The Reel Thing - What Wasn’t Made So

By John Reeves (cry0genic)

Last month, brought to you the first in a two-part exclusive - What Wasn’t Made So: Part 1, an article that featured extensive descriptions and still images of footage removed from Star Trek: Generations. Shortly after the release of the article, it became clear that the footage we had reported on was not the only footage Generations had been deprived of, nor had it gone unseen by all of our readers. It is for this very reason that the addendum you are now reading exists, and that we are able to provide the Star Trek community with something that to many, is unique.

Just days after the article’s publication, Section 31 webmaster Tim Hansen was contacted by Sean Stephenson, a fellow webmaster (owner of Not only did Sean claim to have seen the cut footage, but that he could provide Tim with the means to see it also. Intrigued by the proposal, Tim gladly accepted Sean’s offer and soon found himself the owner of an incredibly rare (albeit, poor quality) videotape. Held within the tape was something few people had ever seen - an early cut of Star Trek: Generations, complete with numerous scenes that had later been either partially or completely removed from the movie prior to its release.

When Part 1 of the article was originally created, we were unable to provide any video footage - but now, all that has changed. Six and a half years after the film’s original theatrical release, and for the first time ever, and the LCARSCom.Net is proud to present the cut footage of Star Trek: Generations! Included within this special addendum to Part 1 is a total of 27 individual video clips, spanning over 200Mb of data and comprising 19 distinct pieces of cut footage.

At long last, you have the chance to see the unseen and can now decide for yourself on whether or not the decisions made to remove the footage were justified! In many cases, we’d say that they were. Much of the footage on offer is fairly trivial at best and it is clear that those who edited Generations did a fine job. Nevertheless, we stand by our original call for at least some of the deleted footage to be placed onto DVD. After downloading the clips, we hope you’ll agree that the footage worth being given the proper digital treatment is Kirk’s Orbital Skydive (gencuts-1), Geordi’s full-length torture (gencuts-8) and the notorious alternate ending (gencuts-17). Fittingly, these three pieces of cut footage are ideal for inclusion on DVD because they cover the full spread of the film. The orbital skydiving occurs at the very beginning, Geordi’s interrogation is roughly in the middle, and of course, the ending, is well, at the end.

Paramount’s Star Trek DVDs contain film transfers of truly exceptional picture and sound quality; how wonderful it would be were the discs to be complemented with cut footage too. Valuable material cut from Generations need not be interposed with the original film - as a matter of fact, it would be far better suited to a ‘Special Feature’ all of its own. This would totally circumvent any disruption to the existing version of the film and would allow each cut segment to be accompanied with its own commentary, relaying to the viewer exactly why it was removed in the first place.

A great opportunity presents itself for extensive discussion with the alternate endings. Lengthy comparisons could be drawn between the two, elaborate production notes could tell of how the improvements for the revised ending were conceived, and insight could be offered into how the many technical challenges that arose during hurried filming were overcome. In short, the two finales are crying out for attention, and commentary of some sort (particularly, audio-based) would fit the bill nicely. Annotations could also be provided for the Orbital Skydiving and Geordi’s torture footage, albeit in a less copious manner.

We must, in this paragraph, pass a few words your way as to the quality of the video you are about to watch. Almost every defect imaginable was present in both the picture and sound of the VHS tape used to produce the following clips. Despite the high levels of digital manipulation computer users now wield, they cannot perform miracles. Likewise, there was only so much that we could do to enhance video material originating from a tape of such poor quality. Please bare this in mind at all times when watching the clips we have available. It will help to explain many things, such as why the uniform tops of Starfleet officers often appear gray and not red, blue or yellow; why certain scenes are so dark you can see virtually nothing, and why the heads of many characters periodically flicker around the screen (amongst many other things).

Also serving, to a lesser extent, to detract from the cinematic feel of the video is the actual content. The footage is marked "6-22-94", at which point, visual effects had yet to be generated, music had yet to be scored, and sound effects, if present at all, were only makeshift. In one sense, the sheer rawness of the video makes it quite alluring, yet in many other ways, it serves only to hamper your enjoyment of the film, and easily clouds your judgment as to the value of the footage that you are watching. But in spite of all of this, we stuck rigidly to the adage "something is better than nothing", and that is why we are offering what we are.

