Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) Poster


In a June 2009 interview, Christopher Lloyd said that the role of Commander Kruge was one of his favorites.
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In the opening credits, there is an extra long pause between William Shatner and DeForest Kelley's names, where Leonard Nimoy's name would normally be.
When negotiating Kirstie Alley's contract for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Paramount did not offer or include any options or clauses regarding any possible sequels. According to Leonard Nimoy, this left Alley open to negotiate a new contract for Star Trek III, resulting in Alley's excessive salary demands which led her to being replaced by Robin Curtis.
The U.S.S. Grissom is named after astronaut Gus Grissom, who was killed when the Apollo 1 spacecraft was destroyed on January 27, 1967.
Chekov makes a remark in Russian (pronounced "ya ne sumasshedshiy, nu vot") to Scotty about the security breach in Spock's quarters. Translated, he is saying, "I'm not crazy! Behold!"
Production was endangered by the great fire at Paramount. William Shatner helped fight the fire and rescue a crew member before firefighter reinforcements arrived. Shatner said that his motivation for doing so was purely to save a day on the shooting schedule, as he had to make a deadline to be available for shooting on a new season of T.J. Hooker (1982).
When the Enterprise enters space dock at the beginning of the movie, just before Uhura comments on the Excelsior's appearance ("Would you look at that!"), another docked ship can be seen, in shadow, at the upper left corner of the screen. This ship is one of the alternative models that was considered for use as the Excelsior. This alternate model also makes several appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), usually as a wrecked ship or piece of space junk.
When Admiral Kirk toasts with his officers, he raises his glass to "absent friends". In the Royal Navy, toasts were given by the officer in charge based on the day of the week. Absent Friends was a toast given when raising the glass on a Sunday. The day"s toast was usually given by the youngest officer present, not the most senior, in smaller Wardrooms, the Mess President often chose someone at random just to ensure everyone knew the appropriate toast.
Paramount studio chief Michael Eisner resisted the idea of Leonard Nimoy directing, because he mistakenly thought that the reason for Spock's death stemmed from a hatred that Nimoy had about Star Trek. (He believed that it was written in Nimoy's contract that Spock had to die in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)). Nimoy told him that the contract is "in a file in the basement of the building you're sitting in" and suggested that he "get someone to pull it" for him.
The shot of the Enterprise approaching Spacedock is later re-used in various episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) with the Enterprise-D overlapping the original Enterprise (another cost-saving method often used with Star Trek (1966)).
The villains of the film were originally intended to be Romulans, but upper studio management wanted Klingons to be used, since they were better-known enemies. By the time the decision was made, the Romulan ship was already built, and they did not want the expense of replacing it. However, since the original Star Trek (1966) series had already established that the Klingons and Romulans had shared technologies and ships in the past (for exactly the same real-world cost-cutting reasons), the idea of Klingons using a Romulan-style vessel was not a problem.
Dame Judith Anderson was eighty-seven-years-old when she appeared as the High Priestess in this film. She had come out of retirement after being away from motion pictures for fourteen years. She was encouraged to take this part by her nephew. This film was also her final on-screen feature film appearance, although she did have a voice acting part two years after this film, but did not actually appear on-screen.
It was Director Leonard Nimoy who conceived the distinctive design of the Klingons' Bird-of-Prey. At a pre-production meeting with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nimoy posed his arms and hands to demonstrate the vessel's wings as they ultimately would appear in the final film. The DVD documentary "Space Docks and Birds-of-Prey" revealed that the physique of a bodybuilder in the "crab" pose, emphasizing the trapezius muscles, was also the basis for the ship's aggressive stance. Finally, the script, at the time when it was received by ILM, established that the Bird-of-Prey was definitely a Romulan vessel, commandeered by Kruge. With that back story in mind, the feather-like pattern on the ship's underside was a direct tribute the original Bird-of-Prey as it first appeared in Star Trek: Balance of Terror (1966). Though the final version of Star Trek III (and subsequent Star Trek films and television episodes) refer to the ship as purely of the Klingon fleet, the Romulan plumage-detail was never lost.
To keep the secrecy, the name "Spock" was never used in the movie script, but instead the alias "Nacluv" (spell it backwards) was used.
There was a debate during the writing of the script as to who should be killed by the Klingons, Saavik (Robin Curtis) or David Marcus (Merritt Butrick). It was eventually decided that Marcus should die as punishment for using Proto-matter in the Genesis matrix.
Edward James Olmos was Leonard Nimoy's original choice for the role of Kruge. However, Executive Producer Harve Bennett preferred Christopher Lloyd. Nimoy finally cast Lloyd because he came off more operatic and physically intimidating.
