You’d think being in Star Trek would be the opportunity of a lifetime for any actor. Certainly for most, it has been, yet Sean Connery had the chance and wound up turning it down, although not because he didn’t fancy some spacefaring.
Many legends have passed through Star Trek. If you’re familiar with the Star Trek movies in order and the various Star Trek series, you’ll know it’s a list a quadrant long. In the run-up to Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier, director William Shatner and his producers wanted famed James Bond actor Sean Connery.
Connery was offered the role of Sybok, Spock’s half-brother and a Vulcan evangelist who uncovers evil while searching for God. Per Shatner’s book, Star Trek Movie Memories, the former 007 was away doing a little new movie called Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and had to bow out of getting his Vulcan ears done.
There’s still some residual influence from Connery in the film, though: Sha Ka Ree, the Vulcan version of paradise, was named for him. If you say it right, it sounds like an abbreviated version of Sean Connery. Like, Sha-Ka-Ree, as if all the n-sounds were removed from his name. Try it, honestly!
Anyway, unfortunately, Connery couldn’t take his express ride to space sainthood, so Laurence Luckinbill got the part instead. A character actor, legend has it that Shatner discovered him by chance on TV in a performance of a one-man play based on Lyndon B Johnson. The Final Frontier would be Luckinbill’s last big screen role, and honestly, he went out on a high.
In the grand scheme of Star Trek movies, The Final Frontier isn’t the most beloved. In fact, a lot of fans would probably rate it quite low. Not me; I really enjoy something so philosophical and grand coming from Star Trek. The fact that Shatner directed something so Spock-centric fascinates me as well.
He and Leonard Nimoy had a truly fascinating dichotomy, and The Final Frontier taps into so much of their energy. Worth a watch if you haven’t yet! We have lists of the best science fiction movies and best movies for more gliding through the stars, and you can check out our guide on the Star Trek Legacy release date for more of what’s coming to the Enterprise. Or, explore another big sci-fi franchise with our guide to Avatar 3.