Galaxy Quest — aka Three Amigos, But Star Trek — is one of the most beloved comedies of the past 25 years. And for many of us, it’s pretty much the only watchable Tim Allen movie, since the Santa Clause franchise is one big fever dream, and the less said about Disney’s Jungle 2 Jungle, the better. Even Pixar seemingly bent over backwards to try and make a Buzz Lightyear movie that in no way involved Tim Allen.

But Allen was perfectly-suited to Galaxy Quest, playing a washed up sci-fi actor named Jason Nesmith, who was basically just William Shatner but without the baffling music career.

Weirdly, Allen’s participation was what led to the film’s original director, comedy legend Harold Ramis, bowing out of the project altogether.

As reported by MTV, the first director attached to the script, by David Howard and Robert Gordon, was Ramis, who was fresh off of making Analyze This. But problems arose when it came to casting Galaxy Quest. For the Jason part, filmmakers pursued “serious” A-list actors, including Kevin Kline and Steve Martin, but they all turned it down. Ramis wanted to cast Alec Baldwin, who obviously could have nailed the role of a clueless, egomaniacal actor, but the studio, DreamWorks, had another suggestion: Tim Allen. Ramis was reportedly less enthused with the idea of making the movie with the Home Improvement guy and decided to walk away. Although reports at the time claimed that the Groundhog Day director was simply going to “take a break.”

Per producer Mark Johnson, “Harold didn’t do the movie because we couldn’t cast it. The people we went to all turned it down, and by the time we got to Tim Allen, Harold couldn’t see it.” (Baldwin confirmed that he was “offered and then un-offered” the part. )

But before Ramis finally left the movie, he did have one awkward meeting with Allen and DreamWorks co-founder/future Quibi genius Jeffery Katzenberg. As Allen later told The Hollywood Reporter, “Katzenberg pitched me the idea of the commander character and then they started talking and it became clear that Ramis didn’t see me for the part. It was pretty uncomfortable.”

Allen also noted that Ramis’ take on the material felt more in the vein of Spaceballs, and that “for some reason he was hung up on having an action star who could be funny, versus a comedian who could do action,” possibly in reference to Baldwin. 

Ramis also had guidelines that would have prevented Sigourney Weaver from playing the character of Gwen DeMarco. According to Weaver, her old Ghostbusters co-star “didn’t want anyone who had done sci-fi in the film,” which obviously would have ruled Ellen Ripley out. “Frankly, it’s those of us who have done science-fiction movies that know what is funny about the genre,” Weaver countered.

Johnson said Ramis later expressed admiration for Allen’s work in the finished product. “Harold was very gracious about how wrong he was, saying that it was a great film and that Tim Allen was a fantastic commander,” he claimed.  

Still, judging from the various stories about working with Allen that have surfaced over the years, Ramis probably dodged a bullet. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).

Get more Cracked directly to your inbox. Sign up for Cracked newsletters at Cracked News Letters Signup.

Like our content? Follow us for more

2024-06-09T07:14:23Z dg43tfdfdgfd