Why members of the original cast turned down roles in Star Trek: Generations

In the film, Star Trek: Generations, we see William Shatner, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig reprise their roles of James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Pavel Chekov respectively for the film. The trio is joined by Alan Ruck and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise-B as they end up getting sucked into the temporal Nexus. The opening of the film introduces Chekov to Whoopi Goldberg’s Guinan and sets in motion the film transition of the original crew and the Next Generation crew.

The problem arose, however, that every member of the original crew was supposed to be involved in the opening of the film. From Kirk all the way down to his best bud, Hikaru Sulu. The guys working on the script decided that it was all too much, and decided to whittle it down to just three former crew members, Kirk, Spock, and Leonard “Bones” McCoy.

This upset a lot of people, including Goldberg, who was hoping to finally share screen time with Nichelle Nichols aka Nyota Uhura. Since the opening of this version would be similar to what the film ended up being, Guinan would’ve met the entire crew instead of just Chekov, Scotty, and Kirk.

The decision to not include the cast was something Patrick Stewart was not for. He wanted both sets of crew members on the project so that everyone was part of Star Trek’s future. The decision to exclude so many was a big issue for some. Made more so when people found out that Spock and McCoy weren’t going to be used in the project anyway.

For McCoy, played by DeForest Kelly, it was a very understandable reason. Kelly was declining in health and would’ve needed to get new insurance to be able to do the role, and it just didn’t seem worthwhile enough for him to do so.

For Spock, Leonard Nimoy just didn’t seem to care enough to join on. He cited script issues and wanted his portrayal of Spock to carry more weight than it was supposed to, and because he felt the lines his character was given weren’t specific enough for Spock, he declined and told the crew to give his dialogue to someone else.

Enter Doohan, and Koenig.

Ironically, at some point in the negotiations for the cameo appearances, George Takei was approached for a return but did not want to have his character demoted just to take orders from Shatner’s Kirk again. The bad blood runs deep.

This was why Sulu’s daughter, Demora Sulu, was created.

The film could’ve been so much more if the people behind the scenes just had more faith and a better imagination; and if a few select actors got over their egos.