan. The cast member in question was widely suspected to be Kate Mulgrew, and it became something of an Open Secret in Trekdom. After two decades of fixed smiles and refutations of 'tabloid gossip', everyone involved with the show dropped the mask and confirmed the rumor was true. Mulgrew was ticked off about a number of executive decisions—the firing of Jennifer Lien, Jeri Taylor's habitual lateness in delivering scripts, and the writers shifting focus away from the Captain (nominally the show's star and spokesperson when dealing with the press) and toward the voluptuous Seven of Nine—and it's a wonder she didn't pop a blood vessel from frustration. Rick Berman, in one of his rare inspired decisions, took advantage of the animus developing between his performers to pair Janeway/Seven up as much as possible, creating a memorable double act. In later years, Mulgrew has admitted the Seven character probably saved VOY from cancellation, but that she resented sacrificing time with her family for a TV series Janeway no longer starred in. Garrett Wang, who shares more in common with his character than he lets on, compared the Mulgrew/Ryan feud to his "mother and sister fighting", and says he was reduced to tears on more than one occasion. In fact, just talking about the experience makes him weep even today. He has even done his best to "broker peace" between the two actresses at convention halls—and he seems to have succeeded.
      Ryan: Before every close-up, the hair and makeup and wardrobe teams come in and do touch-ups and everything to make sure everything's right. They shut the door to the set, and said, "She's fine. LET'S GO." Wouldn't let them in. Just stupid, stupid stuff like that.
    • And none of this factors in the issues with Jeri Ryan's Future Spandex costume. Alongside being uncomfortable and delicate, it was downright dangerous, with the high collar pressing against Ryan's carotid artery and causing her to faint on set at least twice, alongside creating a production shutdown any time she needed to go to the bathroom (causing her to simply not drink and suffer from dehydration).
    • A particular favourite of Garrett Wang's to tell at conventions: the series finale's final shot was to end on a shot of Kim crying Manly Tears of joy at the crew's arrival home, with it starting as him having a touched smile, to full on tears. This shot did end up being in the show... in an entirely different context altogether. The shot was shortened to Kim weeping at the birth of another character's baby. Wang was extremely pissed at this, and phoned up CBS in a fit of rage to ask why it was used in hard context.
    • Hell, Wang himself was the punching bag by much of the producers. A whole list of reasons would end up as long as this page itself. It's a miracle he is able to go from con to con and tell stories about the experience with a sense of humour.
    • Wang had a couple of flare-ups with executive producer Rick Berman. When he asked the latter why he wasn't promoted higher than his character's standard rank, Berman replied, "Well, someone's got to be the ensign." Wang has also gone on record as stating that an early interview with a reporter caused Berman to deny him the chance to direct an episode purely out of spite.note 
    • But he's not entirely blameless. Reportedly, during the first two seasons, he so frequently came in late and hungover from his weekends in Vegas that he was put on notice, and even though he did clean up his act was discreetly punished by being largely written out of a few episodes.

The films

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Paramount, trying to cash in on the success of Star Wars, decided to convert a proposed Star Trek Sequel Series into a movie. Unfortunately, this left them in the unenviable position of assigning Gene Roddenberry as producer, because of the godlike cult of personality he'd built up among Trekkies/ers, despite the fact that he'd never produced a feature film before. Their concern was justified.
    • Even when it was still supposed to have been the pilot episode for the series, Roddenberry and his cowriter, Harold Livingston, had been feuding. His replacement, Dennis Clark (Comes A Horseman) got along even worse with the Great Bird, and Livingston was back in three months. But despite Livingston having it in his new contract that Roddenberry couldn't do any more work on it than he already had, Roddenberry would do rewrites on the sly and then send them to the studio head.
    • Paramount's original budget was $8 million. The original director and producer were let go once Roddenberry realized just how much the kind of special effects audiences would be expecting after Star Wars and Close Encounters would cost... that much, and possibly more. Robert Wise was hired as director and the film's budget doubled. He put shooting on hold while he had the sets and (yes) the costumes redesigned. But the cast, already under contract for the now-abandoned series, was still getting paid every week under regularly extended contracts, and finally Paramount said in late summer 1978 that principal photography had to start.
