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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Release date: 9 June 1989
5th of 12 Star Trek films
150th of 728 released in all
The Final Frontier poster.jpg
Screenplay By
David Loughery

Story By
William Shatner & Harve Bennett & David Loughery

Directed By
William Shatner

Produced by
Harve Bennett
8454.1 (2287)
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"The greatest enterprise of all is adventure."

When a renegade Vulcan captures the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan ambassadors on Nimbus III, "the planet of galactic peace", it can only mean one thing: the vacation is over; Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the new Starship Enterprise-A are pressed back into service to come to the rescue. But, when the Vulcan has a prior association with Spock, it allows him to seize control of the Enterprise and put it on course for the center of the galaxy where he and his followers believe they will find God.

Summary Edit

Kirk climbs Spock watches

Just hanging around

On the desert planet Nimbus III, a scavenger encounters a Vulcan with an unusually emotional demeanor, who has a strange power to cleanse people of their emotional "pain", which he uses to join the scavenger to his cause.

The newly-demoted Captain James T. Kirk is back on Earth, spending his shore leave climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in North America. Halfway up he is greeted by Spock, who has followed him wearing levitation boots. Dr. McCoy is watching with binoculars from a safe distance while cursing Kirk's "irresponsibility" for climbing the mountain. In a moment of distraction, Kirk falls off of El Capitan, and Spock has to dive after him, barely catching him in time.

Out in the galaxy, three ambassadors from the United Federation of Planets, Romulan Star Empire, and Klingon Empire meet alone in Paradise City on Nimbus III for a private conference. The young Romulan ambassador, Caithlin Dar, is newly arrived, and expresses optimism in Nimbus III, which had been billed as "The Planet of Galactic Peace" at its founding years before. However, the Human and Klingon ambassadors, St. John Talbot and General Koord, are much more jaded and cynical, and pointed out that it has rapidly devolved to a barren wasteland rife with corruption and debauchery. Koord, in particular, is a decorated and respected Klingon general who fell out of favor with the Klingon High Command, and has become a bitter, apathetic drunk.

Dar and Talbot

Taken hostage

Their meeting is interrupted when the city compound is overrun by fanatical followers of the Vulcan who informs the ambassadors that they are his hostages. His intentions at first are unclear.

The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A) is sitting in the Earth Spacedock, awaiting repairs and refits, as the Enterprise broke down on its shakedown cruise, reports Montgomery Scott in his shakedown report, indicating that half the doors are broken, most systems are offline, and the ones that are are barely functional. Scotty is working on the bridge as Nyota Uhura comes on, with Scotty's lunch.

Meanwhile, Kirk, Spock, and Bones are sitting around the campfire at Yosemite, where the three discuss their time together and philosophize about life and death around a pot of whiskey-spiked baked beans. McCoy offers that the three of them spend so much time together in space, getting on each other's nerves, yet spend their shore leave together. Kirk believes that while other people have families, they don't.

Kirk Chekov Sulu on the bridge

Back in action

Their leave is interrupted when the new Enterprise is summoned by Starfleet to visit Nimbus III and assess the hostage situation. Despite Kirk's and Scotty's protestations that the ship is unready to fly, the Enterprise departs for the planet.

Spock replays the hostage tape that was sent to the Federation, and zooms in on the leader's face. Kirk notices Spock's mood, and observes "You look like you've just seen a ghost." Spock replies, "Perhaps I have."
Kirk and Spock at science station

Ghost in the machine

He recounts for Kirk and McCoy a brief history of Sybok, a gifted Vulcan who at a young age broke with Vulcan tradition and decided that emotion, not logic, was the key to self-knowledge. According to Spock, Sybok was banished from Vulcan when he attempted to lure other Vulcans to his worldview.

Elsewhere, Klaa, a brash young Klingon Bird-of-Prey captain, is assigned by the Klingon Empire to visit Nimbus III as well. Knowing that the Federation will be responding to the threat as well, Klaa displays excitement at the prospect of engaging a Federation starship, and orders his vessel towards Nimbus III.

