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Trivia / Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: The final interaction between Kirk and Spock was written, word for word, by William Shatner, even down to the blocking of the scene and having them be physically separated at the moment of Spock's death. Although, Shatner's original concept was that Spock would be behind frosted glass and visible only in silhouette – this was changed to transparent glass in the film.
  • Creative Differences:
    • Matt Jefferies, designer of the original Enterprise bridge (and namesake for the "Jefferies tubes" used throughout the franchise), said that after The Motion Picture he "never watched" subsequent films or incarnations of Star Trek, remarking that they had turned his Navy-esque bridge into "the lobby of the Hilton."
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    • Forget Khan; by now, the real villain of Gene Roddenberry's life had entered the stage: Nicholas Meyer. Gene Roddenberry hated the militaristic framing of WoK as it developed (though he later praised/claimed credit for the "Hornblower in space" theme, it was not his idea), accusing it of not staying true to his ideals of what Star Trek should be. Meyer was then a young man, a newcomer to Hollywood, full of vim and vigor, and in no mood to take crap from a fossil like Roddenberry. Their struggles, which threatened to overshadow the film itself, are chronicled in Meyer's memoir, A View from the Bridge. After it came out that Gene had been sick, and was being fed orders from his parasitic attorney, Meyer regretted losing his cool at him.
    • Many people, including Harve Bennett, believed that Roddenberry was responsible for Spock's death being leaked to the public, knowing the backlash it would receive. (Meyer got death threats, probably hoping to scare him away from the film.)
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    • Leonard Nimoy and Nicholas Meyer very nearly got into a shouting match during the filming of Spock's death scene, according to Nimoy's autobiography I Am Spock. The cause was that they had differences on how gory the scene should be. Meyer wanted Spock visibly bleeding green from open sores and leaving a very visible green handprint from his Vulcan salute, while Nimoy thought that would be undignified, borderline narm and would distract from the gravitas of the scene. Add into the mix that Nimoy recalls being physically distressed at killing off Spock (as mentioned below under What Could Have Been, he had rekindled a desire to keep the character going), and the fuse was lit. In the end, Meyer backed off and toned down the blood.
  • Creator Cameo: James Horner!note 
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  • Deleted Scene: In which the young man who "stayed at his post as others ran" is revealed to be Scotty's youngest nephew Peter.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Ricardo Montalban engaged in an intense workout regimen to show that Khan is still a force to be reckoned with. Those pecs you see throughout the film? All real.
  • Enforced Method Acting: During the scene where Kirk tricks Khan by using the Prefix Code to lower Reliant's shields, William Shatner kept delivering the line "Here it comes" in a sing-songy, mocking manner. Meyer felt that Kirk would NOT do this, as that's pretty blatantly telegraphing your intentions to your enemy. In the end, Meyer hit on a plan—he had Shatner do several takes of the line. On the last take, Shatner, finally sick of the multiple attempts, thought to just phone it in and delivered a blank, emotionless reading of the line, hoping that Meyer would get the hint and move on. Meyer indeed moved on after that take—the exact reading he wanted for the line, and the reading that was included in the finished cut. In fact, Meyer often used this tactic when dealing with Shatner.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • According to Meyer, lawyers decided who got credited, and paid, for the screenplay. "I just wrote it and they put somebody's name on it."As for the whole story 
    • Judson Scott (Joachim) doesn't appear at all in the credits, due to an overzealous agent trying to get him star billing without his knowledge.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • Carrying over from "Space Seed", Mexican Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh.
    • If one knows the dialogue when Spock and Saavik speak Vulcan, one can see that they are speaking English and it has been overdubbed.
