In the Project Genesis story arc, the story sequence is
Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan : Star Trek III The Search for Spock.


Khan Noonien Soong, driven by his revenge on Kirk, who once dropped him and his genetically enhanced crew on a lonely planet, kidnaps Capt. Terrell and Chekov, who are on a planetary survey mission for the Genesis project. Khan seizes command of their ship, the USS Reliant, and steals the powerful Genesis device that is capable of creating Class-M planets from any form of matter.

The scientists who developed the device, among them Carol Marcus, who once dated Kirk, and their common son David, are trapped on the planetoid Regula, from where the Enterprise rescues them before taking on Khan. After losing the fierce battle in the Mutara Nebula, Khan activates the device. Spock sacrifices his life to repair the Enterprise's warp drive and to save the ship from the imminent explosion of the Genesis device. His body remains on the newly created planet Genesis.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers


  1. Khan recognising Chekov, who wasn't even in the cast in the events depicted in Space Seed. There was plenty of time for Chekov to join the Enterprise crew between Mudd's Women and Space Seed, before transferring to the bridge crew prior to the events in Catspaw. [N 3]

Plot Oversights

  1. Saavik using an expletive during the Kobayashi Maru scene. Perhaps she is not a full Vulcan. [N 4]
  2. The elongated sphere depicting the Neutral Zone. It probably covers more space than it appears.
  3. Khan's people playing checkers rather that three dimensional chess. Maybe they prefer a game from their own time.
  4. Terrell and Chekov not being able to directly transport from inside the containers. This may be due to the effects of the storm, combined with a natural anti transporter effect of the material used to make the containers.[N 5]
  5. The crew of Reliant not realising anything was amiss in the Ceti Alpha system. The records could have been incomplete or contradictory.
  6. Khan knowing a Klingon proverb. Translations of Klingon proverbs could have been included in Federation computer libraries as part of a 'Know your Enemy' policy. The actual Klingon proverb that Kahn uses to illustrate the Earth proverb on revenge is "It is very cold in space", as the "old Klingon proverb", that "revenge is a dish that is best served cold" is, in fact, an Earth proverb. [N 6]
  7. The Ceti eel leaving Chekov's brain. Chekov's overwhelming desire to live could have subconsciously forced it out.
  8. Presence of a light source in the Genesis cave. This could be from a device designed to simulate sunlight, much like the lightboxes designed to relieve symptoms of S.A.D.

Changed Premises

  1. The term Neutral Zone apparently being used to describe the boundary between Federation and Klingon space., as opposed to the Federation/Romulan border. A second Neutral Zone must have been established to cover the Klingon-Federation Border.
  2. Kirk telling Saavik that Klingons don't take prisoners, when in fact it's Romulans. Kirk could be setting an impromptu test for Saavik.
  3. Savvik crying during the funeral. As stated elsewhere, she was originally described as half-Romulan.
  4. Kirk not issuing the order to raise shields when Reliant first appeared. Kirk saw nothing to justify raising the shields.

Equipment Oddities

  1. Relocation of the bridge science station. This could be due to the installation of a replacement bridge module.
  2. There only being a slight reading on one scanner when Reliant scanned the surface, despite the prescence of at least a dozen humans and a batch of cargo containers. There was a lot of heavy interference from the storm.
  3. Kirk's crew being able to fire phasers while the main energisers were down. Starfleet Corps of Engineers could have developed a standardised back up power supply for the phasers, possibly as a direct result of the wormhole incident which occurred during the V'Ger incident.
  4. Enterprise personnel using the old style pocket communitors, instead of the wrist mounted versions. Maybe they prefer not to use the wrist units, in case of damage through accidental contact with walls or equipment.
  5. Starfleet Corps of Engineers taking ten months to carve out the Genesis storage area. They would have gone slowly in order to avoid cave-ins.
  6. No one mentioning the possibility of beaming the Genesis torpedo into space behind Reliant at maximum dispersion. In light of what Genesis was designed to do, this would probably trigger a premature detonation, thus causing more harm than good!

