Watch: Nicholas Meyer On What He Got Wrong In ‘Star Trek II’ – Exclusive Clip From ‘In Search Of Tomorrow’

In Search of Tomorrow is a crowdfunded documentary focusing on on 1980s sci-fi cinema, a pivotal era for the genre and for the Star Trek film franchise. We first reported on this crowdfunded doc as it was being developed in 2020, and the five-hour “superdoc” will be shipping by May. And we have a clip.

Meyer on why Spock had to die in Star Trek II

In Search of Tomorrow will cover the Star Trek films from the 1980s, with a special focus on the iconic film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In the following clip director Nicholas Meyer, along with actor Ike Eisenmann (Peter Preston), and Adam Nimoy (son of late actor/director Leonard Nimoy) talk about the death of Spock in Star Trek II.

In Search of Tomorrow to explore Star Trek movies and more 1980s

The doc includes new interviews with more Star Trek veterans and Trekperts including Walter Koenig, John Dykstra, Kurtwood Smith, Dayton Ward, and Wil Wheaton. Also included will be dozens of interviews with more icons of 1980s sci-fi including Peter Weller (Robocop, Buckaroo Banzai), Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters), Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), Sean Young (Blade Runner, Dune), Bruce Boxleitner (TRON), Paul Verhoeven, (RoboCop), Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace), and many more.

Here is the latest trailer.

Last chance to pre-order and get your name in the credits

The last pre-order campaign wraps on March 27. Sci-Fi fans can pick up a unique package that features the Blu-Ray (or DVD), Slipcase, 3x Posters, Stickers, Digital Download, Soundtrack (Digital), and their Name in the Credits. Available exclusively from

Keep up with all the Star Trek-related documentary news, previews and reviews at

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As good as TWOK was, admittedly what pushed the film into the popular culture stratosphere was Spock’s death. And it was emotional and heartfelt because it did feel like he was suppose to die and stay dead. If they pulled a STID and revived him ten minutes later, obviously the impact wouldn’t have been the same.

That said I can’t blame the studio for at least creating the possibility of trying to bring him back. And I also think there was fear that a lot of fans would just abandon the next film if he wasn’t there. I’m sure after a few years most would’ve been fine with it and moved on, but these are also Star Trek fans we’re talking about. ;)

I still love the irony Nimoy was trying to stop playing this character as early as TAS being cancelled and yet he ended up playing his character longer than any TOS cast member since; even playing him again after he retired.

When I was six around 1986 I was so happy they brought back Spock (but was so sad about the loss of the Ent in III did not watch again until like 9?).
Now however I think they should have… shudder, kept Spock dead. Don’t get me wrong, he was an awesome character but I think Saavik would have developed as a character and along with David Marcus would have opened the door for a real TOS movie next generation and the series to continue. When you read the DC comics of the time it was just fantastic having TWOK Star Trek as a series with Saavik as science officer.
IV was awesome at the time and I loved VI, but I feel it cost us Star Trek TWOK as a setup for the next generation (which would have been sooo much better than what we got).
Note – a strange solution to bring back Spock without bringing back Spock would have been the Mirror Universe saga. You have mirror Spock come back to warn of a mirror universe invasion.

Is it that Chekov and Khan never met?

What he got wrong was that he made the film too good!! , and ever since the trek films have been trying to recapture that Khan magic.. (well the TNG movies onwards anyway)

it has had a stranglehold over the franchsie.


it has had a stranglehold over the franchise.

Into Darkness is a better film.


lol I enjoyed ID immensely at the time and even now its still a fun watch . But better than the *real* Star Trek 2? be like saying Man of Steel 2013 is better than Superman II 😄


Thank goodness, we got III, IV, V, VI, 2009 & ITD with Spock.

Not forgetting unification

I must admit, I watch ST III and V the most! (Something about prime numbers, maybe?) ;)

III puts kirk through the wringer more so than ‘khan’ and V is flawed but has that big 3 chemistry and some great lines-

‘what does god want with a starship??!?!??!?’

and the Goldsmith music for V is amongst the best

And a great soundtrack!

IMHO, the soundtracks for III and V are the best scores in the ST franchise. (I do really dig the “blaster beam” stuff in TMP, though!) :)

You’re a glutton for punishment then?

V has a lot of great moments and I include the campfire scene among them.

“I’ve always known I’ll die alone.”

That line always got to me and when he dies at the end of Generations I couldn’t help but think, that for all intents and purposes, he did.

