The Shuttle Pod Crew Delve Into The Lasting Legacy of ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’

At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance…

Shuttle Pod 60 – The Lasting Legacy of ‘The Wrath of Khan’

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The full complement of the Shuttle Pod crew discuss the beloved second Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan. Brian, Jared, Kayla, and Matt go deep, touching on the history of how Wrath of Khan came to be made, why the movie is generally regarded as the best of the franchise, and the long-ranging effects Khan has had on the larger franchise — Khan in some way touches all eras of Trek.

Listen along with the crew as they recollect their first viewings of Khan and more!

During the podcast we discuss the Theatrical (1982) Director’s Edition (2002) and Director’s Cut (2016) differences. Here’s a good guide to the difference between the Theatrical and Director’s Edition. The newer 2016 Director’s Cut is almost the same as the 2002 Director’s Edition, but it omits the 10-second scene in the Jefferies tube where Kirk tells Spock that David is his son.

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I’ll listen to this after Greatest Gen Khan 2018.

Anyone else here a friend of DeSoto?

I saw this movie in the theaters. And yes, this is still the best Trek movie ever. Hard to top it. I was a teenager watching it and remember being completely blown away. Saw some things never seen in Trek before. I recall my jaw dropping when Reliant fired on the Enterprise and thinking “Holy effing sh*t!” Throughout the series and TMP we’ve NEVER seen the Enterprise get hammered like that. So it was quite the gut punch. And of course, I had heard Spock dies at the end but part of me just never quite believed it. And in that final scene I was just thinking, “no no no!” Well, those are the things that have stayed with me when I watched it back then. But watching it over the years as I got older I picked up on all the other themes that film touched on. It was just a fantastic film.

Also, I do agree with everything that was said about why STID didn’t work. Much of what I said about it before is summed up with the comment of, “They didn’t earn this.” They absolutely didn’t. WOK had 15 years of a relationship when Spock died. STID had what… A few years? Sorry. That just doesn’t work for me.

I think they had actually known each other for about…18 months.

I agree to a point. I do think you can make a tight bond with someone over the span of a few months and really feel the loss… however, as it played on screen in the new movies- and perhaps even in TOS too, Kirk’s closer relationship is with McCoy, not Spock.

I suppose it would have been more believable if both their mothers were named Martha though.

True Martin. But in WOK the audience had been with these guys for 15 years. The audience felt that loss right there with Kirk. In ID, it just wasn’t the same. It was made clear that this is an alternate version of our characters. Which is fine. I was down with that. But in doing so you don’t get the same emotional connection to them that Shatner and Nimoy would get if they were playing the roles.

But hey… Winona Kirk…. Winona Ryder (Amanada). Pretty close am I right? ;)

I think this point is way overlooked: TWOK treated starships like sailing ships and tension was built as a result. The Enterprise and the Reliant didn’t zoom across the screen like F-15s going “pew pew pew” at each other like starships did in DS9.

That is something that I’ve just accepted but was always buzzing around in the back of my head. The super maneuverability of these huge starships in DS9 as well as TNG (with the exception of Generations) always seemed a bit too good to me. I guess I just filed it away as “the future”.

Like you said, the Enterprise got hammered in TWOK, but it fought back. In ID -with yet another Trek-universe “Ueber Ship” (groan)- the Enterprise didn’t even fire a shot back. Very anti-climactic.

Very true. Still in my opinion…the greatest one on one ship battle ever.Not even Star Wars can touch that.

I’ll still take the space battle over Khitomer in THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, It’s a masterclass in putting together a stunning, dramatic sequence on a limited budget.

The only part of Into Darkness that got me excited was the short-lived team-up of Kirk and Khan. Oh, I thought, they’re going to do something really different here! Maybe young Kirk will learn something about leadership and sacrifice from Khan Singh of all people. And then, nope, he really is just an evil space Nazi and… fight, fight, fight…

you seriously expected them to make Khan a goodie? lol Khan is insane. hes a maniac! that’s his appeal. yeh the kirk/khan team up was interesting but theres no way khan wasn’t going to go full madman khan by the end

Not a goodie but a more gray character than what we got. If they’re going to have an alternate universe, then by all means make it different! Simply riffing on Space Seed and TWOK was lazy.

It’s SOP to switch the villain to a good guy for awhile, so they can make him seem even worse when he turns evil again. Unfortunately, STID could even get that right.

What I like about THE QUESTOR TAPES is that the ostensible villain of the piece is actually the guy who saves the day at the cost of his own life, and does so while espousing a point-of-view I still empathize with, as much at age 57 as in my teens. I do kind of think QUESTOR had noplace to go after that, because with that guy gone, there was no antagonist of ethical stature, and honestly, he was more interesting than Questor or Robinson.

I think of that as something quite apart from Vader saving the day in JEDI and many other predictable character turns, and maybe that is why it still resonates for me. I do think that if the bad guy at the end of BEYOND had saved the day when seeing himself refected, it would have worked a bit better for me, but that whole sequence just goes on for SOOOOOOOO long that nothing could have redeemed it, whih is a shame because I thought the movie struck several good emotional notes in between all the razzmatazz.

There’s a pretty huge disparity between SEED Khan and TWOK Khan as well, which I guess you can justify owing to his existence on C-A 5. But the SEED Khan is a more compelling and intriguing figure, and much less just the black hat. The dining scene with him and Kirk and Spock is really so very good, further defining character (one of the last times I remember seeing totally-controlled Kirk, the aspects of Shatner-performance I most admire) while also giving you some trek history, and it’s a shame that TWOK couldn’t work that kind of closeup chemistry, but alas, it IS a different story.

Yeah, Roddenberry noted at the time that the TV Khan was much more nuanced and interesting than the movie Khan, except that the producers had the great good fortune to have Montalban, who managed to pull it off. Sour grapes, sure, but that doesn’t mean that he was wrong (or, at least, entirely wrong).

“Yeah, Roddenberry noted at the time that the TV Khan was much more nuanced and interesting than the movie Khan”

Yes. TV Khan was much more like Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great, albeit without the history of massacring civilians (so Khan was actually a better man). And Kirk and Scotty basically reacted towards him the same way plenty of real-life people would if Caesar or Alexander suddenly turned up alive: Somewhat starstruck, a sneaking admiration, but also wary of the charismatic man’s capabilities and dangerous drive for power.

For my money, both “Space Seed” and TWOK Khan are fantastic. “Space Seed” Khan has been sleeping for three centuries and just granted a new lease on life. He’s brimming with energy and ambition, like a young Caesar or Alexander. TWOK Khan has been eking out a meager existence in a barren wasteland on a desolate planet. He’s lost his wife and been stewing with anger and resentment at Kirk for years when we find him. He’s not the spirited, ambitious leader of “Space Seed.” He’s grizzled, cynical and consumed by the desire for vengeance. He’s not interested in being a leader and ruler of men as in his younger days. He has one mission in life: to take vengeance upon Kirk. And in the end, he sacrifices everything including his own life, in his efforts at doing just that.

You using the word “vengeance” reminded me… Anyone else remember the original title was “The Vengeance of Khan”? It was changed because it was similar to the announced Star Wars film, “Revenge of the Jedi”.

The original title was actually “The Undiscovered Country,” which the suits rejected but Meyer got to repurpose a decade later. It then became “The Vengeance of Khan,” until Lucas objected due to the similarity to “Revenge of the Jedi,” which of course in the end wasn’t used anyway. Hollywood.

TUC was never official in any way. It was officially announced as “The Vengeance of Khan”. The title change did not come from Lucas. He had zero say in other projects. It came from the Paramount suits who did not want a similar sounding title.

Those are all fine post hoc rationalizations (and I don’t mean that pejoratively, only in the sense that, while they are reasonable, they’re also purely speculative). But they don’t change the fact that, for GR and myself at least, Khan was a much more interesting, layered sort of villain on the small screen, though Montalban’s performance in the film goes a great distance to make up for that, and there are also a number of other things about TWOK that make it worthwhile.