Continuity and Production Problems

  1. Kirk boarding Enterprise by shuttlecraft. He probably wanted to use the trip to review the cadet's progress with the senior officers in private.
  2. Everyone except Kirk lurching forward when Enterprise enters the Matura Nebula. Kirk's chair must be fitted with some form of invisible restraint.

Nit Central

  1. Will on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 10:33 am - I've always felt that some of Khan's followers, like Joachim and the cute woman at navigation were too young. 15 years prior to this movie they'd just be kids, and we didn't see any such indication that the Botany Bay had children on it. Darth Sarcasm on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 1:51 pm Then again, they were genetically engineered, so maybe they weren't kids, but just their aging process had been manipulated somehow, so they only looked like they might be in their 20's even 15 years later.
  2. If it did wouldn't it be incredibly heartless of Kirk to 'maroon' them on Ceti Alpha V? Darth Sarcasm on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 1:51 pm Ceti Alpha V was hospitable. Why would it have been heartless for Kirk to leave their children? It would, however, have been heartless for 1996 humans to launch children into sleeper ships because their parents were criminals.
  3. Why were all of Khan's people outside? Maybe just a few were outside, saw Chekov and Terrel, warned Khan, and he had them leave to trap the visitors inside. Darth Sarcasm on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 1:51 pm Who knows? Maybe they were out gathering water... or maybe they actually lived in nearby caves.
  4. Will on Tuesday, August 12, 2003 - 10:49 am - Why is it called 'spacedock' when that's the official name for the giant space station seen in Star Trek III? Wouldn't that confuse people who want go to 'Space Dock' but are taken to a DRY dock? Either the large Spacedock seen in ST III was not be fully operational at this point, or the drydock is classed as part of the space dock complex.
  5. Just prior to Kirk, McCoy, and Saavik beaming over to Regula 1, the station is seen in silhouette against what must be the star that becomes the sun of Genesis. There's no nebula in sight from that angle, just a brilliant light. That star is actually the star of the Regula system - the nebula is in the other direction, 'behind' the camera.
  6. When the Reliant explodes the nebula instantly fades. Why? The nebula just evaporates before the explosion spreads out far enough to touch it. The Genesis effect is pulling the material from the nebula towards the detonation point, thus making it look as if the nebula is fading.
  7. When the Enterprise is escaping from the Reliant during the Genesis countdown, they appear to be travelling at roughly an 80 degree angle from each other, nearly flying in the same direction. Shouldn't the Enterprise have left at a 180 degree angle, completely opposite of Reliant's course? That puny 4000 kilometers could have been more like 6000 at that rate. Darth Sarcasm on Monday, March 01, 2004 - 7:09 pm - You forget that they're still inside the nebula... sensors worked sketchy, at best. For all we know, Sulu tried to plot a course directly opposite Reliant's trajectory (which was virtually motionless, anyway). Or he could have plotted a course that took them away from the battle scenes where they may inadvertently run into stray debris (like Reliant's nacelle).
  8. NGen on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 7:30 am - The training exercise in the 'Enterprise' mock-up seems a bit old fashioned. Wouldn't a virtual reality simulation for each trainee be more realistic for the 23rd century? The resulting behaviour wouldn't be realistic enough.

Internet Movie Database

Audio/visual unsynchronized

  1. When the mind-control worm is phasered into nonexistence, its squeal can still be heard after it has disappeared. Probably some kind of echo.


  1. As McCoy and Scotty are preventing Kirk from entering the irradiated chamber with Spock ("You'll flood the whole compartment!"), when the camera is on Kirk from the front, they're facing in the same direction as Kirk, but when the shot switches to a POV behind Kirk, they're both facing the other way. They probably moved their heads just as the shot changed.
  2. After David Marcus says, "We can't just sit here," Admiral Kirk puts on his glasses and checks his watch, saying, "Oh, yes we can." In the very next shot, the glasses are gone. He probably took them off straight away.
  3. Khan has a warning torpedo fired at the Enterprise. After the torpedo explodes we see David and Carol Marcus, and McCoy, in the sickbay reacting to the explosion. Only six seconds pass (of movie time as well as "real" time) before the turbolift doors open on the bridge with David as a passenger. There was a short passage of time between these scenes which was originally edited out. The missing scene can be viewed on the Director's Cut DVD. [N 7]
  4. When Chekov and Terrell explore Ceti Alpha V, earphones can clearly be seen through the visors of their spacesuit helmets. When they enter the shelter they discovered and take off their helmets, the earphones are gone. The helmets could be fitted with auto retracting headphones.
  5. During the first battle, the blasts from the Enterprise's phasers hit the blue dome at the rear of Reliant and it explodes. In an aft shot of Reliant moments later there is a slight shot of the dome still intact, though not brightly lit. According to the Movie Mistakes website entry, the damage is still there – it’s just very difficult to see.

Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers)

  1. David Marcus says that he encoded the Genesis torpedo with a four minute countdown. But when Khan activates the Genesis device it begins counting down from 999 at a rate of about 2 each second, which makes it approximately eight minutes until detonation. Either someone changed the countdown to eight minutes, or the countdown speeds up towards detonation.
  2. When Khan leans forward, the wound on his chest "crinkles" visibly, as only a glued-on rubber prosthetic would do. (IMDB Explanation) His wound seems to be fresh and/or infected - causing the skin to swell. If this wound is now compressed by the surrounding skin/muscle tissue, it will wrinkle as seen on screen.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs

  1. When McCoy enters Kirk's apartment, he gives him the bottle of Romulan Ale. Kirk reads the date on it as 2283. It is unlikely that Romulans would use an Earth date on their bottle (they would use the Romulan calendar). (IMDB Explanation) It is likely that the original label has been replaced with a Federation one to hide its illegal contents. A Federation label would likely use original calendar years, as is traditional for all wines and spirits.
  2. As Spock has Saavik take the Enterprise out of space dock, he refers to her as "Mr. Saavik". (IMDB Explanation) Officers are referred to as Mister, regardless of gender.
  3. Kirk seems to order "Phasers starboard," and the Enterprise turns to starboard, then opens fire with the port phasers. (IMDB Explanation) In fact, Kirk says "evasive starboard," which is confirmed by the novel and screenplay (the DVD subtitles are in error). When Kirk says, "Fire!" THEN the port phasers are shown firing.

Revealing mistakes

  1. When the mind-control worm is leaving Chekov's head via his ear, the worm is not leaving from his ear hole in the shot showing his entire head. The worm is in fact higher on this ear, where no hole exists. The worm could have caused one in it's desperation to escape.
  2. In the original-series episode "Space Seed", Khan was marooned on Ceti Alpha V with a few dozen of his followers, all of whom were about his same age (roughly their mid-thirties). Now in the movie, set fifteen years later, Khan has aged, but he's surrounded by followers who are all appear to be in their twenties; they're too young to have been the disciples with him in the original episode, but too old to have been born on the planet. (IMDB Explanation)This is possibly a sign of their augmented, genetic aging process.
  3. In the Kobayashi Maru scene, the images the Klingon ships on the viewer are from Star Trek The Motion Picture. The images of the Klingon Ships firing are from the recording of the Epsilon 9 probe, which recorded the Klingon Ships as they were firing on V'Ger.

