Friends, I was finishing up work last night when Rockford Jay popped into the office for a chat – he asked if I had ever seen the missing Sulu scene from 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. While I do recall hearing about a missing moment in the film with Sulu – I certainly had not ever seen it before… nor will we in this deLimited Productions video that Rockford found – however we will get to hear the original audio that was used for the scene. And while it is quite true that it is just a minute or so more of additional audio than we get in the 1982 film, for all of us fans of Hikaru Sulu it is not only incredibly important but rather eye-opening… because instead of the character being promoted to the Captain of the USS Excelsior three years before 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country he was due to have command after the events of The Wrath of Khan!
Now the question is of course why Director Nicholas Meyer would decide to remove such an important part of Sulu’s character development – it was obviously filmed as otherwise we wouldn’t have the audio clip. Trying to figure it out I found an excerpt online from a biography written by Michael Seth Starr entitled Shatner – with a quote from George Takei regarding how he felt William Shatner was handing that very scene in rehearsals:
“When Takei asked Bill to play the scene with more oomph, he promised he would – but once the cameras rolled he “played it as he had rehearsed it, disinterested, murmuring some trivia about my captaincy, looking straight out into the void. There was no eye contact.”
Starr goes on to say that Director Nicholas Meyer tried to reassure Takei that the scene would come together in the editing process – although I suppose that didn’t pan out as the scene is obviously altered in the finished film. Or perhaps Meyer during the editing felt it didn’t truly make that much impact on the overall story – after all the scene that revealed that Lieutenant Saavik was half Romulan and half Vulcan was excised from the final cut of the film too. Which would have not only explained her emotional reactions in the picture… but in addition there is another deleted scene with her character that appears to have been a set up for a possible romantic interest in Kirk’s Son!
In closing I guess we will never truly know the real reason that mention of Sulu’s rise to captaincy was cut out of 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – but I guess we should be thankful that at the very least we could hear the audio from that scene, right?