I’ll also just mention that had I been in Harve Bennett’s position “Space Seed” would not have been my first choice as inspiration for a feature film in any case. It’s always struck me as a middling first season show, memorable mainly for Montalban’s charisma, with a timeline that was very dated even at the time TWOK was released in 1982. (At the screening I attended there were already some chuckles from the audience when Khan briefs Terrell about his 1996 space voyage.) But hey, the film was a financial and critical success, so what do I know?

That was exactly my thought at that moment, that Kirk would realize that Khan was only second bad compared to Marcus. They would team up, defeat Marcus, and Khan would accept his punishment for his criminal acts as long as his remaining crew was saved. But nope, they flushed all that potential for nuance down the drain only minutes later. What a slog/waste/mess that movie was.

Interesting how most people here recognize STID for the piece of shit that it is. When it first came out, and we posted at the time what a turd it was, Bob Orci went apeshit with nasty comments to all of us here. I wonder if Bob has ever been able to get past his oversized ego and, with hindsight, come to see that we were right.


STID is the best (and biggest) of the 3 Kelvin films. Certainly better than Beyond. No wonder he went ape when he read the various comments and ‘Trek is broken’ article etc. If we can’t see the obvious.. what hope is there..?

I thought Beyond was the best of the 3. My only nickpick with that film was calling that spectacular starbase: YORKTOWN. ughh ! I understand it is name after a historical vessel…but still…they could have gone with something more epic.

I agree. Yorktown didn’t feel right. It really felt like it should have a less Earth-centric name considering what it was meant for.

I had my issues with STID as well but many people DID like the movie. The problem is its more of a movie for casual fans than it is for hardcore fans. But yes the IRONY of it is that all the stuff that was specifically aimed for hardcore fans is what upsetted them about the film. But if you never seen Space Seed or TWOK or what color Khan is suppose to be and you don’t care then it plays mostly fine.

Now its not to say there still isn’t plenty wrong with the film in terms of plotting and character motivations but it’s not anymore worse than most big budget popcorn action movies which end of the day that’s what these movies are. If you want more thoughtful Trek then yeah just watch the shows.

To be brutally honest, I think the films goals were in the right place. Kirk needed to earn that chair. There were a few fleeting moments that did work. But how they achieved the film’s goal was where it came up amazingly short. I suppose that if one has never seen any Star Trek before the ’09 film, had no idea WOK even existed… Then it might play better than it did. But even then “killing” Kirk in the sequel carried zero weight. We pretty much knew there would be a 3rd film unless the 2nd one bombed. And then there are the problems that anyone who saw WOK would groan at. For me, the biggest mistake, and there were many, was the Spock “KAAAHN!” scream. That didn’t work for so very very many reasons. Too many to go into here. Orci and Kurtzman should have known better.

Except it also totally alienated normal moviegoers (and even casual fans) who don’t want to learn reams of backstory to understand what’s happening.

When I watched, a guy in front of me had to explain to his girlfriend who Khan was because the movie didn’t. And soon after they walked out.

But TWOK set the scene quickly (and didn’t spoonfeed anything) without requiring you to have watched Space Seed or even a single episode of Trek.

Whereas STID was built entirely out of references. And if you didn’t know the references, none of it meant anything.

I don’t know if it’s an Abrams thing or a Lindeloff, Orci and Kurtzman thing — but you shouldn’t have to homework (play the RPG, read the comics and novels, play the video game, watch hundreds of hours of television) to understand a darned movie.

Yeah, I was coming around to halfway liking Khan, even after he killed Pike, but then the movie dropped the pure evil bomb and they lost me.

I don’t remember Khan and his people being into wiping out ‘inferior’ races in Space Seed, either. He seemed more Napoleon than Hitler. Was genocide ever mentioned? Seemed like an addition that didn’t need to be there.

No, that was a an Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof/Abrams “contribution”. Khan was egotistical and even snobby but there wasn’t anything in his history that would suggest those kinds of genocidal tendencies. He thought himself the ideal leader and would have been perfectly happy if everyone just fell in line with his thinking.

It is just typical of the modern blockbuster: rub away any semblance of ambiguity or nuance to the character in favor of black and white tropes. After all, we can’t trust the audience do be able to do a little bit of thinking on their own, can we?

‘ID’ Khan wasn’t just genetically superior — he was damn-near Superman, capable of incredible feats of engineering and tactical analysis (yet too dumb to realize that Spock could just as easily transport bombs as Augments aboard his ship). Physically, he can single-handedly wipe out an entire squad of alien warriors, jump thousands of feet without a scratch, and has magic blood ™ that can bring people and tribbles back from the dead. All a product of. . . wait for it. . . the superscience of the 1950s.

Ye gods, what a mess.


Michael Hall,

I don’t recall any ambiguity from Khan in regards to knowing exactly what he had encased his “family” members, ie bombs. I think the idiotic arrogance on his part was after being mistaken about them on so many fronts being absolutely sure that he and/or Marcus were so absolutely clever in their design that he thought it virtually impossible Spock would figure them out.

As it turned out, Khan was right in that Spock didn’t. But it was still a stupid thing to rely on after so many prior a$$umptions of his about the damned things turned out to be wrong.

I’ve always assumed had Khan beaten Kirk in TWOK, he would’ve held Earth hostage with the Genesis device and may have even used it, but this was his post-Ceti Alpha hellscape state of mind.

In Space Seed, he’s calculating but not really mad, and definitely not a genocidal maniac. Before he tries to take over the Enterprise, the crew even express a kind of nostalgic admiration for him (much to Spock’s dismay).

You’re right about the blockbuster mentality. Cranking it up to 11 isn’t enough anymore. Let’s go to 22!

I think the movie was trying to say that the hostage-taking of his crew prompted all the genocidal stuff, but meh.

And the movie’s heart was in the right place — look at what giving into fear and abandoning principals has gotten us in 2018 — but the story was incoherent. It was a bunch of references and Easter Eggs scrawled on a whiteboard.


Re:Hostage Taking

I don’t believe it was even that. It was Khan’s mistaken belief that Marcus had executed them all that supposedly motivated his genocidal stuff.

The weirdest thing about STID is that Khan is constantly finding out that his assumptions were wrong but he never has any moments of self-reflection about it. He keeps plowing ahead as if all of his initial erroneous assumptions were in effect factual and justifying his actions at every turn.

Why did super intelligence agent, Khan, assume Spock, a Vulcan, would be as homicidal as he mistakenly believed Marcus had been then proven wrong about that maniac killing off all his people? He just goes off half-cocked attacking San Francisco assuming Spock blew up all his kin when he knows he was wrong about that assumption in regards to Marcus prior?

Isn’t Khan’s superior intellect capable of learning? Why does he keep making the same wrong assumption about his foes wiping out his brethren?

“Khan was egotistical and even snobby but there wasn’t anything in his history that would suggest those kinds of genocidal tendencies.”

Yes, and Space Seed directly mentioned that Khan did *not* commit any massacres during his rule — one of the reasons for Kirk and Scotty’s admiration for him. As I mentioned to Michael Hall upthread, this actually made Khan a more ethical autocrat than Julius Caesar or Alexander, the two historical figures that Khan is otherwise the most like.

I completely agree with your other points too, although in fairness to Orci he told Abrams that it would be a bad idea to have Khan in the film at all — but Abrams did it anyway.

Here is the thing people are forgetting. Khan wasn’t elected, he and the other Augments took the world by force. After they took the world the “alphas” like Khan divided the world between them. After he took power yes there were no massacres under his rule, but he and the others killed millions taking the world. More died as the alphas then began fighting each other, many of these killed by Khan’s troops as he was attacked by his the rival alphas.

I believe Spock said “more than a quarter of your Earth.”

Also worth remembering that, while novels and comics are interesting and fun to read, if it’s not established on screen it doesn’t really ‘count’ as Khan’s backstory.

At the end of the universe…

Lies the beginning…

Of the end…

Of the universe.

Maybe it’s meant to hype the Genesis Device in that it might destroy the universe, like the two Lazaruses colliding in TOS “The Alternative Factor.” Thus, at the end of the universe would be a looming extinction event caused by the Genesis Device rather than a location. Probably, though, they just picked that tagline because it sounds ironic, deep and mysterious. On Ceti Alpha V lies the beginning of vengeance doesn’t have quite the same impact.

I always liked the poster wording better.

