Victor Garber Reflects on J.J. Abrams Turning Down Klingon Role in 2009’s Star Trek

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J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” films had several loaded actors, and as a result, some scenes featuring famous actors remained on the editing room floor. Legendary actor Victor Garber is one of those who were unlucky, as the former “Spy” actor was asked to play a Klingon in the film. Now, years later, the beloved star has shared her thoughts about removing her role.

I had the pleasure of talking to Victor Garber about Orville: New Horizons, and seeing his character, Admiral Halsey, go head-to-head with the krill race reminded me of his deleted scene as a Klingon investigator in 2009’s Star Trek. I asked Garber if his former Alias boss, J. Abrams, disappoints, clean up the scene, especially since he had to put on all the prosthetics necessary for the role of a Klingon. Answering, the actor was honest:

Well, it didn’t ruin my relationship with JJ. [Abrams], but pretty close [laughs]. No, it was something where he said, “I have a funny idea,” and whenever any director tells you that, [you go]: “Entertainment for whom exactly,” and then I had to learn Klingon.

The scene, which can be found on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of the movie “Star Trek”, shows the Romulan villain from the movie Nero on a Klingon prison planet. The scene eventually explained what happened after the madman destroyed the USS Kelvin, and shed light on why so much time had passed between his attack and his return. (Anyone who feels lost can refresh their memory of the plot of the time travel movie.) Viewers also see Victor Garber’s Klingon using the Centauri bullet that Nero later used in Captain Pike.

But eventually the scene was shortened in time, and “Star Trek 2009” was released without Victor Garber and other Klingons. Garber talked more about the role and revealed that he would “never” do it again after this experience:

I was disappointed because it would have been fun to be a part of it and it was hard work. And learning Klingon was something I would never, ever do again. it wasn’t fun. It was a labor of love because I would do anything, JJ. asked.

Hey, playing a Klingon isn’t for everyone, and Victor Garber won’t be the first actor not to enjoy the experience. (Even Michael Dorn wasn’t a fan of transformation.) Nevertheless, it’s sad to realize that the world missed the performance, and it’s wild to think how the film could have changed with the remaining Klingon scene.

Back in 2009, J.J. Abrams spoke to Gizmodo about this scene and shared why he had to cut it from the film. Abrams, who sounded rather contrite, shared some of the other difficulties Victor Garber went through during his scenes:

It’s one of those things I hated cutting out for a number of reasons. One of them was that I liked the design, I love the world, I love history — at that moment it was really cool, and I’m glad that people will see this scene. But also Victor Garber, one of my favorite actors, played a Klingon in the film. [He] had a ton of makeup, a very heavy, hot suit, [which] we took off with him. And I had to call and tell him that his scene is not in the movie and a huge consolation for me was that it will live forever on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Those with a Paramount+ subscription won’t be able to see the scene if they stream Star Trek on the service, although anyone with a physical copy (or access to YouTube) can. If you are someone who loves the movie and wants to get an additional context of Nero’s motives, then you will definitely want to watch it. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to look at the always delightful Victor Garber.

It’s a great time to become a fan of this franchise, as there are many exciting Star Trek shows ahead. And all of them will be broadcast until the end of 2022 and beyond. A new feature film is also on the way, and judging by the latest update of the fourth film in the franchise, it looks like this movie will actually be released in theaters!