Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan (1982) - Illustrated Reference
Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan was directed by Nicholas Meyer and premiered on 4th June 1982. Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Kirstie Alley, Bibi Besch, Paul Winfield and Ricardo Montalban. Screenplay by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer. Music by James Horner. 113 mins.
It is the 23rd Century… scientists on the USS Reliant are experimenting with Project Genesis, the ability to create habitable worlds from lifeless planets. The USS Enterprise is on a two week cadet training cruise under the command of Captain Spock. Admiral Kirk confronts an old enemy bent on revenge.
Director Nicholas Meyer (1945-) had previously written and directed the time travel movie Time After Time (1979) starring Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells and David Warner as Jack the Ripper. Meyer would also write the screenplay for another time travel adventure, Star Trek: The Voyage Home (1986) and direct Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
Producer Harve Bennett (1930-) watched the original series and singled out the first season episode “Space Seed”. He decided the character of Khan would be a strong villain for the new film. And luckily for them 62 year old Ricardo Montalban was still in pretty good shape.
Saavik: Admiral, may I ask you a question?
Kirk: What's on your mind, Lieutenant?
Saavik: The Kobayashi Maru, sir.
Kirk: Are you asking me if we're playing out that scenario now?
Saavik: On the test, sir... will you tell me what you did? I would really like to know.
McCoy: Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Starfleet cadet who ever beat the no-win scenario.
Kirk: I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.
David: He cheated.
Kirk: I changed the conditions of the test; got a commendation for original thinking. I don't like to lose.
William Shatner (1931-) / Admiral James T. Kirk
Born in Quebec, Canada, William Shatner has also starred as James Kirk in Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek III The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country (1991) and Star Trek Generations (1994).
Leonard Nimoy (1931-) / Mr. Spock
Born in Boston, Massachussets, Leonard Nimoy has played Spock in Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek III The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V The Final Frontier (1989) and Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country (1991).
DeForest Kelley (1920-1999) / Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, DeForest Kelley has appeared as Dr. McCoy in Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek III The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V The Final Frontier (1989) and Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country (1991).
Khan: Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold.. in space!
Ricardo Montalban (1920-2009) / Khan Noonien Singh
Born in Mexico City. Ricardo Montalban's films include - Fiesta (1947), Neptune's Daughter (1949), Battleground (1949), Across the Wide Missouri (1951), Sayonara (1957), Cheyenne Autumn (1964), Sweet Charity (1969), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), The Train Robbers (1973), Cannonball Run II (1984), The Naked Gun (1988) and Spy Kids 2 and 3 (2002-2003). TV series Fantasy Island (1977-1984 as Mr. Roarke)
Bibi Besch (1940-1996) / Carol Marcus
Born in Vienna, Austria, Bibi Besch's films include - The Pack (1977), Hardcore (1979), Meteor (1979), Who's that Girl? (1987), Date with an Angel (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989) and Tremors (1990).
Merritt Butrick (1959-1989) / David Marcus
Born in Gainesville, Florida, Merritt Butrick's films include - Zapped (1982), Star Trek III The Search for Spock (1984), Head Office (1985) and Fright Night II (1988).
Kirstie Alley (1951-) / Lt. Saavik
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Kirstie Alley's films include - Champions (1984), Blind Date (1984), Runaway (1984), Summer School (1987), Shoot to Kill (1988), Look Who's Talking I-II-III (1989-1993), Madhouse (1990), Sibling Rivalry (1990), Village of the Damned (1995), Deconstructing Harry (1997) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999). TV series Cheers (1987-1993).
Paul Winfield (1939-2004) / Captain Clark Terrell
Born in Los Angeles, Paul Winfield was Oscar Nominated Best Actor for Sounder (1972), his films include - Conrack (1974), Huckleberry Finn (1974), Hustle (1975), Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977), The Greatest (1977), Damnation Alley (1977), Carbon Copy (1981), The Terminator (1984), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), Presumed Innocent (1990), Cliffhanger (1993) and Mars Attacks! (1996).
Khan: He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give him up!
Khan was a genetically enhanced human, tyrant and conqueror during the “Eugenic Wars” on Earth in the 20th century. After being deposed he escaped Earth in a “sleeper” ship, the Botany Bay, with others of his kind.
In cryogenic sleep for hundreds of years, the Botany Bay was discovered and the “supermen” revived by the crew of the Enterprise. Khan attempts to take over the Enterprise but fails. Captain Kirk maroons him and his companions on Ceti Alpha V. These events were chronicled in the classic first season episode “Space Seed”.