Somewhere in the darkest reaches of the universe, a battle is about to begin.
A battle between good and evil.
Between a warrior and a madman.
Between the awesome power of the starship Enterprise and the wrath of Khan.
For some it will be their first mission.
For others … it will be the last.


Well, it’s more accurate and informational, but less poetic.

The quintessential action movie poster/trailer blurb for me is the one from ABOVE THE LAW:

Nico Toscani…
He’s a covert agent
trained to survive in Viet Nam.
He has a master 6th degree black belt in Aikido
and family in the mafia.

He’s a cop.
With an attitude.

Another classic — DIRTY HARRY (1971)

This is about a movie
about a couple of killers—
Harry Callahan and a homicidal maniac.

The one with the badge is Harry.

The other Trek movies have surprisingly lame taglines. TSFS and TVH, both of which movies I rank just below TWOK, have taglines that don’t do the movies justice. It’s like they had the courier come up with it on the way to the printers:


A dying planet.
A fight for life.
The Search for Spock.

The next one is even worse…


Stardate: 1986.
How on Earth can they save the future?

TFF’s ‘why are they putting seat belts in theaters teaser poster is godawful too.

But in honor of my Halloween horror rewatch month, you can always groove on J Carpenter’s THE THING with “Man is the warmest place to hide” or PREDATOR 2’s “He’s in town with a few days to kill.”

SFS should have been an easy poster, because it is high stakes. Somebody, feel free to finesse this:

“First they lost their friend.
Then they lost their ship.
Now they have to risk it all — stealing one in order to save the other.”

Those are good.

Another good one is from the original ALIEN (1979):

In space no one can hear you scream.

Also, it’s probably a terrible movie, but the tagline has stayed with me —


Look who’s stalking.

(Of course, the humor in this one relied on the timing of its release.)

You just gave away a big moment when you say “lost their ship”. Yes, it appeared in the trailers. But that was against the producers wishes. Why add to it?

No, that proposed adline of mine doesn’t even get into the ship blowing up – they have ‘lost their ship’ when it is taken away from them, decomissioned by Starfleet.

I wouldn’t have gone with the ‘show the ship blowing up’ ad in a million years — in fact, for misdirection, I’d have probably shown GRISSOM blow up in every ad instead. Pretty sure most of the GRISSOM explosion is an ILM stock element left over from EMPIRE or JEDI, so that would have given film fanatics something to chew on as well.

Use that line and include the E’s destruction…. And it is pretty clear what is meant.

But yes. Showing E blowing up in the trailer was a huge mistake. A friend told me he saw the trailer and the Enterprise get’s blown to bits. Again, I didn’t believe it!

PS… The explosion of Grissom was an ILM original.

I believe if you look at the SFS issue of CINEFEX, they mention using stock elements as well as new pyro on the shot. The Genesis planet blasts are all new, and I think maybe the MERCHANTMAN stuff is too, but GRISSOM was deliberately not a biggie.

My favourite trailer spoiler was showing Kirk being vapourized for TUC.

I was in the middle of university, had no idea another Trek movie was coming out and then saw that during TNG (the only show I watched during uni and it was once a week, in our dorm) a week or two before it came out. Super exciting.

“Between the awesome power of the starship Enterprise and the wrath of Khan.”

The first time I heard that, superimposed over the visuals of the Enterprise firing her phasers … it sent shivers down my spine. I was 17 and it was really effective marketing to me.

Sounds almost like the beginning to Cygnus-X1.


Ha – it is reminiscent.

…In a final flash of glory
Nevermore to grace
the night.

TWOK is the best Trek movie ever, by far. TWOK is the cheapest to make Trek movie ever, by far. It’s strange that no one at Paramount has put those two facts together. Instead they keep making more expensive and worse Trek movies. A lot more expensive. And a LOT worse.


Are we going to get a podcast review for The Motion Picture (following The Search for Spock)? Or do you guys feel like you’ve already done it with The Changeling?

I would love to hear your podcast assessment of TMP in and of itself.

Yes we’re planning on doing a proper TMP podcast. Brian and I are big fans of TMP.

Sweet! I’m pretty huge for TMP as well.

There is so much more to TMP than simply The Changeling. TWOK is a lot of fun but also has some gaping issues in terms of story.

TMP, despite some issues, is still my favorite Trek movie. It looks like a big budget movie, it deals with big sci-fi ideas and if you step back a bit you’re realize that Kirk and especially Spock take some pretty big steps in their evolutions as characters. It tackles Spock’s struggles with his human/Vulcan duality head on and by the end he’s really found some answers.

There’s a lot to parse, but in brief the “reunion” scenes in the film’s first half are just very awkwardly staged and acted — it’s just obvious to me that a non-follower like Robert Wise was, for all his talent and experience, intimidated as hell by the cult status of the material and didn’t have a clue as to how to proceed.

Once the movie gets into the heart of V’ger, it’s a fine (if a little poky) SF adventure, with some real moments of awe and wonder.

There’s another thing that’s awkward about TMP.

I have to admit that Shatner’s um hair tends to distract me.

He got it sorted for TWOK, though. And for all of the following movies.

Personally, I think the TMP story plays out much better as a TV episode than a $40 million blockbuster. At it’s heart, it is good Trek. But it took WAY too long to do what it needed to do. Did we really need 20 minutes of V’ger flyovers? It was neat to look at, sure. But the story really needed to move forward.


Did we really need 20 minutes of V’ger flyovers?

No, we did not. One or two minutes’ worth would have made for a much better movie. Sometimes less is more.

Overrated movie, with some of the worst science in the franchise.

TWOK? TMP? which is overrated?

TWOK has terrible science but is a great movie in spite of that; TSFS’ science is worse, but more importantly TSFS is not a good movie, with the most arbitrary plotting sabotaging what at first promises to be a helluva flick.

TMP is just a big, often-gorgeous, sometimes hideous mess, but it has some decent science and, along with TFF and TWOK, is the only one I really really like and rewatch a couple times per year.


It’s been a few years since I’ve watched TSFS, but I tend to think of it in two parts: before they go to the Genesis Planet and after. I think the before part is a good movie and I enjoy it a lot. I think your criticisms apply to the after part. Specifically, I would agree that the way David is killed off plays rather arbitrarily. Also, there’s no reason for Kruge to beam down to the self-destroying Genesis Planet, other than to have an obligatory mano-a-mano with Kirk, so that’s arbitrary, too. And they botched the whole katra logic in editing, as I recall, which makes it seem arbitrary as well. I’d like to watch this one again soon, now that I think about it.

Bingo! As a youth, I’d stop the VHS of TSFS after Kirk and crew stole the Enterprise… which, by the way, is my favorite scene (and music score) in all of Trek!!

Seems as good a time as any. SFS was decent and all but my real problem with it was it completely destroyed everything WOK was saying. It was also a real downer of a movie. The shot of Spock’s burial tube on Genesis was added to create an air of hope. There was none of that in SFS. Kirk and his crew were criminals. The Enterprise destroyed. It was pretty low and I left the theater feeling pretty low about the franchise.

Repudiating everything that TWOK was is just part of the problem for me with TSFS (and a big part, to be sure … did David have the entire Genesis team step out of the room when he slipped protomatter into the mix, and did he bribe the postmaster Galacticus to deliver the protomatter to him directly instead of dropping it at the Regula mailbox?)

It very much seems like Bennett just repeated sequences, but by applying the most modest of spins … this time, when baddies sneak up on Enterprise, Kirk shoots first. And instead of Kirk saying ‘you’re going to have to come down here’ to get Genesis, he tells Kruge he is going to have to bring them up to get it.

And Nimoy essentially defaced the Saavik character by directing her to play full-Vulcan, which, given the events she faces in the story, is nearly impossible (find me an actress who can unemotionally play “Admiral … David is dead” in full vulcan successfully, please), and so Curtis has gotten a lot of crap for basically following her director’s orders. If they had gotten Alley back, I think he would have had a very hard time getting her to go this route, and with good reason. Then again, I like Curtis as an actress far more than Alley, but Curtis simply has an unplayable role, so her win is just by sticking it out, whereas Alley had good material and still often mangled it (‘energize defense screens’ sounds more like a nervous high school cheerleader in over her head at a college frat party.)

