Following the events that resulted in the death of Mr. Spock, and the formation of the Genesis planet, the Enterprise is en route to Starfleet's Earth Spacedock for repairs. Investigating an unauthorised presence within the sealed quarters of Mr. Spock, Kirk discovers Dr. McCoy – and is shocked when Mr. Spock's voice and sentiments come from the lips of the physician.

At Spacedock is the U.S.S. Excelsior (NX-2000), a huge starship, the first to be equipped with the experimental “transwarp drive.” In the shadow of that vessel, Kirk learns the Enterprise is to be decommissioned rather than repaired. Later, Kirk is entertaining Uhura, Sulu and Chekov in his San Francisco apartment, when he is visited by Spock's father Sarek, who is searching for his son's katra, Spock's living spirit. Initiating a mind meld with Kirk, Sarek does not find Spock's katra.

Kirk replays the taped records of Spock's last minutes of life, and discovers that the Vulcan's katra is in the keeping of Dr. McCoy. Kirk realises he must return to the Genesis planet to recover Spock's body, for the sake of his two closest friends. Starfleet's Admiral Morrow, however, denies Kirk permission to return to the Genesis planet, but Kirk decides to go anyway.

Rescuing McCoy, who had been put into protective custody, Kirk beams aboard the Enterprise with Uhura's aid. Aboard their starship, Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov embark on their journey, to be joined later by Uhura. Mr. Scott, assigned to the Excelsior, sabotaged that vessel's transwarp drive, to prevent the Enterprise from being overtaken. After his skill makes it possible for the Enterprise to clear the Spacedock's outer doors, the starship has clear sailing to the Genesis planet.

Kirk is not the only conspirator within Federation space. Klingon Commander Kruge has obtained a copy of the top secret file on Project Genesis. Extremely warlike even by Klingon standards, Kruge wants to obtain the secrets of Genesis, which he believes will bring the empire ultimate power. He heads for the Genesis planet in his Klingon Bird of Prey ship.

Meanwhile, the Federation vessel U.S.S. Grissom, in orbit around the Genesis planet, is awaiting word from Dr. David Marcus and Lieutenant Saavik, who are exploring the planet's surface. Their tricorder registers life form readings, which appear to be nothing more than microbes that adhered to Spock's casket, which is empty: only the Vulcan's burial robe is found.

Saavik and David discover a Vulcan child:Spock, his body cells regenerated by the effects of the Genesis wave, is alive and rapidly aging along with the Genesis planet. The Grissom, meanwhile, has been destroyed by Kruge's ship, and the Klingon has sent a landing party to the surface. Arriving at the Genesis planet, the Enterprise encounters Kruge's vessel. Scott's preparations, which automated the Enterprise's systems so that the skeleton crew could run the entire vessel, did not include taking the ship into a combat situation.

Kirk can only listen helplessly as he learns that Klingons are holding Spock, David and Saavik prisoner. David is killed, and in order to save his loyal crew, Kirk agrees to surrender the Enterprise, but in truth, he has decided that, rather than turn the ship over to the Klingons, he will destroy it. Kirk, Chekov, and finally Scotty, verify the self-destruct order.

With Sulu and McCoy, they beam down to Genesis, just as a Klingon party beams aboard Enterprise – and from the planet's surface watch both explode. As Kirk agonises over what he's done, McCoy puts the Enterprise's loss in perspective, by noting that, once again, Kirk has turned death into a fighting chance to live. The admiral then contacts the Bird of Prey, telling Kruge he has Genesis.

After most of the others are beamed aboard the orbiting Klingon vessel, Kirk finds himself stranded on the surface of the unstable Genesis planet, locked in battle with Kruge. After Kruge is killed, Kirk tricks Maltz into beaming him and Spock aboard the Bird of Prey. Aboard the vessel, the Enterprise crew have defeated the only surviving Klingon, and Kirk heads the ship to Vulcan.

