"The Three Saaviks"

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by alpha_leonis, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. alpha_leonis

    alpha_leonis Captain Captain

    May 27, 2001
    I've heard it said before that the role of Valeris in ST6:TUC was originally intended to be Saavik, but that idea got nixed for a couple of reasons, in favor of creating a new character. But Saavik in that "traitor" role is a very compelling dramatic idea that I personally wish hadn't been scrapped.

    Reason #1 that's commonly stated is that Gene Roddenberry didn't want a well-loved character like Saavik to turn out to be a traitor. I'm not sure I buy that one completely -- by that point Roddenberry wasn't much more than a glorified consultant who had very little day-to-day influence on the production of the movies. (I've heard that he pretty much hated the script anyway; one more change like that wouldn't have done that much more damage as far as he was concerned.)

    Reason #2: When Kim Cattrall was cast in the role, she accepted the part only on the condition that she *not* be yet another recast of Saavik.

    But my question is, why did Kim Cattrall have to be cast in the first place? I have to admit I didn't much like her in that movie. Why not go back to one of the two women who had played Saavik in the past?

    I understand that Kirstie Alley was well-established on Cheers by that time, so she may have been too expensive for the movie's budget. But why not Robin Curtis? Was she unavailable? It's not like she'd retired from acting by then; she even came back to play another character on TNG at about the same time.
  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001
    I imagine that the director didn't care for Curtis in the part.
  3. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 26, 2007
    Baltimore, MD
    Yep, I heard that Denny Martin Flynn (or whoever the director was) had no interest whatsoever in working with Curtis.

    But I agree that having Saavik be the saboteur would have been better dramatically instead of creating a brand new character for no reason other than to end up being the bad guy.
  4. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 30, 2010

    certainly a lot less predictable as well.
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    May 12, 2004
    Lancaster, PA
    The director was Nicholas Meyer, who had previously cast Kirstie Alley as Saavik in THE WRATH OF KHAN. He did not direct the two films with Curtis. (Nimoy did.)

    Having Saavik be the traitor would have been more dramatic, I agree, but can't blame Cattrall for not wanting to be Saavik #3--if that was indeed her call.
  6. los2188

    los2188 Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 3, 2011
    North Carolina

    In all honesty, I would have LOVED for the traitor to be Saavik. It makes so much sense on so many levels in my opinion and would be a good punch to the story so to speak. From what I recall, and correct me if I am wrong, but Kim Cattrall was Nick Meyer's original choice for Saavik in Wrath of Khan. This is one of those times that I really wish they could hit the reset button on and cast Saavik. Robin Curtis, who I wasn't a big fan of playing Saavik, should have been cast as Saavik, but I also enjoyed, somewhat, the role of Valeris.
  7. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

    Jun 11, 2005
    I think Robin Curtis' role in "Gambit" gives us a bit of a taste of how a traitorous Saavik would've looked.

    Novelization aside, Valeris' specific reasons for opposing peace were never made clear, whereas after the events of STIII, it would've been easy to understand Saavik's reasons. Valeris' line to Kirk of "they killed your son" would've packed more punch coming from someone who knew him and witnessed David's death.

    I think the consensus among fans is that this was a missed dramatic opportunity. I don't know who was responsible, and, honestly, I doubt we will ever conclusively know.
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Nick Meyer's first choice for ST II.

    According to an interview in "Starlog", her agent was never even approached for negotiations on ST VI. The first they knew of ST VI was hearing the announcements of casting in the media. Meyer wanted Kirstie Alley to reprise, and showed no interest in Curtis whatsoever. He pursued Cattrall instead, but she rejected the role... until it became a new character. She even suggested Eris as the character's name. Meyer added the Val' prefix and it appears that was in the Premiere commercial version of the script (but the apostrophe in "Val'eris" vanished for publicity releases and the novelization).

    Flinn was the screenwriter.

    I know there were interviews at the time. She kept turning it down. She eventually got to design the character's severe hairstyle and even her hairband.

