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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (3) | Spoilers (13)
Scotty provided the formula for transparent aluminum in this movie. Interestingly, this state of matter was discovered 23 years later, in 2009.
The woman who answers Uhura and Chekov when they are looking for the "nuclear wessels" was an extra who was not supposed to speak. Layla Sarakalo had never acted before and was told to "act naturally". So when she was asked, she improvised an answer. Much to Sarakalo's surprise, her unscripted line was kept in the film. Sarakalo happened upon the set when her car was towed away to make room for the film's production. Sarakalo offered to be an extra so that she could make money to get her car back.
Some shots of the whales were in fact four foot long animatronics models. Four models were created, and were so realistic that after release of the film, US fishing authorities publicly criticized the filmmakers for getting too close to whales in the wild. The scenes involving these whales were shot in a pool underneath a Paramount parking lot. The shot of the whales swimming past the Golden Gate Bridge were filmed on location, and nearly ended in disaster when a cable got snagged on a nuclear submarine and the whales were towed out to sea.
This film features the only instance in which Kirk says "Scotty, beam me up".
A scene written for but cut from the film explained why Saavik stays on Vulcan: she is pregnant with Spock's child, stemming from an event in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). This was the character's final appearance in a Star Trek film.
The idea of having Spock give the Vulcan nerve pinch to the punk rocker was inspired by Leonard Nimoy who was walking down the street in New York when a punk came out of a store with his boombox blaring, disturbing everyone around him. Annoyed, Nimoy thought "If I was REALLY Spock, I'd pinch his head off!" (According to Nimoy in the DVD commentary).
Sulu (George Takei) was supposed to leap into the Huey helicopter when the pilot was outside, looking the other way, and make off with it. Takei had just run the San Francisco marathon when they were supposed to shoot this scene, and was too sore to leap into the helicopter. They tried having a grip throw him in, but couldn't get it to look realistic, so the scene was cut. In the final edit, Sulu is shown talking to the pilot, then shows up flying the helicopter a few minutes later.
Leonard Nimoy has said that when the film first came out, whaling rights activists caused an uproar. These groups felt the effects and models portraying the whales was actual footage, and that actual whales were held in captivity or filmed too close to their habitat.
The white, back-lit table that is used at Starfleet Headquarters becomes the center table in Engineering of the Enterprise-D on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
William Shatner was originally reluctant to return to the Star Trek franchise. Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett considered making a prequel with the characters at Starfleet Academy. Eventually, Shatner was offered a pay raise in order to convince him to return. As a result of Shatner and Nimoy's raised salaries, Paramount had to lower the budget of its new series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
The film was originally supposed to have Eddie Murphy instead of Catherine Hicks. Murphy was supposed to have played a professor concerned with UFOs who spots the decloaking Klingon ship at the Super Bowl. Apparently, all others are convinced the ship is a half-time special effect while Murphy believes it is real. Paramount declined this script for two reasons: Paramount didn't want to combine their two most profitable franchises (Star Trek (1966) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984)), and Murphy had signed on to do The Golden Child (1986) instead.
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According to James Doohan (Mr. Scott), Scotty's line of "Admiral, there be whales here!" is his favorite Scotty line.
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The film bore the dedication, "The cast and crew of Star Trek wish to dedicate this film to the men and women of the spaceship Challenger whose courageous spirit shall live to the 23rd century and beyond..." This was a reference to the Space Shuttle which exploded over Florida on January 28, 1986 killing all hands.
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Catherine Hicks says she knew absolutely nothing about Star Trek before being cast in the movie. She credits Leonard Nimoy with pausing in her auditions to explain things about the series, and says she opted against watching episodes of the television series or previous movies after getting the part. Hicks credits her unfamiliarity with the Trek franchise as making Gillian's "outsider" encounter with the Star Trek universe more natural.
The USS Enterprise CVN-65 was actually the USS Ranger CV-61. The real Enterprise was out to sea during filming.
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The antique glasses that Kirk sells to make some cash are the pair that was given to him by McCoy for his birthday in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). It's suggested that once sold in the antiques store, those glasses hang around until they're bought by McCoy, in the future, and then Kirk takes them back in time, and so on, in which case one has to wonder where the glasses "originally" came from. This constitutes an "ontological paradox", an old favorite of science fiction writers, and raises too many questions to discuss here. (It is possible that these glasses existed in two places simultaneously, like characters in the "Back to the Future" films, rather than being caught in a causal loop.) The same paradox arises when Scotty explains how to make transparent aluminum. If the formula is "found" for the first time in the 20th century, but only because Scotty took the information back, then it was never invented in the first place! (This may not be a paradox if Scotty only gave Doctor Nichols the chemical formula but not the manufacturing process.)
