Few stars embody the idea of 1980s box office gold more than stand-up comedian turned Hollywood giant, Eddie Murphy. Back in the day Murphy pretty much had carte blanche when it came to film projects, and he even almost found himself included in some truly legendary franchises. Now it looks as though the actor even briefly had a chance to appear in 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. According to The Voyage Home's co-writer Nicholas Meyer, the film came very close to including Eddie Murphy in a pivotal starring role until Paramount got cold feet on the matter. He said:
They had had a script written tailor-made to star Eddie Murphy, who was Paramount's other big star at the time. Paramount didn't like the idea of putting all their golden eggs in one basket, Eddie Murphy and the Star Trek people.
On 50 Years of Star Trek (according to Yahoo Movies), Nicholas Meyer explained that a draft of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was penned with Eddie Murphy's inclusion in mind. The project almost came to fruition, but ultimately Paramount decided that they did not want to combine two of their biggest cash cows -- Murphy and the Star Trek franchise -- into one project. Keeping things separate, a draft of The Voyage Home was eventually written to exclude Murphy's involvement, thus freeing up the actor's schedule for him to star in The Golden Child.
It's very possible that Paramount made the right call. One look at Rotten Tomatoes will tell you that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home currently holds a Certified Fresh rating at 85%, so the film obviously didn't need Eddie Murphy to achieve critical acclaim. It's also worth noting that including a popular comedic actor doesn't always work for a traditionally beloved sci-fi franchise -- just look at the abysmal results of Richard Pryor's inclusion in Superman III. Eddie Murphy would eventually go into space with The Adventures of Pluto Nash, and I think we all remember how that went -- here's a hint: not well.
Then again, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home already features a very offbeat tone, and Eddie Murphy could have definitely fit within its more comedic styling. Take a look at the trailer to see what I mean:
Although it now seems unlikely that Eddie Murphy will ever appear in a Star Trek movie at this point, this revelation has us wondering about other major comedic actors that could potentially enter the series in the near future. More and more comedians have begun to establish themselves as strong dramatic actors, so it doesn't seem entirely unrealistic that we could see someone like Jim Carrey or Steve Carell in a Star Trek movie at some point. Food for thought, Paramount.
Until that day comes, you can still catch Star Trek Beyond, which is still in theaters. Stay tuned for more details!