Denny C: Yes! Even the least liked films have great moments! :)

You’re probably right … but can you tell me where the one in NEMESIS is located? (Maybe they cloaked it.)

Hmm. Since I haven’t watched that one in ages, I guess I should watch it again, as the only ST film me and the late missus came THISCLOSE to walking out on.

I remember when walking out on movies was a more than occasional thing for me, but I don’t think I’ve done it since THE FIRM, which must have been more than 30 years ago. I wanted to walk out on the remake of THE BEGUILED and on THE BOX TROLLS (the former because it didn’t speak to me at all and looked like mush, the latter because the projection was so dim and bad — I guess that’s normal for 3D but that was the first 3D movie I had seen in a theater since the late 70s), but they were special screenings and I was practically the only person there, so I figured it would have been very rude.

I just realized … except for an advanced screening of SEBERG (which I loved), those were the two last times I set foot in a movie theater. Haven’t paid to go see a movie in a theater since second viewing of GRAVITY in 2013. If you’d told me that back in 1979, I’d have said you were full of … navy beans or something.

riker last scene with picard.

‘the honour was mine’

tony: Thumbs up! ;)

‘…i need my pain!’

Being true to the drama of the story, Meyer wasn’t wrong about having Spock BE dead. No resurrection.
But, for the sake of the Star Trek franchise, it was good that they brought him back to life.

sure, but the sacrifices that kirk makes to get him back make III a great film too.

‘the cost would have been my soul….’

Oh, sure, Tony, I agree.
Think about it…in TWOK Kirk was attacked by Khan and had to react in self defence. In TSFS Kirk was back on Earth and decided to sacrifice everything and go back into space in service of his friend Spock.
Both films had great dramatic appeal, then the franchise decided to go off the rails with the farcical TVH. Death, resurrection and honour went out the window, replaced by slapstick humor crap.

TVH was a nice change of pace, as cheesy as a few OS eps trying for a humorous tone.

But VH was also more of the problem solving aspect of the OS than the death, battle scenes in the rest of the movies

and the reason why VH became the most popular of the classic OS movie at the box office.

A lot of good, fun, non-cynical movies in the ’80s. I really *wanted* to go to the movies back then!

Looks to be a verrry interesting doc. Ordered! :)

I’m very torn on this. Thematically, I think he was right to not have the coffin scene and just let Spock stay dead. In a sense, bringing him back from the dead was a cheap trick and undercut the main theme of WoK. But… I still think very highly of the Spock character and I’m not sure how Trek would have continued without him. And TUC was a GREAT finale for TOS. In the end while I think both options have their merits I think bringing him back was probably the right move for the franchise. WoK still stands up very well on its own, too.

And, we got a very good Trek Director

Holy moly so many legends in this. This is a definitive must watch for all sci-fi geeks of the 80s. Also it is kind of bittersweet seeing the recently passed Ivan Reitman here.

40 years on this is still the best Trek film. That’s both marvelous and quite depressing at the same time. You could say it began with TWOK and ended with TWOK.

III was/is almost as good as II (imo, I know not many would think that), VI was incredible and considered as good if not better than II at the time. FC is near equal to II in many fans minds. But yeah II *IS* the best by far really. The one trek film that can inflitrate into ‘best Sci Fi film’ lists

I consider II and III kind of one long movie. I never watch one without the other. Love both.

it’s a trilogy – II,III, IV – that’s the only way to do it
Then when you watch V, just head-canon that everything after the campground is a whiskey and beans fever dream of Kirk and none of that ever happened.

“it’s a trilogy – II, III, IV – that’s the only way to do it”

Maybe it could have been more than a trilogy, because Khan was alive when Kirk was looking for whales in 1986. “Hey, let’s bump off Khan while we’re here and none of this crap will have happened.” Of course, it was Khan who set in motion the events that led to the crew’s being in a position to save Earth from the whale probe, so maybe not.

People say the same about CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but I never watch those paired, because stylistically they are so far apart (though I also HATE CR and find just a few parts of QUANTUM the only good Bond stuff thus far this century.)

Ditto for TWOK/TSFS, since there is actually a good use of inserts and clever angles in TWOK, whereas TSFS is pretty pedestrian with the live-action shooting. Plus TSFS pretty much just recycles TWOK’s setpieces, just sets them on their ear (this time Kirk shoots first, instead of Khan, and later, instead of him saying ‘you’re going to have to come down here’ he says you’re going to have to bring us up there to get it. TSFS has some heart to it up front, but there’s so much bad about it that it keeps me from watching it straight through.

