Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s spiralling production costs and lukewarm reviews must have left a cold feeling in pit of the Paramount brass’ collective stomachs. Fortunately the box office returns were good enough to justify at least thinking about a sequel. If nothing else, it would help amortize the production costs of the first film across more than one movie.
To keep costs in check, they assigned the film to their television production division. To direct, they hired Nicholas Meyer, whose only other directorial credit to date was the well-received thriller, Time After Time. Both decisions proved fortuitous. Literate, focused and not awed by the Star Trek legacy, Meyer proved to be just the hand to keep the film on course.