The Enterprise arrives first at Nimbus III and Kirk wastes no time leading a rescue party to the planet's surface via shuttlecraft for a ground assault on Paradise City. The attack seems successful at first, as the team steals some horses and rides through the gates of the city initiating a firefight. However, Kirk is shocked when the hostages turn on him and deliver him over to Sybok.

Sybok and Spock

Brothers reunited

As Sybok's followers cheer their victory, Sybok suddenly recognizes Spock among the group, and reacts joyfully; however, Spock is not cheered by the apparent reunion, and stands dutifully by his captain. Sybok then reveals his next move: he intends to seize the Enterprise itself.

Kirk and company find themselves aboard the shuttlecraft with Sybok and an armed contingent of followers, including the three ambassadors, flying towards the Enterprise, but their approach is interrupted by the approach of the Klingon ship, which immediately moves to attack the Enterprise.
Enterprise-A escapes Klingon attack

"Warp speed now!"

Though the Enterprise can't dock a shuttlecraft with the shields up, Kirk improvises a plan to land the craft and immediately send the ship to warp; this plan succeeds, and the shuttlecraft crashes at full speed into the shuttlebay as the Enterprise zips away from the Klingons.

Kirk scuffles briefly with Sybok, and Spock grabs a weapon and has Sybok at gunpoint. To Kirk's surprise, however, Spock refuses to shoot him, and they are taken hostage and thrown with McCoy into a holding cell. Kirk is furious and blasts Spock for betraying the entire ship and crew. At this point Spock reveals his connection to Sybok: they are half-brothers. Kirk still berates Spock until McCoy, of all people, sticks up for him, saying that it's wrong for Kirk to expect Spock to shoot his brother.


Sybok assumes command

Sybok now has complete control of the ship, and reveals to the crew his overall plan: to steer the Enterprise into the center of the galaxy in the expectation of finding Sha Ka Ree, the Vulcan equivalent of heaven and the home of God. Kirk immediately declares this plan to be lunacy, since no ship or probe has ever returned from a trip to the galactic core, and the Enterprise will likely fare no differently.

With the help of Scotty, the three senior officers escape from the holding cell, and they use Spock's levitation boots to elude Sybok's followers and make it to the emergency transmitter, hoping to notify Starfleet of their predicament. However, the message is intercepted by the Klingon comm officer and Starfleet never receives the message. Sybok arrives and asks for a fair chance to relieve them of their "pain", as he has been able to do for an increasing number of the Enterprise's crew. Dr. McCoy and Spock agree to Sybok's demonstration, but Kirk refuses.

McCoy and Sybok

McCoy releases his pain

Sybok then speaks to Spock and McCoy in turn, causing each of them to relive hurtful experiences in their past. They are each impacted by the experiences, but Kirk refuses the same treatment, protesting that he needs his pain in order to live his life. His objection quickly proves moot, however, as the Enterprise arrives at the galactic core's boundary and encounters a strange-looking planet never before seen. Kirk makes an uneasy compromise with Sybok; Sybok relinquishes command of the ship back to Kirk, and Kirk agrees to carefully continue onward into the Great Barrier.

Enterprise-A in orbit of Sha Ka Ree

"What does God need with a starship?"

Sybok and many of his followers believe they have found heaven, and Sybok takes a shuttle down to the planet's surface with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. There they encounter a mystical being who introduces himself as God, and asks them to bring their starship closer to him so that he can "join" with it.

On the Enterprise, no one is monitoring the aft tactical station when one of the monitors activates and indicates that a Klingon Bird-of-Prey has entered the sector and is on an intercept course at high warp.

Sha Ka Ree God and Sybok

The face of God?

Though Sybok is convinced, Kirk immediately smells a rat: "Excuse me, what does God need with a starship?" The being is enraged at Kirk's refusal to cooperate, attacking him and Spock, who supports his captain. The malevolent entity then reveals that it is actually a prisoner of the galactic core, and plans to use the Enterprise to escape back out into the universe. Disillusioned by the fake God and angry at himself for putting everyone in danger, Sybok sacrifices himself to buy the others time to escape. Unable to take off in the shuttle, Kirk orders Spock and McCoy beamed back to the Enterprise, and is left alone with the being.

Bird of Prey and Kirk

Who says there's never a Klingon around when you need one?

