Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

PG | 112 mins | Science fiction, Adventure | 4 June 1982

Director:

Nicholas Meyer

Producer:

Robert Sallin

Cinematographer:

Gayne Rescher

Production Designer:

Joseph R. Jennings

Production Company:

Paramount Television
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HISTORY

The film concludes with a shot of the USS Enterprise flying into space accompanied by voice-over narration by Leonard Nimoy’s character, “Spock,” reciting a variation of the opening credits quotation from the original Star Trek television series (NBC, 8 Sep 1966—2 Sep 1969): “Space: the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
       End credits note: “Grateful acknowledgement is made to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,” and indicate that “ Star Trek is the trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation and is registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”
       According to the 27 Dec 1979 LAHExam, plans for a sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979, see entry) began roughly a week before the film’s 7 Dec 1979 opening yielded “generally weak” critical reception. Although actor William Shatner was keen to reprise his role as “James T. Kirk,” Leonard Nimoy was reportedly hesitant to return as Spock. Two years later, a 4 Mar 1981 LAHExam story confirmed Shatner’s involvement after he signed a two-year, non-exclusive development deal with Paramount Pictures. At this time, the script, written with the hope of extending the series to a third film, was expected to be completed within the following three weeks. Production was then scheduled for Jul 1981, followed by a Christmas release later that same year. However, a 5 Aug 1981 DV item announced that principal photography had been ... More Less