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The highest grossing box office results of the series featuring the original cast. The only Star Trek movie to earn more was the Star Trek (2009) reboot.
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The film marked Majel Barrett's last appearance as Christine Chapel. A year later, she would begin her recurring role as Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), and provide the computer voice on TNG and other later Star Trek series.
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William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy improvised the continuing "Yes" "No" response to Gillian's question about liking Italian. Initially, Kirk was to say "Yes" at the same time Spock said "No", but the actors came up with the alteration while filming the scene.
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The captain of the USS Saratoga, seen at the start of the film, was the first female captain ever seen in a Star Trek story. The success of this film led to offers by several US television networks to produce a new Trek television series with the original cast. Instead, Paramount gave the green light to produce the syndicated Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) starring an all new cast. A woman (Kate Mulgrew) was cast as ship's captain in the spin-off series Star Trek: Voyager (1995).
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When the alien ship is approaching Earth at the beginning to look for the humpback whales, there were originally subtitles saying things like "Where are you? Can you hear us?". The studio wanted to keep them despite Leonard Nimoy's objections. However, in the first test screening, test audiences indicated the subtitles were unnecessary so they were cut.
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Leonard Nimoy said that after the dramatic nature of all previous Star Trek films and the events that occurred in them, he felt the need to lighten things up in the fourth movie.
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Majel Barrett and Grace Lee Whitney make brief appearances as Christine Chapel and Janice Rand, beloved Star Trek (1966) supporting characters. Both can be seen at Starfleet Headquarters during the Probe's arrival.
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Brock Peters would reprise his role as Admiral Cartwright in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), and later play Captain Sisko's father Joseph on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993).
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Gene Roddenberry was initially pleased to hear the movie would be a time travel story, as he had been pushing for such a plotline in one of the movies. However, Roddenberry had long wanted a story in which the crew traveled back in time in an attempt to stop the assassination of President Kennedy, but Harve Bennett felt such a story would be anticlimactic with the audience knowing such a historical event could not be undone.
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When Spock takes the test on his homeworld, there is a question that asks: "What were the principal historical events on the planet Earth in the year 1987?". The answer is not heard but you can see two answers written by Spock. "Computers cloned from carrots." And "New York Times is last magazine to close doors." Then the computer answers "Correct".
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According to George Takei, when McCoy, Scotty and Sulu are standing in front of the building with Yellow Pages advertisement, a door opens and an Asian woman appears. The scene in the movie ends at this point but originally this woman was to begin shouting for a young boy named Hikaru, who would run into Sulu. Sulu would realize that this boy was his great-great-(etc.) grandfather. The young boy hired for this scene began to cry on the set before the shot and they were unable to get him to do the scene. With no one to replace him, the scene was never shot.
One early draft script was subtitled "The Trial of James T. Kirk". This script involved Kirk being court-martialed at the request of the Klingons, who were indignant about the events in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). One particularly interesting facet of this script is that it included the character of Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel) as a character witness. When the time-travel script was approved instead, the trial was included as a minor sequence. The trial-by-Klingons idea (and portions of the dialogue) was later re-used in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
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The scene where Chekov and Uhura are asking a woman about "nuclear wessels" was almost completely improvised. Her line about them being in Alameda was ad-libbed by her, and although she wasn't supposed to say very much, Leonard Nimoy enjoyed the spontaneity of the scene so much he left it the way it was.
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Catherine Hicks studied whales to help prepare for her audition and subsequent role. As a result, Hicks became inspired to become actively involved with anti-whaling efforts.
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The only Star Trek film not to be primarily set on the USS Enterprise. All prior and subsequent films feature the Federation ship bearing the name Enterprise at the time of the film's setting.
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Catherine Hicks improvised the hard slap that Dr. Taylor gave to Bob Briggs. Scott DeVenney's reaction is real.
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The restaurant scene was filmed in an actual restaurant. It didn't have a pizza oven but, because the characters order pizza, Paramount bought and installed a pizza oven to make the kitchen more believable. The oven was given to the restaurant after filming was completed. But after all that effort, the oven is never visible in the film.
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Scenes filmed on location in San Francisco marked the first time any Star Trek installment had been filmed outside the Los Angeles region.
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The whale hunters speak Finnish. The older Finnish hunter says "What the hell was that?" ("Mikä helvetti tuo oli?" in Finnish.)
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The sound the probe makes is taken from the sound of baby's heartbeat during a sonogram, slowed down and digitalized.