Though he is trapped by it, Klaa's Bird-of-Prey suddenly appears and destroys the being with a single shot. Kirk is then beamed up to safety. General Koord orders Klaa to apologize for his aggression, which he begrudgingly obliges. Koord draws Kirk's attention to the man at the gunner station, who reveals himself to be none other than Spock – it was he who fired the disruptors and saved the captain's life. Kirk laments that he believed he was going to die, but, Spock corrects him, telling Kirk he was never alone.

The crews of both ships have a brief celebration aboard the Enterprise before peacefully parting ways. While the three diplomats from Nimbus III reflect on their voyage, Klaa extends a salute of respect to Kirk.
Kirk Spock and McCoy at the party

Comrades in arms

As McCoy and Spock speculate on whether or not God is actually out there, Kirk postulates that while God might not be out in space, perhaps he goes with them wherever they are in the Human heart. As Spock mourns the death of his brother, Kirk comforts him by relating that he once lost a brother. While McCoy may have thought he was referring to his late brother George Samuel Kirk, the captain adds that he was lucky enough to get that brother back, implying Spock, instead. McCoy challenges Kirk's earlier claim that "men like us don't have families", but, Kirk concedes that he was wrong – that both Spock and McCoy are his family, and the three of them resume their camping trip in Yosemite.

Log entries Edit

"USS Enterprise, shakedown cruise report. I think this new ship was put together by monkeys! Oh, she's got a fine engine, but half the doors won't open! And guess whose job it is to make it right!"
"Captain's log, stardate: 845... (malfunction, tapping sounds) Captain's log, stardate: 84...(malfunction, computer voice saying "Good morning, Captain.") That's... forget it."

Memorable Quotes Edit

"Each man hides a secret pain. It must be exposed and reckoned with. It must be dragged from the darkness and forced into the light."

- Sybok, talking to J'onn

"You'll have a great time, Bones. You'll enjoy your shore leave. You'll be able to relax. You call this relaxing? I'm a nervous wreck. If I'm not careful I might end up talking to myself."

- McCoy, talking to himself

"Captain, I do not think you realize the gravity of your situation."

- Spock with levitation boots, to Kirk

"Goddamn irresponsible! Playing games with life!"

- McCoy

"Mind if we drop in for dinner?"

- Kirk to McCoy, after Spock saves him from his fall

"Borgus frat! 'Let's see what she's got,' said the captain. And then we found out, didn't we?"

- Scott, complaining about the shape of the Enterprise

"You really piss me off, Jim! Human life is far too precious to risk on crazy stunts!"

- McCoy, to Kirk

"I've always known I'll die alone."

- Kirk, on how he knew he would survive his fall

"It's a song, you green-blooded Vulcan. You sing it. The words aren't important. What's important is that you have a good time singing it."
"Oh, I am sorry, doctor. Were we having a good time?"
"God, I liked him better before he died!"

- McCoy and Spock, after Spock did not join in singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"

"Spock, we're on leave. You can call me, Jim."
"Yes, Spock?"
"Life is not a dream."
"Go to sleep, Spock."
"Yes, captain."

- Spock and Kirk, after Spock had been pondering the meaning of the words to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"

"I could use a shower."

- Kirk and Spock, in the turbolift on the Enterprise

"We're bound to bump into the Klingons and they don't exactly like you."
"The feeling's mutual."

- McCoy and Kirk, on the Nimbus III mission

"We'll beat those Klingon devils even if I have to get out and push."

- Scott, to Kirk

"I miss my old chair."

- Kirk, to McCoy

"Imagine that. A passionate Vulcan."

- McCoy, as Spock describes Sybok

"Hello, boys. I've always wanted to play to a captive audience."

- Uhura

"Be one with the horse!"

- Kirk to Spock, riding to Paradise City

"I ought to knock you on your goddamn ass."
"If you think it would help."
"You want me to hold him, Jim?"

- Kirk, Spock and McCoy

"I'll say one thing, Spock. You never cease to amaze me."
"Nor I, myself."

- McCoy and Spock

"Spock, my only concern is getting the ship back. When that's done and Sybok is in here, then you can debate Sha Ka Ree until you're green in the face."