The film concludes with a shot of the USS Enterprise flying into space accompanied by voice-over narration by Leonard Nimoy’s character, “Spock,” reciting a variation of the opening credits quotation from the original Star Trek television series (NBC, 8 Sep 1966—2 Sep 1969): “Space: the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
       End credits note: “Grateful acknowledgement is made to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,” and indicate that “ Star Trek is the trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation and is registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”
       According to the 27 Dec 1979 LAHExam, plans for a sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979, see entry) began roughly a week before the film’s 7 Dec 1979 opening yielded “generally weak” critical reception. Although actor William Shatner was keen to reprise his role as “James T. Kirk,” Leonard Nimoy was reportedly hesitant to return as Spock. Two years later, a 4 Mar 1981 LAHExam story confirmed Shatner’s involvement after he signed a two-year, non-exclusive development deal with Paramount Pictures. At this time, the script, written with the hope of extending the series to a third film, was expected to be completed within the following three weeks. Production was then scheduled for Jul 1981, followed by a Christmas release later that same year. However, a 5 Aug 1981 DV item announced that principal photography had been postponed to mid-Oct 1981, with Leonard Nimoy officially included among the returning principal cast. The 4 Sep 1981 DV reported that the tentatively-titled Star Trek II had originally been conceived as a two-hour television movie, but had been recently revised as a $10 million theatrical feature to be produced by Paramount Television. The studio planned to first distribute the film overseas before scheduling a domestic release date.
       Although he served as producer for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, original television series creator Gene Roddenberry was only credited as “executive assistant” for the sequel. According to the Jun 1982 issue of S.F. Sunday Examiner, Paramount executives limited Roddenberry’s involvement in order to keep expenses down, following the first film’s costly budget overruns and poor reception. The Jul—Aug 1982 edition of Cinefantastique stated that producer Robert Sallin joined the project in Feb 1981 and instigated an extensive preproduction process which involved the careful planning of all special effects to be used in the film. Storyboarding began in Jun 1981, and art director Michael Minor reportedly drew out four entirely different features to match the ever-changing scripting process. Interested in the subject of terraforming, Minor reportedly suggested the idea for the film’s “Genesis Project” plot, although he does not receive onscreen story credit. The S.F. Sunday Examiner article stated that executive producer Harve Bennett also looked to previous episodes of the television series for possible story ideas before deciding to ressurect “Khan Noonien Singh,” the antagonist from season one’s 16 Feb 1967 episode, “Space Seed.” Once actor Ricardo Montalban agreed to reprise the role, Bennett reportedly sent him a video cassette of “Space Seed” and a copy of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick to help re-immerse himself in the character.
       Although Cinefantastique claimed that Sallin considered reuniting with Douglas Trumbull, Entertainment Effects Group (EEG) owner and special photographic effects director on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Trumbull’s availability was limited due to his commitment to direct Brainstorm (1983, see entry). As a result, Sallin elected to hire George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), since Paramount had established a relationship with Lucasfilm Ltd. when working on Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, see entry). ILM completed preliminary special effects work early Sep 1981 through late Dec 1981, using the same six-foot, $1 million model of the starship Enterprise built by EEG for the first film. When complications arose due to the model’s immense weight and incompatibility with blue-screen photography, ILM requested advice from EEG technicians, but were denied any assistance. Special effects technicians filmed the model using a Dykstraflex camera.
