Comparison between Theatrical Cut (2021 Blu-ray) and the TV version in 4K UHD (2022), the latter exclusively* included on e.g. the British/American "Complete Adventure" box set.
In the report for the 4K Director's Cut, we have summarized the turbulent genesis and the various versions of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in particular detail. Here, we focus entirely on the TV version (aka "Special Longer Version"), which was altered in the 'Kirk's spacewalk' scene for the 4K release, but in general offers the exact same longer scenes compared to the Theatrical Cut as on VHS.
As already stated in the summary, to a large extent these are "Deleted Scenes", fior which it is reasonable that they were cut for trimming the pacing in the theatrical version. For example, there are often more detailed comments on frequencies or the like, without any added value in terms of content or atmosphere in the film. A bit more curious are a few moments with Sulu flirting awkwardly with Ilia. In general, there are some additional dialogue scenes with Ilia, especially while she is under the spell of V'Ger. A few of these bits later made it into the Director's Edition, such as McCoy's speculation that V'Ger imagines the creator as a machine.
It is also interesting to see how some parts of the theatrical cut were removed in favor of the often somewhat alternative scenes in the TV long version. Of course, this does not reach the extent of the changes in the Director's Edition, but it is also not a plain 1:1 insertion of the additional scenes into the film. Mostly it's simply changes for continuity reasons, which also come with a few recuts.
All in all, the TV long version should only be seen as a bonus for die-hard fans. Even in the theatrical version, some material plays out longer than necessary because Robert Wise couldn't finish his final cut in time - and therefore later actually removed the material in the Director's Edition. The TV version, also known as the "Special Longer Cut," on the other hand, often adds on even a bit more, so admittedly the film does drag a bit. Still, for the fans, sometimes it just can't be long enough. And a few of the additional scenes, as we know, Wise later found relevant enough to include them in his favorite version too.
* It should be noted that while the UK and US releases of the "Complete Adventure" 4K set contain the Special Longer Version, e.g. in Germany & Spain only the old 4K disc (containing only the theatrical version but not the Special longer Version) was placed in the "Complete Adventure" 4K set.
Summary on the three main versions of the movie
Here is a quick overview of the three main versions:
1. Theatrical version (1979) - 132min Blu-ray (resp. 126min in 25fps)
a) VHS/DVD/2009 Blu-ray: In several editions this is clearly the version that has been released most times. For director Robert Wise, however, this has more the character of an incomplete rough cut due to incomplete realization of effects, soundtrack and some action scenes.
b) 2021 4K-remastered: Basically the same film version, but in one scene in particular it was noticeable that an attempt was made to digitally conceal a film error (model arm of the Enterprise covers the dock). However, this was done carelessly and even a piece of the Enterprise was cut away, see high-resolution image comparison from DVD Schweizer.
2. TV version (1983) - 145min 4K Blu-ray (or 138min in 25fps)
a) On VHS/Laserdiscs from the 80s and 90s, a version was released based on the theatrical version, adding just under 13 minutes of Deleted Scenes to it. Was also released in Germany on VHS, including re-dubbing for all additional parts.
b) 2022 4K-remastered: Basically the same film version, but for the additional scene "Kirk's spacewalk" the missing set background was now completed digitally.
3. Director's Edition - 137min 4K-Blu-ray (or 131min in 25fps)
a) 2002 DVD: Personally supervised by director Robert Wise, this is a reconstruction of his desired version. With many digitally redone effects and some new action scenes, but also some scenes cut from the theatrical version.
b) 2022 4K: Newly restored version of the Director's Edition by the core team also involved in the DVD reconstruction. Further details that could not be technically realized in 2002 were added.
Preliminary note: The screenshots of the 4K TV version were converted from HDR to SDR with tone mapping. Thus, as usual with 4K material, it is not a faithful reproduction of the TV picture quality with HDR (as can be additionally guessed from the compressed screenshot size, of course). This explains the difference to the native SDR Blu-ray that we used for the theatrical version.
22:35-22:36 / 22:35-22:50
In the theatrical cut the door closes in front of Kirk for a moment longer.
In the TV cut Rhaandarite briefly discusses whether Decker would be the better captain and Uhura speaks out in favor of Kirk.
Sulu: "He wanted her back. He got her."
Rhaandarite: "And Captain Decker? He's been with this ship every minute of her refitting."
