After the huge commercial, if not critical, success of Star Trek The Motion Picture, a sequel was all but guaranteed. In fact, until JJ Abrams 2009 reboot, The Motion Picture was by far the biggest earner of all the sequels that followed. However, the franchise was in trouble almost straight away.
Leonard Nimoy had not wanted to reprise his role as Spock in the film. It had taken literally begging to get him to agree to return and they were faced with similar issues for any sequels that followed. To add to that, there had been a concerted effort to make the cast all appear younger than they actually were, leading to unflattering and uncomfortable costumes.
Finally, the runaway success of Star Wars had led Gene Roddenberry to make the decision to shy away from action and keep his film as a far more psychological type of sci fi. As stated, while the box office supported all of these ideas, the critical consensus did not. The cast also were not satisfied with the end product and more than one of them fell asleep during the premiere.
Star Trek The 'Motionless' Picture would spell doom to the franchise if it were to remain the template for all of the films that would follow. So, a new team of writers were brought on board, new designers were hired and the idea to go back to basics was embraced quite early on. The resulting trilogy came as a direct result of this and there's lots you probably didn't know about those films...
10. Star Trek II: They Needed A Big Villain To Kill The Big Hero
Director Nicholas Meyer was hired, succeeding veteran director Robert Wise, who had helmed the Motion Picture. His first idea was to strip away some of the metaphysics and psychological elements that had bogged down the first picture. He also wanted Starfleet to act as a military, rather than the pure explorers that had been shown before.
There was also a concerted decision to tie the film back into the series and thus, Khan was brought back. Space Seed had always been one of the most popular episodes of the Original Series, with Khan being one of the most popular villains. His return would spell a return to roots along with an updating of ideas. Convincing Ricardo Montalban to return thankfully went smoothly, as he had enjoyed his time on the show immensely.
His concern was how would slip back into the character after almost twenty years, but he did so not only with grace but he improved on his original performance with a wild gusto, allowing a development of character while maintaining the demented nature of the man overcome with revenge.
With the return of Montalban and the crew, the stage was set to begin work on the script and filming. However, they had to address two things. The first was that the cast did not look the same way they had in the '60s. This was addressed head on. The second issue was the fact that Leonard Nimoy agreed to return on one condition.
Spock had to die.