Technical Notice:

In order to minimize further quality loss during the digital compression stage, we saw fit to encode all clips in accordance with the DivX format. Your computer must therefore have the DivX CODEC installed if you wish to playback these clips. Should you need to obtain a copy of the DivX CODEC, simply click HERE. Because DivX movies place heavy demands on computer hardware that may result in turbulent playback on older systems, we have encoded all clips to 320x240 @ 15fps to somewhat alleviate system workload.

Gencuts-1: Orbital Skydiving

Link: (17.1 Mb)

Synopsis: A mysterious skydiver plummets through Earth’s atmosphere at an incredible speed, while another mysterious traveler tumbles infinitely through the silent ocean of space. As the scene quickly unfolds, the skydiver lands in a wheat field and is revealed to be James T. Kirk, and shortly after, the traveler in space is revealed to be a manmade object – a vintage bottle of champagne. Having completed a dangerous orbital skydive, Kirk is invigorated and clearly intent on performing another, but Chekov and Scotty are quick to remind him of another commitment. As far as he’s concerned, however, Kirk will not be honoring the engagement of which his friends speak, and as he states this, the champagne bottle smashes abruptly against the hull of a magnificent vessel.

Notes: The Orbital Skydiving scene unfolds very much as someone who has read the novel would expect. There are, however, several discrepancies that are of interest to note. Scotty’s dry remark of “Repelling the Crystalline Trench…” seems to have gone astray, as does the issue of Kirk’s back pain (a seemingly minor, yet actually significant point which, according to the novel, re-surfaces in the finale, much to Kirk’s peril). Chekov also reminds Kirk that they are to attend the Christening ceremony of the Enterprise-B a little more colorfully than in the novel: “Perhaps you have forgotten that tomorrow, we are to smile for the holographic recorders?”

Gencuts-2: “Just a quick run around the block”

Link: (7.3 Mb)

Synopsis: After having escaped the Nexus and inspected the deck that Kirk was known to have been working in, Scotty, Chekov and Harriman stand solemnly on the Enterprise Bridge. Demora conducts a futile scan of the surrounding area of space which only serves to make the truth hurt more – Kirk has been lost, having played the hero one last time in the 23rd century. “It wasn’t supposed to end like this” sobs Chekov, at which point Scotty offers consolation by reminding him of a hard, yet re-assuring truth: “All things must end, lad”. Finally, the private moment shared by the two comrades is broken as Harriman softly says, “Let’s go home”.

Notes: As respectfully put together as this scene is, it still serves to reduce the impact of Kirk’s death by forcing the first act to continue beyond the point at which it should. The scene that precedes this – with Harriman, Chekov and Scotty staring blankly into the vastness of space – carries much more impact than any footage that followed it would ever have been able to accomplish.

Technically speaking, this footage typifies the nature of the early cut of the film. Not only does it clearly show a blue screen shot of the Enterprise in its very last frames, but throughout the main scene, the ambient sound used for the Enterprise-D (not B) Bridge is played in the background.

Gencuts-3: Can Klingons swim?

Link: (2.9 Mb)

Synopsis: As Worf passes within earshot of them during his promotion ceremony, preparing to attempt his challenge, Crusher and Geordi teasingly muse over whether or not the holodeck safety program is engaged.

Gencuts-4: Data and Crusher Go Overboard

Link: Links: (13.6 Mb)

Synopsis: After Data shockingly pushes Crusher over the edge of the ship and into the freezing water below, Geordi tells him, rather exasperatedly, that it was a very unfunny thing to do. Worf and Crusher soon climb back on deck, and neither look entirely amused at having being victims of ‘mistakes’ made by Riker and Data.

Gencuts-5: “I hate this!”

Link: (6 Mb)

Synopsis: Having sampled a “revolting” drink with his newly-installed emotion chip, Data promptly orders more from Guinan, at which point Geordi toasts his glass with Data’s and they both take swigs.