       A 15 Nov 1981 LAHExam article stated that director Nicholas Meyer was at first uninterested in directing Star Trek II, and turned down offers for multiple prospective projects in order to write his book, Confessions of a Homing Pigeon (1981). After reading the Star Trek II script, however, he accepted the job due to his desire to work with Shatner, as well as Paramount’s eagerness to hire a director that would remain focused on the film’s story. During pre-production, Meyer ordered numerous practical improvements to be made from the techniques used for Star Trek: The Motion Picture: the noisy, overheated 8-mm projectors behind the monitor screens in the Enterprise bridge were replaced with videocassettes in order to reduce the need for heavy dialogue looping in postproduction, while moveable walls provided increased camera mobility. Cinefantastique reported that Meyer also ordered a more “romantic” redesign of the characters’ “Starfleet” uniforms, replacing the former synthetic fabrics with natural, military fibers and darker colors. Costume designer Robert Fletcher assigned specific color and rank designation for each of the Starfleet departments—white for command, sea-green for medical, blue-grey for officers, and scarlet for cadets—drawing inspiration from the chartreuse, blue, and red uniforms in the original television series. Although the company is not credited onscreen, all costumes were made at Western Costume near the Paramount studio, except for select designs, including Spandex spacesuits and Spock’s “Vulcan” robes, which were reused from the previous picture. Modern Props designed a majority of the film’s hand props, but are not named onscreen.
       Production designer Joseph R. Jennings also recycled various sets from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, including parts of a “Klingon” ship, which were redecorated to resemble rooms on the Enterprise and Regula I. To create the exterior of the Regula I, Jennings embellished an upside-down space station model built for the first feature by Magicam. James Kirk’s apartment also featured a backdrop painting of San Francisco, CA, which had been used in The Towering Inferno (1974, see entry). Among the original sets, designs for the USS Reliant were created at Paramount studios and sent to ILM for construction. Earlier drafts of the script described “Ceti Alpha V” as an ice planet, but Jennings and Minor later changed it to a desert environment, and the set was built on Stage 8 of Paramount studios. For close-up shots featuring the planet’s eel-like creatures, ILM special effects supervisor Ken Ralston spent a day molding a large model cast of actor Walter Koenig’s ear, through which assistant camera operator Selwyn Eddy III manually pushed the eels. The fiberglass, dome-shaped “Genesis” cave set was constructed by a swimming pool cover manufacturing company and painted to resemble a lush, tropical setting, with supplementary matte painting and effects added by ILM during postproduction. Additional animation for the “transporter” teleportation effects were created by Visual Concepts Engineering, owned by former ILM employee, Peter Kuran. The computer generated images featured in the “Genesis” tape recording were produced using a VistaVision camera in Mar 1982 by Sprocket Systems, Lucasfilm’s film research division, and featured retina scans of computer graphics programmer Robert D. Poor. Ralston achieved the space nebula effect by filming the swirling movement of white liquid latex as it was injected into a large salt water-filled tank illuminated by various colored lights.
       Due to eyesight complications, the television series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture makeup artist Fred B. Phillips was unable to return for Star Trek II. Upon joining the project as his replacement, Werner Keppler developed new techniques for burn makeup by replacing latex with sculpted gelatin. However, Keppler struggled with the creation of Nimoy’s Vulcan ear tips: under tight time constraints, he was unable to fit the actor for the prosthetics until three days before production began, and due to their extreme fragility, was required to mold a new pair every night for the next day’s shooting. Nimoy’s makeup reportedly took between two and two-and-a-half hours to apply each morning.
       13 Nov 1981 HR production charts and Cinefantastique confirmed that principal photography with the cast began 9 Nov 1981 in Hollywood, CA, and concluded 29 Jan 1982, “a few days over schedule and slightly over budget.” Shortly after, the 11 Nov 1981 Var announced a new working title, Star Trek II: The Undiscovered Country, which would later become the subtitle for the series’ sixth feature installment (1991, see entry). The 13 Nov 1981 LAHExam claimed that Meyer asked actress Morgan Fairchild to record a line of dialogue for the USS Enterprise intercom system, but she is not credited onscreen and her participation remains undetermined. Actress Kirstie Alley made her motion picture debut as the Vulcan Lieutenant “Saavik.”
       According to Cinefantastique, music composer James Horner was approached by Paramount music executive Joel Sill and began work in mid-Jan 1982. After five days of recording sessions, Horner produced seventy minutes of music for the film’s then 129-minute runtime. However, two subplots were removed during the editing process: a romance between Kirstie Alley and Merritt Butrick’s characters, Saavik and “David,” and scenes which established young cadet “Peter Preston” as the nephew of Enterprise engineer “‘Scotty’ Montomery Scott.” The article claimed that Sallin and Bennett also “tightened” Meyer’s director’s cut by removing unnecessary exposition.
