Jan. 29, 2023

Eddie Murphy On Why He Turned Down ‘Star Trek IV’: He Wasn’t Interested In “Talking Jive To Spock”

Eddie Murphy On Why He Turned Down ‘Star Trek IV’: He Wasn’t Interested In “Talking Jive To Spock”


As Paramount Pictures was developing its fourth Star Trek feature film, the studio pursued the idea of bringing in their biggest star at the time, Eddie Murphy. The former SNL star was just coming off his hit movie Beverly Hills Cop, the top-grossing movie of 1984. In a new talk show appearance, Murphy offered some more insight into why he eventually turned down the chance to be in Star Trek, despite being a fan.

Why Star Trek IV didn’t have Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy, who considers himself a Trekkie, was initially interested in appearing in the Star Trek movie, meeting with producer Harve Bennett and director Leonard Nimoy early on as the project was being developed. Drafts of a script were then written, featuring a character written specifically for Murphy.

In previous comments about why he eventually walked away, Murphy said it was because of the opportunity to make the film The Golden Child, which he thought at the time would be better for his career. However, in an appearance this week on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Murphy offered a different explanation. When asked about his brush with Trek, Murphy said:

Yeah, you know which one it was, it was the one where they go to San Francisco and they get the whales… I was going to be the one that they met when they got to San Francisco, and I was like, “No, I want to go and beam up and be on the ship,” so I didn’t do it.

Kimmel supported this idea, saying “You have to be on the Enterprise for Star Trek,” to which Murphy said:

Yeah, they had me like talking jive to Spock.

Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop

In the early drafts written by Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes, Murphy was to play a college professor who believed in aliens and ended up encountering the Enterprise crew. After he dropped out, Murphy’s character was combined with a couple of others— including a marine biologist Dr.  Gillian Taylor, played by Catherine Hicks.

Catherine Hicks (R) as Dr. Gillian Taylor in Star Trek IV

In the end, Star Trek IV performed well without Murphy, coming in at #7 at the box office for 1986 and making almost twice as much as The Golden Child. Later, Murphy said of his decision (via The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek)”I think I might have been better off doing Star Trek IV.” Murphy bounced back, of course, making more successful movies for Paramount. In fact, Murphy recently shot his fourth Beverly Hills Cop movie, which comes out on Netflix later this year.