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In the bus scene, there is a man in a brown jacket sitting just in front of the "loud punk". He can be seen "reading" the latest issue of Omni magazine, which from 1978 to 1998 published articles on scientific developments as well as short works of science fiction. The specific issue in this scene is from May 1986; the cover celebrates the "25th Anniversary of American Manned Spaceflight".
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In overseas markets, the title was inverted to The Voyage Home: Star Trek IV, which featured a lesser emphasis on the Star Trek branding. This was due to the poor overseas box office results of the previous Star Trek movie.
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The film was released as scheduled in 1986 as that year marked the original Star Trek (1966) series' 20th Anniversary.
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The film's success lead to William Shatner guest-hosting Saturday Night Live (1975) during its release. It was during that appearance when Shatner performed his "Get a Life" skit.
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Saavik is only featured in the first quarter of the movie. The character was "left behind" on Vulcan by the filmmakers as they didn't really know what to do with her in 20th century San Francisco. In particular, Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett felt her to be too extraneous, and saw the redundancy of having to hide a second Vulcan's identity while on Earth in the past.
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The Plexicorp scenes were filmed at the Reynolds and Taylor Plastics factory in Santa Ana, California. The company's acrylics division makes large custom plastic panels, and one of their clients is actually the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
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Outside of North America, the film's title was changed to "The Voyage Home: Star Trek IV". This was done because Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) had done very poorly outside of North America. A special prologue narrated by William Shatner was created in which Kirk recaps the events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Star Trek III. The film ended up grossing only slightly higher than Star Trek III outside of North America.
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Jane Wyatt's final cinematic appearance.
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According to Spock's computer on Vulcan, Kiri-Kin-Tha's First Law of Metaphysics states that "Nothing unreal exists".
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When Nicholas Meyer was asked to help with the script, the first thing he wanted to do was change the location from San Francisco to Paris because he had previously written and directed a movie about time travel involving San Francisco called Time After Time (1979). But since Starfleet is supposed to be located in San Francisco, he was overruled. Oddly enough, scenes in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), as well as scenes from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) depict the Office of the Federation President to be in Paris.
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The Probe is modelled after Rama from Arthur C. Clarke's 1973 novel "Rendezvous with Rama".
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First Star Trek movie since Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) to be released for the holiday movie season as opposed to the summer. This was largely due to William Shatner having become free of his commitment to the television series T.J. Hooker (1982), which had been canceled.
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When the tour group is looking at George and Gracie's tank, they are actually staring at a brick wall. The shots of Spock in the tank are a special effect shot on a blue screen.
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While the film marks Saavik's final appearance, Robin Curtis would later guest star as Tallera in the Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)'s two-part episode "Gambit".
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The computer that Scotty uses in the Plexicorp scene appears to be a Macintosh Plus, but its internals were completely changed for filming. Its screen was replaced with one from an IBM PC to make it easier to synchronize its video refresh rate with the film camera's frame rate, and the "transparent aluminum" animation was created on an IBM PC by computer graphics company Video Image.
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One of the extras in the Cetacean Institute tour scene (brunette with brown vest) is also visible at the left edge of the frame in the last shot on the Enterprise bridge. She had also appeared as an extra in the previous two Star Trek films.
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In the DC Comics adaptation of the film, the science vessel Gillian was assigned to is identified as the USS Clarke, likely an homage to scientist/writer Arthur C. Clarke.
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Leonard Nimoy came up with the idea of using humpback whales after reading a book about extinct animals. Nimoy realized that their song added mystery and their size added a challenge for the crew to overcome. Nimoy previously considered a story about a disease that could only be cured by the rain forests but decided that he wanted to keep the film's tone light-hearted.
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The Cetacean Institute is actually the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. The Institute's logo also belongs to the Aquarium.
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When Kirk, McCoy and Gillian first enter the hospital and are walking around trying to locate Chekov, a voice on a loudspeaker in the background says "Paging Dr. Zober... Dr. Sandy Zober." Sandi Nimoy (nee' Zober) was director/star Leonard Nimoy's wife at the time.
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The officer on the Saratoga who announces that the thruster controls are offline is of the same alien race as the Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). This race has never been officially named, but some promotional materials identify the race as the Efrosians (named after Mel Efros, unit production manager for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)).
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When Chekov is running through the Enterprise (the aircraft carrier), trying to get away from the Marines, the words "Escape Route" and an arrow can be seen on the bulkhead walls.
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The computer that Scotty uses to show transparent aluminum was originally going to be an Amiga, but Commodore would only provide a computer if they bought it. Apple was willing to loan them the Mac.