       Prior to production, actor Judson Scott, who portrayed Khan’s follower, “Joachim,” requested that his name be removed from onscreen credits at the advisement of his managers, who wished to dissociate him from smaller onscreen appearances following his starring role in the television series, The Phoenix (ABC, 1982).
       On 9 Apr 1982, DV reported that the film’s most recent title, Star Trek II: The Vengeance of Khan, prompted Lucasfilm to request the name be changed in order to avoid confusion with the upcoming Star Wars picture, Revenge of the Jedi, which was later released as Return of the Jedi (1983, see entry). As a result, Paramount executives amicably agreed to rename the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and modifications were made to the film’s print advertising campaign. However, a 17 May 1982 LAT article indicated that Meyer was uninvolved in the decision and ultimately displeased with the change.
       Controversy about the film’s plot arose shortly before the start of production, when a 9 Oct 1981 WSJ article speculated the possible death of Spock in the film, citing rumors that began circulating at a Star Trek convention two months earlier. One fan named Laura Leach founded a group called “Concerned Supporters of Star Trek, ” which campaigned to keep Spock alive: after surveying 800 fans and gathering data about their socio-economic status and consumer spending habits, Leach wrote a letter to Paramount claiming that the studio risked losing $28 million in potential earnings on the sequel if distraught fans refused to see the picture multiple times in theaters. This figure also included estimated losses in Spock-related merchandise and deflated television viewership. Although the article described the character’s death as it was ultimately depicted in the final film, Bennett argued that the script was still in its fifth draft, and disputed suggestions that Nimoy only agreed to appear in the picture if Spock was killed. The 30 Oct 1981 LAT reported that following completion of the script’s seventh draft, Bennett met with Paramount executives to discuss the issue, but had not yet decided whether Spock would live or die, or if they would consider replacing Nimoy in prospective sequels.
       On 14 Nov 1981, LAT stated that actor George Takei revealed that, although the script was not yet completed, filmmakers planned to shoot two different endings. Despite the 29 Dec 1981 DV brief stating Nimoy was “looking forward to talking about doing Star Trek III, ” a 23 Dec 1981 LAT news item announced that Spock’s death scene had already been filmed, and the Jan 1982 Moviegoer suggested the actor’s interest in pursuing other roles after the character’s demise. However, the 17 May 1982 LAT article kept the subject shrouded in ambiguity: at an 8 May 1982 test screening in Overland Park, KS, containing the final version of Spock’s death scene, Paramount marketing executive Gordon Weaver indicated the possibility of an alternate ending being substituted prior to national release. Meyer disputed this rumor, confirming that the changes he made to the film following the KS preview did not involve replacement footage. The 14 May 1982 HR also published a statement from the director claiming that no other endings had ever been written, filmed, or considered. However, Cinefantastique reported that additional footage featuring Spock’s casket resting on the “Genesis” planet had been shot at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in late Apr 1982, two months after the film was considered “complete,” and thus allowing for the character’s possible return to the series. Shortly after, the 6 Jun 1982 LAHExam reported Paramount’s plan to produce a third film, rumored to be titled Star Trek III: In Search of Spock. The film was eventually released as Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984, see entry).
       The 12 May 1982 HR stated that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was scheduled for release in 1,400 theaters on 4 Jun 1982. An 8 Jun 1982 NYT article announced that the $14,347,221 box-office gross in 1,621 theaters broke existing records, making it the most successful weekend opening to date.
       In addition to Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, the franchise continued with three other theatrical installments featuring the principal cast: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986, see entry), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989, see entry), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991, see entry). Following the original Star Trek series and The Animated Series (NBC, 1973—1974), further television programs included The Next Generation (syndication, 1987—1994), Deep Space Nine (syndication, 1993—1999), Voyager (UPN, 1995—2001), and Enterprise (UPN, 2001—2005). The Next Generation also spawned four feature films. In 2009, filmmaker J. J. Abrams “rebooted” the original series characters for Star Trek (see entry), in which Nimoy appeared as an aged, alternate-universe version of Spock. Its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013, see entry), was loosely based on the story of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, with Benedict Cumberbatch assuming the titular role. As of 10 Jun 2014, a third film is scheduled for release in 2016. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Cinefantastique
