Star Trek: The Motion Picture
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Star Trek: The Motion Picture can be found here.

When an immense cloud that destroys everything in its path is found to be on a direct course with Earth, Admiral James T Kirk (William Shatner) takes over command of the newly-refitted USS Enterprise, much to the dismay of the current captain, Will Decker (Stephen Collins). After Kirk reassembles his old crew, they are later joined by Vulcan science officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and a new navigator named Ilia (Persis Khambatta). Spock tells Kirk that he has been in telepathic contact with what he thinks might be an entity at the center of the cloud, so Kirk takes the Enterprise directly into it in order to stop it from destroying Earth.

They're all here. Besides Kirk and Spock, there's Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), chief engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (James Doohan), communications officer Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), helmsman Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Dr Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett), and transporter operator Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney). In addition, Mark Lenard, who normally plays Spock's Vulcan father, puts in an appearance as a Klingon captain.

It takes place in the year 2273 A.D. (four years after the original series).

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry always pictured the Klingons as a warrior race with a distinct alien appearance. However, budget and time constraints didn't allow for extensive make-up appliances for the Klingon actors on the TV show, so clothing, facial hair and a slightly darker complexion was used to make the Klingons look different from humans. When Star Trek went to the big screen, most of the budget problems were eliminated, so Roddenberry implemented his original, more 'alien' look for the Klingons, i.e. long hair and ridges on the forehead. The ensuing break in continuity was never really explained until the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Affliction" (2005). Here, it was revealed that Klingons always had foreheads ridges, until a failed military experiment, meant to create genetically enhanced Klingons, led to an outbreak of an epidemic, which caused Klingons to have smooth foreheads and generally appear more human for several generations.

Klingon language was already mentioned on the original series, for example in "The Trouble With Tribbles," when a Klingon officer refers to "learning Klingonese." When the decision was made to make the Klingons more "alien" for the motion picture, it was also decided to have them speak the language. The Klingon actors in the movie just spoke English, and their lines were later dubbed with words that sounded alien and would match the lip movements the actors made. These words and sounds were thought up by James Doohan ("Scotty"). Years later, on the production of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), linguist Marc Okrand created a "full" Klingon language, with its own grammar and spelling, using the Klingon phrases from Star Trek: The Motion Picture as a basis. This invented language has been used throughout Star Trek films and series made since.

Official sources written by those who created Star Trek (such as the book "The Making of Star Trek") state that the speed of the ship in multiples of lightspeed is the cube of the warp factor. This would make Warp 1 the speed of light; Warp 2 would be 8x lightspeed, Warp 3 would be 27x lightspeed, Warp 4 would be 64x lightspeed, Warp 5 would be 125x lightspeed, Warp 6 would be 216x lightspeed, Warp 7 would be 343x lightspeed, and Warp 8 would be 512x lightspeed. However, it should be noted that various episodes of Star Trek, both the original and other series, have depicted warp speeds as being both faster and slower than this on occasion. One of the most famous examples is in Star Trek V, when the Enterprise travelled to the centre of the galaxy in a matter of hours, indicating a speed many millions of times greater than lightspeed. On "impulse" (sublight) drive, this movie depicts the Enterprise travelling from Earth and passing Jupiter, shortly before Kirk makes his log entry in which he states that it is 1.8 hours after launch. Given the relative positions of Earth and Jupiter at the period this episode is set, this would imply a speed of about 33% the speed of light.

In the novelization of this movie the text states that the Deltans emit both ultra-strong pheromones and a form of sub-conscious telepathy, both of which make them all but irresistible to males of other species (including, surprisingly, Vulcans). The novelization of Star Trek II states that sexual activity between a Deltan and a non-Deltan carries risk of insanity for the non-Deltan. Deltans are therefore required to register an oath of celibacy for the protection of others.

The Ilia probe leads Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Decker to V'Ger in order to reveal the origin of its existence. When they reach V'Ger, it's discovered to be a mechanical device. Noticing the initials V...GER on the exterior, Kirk rubs away a sooty coating on the nameplate and finds that it reads Voyager 6, a space probe launched by NASA over 300 years ago to collect data and transmit it back to its Creator. Voyager 6 was assumed to be lost in a black hole, but Kirk concludes that it was found by a planet of intelligent machines that helped it to achieve its purpose by creating the spaceship/cloud. Along the way, as it gathered data and intelligence, it somehow achieved consciousness, and now V'Ger wants to finish its mission and transmit its data to its Creator. Uhura provides Kirk with the original code signal which will allow V'Ger to complete its mission. Decker reads out the codes, but V'Ger burns out its receiver wires before the final sequence can be entered. Ilia explains that V'Ger wants to join with its Creator. Decker fixes the burnt out wires and offers to join with the Ilia probe, who seems to want this union as well. Suddenly, a brilliant light encompasses Decker, Ilia moves into it, and they both disappear. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy hurry back to the Enterprise, and the cloud disappears. In the final scene, Kirk ponders the idea that they have given birth to a new life form and lists Decker and Ilia as "missing in action" rather than casualties, Spock decides to remain on the Enterprise rather than return to Vulcan, and Kirk directs the crew to their new course, "Out there...thataway."

Yes. The novelization of the film Star Trek: The Motion Picture was written by Gene Roddenberry and published in 1979. Although Roddenberry created the characters and produced the motion picture, the screenplay was actually written by screenwriter Harold Livingston.

So far, there are 13. The Star Trek movies featuring the Enterprise captained by James T Kirk include Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), followed by Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). Star Trek: Generations (1994) features both Kirk's crew with the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation captained by Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Further Star Trek movies featuring the Next Generation crew include: Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016) harken to an alternate reality in which Kirk was just beginning his career with Starfleet Academy.

Yes, although there never was a Voyager 6, because the Voyager program ended after Voyager 2. The Voyager 1 space probe was launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 5 September 1977 and has been transmitting data ever since. In September 2013, it traveled from the outermost layer of the heliosphere—over 11 billion miles from the sun—into interstellar space, and will continue transmitting data until some time between 2025 and 2030 when its nuclear power supply is expected to run out. Voyager 1 is currently the farthest man-made object from Earth. The probe's distance is tracked here. The Voyager 2 space probe was launched from NASA on 20 August 1977 and is expected to continue transmitting data until at least 2025. For the sake of the story, there may have been, sometime in the future between now and when the Star Trek universe begins, a revival of the Voyager program by NASA or some other space exploration organization.

There are three different versions of the movie. First of all there's the original theatrical version, released in 1979, which ran for 132 minutes. In 1983, another version was created for television screenings, which ran for 143 minutes as several scenes were added in addition to the theatrical version. You can see which scenes were added at here. Finally, in 2001, director Robert Wise supervised a "Director's Cut" which ran for 136 minutes and included new digital effects and improved sound, though it edited out some of the footage that was seen in the previous two versions. A detailed comparison with pictures can be found here.

In Vulcan tradition those citizens who are deemed by society to have absorbed too much emotion into their minds must be purged of all unnecessary emotion by taking part in the "kolinahr" ceremony. Spock had served in Starfleet for many years including his time aboard the Enterprise from the time of her maiden five years earlier. Plus he'd served with humans from the federation and therefore had absorbed both knowledge and emotion during this time. Hence, it was Spock's turn to be purged of all emotion. As we see, his mind is suddenly moved by V'Ger, and he decides to rejoin Starfleet to investigate it.


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