    • Wise didn't want to shoot for more than 12 hours a day, saying he "lost his edge" after that. That might have been OK if he made efficient use of the time he was shooting. But on the first day, more than a thousand feet of film was shot, only for most of it to be thrown out. Only slightly over a page of script was deemed to be in the can. After the next day, just like this, the production was behind schedule for good.
    • The feuding between Roddenberry and Livingston continued, at the expense of the script. William Shatner, who titled his chapter on this in Movie Memories "Star Trek: The Emotional Picture", said the cast was getting revisions every two hours. And they hadn't even settled the question of what was going to happen in the third act, until two months had gone by and Leonard Nimoy began mediating between Roddenberry and Livingston at night after shooting.
    • Another delay was caused by the sets, particularly those of the Enterprise. While most of them had been built for the TV series, they were now set to be struck after the movie. Therefore it became essential to make as much use of them as possiblenote . The script had to be written and rewritten around this ... and then there were the production problems. They had been built with the idea they would be lit for TV, and thus the movie crew had to spend hours more than otherwise expected figuring out how to light them for film. They also created problems like a lot of uniform belt buckles getting smashed against the bridge railing, and the transporter floor getting so hot that crewmembers' rubber-soled shoes were actually melting if they spent too much time on it when it was lit up from within.
    • Only after the wrap did Wise check on the special effects, of which he hadn't even seen a demo shot (which concerned him). It soon became apparent that the first special effects house, Robert Abel and Associates, couldn't get the job donenote . Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey) and his former assistant John Dykstra (a founding member of Industrial Light and Magic) had been the original choices, and as their previous commitments had since been completed (!!) they were brought onboard with only months to go. They had to work around the clock to get the job done. By now the film was so over-budget that Paramount executives were keeping a running tab each day of how much it was such. It was said that the reason the finished film relies so much on the effects was that someone at Paramount decided they had to show where all the money went.
    • According to Wise and Jon Povill, the associate producer, the released film was essentially a rough cut that no one had seen in its entirety before shipping. Wise completed the final cut a day before the premiere and had to take it with him to Washington. The reels were still wet when they were loaded onto the projector.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan wasn't nearly as troubled as the first film, but it had its problems:
    • Despite everything that had happened on the first film, Paramount were willing to let Gene Roddenberry produce a sequel on condition that it be produced for only around half the budget, that Roddenberry share the producer's job with Jon Povill, and that Paramount would have approval on the storyline and choice of screenwriter. Roddenberry responded by rejecting all their demands except for their proposed budget and told them that he would write a sequel based on an idea he'd had involving Kirk and Spock getting involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and that Paramount could either take it or leave it. They opted to leave it, kicked Roddenberry upstairs, and replaced him with veteran TV producer Harve Bennett.
    • Bennett had expected a budget of around $20 million to make the film with, but when meeting the Paramount executives, happened to quip that he could make four movies for the money that had been spent on the first film. The executives responded by saying "thanks!", and sent Bennett on his way with a small even at the time $11 million budget; still enough to make a film with, but it forced savings to be found throughout the production.
    • Writing was the hardest part of the process. Bennett chose to make a sequel to the classic episode "Space Seed", with initial writer Jack B. Sowards producing several screenplays that were decent, but somehow lacking. TOS veteran Samuel A. Peeples was then brought on-board to produce a new draft, only for the resulting screenplay to turn out to be complete garbage, not least because Peeples for some bizarre reason deleted Khan from the script and replaced him with two Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. Now in the position where he needed a script in not more two weeks in order to prevent production from falling apart, Bennett was nearly forced to go with the last draft that Sowards had produced and just hope for the best, but newly-hired director Nicholas Meyer volunteered to do the job himself, even foregoing credit to ensure he could get the job done on time.