To each his own.

the first scene of CR and and the last one of QoS are bookends to bond becoming 007.

That would mean the Tosca scene is the midpoint or actual moment that he ‘becomes’ 007, because that (and the ending you cite) are the only scenes I like in Craig’s entire tenure.

He got a LOT wrong! Kirk and Khan never met face to face; only on viewer screens! He dressed Khan & Co. like an 80’s Heavy Metal band! He shamelessly reused footage from the first film. His casting choice for Kirk’s son was cringe-worthy. His use of decades-old fire extinguishers looked hokey. Etc.,etc.

And yet all of it worked fantastically 🤗

fptot: That it did! :)

Kirk and Khan not meeting face to face made the film that much more effective. It was all about ego, intellect and experience.

As for the reused footage, the film had a fairly tight budget so this was ultimately a cost saving measure.

As for casting, that’s purely subjective. Merritt Buttrick was a good actor who died way too young.

And in all the years since this film’s release, this is the first I’ve ever heard anyone mention the fire extinguishers.

he made a submarine movie where it makes total sense that the two ship captains wouldn’t meet face to face – and it was glorious.

There was plans for an elaborate face off with khan using mind control to torment Kirk but it was nixed.

For the best, I read what that was about and sounded like something from an 80s sword & sorcery film

HE didn’t shamelessly reuse anything; that was Bennett and Sallin’s call very early on, even before Meyer was hired. The movie looks cheap, but that’s because it was cheap — Meyer said that if he could have, he’d’ve made the bridge more like the NOSTROMO in ALIEN, so maybe that is something we should be happy didn’t happen.

If you want to jump him for getting something wrong (and yet, it still worked), it would be all of that, “I’ve never faced a death” stuff at the end, when after Gary and Edith and Sam and so many others, that is just a lotta hooey.

Be thankful Meyer had a limited budget to work with. He wanted to radically change the look of the movie, going so far as to have the Enterprise bridge be more like the Nostromo flight deck from Alien. It’s definitely a case of less being more.

I found TWOK an entertaining movie but never cared for the fact that in order for it to exist they had to completely kill the hopeful ending of Space Seed, which really went against Trek’s ideals for me.

Not to mention the fact that Reliant with its 23rd Century scanning technology doesn’t realize that Ceti Alpha VI had exploded (you’d think there would be some debris) and that they actually mistake one planet for another. That’s a plot hole I just can’t look past.

Has Meyer ever acknowledged the similarity with Spock’s death and resurrection with Sherlock Holmes?

Well, Meyer did write several Holmes stories himself didn’t he? So, it makes sense that he took some pages from those.

The genesis falls.
The empty ship.

Gosh, this trailer looks awesome. Unbelievable how many true classics of the genre were made in this decade. SW 5+6, ST 2-5, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Blade Runner, Tron, Terminator, Predator, Flash Gordon, Dune, ET, Robocop, Bill & Ted… I especially miss the kid sci fi stuff that’s not made anymore: Last Starfighter, Explorers, Flight of the Navigator, Honey I shrunk the Kids… I was only a little younger when those movies came out. Oh my… And then, early TNG, ALF and Knight Rider… I’m drowning in emotion regarding that wonderful decade. That’s why I also love Stranger Things so much…

I think the reason we rarely see this sort of classics anymore is for some reason we as species started to take everything so seriously all the time. It increasingly seemed like every moment or every decision was life and death and in the process we kind of forgot how to just sit back and relax and enjoy something just for the fun of it.

I see the same vibe in some of the marvel movies.

That doesn’t account for the Golden Age of the early 70s, when intelligent serious drama dominated before SW and blockbusterdom became the aim of every non-indie pic.

bad studio made blockbusters are the problem not whether george or steven made decent ones during the 80s, 90s.

Singles hitters shouldn’t swing for the fences, and yet studios have craved the 100 mil and then the 1 bil hit regardless of the talent involved, so what JAWS and SW signfied for them is that there is a volume of audience to be courted — and instead of courting them with intelligence, they courted and seduced (most of them) with marketing ploys, as if one ‘has’ to see a particular movie, even if it isn’t all that good. Except for my grandfather, who stopped going to the movies in the 70s, everybody I knew saw the Burton BATMAN in the theater, but only a handful of them really liked it. Most saw it because they felt obligated to do so, which I found to be a ridiculous attitude.

