William Shatner as James T. Kirk
The former captain of the USS Enterprise and an Admiral at Starfleet headquarters.

When asked during a March 1978 press conference about what it would be like to reprise the role, Shatner said, "An actor brings to a role not only the concept of a character but his own basic personality, things that he is, and both Leonard Nimoy and myself have changed over the years, to a degree at any rate, and we will bring that degree of change inadvertently to the role we recreate."

Leonard Nimoy as Spock
The Enterprise's half-Vulcan, half-human science officer. Nimoy had been dissatisfied with unpaid royalties from Star Trek and did not intend to reprise the role, so Spock was left out of the screenplay.

Director Robert Wise, having been informed by his daughter and son-in-law that the film "would not be Star Trek" without Nimoy, sent Jeffrey Katzenberg to New York City to meet with Nimoy.

Katzenberg gave Nimoy a check to make up for his lost royalties, and the actor attended the March 1978 press conference with the rest of the returning cast. Nimoy was dissatisfied with the script, and his meeting with Katzenberg led to an agreement that the final script would need Nimoy's approval.

Despite the financial issues, Nimoy said he was comfortable with being identified as Spock because it had a positive impact on his fame.

DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy
The chief medical officer aboard the Enterprise. Kelley had reservations with the script, feeling that the characters and relationships from the series were not in place. Along with Shatner and Nimoy, Kelley lobbied for greater characterization, but their opinions were largely ignored.

James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
The Enterprise's chief engineer. Doohan created the distinctive Klingon vocabulary heard in the film. Linguist Marc Okrand later developed a fully realized Klingon language based on the actor's made-up words.

Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov
The Enterprise's weapons officer. Koenig noted that the expected sense of camaraderie and euphoria at being assembled for screen tests at the start of the picture was nonexistent.

"This may be Star Trek," he wrote, "but it isn't the old Star Trek." The actor was hopeful for the film, but admitted he was disappointed by his character's bit part.

Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
The communications officer aboard the Enterprise. Nichols noted in her autobiography that she was one of the actors most opposed to the new uniforms added for the film because the drab, unisex look "wasn't Uhura".

George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
The Enterprise's helmsman. In his autobiography, Takei described the film's shooting schedule as "astonishingly luxurious", but noted that frequent script rewrites during production "usually favored Shatner".

Persis Khambatta as Ilia
The Deltan navigator of the Enterprise. Khambatta was originally cast in the role when The Motion Picture was a television pilot. She took the role even after Roddenberry warned her that she would have to shave her head completely for filming.

Stephen Collins as Willard Decker
The new captain of the Enterprise. He is temporarily demoted to Commander and First Officer when Kirk takes command of the Enterprise. Collins was completely unfamiliar with the franchise, having never seen an episode of the series.

Kelley's dressing room was next to Collins', and the older actor became his mentor for the production. Given the preexisting television cast Collins' casting was the only one that director Wise participated in; he called Collins' performance "excellent—in a difficult role."

Other actors from the television series who returned included Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel, a doctor aboard the Enterprise, and Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand, formerly one of Kirk's yeomen.

David Gautreaux, who had been cast as Xon in the aborted second television series, cameos as Branch, the commander of the Epsilon 9 communications station.

Mark Lenard portrays the Klingon commander in the film's opening sequence; the actor also played Spock's father, Sarek, in the television series and in later feature films.

Excerpts and References:,

Detailed Plot & Screenshots

In Klingon space, three Klingon battle cruisers encounter a huge cloud-like anomaly. On the bridge of one of the ships, the captain (Mark Lenard) orders his crew to fire torpedoes at it, but they have no effect. The ships take evasive action.

Meanwhile, in Federation space, a monitoring station, Epsilon 9, picks up a distress signal from one of the Klingon ships. As the three ships are attempting to escape the cloud, energy beams shoot out and engulf each ship one by one, and they vanish. On Epsilon 9, the crew tracks the course of the cloud and discovers that it is headed for Earth.

On Vulcan, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has been undergoing the kohlinahr ritual, in which he has been learning how to purge all of his emotions, and is nearly finished with his training. A female Vulcan Master (Edna Glover), surrounded by two men, is about to give him an ornate necklace as a symbol of pure logic, when Spock holds out his hand to stop her.

Confused, she mind-melds with him and senses a consciousness calling to him from space that is affecting his human side. She drops the necklace. "You have not yet achieved kohlinahr. You must look elsewhere for your answer," she says as they leave Spock. "You will not find it here."

In San Francisco, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) arrives at Starfleet Headquarters in a shuttlecraft. He sees Commander Sonak (Jon Rashad Kamal), a Vulcan science officer who is joining the Enterprise crew and recommended for the position by Kirk himself. Kirk is bothered as to why Sonak is not on board yet.

Sonak explains that Captain Willard Decker (Stephen Collins), the new captain of the Enterprise, wanted him to complete his science briefing at Headquarters before they left on their mission. The Enterprise has been undergoing a complete "refitting" for the past 18 months and is now under final preparations to leave, which would take at least 20 hours, but Kirk informs him that they only have 12. He tells Sonak to report to him on the Enterprise in one hour; he has a short meeting with Admiral Nogura and is intent on being on the ship.

Kirk transports to an office complex orbiting Earth and meets Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), the Enterprise's chief engineer. Scotty expresses his concern about the tight departure time. The cloud is less than three days away from Earth, and the Enterprise has been ordered to intercept it because they are the only ship in range.

Scotty says that the refit can't be finished in 12 hours, and tries to convince him that the ship needs more work done as well as a shakedown cruise. Kirk insists that they are leaving, ready or not. They board a travel pod and begin the journey over to the drydock in orbit that houses the Enterprise.

Scotty tells Kirk that the crew hasn't had enough transition time with all the new equipment and that the engines haven't even been tested at warp power, not to mention that they have an untried captain. Kirk tells Scotty that two and a half years as Chief of Starfleet Operations may have made him a little stale, but that he wouldn't exactly consider himself untried.

Kirk then tells a surprised Scotty that Starfleet gave him back his command of the Enterprise. Scotty doubts it, saying that he doesn't think it was that easy with Admiral Nogura, who gave Kirk his orders. They arrive at the Enterprise, and Scotty indulges Kirk with a brief tour of the new exterior of the ship.

Upon docking with the ship, Scotty is summoned to Engineering. Kirk goes up to the bridge, and is informed by Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) that Starfleet has just transferred command from Captain Decker over to him. Kirk finds Decker in engineering, whom is visibly upset when Kirk breaks the news that he is assuming command, but recognizes it is because Kirk has more experience.

Decker will remain on the ship as 2nd officer. As Decker storms off, an alarm sounds. Someone is trying to beam over to the ship, but the transporter is malfunctioning. Kirk and Scotty race to the transporter room. Transporter operator Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) is frantically trying to tell Starfleet to abort the transport, but it is too late.

Commander Sonak and an unknown female officer are beaming in, but their bodies aren't re-forming properly in the beam. The female officer screams, and then their bodies disappear. Starfleet signals to them that they have died. Kirk tells Starfleet to express his sympathies to their families.

In the corridor, Kirk sees Decker and tells him they will have to replace Commander Sonak and wants another Vulcan. Decker tells him that no one is available that is familiar with the ship's new design. Kirk tells Decker he will have to double his duties as science officer as well.

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