    • Filming and post-production was relatively smooth aside from the cost issues, and Meyer having trouble with William Shatner's Large Ham tendencies even in scenes that called for a more subdued performance, though he was eventually able to find ways to work around it. However, the film's original ending, in which Spock was presented as being absolutely, unquestionably dead, was considered to be too much of a Downer Ending by test audiences, resulting in Bennett and a small camera crew hastily filming an extra scene showing the torpedo containing Spock's body having soft-landed on the Genesis Planet. It let the film end on a moment of hope, but Meyer was incensed, and refused to come back for the third film.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock was largely trouble-free, aside from an initial misunderstanding that caused Paramount to refuse to let Leonard Nimoy direct the film (a condition of his returning as Spock) until Nimoy cleared things up. That is, until the slight matter of the soundstage containing the Genesis Planet set catching fire, causing significant damage to the set and putting filming behind. Fortunately, between the set elements being easily-replaceable and Nimoy's efficient directing style, the production quickly recovered and finished on-time.
  • Totally averted by Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where the only things that went even vaguely wrong were the initial screenplay proving not to be workable and Nicholas Meyer having to be tempted back to the series to work on a new script, and animal rights activists incorrectly accusing the production of using captive whales; in actuality, the humpback whales that the plot focuses on were created via Stock Footage and animatronics, and ILM easily disproved the accusations by producing behind-the-scenes footage.
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was where things really went wrong for the original cast films. After Nimoy had directed two successful films in the franchise, he suggested that William Shatner ask to direct the next one, since Paramount had an informal agreement with them that anything one got had to be offered to the other eventually, as well.
    • Shatner originally wanted to direct a film about Kirk saving his crewmates from hell, but he was met with opposition from the studio (who wanted a lighthearted comedic piece like the last film, as it had done so well), and cast (Nimoy and DeForest Kelley objected to their characters betraying Kirk), leading to rewrites. Gene Roddenberry, who had essentially been shut out of the creative process for the movies since the first one, but was still consulted, was none too happy with Shatner for the eventual plot, which is a loose remake of "The God Thing", the never-filmed script Roddenberry had wanted to film as the pilot of the aborted TV series reboot. He dropped hints for the remaining years of his life that the film was to be considered non-canonical by fans.
    • At the beginning of the production, the Teamsters went on strike. The crew had to hire non-union truck drivers and take precautions against sabotage. After one of the camera trucks mysteriously exploded in the parking lot at one location, police escorts were hired for all the truck convoys.
    • The film also met with troubles with the budget and special effects, since ILM already had their hands full with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Ghostbusters 2. So they had to hire Bran Ferren, who worked on the aforementioned Altered States leading to Special Effects Failure in this film as well.
    • The film opened well, but quickly faded after a few weeks. It made money, but less than the other films had. It's true that that summer had a very crowded slate of sequels and potential blockbusters... but still. More importantly however, critics eviscerated the film, and this combined with the underwhelming box office proved the death knell for both Shatner's career as a film director, and the career in general of Harve Bennett, who produced and co-wrote all four 1980s Trek films, but whose only subsequent work was on Time Trax. On top of that, Gene Roddenberry instructed the writing staff on Star Trek: The Next Generation that they were to treat the film as non-canon, a directive they were only too happy to follow.
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country had troubles mostly left over from the previous film:
    • Following the critical drubbing and underwhelming box-office of the previous film, Paramount were only willing to allow $20 million for a sixth film to be produced. Bennett and The Final Frontier screenwriter David Loughery produced a screenplay for a prequel film that would have been set during Kirk, Spock and McCoy's days at Starfleet Academy, only featuring Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley in segments bookending the film. Paramount rejected the story immediately, and Bennett, who had been on extremely thin ice with the Paramount executives as it was, jumped before he could be pushed and quit the series. Nimoy was subsequently installed as the new executive producer and creative lead on the film, with Bennett's right-hand man, Ralph Winter taking over as line producer, and Nimoy's first decision was to re-hire Nicholas Meyer to direct.
    • After an initial draft by writers Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal proved unsatisfactory, Meyer wrote a new screenplay with co-writer Denny Martin Flinn. However, Paramount initially refused to budge on their $20 million budget figure... until a personal friend of Meyer's took over as head of Paramount, and added another $10 million to the budget.