Marc Okrand had to update the grammar and vocabulary of the Klingon language several times, when actors would get the line wrong, and it was deemed easier to re-write the language than re-shoot the scene. In some instances, the actors just spoke English, and a Klingon word that would match the lip movements would be dubbed over in post-production.
Leonard Nimoy does the turbolift voice in the scene when Scotty says "Up your shaft", while exiting the Starship Excelsior. The end credits lists the voice under the alias Frank Force.
As explained by William Shatner in the Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special (1991), there was tight security on the set to minimize theft, as incurred on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Picture ID badges, codes and the works were used so much, that Shatner quipped it was like Paramount's real-life Mission: Impossible (1966).
Tribbles, a popular creature from the original series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", make a cameo appearance during the bar sequence where McCoy tries to hire a ship.
The young Spock was voiced by Frank Welker. Welker and Nimoy shared the role of Megatron/Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie (1986). Welker also provided numerous voices in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), directed by Nimoy's cousin, Michael Bay. Nimoy was offered the title role, but declined. He voiced Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011).
When Kirk meets Admiral Morrow for a drink to discuss taking the Enterprise back to the Genesis Planet, an abstract hanging sculpture can be seen on the wall behind Morrow. The sculpture is in fact one of the miniatures of the Epsilon IX station from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), which was made of acid-etched brass.
The U.S.S. Grissom bridge was the U.S.S. Enterprise bridge re-dressed with pink chairs, and the bar where Dr. McCoy tries to charter a spaceflight, is the re-dressed Enterprise sickbay.
Nichelle Nichols was initially upset at how little she had in the script, until she actually read the part and loved what she got to do with that little.
This was Leonard Nimoy's first directorial feature.
This was the first "Star Trek" production to be directed by a member of the cast. Leonard Nimoy also directed Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and William Shatner directed Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). This would later become commonplace on the various "Star Trek" television series: Jonathan Frakes directed Star Trek: First Contact (1996) and Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), as well as fourteen television episodes over three "Star Trek" series while LeVar Burton directed twenty-nine episodes over four "Star Trek" series. Other "Star Trek" cast members who went on to direct their castmates were Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Alexander Siddig, Andrew Robinson, Robert Duncan McNeill, Roxann Dawson, Robert Picardo, and Tim Russ.
This film marks the first appearances of the Excelsior-class vessel, the Oberth-class vessel (namely the U.S.S. Grissom), and the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. The models were re-used as other, similar ships in numerous episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993).
Leonard Nimoy referred to John Larroquette's Klingon Maltz as "The thoughtful Klingon".
The spacedock orbiting Earth is supposed to be five miles tall, making it easily observable from the surface. The actual model itself was six feet tall.
The Excelsior was supposed to debut in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and be identified as newly-promoted Captain Sulu's first command. This plotline was dropped, and the Excelsior saved for this film. Sulu would finally take command of her in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). The ship design would be re-used for the U.S.S. Enterprise-B in Star Trek: Generations (1994).
Originally, the scene in which Bones tries to charter a ship to Genesis generated into a bar fight. The scene didn't work, so Leonard Nimoy decided to scale it back.
When Kirk calls out to Kruge, the Klingon commander has his head in his hands. According to the original story line, Kruge is not mourning the loss of his troops, he's humiliated because Kirk was more cunning than he was. Through Kirk's apparent suicide, Kruge has been beaten and shamed.
Close to the end of the film, after landing on Vulcan. While Spock's body is being carried up the long staircase to begin the fal-tor-pan ritual, the "maidens" carrying Spock are not actually touching him. They are actually holding their hands above him, effectively levitating his body to the altar.
The bridge of the Bird-of-Prey was originally constructed for a different science fiction film that was started, but never finished. The producers of this film used it in an effort to save time and money.
In the original script, after T'Lar warns McCoy about the dangers of fal-tor-pan, McCoy says "I accept". Dame Judith Anderson suggested to Harve Bennett that they should add the word "danger" because it would heighten the drama.
According to Robin Curtis in the DVD Special Edition "making of" documentary, Christopher Lloyd didn't fully understand the use of the communicators. He would often shout his lines into the air rather than speak into the communicator. (An example she used: When he says "Bring me up" while on Genesis, he yelled at the sky as if the ship could hear him) He had to be repeatedly told not to yell at the sky.
The self-destruct codes for the U.S.S. Enterprise apparently have not been changed in decades, as they are identical to those in the original series episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield".
As in the previous Star Trek film (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)), the movie includes the famous "Space, the final frontier" monologue, spoken by Spock. As in the previous film, the words have been changed slightly, referring to seeking out "new life forms" instead of just "new life". This was the final use of this modified version of the monologue until Star Trek (2009), where it is also spoken by Spock.
