“I Was Miserable”: Walter Koenig Recalls Final Star Trek: TOS Movie Bitter Disappointment – News Today

“I Was Miserable”: Walter Koenig Recalls Final Star Trek: TOS Movie Bitter Disappointment

Star Trek legend Walter Koenig looks back on how unhappy he was about the limited role Mr. Chekov played in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

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Summary

  • Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in Star Trek VI, was bitterly disappointed with his character’s role in the film.
  • Koenig found the screenplay devoid of any individuality for the supporting characters and felt they were only there for exposition.
  • He yearned for his character to have more personal moments and felt that the script did not provide that opportunity for expression.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is one of the best-regarded Star Trek: The Original Series movies, but Walter Koenig finds the final TOS film bitterly disappointing. Koenig reprised Pavel Chekov for Star Trek VI, a role he found expository and perfunctory, especially considering Chekov had delightful character scenes to play in the prior Star Trek movies, especially Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. For Koenig, Chekov’s non-function in Star Trek VI was “painful,” as it was the final film starring the original cast.

In the Star Trek oral history, “The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years” by Mark A. Altman and Edward GrossWalter Koenig doesn’t mince words about his “miserable” experience filming Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which had a screenplay Koenig found “totally devoid of any individuality for the supporting characters.” Read his quote below:

I was absolutely f*cking miserable from day one on Star Trek VI. It was so disappointing to me… and I didn’t even have Harve Bennett to blame anymore. Ralph Winter is a charming, delightful, and considerate man, and I had considered Nick a booster of mine because he had written the best stuff in Star Trek IV as well as directing Star Trek II, but I found this script to be so totally devoid of any individuality for the supporting characters. It was as if you could literally have taken one long speech and taken a scissor to it, cut it into pieces, and handed it to us. For me, it was not a wrap-up at all. I thought, at last some recognition, some attention had to be paid to the supporting characters, and given their moment. There were no first-person personal pronouns; none of us ever said “I.” It was always “Keptain, there is a ship out there,” not “Keptain, I see a ship out there and I’m worried about this.” We were there as expository vehicles, and that alone, and that was really painful. My sense of ego and identity just cried out for some opportunity to express character, and it was just not available.

Walter Koenig Will Finally Have His Say About Star Trek: The Original Series

Koenig is joining The 7th Rule podcast.

Star Trek VI is an entertaining and enjoyable farewell for the cast of Star Trek: The Original Series, but Walter Koenig is right that the supporting characters of Chekov, Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and Scotty (James Doohan) mainly provided exposition. Sulu (George Takei) fared better because he was Captain of the USS Excelsior, but Koenig is on point that Chekov’s dialogue could have been said by anyone. Perhaps Chekov’s Star Trek VI best lines were “Guess who’s coming to dinner” and when he was scolded by Klingons for advocating for their “inalienable human rights,” but even that dialogue wasn’t something only Chekov could have said.

Intriguingly, Walter Koenig will soon be able to express his unfiltered feelings about Star Trek: The Original Series when he joins The 7th Rule podcast hosted by Cirroc Lofton and Ryan T. Husk. Koenig will review every episode of TOS starting with Mr. Chekov’s arrival in season 2, and Walter will provide his memories, anecdotes, impressions, and critiques. Koenig is a witty and insightful raconteur who doesn’t pull punches. Hopefully, Walter Koenig will enjoy the Star Trek episodes he reviews for The 7th Rule more than he liked Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

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