Uhura: "Ensign, the possibilities of returning from this mission in one piece may have just doubled."
TV cut 14.1 sec longer
32:52 / 33:06-34:23
After Kirk has left the room again (in the theatrical version this can be seen a few insignificant frames longer), the crew talks some more. Ilia fends off a rather clumsy approach from Sulu with a reference to her celibacy. Decker apologizes for Kirk. Afterwards, Kirk asks Yeoman about the beaming problem.
Decker addresses Sulu, who looks at Ilia in a dreamy way: "Mr. Sulu? Mr. Sulu? Take Lieutenant Ilia in hand."
Sulu: "Sir? Yes, of course. Your preprogramming is already set in. It's all on the computer. You'll have no problem. Sorry."
Ilia: "I'm sworn to celibacy, Mr. Sulu. That makes me as safe as any human female."
Decker: "I don't think the captain meant anything personal."
Ilia: "I would never take advantage of a sexually immature species. You can assure him that's true, can't you?"
Decker grins mischievously for a moment and the follow-up scene with Kirk and Yeoman begins.
Yeoman: "Yes, sir?"
Kirk: "What was the problem down there?"
Yeoman: "He insisted we go first, sir. Said something about first seeing how it scrambled our molecules."
Kirk: "That has a familiar ring, doesn't it? Starfleet, this is Captain Kirk. Beam that officer up now."
TV cut 76.8 sec (= 1:17 min) longer
44:35 / 46:06-46:33
Sulu indicates the speed and the course. Ilia confirms this after a short hesitation.
Sulu: "Maintaining warp .8. I show our new heading as 287.3, mark 105. Lieutenant Ilia. Lieutenant."
Ilia: "Confirm, Mr. Sulu. Confirmed."
46:45-47:00 / 48:42-49:03
After Ilia and Decker's brief conversation, the conversation between Dr. McCoy and Kirk begins earlier. McCoy addresses Kirk's suitability as a commander.
Kirk reads from a book, speaking two different roles; "And another thing. Get out of here, Bones."
McCoy: "As ship's doctor, I am now discussing the subject of command fitness."
In addition, the first shots afterwards are shown in other takes (with largely the same wording).
TV cut 6.1 sec longer
55:24-55:27 / 57:27-57:47
How Kirk is radioed from the bridge via the communicator at the end of the scene can be seen onscreen in the TV version. In the theatrical version, this was already partially heard above the previous shot and then also above another one of Kirk, where he then goes out of the picture. Only in the TV version does Kirk confirm this and then, after another cut to McCoy, leaves the room in an alternate take.
Kirk: "On my way."
McCoy: "Jim. How do we know about any of us?"
TV cut 16.6 sec longer
58:35-58:37 / 60:55-61:07
While the theatrical version here still shows a shot from the bridge, in the TV version Decker still gives the order of an evasive maneuver. The computer loses the course programming.
Decker: "Commencing evasive maneuvers."
Ilia: "Helm disengaged from programmed course."
Sulu: "Yaw 40 degrees to starboard, 30 degrees negative pitch."
Woman (offscreen): "Synchronize all backup systems and maintain standby status."
TV cut 10.1 sec longer
58:44-58:53 / 61:14-62:07
Here, some radio messages with Starfleet command have been added. A dialog between Kirk and Spock is shown completely in alternate takes, although the same thing is said (marked in italics).
Decker: "Engineer, number six internal stabilizer shows 18 seconds from failure."
Uhura: "Starfleet command, this is the Enterprise. Do you read? Come in please. This is the starship Enterprise. Starfleet Command, do you read?"
(Kirk: "Analysis, Mr. Spock."
Spock: "Alien weapon is a form of plasma energy, Captain. Exact composition, unknown. Guidance system, unknown.")
Kirk: "Will our deflector screens hold it?"
Spock: "Impossible to calculate."
Sulu: "Yaw 30 degrees to port, 20 degrees positive pitch."
Uhura: "Starfleet Command, this is the Enterprise. Transmitting linguacode friendship messages on all channels. No reply to friendship messages. Starfleet, do you read? This is the Enterprise. We are under attack."
TV cut 43.6 sec longer
59:47-59:49 / 63:00-63:49
The ship's doctor Dr. Chapel was suddenly in the room in the theatrical version. One saw here quite briefly how she sprays Chekov's hand.