    • Filming went reasonably smoothly, though some of the cast objected to dialogue showing their characters to be bigots, resulting in Meyer having to switch around some lines, and delete others entirely. Post-production also went quite well, though there were a couple of issues around the soundtrack; Meyer initially planned to forego a conventional score and use Gustav Holst's The Planets suite to score the film, but this was rejected by Paramount, then both Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner proved unavailable, leading to Cliff Eidelman being hired to do the job at a very late stage.
    • One last problem reared its head not long before release when, despite the screenplay being really written by Meyer and Flinn based off of Nimoy's story, the Writer's Guild of America awarded the writing credits solely to Konner and Rosenthal. Nimoy was absolutely livid and threatened to sue the WGA, who in turn threatened to have all their writers boycott Paramount unless Nimoy backed down. Cooler heads eventually prevailed, and it was agreed that Nimoy, Konner and Rosenthal would be credited for the story, and Meyer and Flinn for the screenplay.
  • Star Trek: Generations might not have been as troublesome as the original cast's first film, but it was certainly a baptism of fire for the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew:
    • With TNG showrunners Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor too busy working on running Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and creating Star Trek: Voyager respectively, producer and franchise head honcho Rick Berman commissioned two competing screenplays; one from frequent TNG writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga, and one from former TNG showrunner Maurice Hurley. Hurley's screenplay eventually turned out to be unusable, resulting in them being forced to go with the Moore and Braga script.
    • Berman handed Moore and Braga a "laundry list" of plot elements they had to use — specifically, that it had to be a cross-over film with Kirk appearing in the TNG era, that the opening had to show the until-then unseen Enterprise-B, that the Duras Sisters had to be involved and operating a Bird-of-Prey (so that they could re-use the Stock Footage of the Big Bad's Bird-of-Prey exploding from the previous film), that Data had to start using the emotion chip that he got in TNG's final season, that the Enterprise-D had to be destroyed in a crash-landing, and that the story had to end with Kirk's death — causing them to struggle to incorporate all his demands into a coherent story. To make things worse, they had to work on TNG's finale, "All Good Things..." at the same time, and with that being the one more urgently required, it got the most attention, hurting the screenplay for Generations.
    • When it came to picking a director, Berman initially approached Leonard Nimoy, who was willing to do it. However, negotiations soon broke down when Berman made it clear that Nimoy would not have any creative input. Wanting a director who was more used to just filming the screenplay as written and not trying to over-step what he saw as the director's boundaries, Berman instead hired David Carson, who had recently directed DS9's pilot episode.
    • During pre-production and filming, the combination of a director, producer and screenwriters who were all new to theatrical film production resulted in numerous poor budgetary decisions, including spending extortionate amounts of money on sets and costumes that would have only a few minutes of screentime and could not be re-used on DS9 or the upcoming Voyager, leaving the rest of the production short-changed. As a result, when producing the next film they took more care to create props and models that could be re-used on the TV shows.
    • They also had new costumes designed, but after the replacements proved unsatisfactory, instead of just re-using the TNG uniforms they for some reason decided to give the crew DS9-style outfits. Unfortunately, they only had the money to give Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner entirely new outfits; Jonathan Frakes and Levar Burton had to make do with Avery Brooks' and Colm Meaney's DS9 outfits respectively (neither of which quite fit right), while Michael Dorn continued to wear his TNG uniform (there were no DS9 uniforms that fit him). Gates McFadden and Marina Sirtis, meanwhile, also wore their TNG uniforms after bluntly refusing to wear wear the DS9 uniforms by arguing that they made a Statuesque Stunner Terry Farrell look fat.
    • Originally, the opening scene on the Enterprise-B was meant to have Kirk, Spock and McCoy appearing together one last time. However, Nimoy, still smarting at how negotiations for him to direct had gone sour, refused to appear as Spock, while DeForest Kelley was in poor health and didn't like how McCoy had been written, and so also refused to appear, forcing their parts to be hastily replaced with Scotty and Chekov respectively.
    • The ending was what caused the most trouble. At first, the film had a short, abrupt ending in which Kirk and Picard foil the Big Bad, only for Kirk to die from being shot in the back. This got such a terrible reaction from test audiences that Paramount told Berman to go out and completely reshoot the film's ending, adding in a new death for Kirk in which they Dropped a Bridge on Him. In a repeat of The Motion Picture, Generations ultimately proved a commercial success, but a critical failure.
