Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

PG | 109 mins | Science fiction, Adventure | 6 December 1991

Director:

Nicholas Meyer

Cinematographer:

Hiro Narita

Editor:

William Hoy

Production Designer:

Herman Zimmerman

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures
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HISTORY

       Opening credits are preceded by a dedication that reads, “For Gene Roddenberry.” Roddenberry, the creator of the Star Trek franchise, died 24 Oct 1991, just a few months before the film’s release.
       The film concludes with voice-over narration by William Shatner, as “Kirk” recites an entry in his log: “Captain’s log, stardate 9529.1. This is the final cruise of the starship Enterprise under my command. This ship, and her history, will shortly become the care of another crew. To them, and their posterity, will we commit our future. They will continue the voyages we have begun and journey to all the undiscovered countries, boldly going where no man—or no one—has gone before.”
       Following the disappointing critical and commercial reception of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989, see entry), Paramount Pictures hoped a sixth and final installment would restore the credibility of the series among fans while commemorating the franchise’s upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary in 1991. Items in the 24 Jun 1990 LAT and 14 Nov 1990 DV stated that writer-producer Harve Bennett and screenwriter David Loughery began developing a story intended as a prequel to the original Star Trek television series (NBC, 8 Sep 1966—3 Jun 1969), depicting how Kirk and his crewmates came together to command the “USS Enterprise.” After more than a year of consideration, Paramount and Roddenberry decided to pass on Star Trek VI: The First Adventure— also known as Starfleet Academy— in favor of a more appropriate final story for the original cast. Despite his longtime association with the franchise, Bennett was unwilling to compromise on ... More Less