In the TV cut (and also later in the Director's Edition) you can still see how she comes onto the bridge and devotes herself to the injured Chekov. Ilia says that she can take away his pain. She holds her hand to his wound and Chekov is no longer in pain. He thanks Ilia.
Uhura: "Oh, good, Christine. It's Chekov."
Dr. Chapel: "Medic."
Ilia: "I can stop his pain."
Chekov: "Thank you."
TV cut 46.1 sec longer
59:49-59:55 / 63:49-64:08
How Spock tells Kirk directly afterwards that the V'Ger would have made contact, happens in alternative takes.
Only in the TV version does Spock go on to give technical data about the transmission: "Frequency more than one million megahertz. And at such a high rate of speed their entire message lasts only a millisecond."
TV cut 12.4 sec longer
60:04-60:11 / 64:17-64:31
In the theatrical version, Decker walks past Spock to the control station.
In the TV version, a woman joins instead and takes over the control station from Decker; "I'll take over, sir."
Decker walks on to another screen.
TV cut 7.1 sec longer
61:09 / 65:29-66:18
At the end of the shot, Ilia mentions the time until they are at the edge of the cloud. Spock tells Kirk that they are dealing with an advanced life form. Short dialogue between Decker and Spock. Spock recognizes only pure logic.
Ilia: "One minute, 30 seconds to cloud boundary."
Spock: "Captain, we are obviously confronted by a highly advanced mentality. Yet, they cannot understand who we are or what we want."
Kirk: "And yet it would seem that they understood our message. They broke off the attack."
Decker: "They may have attacked only as a warning to us, captain. To keep away."
Spock: "That would presuppose a feeling, Commander. Compassion. I sensed no emotion. Only pure logic."
61:14-61:22 / 66:23
For continuity reasons, Kirk getting up from his chair was removed from the TV version shortly after.
+ 8.1 sec
66:29 / 71:30
In the TV version, the shot starts a moment earlier and so here you see the door opening at the beginning.
66:42-66:45 / 71:43-72:28
They are still discussing the size of the unknown spaceship. Kirk asks what Spock thinks of it. Spock is fascinated.
Uhura: "It could hold a crew of thousands."
McCoy: "Or a crew of a thousand, ten miles tall."
Chekov: "I'll take over now."
Woman: "Aye, sir."
Kirk: "Evaluation, Mr. Spock."
Spock: "Fascinating. That vessel is generating a force field greater than the radiation of the Earth's sun."
Kirk's comment that immediately follows is included again in the theatrical version, but uses a different take. In the TV version, the shot that was seen before simply continues.
TV cut 40.4 sec longer
66:45 bzw. 66:54-67:01 / 72:28-72:34 bzw. 72:43
A shot of the V'Ger on the screen was brought forward a bit in the TV version.
No runtime difference
90:57-92:24 resp. 92:24-94:20 / 96:39-98:31 resp. 103:36-107:02
In the theatrical version, the scene with Ilia comes first and then the scene with Spock. In the TV version, the scene with Ilia was pushed back a few minutes, more on that below.
The scene with Spock is missing a long shot at 92:32-92:36 / 96:47 in the TV version. Only this moment was shown.
Theatrical Cut 4.5 sec longer
94:20 / 98:31-99:44
Kirk also puts on a space suit between shots of Spock flying around. He gives the order that Spock is not to be stopped. After that, Kirk also flies out of the Enterprise. Here comes the short shot that was removed in the previous scene.
Kirk: "I don't want him stopped. I want him to lead me to whatever's out there."
McCoy: "And if that whatever has taken over his mind?"
Kirk: "Then he'll still have led me to it, won't he?"
Kirk, draußen im Raumanzug: "I have him in sight."
73.2 sec (= 1:13 min)
Note: As shown in our comparison between VHS and 4K edition of the TV cut, the shot of Kirk in space was digitally completed in the 4K restoration.
98:13 resp. 90:57-91:23 / 103:36-104:56
Decker and Dr. Chapel guide Ilia into the room. Dr. Chapel hands the "Ilia" creature a headdress and puts it on her. The following scene at the mirror is at first completely different from the version shown in the movie version 7 minutes before.
