Film: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Scotty: The crew hasn't had near enough transition time with all the new equipment. And the engines, they're not even tested at warp power. And an untried captain...
Kirk: Two and a half years as Chief of Starfleet Operations may have made me a little stale, but I wouldn't consider myself untried... They gave her back to me, Scotty.
Scotty: Gave her back, sir? I doubt it was that easy with Nogura.
Kirk: (in Scottish accent) You're right.Star Trek: The Motion Picture
is the first movie in the Star Trek
film series, released in 1979.
Ten years after the Cancellation
of the original Star Trek
series, it had been Vindicated By Reruns
and so Paramount
decided to make The Movie
with none other than Robert Wise
(director of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
, West Side Story
and The Sound of Music
) at the helm. As a side note, the general story is nearly identical to the Original Series
episode "The Changeling", with elements from "Obsession" and the Animated Series
episode "One Of Our Planets Is Missing" — and in fact the movie's story was intended to be the pilot of the abandoned Sequel Series Star Trek: Phase II
The plot sounds simple enough. An unstoppable entity calling itself V'ger is heading towards Earth, destroying all in its path, and the Enterprise
is sent out to investigate. The story was originally written to be an hour and a half pilot to Phase II
(two hours with commercials), stretched to 2½ hours, most of which involved the bridge crew staring at special effects in awe. This lead to the film to receiving several Fan Nicknames
based on its quite slow pacing, such as "The Slow Motion Picture". Wise's declared intent at the time was to create a 2001: A Space Odyssey
for that era. This film's criticized slow pacing was partly the reason towards making an Actionized
, Surprisingly Improved Sequel
The novelization of the film is noteworthy for two reasons: it is the only prose Star Trek
fiction ever written by series creator Gene Roddenberry, and it contains a footnote explicitly addressing rumors that Kirk and Spock were lovers
(it may or may not have cleared that up
In (funnily enough) 2001, a Director's Cut was released. It is faster paced and actually includes a shot that shows the entirety of V'ger. It also revealed that the original film was more of a workprint and Wise was not allowed to trim it to a more reasonable length because the suits
feared such information would ruin the reputation ahead of time
, and Wise was so comically slow at filming the movie that when the prints were delievered for the movie's premiere, they were still wet from last-minute editing.
This movie provides examples of:
- Advertising Campaigns: No less than Orson Welles narrated the original trailers and ads for the film.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: The pastel aesthetics of the Enterprise`s interior and the crew uniforms were criticised both at the time and for many years later. But now, what with Everything Is An I Pod In The Future, they seem ahead of their time.
- Alien Geometries: V'ger remains one of the trippiest examples in film, consisting of nothing but bizarre angles and lights.
- All There in the Manual:
- The production diary has elaborate backstories for many of the bizarre aliens shown at the Federation headquarters. As an interesting subject of what constitutes Canon, almost none of this backstory has featured in later Star Trek productions. One species was even stated as being expert cloners and that the Federation relies on them for cloning soldiers in times of war.
- Most of these aliens get fleshed out in the novel Ex Machina, which is set immediately after the movie, incorporating bits of their original descriptions from the production diary. The Saurians, meanwhile, at least get mentioned every time someone pulls out a bottle of "Saurian brandy,'' which was around in the Original Series.
- The biggest example are Deltans, the species to which Ilia belongs. If you didn't read the novel, you'd have no idea why Ilia had to take a vow of celibacy, or why she refers to the crew as "sexually immature species" (which is why Sulu and Chekhov do an immediate Male Gaze when she enters). According to the book, Deltans use sex as an everyday form of communication. Even the act of greeting someone is a sexual act. Now, bear in mind Decker was stationed in Delta (which is how he met Ilia), so you have to have a new respect for a guy who is unfazed by their society on a daily basis.
- It isn't mentioned onscreen, but Willard Decker is the son of Commodore Matt Decker from the TOS episode "The Doomsday Machine".
- And the Adventure Continues: It ends with "The Human Adventure is Just Beginning".
- Artifact Title: It is no longer 'The' (only) Star Trek Motion Picture.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Decker and Ilia
- As You Know: Kind of a variant: Decker explains that Voyager 6 disappeared into "what we used to call a black hole." If they don't call them that any more, why bother using the obsolete terminology? It got worse when the subsequent Trek shows ignored this line and featured several references to black holes.
- Author Appeal: Robert E. Wise is familiar with intellectual sci-fi flicks with overt religious overtones.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The 2001 special edition. The original version was rated G,note but it had a truly frightening moment and frank sexual discussion.