Whoops, off on another SFS rant again, better quit before I get into the parts that REALLY tick me off …

I agree — with your name. Who cares indeed.

Yes TWOK is overrated. It’s no better acted than any of the other films, the effects aren’t any better, there are plot holes the size of a planet (example, why was the Ceti Alpha system even in the Genesis projects database of potential test sites), lots of other issues, such as the previously mentioned bad science. Yeah overall its not a bad film but it isnt the “holy grail”, and so its overrated.

I think if you watch TWOK for the first time today it does feel more like a joke. The science IS truly horrendous. Star Trek has stretched scientific credibility many times but not knowing a planet blew up in an era where its their JOBS to actually map and explore the galaxy is bizarre. And I never to this day understood why the entire point was to find a suitable planet to test Genesis with but then it just created a planet completely on its own lol. And in literally MINUTES! They made it sound like even if Genesis worked it would take a lot longer and that’s on an existing body. Why were they even looking for a planet if Genesis can create one on its own? It’s so weird but no one cared much then. Today, yeah, it wouldn’t get past the spec stage.

That said though I think the story is strong enough that it pushes away the plotholes for most people. It probably feels the most Trek in terms of ethical issues which is what Star Trek does great with and yes people just love Khan. I think if the story didn’t end with Spock dying I really doubt it would be held to such esteem today. People would still like it but I don’t think it would be as iconic if Scotty just pulled off one of his miracles and the ship warped out in time. That’s what keeps it in people’s heads IMO.


At the start of the film, Genesis is an experimental device meant to create a living ecosystem out of lifeless matter. Presumably no one knew exactly what would happen if they set the Genesis Device to detonate on a starship. Turns out it makes a living planet that is unstable. Of course, the sci-fi conceit of Genesis is not meant to be scientifically accurate — it’s a wholly novel idea, not based on any scientific research that I know of — but Genesis earns the suspension of disbelief that it asks of the audience by driving the entire plot and serving as a physical symbol for the death/rebirth theme that plays out in Kirk’s arc and (continuing in the sequel) also in Spock’s arc. Genesis gives the film and the audience a lot of bang for the buck that it asks, and since we go in knowing it’s a sci-fi movie, all’s fair.


But, you are right about Star Fleet and/or the Enterprise not knowing that Ceti Alpha VI was destroyed, especially if they’d stranded humans on the neighboring planet, a decision that one can hardly imagine any government agency today approving, let alone in the presumably more civilized future. Roger Ebert referred to this sort of plothole as “the stupid plot” or “the dumb plot,” wherein the plot relies on the characters being unreasonably ignorant of information that they should know. But, again, without the stupid plot in TWOK, we don’t get Khan taking our protagonists by surprise, a dramatic turn that works spectacularly well. So, yeah, logic-wise the plot could have been better written. But, again, the movie earns back this mistake and more. It’s fair to say that TWOK is not a perfect movie. But, it’s still a great movie.

Cygnas-X1… That is the exact reason why I have always claimed that if STD had been a better show, the canon inconsistencies and visual changes would not have been nearly the big thing they turned into. WOK is Exhibit A for that conclusion.

Cygnus, Genesis isn’t the science problem in TWOK. Genesis falls under the same category as Warp, Transporters, and stuff like that. The actual science problems are things like. Nebula particle density is so low that they only look like clouds from light years away, from inside it would just look like more space. No nebula known to humanity interferes with ordinary telescopic viewing through them, much less 23rd century sensors. The sort of problrms a half decent scientific advisor would have been easily able to explain. Of course the franchise isn’t the best on their advisor hires either, the hired an utter fraud as the Native American advisor for Voyager after all.

Who cares

No nebula known to humanity interferes with ordinary telescopic viewing

Well, two points here. The first regards “…known to humanity…”, considering that we’re being spun a sci-fi yarn. Maybe there are different types of nebulae in parts of space not yet unknown to humanity. Considering that 96% of the universe is composed of stuff that is currently a mystery, it’s not inconceivable that there might be some weird nebula somewhere that behaves in ways different from those with which we are familiar.

And, secondly, as stars and planets congeal within a nebula, the matter forming them naturally increases in density. A fully formed star or planet is too dense to see or send a signal through. So, what does a nebula look like as it gets closer and closer to congealing into a star or planet in a specific area? At some point, it would be very dense but not yet fully formed into a stellar body. Perhaps such is the state of the Mutara Nebula in the region where the action occurs in TWOK — very dense and relatively close to forming a star or planet.

Which to me make sense as said nebula material gets made into an entire planet, thanks to the Genesis device. It’s a stretch, sure. But one I can live with. It serves the story quite well.

I always considered the Mutara nebula to be ridiculously dense myself, but you make a pretty good point. Still, with Trek it’s just about always what plays best visually and dramatically. The scene where the Enterprise and the Reliant cruise right past one another is patently absurd even by the standards of the rest of the movie, yet it’s almost iconic.

Of course, I wasn’t saying Genesis is a scientific plothole so much as its just a plothole in itself. How would anyone not know this thing was capable of creating an entire planet on its own? How long have they been working and testing it? It just seems a bit implausible they have something that powerful and not know its implications. And it still doesn’t explain HOW it grew so fast.

That said, is it a really big deal, no. The movie has a very simple and straight forward story, but you still have to suspend your disbelief on a lot of things. But to be fair no more than most films I guess and you’re right it keeps to it’s death/rebirth theme. I just understand what Who Cares mean when a film is so celebrated but yet there is definitely sloppy story telling that no film could get away with today, but its still a great film in spite of it IMO.


I tend to pick out plotholes, myself. But, I honestly don’t find them here.

How would anyone not know this thing was capable of creating an entire planet on its own?

Because they hadn’t tried doing that with it yet. Maybe an unintended consequence of detonating Genesis on a starship is that it formed an unstable planet out of the protomatter and starship matter. Genesis was meant to be used under certain conditions, but Khan didn’t abide the instruction manual.

How long have they been working and testing it?

It’s portrayed as a cutting-edge, new technology that’s been kept under wraps. So, not long.

It just seems a bit implausible they have something that powerful and not know its implications. And it still doesn’t explain HOW it grew so fast.

But, that’s how it is with all technology — we’re constantly finding unintended consequences. And that’s one of the dramatic themes in the film that the Genesis Device symbolizes — recall McCoy’s dialogue concerning man’s hubris in playing God and so forth. The speed and other attributes of the Genesis Device, I grant, are sci-fi conceits that require suspension of disbelief.

Yes but it’s a pretty lazy ‘consequence’ that’s what I’m saying. How can you build something you think can only be used on an existing planet just to discover it can literally create a planet in itself? It means it creates its own matter. How can all these people not know something THAT significant about their own project? That in itself has major implications outside of simply terraforming. And why it seems about as ludicrous as not knowing a planet blew up or at least lacking instruments to know it did.

And again as I said, it’s not JUST that but how quickly it all formed. Marcus originally said what they made inside the moon took a day to form just the basic structure but all the life like the trees and plants took longer (but quicker than normal IIRC). But then at the end of the film, not only did an entire planet pop up but so did life in literally minutes lol. Trees and plants grew to full maturity. It defies basic logic.

Again not a big deal but its pretty clear that only happened at the end of the movie because they wanted to make it clear Spock would be fine and have him someplace safe if and when they brought him back in a sequel but it doesn’t pass the smell test. But it does make a nice ending so you just shrug and ignore it.


Yeah, I see what you’re saying. Those are fair points. The Genesis conceit, at the end of the film, does not logically comport with its portrayal at the beginning of the film.

There’s a fair amount of hand-waving there to make it all go together. They could have offered some sort of explanation for the differences in the Genesis effect at the end of the film vis-a-vis the Genesis effect at the beginning of the film. A single sentence could have tied it all together.

For me, one of the biggest mistakes is not the science stretching. It’s that no one recalled that Kirk exiled Khan and his followers to Ceti Alpha. That no one noticed there was one less planet in a mapped solar system. But again, the story needs to move forward so we forgive such a mistake as the overall product worked so well.

That fact was actually IN at least one Sowards draft or treatment. In STARLOG he mentioned that he introduced Chekov reviewing a tape about Khan prior to them going down there, so they were checking to see if he was still alive.


