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In 2001, director Robert Wise returned to the Star Trek universe to supervise a new director's cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the franchise's first-ever voyage to the big screen back in 1979. That director's cut, featuring upgraded visual effects shots, made it to a DVD release, but in the age of streaming and ultra-HD, fans were still waiting for another makeover. Now it's here, and it's coming to streaming in a matter of day.
Paramount+ released a trailer for Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Director's Edition Thursday morning, revealing plans to release a new ultra-HD restoration of Wise's preferred cut of the film on the streaming service early next month. Like the original director's cut, the film will feature Wise's new treatment of the Motion Picture footage and the updated visual effects, but this time with a 4K restoration taken from the original negative and supervised by producer David C. Fein (who worked on the director's cut with Wise) and restorationist Mike Matessino. Wise passed away in 2005 after a storied career that also included classics like The Haunting and West Side Story, but his updated vision of Star Trek will live on in this new version.
Check out the trailer, featuring some rather impressive comparison shots between the 2001 and the 2022 versions below.
“I couldn’t be prouder and more thrilled to have completed the film in 4K,” Fein told The Hollywood Reporter. “Paramount offered unprecedented access to the original elements and exceptional support, and the results are stunning. Utilizing the latest discoveries and innovations of modern film production, the Director’s Edition delivers so much more today than was previously possible. It’s an adventure you’ll never forget!”
Released after years of reruns and an animated series had kept Star Trek alive in the minds of fans, The Motion Picture was not a critical success and would be eclipsed in the popular imagination by later sequels, but the film still managed to revitalize live-action Star Trek for a new audience at the edge of a new decade. It launched a new series of films starring the Original Series cast that would continue for more than a decade, and eventually paved the way for beloved TV follow-ups like Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Director's Edition will arrive on Paramount+ April 5.