Sulu lands the ship safely, and they are joined by Sarek, who asks the Vulcan high priestess T'Lar to attempt the fal-tor-pan, a legendary and dangerous procedure that can restore Spock's katra to his living body. The refusion, as dangerous for McCoy as it is for Spock, is successfully completed. Spock, who will have to be assisted in his mental and emotional recovery, recognises Jim Kirk, as the Enterprise executive officers gather and welcome their friend and colleague back to life.[1]

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. As the movie begins, Kirk comments that the ship feels empty, like a house with all the children gone. This is an interesting choice of simile for someone who's never been married. Just before Enterprise changed course to investigate the situation at Regula 1, Kirk described Enterprise as a 'ship full of children.' During the events that followed, Kirk developed a fatherly concern for the welfare of the cadets.
  2. Amazingly, Kirk gets commended for his actions in The Wrath of Khan. Does no one care that Kirk should have raised the Enterprises shields and that doing so would have kept Khan from gaining an early advantage? As I have stated in the entry for The Wrath of Khan, Kirk saw no reason to raise the shields until it was too late.
  3. Starfleet Command certainly displays its Earthcentric attitudes in this movie. Kirk wants a ship to retrieve Spock’s body and take it to Vulcan, and the only excuse the commander can come up with for refusing is, “Well, I never understood Vulcan mysticism.” Vulcan is supposedly a founding member of the Federation. Spock comes from an extremely well-respected family. He served Starfleet for decades, and Starfleet can't let Kirk retrieve his body? As Morrow pointed out when Enterprise returned, Genesis is off limits to everyone except the scientific investigation team aboard USS Grissom.
  4. How quickly did Saavik leave the Enterprise after the last movie? Why didn’t she tell Kirk about this katra business? Because Spock died behind glass, did she simply assume that he couldn't accomplish the transfer? Either she did not consider the possibility of Spock transferring his katra to someone in Engineering, or she was transferred to Grissom without getting a chance to discuss it with Kirk.
  5. The creators evidently believe that momentum will be extinct in the twenty-third century. When the Excelsior loses forward thrust, it coasts to a stop! Oh no it doesn't - if you watch very closely, you will see that Excelsior is still moving very slowly when the shot switches to the Enterprise travelling at warp speed.
  6. After conning Kruge’s men into coming over to the Enterprise just before it blows up, Kirk and company beam down to the surface. Wouldn't it be better to beam over to the nearly empty bird of prey and commandeer the ship from Kruge? They need to locate and Spock and Saavik, as well as visually confirming David's death, before tricking Kruge into beaming down.
  7. At the end of the movie, Sarek wonders at the great cost of bringing Spock back to Vulcan. Specifically he mentions the death of Kirk’s son, David. David didn't die because Kirk wanted to bring Spock back to Vulcan. David probably would have died at the hands of Kruge no matter what happened. Not necessarily - when Kruge ordered the death of one of the hostages because Kirk refused to surrender the secrets of Genesis, he told his subordinate it didn't matter which one of the prisoners died.

Changed PremesisEdit

  1. When Kruge decides to blow up the freighter that brought him the information on Genesis, it looks as if his eyes tear. This is understandable, since blowing up the freighter will kill Valkris, his love. There's only one problem: in Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country, Spock will mention that Klingons don't have tear ducts. That could either be a side effect of genetic modification or - more likely - a piece of Klingon propaganda.
  2. The Klingon captain claims he wants prisoners when his vessel first approaches the Grissom, but Kirk said that Klingons don't take prisoners in Wrath of Khan. As stated in the Wrath of Khan entry, It's Romulans who don't usually take prisoners - Kirk attributing this behaviour to Klingons could have been an impromptu test for Saavik.

