William Shatner envisioned Captain Kirk fighting a frightening rock monster in Star Trek V’s climax. Here’s why he had to cut the creature altogether.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier cut one of the movie’s planned villains, a fearsome rock monster, and this contributed to the diminished overall quality and poor reception of William Shatner’s directorial debut. Released in the summer of 1989, Star Trek V introduced Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), the half-brother of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), who hijacked the Starship Enterprise on his mad quest to find God. Star Trek V ended up as the lowest-grossing and worst-reviewed of the Star Trek movies starring the classic cast of The Original Series.
In his 1994 memoir, Star Trek Movie Memories, William Shatner revealed the multitude of troubles he encountered directing Star Trek V. Faced with the pressure of following up the incredibly successful Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home directed by Leonard Nimoy, Shatner drew inspiration from televangelists preaching salvation and imagined a tale where Captain Kirk and his crew encounter a holy man seeking God. Shatner’s ambitious concept was admittedly problematic; in the original climax he wanted, Kirk, Spock, and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) were chased by fiery angels and demons but Shatner quickly realized such blatant Judeo-Christian imagery would be out of place in a Star Trek movie.