Ex Astris Scientia

With supplements by DAS

  1. After Saavik's decision to aid the Kobayashi Maru, it takes no longer than six seconds from Sulu's course change to his announcement that the Enterprise is just entering the Neutral Zone. This may be feasible at high warp speed, knowing that the ship has been on a course along the Neutral Zone anyway. However, barely 40 seconds later the Klingons are already firing torpedoes. (Scene continuity requires that everything takes place in real time.) By all means, the Klingons could never have set up such a precisely timed trap. The huge coincidence of running straight into three Klingon battlecruisers in the vastness of space can hardly be a realistic simulation. It was meant to be a no-win scenario anyway, but with three Klingon vessels appearing out of nothing Saavik has every right to criticize the Kobayashi Maru test as unfair. It is also unfair that the simulated Enterprise is dead in the water after just a few shots, unlike the real ship that will take a lot of beating in this and the next movie, but that is part of the training!.
  2. Saavik issues orders to activate the escape pods. There are more reasons why escape pods must exist, although nothing like hatches to that end are visible on the ship's hull. The hatches could have been designed to blend in with the hull.
  3. The red "Exit" sign of the simulator room is clearly a 20th century US model. There is no reason why the standards for exit markings could not be the same in the 23rd century Federation, but anything in any way different may have looked more realistic. In the European Union, for instance, pictograms show the way to the exit, which even aliens would be able to comprehend. All Starfleet personnel are expected to understand English.
  4. A sign on the exit door reads "Mark IV Simulator - Enterprise Class". There is no real reason why a thusly named class should not exist, although it is often contested considering that the Enterprise should be still a Constitution-class (refit) vessel. The term Enterprise Class could be an official alternative designation for ships in the style of refitted Constitution Class ships like Enterprise.
  5. Why did Spock never take the Kobayashi Maru test? In the movie the test comes across as customary, and perhaps required to command a ship. Spock is primarily a science officer who happens to have the rank of Captain, just as Scotty is an engineer who, in the next film, receives the rank of Captain - a fact he confirms to Geordi La Forge in the Next Generation episode Relics.
  6. The simulator scene seems pretty dangerous for cadets to be practical. Would they really consider using charges and explosions for training purposes? At least it’s realistic!
  7. The science officer of the Reliant reports that Ceti Alpha VI (or what he thinks is this planet) has a "limited atmosphere, dominated by craylon gas, sand, high-velocity winds -- incapable of supporting lifeforms." If the atmosphere is really 'dominated' by the exotic craylon gas instead of nitrogen, it is doubtful that human beings could survive there the way we see later (Khan and his people may have breathing apparatuses but definitely no functional airlock). So most likely the statement is just very imprecise, and he actually means that there are considerable amounts of that gas besides nitrogen and oxygen. Dominated, but not overwhelmed!
  8. The explosion of Ceti Alpha VI shifted the orbit of Ceti Alpha V so it became a wasteland. But could the two planets have been so close together that this was possible? Depends on the relative positions at the time.
  9. Dr. Marcus receives a call from the Reliant over a "hyperchannel", something never heard of again in Star Trek. (EAS Explanation) It must either be an obscure term for "subspace radio", or an experiment.
  10. Regarding the aptness of a planet for the Genesis device, Dr. Marcus insists that even microbes could jeopardize the experiment. Why does the crew of the Reliant even consider Ceti Alpha V/VI, a planet that may support life, if only barely? Why not test the device on the completely dead Regula asteroid, where the underground phase takes place anyway? The asteroid is too small, and too close to space station Regula 1.
  11. When he has just received order to take care of Regula 1, Kirk explains to Spock (not for the first and not for the last time in Star Trek), "We're the only ship in the quadrant." First off, "quadrant" needs to be substituted with "sector" here because at the time of "Star Trek II" the redefinition of galactic partitions has not yet taken place. Quadrant could refer to an area larger than a sector.
  12. It would be an extremely unlikely coincidence if Kirk, the man who Khan wants to take revenge on, were accidentally on the ship that is the closest to the scene. Actually Khan attempts to lure Kirk to Regula to intercept him, when he has Chekov contact Marcus, pretending that Kirk wants the plans for Genesis. It would be absolutely plausible if Starfleet ordered Kirk to investigate the incident, or if Kirk himself took the initiative. So why the awkward justification of the new orders for the Enterprise that either Kirk himself or Starfleet must have made up? Actually, not the Enterprise but the Reliant would be the closest ship from Starfleet's viewpoint. Maybe Starfleet ordered Kirk to investigate because of loss of contact with Reliant.
  13. Khan says about Kirk: "I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up." This is an "updated" version of a Captain Ahab quote from Moby Dick. There is no doubt that Khan has read the novel attentively, which Chekov spots on a shelf inside the Botany Bay. He also cites the words "From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee." But would a human from the 20th century refer to or even know about the places in deep space? He could have read about them in the files he checked during his stay on Enterprise.
  14. When the Reliant approaches the Enterprise and no communication can be established, Saavik reminds Kirk of General Order 12. While she does not have the chance to finish the sentence, this regulation must be about raising the shields. Not necessarily – it could just advise ship commanders to be extra vigilant.
  15. When the Reliant is passing the dorsal saucer hull of the Enterprise, she casts a shadow, although the encounter supposedly takes place in open space. There could be a nearby star in the right place for Reliant to cast a shadow. Also the rest of the movie had to take place in the Regula system. With the warp drive out they could not have made it to Regula-1 otherwise.
  16. After he and Terrell have been discovered on Regula, Chekov tells exactly what happened, even the worms, and no one believes them! McCoy is even standing right behind him, and doesn't bother to scan him. There is no visible sign of physical injury.
  17. When Captain Terrell attempts to defy the influence of the Ceti eel in his brain, he sees no other chance than to commit suicide. Chekov, in a similar situation, evades madness and death because the creature conveniently crawls out of his ear. Maybe the creature was driven out by Chekov’s stronger desire to live?
  18. Without knowing what it actually is, Kirk vaporizes the Ceti eel that crawls from Chekov's ear. Clearly he is aware that the creature is dangerous. But killing new lifeforms is not really the Starfleet way. The creature was controlling the mind of a Starfleet officer of command rank!
  19. In order to repair the warp drive and save the ship, Spock is tinkering with a heavily radiating chamber that must be a crucial part of the power system but will never play a role on any Federation ship again. Starfleet Corps of Engineers could have been inspired by this incident to develop a new version of the power system, designed to allow this type of resetting to be done remotely.
  20. Why does Spock have to sacrifice his life, rather than anyone else? Sure, he may know best what he has to do to clean the manifold or whatever it is. Still, someone of the engineering crew may have done the dirty work. Spock probably decided it was necessary to do it himself due to the urgency of the situation.
  21. The Genesis device explodes in a huge plume of fire. But if it just converts the matter of the Mutara Nebula, how can a planet be formed out of it? The nebula must have contained more matter than was apparent, plus the amount provided by Reliant.
  22. Even though it is nearly omnipotent anyway, the matrix was definitely not configured to accomplish what it did, as it was supposed to be detonated on an already existing planet. The device was most likely programmed to utilise whatever sources of matter presented itself.
  23. Unless a star with the appropriate radiation spectrum is coincidentally at the right distance from the explosion (which is exceedingly unlikely), the Genesis device even creates a sun! Creation of a star could have been due to an auxiliary sub-routine. With the warp drive out the nebula had to be in the Regula system
  24. How can Spock's coffin safely land on the Genesis planet, totally unscathed? In the next film, David states that the gravitational fields were still in flux when the coffin was launched into the atmosphere.
  25. Is the torpedo coffin equipped with a heat shield? They probably need to be made from heat resistance material, in order to remain intact when fired at ground targets from orbit, as shown at the end of the fifth film.


