Star Trek: The Motion Picture is not remembered fondly by fans and critics alike. In fact, it's kind of a miracle that The Wrath of Khan was ever made to begin with when you look at just how poorly the film performed at the time. William Shatner spoke to Collider recently and shared just how that miracle happened below:
Yeah. So Star Trek: The Motion Picture was not well received because it was so rushed and didn’t have the final editing time. So to all intents and purposes, that was it. The reviews weren’t that great, business wasn’t that great, that was going to be the end of it.
The owner of Paramount Studios at that time whose name I can’t remember… his wife, so everybody said, “Okay, that’s it, we’ve done it. We’ve made a movie of Star Trek.” That guy’s wife said to her husband, “You’ve got to try again. It’s such a great series,” and she convinced him to bring in Harve Bennett who said, “I could make it for less,” and then he hired Nicholas Meyer, who had written a really great segment, and it was done much more efficiently, much more like a TV show. Smaller, contained, and when it opened, we were thinking, hoping, that it wouldn’t follow the same fate as the prior movie.
Ultimately, the gamble paid off and the film was a massive success with one of the most iconic scenes of all time coming from it:
Good thing someone was there to make them take a chance!