- Kirk to Spock, touching on his Vulcan heritage

"What are you standing around for? Do you not know a jailbreak when you see one?"

- Scott, rescuing Kirk, Spock and McCoy from the brig

"I know this ship like I know the back of my hand."

- Scott, before banging his head into a bulkhead

"I'm afraid of nothing."

- Kirk

"I don't control minds. I free them."

- Sybok, to Kirk

"I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain!"

- Kirk, refusing Sybok's offer

"You are mad."
"Am I? We'll see..."

- Kirk and Sybok

"Are we dreaming?"
"If we are, then life is a dream."

- McCoy and Kirk, as the Enterprise passes through the Great Barrier

"Is this the voice of God?"
"One voice, many faces."

- McCoy and "God"

"What does God need with a starship?"

- Kirk, challenging "God"

"Who is this creature?"
"Who am I? Don't you know? Aren't you God?"

- "God" and Kirk

"Jim, you don't ask the Almighty for his ID!"

- McCoy

"Why is God angry?"

- Kirk

"Do you doubt me?"
"I doubt any God who inflicts pain for his own pleasure."

- "God" and McCoy, after "God" strikes Kirk and Spock

"Stop! The god of Sha Ka Ree would not do this!!"
"Sha Ka Ree?! A vision you created. An eternity I've been imprisoned in this place! The ship. I must have the ship! Now... give me what I want!"

- Sybok and "God"

"I couldn't help but notice your pain."
"My pain?"
"It runs deep. Share it with me!"

- Sybok and "God", before Sybok sacrifices himself

"General, I require your assistance."
"My assistance?"
"You are his superior officer."
"I am a foolish old man."
"Damn you, sir! You will try!"

- Spock and Korrd

"I thought I was going to die."
"Not possible. You were never alone."

- Kirk and Spock, on the bridge of the Klingon ship

"Not in front of the Klingons."

- Spock, refusing Kirk's hug

"Cosmic thoughts, gentlemen?"
"We were, speculating... is God really out there?"
"Maybe He's not out there, Bones. Maybe He's right here... the human heart."

- Kirk and McCoy on the possibility of God

"I was thinking of Sybok. I have lost a brother."
"Yes. I lost a brother once. But I was lucky, I got him back."

