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While Star Trek: The Original Series is a beloved series among sci-fi fans, the fact of the matter is that without the Star Trek movies, the franchise wouldn't have grown into the powerhouse it is today. However, not all of these big screen tales have been winners. One of the lesser entries of the bunch is 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which was directed by Captain James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner. It proved to not only underperform financially, but was also a critical disappointment. Nearly 30 years later, Shatner is now acknowledging how poorly the ending of the movie turned out, which he says was due to not having the proper funds.
While plugging his new NBC reality-series Better Late Than Never with EW, the Star Trek legend took some time to apologize for how The Final Frontier ended, blaming a lack of budget for not being able to realize his full vision. Here's what he said:
I got the chance to direct a several-million-dollar movie, Star Trek V, and I did not get the help I needed in allocating my budget, so when it came to shooting the ending --- needing a good villain and lots of computer graphics --- I had run out of money. Sorry about that. [Laughs.] I had to use footage that I had already shot --- and spit on it a lot. I wanted to give [the audience] earth-breaking granite monsters spewing rocks and fire. Instead, I had a few pebbles in my hand that I threw at the camera.
For those who've never seen Star Trek V: The Final Frontier or have blocked it from their minds, the movie revolved around the Enterprise crew tracking down Spock's half-brother, Sybok, as he traveled to find an entity he believed to be God. By the movie's third act, he was successful, but he and the main characters soon discovered that the entity wasn't the deity it claimed to be. However, it was still powerful, but because Shatner and the crew had already used up so much money, it was more difficult to show off the entity's might. By the end of the movie, this being was destroyed by the crew of Klaa, a Klingon who was pursuing both the Enterprise and Sybok.
As William Shatner's fellow Star Trek franchise actors Leonard Nimoy and Jonathan Frakes can attest, directing a Star Trek movie is no easy feat. Unfortunately, The Final Frontier failed to impress enough fans, whether it was due to the poor special effects or a subpar story. Fortunately, the Original Series characters were able to return one last time together two years later in The Undiscovered Country, and the Star Trek movie series has continued on since, most recently with Star Trek Beyond. It's just a shame that Shatner didn't get that number crunching help for The Final Frontier, otherwise maybe that ending would have looked a lot better.