       Opening credits are preceded by a dedication that reads, “For Gene Roddenberry.” Roddenberry, the creator of the Star Trek franchise, died 24 Oct 1991, just a few months before the film’s release.
       The film concludes with voice-over narration by William Shatner, as “Kirk” recites an entry in his log: “Captain’s log, stardate 9529.1. This is the final cruise of the starship Enterprise under my command. This ship, and her history, will shortly become the care of another crew. To them, and their posterity, will we commit our future. They will continue the voyages we have begun and journey to all the undiscovered countries, boldly going where no man—or no one—has gone before.”
       Following the disappointing critical and commercial reception of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989, see entry), Paramount Pictures hoped a sixth and final installment would restore the credibility of the series among fans while commemorating the franchise’s upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary in 1991. Items in the 24 Jun 1990 LAT and 14 Nov 1990 DV stated that writer-producer Harve Bennett and screenwriter David Loughery began developing a story intended as a prequel to the original Star Trek television series (NBC, 8 Sep 1966—3 Jun 1969), depicting how Kirk and his crewmates came together to command the “USS Enterprise.” After more than a year of consideration, Paramount and Roddenberry decided to pass on Star Trek VI: The First Adventure— also known as Starfleet Academy— in favor of a more appropriate final story for the original cast. Despite his longtime association with the franchise, Bennett was unwilling to compromise on the studio’s choice of direction and decided to walk away from the project altogether.
       According to the Apr 1992 issue of Cinefantastique, Roddenberry’s rapidly declining health and Bennett’s abrupt departure left the film in the hands of actor, writer, producer, and two-time Star Trek director Leonard Nimoy. Looking back on the two most acclaimed films in the series, Nimoy hired Nicholas Meyer, who directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982, see entry) and served as one of the screenwriters on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1984, see entry). Nimoy pitched the story as an allegory for the Russian political movement, perestroika, and its topical relevance appealed to Meyer, whose current project, Company Business (1991, see entry), dealt with similar themes. Because Company Business was shooting in London, England, Meyer requested he be allowed to co-write the script with Denny Martin Flinn. According to Cinefantastique, early drafts included the return of “Lt. Saavik,” a role originated by Kirstie Alley in The Wrath of Khan. Although Alley was replaced by Robin Curtis in the third and fourth installments, Meyer hoped she would return. Unable to secure a commitment from the actress in time, he instead rewrote the character as “Lt. Valeris.” In an interview with the 30 Aug 1991 NYT, Meyer claimed he did not consider directing the project until he completed the screenplay.
       With an inflated budget of nearly $40 million, Paramount briefly put the picture into turnaround in early 1991. To reduce costs, producers Ralph Winter and Steven-Charles Jaffe, Meyer, Nimoy, and Shatner all agreed to exchange a portion of their upfront salaries for a percentage of the gross profits. The studio also saved $1 million by cutting the film’s prologue, which introduced each of the seven principal characters and gave a glimpse of their lives when not aboard the Enterprise. The total number of special effects shots was reduced by half, while several existing sets from the television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (syndication, 28 Sep 1987—23 May 1994), were redressed as soon as the current season completed filming. On 13 Feb 1991, Paramount greenlighted the revised $26 million budget, on condition the film be ready for release by the end of the year.
       With just a few months left of pre-production, the filmmakers proceeded to fill the supporting roles with as many well-known actors as the budget would allow. According to Denny Martin Flinn, the character of “Martia” was written with Sigourney Weaver in mind, while Jack Palance was approached to play “Chancellor Gorkon.” However, both were considered too expensive, and the roles were filled by Iman and David Warner, respectively. Warner previously appeared as “St. John Talbot” in The Final Frontier, and starred in Meyer’s directorial debut, Time After Time (1979, see entry). Christian Slater, son of casting director Mary Jo Slater, makes a cameo appearance as an officer on the “USS Excelsior,” while Michael Dorn plays a “Klingon” defense attorney—the grandfather to his character, “Worf,” on The Next Generation. Kim Cattrall initially turned down the script under the impression that she would be the third actress to portray Lt. Saavik. She changed her mind, however, after learning that she would be playing an original character and have the opportunity to work with Meyer, whom she had met in 1985 on the set of Volunteers (see entry). According to the 1 Dec 1991 LAT, Cattrall chose her character’s name and made significant contributions to her “Vulcan” physicality.
       Nimoy reportedly expressed his displeasure with his makeup in previous films, and requested that makeup supervisor Michael J. Mills refashion “Spock’s” appearance to more closely resemble the original character design created by Fred B. Phillips for the television series. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Mills and department head Ken Myers ran a workshop for more than fifty makeup artists at Richard Snell Designs, Inc., who were assigned to create Vulcan, Klingon, “Romulan,” and other alien prosthetics.
