Was the ending of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) written as it was to leave open the possibility of a future reappearance of Decker/Ilia/V'ger?

The final scene of the movie has the Enterprise crew apparently "moving forward" - "let's give this ship a proper shakedown" seeming to suggest that this would only be the first of more movies to come (as indeed it was).

But, was the "evolution" of Decker/Ilia/V'ger "beyond the limits of our universe" a final ending, an opportunity for a possible revisit in a later movie, or just the end of the story without any thought of what might follow on?

2 Answers 2


In a way, yes.

Most of the story elements for Star Trek: The Motion Picture were taken from what was to be the pilot episode of a proposed second Star Trek series, Star Trek: Phase II. The story was called “In Thy Image” and had the characters of Decker, Ilia, and V’Ger.

Decker and Ilia were going to be series regulars, so the pilot of course would have been open ended to allow them to continue to star. They had gone so far as to cast Shatner as Kirk and David Gautreaux as a new Vulcan character, Xon, before they shifted gears from TV to a full blown motion picture.

In fact, a lot of the unused scripts and concepts were used in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

  • I get that Decker and Ilia would have been regular characters in a Star Trek Phase II series (as continuing crewmembers), but how could those characters have logically appeared as crewmembers in a sequel movie given the movie's ending?
    – Anthony X
    May 20, 2018 at 14:21
  • Decker and Ilia couldn't possibly return as crew members assigned to the Enterprise in future movies. Of course it was always possible for what Decker, Ilia, and V'ger had merged into to return in a future movie, possibly even with the same actors, if the producers had decided to make a film with that plot. May 20, 2018 at 18:09
  • Decker and Ilia moved on in the movie of course a final ending. However in the Phase II script the robot Ilia deactivates and returns to the form of a machine (spider like as I recall). V'ger gives back the original Ilia and is so thoroughly disgusted with its origins it speeds off away from Earth. I find that an interesting contrast to transcendental enlightenment the movie V'ger finds. May 11, 2020 at 23:48
  • @Giacomo1968 A quick Google search indicates adjusted for inflation TMP did quite well. I suspect the profitability claims are based on the fact that all the development costs for Phase II, which had significant progress, was written off against TMP. Aug 27, 2022 at 5:25

V'ger has been featured in a number of non-canon (but officially licensed) materials including the William Shatner novel The Return which takes place after Star Trek: Generations and sees Captain Kirk brought to life again by an alliance with the Borg and Romulans.

In the novel it turned out that V'ger was a creation of the Borg. That novel was also horrible, but this whole V'ger/Borg thing is something fans were curious about for a long time. Hell, I remember that me and my dad had explored the potential of that theory or of the machine planet that turned Voyager into V'ger being the Borg homeworld years before that novel.

So long story short, the idea of Y'ger either being a creation of the Borg or the creator of the Borg, or both being created by something else was popular with fans and it's resurfaced in several other non canon Star Trek materials including the video games Star Trek: Legacy and Star Trek Online, as well as in comic book tie-ins to the 2009 JJ Abrams reboot.

However, officially we don't know if anything was really planned in terms of a sequel or any kind of a continuation to the story of V'ger.

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