- Spock and Kirk, as Kirk refers to Spock as his brother

Background Information Edit

  • Star Trek V, released in June 1989, was the last Star Trek movie to be released in the summer months until 2009's Star Trek.
  • Star Trek V was the first Star Trek production to be made in tandem with another (Star Trek: The Next Generation, whose second season was in production during the filming) and one of only two productions to be made during that time period without any involvement from Rick Berman.
  • Star Trek V has provoked much controversy among fans and many consider this movie to be the weakest Star Trek film ever made. Though it was initially successful as the #1 film at the box-office on its first weekend of release with a solid US$17 million gross (ultimately grossing over $52 million in the US and Canada plus over $17 million overseas[1]), it was not as successful as its predecessor, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which grossed $109.7 million in North America alone.
Six issues contributed to the film's dismal box office business:
  1. During the 1988 Writer's Guild of America strike, the film's pre-production was severely cut. Also, the shooting schedule was severely trimmed.
  2. Paramount decided that Star Trek V would not be another dramatic film, but be as lighthearted as its predecessor.
  3. Star William Shatner made a deal with Paramount that if Star Trek IV was successful, he would be contracted to direct the next film (although according to William Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories, both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy had what Shatner referred to as "favored nation clauses" in their contracts meaning essentially that what one got, the other got. According to Shatner, it was Nimoy who put the idea of directing Star Trek V in his head during the production of Star Trek IV, telling Shatner that because of their favored nation status, he could successfully demand to direct the next film).
  4. There was some public dissatisfaction with Star Trek: The Next Generation amongst fans at the time.
  5. Industrial Light and Magic was not contracted to do the effects for the film, with the job going to a lesser known company, Associates and Ferren. The result was poor quality, and in some cases, obviously unfinished special effects shots.
  6. Intense competition during the summer of 1989 with the release of a multitude of blockbusters, including the long awaited Tim Burton Batman film, Lethal Weapon 2, Ghostbusters 2, and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (according to Harve Bennett in William Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories)
As a result of these six factors, the film did not succeed as well as the cast and crew thought it would. Gene Roddenberry expressed his own dissatisfaction by stating that certain plot elements were "apocryphal," although it is not known exactly which elements he was referring to. (Some believe that one of these elements was Spock's brother Sybok.) Subsequent Star Trek writers have generally avoided referencing events from the movie, although one slight reference can be found in a deleted scene from TNG: "Family" which would have made mention of horse thieves on Nimbus III. [2]
In 2010, Executive Producer Ralph Winter made this candid observation about his role in the production, "We had fun and felt good about IV, that wasn’t the case on V. I think on V we were smoking our own press releases. We made the mistake of searching for god. That is what the first movie did. What did we think we were going to find? What did we expect? We were focused and we wrote a good script. Larry Luckinbill (Sybok) was terrific. There were a lot of good things about it. I think we were, not delusional, but we almost killed the franchise. And, unfortunately I almost killed the franchise in terms of the visual effects. We felt like we got taken advantage of by ILM and so we shopped to go to other places. We found a guy in New York, Bran Ferren, who had a pretty good approach to doing the effects, but ultimately they were horrible. And the combination of a story that was not working, it just wasn’t commercial, the effects were terrible – we almost killed the franchise, it almost died." He has also contradicted Shatner's claim that the film failed due to the budget restrictions imposed by the studio, "I don’t agree that Paramount short-changed the movie. They didn’t give [Shatner] as much money for the story that he wanted to tell, but remember Star Trek II was done for $12 Million, and III was done for just under $16 Million, and IV came in a million under budget at $21 Million – I have a letter at home from the president of the studio that shows that. And I think we did the fifth movie at around or just under $30 Million, so it was more. But what he wanted to do was a big grander thing. But I don’t think more money would have made the movie better." [3]
  • Filming began on 11 October 1988 and ended on 28 December of the same year. The first scene filmed was Harve Bennett's cameo as Rear Admiral "Bob". Production began shooting at Yosemite National Park, then moved to the Mojave Desert, then back to Paramount Studios, where they filmed next door to Star Trek: The Next Generation. The last scenes filmed were the Kirk-Spock-McCoy trio's campfire singalongs. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier DVD special features)
  • On 28 December, the last production day (only a few missing special effects shots were filmed that day), a press conference was held on the set to various newspaper, television and radio reporters. Producers Harve Bennett, and Ralph Winter, director William Shatner and the entire Star Trek main cast participated, answering questions. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier DVD special features)
  • Many fans consider J.M. Dillard's novelization of the film to be superior to the film itself, due to the expanded information it provides for many of the characters, most notably the captive diplomats and Sybok himself.
  • The Star Trek V novelization also references and shows Sybok showing the crew how to radically adjust the deflector shields in order to be able to pass through the extreme radiation environment of the Great Barrier.
Another oddity in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is the Enterprise's trip to the center of the galaxy, which should have taken decades but seemed to occur in less than a day. In the novelization of Star Trek V, it is mentioned that Sybok's tinkering allows them to decrease their travel time. The Bird-of-Prey scans the Enterprise during their pursuit and is able to duplicate their rate of travel as well as Sybok's shield modifications allowing them to penetrate the Barrier.
  • The film was the "winner" of the 1990 Razzie awards for "Worst Picture," "Worst Actor" (Shatner), and "Worst Director" (Shatner). It also received nominations for "Worst Picture of the Decade," "Worst Supporting Actor" (Kelley), "Worst Screenplay" (Loughery, Shatner, and Bennett). In 2006, former Mystery Science Theater 3000 co-stars and writers Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy mocked the film in a downloadable audio commentary track for Nelson's RiffTrax service.
  • Because of its failure at the US box office, in some countries this film was not distributed in the theaters, but only on VHS.
  • Some of the special effects in this movie are markedly different than those featured in previous Star Trek films. Among other changes, photon torpedoes have a different design and color (the torpedo from the Enterprise was a slightly recolored reuse of V'Ger's "whiplash bolt" from Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and a slightly different effect was used when going to warp speed. The release of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, however, marked a return to the effect designs that characterized earlier Trek films.
  • Industrial Light & Magic, the company which did the special effects for the previous three Star Trek films and TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" was unavailable because the company was working on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Ghostbusters II at the time. The result of this is the considerably cheaper-looking effects seen in the film.
  • The sequence of "God" chasing Captain Kirk on the Sha Ka Ree planet was originally conceived to be much longer and extensive, but it had to be severely cut as a result of awful-looking special effects.
  • In addition, some of the outer space shots are stock footage from the previous films. The shot of the Enterprise in spacedock is from the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Also, a few Klingon Bird-of-Prey shots are reused from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The spiraling starfield during Kirk's unfinished log entry is lifted from the opening titles of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • William Shatner's first outline for this film was entitled "An Act of Love" and, according to William Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories, would have been a much darker tale and would have seen the first true falling out between Kirk and Spock and McCoy. Also, Spock and McCoy would also have joined with Sybok, leaving Kirk alone. This was changed when Nimoy absolutely refused to play that, stating that there was no chance whatsoever that Spock would ever turn on Kirk, especially after what Kirk risked and sacrificed for Spock in Star Trek III. Director Shatner talked to Nimoy, attempting to change his mind, but Nimoy was firm in believing that pain or no pain, brother or no brother, Spock would not betray Captain Kirk. Shatner eventually conceded and had the script adjusted. In the book, Shatner comments that he was aware there was no chance he could know Spock as well as Nimoy would and he certainly couldn't force Nimoy to play the part as written. According to Shatner, on the same day that Nimoy objected, DeForest Kelley also refused, believing that McCoy would not turn against Kirk either and Kelley was as adamant about it as Nimoy was. Shatner said that he didn't know and still doesn't know if changing the script was the right decision to make, but he also conceded that if someone else had come in and written a scenario where Kirk would turn against Spock and McCoy, he too, would "raise the roof" over it. Nevertheless, Shatner said he would still have loved to have seen and been able to play the original version of the scenario.
  • The name "Sha Ka Ree" was taken from "Sean Connery", the actor Star Trek producers originally wanted to play Sybok. Unfortunately, Connery was busy working on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and was unavailable to play the part.
  • After the campfire scene, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy say "good-night" to each other in a way that is clearly a parody of the "good-night" in the television show "The Waltons".
Rock Man 4