  • Star Trek: First Contact only really had trouble early on, due to Rick Berman's demands that it involve popular recurring villains the Borg, while also being a time-travel comedy in the vein of The Voyage Home. Moore and Braga were re-hired as screenwriters, and initially produced an outright comedic screenplay named Star Trek: Renaissance, showing the Borg taking over a castle in renaissance Italy, and the Enterprise crew foiling them with the help of Leonardo da Vinci; this screenplay was regarded by just about everyone as far too silly, and Patrick Stewart killed it altogether by insisting that he wasn't going to wear tights. Moore and Braga's second attempt, Star Trek: Resurrection was nearer the mark, but relegated the Borg to an action sub-plot aboard the Enterprise and focused mostly on Picard's time-travel shenanigans while impersonating the inventor of warp drive, with Picard never even finding out about the Borg's involvement. Finally, the people involved decided to make the film a proper follow-up to the events of the acclaimed "The Best of Both Worlds" two-parter from the series and have Picard confront the Borg head-on, resulting in the film that was released.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection essentially had the problems of First Contact in reverse. Michael Piller, who was hired to write the screenplay, initially wrote an Apocalypse Now-inspired screenplay in which the Enterprise crew are forced to kill Data after he runs amok, then rebel against the Federation. Paramount had been pushing for a Lighter and Softer Star Trek film for some time now, however, and after three entries which dealt with heavy subject matters, finally put their foot down and demanded it this time. Piller therefore rewrote the screenplay, while adding in some of his personal beliefs regarding a preference for "rural simplicity" over technology. However, all the rewrites essentially gutted the screenplay of its original point, with Levar Burton and Marina Sirtis both finding it incredibly boring, and even Patrick Stewart admitting that he felt the villains were more in the right than the Enterprise crew. Paramount, despite their initial Executive Meddling, actually gave a helpful memo suggesting that they flesh out the villains' motives more, but it was apparently ignored. Then, Berman insisted on having the original ending — which ended with the Big Bad being de-aged out of existence by the Fountain of Youth radiation he was after — refilmed in favor of just having the Big Bad blown up, adding another $10 million to the budget, and meaning its underwhelming box-office response was felt all the more.
  • Downplayed, surprisingly enough, by Star Trek: Nemesis. But enough things went wrong to have dire consequences for the franchise:
    • For the most part, writing and filming went pretty smoothly. Maybe a little too smoothly, however — Oscar-winning writer John Logan was given Protection from Editors in his contract, and this had knock-on effects when it came time to choose a director. Nicholas Meyer was the first choice, but he expected to be able to have a crack at the script as he'd always done in the past, and when Berman informed him that Logan had final script approval, Meyer declined. Berman then considered LeVar Burton, wanting to "promote" him like Jonathan Frakes, but Paramount went over his head to install Stuart Baird, as part of an overall deal they had with him in exchange for doing editing work for the studio. Baird was only there for the paycheck, and so wasn't inclined to ask Logan for rewrites (Logan's contract meant Berman couldn't fire him or have the screenplay rewritten without his permission, but there was nothing stopping Berman, Baird or the studio just asking him to change the script).
    • There were also some conflicts between Baird and the cast, mostly over Baird's unfamiliarity with the series, to the point where he mistakenly thought that Geordi was an alien instead of a human with artificial eye implants, and repeatedly mispronounced Levar Burton's name as "Laverne" during filming. Marina Sirtis, while considering the film overall a slight improvement on Insurrection (as did Burton), didn't have too many kind words to say about Baird afterwards, and even Stewart and Frakes, while liking him personally, later admitted him to be a poor fit for the series.
    • What few character scenes were in the film were deleted by Baird during editing, in order to emphasize the action sequences, resulting in the Big Bad's original introductory scene and most of the Enterprise crew's character moments being deleted, to the point where Dr. Crusher doesn't even get a single line after the final battle commences and Wil Wheaton's role being reduced to a non-speaking cameo.