- Back in the Saddle: Deconstructed. Kirk has been captaining a desk for several years, in which time he's spent very little time in space, meaning his instincts are rusty. In addition, Enterprise has just completed a massive refit in which she's effectively been entirely rebuilt, meaning she's not the ship he knew before. Commander Decker, who was in command of Enterprise through her refit period, is much more familiar with the ship and, in Kirk's own words, "nursemaids" him through the mission, helping them narrowly avoid destruction due to Kirk's unfamiliarity with the ship's new design and associated teething problems.
- Big "NO!": Decker during the wormhole scene, though this is partially due to the wormhole slowing down time for the ship.
- Body Horror: Not clearly seen, but the transporter malfunction apparently results in this.
Transporter Operator: What we got back didn't live long... fortunately.
- The novelization suggests that Sonak and the other crewmember (Vice Admiral Lori Ciana) were rematerialized with their internal organs outside their bodies. Good God, that's enough to make anyone resign from Starfleet. Still, at least they didn't explode.
- Bizarrely enough, McCoy's famous distaste for transporters is played for laughs shortly afterward. Hopefully he wasn't beamed from the same transporter room, as they were probably still washing away the last travellers with a mop and bucket.
- Bookends: Mentioned on the commentary of the Director's Edition - the traveling pass over the Klingon vessel in the beginning of the film and the traveling pass under the Enterprise at the end.
- Celebrity Paradox: A rare nonhuman example is Played With in that the real life Space Shuttle Enterprise was named after the starship Enterprise as a work of fiction, but is shown in-universe as a precursor and namesake to the starship.
- Comic Book Adaptation: Marvel Comics published a mini-series adaptation of the film, which was followed by short-lived series chronicling what happened after the movie. Meanwhile, McDonald's featured a serialized comic strip adaptation of the film on the boxes of its first-ever Happy Meals, released as promotional tie-ins with the film.
- Commander Contrarian: Decker. Justified early on; Decker did know the refit Enterprise better than Kirk at that point. Overriding an order from Kirk even saved the ship from being destroyed by an asteroid. Later on, however, he continues to advocate actions which are obstructive or downright contrary to their mission, even recommending firing on V'ger to escape its tractor beam.
- Decker justifies this with his claim that giving the captain alternatives is the duty of an executive officer, a point which Kirk reluctantly agrees is true. This does nothing to alleviate the hostility between the two.
- Continuity Nod: Various supporting characters from the original series turn up, with various promotions. Janice Rand has a brief scene attempting to resolve the Teleporter Malfunction, and Nurse Chapel is now an MD serving aboard Enterprise.
- Dull Surprise: Two crew members suffer a hideous death at the hands of a malfunctioning transporter. Kirk's response is a flat, affectless 'Oh my God.' without a change of expression. Particularly startling when it comes from William Shatner.
- Arguably, everyone's reactions come off as emotionally drained by what they just witnessed.
- Really, everyone is pretty subdued throughout the movie. There's a significant lack of ham and scenery chewing all around, even from Shatner himself.
- The scene in which the entire crew has watched a space station being ... consumed by V'ger has the entire crew watching in shock. Kirk has to bark a second "Turn it off!" command to Uhura. (Why that line was removed from the re-edit is odd.)
- Earth All Along: kind of - V'ger turns out to be the (fictional) NASA probe Voyager 6
- Enhanced on DVD: Twenty years after the movie debuted, Robert Wise came back and massively overhauled and Re Cut everything for the DVD release. That included fixing some unfinished special effects, removing some useless scenes and adding some others, sweetening the audio, and most importantly, chopping down the waaaay too long special effects shots. Many fans point to the DVD edition as being far superior to the theatrical release.
- Unfortunately, the only Blu-Ray release to date has the original theatrical version.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Actual deaths in this movie consist of the crews of three Klingon ships getting vaporized for shooting torpedoes at the approaching V'ger; Commander Sonak, who dies horribly on his commute in to work; the crew of the Federation's Epsilon 9 station, who were only in V'ger's way; and Ilia, who is vaporized by a scan. Earth is nearly destroyed by a probe they themselves had sent out centuries ago that was looking for its mommy.
- Foreshadowing: Spock describes V'ger's homeworld as "a planet populated by living machines with unbelievable technology." 10 years later, came the Borg... (see also Leitmotif for a possible connection between V'ger and that race)
- Four Star Bad Ass: Kirk. To quote Uhura: "[Their chances] of coming home from this mission in one piece may have just doubled."