       Principal photography began 16 Apr 1991 in Los Angeles, CA, with a week of night shooting at Bronson Canyon Caves in Griffith Park. Production spent the next several weeks filming interiors on Stages 15, 5, 9, 8, and 14 at the Paramount Studios in Hollywood, followed by four days at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, CA, which doubled as “Camp Khitomer.” Meanwhile, Jaffe led a second unit crew and team of stand-ins to Alaska to film scenes set on the icy exterior of “Rura Penthe”. Cinefantastique indicated that production utilized additional locations near the Paramount studios in an effort to save money on set construction. Meyer shot the film in non-anamorphic Super 35, which allowed for increased framing flexibility. Production was completed in fifty-five days, two days over schedule.
       Although initially scheduled to open 13 Dec 1991, the release date was pushed up to 6 Dec 1991. According to the 30 Aug 1991 HR, exclusive footage was to be previewed at forty-four U.S. and Canadian theaters on 7 Sep 1991, as part of a twelve-hour marathon of the first five Star Trek films.
       The first public screening of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country took place 3 Dec 1991 at a benefit for the California League of Conservation Voters, for which Nimoy served as a co-chair, the 26 Nov 1991 DV reported. The following day, DV announced that the seven principal actors were scheduled to cement their autographs outside Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. In addition, the 5 Dec 1991 LAT stated that a special midnight screening at the Arligton Theater in Santa Barbara, CA, was held that evening to help fund new astronomy exhibits at theMuseum of Natural History.
       Reviews were largely positive, and the 11 Dec 1991 DV listed opening weekend earnings of $18,162,837, which surpassed the series’ three-day record previously held by The Final Frontier.
       The film received Academy Award nominations for Makeup and Sound Effects Editing.
       Modern sources indicate that the VHS and DVD home video release contained several minutes of added footage, including scenes of René Auberjonois as “Starfleet” officer “Colonel West,” who is revealed to be the assassin at the end of the film. Auberjonois went on to play “Constable Odo” in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (syndication, 3 Jan 1993—2 Jun 1999). The theatrical cut was released on Blu-ray in 2009.
       Despite audiences’ warm reception of The Undiscovered Country, several members of the original cast were reluctant to consider a seventh movie. As a result, the film series continued with four installments featuring the cast of The Next Generation: Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002, see entries). In addition to Deep Space Nine, the franchise retained its popularity on television with Star Trek: Voyager (UPN, 1995—2001) and Star Trek: Enterprise (UPN, 2001—2005). In 2009, filmmaker J. J. Abrams “rebooted” the original series for Star Trek (see entry) and two sequels, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016, see entries).
       End credits begin with the signatures of George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, and William Shatner. Acknowledgments state: “Star Trek ® is the trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation and is registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”; and, “Special Thanks to: Alaska Film Commission, Alaska Helicopter Company, Dave Archer Studios, Proton, Pfaltzgraff, Durand International, Hydrel.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Cinefantastique
Apr 1992
pp. 24-25.
Daily Variety
14 Nov 1990
p. 1, 19.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1991.
---
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1991.
---
Daily Variety
27 Nov 1991.
---
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1991.
---
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1991
p. 9, 69.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jun 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Dec 1991
Section F, p. 29, 31.
Los Angeles Times
5 Dec 1991
p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 1991
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
30 Aug 1991.
---
New York Times
6 Dec 1991
p. 1.
Variety
9 Dec 1991
p. 75.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures presents
a Nicholas Meyer film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
1st asst dir, 2d unit photog
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Chief rigging elec
Chief rigging elec
Asst chief rigging elec
Rigger
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
1st photog grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit photog
1st asst photog, 2d unit photog
2d asst photog, 2d unit photog
Helicopter cam op, 2d unit photog
24-frame video displays by
24-frame video displays, Video Image
24-frame video displays, Video Image
24-frame video displays, Video Image
24-frame video displays, Video Image
24-frame video displays, Video Image
24-frame video displays, Video Image
Video coord, Video Image
Steadicam
Studio best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Graphic des
Art dept prod asst
Art dept prod asst
Art dept prod asst
Storyboard artist
Graphic des
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set des
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Spec props
Const coord
Const foreperson
Labor foreperson
Prod painter
Prod painter
Swing
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Key costumer
Key costumer
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Addl orch by
Orch contractor
Mus preparation
Mus score rec at