Garth Lorca: “I especially miss the kid sci fi stuff that’s not made anymore: Last Starfighter, Explorers, Flight of the Navigator, Honey I shrunk the Kids…”

Same here. Also, some of the low-budget indie genre films that trickled out to the shopping mall theaters and the drive-ins! (Not the gore films, but the smaller-scale sci-fi films…lots of fun!)  

Hopefully they’ve worked out the kinks, but be cautious if you want to invest in the docs from this company. The physical media they’ve delivered to investors in the past was, uh, let’s just say ‘lacking in quality.’

The guy who said that Putin is a dictator. Bah.

Because it’s true?

If the jackboot fits.

He could have left the last two syllables off and it would be just as true a description.

Yes, bah, because it is an understatement. Right?

When I left the theatre I thought TWOK was the best thing I had seen. I was so pumped! Having 40 years to digest things , I think some other Star Trek films are up there. I actually go back and watch 6 probably more. When I show people who haven’t seen it before, they don’t get the love for Star Trek II.
I think it is a product of a lot of things. It came out after The Motion Picture, which (Although people were happy to see) it dragged (even in 1979). So 2 was a super surprise. It was action packed for its time. If it didn’t get made, we wouldn’t have had 3,4, 5 and 6. However, I don’t think it outshines some of the other original cast movies.

I was fortunate to have seen STII in 70mm in its original theatrical run (thinking 9x before its run ended at the MacArthur) and have a car and driver’s license to take some of my friends downtown to see the movie. The only venue that had 70mm in the area, too. The movie wasn’t the hyped up event that TMP was for sure. No overture and the curtain was still partly closed when the starfield appeared at the opening credits! I remember the line just barely went down the block for the first matinee showing..hardly the sell out TMP was but then again, we got 70mm! Technically, the film had grain and scratches for a ‘new’ print, however, the stereo experience was memorable.

The audience (and I) had a good time. The presentation showcased the movie at its best. I’m a cinephile at heart. Always see movies in the biggest theater in the best format and sound..preferably THX certified. I remember people ‘jumping’ at the emergence of the ceti eels (part music/part sound fx) when one of them grabbed at the pincer Khan was using. The laugh of certain audience members when Khan reveals his pecs after taking off his coat. I suspect believability wasn’t quite there as in most people’s memory he is still Mr. Roarke.

I don’t know about other fans but anytime a Federation ship gets attacked be it on screen in the movies or small, its a cathartic experience for me. When the Reliant’s phasers fire on the Enterprise it felt more ‘real’ to me then just watching any space Star Wars. The can opener shot in the Mutara Nebula is another example. ILM did a good job on the movie for sure.

However, I remember Doug Trumbull stating in an interview how his company underbid ILM for the effects job for STII and yet, Paramount still went with ILM. Sure, ILM does great work but I think that was a crappy way to treat Trumbull after he and Dykstra saved Paramount and TMP getting the FX done..just barely on time. I can just visualize how better the Enterprise and the Reliant would’ve looked in 70mm and with the self-illumination look of the design aesthetic. The continuity would give the TOS films a Star Trek distinctiveness instead of being compared to Star Wars all the time. :)

The cast could have been better used. Its hard to service all the supporting cast. However, Sulu getting his own command back then only to have Shatner flub the line on purpose to not give Takei/Sulu some character growth was a cheat. Uhura hails frequencies. Chekov got a meaty role, so he should be happy. Shatner’s Kirk to me is dull. Can’t tell Kirk being tired/old at the beginning or if he’s just badly acting. And why wasn’t Kirk allowed to cry when Spock died. Ridiculous! I can’t remember if it was Bennett vetoed or Meyer..I’m thinking Bennett because I recall Meyer telling Bennett he has a television mentality. :-) If I’m quoting wrong, someone correct me.

Overall, II is good but its not THAT good. David Marcus walking onto the bridge during battle wearing a sweater as if he just came from a tennis game? No smoking signs? Hardly anyone smokes anymore these days. People talking during a transport beam when in reality your molecular being is scrambled that you’re body is not assembled to talk!!!! Kirk not crying when his brother/best friend has just died in front of him saving the ship! Just because you have a screenplay with literary allusions that raises the story credibility slightly and ILM FX does not necessarily make for a great Trek movie. But its still a good movie.

The fact that people are still talking about a movie that was made 40 years ago says a lot about the movie… Also, a movie is made in the period it’s made. Judging it with 2022 eyes isn’t fair to the movie. I suppose we all could look at each other and judge what was wrong about us 40 years ago, if some of us were even alive at all.