Equipment OdditiesEdit

  1. Who designed the Grissom, and just how are the crew supposed to get from the saucer section to the Engineering section? Or is that just fuel storage down there? There could be smaller, one person turbolifts in the support struts.
  2. Oddly enough, someone changed the interior of the turbolift between the two movies as well. There's a new control panel, and the displays showing the Enterprise look as if they've been moved. Does it seem reasonable - given the Enterprise’s severe damage - that someone would take the time to redecorate the turbolift? The ship that collected David, Carol, Saavik and most of the cadets probably transfered some emergency repair supplies, in order to restore the turbolifts ability to operate throughout the ship, which had been lost during the initial battle with Reliant. [N 1] [N 2]
  3. Suddenly everyone has new phasers! The phasers in The Wrath of Khan had flat heads. The ones in this film terminate in little cones. Okay, so maybe they use a different type of phaser at the space dock, and Kirk took these along when he stole the ship. That doesn't explain why the football player—sorry, the security guard—who meets Kirk at Spock's quarters at the beginning of the movie is carrying a new phaser. Shouldn’t he carry the kind shown in The Wrath of Khan? The Enterprise has just barely arrived at space dock. There hasn’t been enough time to restock the phaser supply. They probably received new phasers, in place of the old design, from the ship that collected David, Carol, Saavik and most of the cadets.
  4. Searching for the repository of Spock's katra, Kirk consults the visual logs from the Enterprise. Note that these logs concern the death of Spock. They come from the end of the second movie. As the computer begins the first playback, it identifies the star date as 8128.78, an intriguing number given that the beginning star date for the previous movie is 8130.3! Either the timestamp on the recording is wrong, or the simulation was set in the near future for some reason. [N 3]
  5. ls it just me, or is the footage of Spock's last moments edited really well for a computer log? The computer would need to combine footage from more than one camera, which may require adjustment to prevent any movement being shown more than once in the playback, in order to avoid confusion.
  6. Obviously McCoy doesn't know how to run the sensors. When the Enterprise arrives at the Genesis planet, he doesn't even bother to let Kirk know that the debris of the Grissom is floating around in orbit. 1) McCoy is a doctor, and as such is qualified in medical procedures, not sensor operation. 2) When Grissom was fired upon, it was still in orbit of Genesis when it exploded, so any debris that wasn't vaporised by the explosion would have burnt up in the atmosphere of Genesis by the time Enterprise arrived.
  7. For some reason, the Klingons boarding the Enterprise need the assistance of the Enterprise’s transporters. Just before Kruge’s men come over, Kirk calls and says he is engaging the transporters. Yet in the next movie, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey’s transporters perform admirably by themselves, and in the previous movie the Enterprise’s transporters seem to have no difficulty functioning alone as well. Perhaps the Klingon ship is so damaged that the transporters needed help? In that case, why would Kruge even accept the help’? Doesn’t he know what Kirk and Scott did to the group of Klingons in Day of the Dove? They beamed up the whole bunch and left them in the transporter buffer until lots of guys with phasers arrived in the transporter room. It's more likely that the Enterprise transporter system needed assistance.
  8. These Klingon ships can take an amazing amount of pounding. Kruge‘s ship received two photon torpedo hits—apparently while it was unshielded. Yet when Kirk commandeers it, Sulu reports they have full power. Just who repaired the damage’? Most of Kruge’s crew left for the Enterprise a few minutes after the battle. The torpedoes probably just pushed Kruge‘s ship away without crippling the power system, possibly due to the Bird of Prey's shield activating while it declocked.

Continuity and Production ProblemsEdit

  1. When Sarek visits Kirk's home on Earth, a pan across the glass shelving unit near the door reveals that the admiral has moved his mantel clock. This is the same clock immortalized by an over-picked nit in The Wrath of Khan.Perhaps he decided to re-arrange his belongings.
  2. Chekov seems to be going through a “schoolboy” phase. Just after Kirk boards the Enterprise to prepare to steal back his ship, Chekov wears this fat white collar that makes him look like the llittle Dutch boy featured on the old housepaint cans. Furthermore, Chekov's clothes change after the Enterprise leaves the Spacedock facility. It was unlikely that he would have taken the time to change his clothes during a moment of crisis. Unlikely but not impossible - he could have changed after Kirk and Sulu left to collect McCoy, but before he transported to Enterprise.
  3. There's an interesting moment when the Genesis planet self-destructs. As the bird of prey warps away, a huge plume of lava rockets out into space. At the very end of the scene it begins falling downward. Wouldn’t this debris be far enough out in space to keep on going? There is probably enough gravity from the remains of Genesis to pull the debris back.
  4. Saavik must have given Spock several haircuts while on the surface of Genesis. According to the credits at the end, Spock aged more than twenty-five years during the movie, yet his hair remains approximately the same length. And what about shaving? Perhaps Vulcans can instinctively control the growth of their body hair.