  • No Budget: Not completely, but given the cost overruns on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, they definitely had to save money wherever they could. There isn't much in the way of new sets; the remains of the Botany Bay, Regula I (even this was just a modified model from the first film) and some corridors. The movie is largely a Bottle Episode. The Klingon ships in the training simulator, all of the Enterprise shots in drydock and the "beauty shot" after its launch were all recycled from the first movie. Several uniforms were reused as well—the thruster suits, engineering suits, and McCoy's medical shirt were reused straight-up with only minor tweaks, and the one-piece jumpsuit uniforms were dyed and tweaked into the cadet/noncom jumpsuits. Even Spock's black robe is from the first movie.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • The character of Joachim, recast and slightly renamed, from his appearance in the original "Space Seed".note 
    • Lieutenant Saavik is played by Kirstie Alley in this movie and by Robin Curtis in the following two movies.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Kirstie Alley was a big-time fan of the original series who was extremely excited to be able to play a role alongside Leonard Nimoy. Apparently, she was quite apt at the Vulcan characterization, which helped to land her the role. Sadly, she did not come back for The Search for Spock, though exactly why is not clear. Some sources claimed that she chose not to return because she was afraid of being typecast as a "science fiction actress", while other sources claim that her agent demanded too much money without her knowledge or approval, hence her being replaced by Robin Curtis.
  • Production Nickname: The Starfleet uniforms introduced in this film were called "Monster Maroons".
  • Prop Recycling: A time-honored Star Trek tradition.
    • The Regula 1 space station is the space station from the previous film, turned upside down. The Enterprise itself was also recycled from the previous film.
    • Pointedly shown with a background shot: when Chekov and Terrell are arguing about Carol Marcus's reaction about "transplanting" the life forms from Ceti Alpha VI, Checkov is standing beside a monitor showing the lower hull of the Enterprise.
  • Recycled Set: Sixty-five percent of the film was shot on the same set; the bridge of the Reliant and the "bridge simulator" from the opening scene were redresses of the Enterprise's bridge. The Klingon bridge from The Motion Picture was redressed as the transporter and torpedo rooms.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Actor Merrit Butrick, who played Carol Marcus' and Jim Kirk's love-child David, really does kind of resemble a young William Shatner at times. His hair is also the exact same color as Bibi Besch (who played Carol), and had the same curl that William Shatner was "wearing" at the time.
  • Shrug of God: Nicholas Meyer has constantly been asked why Khan wears a glove only on his right hand, and has never given an answer, often saying "Why do you think he wears it?".
  • Throw It In!: Harve Bennett accidentally saw the Reliant's designs upside down, and the crew made the models to fit that.
  • Troubled Production: Filming wasn't nearly as troubled as the first film, but it had its problems:
    • Despite everything that had happened on the first film, Paramount were willing to let Gene Roddenberry produce a sequel on condition that it be produced for only around half the budget, that Roddenberry share the producer's job with Jon Povill, and that Paramount would have approval on the storyline and choice of screenwriter. Roddenberry responded by rejecting all their demands except for their proposed budget and told them that he would write a sequel based on an idea he'd had involving Kirk and Spock getting involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and that Paramount could either take it or leave it. They opted to leave it, kicked Roddenberry upstairs, and replaced him with veteran TV producer Harve Bennett.
    • Bennett had expected a budget of around $20 million to make the film with, but when meeting the Paramount executives, happened to quip that he could make four movies for the money that had been spent on the first film. The executives responded by saying "thanks!", and sent Bennett on his way with a small even at the time $11 million budget; still enough to make a film with, but it forced savings to be found throughout the production.
    • Writing was the hardest part of the process. Bennett chose to make a sequel to the classic episode "Space Seed", with initial writer Jack B. Sowards producing several screenplays that were decent, but somehow lacking. TOS veteran Samuel A. Peeples was then brought on-board to produce a new draft, only for the resulting screenplay to turn out to be complete garbage, not least because Peeples for some bizarre reason deleted Khan from the script and replaced him with two Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. Now in the position where he needed a script in not more two weeks in order to prevent production from falling apart, Bennett was nearly forced to go with the last draft that Sowards had produced and just hope for the best, but newly-hired director Nicholas Meyer volunteered to do the job himself, even foregoing credit to ensure he could get the job done on time.