Actually, I believe you’ve already mentioned that the nebula was part of a protoplanetary disk system’s formation. So for the visual obscuring densities observed, there must have been plenty of matter surrounding Reliant from which to coalesce a planet if one nearby wasn’t itself already hiding next to it?


Keep in mind, that ending wasn’t part of the original script or cut of the film, but a kludge added by Harve, after he decided the test screening revealed the film ended on too much of a downer and risked killing the gold-laying goose.


Yes exactly! That’s what I mean. The ending of the film just doesn’t fit from what we were told how Genesis was suppose to act at all. And like you said, they could’ve thrown in a few lines to make it fit better. Or at the very least Carol and David could be surprised at the results they saw after the planet formed of how quickly life grew at least.

But as said it’s not a big deal. The ending worked emotionally which was probably what they were more invested in.


ML31 and Disinvited reminded me that the Genesis Device detonates within a nebula, which I’d forgotten about. So, Genesis doesn’t make its own matter, but rather coalesces and congeals the matter of the nebula into a planet (which is what the nebula would have done eventually, but on a much longer time scale). So, just as the Genesis Device speeds up ecosystem formation when it’s tested at the beginning of the film, it speeds up planetary formation (and subsequently ecosystem formation) at the end of the film. So, while the Genesis effect at the end of the film appears to be more powerful, more grandiose and faster than at the beginning of the film, it’s still the same type of effect, as opposed to being a new feature that the designers didn’t know about. The Genesis Device is defined for us as a technology that creates “life from lifelessness.” And that’s basically what it does in both cases. The main difference is that in the first case the planet on which Genesis creates life is already congealed into a solid body, whereas in the second case Genesis performs the extra step of gathering up all of the nebula matter and congealing it into a solid body on which it then creates life.


Keep in mind, that scene wasn’t in the original script, but rather, a kludge that was added by Harve without recourse to Nick.

There was only one scene added. It wasn’t the Genesis planet formation. It was the shot of Spock’s burial tube sitting on the surface of the planet. Because it was determined the ending without that did not have “hope”. So the shot of the tube was added to give the audience just that. They went out into a garden in Golden Gate Park and shot it.

I still laugh at the thought you shoot out this tube in space to a planet with no actual direction or safe location at thousands of miles an hour and of course it just lands comfortably on the planet lol. I guess maybe the planet had tractor beams to make sure it landed softly in the soil or something.

They deal with that in TSFS – “gravitational fields were in flux. It must have soft landed.”

So, to recap… We have identified two plotholes in TWOK:

(1) Khan has no reason (known to the audience) to recognize Chekov’s face.

(2) Star Fleet and the Enterprise should know that Ceti Alpha VI has exploded (because it’s their job to know things like that, especially when they’ve stranded humans on a neighboring planet, a plot point which is also a diegetic implausibility), but our protagonists are kept unreasonably ignorant in service of the plot.

Khan recognizing Chekov is not a plot hole. An inconsistency based on previously established mythology, perhaps, but not a plot hole. It never bothered me all that much, tbh. The Enterprise has 430 people on board. Just because we hadn’t seen Chekov yet doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. And let’s be real – Walter didn’t say anything because he knew he’d be getting a meatier role. Can’t blame him.

I agree about Ceti Alpha VI. I know the Reliant crew was bored, but it would’ve been really hard to miss that there was an entire planet missing and that one of the other planets was no longer in the same orbit. Not to mention all the debris that would be floating around from the explosion.

Brian Drew

The plot in TWOK is a continuation of the “Space Seed” plot. And the “inconsistency,” as you put it, is a hole in that plot, based on the information that the audience was presented in “Space Seed.” As you and I and others have pointed out, Trek fans’ imaginations are (more than) up to the challenge of ret-conning the plot of “Space Seed” to include an unseen, unmentioned, unimplied Ensign Chekov serving aboard the Enterprise contemporaneously with Khan’s visit. But, would we have ret-conned the “Space Seed” plot like that if we weren’t trying to fill in the plot hole in TWOK? I think the answer is no. We’re rationalizing Khan’s familiarity with Chekov’s face by assuming facts not in evidence. Was Chekov aboard the Enterprise during Khan’s visit? … (cont. below)

I think the Chekov thing qualifies according to the common meaning:

In fiction, a plot hole, plothole or plot error is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story’s plot.[1] Such inconsistencies include such things as illogical or impossible events,[2] and statements or events that contradict earlier events in the storyline.

htt ps://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Plot_hole
htt ps://thewritepractice. com/plot-holes/

(cont. from above)

Maybe, maybe not. We are able to imagine that he could have been, but if we go down that road, there’s no end to the things we can imagine might be happening that are neither shown nor implied. We can imagine all sorts of things that are not impossible to have happened, and then use them as bases for interpreting stories in ways that are not intended, and even in ways that are contrary to the filmmaker’s intent — and to the “Space Seed” writers’ intent, in this case. I think it’s fair to say that, in 1967, the “Space Seed” writers never intended a yet unwritten Ensign Chekov to have any interaction with Khan in that episode. So, yes, the Chekov thing is not a big deal. Yes, we can ret-con it to make sense. Yes, Walter Koenig’s decision is understandable. But, also, yes it’s a plot hole — albeit one that we are able to fill in with an assumption based on our desire to account for an apparent inconsistency.

P.S. Though, I think it’s fair to call it a goof or simply an inconsistency, if you prefer. I prefer to classify it under the umbrella of plot holes. One can make a case for the Chekov thing not being a plot hole on the basis of ret-cons being equally valid as, and not secondary to, the original scripts that they modify. But, even if one finds that argument persuasive, I think the Chekov thing is close enough to be included in a list of plot holes.

Regarding Checkov, I personally do not consider it a plot hole. To me, a plot hole is something that could derail the story in some way. Like a character forgetting he had the gun he took from the guy earlier. But Khan knowing Chekov doesn’t derail the story. In fact, it is necessary to propel it. (albeit it was not the ONLY way to move the plot forward) Self contained in that movie alone, it is not a plot hole. I call it an inconsistency as Chekov did not even exist as a character in the show when Space Seed was produced. Hard core fans know this and point at it. But if one didn’t know it, the scene works fine and the story goes forward.


To me, a plot hole is something that could derail the story in some way.

That’s an interesting definition, but it’s yours alone. The common meaning of plot hole is what I posted above — events unaccounted for, unexplained gaps in the story, errors in logic. Say we have a storyline involving people in pursuit of a MacGuffin. And there are 5 things that they need to do in order to reach the MacGuffin. Say the third thing in that sequence just sort of gets done without showing, telling or implying to the audience how it got done, and our protagonists move right on to the fourth thing and then finally to the fifth thing at the finale of the story. They get the MacGuffin and it’s The End. The story wasn’t derailed, but we are left with an unresolved issue: how did they accomplish the third thing? There’s clearly a hole in the plot, even though it doesn’t qualify by your definition. Your definition requires a certain degree of severity in order for the issue to qualify as a plot hole — only extremely disruptive plot holes are plot holes. The common usage, however, does not rely on any particular degree of severity for the oversight to be called a plot hole. Plot holes can by tiny, huge and every size in between.

What you described I wouldn’t call a plot hole. It feels more like an editing mistake than anything else. Missing scenes can create, but are not necessarily plot holes. It just depends on the context. A plot hole would be something where the viewer is able to legitimately say, “why didn’t they do that earlier?” Or, “It doesn’t make sense they do X because of Y.” Such things derail the story by taking the viewer out of it.


The mistake I described could be one of editing or writing — I was trying to keep it as general as possible. But, a plot hole due to editing is no less a plot hole than one originating in the script — they’re both unexplained gaps creating problems in the diegetic logic. FIRST CONTACT is riddled with plot holes, and most fans seem to think that the story is not derailed from start to finish. I’ll list two of them below, though there are many more.