The "Rock Man" in the deleted scene

  • In the original script, Kirk was attacked by ten large "rockmen" emerging from the rock faces of Sha Ka Ree. Unfortunately, with an extremely limited budget (which was responsible for other "high budget" items being removed from the final script, as well as for the use of cheaper effects for the space scenes), only one animatronic "Rock Man", portrayed by stuntman Tom Morga, was created. The single rockman was filmed attacking Kirk, but the scene was thought too poor to include in the film, although an extremely brief (a few frames) glimpse of the creature occurs in the final print during the scene where "God" fires energy blasts at Captain Kirk. Some test footage of the creature is available in the Special Edition two-disc DVD release. The idea did make it to theaters in the Star Trek parody Galaxy Quest. A few images of Morga as the Rock Man were later released in the special feature "Tom Morga: Alien Stuntman" on the 2009 box release Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (DVD).
  • Closeups of the El Capitan climbing scenes were filmed on a fake wall made of fiberglass. The real mountain can be seen at distance.
  • Closeups of Kirk's fall were actually shot horizontally, then flipped so that they appeared vertical.
  • Several deleted scenes are available on the Special Edition DVD, including one of Sulu and Chekov visiting the Mount Rushmore monument, with the added face of an African-American woman.
  • the Novelization has some additional dialogue about Spock and McCoy speculating that the great barrier might not have been meant to keep them out, but to keep "God" in, prompting Spock to say that they may have yet to reach the final frontier.
  • As had been the case with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, this film sports a rare instance of Trek product placement. Kirk and McCoy wear Levi's blue jeans for the first half-hour of the film, and Levi Strauss & Co. gets a credit at the end of the film.
  • In another product tie-in, this time with Kraft "Jet-Puffed" marshmallows, Kraft Co. sold replicas of the marshmallow dispenser that Spock used, via mail-order, in the summer of 1989.
    STV Marshmallow Dispenser