- Future Spandex: The movie has this in spades. The main cast threatened to quit if they didn't get rid of them seeing how not everyone looked good in them. Plus, the spandex costumes were hard to get into and out of, requiring the help of assistants every time the actors needed to use the bathroom, hence the uniform change in the rest of the Star Trek movies.
- Grow Beyond Their Programming: V'ger.
- High-Tech Hexagons: The tactical displays on the Klingon cruiser's bridge were hexagon-heavy.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: The new uniforms as a whole apply, but Bones' civilian outfit makes him look like a long lost Bee Gee.
- In Space Everyone Can See Your Face: Spock has an (untethered!) spacewalk scene using thrusters, and Kirk has a much shorter spacewalk to catch Spock when he comes flying back. You can see both their faces, though slightly obscured.
- Instant A.I., Just Add Water: Kirk surmised that V'ger "amassed so much data it achieved ... consciousness itself!"
- Jerkass Has a Point: Decker isn't really a jerk at all, in fact he has a very good reason to be pissed at Kirk, but a lot of his arguments as to why Kirk is unfit to command the Enterprise is justified and in the best interest of the ship, not due to personal resentment. McCoy even realizes this and tells Kirk so.
- Jetpack: Sort of. To get a closer look at V'ger's nerve center, Spock steals a "thruster suit" — a space suit with a rather impressive thruster pack attached.
- This is implied to be an emergency escape system, and during the destruction of Epsilon 9 someone can briefly be seen attempting to use one in this manner. What else you could plausibly do with a rocket booster that has only a single, fixed duration burn in it attached to your spacesuit is somewhat difficult to imagine.
- The Juggernaut: V'ger
- Jurisdiction Friction: Admiral Kirk is back on the Enterprise, but he occasionally finds himself at odds with the ship's commander, Captain Decker. At one point, Decker countermands one of Kirk's orders during a crisis, and ends up saving the ship from destruction as a result.
- Kicked Upstairs: Admiral Kirk, before the movie begins. Ironically, Gene Roddenberry infamously got kicked upstairs as well because of the film's disappointing critical reception.
- Lampshade Hanging: McCoy remarks that he expects the entire sickbay has been redesigned, because engineers just love making changes, in reference to the Movie!Enterprise being substantially redesigned compared to the Series!Enterprise.
- Leave the Camera Running / Padding: Its Fan Nickname isn't The Motionless Picturenote for nothing.
- Leitmotif: The Klingon theme that would echo in later movies and tv shows, and a love theme that plays during Decker/Ilia and Kirk/Enterprise scenes.
- Machine Monotone: Probe!Ilia.
- Magical Security Cam: When the Klingon ships are discombobulated by V'ger, a Starfleet observatory is watching through a sensor probe, which is reasonable enough. Later on, said observatory sends a direct broadcast to the Enterprise, and the live feed continues well after it gets zapped.
- Mandatory Unretirement: McCoy.
Kirk: Well, for a man who swore he'd never return to Starfleet-
Bones: Just a moment, Captain, sir. I'll explain what happened. Your revered Admiral Nogura invoked a little-known, seldom-used reserve activation clause. In simpler language, Captain, they drafted me!
- Manly Tears: Spock weeps for V'ger.
- Mechanistic Alien Culture: The Ilia Probe struggles to comprehend carbon-based life (the probe is a humanoid android created by a society of Mechanical Lifeforms to interact with the Enterprise crew), so it uses extremely mechanistic language, like "Carbon Units," "Kirk Unit," - not "Decker Unit". as it still retains enough of Ilia to recognise her former lover - etc., to describe humanoid(oid) society and individual "carbon units." The Ilia Probe created by the machine entity V'ger, being an android, is not an example, but its perception of humanoid society is, as it is colored by the machine belief (as it is on the machines' homeworld) that "carbon units" exist to "serve the creator" (which, according to the machine logic, must be a living machine as well, like V'ger, its creation; similar V'ger and the Ilia Probe perceive the USS Enterprise as a Mechanical Lifeform serviced by "Carbon Units"). Interestingly, this implies that "Carbon Units" (carbon-based life) on the machines' homeworld are considered "artificial" by the living machines, which raises some very interesting questions about their evolution and technology.