Notes: The footage here is almost entirely uncut, with only the remaining five seconds or so actually constituting deleted material. As short as it is, the last five seconds of cut footage actually spoils the joke by playing the level of humor to access. Once again, the film’s editors made a good call here.

Gencuts-6: Emotional Overload

Link: (9.4 Mb)

Synopsis: On board the Amargosa Observatory, Geordi can only stand and watch as Data experiences a seizure, the result of an overload in his positronic brain. In the short space of a minute. Data experiences a surge of emotions, ranging from anger to pleasure and back again.

Notes: In addition to being unnecessarily drawn out, it should be clear as to why this footage was removed. As Data’s body language, facial contortions and vocal exertions change from anger to pleasure, this scene carries with it sexual overtones. Regardless of whether this scene intends to be sexually suggestive in any way, it certainly appears to be, and that is all that matters. The exploration of sensuality should be keenly avoided in a Star Trek film holding such a low film certificate. Yet another wise call by the editors.

Gencuts-7: “Guess who else was onboard?”

Link: (13.7 Mb)

Synopsis: Upon entry of a Klingon officer who has dragged an unconscious Geordi onto the Bird-of-Prey’s Bridge and is asking what should be done with the prisoner, Soran rises from the command chair in an instant. He then exits the Bridge with a determined pace, about to place Picard’s chief engineer through a terrible ordeal. Back on the Enterprise, Riker and Worf discuss the situation that has unfolded since arriving at Amargosa, but find themselves unable to formulate any theories as to Soran’s agenda. When they enter Sickbay, they discover Data sitting upright on a bio-bed, scanning himself. Crusher reports that Data’s emotion chip has been fused into his neural net, and then shows Riker some very interesting information she has gathered about Soran…

Gencuts-8: Heart-Stopping Moments

Links: (8.5 Mb), (9.5 Mb), (6.3 Mb)

Synopsis: A prisoner of Soran, Geordi must endure an interrogation while lying in restraints and missing his VISOR. When questioning alone fails, Soran uses a sadistic incentive to try and change LaForge’s responses. Unfortunately for Geordi, the questions Soran puts to him are genuinely perplexing, and although Geordi answers them as best he can, Soran is displeased. “My instincts tell me you’re lying, and I know that can’t be easy for you. I can see you have a good heart” he callously chuckles. The next instant, Soran stops Geordi’s heart with the aid of a Borg nanoprobe. Geordi exhibits a clear reaction to this by crying out in pain, but once is not enough for Soran, and so he uses the nanoprobe for a second time as the scene ends.

Gencuts-9: Bath Time

Link: (2.4 Mb)

Synopsis: Having carried out a “prisoner exchange” and allowed Geordi to return to the Enterprise, the Duras sisters endure further pains while using their gift from Soran - “Geordi-O-Vision”. Since being released healthily from the Enterprise’s Sickbay, Geordi has now entered his quarters to take a well-deserved bath, much to the frustration and disgust of Lursa and B’Etor.

Notes: As if this scene weren’t trivial enough in its finalized state (even though it is quite funny), it is made to look pathetic here because of the primitive nature of the video content. Since this scene is almost entirely dependent on blue screen photography, it is reduced to near-complete irrelevancy by lacking the composite of the very thing that causes the humor – Geordi taking a bath! In short, Lursa and B’Etor are seen here scowling at a blue screen. Hmm… then again, maybe that is slightly humorous in its own right!

Gencuts-10: Moving Out

Link: (2.5 Mb)

Synopsis: With everyone forced to evacuate the Enterprise-D’s engineering section and make their way to the saucer section, this short scene focuses on the quick removal of patients from Sickbay, led by Dr Crusher.

Gencuts-11: Taking Cover

Link: (7.4 Mb)

Synopsis: In an abandoned crew quarters, Geordi and Porter construct makeshift tents to safeguard the children from pieces of shrapnel and jolting forces that will occur during the saucer section’s crash landing. Meanwhile, Crusher and her medical staff use another set of abandoned quarters to offload patients that they have carried through the corridors. In a research lab, two other crewmembers quickly gather up plant samples, removing them from a precarious shelving unit and placing them on the floor, out of harm’s way.