    • It was after production had finished where things started to go wrong; the film's screenplay was leaked, and heavily mocked by fans, and then the trailers hit, confirming said screenplay had been used without any major revisions. When it was actually released, it got the worst reviews of any film in the series outside of The Final Frontier, being hit with a healthy amount of It's the Same, Now It Sucks! from critics, and also picking up some backlash from the tepid second season of Star Trek: Enterprise (which didn't do much to help the fortunes of Nemesis by airing the widely-despised episode "Precious Cargo" two days before Nemesis opened).
    • However, it was the choice of release date that sent things really, spectacularly downhill. 2002 had arguably the busiest Christmas release schedule of the modern era, with major franchise films such as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Die Another Day, surprise hits such as Maid in Manhattan and The Santa Clause 2, and a whole host of Oscar Bait movies all vying for attention. However, it was one particular film that helped turn Nemesis into a Box Office Bomb of staggering proportions, namely The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which was released less than a week later. Having failed to beat the aforementioned Maid in Manhattan in its opening weekend, Nemesis experienced the worst second weekend of any major movie release in history until that point, dropping 76% of its intake, and then dropping out of the top ten altogether the following week, while flopping just as badly in foreign territories. It, along with the continued poor ratings of Enterprise (despite the show Growing the Beard the following year) ultimately proved the Franchise Killer for the original incarnation of Star Trek.
    • And it didn't end there. Tom Hardy, who played the film's villain, became so depressed over the film's critical and commercial failure that he descended into depression and drug abuse, not experiencing a Career Resurrection until Inception nearly eight years later. To this day, Hardy doesn't like to talk about Nemesis, reportedly even naming it in lists of things he will not discuss with interviewers.
  • Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness both managed to relaunch the franchise to great success, and even had trouble-free productions to boot. Star Trek Beyond, however, was a different story:
    • With J. J. Abrams, the director of the first two films, decamping to work on The Force Awakens, and co-writer Alex Kurtzman helping to create Star Trek: Discovery, it was left to Roberto Orci, the other co-writer of the first two films, to handle the third, with him being appointed as writer-director by Paramount. He got as far as hiring key production staffers and having initial sets built before Paramount suddenly ordered him to drop the script he had co-written with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and then fired him altogether shortly afterwards. Reports on why this happened vary; some say that Paramount wanted more of a Guardians of the Galaxy-type ensemble comedy piece, while others say that Orci's version of the film was more fan-friendly, but much like Generations, it would have been at the expense of Continuity Lockout for casual audiences. According to a documentary by Midnight's Edge, things were so bad that Orci was marched out of the studio by security, and that his firing was an open secret in Hollywood for months afterwards. Justin Lin was eventually hired to replace Orci.
    • Simon Pegg and Doug Jung were then hired to write the new version of the screenplay, and nearly quit several times themselves. Pegg later said that the only reason they didn't walk out was because they knew it would mean there'd be no Star Trek production released to mark the franchise's 50th anniversary.
    • Orci's version was planned to have Leonard Nimoy cameo for a third and final time, but by the time Lin, Pegg and Jung took over, it became clear that Nimoy's health simply wouldn't permit this. Nimoy ultimately died in February 2015, and the screenplay was rewritten to specify that The Character Died with Him. Another tragedy would hit the film pre-release when Anton Yelchin was killed in a freak car accident, resulting in the finished film being dedicated to both Nimoy and Yelchin.
    • Filming mostly went by smoothly, but in early 2016, the film's initial reveal trailer was met with an overwhelmingly negative reaction for its focus on action over story and character, with even former Trek stars such as Wil Wheaton and George Takei savaging it, and Pegg and Lin publicly disowning the trailer. The bad reaction to the initial trailer may well have doomed the film's box-office chances from the start, as it met with a solid critical response, but an underwhelming box-office take, which may have potentially sunk the reboot series — in 2018 it was reported that while Paramount were trying to produce a fourth film, Chris Pine and mooted co-star Chris Hemsworth were refusing to sign on for the derisory salary Paramount were offering (due to the proposed film's budget being massively reduced compared to the previous three), and with the rest of the cast supposedly already very reluctant to do a new movie without Yelchin, Beyond may well be the end of the road for the Kelvin timeline.

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