In the theatrical cut it is a long long shot in which Dr. Chapel, while putting on the headdress, briefly explains that Ilia had once worn it ("I remember Lieutenant Ilia once mentioning she wore that."). Decker also mentions where that was ("On Delta. Remember?"). Ilia recognizes Dr. Chapel or gives her name.
In the TV cut Dr. Chapel says slightly different "I remember Lieutenant Ilia once mentioning she wore this" and Decker adds directly "When we met", before the rest of the dialogue is identical. Moreover, when Ilia recognizes Dr. Chapel, this also cuts to Dr. Chapel's reaction.
TV cut 53.8 sec longer
92:13-92:24 / 105:45-107:02
Ilia still says in alternate take that the creator is on the third planet, while in the theatrical version she remains silent in this shot and already turns around. How she takes off the headdress can be seen from different perspectives afterwards. In the TV version, it is much longer, and she also mentions that carbon units have invaded V'Ger.
Ilia: "But the Creator is on the third planet. V'Ger has data which confirms this."
She takes off the headdress and speaks again more mechanically; "Why have two carbon units entered V'Ger?"
McCoy: "They want to contact V'Ger."
Decker: "Ilia. Does V'Ger object to the presence of the two carbon units?"
Ilia: "The carbon units are of no consequence. V'Ger will determine their purpose."
McCoy: "Their purpose is to survive."
Ilia: "That is also V'Ger's purpose."
Decker: "You said V'Ger's purpose was to find and join with the Creator."
Ilia: "That is how he will survive. I wish to continue my observations."
TV cut 66.3 sec (= 1:06 min) longer
104:59 / 113:48-114:19
Kirk continues to insist that on the Creator's planet they would not be diseases but natural functions. Ilia says that they are not real life forms. V'Ger thinks that his creator is a machine.
Kirk: "Carbon units are not an infestation. They are a natural function on the Creator's planet. They are living things."
Ilia: "They are not true life-forms. Only the Creator and other similar life-forms are true."
McCoy: "Similar life-forms. Jim, V'Ger is saying its Creator is a machine."
Decker: "Of course. We all create God in our own image."
110:22 / 119:42-122:59
Kirk says to Scotty over the comm system that the Enterprise is to be destroyed when he gives the order. An employee of Scotty (Chief Ross) asks why Kirk ordered the self-destruction. Scotty says that he hopes to destroy V'Ger that way. Kirk wants an update on the situation. Spock explains why V'Ger is crying and that the final goal will be reached.
Kirk: "Engineering. Mr. Scott, be prepared to execute Starfleet order 2-0-0-5."
Scotty: "When, sir?"
Kirk: "On my command."
Scotty: "Aye, sir."
Chief Ross: "Why has the captain ordered self-destruct, sir?"
Scotty: "I would say, lass, because he thinks, he hopes that when we go up, we'll take the intruder with us."
Chief Ross: "Will we?"
Scotty: "When that much matter and antimatter are brought together, oh, yes, we will indeed."
Chekov: "Eighteen minutes to device activation, sir."
Kirk: "Gravity control, give me an all-decks readout."
Uhura: "Starfleet has been apprised of our situation, Captain."
- "Crew status is 172 at duty stations, 248 off-duty, 11 in sickbay, all minor."
Sulu: "Tractor beam remains constant."
Woman: "We are 17 kilometers inside the vessel."
-: "Engineering, show me your pylon stress readings."
-: "Deck 4, that temperature should read 1-0-1-3 degrees. Please confirm."
Kirk: "Spock? Mr. Spock. I think..."
Spock turns around and you can see tears on his cheeks.
Kirk: "Not for us?"
Spock: "No, Captain. Not for us. For V'Ger. I weep for V'Ger as I would for a brother. As I was when I came aboard, so is V'Ger now. Empty, incomplete and searching. Logic and knowledge are not enough."
McCoy: "Spock, are you saying that you found what you needed, but V'ger hasn't?"
Decker: "What would V'Ger need to fulfill itself?"
Spock: "Each of us, at some time in our lives, turns to someone, a father, a brother, a god, and asks, Why am I here? What was I meant to be? V'Ger hopes to touch its Creator to find its answers."
Kirk: "Is that all that I am? Is there nothing more?"
197.2 sec (= 3:17 min)
110:27-110:31 / 123:04
Shortly after, the theatrical version has another shot of V'Ger from the boarding window, which was already just occurring within the major additional scene in the theatrical version.
+ 4 sec