There’s a point in the new Star Trek 50th Anniversary Blu-ray documentary where filmmaker Nicholas Meyer recalls how the success of his movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan prompted Paramount to offer him the directing job on the sequel. The beloved character of Spock of course was killed in Khan, so when Meyer was told the third film would be about the character’s return, the helmer opted out. “I’ve never understood resurrection,” he says.
Of course, Star Trek has long been about resurrection, at least from a behind the scenes perspective. The original 1960s show famously — and narrowly — avoided cancellation after its second year thanks to a letter-writing campaign by fans… before getting canned after three seasons anyway. It lived on in syndication in the decade that followed, taking a new form for a brief stint in animation even as creator Gene Roddenberry plotted to return Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Doctor McCoy and the rest to live-action one way or the other.