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Cable person
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Spec sd eff
Spec sd eff
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
ADR mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Visual eff ed
Spec eff supv
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
Main title des and computer illustration
Spec visual eff by
a Division of LucasArts Entertainment Company, Marin County, California
Visual eff prod, ILM
Visual eff art dir, ILM
Visual eff art dir, ILM
Opt photog supv, ILM
Computer graphics supv, ILM
Visual eff coord, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Motion control cam op, ILM
Motion control cam op, ILM
Motion control cam asst, ILM
Motion control cam asst, ILM
Plate cam op, ILM
Plate cam asst, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics prod supv, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt line up, ILM
Opt line up, ILM
Opt line up, ILM
Opt line up, ILM
Opt line up, ILM
Opt line up, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Opt scanning coord, ILM
Eff cam supv, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Rotoscope supv, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Anim supv, ILM
Anim eff anim, ILM
Anim eff animator, ILM
Anim eff anim, ILM
Anim eff coord, ILM
Scanning, ILM
Scanning, ILM
Scanning, ILM
Asst visual eff ed, ILM
Negative cutter/Projectionist, ILM
Negative cutter/Projectionist, ILM
Model shop supv, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Stage, ILM
Stage, ILM
Stage, ILM
Stage, ILM
Stage, ILM
Stage, ILM
Prod asst, ILM
Prod asst, ILM
Prod asst, ILM
Prod asst, ILM
Prod accountant, ILM
Matte painting eff by
Marin County, California
Supv matte photog, Matte World
Matte artist supv, Matte World
Exec of product management, Matte World
Cam asst, Matte World
Motion control cam, Matte World
Cam op, Matte World
Model maker, Matte World
VCE photographic eff by
Anim eff, VCE
Anim eff, VCE
Opt eff line up, VCE
Opt eff line up, VCE
Opt printing, VCE
Opt printing, VCE
Admin, VCE
Addl digital compositing by
Opt supv, Pacific Data Images
Anim, Pacific Data Images
Prod support, Pacific Data Images
Tactical displays by
Tactical displays, Cimityart
Tactical displays, Cimityart
Tactical displays, Cimityart
Tactical displays, Cimityart
Tactical displays, Cimityart
Tactical displays, Cimityart
Ultra-violet eff and lighting by
LA
Planet interior/Exterior, Snow and ice scenery by
Rear screen projection compositing by
Process compositing by
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup dept head
Makeup artist for Mr. Shatner
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Spec alien makeup created by
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics created by
Jackal Mastiff created by
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics, Richard Snell Desi
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Voice casting
Loc mgr
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Casting assoc
Casting assoc
Extras casting by
Extras casting by, Central Casting
Asst to Mr. Meyer
Asst to Mr. Meyer
Asst to Mr. Winter
Asst to Mr. Winter
Asst to Mr. Jaffe
Asst to Mr. Shatner
Asst to Ms. Breton
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Const accounting asst
Unit pub
Prod intern
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Craft service
First aid
Klingon language specialist
Set security
Scr supv, 2d unit photog
Alaska liaison, 2d unit photog
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Animal handler
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the television series Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry (NBC, 8 Sep 1966--3 Jun 1969).
SONGS
Theme From "Star Trek" TV Series, music by Alexander Courage.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Star Trek VI
Star Trek VI: The First Adventure
Starfleet Academy
Release Date:
6 December 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 December 1991
Production Date:
began 16 April 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
24 December 1991
Copyright Number:
PA558359
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31112
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After three years, former USS Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu completes his first exploratory assignment as captain of the USS Excelsior. En route to the starbase, Sulu discovers that a Klingon moon called Praxis has been decimated in an explosion. Two months later on Earth, Federation Special Envoy Spock leads a briefing at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, California, announcing that the incident has caused ozone damage that will likely exhaust the Klingon Empire’s resources within fifty years. At the urging of his father, Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, Spock proposes dismantling several Federation space stations along the Neutral Zone, thereby ending seventy years of hostility, which the militaristic Klingons can no long afford. Admiral Cartwright objects, and instead suggests that Starfleet assert its dominant position through force. Although Captain James “Jim” T. Kirk deeply distrusts the Klingons for killing his son, Spock nominates the Enterprise crew to negotiate with Chancellor Gorkon of the Klingon High Council. As the ship nears the rendezvous point, Spock consults with the intelligent new helmsman, Vulcan Lieutenant Valeris, whom he hopes will serve as his replacement after he retires. Meanwhile, Kirk invites Gorkon and several members of his senior staff onboard the Enterprise for dinner. Although Gorkon genuinely strives for peace, Kirk is unable to mask his prejudice. After the awkward meal, Spock notices a sudden surge in radiation around ... +