    Kraft Marshmallow Dispenser

  • Spock makes an uncharacteristic mistake when he calls "marshmallows" by the name "marsh melons". The novelization shows that McCoy, knowing Spock would want to study what the ship had in the library computer about camping out before going out, paid a computer tech to change all references in the Enterprise computer about marshmallows to "marsh melons." The novel also includes characterizations of McCoy's and Kirk's reactions and McCoy having a silent laugh at Spock's error. In the final picture, McCoy simply stumbles over the pronunciation to continue the joke. Later, in the levitation boots scene on the Enterprise (mentioned below), Kirk again mentions "marsh melons", which some have thought to be the mistake, but is evidence he also recognized Spock's error. When they return to the camp site at the end of the novel, Spock has since then detected McCoy's activity and has had his misinformation corrected.
  • The entire movie was filmed on such a tight schedule that many of the shots were set up in a matter of minutes, instead of hours.
  • According to Shatner, the campfire scenes had to be shot in closer angles, because time and budget constraints prevented the production team from building the top of the trees on the set.
  • The cloak with the numerous medals that Ambassador Korrd wore would appear again in Star Trek: The Next Generation as the cloak worn by the Klingon chancellor. The first chancellor to be seen, K'mpec (who first appeared in TNG: "Sins of the Father"), was also played by Charles Cooper.
  • During location shooting, locals were hired to portray Sybok's "army" during his raid on Nimbus III. Because of the severe budget cuts and not enough number of these extras, many of them were re-used in different shots, running through the gates over and over again.
  • One of Kirk's famous lines in this film is that he "will die alone." In the movie Star Trek Generations, Kirk dies after emerging from the Nexus in the 24th century. Although he dies apart from his closest friends (Spock and McCoy), Jean-Luc Picard is with him at his passing.
  • Near the end of the film when Spock mentions that he lost his brother, Sybok, Kirk retorts, "Yes. I lost a brother once. I was lucky I got him back." While Kirk's biological brother, George Samuel Kirk, died in TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!", he was clearly making a reference to Spock, who died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and was resurrected in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. (However, Spock and McCoy look visibly surprised when Kirk mentions having lost a brother, creating a potential continuity error as both were present when George died.) This is the second time that Kirk refers to Spock as his "brother". The first time occurred in TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy". The Star Trek V comic adaptation had Kirk say "I've lost two brothers, but I was lucky to get one of them back."
  • After the Bird-of-Prey destroys "God", Kirk says, "So, it's me you want you Klingon bastards?", a reference to a scene in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in which Kirk calls them the same thing after Kruge kills his son, David Marcus.
  • The Enterprise-A corridors are from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Except for the turbolift, they were not changed for the movie.
  • In the levitation boots scene on the Enterprise, where Spock, McCoy, and Kirk fly up the turbo-shaft, the deck numbers are seen going higher as they rise through the ship, in contrast to all other starships ever seen on screen, which have the highest deck number on the lowest actual deck. In addition, Kirk, McCoy, and Spock pass a sign for Deck 78 on their way up. They also pass Deck 52 twice, obviously, either an editing error or an attempt to lengthen the scene. After this shot was done, production designer Hermann Zimmerman pointed this error out to director Shatner. He explained that the Enterprise has only 23 decks, counted down from the top, Deck 1. But Shatner refused to change it. He wanted to shoot this scene exactly this way because he was convinced that the shot was so highly dramatic. (citation needededit)
  • Shatner originally wanted Sybok's horse to be a unicorn, adding a more "mythical" approach to the character, but Gene Roddenberry disapproved of it, saying that it would turn Star Trek into a space fantasy instead of science fiction. (citation needededit)
  • This is the first Star Trek movie not to be nominated for a Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation".
  • In an interview for the book Captains' Logs, Harve Bennett blamed the movie's failure on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • The Enterprise-A bridge is mostly a new set, except for the turbolifts, Sulu and Chekov's helm console, the handrails, and some of the platforms on which the portions of the bridge stood. According to the Collector's Edition DVD text commentary, a new bridge set was necessary due to the original movie bridge set being mostly damaged by a sudden windstorm while in temporary storage at the Paramount studio parking lot, and only those few pieces used on the Enterprise-A bridge were salvaged from the original set. Captain Kirk would thus seem to briefly break character when he muses, "I miss my old chair." The decoration from the salvaged set was also used for the Stargazer bridge and for the battle bridge in TNG.
  • Another all-new set was the Forward Observation Lounge where several dramatic scenes take place. According to Michael Okuda, this room was located on the forward-center edge of the saucer section (much like Ten-Forward on the Enterprise-D). However, when looking at the exterior of the Enterprise-A, there are no windows which match the location of this room. The plan was to update the filming miniature with the three larger windows, however time and budget constraints forced the producers to omit this change as it was believed they would be unnoticed due to their small size. (citation needededit)
  • Nichelle Nichols, an accomplished singer and dancer, provided an authentic performance of the "fan dance" routine in this film; she was outraged when her vocals in the scene were later overdubbed in editing without her approval.
Bandai Star Trek V video game