The uniforms worn by the security guards are the same uniforms from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), but they're worn with the new red Starfleet uniforms, and a dark green turtleneck, which represents the security division.
Mark Lenard reprised his role as Sarek from the original series. Mark Lenard made his first and only appearance as Sarek in Star Trek (1966) season two, episode ten, "Journey to Babel", and provided the voice of Sarek in Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973) season one, episode two, "Yesteryear".
Robin Curtis was instructed that when she got home every night after shooting that she was to put antibiotics on her ears so that the chemicals used to keep her pointed ears glued on wouldn't cause skin problems.
The few Klingon phrases that Mark Lenard introduced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) was used by Marc Okrand as the basis for the Klingon language in this film. Okrand's Klingon language became a fully realized fictional language, and would be the basis for all future Klingon dialogue in future movies and television series.
When the crew is standing on the bluff supposedly watching the flaming Enterprise hulk, they were in fact watching a tennis ball mounted on an overhead boom microphone. The shot had to be taken many times because not everyone was watching it at the same time.
Kirstie Alley, who played Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), did not reprise her role as Saavik because she was afraid of being typecast. Leonard Nimoy had been looking for an actress to play Saavik after she passed. He met Robin Curtis, who has just arrived in Los Angeles, and hired her the next day.
Scotty's line "Up your shaft" is Harve Bennett's favorite.
Very few costumes were created for the Starfleet personnel. Most of those costumes were leftover from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).
The film's broadcast network premiere came slightly earlier than first planned. ABC decided to air the movie in place of Monday Night Football during the first week of the 1987 NFL players strike.
On June 23, 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan viewed the film in Camp David, but it failed to impress him. He wrote in his diary, "After dinner, we ran 'Star Trek III'. It wasn't too good." Nevertheless, he watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) on December 20, 1986, and visited the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) during the filming of season four, episode twenty-six, "Redemption", in April 1991.
The assassination of Valkris by Kruge was Leonard Nimoy's way of presenting to the audience the Klingon race's brutal mentality.
Christopher Lloyd, who played the Klingon Commander Kruge, also played Reverend Jim Ignatowski on the sitcom Taxi (1978). In one particular episode, a television executive is in his cab, and Jim says he loved the series Star Trek (1966). Jim added that he didn't like the leader of the Klingons, because the writers had him say things a "real Klingon just wouldn't say".
The opening recap was Harve Bennett's idea. Coming from a television background, he wanted to have a recap to assist audiences who might not have seen the previous film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).
Originally, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) was supposed to be Leonard Nimoy's last ever time playing Spock, due to Spock being killed off at the end of the film. But, Nimoy regretted his decision, and it was decided for Spock to be resurrected.
In early 1982, Paramount toyed with the idea of having the film be 3-D. Instead, the studio decided that 3-D was better suited for Friday the 13th Part III (1982).
Dr. McCoy says he would feel safer giving Spock one of his kidneys, than carrying around Spock's soul in his own mind. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), McCoy gives an elderly woman at the hospital a pill that causes a new kidney to grow, so if McCoy had donated one, it wouldn't have been a big loss.
The scenes on Genesis were shot on the same sound stages used by Cecil B. DeMille on The Ten Commandments (1956).
The film takes place in 2285.
Although the film's storyline follows on directly from that of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) is never mentioned.
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Harve Bennett and Leonard Nimoy died only two days apart: Bennett on February 25, 2015, and Nimoy on February 27, 2015.
The scene in which Kirk enters Spock's quarters was referred to in the script as "The Ghost Scene".
In the novelization, Saavik and David Marcus became romantically involved (the seeds for this were planted in the previous movie's novelization). This storyline was completely dropped from the films. Also, Saavik became pregnant with Spock's child. This was also dropped.
Spock is played by seven actors in the film: Leonard Nimoy, Carl Steven, Vadia Potenza, Stephen Manley, Joe W. Davis, Frank Welker, and Steve Blalock.
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Although not mentioned on-screen, the novelization establishes that Saavik was half-Vulcan and half-Romulan. A scene cut from the previous film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) (where Saavik was played by Kirstie Alley) also established this, but cannot be considered canon. Leonard Nimoy seemed to have directed Robin Curtis to portray Saavik as a full Vulcan.
Sega planned to release a video game adaptation titled "Star Trek II: In Search of Spock" for the Atari 2600 and the Atari 5200 in 1983. However, the company was badly affected by the video game industry crash of 1983, and the game was canceled before its intended release. The video game title was a play on the syndicated TV series In Search Of... which Leonard Nimoy hosted from 1976-82.