Gencuts-12: Hanging On

Link: (2.4 Mb)

Synopsis: With the Saucer Section only moments away from collision with the surface of Veridian III, huddled crewmembers brace themselves for the inevitable.

Gencuts-13: Impact

Link: (3.5 Mb)

Synopsis: As the Saucer Section strikes the rocky surface of Veridian III, those onboard are thrown violently and surrounding equipment explodes, showering sparks and debris on people nearby. The final surface impact hurls everyone on the Bridge out of their chairs and pins them to the floor, face-down.

Gencuts-14: All Shook Up

Link: (6 Mb)

Synopsis: Although the Saucer Section has now landed, the ordeal for those onboard is not yet over. As it travels along the ground, the saucer section’s movements are slowed by uneven terrain and dense foliage, causing those inside to be shaken relentlessly. Those on the Bridge struggle to their feet and resume their command positions. Worf grabs hold of what little remains of a side panel to steady himself, and then throws a flash light to Data, who immediately scouts the floor for injured crewmen. Finally, Worf, Riker and Troi sit anxiously in their seats, waiting for the Saucer Section to halt its advance once and for all.

Gencuts-15: Arrival in Paradise

Links: (8.5 Mb), (10 Mb)

Synopsis: A disoriented Picard has his blindfold removed, only to open his eyes to the most dumbfounding of sights. For some wonderfully unknown reason, Picard sees in front of him his perfect dream – a family. Although filled with joy beyond words, Picard can only outwardly expression confusion, as he stares back at the faces of five enthralled children with the blankest of expressions. When Picard hears the woman standing next to him speak – a woman he knows to be his wife – he gasps momentarily, then finds himself lost for words. Finally, after one of his children tells him to say “Merry Christmas”, he manages to do so, stunned beyond belief.

Notes: Every single piece of footage that focuses on Picard’s dream in the Nexus has an enchanting, deeply intimate quality to it, in which we get to see Picard as never before. For this reason, I would personally have liked the editors to have kept this piece in, regardless of how trivial others may perceive it.

Gencuts-16: “Sounds like fun!”

Link: gencuts-16 (12.5 Mb)

Synopsis: Having persisted in trying to convince Kirk to leave the Nexus and help him, Picard finally manages to draw from Kirk the realization that the Nexus is a false paradise, and that nothing he does truly matters. Knowing how important it is to make a difference, Kirk warns Picard against retirement from Starfleet. Then, upon hearing of the virtual impossibility of the mission Picard wishes for him to undertake, Kirk reflects upon what Spock would think of him for accepting, before finally deciding to join Picard and play the hero one last time.

Notes: This “turn-around” scene is perhaps one of the best written in all of Generations, yet in this cut footage, it comes across slightly differently – and slightly weaker – than in the final cut of the film. Kirk’s throwaway reference to Orbital Skydiving does not work as well as his sorrowful admission to having left an “empty chair” on the Bridge of the Enterprise in the final cut. Similarly, Picard inappropriately shouts, “Come back with me”, in an aggressive tone here, rather than in the impassioned tone he uses in the final cut. There are several other differences here, none of which work as well as the version shown in the actual film. The careful editing must once again receive praise for the eradication of these weaknesses.

Gencuts-17: Showdown at High Noon

Links: (8.7 Mb), (9.6 Mb), (11.8 Mb), (11.4 Mb), (7.8 Mb), (15.3 Mb)

Synopsis: Picard once again faces Soran, but this time, he has improved the odds by bringing along a guest star – Kirk. As Soran walks passively along the bridge, he stares up at the last moment to see the confident figure of Kirk blocking his path. A lengthy scuffle ensues as Kirk and Soran employ hand-to-hand combat in a bid to subdue one another. Meanwhile. Picard works frantically on the launch pad’s control panel, in a desperate attempt to somehow re-program the missile’s path. As Kirk and Soran continue their fight, Soran pounds Kirk to such a degree that the captain falls into a semi-conscious state and falls over the edge of a cliff. Fortunately, Kirk manages to grapple a rope and just manages to stop himself from falling completely to the ground.

