Deleted scenes have often been thought of as the holy-grail for fans of Star Trek. For decades we've been teased of their existence by the likes of Larry Nemecek's Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion and the original shooting scripts (available at TrekCore). It wasn't until last year's release of Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Two on Blu-ray that we finally got to see deleted scenes from TNG in the form of an extended cut of Melinda Snodgrass' "The Measure of a Man". The extended episode was carefully pieced back together by CBS using an old VHS tape belonging to Melinda as reference. At the same time, the team happened upon some lost footage from "The Icarus Factor" and "Up the Long Ladder" which was included on the Blu-ray release.
Last month TrekCore hit the jackpot and stumbled across an internet posting from Star Trek fan Cyril Paciullo who had in his possession a total of seven "workprint" copies of TNG episodes from Seasons 2-4 on VHS. These episodes featured numerous deleted scenes, and we're in the process of going through the episodes one-by-one to bring you full analysis and video of the extra footage (Check out the articles for "The Wounded" and "The Child" if you haven't already!) We immediately made CBS aware of the discoveries and while too late for Seasons Two and Three, we're told that some of the new footage will make it on to the release of Season Four this July. TrekCore also understands that CBS may considering releasing footage which was missed from earlier seasons on later sets (perhaps Seasons Six and Seven).
The discovery of these deleted scenes has caused quite a stir amongst fans, leading one of our readers to ask about their inclusion at the recent Wondercon Convention in Anaheim, California. TrekCore's Tom Bateman was there to catch the answer from Mike and Denise Okuda, Brannon Braga and Roger Lay, Jr.
Brannon Braga confirmed what many have already suspected for a long time - often episodes had a large amount of footage cut for time:
...there are many cases where an episode comes in long and you may not want to cut anything. That's where you get into some juicy stuff if you can find it. Most of it's lost to history. There are plenty of Star Trek episodes where we cut as much as eight minutes... twelve minutes out of the show and there was some good stuff in there.
Roger Lay, Jr. confirms that the team are very aware of the desire for deleted scenes and are actively searching:
That's something that we really have on the radar right now. We're looking for a lot of stuff. We have an idea for some material for Season Four and Season Five, and we're just working on getting it now and rebuilding it.
Sources have told TrekCore that CBS are actively pursuing the hunt for deleted scenes, with Mike and Denise Okuda now tasked with poring over old scripts to try to identify which scenes were filmed but cut for time. We've been advised that CBS are trying to locate these scenes in the original camera negative but don't have any plans at present to undertake the sort of restoration we saw on "The Measure of a Man".
We'll be continuing our "Workprint" special series shortly with a brand new article boasting almost 6 minutes of deleted scenes from the third season episode "The Bonding". Stay tuned!