The Star Trek universe is nearly fifty years old. Gene Roddenberry drafted the first pitch for a new science fiction series in 1964, though he marketed it as a western set in space. Wagon Train was very popular in 1964, and the Paramount executives were somewhat receptive. The rest, as they say, is history.
On Wednesday, February 13th, executive producer Robert Sallin will present a screening of The Wrath of Khan, the second Star Trek full length feature film, first released in 1984. A member of the Director’s Guild since 1966, Robert Sallin originally hailed from Pittsburgh before moving west to Hollywood (and points in space beyond, like Ceti Alpha V, home of the infamous “Ceti Eel.”)
There is a vast wealth of information on Star Trek on the web–the heart of the fandom exploited and expanded with the fledgling earliest iterations of the internet. On Memory Alpha, The Wrath of Khan is particularly well researched and represented, as many fans consider this film to be the best of the movie releases, and credit it with rejuvenating the entire Trek franchise. Without the widespread success of this film, there may never have been a Next Generation, much less Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and the current hit Reboot movies, not to mention reams and reams (and reams!) of fan fiction.
The Wrath of Khan is the only movie to feature a guest star from the original series telecasts–Ricardo Montalban starred in the first season episode Space Seed, telecast in February, 1967. The episode is available at Hulu–re-watching it through a 21st century lens is quite interesting (particularly since Kirk and Khan share many of the same virtues and vices, including an eyebrow raising sexist attitude, which Khan takes to an effectively creepy extreme.)
The Nerdist podcast analyzing the episode explores many of the themes of authoritarianism, chauvinism, genetic manipulation, and the responsibilities of leadership. Khan quotes both Nietzsche (“Mankind is something to be surpassed”) and Milton as he justifies his choices. The Wrath of Khan builds on those themes and adds more literary and biblical elements as Kirk and Khan vie for control of the world-rending Genesis device. Khan moves on to referencing Moby Dick in his quest for revenge, as well as the odd Klingon (begging the question, when did Khan meet a Klingon?) Kirk and his confreres lean more toward Dickens, borrowing heavily from A Tale of Two Cities in scenes of heroism and sacrifice.
Join us at The Community Library to watch The Wrath of Khan on our big screen, with refreshments and a Q&A with producer Robert Sallin–the Romulan Ale is on order!