Welcome to the first of a new series of article we are writing for StarTrek.com examining fun and interesting collectibles. While our other articles will continue to explore the history of Star Trek production, these new articles will explore the “great material continuum” of almost 50 years of Star Trek toys, trading cards, games, and other licensed tchotchkes. One of the great things about writing these articles is that it allows to us to write about all versions of Star Trek, from The Original Series to Star Trek Into Darkness. We will include images of our collectibles as examples with each article. In the words of Captain Jonathan Archer, “Let’s go!”
Before the era of Blu-ray/DVD bonus features, there were but a few ways for fans to experience deleted scenes from their favorite Star Trek movies. One was in magazines such as Star Trek Communicator, the official fan club publication, which charted the making of films, or in Starlog (and both Dan Madsen and David McDonnell are now fellow StarTrek.com guest bloggers). Once in a while, movies shown on TV or sold on VHS included alternative scenes. Another possibility was that deleted scenes were also included in the novelizations; however, it was often difficult to ascertain which scenes were either scripted moments that were not filmed; filmed scenes that were edited from the movie; or original scenes created by the author to provide context.
That is where Star Trek collectibles come in. Occasionally, and in the instance of Star Trek: Generations quite memorably, toys and trading cards were windows into deleted scenes. In this month’s article, we take a look at some intriguing examples.
Arguably, the most famous example of toys revealing alternative plans for a Star Trek movie was Playmates Toys, Inc.’s 1994 action figure line for Star Trek: Generations (which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2014). Timed with the film’s premiere, sixteen 4.5” action figures were released, including the entire compliment of TNG regular characters. Interestingly, the uniforms on the figures did not match those worn in the film (which alternated between TNG Season 3-7 and Deep Space Nine uniforms). Instead, the figures sported more militaristic looking uniforms with high collars, TOS-era inspired rank sleeve stripes, and a jacket reminiscent of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Starfleet outfits. There were slightly varied designs for the Beverly Crusher and Deanna Troi action figures, featuring a higher waistband of black.
Reactions to the action figures in the proto-Internet era included both understandable confusion (why this design?) and annoyance (thinking perhaps the toy company was not being careful enough in its likenesses). The truth was that these costumes were indeed designed by the talented Emmy Award winner Robert Blackman for Star Trek: Generations and constructed. At the last minute, the decision was made to abandon the design, necessitating the use of alternating TNG/DS9 TV uniforms. Playmates Toys was too far into the production process to change the uniforms and the action figures were released with the planned, but never used, uniforms. Thus, collectors had a tangible look at one of Star Trek’s most interesting “could have beens” thanks to the toys.
Another important note is that one of the figures in the Generations line was “Captain James T. Kirk in Space Suit.” Although filmed, the original beginning of the film of Kirk conducting a dangerous orbital skydiving stunt as Scotty and Chekov wait for him down below on Earth) was edited out entirely (you can find it on YouTube). Interestingly, this predates Kirk’s orbital skydive in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009). This figure provided fans a look at what Kirk’s costume would have looked like (although more blue in tone in the film), and included an impossibly large Champagne bottle as one its accessories because Kirk’s journey to Earth was to be intercut with a bottle sailing towards the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701 B’s christening. Kirk’s costume would later be adapted to B’Elanna Torres for the Voyager episode “Extreme Risk.”
Trading cards were also good sources for seeing images of deleted scenes as they too were often in production while the films themselves were being edited and could not be changed. In 1982, the Monty Gum Card company from the Netherlands produced a set of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan trading cards which included several deleted moments. One was from a longer fight sequence between Kirk and son David Marcus (in the filmed version, the two never wind up on the ground) and another depicted Chekov wishing to go to the bridge to help during the final battle.
The orbital skydiving scene from Generations was card #1 in the SkyBox trading card set. Years before they were available on DVD, the Star Trek: Insurrection card set included a look at an extended deleted library scene (in which William Riker and Deanna Troi are chastised for talking too loudly) and a deleted kiss between Picard and Anij.
Going further back in time, Gene and Majel Roddenberry's Lincoln Enterprises sold slides cut from Star Trek TOS film which sometimes included images of deleted scenes or "clapper board" moments (look for more about this in a future article).
In 2013, collectors could also obtain a Hasbro Fighter Pod version of Quocch (also known as “Four Eyes”), the multi-eyed alien prisoner from Star Trek (2009)’s deleted Rura Penthe scene.
While most of these “deleted scene” collectibles were the result of necessarily long toy or trading card production times, especially for Generations, fans and collectors were treated to rare glimpses through the proverbial looking glass at alternative moments and costumes from their favorite films.
NEXT TIME: Car Trek: Star Trek automobile themed collectibles
Maria Jose and John Tenuto are both sociology professors at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, specializing in popular culture and subculture studies. The Tenutos have conducted extensive research on the history of Star Trek, and have presented at venues such as Creation Conventions and the St. Louis Science Center. They have written for the official Star Trek Magazine and their extensive collection of Star Trek items has been featured in SFX Magazine. Their theory about the “20-Year Nostalgia Cycle” and research on Star Trek fans has been featured on WGN News, BBC Radio, and in the documentary The Force Among Us. They recently researched all known paperwork from the making of the classic episode "Space Seed" and are excited to be sharing some previously unreported information about Khan's first adventure with fellow fans. Contact the Tenutos at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.