- Mega-Maw Maneuver: Done from the other side here. After Enterprise has taken position behind V'ger, V'ger uses a tractor beam to draw them into a hatch on that side, closing it behind them.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: This film is about as "hard" as Star Trek has ever gotten (Isaac Asimov was credited as a "special science consultant"! There were plenty of other consultants, too). This doesn't really say too much, but this is certainly the Star Trek production which made the most effort to be realistic.
- At least, it tries until the scenes where all the "The Creator mus join with V'ger" business takes a turn into ultra-mystical wackiness.
- Bill Shatner has claimed to have come up with that ending. In large part because between the writer, director, producers, and any and all other people who should have made sure they had at least all the required components of a completed story line before starting the movie didn't actually have one. And they needed to start filming it. This afternoon.
- Par for the course for Robert E. Wise.
- Mood Whiplash: Less than ten minutes after the horrifying transporter accident, Bones' usual reluctance to use the transporter is played for its usual laughs.
- The Movie: Or rather, The Motion Picture, because we're classy, dammit. note
- My Skull Runneth Over: Spock tries to mind-meld with V'ger and nearly fries his brain from the information overload.
- Naked on Arrival: Probe!Ilia is beamed in sans clothing. V'ger helpfully beamed her into a sonic shower so she wouldn't be strutting around in the buff, and the shower comes with some kind of instant clothing button that puts her in a spacey bathrobe.
- Never Found the Body: "List... list them as "missing"."
- No Seat Belts: Averted—the fact that seat belts were a subject of public discussion in the late 1970s and that the bridge crew kept thrashing around falling out of their seats in TOS probably helped. This bridge has chairs with armrests that fold down over the legs. They do look kind of awkward, though.
- Nothing Is Scarier: All you see of the transporter accident is a woman screaming mid-transport, their outlines slowly melting, and just when her screams get loudest, the beam vanishes, and you get the aforementioned Body Horror line. Brrrrrr...
- Oh, Crap: A fairly subdued one from a Starfleet officer after observing the results of the engagement between V'ger and the Klingon cruisers:
We've plotted a course on that cloud, Commander. It will pass into Federation space fairly close to us.
Commander Branch: Heading?
Lieutenant: Sir, it's on a precise heading for Earth.
- When the transporters malfunction on the Enterprise, Janice Rand lets out a hushed and horrified "Oh, no; they're forming." The "Oh, Crap"s continue when Kirk and Scotty realize Starfleet finally got them back and not in one piece.
- Or both in one piece. As in, one body...
- The Only One: The Enterprise is the only starship available to confront V'ger.
"This seems to happen a lot. One almost wonders if other starships stay away when the Enterprise is in town, knowing that danger must be near."
— Michael Okuda's text commentary for the Director's Edition, when Kirk tells Scotty that "the only starship in interception range is the Enterprise."
- One might correlate though that EVERY Starfleet ship enjoys similar adventures. Because why is the Enterprise always the only ship in reach? All the others are out fighting Klingons, stopping some disasters, or getting lost in time and space somewhere...
- There's also the sheer size factor of space - since Starfleet is supposed to be primarily an exploratory and research organization, and only Mildly Military, it makes sense that their ships are spread all across known space (and slightly beyond), and rarely in a position to immediately come to another ship or planet's assistance.
- What makes this particularly absurd is that "interception range" means "from Earth to the Klingon border," an empire with which, at the time, relations were at best frosty.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: A warp malfunction pitches the Enterprise into an unstable wormhole, within which is an asteroid they have to blow up before a messy collision.
- Permission to Speak Freely: Decker is outright hostile towards Kirk in plain view of their subordinates, and even more so in private. Kirk looks as though he wants to punch him in the face numerous times, but lets it go as he needs him to guide his command of a ship he no longer recognizes.
- Pilot Episode: As mentioned above, the script was written as the pilot episode to a new television series, and was hastily being rewritten after filming had already started (hence the addition of Spectacle). In fact, if you watch it with this in mind, you might spot that the finished product still hits many of the beats required of most television pilots, such as introducing the characters, and relaunching the ship, elements which weren't strictly necessary for the story that's being told here, but which make perfect sense in context of setting up the format for a new television show.
- It also is the explanation for the main flaw of this film: It's a 2+ hour theatrical movie with only about 45 minutes worth of story in it.
- Plot-Driven Breakdown: The transporter accident that kills Commander Sonak creates a competence gap in the science crew that Spock can then fill.