  1. Uncredited assistance was provided by Samuel A. Peeples.
  2. Uncredited assistance was provided by Nicholas Meyer.
  3. This possibility was confirmed by Nicholas Meyer. Indeed, The goofs section of this film's IMDB entry states that, although Chekov was not a bridge officer in the TV show that first featured Khan, it should be remembered that when Khan first took over Enterprise, he started with the engineering deck. Chekov was an engineering ensign at the time, according to the movie's novelization. He obviously wasn't part of the Enterprise crew during the events depicted in Mudd's Women, because Kirk had to explain to Chekov who Harry Mudd was in I, Mudd.
  4. Many novels, as well as early versions of the script, describe Saavik as a Romulan/Vulcan Hybrid.
  5. The latter could be deliberate, in order to protect whatever is being carried from bring beamed out.
  6. Page 339 of The Nitpickers Guide for Classic Trekkers states that the proverb is Sicillian
  7. In the Director's Edition DVD, restored footage allowed a longer period of time between Khan's "warning shot" and David's appearance on the Bridge a moment later.

The Movies
Original Series:
The Motion Picture I The Wrath of Khan I The Search for Spock I The Voyage Home I The Final Frontier I The Undiscovered Country
Next Generation:
Generations I First Contact I Insurrection I Nemesis
JJ Abrams Reality:
Star Trek I Star Trek Into Darkness I Star Trek Beyond
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