Firstly, the whole premise of the story is a giant plot hole: the Borg obviously have the technology to create their time-travel portal anywhere in space, and yet they choose to create it right next to the Enterprise, thereby alerting them to their plan and providing them the opportunity to foil it. We know the Borg aren’t stupid, but no other reason is given for their choice. This is a major plot hole in the set-up of the story, and yet the storyline manages to leap over it. A smaller plot hole is when Picard et al go out onto the Enterprise deflector dish to release it. Picard warns his team not to fire phasers while on the dish because the dish is charged with anti-protons, and hitting the dish with phaser fire will destroy half the ship (matter/anti-matter explosion). Minutes later, however, Picard, himself, fires his phaser directly at the deflector dish, sending an unwitting Borg flying out into space, and the Enterprise is no worse for the wear. There’s a logical inconsistency here between the dialogue and the events of the story. Why didn’t half the Enterprise blow up? No reason is given. But, it doesn’t derail the storyline. We are still able to follow subsequent events in the plot.

Another big plot hole in FIRST CONTACT: the Borg’s goal in the story is to eliminate humanity as a threat. And they have the technology to travel backwards in time. Yet, instead of traveling back to a period when humanity was technologically primitive (say the 8th Century), easily assimilating all humans on the Earth and thereby, not only eliminating the human threat permanently, but also increasing their own ranks of Borg drones in the process, the Borg use their time-travel technology merely to attempt to destroy the Phoenix and thereby prevent first contact between humans and Vulcans. Why do the Borg make such a stupid decision? We know they’re not strategically incompetent, and yet they act like they are, willfully giving up a huge tactical advantage over their human foes. It’s a big plot hole at the very beginning of the movie, but the story trudges onward.

The problem there is time travel. A lot must be suspended in order to make such stories work. Just look at Generations. Why did Picard take Kirk back to the fight with Soren on the planet? Why not go back to 10 Forward and if not arrest him have a couple of security guards hover near him the entire time? For that matter, why not go back and prevent his brother’s family from burning to death? For me, time travel only works as a dramatic plot device when for some reason or other the characters don’t have control of it or there is some sort of rule in place to prevent easy time travel fixes. Also, there are plot holes that are there more for dramatic effect than anything else. In WOK for example, Kirk and Spock entering the turbolift from the bridge but running into Scotty carrying a wounded Preston. Why was he taking him to the bridge? Shouldn’t he be going to sick bay? It makes no sense except to create a moment symbolizing the price of the attack. I think in the novel Kirk and Spock ran into Scotty en route where he told them, “I have to get him to sick bay!” Which makes more sense. At any rate, some plot holes are more easily dismissed than others. Like the time travel ones.


I agree. Time travel must have constraints in order to really work well as a plot device. DS9 introduced the apologetic device of acknowledging that time-travel logic is too complicated to make sense of in “Trials and Tribble-ations,” with the Temporal Investigators. Being a novel device at the time, it worked reasonably well at getting us to overlook any logic problems flowing from the myriad time-travel paradoxes. But, then, VOY nicked that apologetic device and started using it with some regularity, turning it into a cliche. Orci’s backstory for ST09 being set in a parallel universe obviates any and all time-travel paradoxes, though there’s no direct mention in the film that it’s set in a parallel universe, leaving many viewers with the impression that it wasn’t. The closest we get is Uhura remarking that they’re in an “alternate reality,” which is very general. It could mean a parallel universe or an alternate timeline within the Prime universe. I can understand why so many writers like using time-travel as a plot device — it does open the door to many compelling thematic concepts — but it also tends to yield a Swiss-cheese plot if it’s not handled right. There must be constraints on the time-traveling and persuasive reasons for those constraints.


The coalescing, yes, but the only scene revealing advanced plant and other lifeforms had formed on its surface was the coffin on the surface scene that was added.

As a young child in the theater I assumed that the planet was made from the matter of the Reliant AND the nebula. The nebula was huge. Plenty of matter to make a planet.



Genesis was the Regula “rock in space”… Kirk and crew were just traveling at impulse while battling the Reliant. They didn’t travel that far and the Genesis explosion and wave was just massive.

Hey, I’m just trying to backfill plot holes like the rest of ya!

My takeaway on Genesis was that it should work fine if done under controlled conditions. Presumably the cave on Regula is an example of that. The next step up would be taking a planet and seeing how it worked there. Detonating it in a volume of space that is filled with more material than just a planet skews the whole thing and gives them license to have it develop into anything (I was thinking it was going to form into a whole star system – hence the nearby sun, though folks have pointed out there is a large point light source in the nebula already, so presumably that survived being Genesised and served as the new planet’s star.)

I very strenuously disagree about the plot not getting by today, because except for the odd ‘good’ movie, pretty much everything seems to have Matrix/M:I2 physics (which is fine in THE MATRIX, far beyond laughable on Earthin M:i 2 – two motorcycles hit each other at combined speeds of 150mph and the occupants get up after colliding and duke it out, only to have one vanquish the other thanks to spring-loaded sand that permits a gun to be kicked sideways so it pops straight up in the air? BRADY PHYSICS for $200.)

The following is just my takeaway on the incompetence displayed in TWOK (and especially SFS.) Starfleet ain’t what it used to be. That was kind of borne out by Sowards’ original treatment, in which Starfleet had stopped exploring and was just holding onto existing territories, and that was forming the basis for Kirk’s midlife crises (everything I gave my life to is no more, what was the point? kind of like TUC but without the cold war angle.) So Starfleet losing track of planets seems more like business as usual if you plug it into the way things work in recent decades, and that is exactly the environment I see in SFS — that it is all bureaucracy and political paranoia, very late 20th century in outlook. Honestly, if I were GR I’d’ve been more concerned about that aspect than anything else, and yet there’s very little focusing on that (though to his credit David Gerrold was all over this in his early review of SFS, thinking maybe Starfleet never wants this team working together again.)

It’s been more than a few years, but if I remember correctly, in the novelization of TSFS, David and Saavik returned to the genesis cave on Regula and there was evidence that something wasn’t quite right with the plants that were growing in the cave. So I think genesis would have been a failure even if it had been tested in an ideal situation.

The whole ceti alpha plot hole didn’t bother me much. Khan made it clear that Kirk and Starfleet pretty much forgot about them and never bothered to check on their progress. Maybe Starfleet assumed it was Ceti Alpha V that had exploded, so that is why they never bothered to check on Khan and his followers.. Khan did say that the orbit of the planet had shifted.

According to scientists thr whole “one planet blows up and shifts another’s orbit” is impossible as well.


From what we understand of the planetary migrations in the formation of our own planetary system, it’s not the explosion nor that it could propel a piece big enough to eventually whiz by and gravitationaly alter a planet’s orbit that’s preposterous, but, rather, the instantaneousness of it in Khan’s tale.

A more likely immediate wife-killing threat would have been C5’s being extensively altered by thousands of impacts but we see no evidence of such geologically recent cratering visually nor does the Reliant mention it’s surface being extensively cratered in its approaching scans–not to mention Khan, himself, fails to mention it.

I wasn’t going to even go there, but the novelization for SFS — while a lot more interesting than the movie for the most part (like Kirk telling Scotty to stop singing Danny Boy) — goes a lot of places that don’t really serve the discussion. By showing the cave as having failed, that fits the retcon of protomatter, but if you don’t have that in TWOK and deal just based on what is there, it is easy for me to buy into it being detonated in the wrong conditions and whatever happening afterwards being a result of that. Non-Trek SF example that comes to mind is if you had done teleportation in, say, THE FLY, but sent somebody from a pod out into the open, then perhaps you’d have had an explosion, what with pouring man-sized matter into an environment that already had molecules occupying it.

I would say that the acting in “Star Trek II” was spot on. Especially Montalban who was such a great villain and so much better than any that followed him.
I would say its a great “Star Trek”, but I wouldn’t put it up there with “Citizen Kane” or “Casablanca”.

It’s not only the best Trek film.
It’s the best submarine movie in space ever made.

Only until I finally get to make a film adaptation of Glenn Cook’s PASSAGE AT ARMS.

Sounds interesting! Good luck.

Re: TMP being the most expensive movie of all time, supposedly many millions of that alleged budget were the costs of the failed Phase Two series development that got dumped into the movie accounting.

William Shatner’s book “Star Trek Movies Memories” has a very good history of Wrath of Khan.

