Saavik leads a storied Starfleet career in licensed Star Trek fiction.
When I read our own Rachel Carrington’s recent article about the fate Lieutenant Saavik almost suffered in Star Trek III, I could only think, “Thank goodness they didn’t kill her. If they had, I might never have become a footnote in Star Trek book history!”
My story in Pocket Books’ 1999 Star Trek: Strange New Worlds II anthology (shameless plug alert: still available in e-book and makes a great gift) features Saavik in a starring role.
It’s set years after the events on Genesis, and in it, I danced as close as I dared to the idea Saavik had borne Spock’s child—another originally planned “fate” for Saavik that never came to pass.
(I won’t even dignify the idea she could have turned traitor in Star Trek VI with further discussion!)
Saavik didn’t get to stick around onscreen after Star Trek IV. But I’m not the only fan who’s wanted to know more about Spock’s protégé since her hasty, never satisfactorily explained exit from the franchise.
Fortunately, several professional Trek fiction authors have been happy to fill in the gaps in our knowledge and continue her story.
Saavik sees intrigue among the Romulans and marries Spock
Famously, the script of and some deleted scenes from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan establish Saavik is half-Romulan.
Vonda N. McIntyre’s movie novelizations and Carolyn Clowes’ 1990 novel The Pandora Principle elaborated on the character’s traumatic past. Spock rescued her from a failed Romulan colony known as Hellguard. (I’ve often wondered whether this canonically abandoned backstory influenced Tasha Yar’s when Star Trek: The Next Generation was developing.)
In her fifth and final Trek novel, Unspoken Truth (2010), the late Margaret Wander Bonanno shows us Saavik again confronting her past. In an interview before the book was published, Bonanno described it as “a bit of a murder mystery, a bit of a spy novel, with a love affair tossed in for seasoning.” Set immediately after The Voyage Home, the book follows Saavik as she investigates who is behind the killings of her fellow Hellguard survivors.
Something about this character must inspire stories of intrigue. Several novels—for example, Howard Weinstein’s novella “The Blood-Dimmed Tide,” his contribution to the 40th-anniversary series Mere Anarchy (2006)—as well as DC Comics’ second Trek run (1989-95) place her aboard the Enterprise, NCC-1701-A during the post-Voyage Home era. Several of the missions she completes in these tales are clandestine in nature. Perhaps they reflect, consciously or unconsciously, the character’s conspicuous absence onscreen!
Among Star Trek tie-in authors, Josepha Sherman and Susan Schwartz have developed Saavik’s story the most.
Vulcan’s Heart (1999) was Sherman and Schwartz’s follow-up to their Vulcan’s Forge (1997). It begins with a betrothal between Spock and Saavik—the “wedding” Captain Picard mentions, in the TNG episode “Sarek,” he attended as “a young lieutenant.”
Fifteen years later, Saavik undertakes a covert mission (again!) to locate Spock on Romulus. There, she and he uncover the Praetor’s plan to attack Narendra III (the pivotal battle in TNG’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise”), while also dealing with the onset of pon farr. The book ends with the couple’s actual wedding.
In the authors’ Vulcan’s Soul trilogy (2004-07), Captain Saavik commands the USS Alliance during the Dominion War. In their short story “Blood Sacrifice,” part of the 2004 anthology Tales of the Dominion War, she spearheads the defense of Vulcan itself.
How wonderful to see the young cadet once so frustrated by the Kobyashi Maru test now an experienced captain with her own command!
After the war, Saavik is involved in conflict with a new threat: the militaristic Vulcanoid race the Watraii, from whom she and the Alliance rescue then-Admiral Pavel Chekov.
As you can see, while Harve Bennett and company didn’t know what to do with Saavik after The Search for Spock, a host of talented prose and comic authors have had no shortage of fascinating ideas.
Will some future Trek production bring Saavik back for more adventures on the final frontier
Would Kirstie Alley want to revisit the role that helped make her a star nearly 40 years ago?
Or might we see yet a third actor play the part?
As a never-say-die Saavik fan, I choose to believe, as her mentor (and eventual husband) was fond of saying, “There are always possibilities!”
(Many thanks to the Memory Beta wiki for refreshing my memory about and clueing me in on several Saavik appearances in Trek literature!)