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One of only three Star Trek movies to have any swear words spoken. The others are Star Trek: Generations (1994), and Star Trek: First Contact (1996). In each case, the cursing was a single use of the "s**t" word.
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The miniature of the Spacedock interior (some fifteen feet across) had been destroyed at the end of production on the previous film and had to be rebuilt from scratch.
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The scene with the punk music on the bus was written by Nicholas Meyer to revive a scene that was cut from his movie Time After Time (1979), that had H.G. Wells (played by Malcolm McDowell) encountering a teenager with music blaring from a boom box.
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For the shot of Sulu flying the helicopter over San Francisco bay, the filmmakers tried to get a pilot to fly a Huey, but they were unable to. The long shot was accomplished using a radio controlled model from Japan.
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In order to find the best actress to play Dr. Gillian Taylor, two prospective actresses were brought out to William Shatner's ranch by Leonard Nimoy to meet with the man himself. It was Shatner who personally chose Catherine Hicks saying that she was "spunky" (According to Shatner and Nimoy in the DVD commentary).
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According to Leonard Nimoy, about 95% of the Humpback Whale footage in the final cut of the film was of man-made models and effects.
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In an uncredited role, the Saratoga Captain is played by Madge Sinclair. Sinclair would later appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Interface (1993) as Captain Silvia LaForge, mother of Geordi.
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The Yorktown Captain was played by Vijay Amritraj, a Pro Tennis Player and TV Commentator who at the time was attempting to transition into an acting career.
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Leonard Nimoy said there were some suggestions of using subtitles to translate the communication between the Probe and the whales for the audience. Nimoy objected to this, feeling it would too greatly diminish the sense of mystery regarding the Probe and its connection with whales. However, the novelization did depict a translation.
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The base of the distinctive Transamerica Pyramid building can be seen in the background of the San Francisco street corner scene.
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The older triangular building in the background of the San Francisco street corner scene was built in 1907 and was at one time home to a restaurant named Caesar's, one of the alleged birthplaces of the Caesar Salad. The building is now owned by Francis Ford Coppola and is mostly occupied by American Zoetrope Studios and Cafe Zoetrope.
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Both bumpers of Dr. Taylor's pickup truck sport custom-made Cetacean Institute bumper stickers, with the actual Monterey Bay Aquarium logo
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Kirk and the crew name the Klingon Bird-of-Prey "Bounty", suggested by Dr. McCoy. That was written as a tribute to the mutiny on the HMS Bounty of April 28, 1789.
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The scene in which the Bird-of-Prey lands in Golden Gate Park was actually shot in Will Rogers Park in Los Angeles. The filmmakers had planned to shoot in the real Golden Gate Park but heavy rains made the field muddy.
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After V'Ger, humpback whale is the largest lifeform Spock has mind-melded with, if we discount Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973).
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First movie appearance by Spock's mother Amanda, and only Star Trek movie in which she was played by Jane Wyatt, who originated the role. While Spock's father Sarek also appears in the movie, he and Amanda share no scenes together.
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Leonard Nimoy found making the movie challenging at times as he had to alternate his energies and enthusiasm in directing the film, with simultaneously stepping into the role of the emotionally reserved Spock.
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During Spock's memory tests, the computer speaks very rapidly, almost too rapidly to discern. The first question it asks Spock is, "Who said 'Logic is the cement of our civilization, with which we ascend from chaos, using reason as our guide'?"
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The sounds of static from the computers heard in the background when the Bird-of-Prey comes out of time warp are the loading sounds of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer.
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Robert Ellenstein's final cinematic appearance.
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The first film in "Dolby Stereo Spectral Recording" soundtrack.
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Kirk R. Thatcher did such extensive work on the film that he was promoted from "Production Assistant/Visual Effects" to "Associate Producer" by the end of the film.
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The scene with Chekov and Uhura sitting on the rocks looking at the Aircraft Carrier was shot in San Diego at North Island Naval Air Station.
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Susan Sarandon was considered for the role of Dr. Gillian Taylor.
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When Chekov is running away in the ship the Finnish Jaeger march is playing in the background.
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According to Nicholas Meyer, the scene with the punk on the bus was based on a scene he cut from his movie Time After Time (1979).
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San Francisco was chosen as the setting largely due to it's proximity to the studios in Los Angeles for location shooting, and the fact that Starfleet Headquarters is based in San Francisco. The setting was also likely a hold over from the original drafts which had scenes depicting a Super Bowl. Super Bowl XIX was played in the San Francisco area not long before the first drafts were written.
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While never confirmed, several fans have speculated that Harve Bennett cameoed as the masked surgeon in the team that was set to operate on Chekov.