Jul--Aug 1982
Vol. 12, pp. 51-75.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1981.
---
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1981
p. 1, 8.
Daily Variety
29 Dec 1981.
---
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1982.
---
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1982
p. 4.
LAHExam
27 Dec 1979.
---
LAHExam
4 Mar 1981
Section A, p. 2.
LAHExam
13 Nov 1981.
---
LAHExam
15 Nov 1981
Section E, p. 1, 3, 10.
LAHExam
6 Jun 1982
Section E, p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1981
p. 1, 7.
Los Angeles Times
14 Nov 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
23 Dec 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1982
p. 1, 5.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jun 1982
p. 1, 4.
Moviegoer
Jan 1982.
---
New York Times
4 Jun 1982
p. 12.
New York Times
8 Jun 1982.
---
S.F. Sunday Examiner
Jun 1982.
---
Variety
11 Nov 1981.
---
Variety
26 May 1982
p. 14.
WSJ
9 Oct 1981
p. 1, 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Paramount Pictures Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Best boy
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Crane op
Still photog
Ultra high speed cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Swing gang
Swing gang
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus ed
Orch
Scoring mixer
Record Plant Scoring
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Spec sd eff
Addl sd eff
Loop ed
Loop ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Addl spec lighting eff
Graphic des
Title des
Title des
Spec visual eff prod at
A Division of Lucasfilm Ltd.
Spec visual eff supv, ILM
Spec visual eff supv, ILM
Eff cam, ILM
Eff cam, ILM
Cam op, ILM
Asst cam op, ILM
Asst cam op, ILM
Asst cam op, ILM
Asst cam op, ILM
Asst cam op, ILM
Opt photog supv, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt laboratory tech, ILM
Opt laboratory tech, ILM
Opt laboratory tech, ILM
Gen mgr, ILM
Prod supv, ILM
Prod coord, ILM
Matte painting artist, ILM
Matte painting artist, ILM
Matte photog, ILM
Matte photog asst, ILM
Supv modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Model electronics, ILM
Anim supv, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Supv eff ed, ILM
Eff ed, ILM
Computer database management, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Tactical displays by
Starfield eff/Tactical displays, Evans & Sutherlan
Starfield eff/Tactical displays, Evans & Sutherlan
Starfield eff/Tactical displays, Evans & Sutherlan
Starfield eff/Tactical displays, Evans & Sutherlan
Molecular computer graphics by
University of California, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
Molecular computer graphics by, Computer Graphics
Still photog
Still lab tech
Still lab tech
Supv stage tech
Stage tech
Stage tech
Stage tech
Stage tech
Stage tech
Stage tech
Stage tech
Stage tech
Pyrotechnics
Addl computer graphics furnished by
Addl opt eff by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec consultant
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Craft service
Set security
Unit pub
Casting
Tech advisor
Vulcan translation
Asst to the prods
Equip coord
Asst to Tom Smith
Travel arrangements
Video displays by
Video supv, The Burbank Studios
Chief eng, The Burbank Studios
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the television series Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry (NBC, 8 Sep 1966 -- 2 Sep 1969).
MUSIC
Theme from Star Trek television series, music by Alexander Courage.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Star Trek II
Star Trek II: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek II: The Vengeance of Khan
Release Date:
4 June 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 Jun 1982
Production Date:
9 Nov 1981--29 Jan 1982 in Hollywood, CA and Apr 1982 in San Francisco, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
29 July 1982
Copyright Number:
PA147513
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26694
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the year 2285, Vulcan Starfleet cadet Lieutenant Saavik captains a USS Enterprise training simulation to rescue a damaged starship called the Kobayashi Maru. Unable to save her crew from a sudden Klingon attack, Saavik emerges as the test’s only survivor, and Admiral James “Jim” T. Kirk evaluates the trainee’s performance in the supposedly impossible, “no-win” scenario. He then meets with Captain Spock in the hallway and thanks his Vulcan friend for his birthday gift: an “antique” copy of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities. As Spock leaves to board the Enterprise, Kirk plans to return home. That evening, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy and Kirk drink in celebration of Kirk’s birthday, discussing Kirk’s displeasure with his recent promotion to admiral, which keeps him grounded on Earth instead of captaining space explorations. Meanwhile, onboard the USS ... +