Nit CentralEdit

  1. Rene on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 4:05 pm: Why exactly is Chekov aboard the Enterprise at the beginning of this movie? Shouldn't he have rejoined the Reliant crew after the end of the last movie? I mean, the Reliant lost it's captain. How could it lose it's first officer too? Don't forget that the Reliant has also been lost. Besides, Chekov may had volunteered to remain aboard Enterprise - possibly at Kirk's request.
  2. Francois Lacombe (Franc0is) on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 11:22 am: After the first fire exchange between Enterprise and the Klingon ship, Kruge is puzzled that Enterprise has not finished him off. When Kirk calls to demand Kruge's surrender, the Klingon speculates that he may have dealt Entreprise a more serious blow than first thought. Instead of speculating, why didn't he scan Enterprise at that point? Kruge would have found out just how crippled and almost crewless the ship truly was. The sensors on the Bird of Prey may not be operating at full efficiency.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit


  1. When Valkris, the Klingon spy, first approaches the freighter captain from behind, we can only see the bottom portion of her torso. We cannot see her face, but there definitely is something covering her front. However, when we see her face in the next shot, her face and torso are uncovered. She most likely removed the item covering her face and torso during the shot change.
  2. The direction the Bird-of-Prey is turning as it opens fire on the cargo ship. The crew are probably trained to move the ship around during an attack.
  3. The USS Enterprise had more damage markings on the hull at the start of this film then it did at the end of Wrath of Khan. Considering that this film was set immediately after the events of Wrath of Khan, there is no explanation as to why these mysterious markings appear on the Enterprise. There were three markings on the hull at the end of the previous film, one to the star drive section, one to the neck section, and one to the underside of the saucer section. In this film the star drive section and warp engines are most notable for the mysterious damage. The additional damage on the star drive section, just in front of the nacelle pylon, is visible in the coffin launch scene in Wrath of Khan - it's just more difficult to see because of the filming and lighting angles.

Incorrectly regarded as goofsEdit

  1. When Kirk inquires to Admiral Morrow about possibly repairing and refitting the Enterprise, Morrow tells Kirk that there is to be no refit because the Enterprise is "over 20 years old" (as of 2285 - the year this movie is set). This is an understatement if we consider information established from the The Cage and The Menagerie. Those stories had established that Kirk's 5-year mission with the Enterprise (from 2266-2270) was not the first 5-year mission for that vessel, but in fact the Enterprise had at least 2 previous 5-year missions under then-Captain Christopher Pike from 2251-2262, which would make the Enterprise at least 35 years old and not 20 as Admiral Morrow suggested. This also does not take into account the previous Enterprise missions under Captain Robert April in the 2240s mentioned in the animated series, but this is often disregarded as the animated series was not, until 2014, considered to be part of Star Trek canon. It is irrelevant how old the Enterprise is. It could be 35 years old, or 100 years old, the fact remains that all of these dates are technically "over 20 years old."

Revealing MistakesEdit

  1. When Kirk and Kruge are fighting, a piece of the cliff breaks away and wiggles down the side of the cliff rather than falling like a rock. This is an artificially created planet, produced by an experimental device which was activated on a ship travelling through a nebula, when it was supposed to be fired at the surface of a planetoid with an existing sun!

Character errorEdit

  1. The helm of the Grissom, Jeanne Mori, is also seen standing near Captain Styles on the bridge of the Excelsior. Most likely two different individuals who are closely related.


  1. When Kirk and the others returned from the Genesis Cave, Spock pointed out that the turbolifts were inoperable below C deck, due to Enterprise only having partial main power.
  2. Listed under Revealing Mistakes in the Internet Movie Database entry.
  3. Listed under Anachronisms in the Internet Movie Database entry.


  1. Asherman, Allen. The Star Trek Compendium - Third edition. Titan Books Ltd. 1993. ISBN 1 85286 472 9 Pages 162-164

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