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Harve Bennett wrote the beginning and the ending of the script while Nicholas Meyer wrote the middle scenes which take place in San Francisco. Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes wrote the original screenplay, and while most of their ideas were deleted, they still receive credit.
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One of the questions Spock is asked by the computer on Vulcan asks about the major historical events of 1987. We never see or hear the answer to that question as the film was made in 1986.
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The location where Dr. Gillian Taylor picks up Kirk and Spock is not an actual street. It's a parking lot that runs alongside the main road.
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The film's novelization was one of the first two Star Trek novels to be adapted as a Book On Tape.
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Some questions from the test Spock takes on Vulcan at the beginning of the movie: Q: Who said, "logic is the cement of our civilization with which we ascend from chaos using reason as our guide". A: T'plana Hath. Q: What is the molecular formula of sulfite crystals. Q: What significant contribution to bioengineering was made in Lucarian Outpost on Klendth. A: The universal atmospheric element compensator. Q: Adjust the sinewave of this magnetic envelope so that antineutrons can pass through it but antigravitons cannot. Q: What is the electronic configuration of gadolinium.
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Cameo 

Kirk R. Thatcher:  an associate producer plays the punk on the bus who is nerve pinched by Spock. Thatcher expressed displeasure at the music chosen for his boom box, and asked to write and perform a song that he felt would be more representative of his character. The result was the song "I Hate You".
Jane WiedlinThe Go-Gos rhythm guitarist appears as a communications officer on a starship rendered powerless by the Probe. She is seen on the right of three huge video screens amid a chaotic control room on Earth. Her line: "The condition remains the same. The Probe has neutralized all power supplies. We are functioning on reserves only".
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Bob Sarlatte:  The waiter in the restaurant.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Humpback whales, when they sing, move into an upside down vertical position as correctly depicted in the movie. After hearing the humpback response, the alien probe also moves into this same position and replies.
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The last sound made by the probe as it turns away contains the English words "I'm sorry" in monotone in the lower frequencies.
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During the final scene of the movie, where the Enterprise crew is in the shuttle Sulu says "with all respect, I'm counting on Excelsior." In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Sulu is the Captain of the Excelsior.
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In the final scene in which Saavik appears with the crew members, Kirk says "Saavik, this is goodbye." The line would be somewhat prophetic as the film marked Saavik's final canonical appearance.
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During the film's 1 hour 59 minute runtime, there's only a total of about 1 minute 13 seconds worth of shots of the Enterprise - the shortest amount of time the Enterprise is seen on screen in any Star Trek movie. The first 33 seconds of it during the beginning courtroom scene was stock footage of the Enterprise's destruction from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). The other 40 seconds of it were shots of the Enterprise-A towards the end.
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The device Dr. McCoy uses to heal Chekov's head injury is part of a model kit of an AMT movie version Klingon battle cruiser.
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It is often claimed that this is the only Star Trek film where no weapons are fired. This is incorrect, as Kirk uses his phaser to weld a door shut, and the whaler fires its harpoon. Chekov also tries to use his phaser, though it doesn't work. It is also one which no cast member from this film is killed, as the only deaths were from the reused footage from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
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While attempting to escape from the security agents aboard the USS Enterprise, Chekov tosses his phaser to one of the agents; although it is representative of 23rd century technology, it is never retrieved.
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The original script called for the whales to be intercepted during aerial transport over the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein objected, saying that the city already had enough trouble with jumpers on the bridge, and that the scene would only encourage more. This led to the scene showing capture of the whales in Alaska.
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Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer both had disagreements over the fate of Dr. Gillian Taylor, Bennett wanted her to go to the 23rd Century, while Meyer wanted her to stay in the 20th century.
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Uhura is the only crew member in duty uniform. Everyone else (except Spock) is dressed in Starfleet, casual wear. Saavik is also in uniform, but stays behind. Chekov leaves his civilian clothes in the past.
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Early in the film, the President of the Federation tells the Klingon Ambassador that Kirk is charged with nine violations of Starfleet Regulations. At his court-martial at the end, only six charges are listed: 1. Conspiracy, 2. Assault on Federation Officers, 3. Theft of Federation Property (the Enterprise), 4. Sabotage of the Excelsior, 5. Destruction of Federation Property (the Enterprise again), and 6. Disobeying direct orders of a superior officer.
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The computer graphic consoles that became standard on the 24th century Star Trek bridges and also called "Okudagrams" (named for designer Michael Okuda), make their first appearance on the bridge of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A. It is also the final appearance of the entire original Star Trek movie bridge set as only small parts were reused for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989).
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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