- The Power of Love: It causes Decker, Probe!Ilia, and V'ger to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
- Putting the Band Back Together: Kirk drafts McCoy for this reason, and Sonak is a Replacement Goldfish for Spock until the transporter knocks him out of the picture and the actual Spock shows up.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: They chose Voyager as the design of what became V'ger because it was a current event—Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in 1977, and by the time the film was released, both had already visited Jupiter. Mixes with a bit of Hilarious in Hindsight as there were only two Voyager probes... no matter that only two were ever planned.
- Sonak was killed in the transporter accident because he was intended to be in the film as Spock's replacement, and Leonard Nimoy agreed to come back late in pre-production, forcing them to add his introduction largely separate from everyone else. The full production history gets even more interesting, the replacement Vulcan science officer in the Phase II series was to be Xon and played by David Gautreaux, who was recast in a minor role as the Epsilon IX commander.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The usual Kirk/Spock dynamic is handily pointed out by the film's poster.
- A richly-colored rainbow was a very popular motif in the late 70s-early 80s. It was used for everything from children's cartoons to a Presidential campaign. New Age devotees adopted the symbol of the rainbow about this time.
- Red Shirt: No one's wearing one, but that doesn't help much.
- Played straight with Ilia. The V'ger probe is interrupted by Spock, who it then zaps in retaliation. Decker then tries to help, and is also zapped. Then it outright vaporizes Ilia, who did absolutely nothing to provoke it. The probe would have also killed a security officer prior to her, but they cut his death to give Ilia's more dramatic weight.
- Originally, they planned to kill Chekov. Thankfully for the sake of the sequels they didn't know they would be making, it was decided that it would be more dramatic if Kirk listed Decker and Ilia as the only casualties at the end.
- Not wearing red shirts didn't seem help the two crew members horribly mangled by the transporters, the Klingons, or the crew of Epsilon IX.
- Replacement Goldfish: In the beginning of the film, Kirk is quite insistent upon getting a Vulcan science officer after the first one he found met his end by malfunctioning transporter, obviously trying to replace the now-absent Spock.
- The Resenter: Captain Decker is not at all happy that Kirk's hijacking his command after he just spent the last year and a half overseeing the Enterprise's refit. However when Kirk chews Decker out over it McCoy sides with Decker, saying that Kirk is the resentful one because Decker has the one thing Kirk wants - permanent command of the Enterprise.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Probe!Ilia is a perfect mechanical reproduction of the real Ilia, down to the smallest bodily functions.
- Robot Girl: Probe!Ilia. And intentionally or not, she strongly resembles the machine-man from Metropolis.
- Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: V'ger (or rather, the cloud surrounding it) is originally classified as being over 82 AUs in diameter, which would make it comically large (the size of the entire solar system). It's brought down to 2 AUs in the DVD release, which would make the cloud the entire size of Earth's orbit around the sun, which is still quite massive but far more reasonable to hide a ship which, at best, can't be much larger than a planet.
- This story takes place a few hundred years after the voyager probes were launched. Voyager 6 fell into a black hole to emerge at the planet of the machine intelligences. At the speeds that the voyager probes left the solar system, it would take thousands of years to reach the nearest celestial body (Alpha Centauri), so presumably much longer to rendezvous with a black hole somewhere in space.
- Director Robert Wise was afraid that audiences would have no sense of scale to the size of V'ger. He gave that as a reason for the infamous shuttle trip around the Enterprise — A two man shuttle contrasting the size of Enterprise, then Enterprise compared to the cloud.
- Scenery Porn: The effects budget was huge, and they waste no time in showing it. Sometimes, even too much. (as Linkara said: "Yes, I understand you spent a lot of money in this!")
- Although the five minute trip around the Enterprise could be seen as a Fandom Nod thank you to those original Trekkers in 1979 who had to put up with the plastic model Enterprise effects of the series for 10 years before finally seeing her on the big screen.
- Sex Goddess: Ilia, although she'd never take advantage of a sexually immature race, as Commander Decker can tell you.
- Hilariously, one of the first thing Ilia tells Kirk after reporting for duty is that her oath of celibacy is on record. Apparently she'd heard about Kirk's reputation, and felt she needed to cut him off at the pass.
- Shoot the Money: Since much of the $40 million (in 1979 dollars) budget went into pre-production work for the Star Trek Phase II TV series, every Enterprise interior set that would have appeared in a series is used in this film. The officer's lounge and recreation deck sets would never again be seen in any other Star Trek movie.
- Space Clothes: And man, did the cast hate them. See the Tropes for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan for more.
