The name of Kirk Thatcher should be synonymous with Star Trek IV.
Kirk Thatcher’s name might not be well known when it comes to Star Trek IV, but mention the punk on the bus, and every Trekkie knows who he is. A recipient of Spock’s (Leonard Nimoy) Vulcan nerve pinch when he wouldn’t turn down the music blasting from his boom box, the punk returned in season two of Star Trek: Picard with the same attitude and the same disregard for the ears of others around him. But we saw that he had, indeed, learned his lesson in the movie.
Thatcher wasn’t just an actor on the film, though, He was also the associate producer who was hired by Leonard Nimoy to make sure all of the effects were working well. In a recent interview with Collider, Thatcher, who has gone on to become an Emmy Award winning writer, said Nimoy wanted to be able to focus on the story.
"“He said, ‘I want you to deal with all the technical stuff with effects and sets, and all that, because I want to focus on the story.’ He said the thing that made Star Trek resonate, in his mind, was the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and Bones — and the other characters — but that triumvirate, which was not revelatory at that point, but he said, ‘I want to focus on those relationships, and I want the effects, and I want it to look good, but I don’t want to have to worry about that. So that’s why you’re here.’ I got all this responsibility to make decisions on stuff as long as he approved it. Because he really wanted to focus on telling that story. It was an amazing job, and he gave me a lot of freedom to do that.”"
Leonard Nimoy also loved a joke that Kirk Thatcher wrote for Scotty in Star Trek IV
One particular scene in the film always brings a laugh from fans. When Scotty sits down at the Apple computer and tries to talk to it, it came about because Thatcher thought Scotty would naturally try to talk to the computer because he wouldn’t know to do otherwise.
"“I wrote that gag, that he talks to the mouse, because I had just gotten an Apple 512 Mac, and so the whole thing was, they said, ‘Well we’re going to have the design thing done on a Macintosh because it’s a graphic computer.’ I said, ‘Well, then Scotty should sit down,’ — because I’m a Trek fan — I said, ‘He should talk to the computer because he doesn’t know. He’d just be like, ‘Hello computer,’ it doesn’t do anything.’ And then Alex Henteloff goes, ‘Well use the mouse.’ So he thinks it’s a microphone because they look like a microphone. So that was my gag that got in the movie, and Leonard loved it.”"
Like the rest of us, Nimoy loved the joke, and it stayed in. And Thatcher said Nimoy knew Star Trek IV was going to be different.
"“I think Leonard knew that it was going to be different. I think he knew that II was for the Trek fans, diehard sci-fi fans."
It was a different movie, and it ended up becoming one of the most loved films in all of Star Trek. And Kirk Thatcher got his start at producing and acting thanks to Leonard Nimoy and this all-time favorite movie.