If you want to get an appreciation for Ricardo Montalban’s deep and long career he did a 3 hour interview with the Archives of Television (the Emmy people) that covers all aspects of his acting career. His roots were in the golden age of Hollywood movies at MGM.

If you read RETURN TO TOMORROW, there’s plenty of evidence offered up that phase 2’s costs and previous unmade treks charged to TMP still only comes to around 5 mil, which is barely 1/10 of TMP’s cost. The first VFX company cost them about 6 mil, and the overtime costs to finish the thing on time might have come to double that. Phil Rawlins says the overall costs were at 37 mil BEFORE the spacewalk was reshot, so that means the remaining 5, 7 or 9 mil (or more) was accrued just during the last three months or so. Given the number of units shooting effects and all the crush on sound and editing, I find that very credible.

You are probably correct. The development of TMP was a mess from beginning to end, and of course there was a lot of fruitless development work that proceeded that process with multiple abandoned movie projects like Roddenberry’s God Thing and the Planet of the Titans, etc.


It wasn’t just the Phase II abort that was put on TMP’s ledger, Paramount’s Whigs kept starting and changing course on various Trek productions before they got to that. And as I recall the cya execs threw everything, even the cost of the Paramount Television Network abort, itself,on TMP’s books.

Yeah, I mentioned ‘previous unmade treks’ as well. If they actually charged PTN to it, that’d be a neat trick, though, given that would have involved different production entities, the parties involved in producing the never-made movies that would have filled out the rest of the night’s programming.

its a great movie but now a millstone round the neck of the movie series.
most of the films being clones of ‘wrath’, including the kelvin run so far.

It’s a good film but very overrated

So you are saying there is a better Star Trek film out there?

Glaring screw up not mentioned when Khan on Ceti Alpha 5 says “but you, I never forget a face (dramatic pause) Mister Chekov”, even though Walter Koenig and his moptop don’t join the cast until season 2 and Space seed was season 1

Continuity issue easily fixed by flipping Sulu and Chekov, but George Takei probably protested as doing so might damage position on Star Fleet promotion list!lol

The Chekov thing is well known, it’s probably the most well known nitpick in Trek, so we didn’t feel the need to rehash it. Getting into the plot details of TWOK has been done many times, so that wasn’t really our angle for this podcast.

To this day I still wonder why they had to pretend Khan knew him. They simply could’ve made the point he served with Kirk and that’s all that was needed.

I think they simply goofed. You can watch all 79 episodes (as Harve reportedly did) and still get some things wrong. Especially if you’re not exactly a fan.

I know but this is just kind of common sense stuff when you have the actors who literally worked on the production there. Both Ricardo Montalban and Walter Koenig knew the guy wasn’t actually on the show during Space Seed so the line made no sense to them. It takes 10 seconds by one to remind someone.

Of course, I never been on a movie or TV set, so I have no idea how the process works. But it is kind of a head shaker how little things can get missed by so many people since you have an entire production of people working on it and not just the one who wrote it.

During any episode of TOS, we only saw a few of the crew members. The ship had 430 crew, so every week there were more than 400 crew members we did not see. It’s easy to explain Chekov as one we didn’t see during “Space Seed.” (Yes, I know Koenig hadn’t joined the show yet, but the CHARACTER Chekov could have already been aboard. Khan saw him, probably in the data files he read in sickbay.)

This was NEVER a serious goof, never a real issue of any kind. It’s the most easily explained inconsistency in all of Trek.

PaulB I get that but I’m talking about the actual production. The character simply wasn’t part of the show season one. Now you can explain it away that way but the point is we never saw Khan actually meet Chekhov for a simple reason, the character wasn’t written yet.

I never said it was a serious goof, but it was definitely a goof.


It’s explainable as a ret-con (i.e. Chekov was a crew member, but we just never saw him). But, that’s no basis for a dramatic scene like the one in question. Calling that much attention to Khan’s familiarity with Chekov doesn’t really make sense if the audience never saw Chekov and Khan together in “Space Seed.” If the writers had been conscious of the fact that Chekov was not a character in Season 1, I strongly suspect they’d have written the scene differently – either with another crew member in place of Chekov, or with different dialogue that was consistent with us never having seen Chekov and Khan together in “Space Seed.” We cant read minds, but I think it’s a safe bet that the Chekov/Khan scene was simply an understandable oversight by writers who weren’t as familiar with every TOS episode as the fans were.

This is exactly the point. It’s one thing if you want to pretend Chekhov was onboard the ship in season one, but it’s another to have Khan say he met him from that episode because naturally you would expect to see them at least in a room together in the episode. It sets it up that way. That’s why you can consider it retcon, but it’s still feels like an unintentional mistake.

Montalban probably didn’t remember. It was only a guest star gig for him and he would’ve had minimal interaction with the other supporting players. It wouldn’t have even really been his place to say something. And Koenig wisely kept quiet rather than cheat himself into a smaller part. Can’t blame him. It’s even likely if he had brought it up nobody would have cared.


I’ve herd Koenig admit he recalled at the time that he wasn’t in SPACE SEED, and admit he wasn’t going to bring it up and risk losing all his big scenes, so you are right.

OK, now THAT’s funny! I can’t blame Koenig at all either. I probably would’ve done the same thing and kept my mouth shut if it got me more scenes out of it.

That is funny.

I’d have kept my mouth shut, too.

I agree. The real line that hurt was “never forget a face”. Khan was smart. All they had to do was have Terrell call him Chekov then Khan steps back and asks “Ens Pavel Chekov? Where is Captain Kirk?!” Boom. Problem solved. It is a famous nit pick. But again, the film is good enough to ignore them.

We the fans know that Walter Koenig joined the show in the Second Season of “Star Trek” as Chekov, but I don’t think its too much of a stretch to imagine a young ensign Chekov somewhere on the Enterprise when Khan had his brief stay on the Enterprise.

Its not a huge deal and yes you can say Chekhov was on the Enterprise but we still never saw Khan interact with him. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to include that even if you can imagine him there.

It makes perfect sense. Khan only said he remembered Chekov’s face. He didn’t claim they knew each other or had interacted.

This is what happens on the internet, the constant hair splitting. It’s pretty obvious in the scene Khan knew Chekhov. Not only that, the way Chekhov reacted to Khan was clear he met him as well.

Khan literally says “I never thought to see your face again.” That sounds like something you say to someone you actually met before, not someone you’re meeting for the first time.

This is what bothers me about how some arguments work I guess. When someone hate something they find EVERY reason to point out its mistakes. When they love something, they find every reason to defend them. I love TWOK like many here. It’s still my favorite Star Trek film. But its faaaaar from perfect and a lot of it doesn’t make a lot of sense when you think about it for too long. Now I’ll say it again Khan knowing Chekhov is NOT a big deal in itself at all. It doesn’t detract from the film in any way, especially if you never even seen Space Seed. But if you can’t even admit it’s a goof, this sort of proves the point.

I admit it’s a goof. A tiny, insignificant, utterly explainable goof. People like you, who gripe about it, are the problem, not those of us who keep pointing out that it’s a minor goof.

You’re writing more on this than any of us, showing that it’s a rather obsessive point for you. That’s sad.

When I saw TWOK in theaters in ’82, and Khan & Chekov recognized each other, I thought “Hmm, I guess they must’ve bumped into each other between scenes.” And went on with my life…

It only became an issue when people such as you starting whining about it, mostly on the Internet, and making that tiny GOOF into a decades-long debate.

Get over it.

LOL I’m not ‘griping’, I simply pointed it out. How many TIMES have I said it’s not a big deal? In the post where you responded to me was literally the first words I said. I would’ve left it there, but you responded to it. How is that obsessive? I been on this site for years, there have been PLENTY of TWOK articles since I been here, I never commented on this until now.

Calm down. I DON’T CARE about the goof, OK, but making excuses for it or pretending like it isn’t one are just fans who want to ignore something they love.

Fine, but you actually can still admit mistakes and love it though, right? No one said that was illegal. ;)

“Now I’ll say it again Khan knowing Chekhov is NOT a big deal in itself at all. It doesn’t detract from the film in any way, especially if you never even seen Space Seed.”

I mean how much more clearer can I be on this? It’s just a discussion about it man, nothing more. I’m not trying to make people hate the film over it. Relax.

