Several scenes shot for Star Trek: The Motion Picture never made it into the theatrical release of the film.
After Kirk leaves the bridge for his confrontation with Decker, there is a brief scene involving Uhura, Sulu and an alien ensign played by Billy Van Zandt. When Van Zandt’s character questions Kirk’s takeover, Uhura says, “Our chances of coming back from this mission in one piece may have just doubled.”
The scene is restored in the Special Longer Version from 1983 (not to be confused with the 2001 Director’s Edition).
Scenes with Ilia
When Uhura first hears that Lieutenant Ilia is Deltan, she expresses surprise, leading Kirk to respond that the Deltans are so good at their job that “there are no finer navigators in Starfleet, commander.”
Ilia was the source of other comments, some of which are included in the Special Longer Version.
Sulu, upon being told by Decker to “take Lieutenant Ilia in hand,” acts like a schoolboy attempting to show Ilia the navigation console (with which she is quite familiar). This was meant to demonstrate the effect Deltan women have on human men.
When Decker questions his Deltan friend, she responds by assuring him that she “would never take advantage of a sexually immature species.” This exchange is present in the 1983 version.
McCoy beams aboard
Restored in The Director’s Edition is McCoy’s full entrance, including an unnamed yeoman’s observation that “he insisted we go first, sir. Said something about first seeing how it scrambled our molecules.”
The original plan was to beam McCoy up while carrying a riding crop, indicating that he had been snatched by some Federation transporter without a moment’s notice.
Just after McCoy’s line about how engineers love to change things, in an unrestored cut, Kirk gazes after the retreating doctor, goes to the wall intercom and announces, “All decks, this is the captain. Prepare for immediate departure.” Had this scene remained as it was, it would have reduced the risk of McCoy’s line being cut, as it accidentally was in many prints of the film.
Also present in the longer version is Ilia’s concern after Kirk summons Decker to his cabin. As Sulu introduces new figures into his console, he must gently remind Ilia to listen to him. After he finishes speaking, Ilia again stares at the door, which leads neatly into the scene in Kirk’s quarters.
Some cuts were made to improve McCoy’s disposition. For example, after Spock comes aboard the Enterprise and is welcomed by Kirk, McCoy observes, “Never look a gift Vulcan in the ears, Jim.”
Spock must have known what attitude to expect from his old friend because, before the exchange in the officers’ lounge, he asks Kirk, “Sir, I would appreciate Dr McCoy absenting himself from this interview.” Remaining at the conversation, McCoy causes Spock to show a certain irritation, at which point McCoy seriously observes, “If you achieve perfect logic, Spock, you’ll pay a price. It’s given your planet ten thousand years of peace but no poetry’s been written since then, no music.” This comment causes Spock to turn menacingly toward McCoy, until Kirk calls a halt to the situation.
We learn more about Ilia in a sequence restored in The Director’s Edition.
After Chekov is injured by V’Ger’s energy blast, Ilia is able to provide instant relief by touching him. Arriving on the scene with a medical technician, Dr Chapel and Ilia exchange friendly glances.
Another casuality of V’Ger’s invading energy probes was not so lucky. When the blinding light probe materializes on the bridge, two security men advance on it with phasers drawn. Before Chekov can warn them not to fire, the first man does. In retaliation, the probe envelopes him in a purple glow. The man vanishes, causing the second guard to holster his weapon. This sequence has never been revealed.
After Spock’s spacewalk, the Vulcan describes what he has learned, calling V’Ger “a human machine.” McCoy comments, “We’re living machines too: protein mechanisms,” and when Kirk observes that V’Ger is trying to find its creator, McCoy asks, “Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do? All us machines?”
The comparison between man and machine would lead to a scene in engineering, where Decker is taking the Ilia probe on a tour. They listen to a message from Kirk:
This is the captain speaking. It appears that the alien ship, V’Ger, is not a manned vessel. It is a living entity, a machine life form. We are attempting to ascertain its intentions. All personnel will maintain yellow alert status.
Scotty is hostile to “Ilia” throughout this sequence, at one point saying, “Lassie, if I were functioning logically right not, I’d be showing you the inside of our metal scrape compactor.”
In a scene that was restored in both the 1983 and 2001 version, Kirk orders Scotty to implement a “self-destruct”.
In a discussion with a female engineer, Scotty reveals that a matter/antimatter explosion would destroy V’Ger along with the Enterprise.
In a sequence partially restored to the longer version, Spock sheds tears for V’Ger. Still missing, though, is Spock’s regret that although he has found part of what he was looking for, V’Ger “has not… and now, because of what we are planning, will not.” It is this statement that causes Kirk to cancel the self-destruct, telling Scotty, “We’re holding off. There may be a chance” (to save Earth, V’Ger and the Enteprise).
Kirk’s original statement at the end, when reporting the “missing status” of Decker and Ilia, included mention of “Security Officer Phillips,” who was vaporized in the sequence discussed earlier.
There were three versions of the movie’s ending. First, the one that’s in the film. Second, one in which Spock has the final line: “A most logical choice, captain,” responding to Kirk’s course heading “Out there… that way.” Third is a take in which Spock jokes about his need to remain on the Enterprise in order to protect the ship from its erratic, human crew.