    Of course we do. Roddenberry was quoted as not liking the idea of a traitorous Saavik because she was supposedly "a beloved character" - but then, Roddenberry came to dislike the idea of any latter day Starfleet characters turning traitorous - and Meyer laughs about this objection in the ST VI commentary because he says that Roddenberry originally opposed the introduction of Saavik in ST II; Saavik was a creation of Meyer's and he reckoned he had a right to turn her into a traitor. She was originally "Dr Savik", a young male Vulcan in a very different ST II movie premise, and fills a similar role to Roddenberry's Xon ("Phase II") and Livingston's Sonak (TMP).
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  9. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

    Jun 11, 2005
    Roddenberry must've forgotten that he wrote "The Omega Glory", in which a corrupted Starfleet captain is a major character.

    But, as pointed out, above, Gene had fairly little to do with the movies after TMP.
  10. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 5, 2005
    I would have been okay with either choice... using Saavik as the traitor or creating a new character.

    A much bigger problem for me is when they make a new character that's a rehash of Saavik. Spock's Vulcan protege, manning the helm, even using the same "quarter impulse in drydock" joke.

    If they weren't gonna use Saavik, then at least make a new original character. Change something, please. Make him a male, a science officer rather than helmsman, non-Vulcan.

    As it is, Valeris is too much of a note-for-note knock-off of Saavik for my liking. That's bothers me more than the issue of Saavik's integrity.
  11. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2007
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
    not having Saavik was a missed opportunity. It did make both story sense because of her experiences on the Genesis planet and would have made the reveal a surprise rather than a yawn.
  12. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 19, 2008
    Planet Carcazed
    Only a couple of times have I seen Kim Cattrall really shine: as Valeris, and as Lassie in Porky's. :lol:
  13. AggieJohn

    AggieJohn Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Dec 6, 2010
    Lake Jackson Tx
    It would have been a good kind of bad for me. I liked STII Saavik, it sucked that her story essentially dies in STIII. I never liked Curtis as Saavik, not that she is a bad actress or anything but her version was too Vulcan ignoring the Romulan aspect Alley brought to the role. By STIII she was like a extra in the movie, completely flavorless, as a traitor in STVI she might have gotten her passion back. I agree with previous posts, Saavik has a reason to hate Klingons. In deleted scenes there was hints that Saavik had a little crush on David or a hint of a relationship. Seeing him killed for her would leave an impression.

    I would hate to see her as the "bad guy" but it would have made a lot more sense. It would have paralleled the same conflict Kirk was having regarding David's death. It would also have given us some closure on her character which pretty much disappears after STIV for some reason? I mean they did not consider making her a crew member on the Ent A? Especially considering Sulu was promoted to captain of the Excelsior.
  14. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 15, 2012
    Yeah they line "They killed your son" would've been really strong coming from Saavik.
  15. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 15, 2001
    West Hollywood, Calif., USA
    Thank you for polling all fans everywhere. It must have been a Herculean task.
  16. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 26, 2001
    She didn't just shine in Porky's, she flashed too!
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    No, he had not forgotten. But he wanted traitorous Starfleeters to be a rarity, not the norm - and the novels and TNG had also had quite a few that had made him antsy.

    As "Creative Consultant", he was - contractually - given copies of every version of every movie script, and returned extensive memos on all of them. But no one had to listen to him.
  18. lstyer

    lstyer Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 19, 2009
    Huntington, WV
    It's my understanding that when sufficiently annoyed by something proposed for a movie that he didn't think he could "talk them out of," Roddenberry had some success at getting the fan base riled up, which may have given him a bit more influence than he might have been contractually entitled to.
  19. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 25, 2000
    Out there... thataway.
    I agree!
  20. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 17, 2003
    Interestingly, TUC is the only of the post-TMP TOS movies in which Roddenberry is, in fact, not credited as "creative consultant." Yet we know from Nimoy, from Nick Meyer, from Shatner, etc. that he was around and involved. He read the script, he gave his notes, he met with Meyer in a rather infamous confrontation, etc. So why didn't he get the standard credit?