He still had an eye on maybe reviving the Phase II concept, and was largely working towards that goal rather than simply trying to recapture something he'd already done ten years before.
Most definitely. And when I interviewed Billy Van Zandt (the alien bridge ensign) in 1984, he said that the mood amongst the two-line extras was often that they expected/assumed/hoped that the movie would still spin-off into something ongoing/regular and they'd all get invited back.
I remember being surprised at how many Epsilon Nine costumes were auctioned off in the It's a Wrap!
eBay auctions. Someone definitely funneled some wardrobe finances into making far more costumes that were ever needed for a few brief scenes, and many went unused. They could have outfitted a space station-based TV series for several years
with all the spare uniforms they made. I'm thinking that there were plans to thwart the perils of a TV-sized budget for a future version of "Phase II" (telemovies, TV episodes, movies) by "stocking up" on useful things such as alien ambassador's robes and generic space station uniforms.
Also remember that, among original plans for a Trek movie, were ideas such as casting Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Kirk and Spock. The idea that TMP would be a cast-reunion event came much later.