Unreleased Star Trek V: The Final Frontier video game

  • A Bandai Nintendo Entertainment System action game was slated to be released in 1989 along with the movie. The game was canceled following the failure of the film at the box office. A prototype has surfaced and is circling the net as a ROM. It is notable for its many basic spelling errors (example: at one point Scotty is named "Scotto") and lack of an ending (the game may have been incomplete at the time it was scrapped).
  • This film marked the return of Jerry Goldsmith to the Star Trek franchise. He returned again to compose the music for Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek Nemesis, and to compose the theme for Star Trek: Voyager. An attempt was made to bring Goldsmith on to compose for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country after James Horner turned it down. However, Goldsmith also refused, citing the poor results of Final Frontier.
  • Among the items featured in this film which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay were a Starfleet Field Duty Commando division strip [4] and the stunt costume for David Richard Ellis. [5] The rock climbing costume worn by Shatner was also auctioned off. [6] The costume had "Boreal"-brand shoes.
  • This is the only one of the first six Star Trek films not to feature any scenes based in and around Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco.
  • The otherwise very Star Trek friendly magazine Cinefantastique has made no mention whatsoever of this production in their publications.


The novel The Fire and the Rose shows that as Spock began to regret undertaking the Kolinahr, that he remembered what Kirk had told Sybok about how the regrets and the pain one carries with them is part of what makes them who they are and it does help in Spock's decision to reverse the Kolinahr.

The Sha Ka Ree entity is identified in The Q Continuum trilogy as The One, a being that was drawn into this universe through the Guardian of Forever by the entity known as 0, subsequently being defeated in a confrontation with the Q Continuum and locked away in the galactic center - having been reduced to only a head - until His repentance or the heat death of the universe, "whichever comes first."

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Andorian language; bath; blowscreen; binoculars; booster rocket; brig; camping; "Camptown Races"; commercial; consul; Copernicus; Earth; El Capitan; Enterprise-A, USS; Excelsior, USS; Federation Federal; Feira Incident; galactic core; Galileo; Galileo-type shuttlecraft; God; Great Barrier; Great Horned Owl; heart attack; hydro vent; Iowa; jet boots; kellicam; Klaa's Bird-of-Prey; Klingons; Klingon Bird-of-Prey; K'Rebeca sector; Luna; marshmallow; Milky Way Galaxy; "Moon over Rigel VII"; Morse code; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Neutral Zone Treaty; Nimbus III; orbital shuttle; Orbital shuttle 5; Orbital shuttle 7; Orion; "Pack Up Your Troubles"; Paradise City; Paradise Inn; Pioneer 10; pool; Priority 7; Rigel VII; Romulans; Romulan ale; Romulan language; "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"; scotch whiskey; Sha Ka Ree; Shepard sector; sing-along; Southern baked beans; Spacedock (Earth); Starfleet Com Net; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Galactic Memory Bank; Starfleet Operations; strike team; termite; toilet; Tennessee whiskey; Vulcans; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan nerve pinch; Vulcan princess; Yosemite National Park

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Previous film:
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek films Next film:
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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