    • Filming and post-production was relatively smooth aside from the cost issues, and Meyer having trouble with William Shatner's Large Ham tendencies even in scenes that called for a more subdued performance, though he was eventually able to find ways to work around it. However, the film's original ending, in which Spock was presented as being absolutely, unquestionably dead, was considered to be too much of a Downer Ending by test audiences, resulting in Bennett and a small camera crew hastily filming an extra scene showing the torpedo containing Spock's body having soft-landed on the Genesis Planet. It let the film end on a moment of hope, but Meyer was incensed, and refused to come back for the third film. note 
  • Unintentional Period Piece: In the DVD Commentary, Nicholas Meyer paraphrases Orson Scott Card's claim that all works are a product of their time, when it's pointed out how Khan's followers look like the entourage of a hair metal group.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Spock's Heroic Sacrifice was originally placed at the middle of the movie, in an attempt to mimic the Psycho gambit. When they wisely decided to make it the emotional climax of the film instead, Peter Preston's sacrifice was put in its place instead. Similarly, the whole ordeal was practically spoiled before the movie began filming because it was what lured him back to the franchise. The Kobayashi Maru sequence was intended as a way to throw off expectations.
    • To elaborate: An early version of the script got leaked, including the fact that Spock died. Afterwards, the Kobayashi Maru sequence, which included Spock fake-dying, was added to fake-out moviegoers and make them think that that was the "death" that had been promised.
    • Ricardo Montalban considered turning down reprising the role of Khan due to lack of screen time. When he realized how much of an impact Khan has (even when he's not on screen, Khan is affecting every action every character in the movie takes), he signed onto the film.
    • The preliminary design for the U.S.S. Reliant was initially much different than what was eventually seen in the film, with the "roll-bar" torpedo bay missing and the warp nacelles above the dish, like on the Enterprise. However, when Harve Bennett received the design for approval, he viewed the drawing upside-down and assumed that was Reliant's intended look. The production team debated whether or not to send the drawing back to Bennett right-side-up, but he was shooting in Israel by then and there was little time to contact him. They added the roll bar and repositioned the nacelles, resulting in the Reliant we are familiar with.
    • Even before that stage, they originally considered having the Reliant be another Constitution-class starship (it was the only class of Federation ship seen on Trek before that time), but then realized the audience would have trouble telling it apart from the Enterprise during the battle sequences. Thus it was decided to make Reliant part of the Miranda-class.
    • Spock's death was originally intended to be permanent, as Nimoy had grown tired of the franchise and even almost didn't come back for the first film, so he signed on for Wrath with the understanding that Spock would die. However, working on this film was such a good experience he rethought his decision.
      Nimoy: As it came time to film the scene [Spock's death], I thought "I may have made a big mistake here." I had no idea this thing would ever go again, but here it was, cooking on all four burners, and I had backed Spock right out of the franchise.
    • In an early draft, Carol Marcus' role was taken by Janet Wallace, a different scientist Old Flame of Kirk's who had appeared in the TOS episode "The Deadly Years".
    • The role of Lt. Marla McGivers (smitten with Khan in "Space Seed") was considered to be included in the script. Unfortunately, the actress playing Lt. McGivers, Madlyn Rhue, had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977 (by 1985, Rhue would be confined to a wheelchair, this limiting the roles she could take); resulting in the character being written out altogether.
    • Despite the Troubled Production of the previous film, Paramount actually were open to letting Gene Roddenberry produce the sequel. However, his resistance to the idea of stepping back into a more hands-off role and letting someone else supervise the day-to-day workings of the shoot, along with his outright refusal to budge away from a story idea whereby Spock would accidentally prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, resulted in Paramount kicking him upstairs and giving him no real say in the film's production.
    • In Harve Bennett's original draft, entitled The War of the Generations, Kirk investigates a rebellion on a distant world and discovers that his son is the leader of the rebels. Khan is the mastermind behind the plot, and Kirk and son join forces to defeat the tyrant.
    • Jack B. Sowards' draft, The Omega Syndrome, involved the theft of the Federation's ultimate weapon, the "Omega system".
    • Kim Cattrall auditioned for Saavik. She would later play Lt. Valeris, a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • Working Title: The Vengeance of Khan. This was changed as it was deemed too similar to the upcoming Return of the Jedi, which was originally called Revenge of the Jedi.


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