The sixth and final movie that included all of the cast from Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was a conglomeration of action, drama, intrigue, and betrayal, and it was one of the highest-grossing films of 1991. The ending, though bittersweet, saw the crew riding off into the sunset with the Enterprise on its way to being decommissioned eventually. And though it was painful for fans to consider a future without the Enterprise in that time period, a far worse fate could have awaited had the producers accepted the pitch of Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov).
Koenig’s script outline, codenamed “In Flanders Fields,” started with every previous member of the crew, with the exception of Spock, in retirement as they were too out of shape (and essentially too old) and could not meet Starfleet’s rigorous fitness goals. Spock, of course, remained in the best of shape with his Vulcan physiology and was the captain of his own ship at the time. (Presumably, the Enterprise)
So while Kirk, McCoy, and the rest of the crew are off enjoying (or suffering from) their retirement, Spock and his crew are captured by worm-like monsters straight out of “Aliens.” Kirk’s crew is alerted to the ship’s capture and sets out to free the Enterprise and their friend. While this sounds like a pretty exciting adventure, there was one huge downside. In Koenig’s script, Spock and Dr. McCoy are the last ones standing at the end of the battle. That’s right. Everyone else would have perished.
The uproar was bad when Captain Kirk was killed in Star Trek: Generations. Can you imagine how bad it would have been had most of the entire crew of the Enterprise been killed in one movie? One has to wonder why Koenig wanted to go down that path. These are all beloved characters; eliminating them wouldn’t have gone over well with the fans. Captain Kirk’s demise still rankles most of us. So, thankfully, the producers chose to go in a different direction, and the crew remained alive for the ending of the movie, enabling Captain Kirk to take the Enterprise for one final spin around the galaxy.