Inside ‘Star Trek IV: The Famous Travel Home Bus Scene And The Real Life Inspiration Of Leonard Nimoy (Flashback)
Yes Star Trek IV: The Return Trip has a Friends Episode style nickname is “The One With The Whales”. But it’s a testament to the power of the film’s comedic moments that among Trekkies he’s also called “The Funny One” 35 years after his debut.
Speak with ET on The trip home‘s premiere in 1986, the late Leonard Nimoy, who died in 2015 at the age of 86, revealed that humor was no accident. Indeed, for his second outing as a director and actor after Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, it was a warrant.
“I said I wanted to have fun here,” Nimoy explained. “We said intentionally from the start. We want that tone to be lighter than those previous films. Noting the number of deaths in I-IIIs, including Mr Spock, Nimoy joked, “[The characters] had praise all the time.
A milestone in Nimoy’s initiative was a momentous incident as Spock and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) passed through San Francisco around 1986, or “the dark ages” according to Bones (DeForest Kelley). As they take the city bus, they are disturbed by a typical 80s punk playing loud music from a boombox. At first, Kirk applies his 23rd century manners and politely asks him to turn the volume down. But the “Punk on Bus” – the character’s official name in the credits – responds by flipping the bird to him and cranking the sound even higher. That’s when Spock turns to his people’s defense: the “Vulcan nerve pinch,” which renders the unruly passenger unconscious and cuts the music after he collapses on his radio.
As Nimoy told ET, the comedic moment was the filmmaker living out a personal fantasy following a similar interaction in his real life that later inspired the scene. “I was walking on Columbus Avenue in New York one day and I was suddenly struck by a wall of loud music,” he recalls, explaining that he then found out that the source was a man who had just walked past him. with a “gigantic” boombox. “I thought if I was Spock right now I would ‘pinch’ his brains out and that’s how it came into the movie. It really happened. He added: “I was touched by that noise and I thought, ‘I have to comment on this. “”
In addition to real-life inspiration, Nimoy employed his then-real-life assistant Kirk Thatcher to play “Punk on Bus” (he was also an associate producer for the film, in addition to co- write the song playing on the boombox). Thatcher went on to become a prolific screenwriter and director for several projects at the Jim Henson Company, including this year’s one. Haunted Mansion of the Muppets on Disney +. But ultimately, it would be the notoriety of his screen time of less than a minute that led to a fortuitous invitation to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, albeit briefly.
As Thatcher later found out, MCU overseer Kevin Feige is a huge fan of The trip home and, in particular, the Spock and Kirk bus scene. And sometimes that’s all it takes to end up in a Marvel movie, like the one from 2017. Spider-Man: Homecoming. As Thatcher explained to StarTrek.com at the time, not only did he film an appearance in the movie, but it comically – and very uncanonically – implied that he reprise his role from “Punk on Bus. “for a brief moment at first. in the movie (as seen below).
Thatcher explained to the outlet, “I had a meeting with the Marvel guys and Kevin Feige had to leave early to catch a plane to New York for the final days of filming and finish. Back home. I mentioned that I was also going to New York, only two days later. He got excited and asked me if I would be interested in making an appearance as a punk in Spider Man? I of course said ‘Of course!’ While the moment had lasted 30 years, Thatcher noted that “about 48 hours” passed between her initial invitation and the boombox returning to the set of a big-budget Marvel. movie.
Spock becoming a transit hero also stemmed from Nimoy’s wish to get Star Trek “out of the lot”, which for this franchise mainly concerns the backlot of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, where the majority of the original series and the first three films were shot. His goal culminated with him and veteran Star Trek writer Harve Bennett hatching a plot that in part weaved a deadly threat to Earth, time travel, a nod to global warming and the recovery of Vulcan after being raised from the dead in The search for Spock.
But the production eventually returned to Melrose Avenue to film. The trip homeParamount’s climate finale, which saw the crew crush their borrowed Klingon bird of prey in San Francisco Bay. Still, shooting this footage in a water tank adjacent to the parking lot was a bit more exciting than their regular soundstage production sets. “It was a lot of fun shooting that scene,” said Nimoy, whom he also jokingly referred to as his “Cecil B. DeMille moment” due to the wind, waves and smoke machines around the set which reminded us of the Hollywood ‘Golden Age’ productions.
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Despite the excitement, Nimoy said he faces additional challenges while doing duplication on set. “I had to go back and forth in a boat to get into the shot, then [another boat ride] to withdraw from the plan and look behind the cameras, ”he recalls.
Nimoy’s initial instincts paid off when The trip home released on November 26, 1986. The film grossed $ 130 million at the global box office and garnered several favorable reviews. He also won over a very important figure in the Trekkie community. “I saw the raw editing of [the movie] and I was very, very happy. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry told ET ahead of release. “I think this is the best of all Star Trek movies. Leonard Nimoy did a good job.
Looking at the canon over the next 35 years, it’s easy to see the film’s influence on the franchise’s TV shows and movies. Time travel turned out to be one of the Star Trekthe most fertile storytelling devices of, which The next generation taken advantage of almost 10 years later to the day. And his influence on the end of the comedy reverberated until Lower decks, which referred The trip homeThe pair of whales as one of the many Easter Eggs on the Mariner Plot Tactics Board in “Cupid’s Errant Arrow” (see below).
Looking beyond the humor and dynamic sets of the film, Nimoy believed in the magic behind The trip home could be attributed to his longtime collaborators. “I think each of them make an extremely valuable contribution to Star TrekNimoy said. “One of the most important things is this special group of people and the special chemistry that happens when we all come together.”
Star Trek IV: The Return Trip airs on Paramount +.
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