September of 2017 is full of new and old highlights in the epic Star Trek saga.
This September is a very active time for Trekkies (sometimes called Trekkers) and for Star Trek itself. September 8th is always remembered as the anniversary of the birth of Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi hit series Star Trek. It was on September 8, 1966, that TV audiences experienced the adventures of Captain James Kirk, Spock, and others aboard the starship ‘U.S.S. Enterprise’.
Star Trek’s Past and Current Legacy
It became a cult classic, spawning a number of TV series and feature films which continued the saga of the Enterprise and Star Fleet. Early fans created magazines around the story, its characters and actors.
Star Trek novels have been published, as have nonfictional speculative books concerning the science of Star Trek. The franchise is honoured by stamps in both the US and UK postal systems. Plus, what I think is one of the coolest things of all, the making of Trekkie fan films and conventions and training such as Star Trek Film Academy.
But this September is a historic time for the franchise in more ways than one. The new Star Trek: Discovery TV series is to be first aired on September 24th. Another new series having roots in Star Trek: The Original Series called The Orville is being released on September 10th. And yet that still isn’t all that this month has to offer Trekkies.
In the United States, numerous movie theatres shall be re-showing an old Star Trek film which had originally been released back in June of 1982. It will be re-released on several dates this month in celebration of the film’s 35th anniversary. September 10th, the same day The Orville will premieres, is also one of the dates that certain IMAX showplaces are featuring the 1982 Wrath of Khan film.
Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
This was just the second installment of the film series starring the cast members from the original series. It is significantly more action-packed and faster paced than Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), and for those reasons it’s personally more entertaining than the first film. It is also an interesting movie to Trekkies because it reunites them with an old enemy of Captain Kirk.
The full name of that enemy is Khan Noonien Singh who usually goes by the much briefer title of Khan. It is very interesting as he is a character who appeared in Star Trek: TOS over a decade earlier. As in the series, portraying Khan is the fabulous actor Ricardo Montalbán, a man who appeared in classic American TV shows such as Bonanza and Murder, She Wrote as well as two of the Spy Kids movies later in his career.
For all those hardcore Trekkies out there, I have a few points to establish which may or may not be important. So in roughly 14 years, Khan’s hair turns from black in the series to blonde in the movie.
I don’t know about you, but I doubt this “superman” of “superior intellect” would be bleaching his hair just because he has nothing better to do. It just seems a bit out of place. Maybe it was the atmosphere or sandy conditions of the planet that he and his party were marooned on. We will never know.
The other thing that starts me thinking is who was Khan’s unnamed wife that died so painfully?
Was it Marla, the historian/artist who fell in love with Khan and accompanied him in banishment? Again, we’ll probably never know. And it kind of kills me to have mysteries that will never be answered.
Khan wishes to have vengeance on Admiral Kirk for marooning him, his wife, and the rest of his people on a desolate and dangerous planet. Other key components to the plot include the GENESIS science program, which develops a way to turn any planet into a sort of new Eden, the reuniting of Kirk with an old girlfriend, and the meeting of Kirk and his son for the first time.
But perhaps the most touching and critical part of Wrath of Khan is when Spock sacrifices his life in order to save all those on board the Enterprise. It marks the first time in the Star Trek saga that Spock’s character dies, and when the audience saw it for the first time they probably thought Spock might be dead for good.
The Vulcan’s funeral brought the film to a close. It captivated audiences in the early 1980s, and evidently, fans are still content with it today.