The Studio Had Some Strange Ideas For Star Trek: Nemesis

"Star Trek: Nemesis" is a strange film, even by "Star Trek" standards. For starters, there's the plot that centers on a half-Romulan clone of Jean-Luc Picard (played by Tom Hardy in his big break — true story!) There's also the earlier version of Data named B-4, and I don't even want to get into the scene between Deanna Troi and the monstrous Reman Viceroy. Suffice it to say, it's a low point in both Marina Sirtis and Ron Perlman's careers.

The disdain with "Nemesis" has been expressed by nearly everyone involved — Sirtis referred to director Stuart Baird as an "idiot," and Jonathan Frakes said he could have done a better job had he stepped behind the camera. (Considering "Star Trek: First Contact" is in the top Trek films, I completely agree.) Longtime "Trek" producer Rick Berman revealed even more details about "Nemesis" in an interview with the official Star Trek website, and apparently, things could have gotten even weirder.

New generation, new blood

"Nemesis" almost didn't feature the "Next Generation" cast, according to Berman. Paramount was seeking new blood for the franchise to give it a boost, but Berman argued for the "Next Generation" crew to return — partly because the audience was used to the "Next Generation" cast and partly because "Star Trek: Enterprise" was about to make its debut.

"The head of the studio had really tried to convince me to do a movie without the TNG cast. The feeling was 'These guys have all gotten kind of older. It's time to introduce some new, fresh blood.' There was an attitude that I should go out and find a new Tom Cruise. I felt strongly against that for two reasons. One reason was that when we were developing this movie, the Enterprise series was coming out. So the Star Trek audience was about to get introduced to a whole new cast of young characters on television ... The other reason was I felt that after a four-year absence from the screen, the fans really wanted to see Patrick, Brent, Jonathan and company again."

Paramount did eventually get new blood in the form of Baird, as Berman said that the studio was "quite persuasive" about him helming the film. Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner brought in John Logan, the screenwriter behind "Gladiator" — who happened to be a massive "Star Trek" fan. However, things went sideways.

Send in the clones

The major issue lay in the gulf of knowledge between Logan and Baird. Logan knew "Star Trek" inside and out, but Baird had never seen an episode of "The Next Generation." This led to story problems, particularly when it came to Hardy's Shinzon.

"A script was written and it was too long and way too wordy. It was always a bit too Shakespearean. The whole idea of a Picard clone ... it went from Picard's son to a Picard clone that was the same age as Picard, where Patrick would play both characters."

The story problems, combined with friction between Baird and the cast, led to "Nemesis" landing with a thud at the box office. The reviews weren't great either, and finally Paramount decided to go in a new direction with J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek," which was a critical and commercial success (in addition to being the film that in my personal opinion broke the "Trek curse" of odd-numbered Trek films not being that good). And "Star Trek: Picard" would address the story issues of "Nemesis," resulting in an emotional ending that stayed true to the characters.