Soran looks apathetically over the cliff edge, and leaves Kirk to his own devices, unaware that he has survived the drop. Exhausted, Soran slumps into a sitting position, and takes a rest – megalomaniac or not, fighting is hard work for a three hundred year old! After endless button presses that have amounted to little more than nothing, Picard finally manages to do something significant. Unfortunately, it is to cloak the launch pad, rendering the control panel invisible. Picard is now helpless, and Kirk – the one person who could maybe turn things in Picard’s favor – is nowhere in sight.

After checking his pocket watch and realizing that time is running short, Soran gets to his feet and walks across the bridge. Glancing over to check on the launch pad, he finds it missing, with Picard standing helplessly in mid-air in its place. As Soran’s attention is distracted by this peculiar sight, he fails to notice that Kirk - having scaled the cliff he had fallen over - has crept up behind him. As he turns around, Soran is struck in the face by Kirk’s heavy arms and is thrown to the ground. Now with the upper hand, Kirk complies with Picard’s request by retrieving Soran’s control PADD and de-cloaking the launcher. “The 24th century isn’t so tough” proclaims Kirk, just moments before he cries out in agony – the target of a lethal disruptor shot, fired by none other than Soran.

Suddenly, the missile fires into the air, and Soran can only hope that Picard has not meddled with its flight path. Seconds later, Soran discovers that Picard has – evidenced by the fact that the missile suddenly veers off course, exploding in the distance, not even having left the planet it was fired from. But for now, vengeance is the last thing on Soran’s mind as he races to the highest platform and tries to reach the distant Nexus with his own arms. When Soran finally realizes that his attempts are pointless, he lunges for Picard who has taken up Soran’s dropped weapon. Picard fires, hitting Soran squarely in the chest, and knocking him to the ground, dead. With his mission accomplished and millions saved, Picard tends to the man who made it all possible. But as quickly as he entered the 24th century, Captain James T. Kirk is about to leave it. With a final gasp, and having made a difference one last time, Kirk dies.

Notes: This finale, as exciting as it may look on paper, leaves a lot to be desired on film. Unfortunately, the footage we have makes the climax to Generations look ten times as pathetic as it probably ended up being to those who saw the finished product. Sorely in need of proper sound effects, CG imagery and most of all, musical scoring, the footage we have is crude at best. Based on the footage we have, it is unfair to make a proper judgment as to the real cinematic quality of this ending, but we must say…

However much the original ending pales in comparison to the final one, and however understandably reluctant the powers that be are to draw attention to their shortcomings, the original ending sequence needs to be shown in its full glory rather than continually swept under the carpet. Showing fans the original sequence – as sedate as it is – should only make them more appreciative of what did finally make it to cinemas. Like it or lump it, the original ending is now an important part of Trek film history, and for better or worse, needs to be revealed (and by ‘revealed’, we mean properly revealed, as in showing the finished print).

Gencuts-18: “Problem with the Klingons?”

Link: (5.8 Mb)

Synopsis: Having buried Kirk and paid his final respects, Picard makes his way to an Enterprise shuttlecraft from which steps Worf and Geordi. Geordi inquires as to Soran’s whereabouts, but Picard assures him that the threat is over. Picard sees that all is not as it should be and asks “Was there a problem with the Klingons?” All Geordi can offer is a very understated reply, “You could say that!”, and then all three climb aboard the shuttle, heading back to the smoldering remnants of Starfleet’s flagship.

Gencuts-19: ‘Stretched’ to the Limit

Link: (3.95 Mb)

Synopsis: Fatigued after treating in excess of two hundred patients in under two days, Crusher remarks to Nurse Ogawa that she could do with her own stretcher.


Thanks to everyone who provided me with feedback to the original article, “What Wasn’t Made So, Part 1”. In particular, thanks to Dan Wueste for giving me extensive information on cut footage.

Massive thanks to Sean Stephenson; without his generous contribution, none of this would have been possible.

Special thanks, once again, and as always, to Tim Hansen. I think I pushed his patience to the limit, yet he was always willing to entertain what I had to say, no matter how pedantic and downright frustrating I now know I was.

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