Now, the weird, wild world of Hollywood casting has always been a space in which strange and unexpected things can happen — Donald Trump was in Home Alone 2, for crying out loud — but many of the most deeply peculiar casting decisions didn't ultimately make it onto the big screen. Nic Cage almost played Superman, for instance, while Al Pacino turned down the role of Han Solo — and, of course, O.J. Simpson infamously almost played The Terminator. Somewhere out there in the multiverse, there's a world in which all three of those things actually happened, and things got weird.
As it turns out, though, there might just be an even stranger "near miss" hiding out there. Y'see...
Eddie Murphy Almost Played The Romantic Lead In 'Star Trek IV'
While the final movie saw Kirk and co. saving Earth by kidnapping some whales, breaking into an aircraft carrier and romancing a marine biologist (admittedly, that last part was all Kirk), though, it seems that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was almost a very different movie. As one of the writers who worked on the film, Steve Meerson, recently revealed during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
"It was always the same story that got approved, but the original draft included a part for Eddie Murphy... Eddie was on the lot at Paramount at the time and arguably was the biggest star in the world. They had told us he was a huge Star Trek fan."
Indeed, Murphy was set to take on a key role in the film, playing a Berkeley-based astrophysicist who helped out the crew. What's more, with the original plot not featuring marine biologist (and Kirk love interest) Dr. Gillian Taylor, his role was essentially set to be that of the film's eventual romantic lead — only presumably with less actual romance involved.
Why Didn't We See Eddie Murphy In The Final Film, Then?
Well, sadly (or happily, depending on your thoughts regarding an Eddie Murphy-starring #StarTrek movie), the deal to bring Murphy on board fell through, and the role was retooled to fit Catherine Hicks's Dr. Taylor. And, so, the tale fell into legend, and we never did get the chance to see Eddie Murphy — at his mid-80's creative peak, no less — share the screen with Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew.
Which, while a shame, may well have been for the best. After all, if Murphy had been busy making Star Trek IV, he might not have had time to make his own contribution to 1986's place in cinematic history, The Golden Child. Which... actually, y'know what? It's possible we'd have been better off with him playing the astrophysicist.
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In the meantime, what do you think? Would Eddie Murphy have improved Star Trek IV, or would he have ruined an otherwise perfectly good story of time traveling whales? Let us know below!