Star Trek II was originally to be titled The Revenge of Khan. But it was changed after people felt it sounded similar to the upcoming Star Wars film Revenge of the Jedi which was later changed to Return of the Jedi (1983).
Star Trek II cost just $11m to make, a quarter of the cost of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Most of the movie was filmed on one set, the bridge of the Reliant was the redressed bridge of the Enterprise. Some shots of the Enterprise in space dock was borrowed from the previous film'
Leonard Nimoy was fed up playing Spock and wanted to be killed off in Trek II, his request was granted, but Trekkies were not happy with this decision, ironically he even received death threats from irate fans. Just to play it safe an additional scene was added later showing Spock mind melding with Dr. McCoy and the single word “Remember”.
Lt. Saavik played by Kirstie Alley is a young Vulcan mentored by Mr. Spock. A line of dialogue revealing that Saavik was half Romulan was taken out of the script before filming and might have helped explain Saavik’s emotional reaction to Spock’s death.
The cat and mouse game between a US battleship and a German U-boat in the WWII movie The Enemy Below (1957), starring Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens, was the inspiration for the battle between the Enterprise and Reliant in the Mutara Nebula.
Award-winning special effects company ILM created the visual effects for the film.
The excellent music score was composed by James Horner (1953-), who went on to compose the music for Star Trek III (1984) too. He won an Oscar for Titanic (1997).
Kirk: Khan, you've got Genesis, but you don't have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You're going to have to come down here!
Khan: I've done far worse than kill you. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her; marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet... buried alive! Buried alive!
Despite being the movie’s main opponents, Kirk and Khan do not have one scene together. Though they did meet face to face and clashed violently in “Space Seed” (1966).
Khan recognises Pavel Chekov in the film and says “You! I never forget a face. Mr. Chekov isn’t it?” which is odd since Chekov didn’t join the series until the second season. Actor Walter Koenig jokes that Chekov was just an unknown crew member when Khan came on board the Enterprise and he had kept Khan furiously waiting while using the men’s room. Khan vowed never to forget his face.
The DVD includes a Director’s cut of the film with a few extra scenes added back in, in this edition we find out the young engineering cadet who dies during the battle with the Reliant was Scotty’s nephew. The Blu-ray edition only includes the theatrical version of the film.
While not as successful as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Trek II still grossed a respectable $97m worldwide and with a smaller budget was far more profitable than the first movie. Like ST-TMP the opening weekend of Trek II broke records, grossing $14.3m in three days.
Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan is generally regarded as the best of the Star Trek movies.
Enormously popular among Star Trek fans. Faster moving than ST-TMP, the actors are more relaxed and comfortable in their famous roles.
The film has humour and sadness, there is action and suspense and one of the great Trek villains Khan Noonien Singh, played with scenery-chewing gusto by the late Ricardo Montalban.
Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise would return in Star Trek III The Search for Spock (1984).
The Critics Wrote –
"NOW this is more like it: after the colossal, big-budget bore that was 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' here comes a sequel that's worth its salt. The second Star Trek movie is swift, droll and adventurous, not to mention appealingly gadget-happy. It's everything the first one should have been and wasn't." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)
“A very satisfying space adventure, closer to the spirit and format to the popular TV series than its big-budget predecessor. Open ending should leave the fans panting for the next Trek feature” (Variety)
“The net effect, between embarrassed guffaws, is incredulity: a movie at once post-TV and pre-D.W. Griffith.” (Paul Taylor, Time Out)
“Wonderful dumb fun. The director, Nicolas Meyer, hits just the right amused, slightly self-mocking note... Montalban plays his fiery villainy to the hilt, smiling grimly as he does the dirty; his bravado is grandly comic. (Pauline Kael)
"Star Trek" stories have always been best when they centered around their characters. Although I liked the special effects in the first movie, they were probably not the point; fans of the TV series wanted to see their favorite characters again, and TREK II understood that desire and acted on it.” (Roger Ebert)
Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan - Trailer
More by this Author
A visual tour of the fifth Star Trek movie with facts, reviews, posters and photos.
George Pal's 1953 classic based on H.G. Wells groundbreaking sci-fi novel, with facts, photos, quotes and posters.
A look back at one of the greatest movies ever made. With facts, quotes, posters and rare photos.