Lt. Saavik had a different destiny in Search for Spock
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock started with the stars from The Original Series stealing the Enterprise to go on a hunt for Spock who they believed might be alive, thanks to the Genesis Project. Admiral Kirk’s son and Lt. Saavik are both taken captive by Klingons demanding that the device be turned over to them. When David’s life is threatened, he tries to fight, but the Klingon is too quick, and he kills David quickly, an action which devastates Kirk and surprised the audience, which was the exact response director Leonard Nimoy was going for. But, originally, David wasn’t the one scripted to die.
Screenwriter Harve Bennett had planned for Lt. Saavik to be killed by the Klingons, but Nimoy and the producers didn’t agree. While Bennett wanted to keep his original plan, Nimoy felt that the lieutenant’s death wouldn’t pack quite the emotional wallop that Kirk’s son would. In the end, Bennett’s script was changed, and David met his end with a Klingon’s knife buried in his chest.
Lt. Saavik’s death could have been the right way to go
In the original screenplay for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Lt. Saavik was supposed to be pregnant with Spock’s baby which is why she remained on Vulcan. That idea, too, was passed over, and, for reasons not given, she still chose to remain on her home planet. Some contend that it was because writers simply didn’t know what to do with her character after Spock was found, and Planet Genesis disintegrated.
Killing off Saavik would have provided more of an opportunity for Kirk to get to know his son, which, in return, might have had more of an emotional impact for the admiral than the loss of his son. It would have been especially traumatic to have Spock discover Saavik’s pregnancy right before she was killed.
There were so many other dramatic elements available in Search for Spock; however, David’s death did give the Klingons fodder to use against Kirk when he and Dr. McCoy were being framed in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. Still, it would have been interesting to see Kirk build a relationship with the son he never knew, and it would have given him something to look forward to after his retirement.
What do you think? Should Saavik have been killed instead of David?