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(written from a Production point of view)

Nicholas Meyer (born 24 December 1945; age 73) directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He wrote the screenplays for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI and served as consulting producer on the first season of Star Trek: Discovery.

Though never credited for his efforts, Meyer rewrote much of the screenplay for The Wrath of Khan by combining several elements from earlier drafts. He is also largely responsible for the nautical influence that pervades The Wrath of Khan and its sequels, from the military essence of the red-jacket uniforms to the more heated and dramatic character of the battle sequences.

After The Wrath of Khan, Meyer declined to work upon any of the sequels as he was opposed to notion of resurrecting Spock, having stated, "I stayed away from III because I didn't want to resurrect Spock, which somehow in my mind attacked the integrity and authenticity of the feelings provoked by his death." [1]

However, while he could not get along with creator Gene Roddenberry for reasons stated hereafter, Meyer otherwise enjoyed a good rapport with the studio oversight, especially with Producer Harve Bennett and Studio Executive Dawn Steel. And it was Steel who managed to persuade Meyer to come aboard for a sequel after all, "I got involved in number four because they had another script they were not happy with. Dawn Steel, who (was) the head of Paramount and has been a friend of mine for many years, called me and said, 'Would you do us an enormous favor?' And I said, 'For Harve and Leonard? Yeah, absolutely.' They had a script written. The script, I guess, was for 'Eddie Murphy as a guest star. I never read it, so I don't know...I didn't read the (Meerson/Krikes) script because I just thought it would confuse me and since (Bennett and Nimoy) didn't like it, why bother?(...)They said, 'We're a little bit under the gun now because our production date is closing in. Is that a problem for you?' And I said, 'Hey, c'mon, "Under the Gun" is my middle name! Remember me? I'm the twelve day wonder! I'm in!" [2]

Meyer's more militaristic take on the Star Trek universe was vehemently opposed by its creator Roddenberry, as it did not correspond with his vision for the Star Trek universe, but the latter was toothless at the time of Wrath of Khan due to the stipulations in the Star Trek films contract he had with Paramount Pictures, yet it seriously soured the relationship between the two men nonetheless. Roddenberry (since Star Trek III: The Search for Spock back "on staff" in the ceremonial figurehead position of "Executive Consultant", still prohibited from having any formal creative input whatsoever, yet now able to make a pervasive nuisance of himself to the production staff, Bennett in particular – see: main article) later expressed concerns about turning Saavik into a traitor in The Undiscovered Country as initially intended by Meyer, feeling that she had become a "too beloved" character in his universe. When informed of this, Meyer met his concerns with disdain, derisively remarking, "I wrote the character of Saavik in STAR TREK II. That wasn't a Gene Roddenberry character. If he doesn't like what I'm doing, maybe he should give the money he's [making off my films] back. Then maybe I'll care what he has to say." Without even bothering to get back to Roddenberry, Meyer pushed ahead, though the proposition was later dropped, albeit for reasons entirely unrelated to Roddenberry's concerns. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 31)

The situation, however, came to a head with The Undiscovered Country when Roddenberry was angered by the racism he perceived in the production in regard to the Klingons. A charged meeting between the two parties followed: "His guys [Roddenberry's legal staff, headed by the in Star Trek-lore reviled Leonard Maizlish] were lined up on one side of the room, and my guys were lined up on the other side of the room, and this was not a meeting in which I felt I'd behaved very well, very diplomatically. I came out of it feeling not very good, and I've not felt good about it ever since. He was not well [an ailing Roddenberry would indeed pass away only a short time later], and maybe there were more tactful ways of dealing with it, because at the end of the day, I was going to go out and make the movie. I didn't have to take him on. Not my finest hour," Meyer later recounted. [3] After the avant-premiere screening of the nearly finished movie on 22 October 1991, Roddenberry ordered Maizlish to start legal proceedings against Meyer and Writer/Actor Leonard Nimoy to have fifteen minutes of the more militaristic aspects cut from the movie. This came to naught however, as Roddenberry died two days later. (Star Trek Movie Memories, 1995, p. 394)

In 2009, Meyer was interviewed for the special feature "Star Trek: The Three Picture Saga" on the DVD box release of Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (alongside Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens, Peter Krikes, Steve Meerson, Harve Bennett, and Ralph Winter), and published his autobiography The View from the Bridge - Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood. Yet, his most frank and most elaborate Star Trek interview he has ever given to date, was for William Shatner's 1994 memoir Star Trek Movie Memories.

Career outside Star TrekEdit

A graduate from the University of Iowa with a degree in theater and filmmaking, Nicholas Meyer, prior to his involvement with the Trek films, was best known for adapting and directing the 1979 time-travel film, Time After Time (starring Malcolm McDowell and David Warner), and for writing the Sherlock Holmes pastiche novels The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and The West End Horror (in 1993, he wrote a third, The Canary Trainer). He also wrote the adapted screenplay for the film version of Solution (for which he earned a 1977 Academy Award nomination), whose cast included Georgia Brown, Joel Grey, Samantha Eggar, and Jeremy Kemp.

The Day After Edit

Though Nicholas Meyer is well known to Star Trek audiences, his most influential work, as far as the general public was concerned, was directing the ABC Cold War television movie The Day After (1983, and on which Michael Westmore served as make-up artist, earning him one of his many Emmy Award nominations), which stunned contemporary audiences for its then graphic display of a nuclear holocaust and its aftermath. According the National Geographic series, The '80s: The Decade That Made Us, nearly one hundred million Americans tuned in for its first broadcast on 20 November 1983. The documentary further postulated that the movie was a co-influence on then President Ronald Reagan to embark upon the "Strategic Defense Initiative" (SDI, or popularly known as "Star Wars"). Meyer, who was featured in the documentary, mentioned that the producers had trouble finding a director due to the controversial nature of the production, and that he ended up being hired as the third or fourth choice of the producers. It nevertheless won Meyer two 1984 Emmy Award nominations in two categories and a German Golden Screen Award in 1985. Meyer embarked upon this project directly after The Wrath of Khan.

Star Trek awards Edit

Meyer has received the following awards and award nominations for his work in Star Trek.

Hugo Awards Edit

In the category Best Dramatic Presentation

Saturn Awards Edit

  • 1983 Saturn Award win for The Wrath of Khan in the category Best Director, sole nominee
  • 1987 Saturn Award nomination for The Voyage Home in the category Best Writing, shared with Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, and Harve Bennet
  • 1992 Saturn Award nomination for The Undiscovered Country in the category Best Writing, shared with Denny Martin Flinn

Star Trek interviewsEdit

External links Edit

Previous Director:
Robert Wise
Star Trek films director
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Next Director:
Leonard Nimoy
Previous Director:
William Shatner
Star Trek films director
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Next Director:
David Carson
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