You’ve become quiet emotional over a few replies. Compare how much you’ve written in this thread to how much I’ve written, and compare the emotionality. I am not the one needing to relax. Have a nice evening, Tiger.

You literally told me to ‘get over it’ lol. As if this is something that’s been bothering me for decades or I bring up in every article or something. It’s not. Someone ELSE brought it up here first, not me. If he didn’t I wouldn’t be talking about it now. I simply responded like everyone else to have a CONVERSATION, even if you disagree with me. Is that OK to do?

That said it’s no hard feelings and we don’t even disagree on the issue that much. And I can buy the reasoning, because as said, its not a big deal to me. If people want to believe Khan passed Chekhov in the hallway, fine! It’s an old movie made in a different time, so you either accept it or don’t.

Jeez, Tiger… Why do you always have to gripe about that Khan/Chekov scene? No matter what the thread is about, you always bring it back to Khan and Chekov in TWOK. ;>)

I literally pointed out that he’s obsessing in THIS THREAD, not others. Try reading better before attempting jokes.

Well I have been told by one or two people here I have a habit of bringing things up over and over again. ;D

But yeah this is not one of them. I don’t remotely care about it. I only thought about it when it was brought here and I just commented that they could’ve found another way of connecting the two characters. But its been talked about ad nauseam which is why they probably didn’t bring it up in the podcast. That and most fans probably just don’t care. But you can still admit it was a mistake, even if it’s minor since all films have them. This was just one that was obvious for Trek fans and could’ve easily been avoided.

It’s a fine point to raise, in any case. That’s what this thread is for. What are we trying to win Pulitzers over here? We’re Trek fans here to discuss and debate Trek minutiae. It’s what we do.

“we the fans”, lighten up Francis, I probably saw every episode 15 times while you were still a glean in your daddy’s eye thanks to channel 11 in NYC back in the day, 6:00pm Monday through Friday, that should at least spare me condescension from someone probably fit only for the merchant service, like Merricus!

….I was right there with you, every night. WPIX!

As with STTOS, Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan remains the Best Star Trek film ever.
I’ll never be persuaded otherwise no matter what anyone says.
I’m old enough to say I was there from the beginning and have watched Star Trek morph and change through the decades some times for the better, most times not so much.
But it all comes back to the beginning.

Such a great movie. The first time I saw it was on video in 1983 when I was nine at my grandparents. The parts I remember most was the eels going in and out of the ears of Chekov. I ended up not watching the ending, so I missed the part where Spock died. The only Trek movie I saw as a kid after that was The Voyage Home, which I loved. We had it on video and I rewatched it many times.
Anyway, I did not re-watch Wrath of Khan until 8 years later while a senior in high school. After that, I became hooked as a real Trek fan and watched it many times since. No other Trek movie comes close to the quality of Wrath of Khan. In fact, it just feels like the most professionally made movie of all the Trek movies, but I am not sure why. Maybe it’s the quality of the acting, directing, the musical score, camera-work, I am not sure. It just feels like high quality.

My favorite scene is the one at Kirk’s apartment when Bones comes to give him his birthday present. It has the sense of like a play at a theater: just two great actors with great lines with one mostly static camera. It makes me wish movies were still made like that.

It would be great if somebody cataloged all of the antiques in Kirk’s collection in his apartment.

Khan was a very wicked fellow, to be sure…

Star Trek Hall of Fame would make for a great Shuttlepod topic! Each Shuttle Pod member could submit their top 5 and discuss.

Here’s my top 5 Trek Hall of Famers

1. Gene Roddenberry (obviously)
2. Harve Bennet (Brian made a convincing argument)
3. Gene Coon
4. Matt Jeffries
5. Rick Berman

Great idea we’ll file that one away for a future topic :)

Watched it in theaters a half-dozen times when it came out, have seen it dozens of times since. The classic. An epic story of friendship, of aging, of retribution. And an epic space battle. In a word: Epic.

with regards to Horner’score… some parts of the Aliens soundtrack are just a few notes different from parts of TWOK and TSFS. The colonial Marines theme is somewhere exactly between the Reliant/Khan theme, and the Klingon theme from Search for Spock.

Those same notes are all over THE WOLFEN score of Horner’s as well, and if you listen to UNCOMMON VALOR or BRAINSTORM, you’ll hear a lot of SFS. If a writer did what Horner did, he’d be a laughingstock and sued out of existence for plagiarism. Probably more than 3/4 of every Horner score owes to other better composers he is pinching from (Ligeti in 2001 is stolen wholesale for the opening credits of ALIENS and for a sequence in PATRIOT GAMES) or Horner riffing on his own past works, done for other companies. He was shameless, and I have always found it shameful.

Still, even with all that, I admit that the action cues in his TWOK score make for great listening.

I think it was pretty obvious he stole from himself quite a bit.

since I’ve only seen a few films he scored it wasn’t obvious to me (shrugs)

@kmart agreed

Listen to his score for Bicentennial Man.
As far as I am concerned, it is Horners best music.

Kirk whines about getting old in TWOK — The actor is 52 at the time. I was 19 when this came out, 56 now. So… HA! btw, Kirk complains about his age TMP, TWOK, & TSFS, doesn’t get the girl in TVH, climbs a rock to prove he’s virile in TFF, faces retirement in TUC, and finally considers marriage in GENs.

Isn’t 60 the new 40 :)

Yes, Mike, but the trouble with that is, 9 PM is the new midnight! :)

Drat, I knew there would be a snag!

And Viagra is the new Tic Tac.

I took Viagra last night, but it didn’t work. Funny thing is, today I have a stiff neck!

I left ‘Into Darkness’ feeling WTF? I have tried to rewatch it and get to just before Cumberbatch announced his real name. I can’t go further. After that, it’s 100% plagerism. Not homage, not deconstructing, not reimagined. Plagerism.

you must never watch it again. its not for you

Creating Saavik was brilliant

“Luetenant, have you changed your hair style” :)

And it would have been better still had she been in TUC. She still would have been the obvious collaborator. None of our regular cast would be involved. But she would have been a tad less obvious than Valaris. The newbie.


Good point. Wonder why they didn’t go that way. Surely they must have considered it. Maybe they thought Saavik didn’t have quite the right personality for the sort of collaborator that they had in mind. Kim Cattrall brought a unique personality to her Vulcan character.

The story I heard was that Meyer wanted Alley back to play Saavik. Not Curtis. And he wasn’t going to use Saavik unless Alley played her. So a new character was inserted as Alley could/would not come back.

I heard the Roddenberry felt Saavik had attained “beloved status” and should not be shown to be a villain.
Thus the creation of another Saavik in all but name…


Makes sense. Having witnessed the arbitrary execution of David, one could see Saavik having motives against a peace treaty with the Klingons. But, one can also see fans feeling disillusioned by her turning against Kirk et al.

I think that is a myth. GR may have felt that way but his opinion didn’t carry any weight with Bennett and the Producers of the feature films. I really think the story of Meyer wanting Alley back rings more true.

Kirsty Alley was at the peak of her success at the time with Cheers and Look Who’s Talking. She wasn’t available or affordable on a budget that had reduced Nick Meyer to tears when he saw it. A second recast of Saavik was off the table. I actually feel badly for Miss Curtis: she’d been directed by Leonard Nimoy to play the character as a straightforward Vulcan, stripping her of any of the quirks that made Saavik fun. I mean, even Spock’s funeral scene in TWOK had the blackly comic moment where you realise Saavik’s changed her hairstyle yet again! Had Miss Curtis been given the chance, I think she could have played the Alley version of Saavik perfectly well.

Who could have predicted that there would be 5 movies after this with the Original cast

4 movies

I include Gen

you must not do that

The other big change from TMP was the uniforms

There’s a saying that talent borrows and genius steals. TWOK drew heavily from Moby Dick and CS Forrester, along with The Bedford Incident. Perhaps the biggest steal was from Prokofiev’s score to the Eisenstein film Alexander Nevsky.

Certainly, TWOK is one of the best ‘high seas’ adventure movies ever made, even if it did transplant events into space and is a superb study of the man Jim Kirk, just proving that when a movie is well enough written, it can give a character as much depth as a multi-season TV show.