After three years, former USS Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu completes his first exploratory assignment as captain of the USS Excelsior. En route to the starbase, Sulu discovers that a Klingon moon called Praxis has been decimated in an explosion. Two months later on Earth, Federation Special Envoy Spock leads a briefing at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, California, announcing that the incident has caused ozone damage that will likely exhaust the Klingon Empire’s resources within fifty years. At the urging of his father, Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, Spock proposes dismantling several Federation space stations along the Neutral Zone, thereby ending seventy years of hostility, which the militaristic Klingons can no long afford. Admiral Cartwright objects, and instead suggests that Starfleet assert its dominant position through force. Although Captain James “Jim” T. Kirk deeply distrusts the Klingons for killing his son, Spock nominates the Enterprise crew to negotiate with Chancellor Gorkon of the Klingon High Council. As the ship nears the rendezvous point, Spock consults with the intelligent new helmsman, Vulcan Lieutenant Valeris, whom he hopes will serve as his replacement after he retires. Meanwhile, Kirk invites Gorkon and several members of his senior staff onboard the Enterprise for dinner. Although Gorkon genuinely strives for peace, Kirk is unable to mask his prejudice. After the awkward meal, Spock notices a sudden surge in radiation around the Enterprise, and two of the ship’s photon torpedoes automatically fire on the Klingon battle cruiser, Kronos One, damaging its auxiliary gravity. During this time, two assassins dressed in Starfleet uniforms and magnetic gravity boots sneak onboard and mortally wound Gorkon. Once gravity is restored to Kronos One, Kirk and chief surgeon Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy plead ignorance and unsuccessfully attempt to save Gorkon. Believing them to be responsible for the attack, Gorkon’s Chief of Staff, General Chang, places them under arrest. Gorkon’s daughter, Azetbur, promises to pursue the peace negotiations with the Federation on condition they do not attempt to rescue the prisoners. After being proven guilty in a Klingon court of law, Kirk and McCoy are sentenced to spend the rest of their lives mining Dilithium on the icy penal colony of Rura Penthe. At the camp, Kirk meets a shapeshifting prisoner named Martia, who offers to help him and McCoy escape. On the Enterprise, Spock investigates the computer logs and speculates that a Klingon Bird-of-Prey hovering beneath the ship may have launched the torpedoes at Kronos One while hidden under a cloaking device. When navigator Pavel Chekov finds a drop of Klingon blood in the transporter room, Spock orders a ship-wide search to recover the gravity boots, believing that the assassins are somewhere onboard. Back on Rura Penthe, Kirk, McCoy, and Martia breach the boundaries of the mine, but Kirk deduces that Martia has double-crossed them in exchange for full parole. However, before the warden can recapture them, Spock locks onto Kirk and McCoy’s location and beams them aboard the Enterprise. A short time later, Spock and chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott find Gorkon’s assassins murdered. Hoping to lure the killer, communications officer Nyota Uhura makes an announcement over the intercom suggesting that the two yeomen are recovering in sickbay while Kirk and Spock wait in the darkness. Lt. Valeris arrives with a phaser, revealing that she and other Starfleet officers have conspired with the Klingons to kill Gorkon and prevent the alliance. When she refuses to divulge more information, Spock forcibly performs a Vulcan mind meld to determine that the conspirators include Admiral Cartwright, General Chang, and Romulan Ambassador Nanclus, who are scheduled to converge for a series of peace talks with Azetbur at Camp Khitomer later that day. As the Enterprise races to reach the conference in time, Chang attacks from his cloaked Bird-of-Prey. Sulu and the Excelsior arrive to provide assistance while Spock and McCoy modify and manually launch a photon torpedo that damages the enemy’s defense system, allowing Kirk to fire a barrage of torpedoes and destroy the warship. At Camp Khitomer, Kirk interrupts the conference and lunges in front of the Federation President moments before he is assassinated by a Klingon sniper. The Enterprise and Excelsior crews detain the conspirators, and Kirk admits he looks forward to exploring “the undiscovered country” that was Gorkon’s vision of the future. Although all charges against Kirk have been dropped, Uhura announces that Starfleet has commanded them to return to space dock to be decommissioned. Ignoring these orders, Kirk instructs his crew to set a new course for one final cruise together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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