Gene Roddenberry hated Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan so much he tried to ruin it.
It’s rather ironic that the movie that most Star Trek fans think is the best, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, was not a movie Gene Roddenberry cared for very much. In fact, he downright hated it. So much so that he actively tried to ruin the film for fans every chance he got.
That’s not remembering “the needs of the many”, Mr. Roddenberry.
Why would Roddenberry try to ruin the film? Well, apparently it comes down to the fact that Roddenberry’s idea was terrible and was removed from the project. It would see James Kirk and company going back in time to stop the Klingons from assassinating John F. Kennedy for some reason.
The studio didn’t like the film and for good reason. So they instead went with what we got instead, the return of Khan Noonien Singh from the original series.
Twisted up over the removal, Roddenberry started leaking spoilers to fans, namely that Spock was going to die. This seems uncharacteristic and many even thought that it was someone else, Susan Sackett, who was leaking stuff. Not according to Mark Altman (via Cinemablend and Inglorious Trekperts)
"Some claimed it was Susan Sackett who leaked it. It was Roddenberry who leaked it … this is because there was a code on each of the scripts that could be traced back to whoever it was. The script that was leaked had the Roddenberry code. Susan may have been the person who actually sent it for Roddenberry, because Susan was Gene’s secretary, but it was unquestionably Gene Roddenberry who did it. It’s just a fact."
Nick Meyer ended up solving the Spock problem in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
How do you get around a potential hazard like the death of a major character getting leaked? Record a fake-out, obviously. Altman talks again about how Meyer came up with the decision to film the Spock-death on the simulator bridge, as a way of throwing fans who found out about the leak.
"The thing that’s so brilliant, that Nick Meyer did, he said ‘Let’s kill Spock in the simulator scene, and everyone’s going to think ‘Oh, it’s all a publicity gimmick. Of course he doesn’t really die. Spock is going to be fine.’ And they got us, they fooled us. Of course, it really tees up the ending of the movie, where Spock does in fact die for 20 minutes until Star Trek III."
It’s fascinating that Roddenberry would hate something so many fans would love. It kinda just goes to show you that not all great things in Star Trek were Roddenberry-things.