In the year 2285, Vulcan Starfleet cadet Lieutenant Saavik captains a USS Enterprise training simulation to rescue a damaged starship called the Kobayashi Maru. Unable to save her crew from a sudden Klingon attack, Saavik emerges as the test’s only survivor, and Admiral James “Jim” T. Kirk evaluates the trainee’s performance in the supposedly impossible, “no-win” scenario. He then meets with Captain Spock in the hallway and thanks his Vulcan friend for his birthday gift: an “antique” copy of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities. As Spock leaves to board the Enterprise, Kirk plans to return home. That evening, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy and Kirk drink in celebration of Kirk’s birthday, discussing Kirk’s displeasure with his recent promotion to admiral, which keeps him grounded on Earth instead of captaining space explorations. Meanwhile, onboard the USS Reliant, Captain Clark Terrell and First Officer Pavel Chekov search for a lifeless planet to host a scientific project called the “Genesis Experiment.” Despite one minor sign of life on Ceti Alpha VI, they suggest the site to scientific research station Regula I, headed by Kirk’s former lover, Dr. Carol Marcus, and their grown son, David, who reject Reliant’s proposal to transplant any organisms that may still live on the planet’s surface. To check their findings, Terrell and Chekov beam onto the stormy, sand-covered surface of Ceti Alpha VI and discover abandoned cargo carriers, which Chekov fearfully recognizes as part of the marooned starship, USS Botany Bay. While attempting to flee, they are captured by Khan Noonien Singh, the ship’s genetically-engineered leader, whose crew was picked up by Kirk fifteen years earlier, centuries after they were cryogenically frozen aboard the Botany Bay in 1996. When Khan attempted to hijack Kirk’s ship, the captain exiled him and his followers to the thriving planet of Ceti Alpha V. However, Khan reveals that they are currently standing on what remains of Ceti Alpha V following massive climate change caused by Ceti Alpha VI’s explosion six months after their arrival. Although his superhuman intellect allowed him to survive, Khan mourns the death of his wife and the loss of his former status as a prince on Earth. He then presents the planet’s only remaining indigenous life form: two parasitic eels, which he inserts into Terrell and Chekov’s ears to induce mind control and help him find Kirk. Meanwhile, Kirk, along with Bones, Nyota Uhura, and Hikaru Sulu, join a three-week training mission of Spock’s cadets aboard the Enterprise. Once onboard, Kirk greets Montgomery "Scotty" Scott and his trainee, Peter Preston, before Spock commands the novice Saavik to pilot the ship’s departure. Under Khan’s control, Chekov telecommunicates with Carol at Regula I, claiming that Kirk instructed him to arrive at the base to retrieve the Genesis materials. In an elevator onboard the Enterprise, Saavik tells Kirk she is still unsatisfied with her performance in the Kobayashi Maru simulation, requesting to learn how he beat the test. Moments later, Kirk receives a message from Carol demanding to know if he authorized Reliant’s unexpected arrival. As the transmission cuts out, Kirk is confused by the message and consults with Spock about possible explanations. Before bringing the ship to warp speed, Kirk instructs Spock to take command of the Enterprise in case of emergency, to which his friend replies that Kirk’s captaining skills are wasted in his new position. On Reliant, one of Khan’s men encourages him to abandon his revenge plan against Kirk, but Khan persists. Onboard Enterprise, Kirk, Spock, and Bones uncover computer files explaining the objectives of Project Genesis, a device which will reorganize atomic matter with the potential to regenerate life on uninhabitable planets. However, Spock theorizes that the Genesis device also has the potential to destroy existing life. They receive a distress call from Saavik, informing them of Khan’s rapid approach in the USS Reliant, which fires on Enterprise’s engine rooms before they can raise their defense shields. Khan initiates a video transmission with the command bridge, agreeing to spare the Enterprise crew if Kirk forfeits all materials related to Genesis. While Kirk pretends to collect data from the ship’s computers, Sulu and Spock launch a counter-attack, destroying the Reliant’s bridge and forcing Khan to withdraw. Scotty emerges from the engine room carrying the burned body of Peter Preston, a casualty of the ambush. Unable to receive a response from Regula I, Kirk, Bones, and Saavik beam onto the station and discover Terrell and Chekov hiding in the bridge among the bodies of the slaughtered crew. After they explain Khan’s motives, Kirk uses his voice communicator to call Spock, who claims that the Enterprise is unable to restore enough power to beam them back onboard for another six days. As a result, Kirk instructs the captain to leave them behind and seek help at the nearest Starfleet starboard station. The stranded crewmembers then beam themselves to an underground bunker of the Regula planetoid below, where they find Carol and David. Still controlled by the eels, Chekov and Terrell raise their phasers to assassinate Kirk, but Terrell resists Khan’s instructions by shooting himself instead. The second eel emerges from Chekov’s ear canal, and Kirk terminates Khan’s control by killing it. Khan teleports the Genesis device onboard the Reliant, but decides to leave Kirk alive to suffer, buried under the planetoid with no means of escape. While coming to terms with their fate, Kirk and Carol discuss their past relationship and her decision to raise David without him. Carol shows Kirk the beautifully foliaged subterranean tunnel created from earlier phases of the Genesis experiments. At Saavik’s insistence, Kirk finally confesses that he cheated on the Kobayashi Maru test by reprogramming the simulation. After two hours, Spock admits that he exaggerated in his estimates, and that the ship has restored enough power to return the stranded crewmembers, Carol, and David back to the Enterprise. However, the ship still lacks the power supply to repair their defense systems to match the Reliant. Kirk pilots the ship into the nearby Mutara Nebula, with Reliant following close behind. Once inside, the electric charges from the nebula neutralize Reliant’s shields and target controls, but the two ships still manage to incur colossal damage, including a radiation leak in the bowels of the Enterprise. Chekov revives and returns to his post in the bridge and launches torpedoes at Reliant, which leave Khan mortally wounded. Before dying, he programs the Genesis machine to reorganize all matter within the nebula, including the Enterprise. Unable to reach Scotty to activate warp speed, Spock descends to the engine room and uses a Vulcan nerve pinch to get past Bones and transfer his memories and spirit, or katra, to him before entering the radioactive chambers. With the warp drive restored, the Enterprise escapes the nebula moments before Genesis causes the Reliant to explode and reform into a new planet. However, Scotty urgently summons Kirk to the engine room, where Spock has collapsed from radiation poisoning. Through the glass partition, Spock urges Kirk not to grieve for him, insisting his death was a logical and necessary sacrifice. With his final breaths, Spock forms the Vulcan salute and tells his friend to “live long and prosper.” During his funeral, Spock’s coffin is ejected into space toward the Genesis Planet. Afterward, David apologizes to Kirk for his previous misjudgement of his character, and admits that he is proud to be his son. As the Enterprise returns to Ceti Alpha V to retrieve the escaped survivors of Reliant’s original crew, Kirk reflects on his friend’s memory by quoting A Tale of Two Cities, and Spock’s coffin lands nestled on the lush surface of the planet below. +

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

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