The Dumb Origin Behind ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Latest Cameo
This article contains SPOILERS for this week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds just took a major step towards making William Shatner feel a whole lot better about his artistic output in the year 1989. At the end of the most recent episode, Spock reveals his suspicion that a mysterious Vulcan prisoner is, in fact, his half-brother Sybok – AKA the guy who was the antagonist of Shatner’s craptastic Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and later … never ever mentioned again until now.
While we have yet to glimpse more than the back of Sybok’s dandruff-free head, the show is clearly teeing him up for a more prominent role in the series going forward. Which is kind of funny, considering that the character was created thanks to William Shatner’s goofy ‘80s obsession; according to Shatner, Sybok was inspired by these guys:
Prior to directing and co-writing Star Trek V, Shatner became “spellbound” by televangelists like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who he found “repulsive” and “strangely horrifying” yet still fascinating. So Shatner “twisted” these assorted real-life characters into his movie’s villain then named “Zar,” a “holy man driven by a genuine belief that God was speaking to him.”
Zar was eventually changed to Sybok, Spock’s half-brother, likely because Leonard Nimoy was annoyed that his character “served no story function in the script,” although this pretty major alteration to the series’ continuity reportedly “never sat well with fans or the production staff.” Also, Shatner’s idea to give Zar his own pet unicorn, was sanded down until Sybok merely had a painfully regular horse with a teeny tiny horn stuck on its head. #ReleaseTheUnicornCut.
Not to mention that the role was originally written for Sean Connery, hence why the mythical Vulcan realm they’re all searching for is called “Sha Ka Ree” – which Shatner admitted is a “bastardization” of Connery’s name. For some reason, even when Connery turned the part down, Shatner kept the name. Connery instead decided to make a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, rather than one directed by the dude from T.J. Hooker.
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Top Image: Paramount