- Space Opera: Heavily influenced by 2001: A Space Odyssey, the first movie is very different in tone from the rest.
- Spiritual Successor: To 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Take That: A number of early promotion materials released to the press during production contained the tag line "There is no Comparison", an answer to those who speculated Paramount was just going to make a Star Wars rip-off. Younger fans may not be aware of how important it not being a Star Wars ripoff was. Everyone was doing them at this time, and most of them were really bad. Not only was this not a Star Wars ripoff, it's actually rather good (for a given value of good).note
- Technology Porn: There's a few loving shots of the Enterprise's awesome-looking warp core.
- Teleporter Accident: The science officer and one other are mangled by a malfunctioning transporter as the Enterprise is preparing to leave. And yet McCoy is still treated as irrational for not liking them mere minutes later.
- Typeset in the Future: During the Original Series, the exterior markings on Federation spacecraft were set in the standard typeface used by the U.S. Air Force. Beginning with this movie, the typeface was changed to Eurostile Bold Extended.
- Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Enterprise has just gone through an 18-month refit and pretty much the entire ship has been rebuilt. They haven't even gotten to engine tests yet. Kirk orders it pressed into service anyway. Reality Ensues when they finicky warp engines glitch out and nearly get the ship destroyed.
- Vow of Celibacy: Lieutenant Ilia randomly informs Kirk when she comes aboard that she has one. Expanded on in the novelization; see below.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Sonak, Spock's Replacement Goldfish.
- We Want Our Kirk Back: No one at the end seems terribly upset at the departure of Captain Decker.
- You Look Familiar: Spock's father is a Klingon Captain! (Although admittedly you wouldn't recognize him unless you knew it was the same actor under the heavy make-up.)
- He also looks suspiciously like the Romulan commander in the episode "Balance of Terror", making Mark Lenard notable for being the only actor to have played all three of the major recurring non-human races in the Original Series' canon.
- All There in the Manual: It's stated in the novelization that Commander Willard Decker is the son of Commodore Matt Decker from the TOS episode "The Doomsday Machine", and the Enterprise was his big chance to prove he wasn't crazy like his dad. That explains why he's none too pleased with Kirk casually commandeering the Enterprise (or some of his crew grousing about it). Notably, it's a complete inversion of of that episode; with Kirk now the flag officer who commandeers Enterprise from her rightful CO and makes poor command decisions that nearly lead to the ship's destruction.
- The novelization also reveals the identity of the female transporter accident victim, as well as why Chekov and Sulu suddenly get goofy around the bald chick (females of her species can emit pheromones that make males want to mate with them).
- Amicably Divorced: Kirk and Lori Ciana, which makes Kirk's reaction to her death in the movie all the more weird. For this reason, many fans prefer to think that the person killed along with Sonak in the film's transporter accident was actually the ship's original navigator, who subsequently got replaced by Ilia.
- Given Shatner's usual tendency to over-emote, dull surprise might actually be a sign that he's profoundly affected by the deaths.
- Artifact Title: It's a book, not a movie.
- Bi the Way: Part of the footnote of Kirk's denial that he and Spock are lovers can be read this way.
- Framing Device: The novel directly refers to the events of the original TV series as dramatizations based on the voyages of the Enterprise. So that means Star Trek is seen by its creator as a Show Within a Show. Justifiable since Roddenberry got fed up with being asked why the Klingons looked different from the ones seen in TOS. His answer remained that he always intended for everything, including the Klingons, to look more elaborate and detailed than they did on TV. They just didn't have the money or the technology to realize it. Making the original series an "in universe" dramatization takes care of that question. In terms of the productions looks, we might assume that what is low budget and zeerust to us in the real world is simply a stylistic choice on the part of the "in universe" shows creators.
- Mindlink Mates: Spock hears Kirk's thoughts from light years away, and later on it's mentioned that, "It was common knowledge that telepathic rapport between Vulcan and human was possible only in cases of extraordinarily close friendship."
- Ship Tease: The word t'hy'la, as mentioned above, along with the famous footnote in response that seems, on the surface, to debunk Kirk/Spock but could just as easily be used as evidence for it.
- Vow of Celibacy: Ilia's is explained here. Deltans (Ilia's race) are highly sexual and view humans as immature when it comes to sex, and more to the point having sex with a non-Deltan can potentially kill their partner (because it involves a blending of minds as well as bodies). Deltans are compelled to take a vow of celibacy in order to join Starfleet.