Commander Kruge's name is only spoken once, by his lover Valkris. As such, Admiral Kirk never learns his adversary's name.
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If Spock hadn't died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), this film would have been called "Star Trek III: Return to Genesis". It would have seen Captain Spock accompanied by Admiral James T. Kirk, as they are ordered to go to Genesis to rescue Lieutenant Saavik and David Marcus, who are being held hostage by Commander Kruge. Kruge demands Kirk hand over the Genesis device or he will kill them, unaware Genesis is slowly disintegrating, and Kirk and Spock race against time to save Saavik and Marcus, before Genesis is destroyed.
Christopher Lloyd, who is most famous for playing Doc Brown, inventor of the time machine in the Back to the Future trilogy, plays the Klingon commander whose ship is taken over by Kirk and his crew. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Kirk coincidentally uses this same ship to travel back to the 1980s, near the 1985 date that Brown first used his famous DeLorean time machine.
James Goldstone was considered to direct the film before Leonard Nimoy was given the job. He had previously directed two episodes of Star Trek (1966): Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966) and Star Trek: What Are Little Girls Made Of? (1966).
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In the novelization of this movie by Vonda N. McIntyre, Klingon Commander Kruge's dog was named "Warrigul", which is an Australian Aboriginal word for dog.
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Stuntman Chuck Hicks also played the role of "drugged post atomic soldier" in the Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint".
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One of the boys who plays young Spock had to wear brown colored contact lenses to match the color of Leonard Nimoy's eyes, as the boy's natural eye color was blue.
In the movie, Saavik says to David that this experiment (Genesis) isn't what he expected it to be. He states he uses Proto-matter. He also states that this was the only way he could've solved certain problems. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Carol Marcus is the one who appears to have created Genesis, not David. However, this is not necessarily a contradiction in the scientific community. Often, the lead scientist, of a team of scientists, will take the lion's share of the credit or blame for a project's success or failure. But, if asked individually, each would speak of his or her contributions, and either take the appropriate credit or blame, for which he or she feels responsible. Therefore, neither Dr. Carol Marcus taking credit for creating the Genesis project, nor Dr. David Marcus' confession for what he did, are unusual, out of place, or contradictory.
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The magazine briefly seen on the desk in an office, is Flight International (the June 26, 1980 issue).
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Although the destruct sequence for the Enterprise is timed at sixty seconds, the time elapsed in the film between activation and detonation is 1:42. This is of course not including the extra time to take the turbo lift one deck below to B Deck, which would put the actual countdown to around two minutes.
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Scheduling conflicts prevented Kim Cattrall from working on this movie, as she was filming Police Academy (1984) at the time. She appears in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
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A poster advertising the London underground featured a congested road in front of cinema screening this movie. The poster's caption read "by the time he finds a parking spot, they would have found him".
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Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lloyd appeared on Fringe (2008).
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William Shatner and Christopher Lloyd appeared in Just in Time for Christmas (2015) and Senior Moment (2017).
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Phil Morris, who portrays Trainee Foster, was born in Iowa City, IA, just 15 miles from James T. Kirk's birthplace of Riverside, IA.
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Christopher Lloyd would later be among those who requested an appearance on Star Trek The Next Generation, though the show's producers were unable to comply.
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The film has been speculated to be an influence behind Xena: Warrior Princess: The Quest (1997) because in that, Gabrielle Renée O'Connor sets out to take Xena's body back home to be buried next to her brother. But, Autocylcus Bruce Campbell is possessed by Xena's Lucy Lawless spirit and they set out to return Xena to the land of the living and reclaim her body by retrieving the Ambrosia which will resurrect her.
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In the Genesis destruction scene, Kirk is unable to beam David's body aboard the Klingon Bird-of-Prey because David's body was burned by the inferno on Genesis.
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The Federation starship that pursues the Enterprise which Scotty sabotages is the U.S.S. Excelsior. Sulu becomes the Captain of the Excelsior in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
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Final film in the franchise before the death of Roger C. Carmel, who played Harry Mudd in the TV series.
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Grace Lee Whitney: Janice Rand, Kirk's yeoman in season one of Star Trek (1966) and returned as transporter chief in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), makes a cameo appearance during the Enterprise's docking sequence. She is the red haired officer in the spacedock lounge who shakes her head in disapproval as she sees the ship's damage.
Gary Faga: The security guard who Sulu knocks out, also played the airlock technician, to whom Spock gave the Vulcan nerve pinch, in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

George Takei initially expressed reservations regarding the scene where the security guard called Sulu "Tiny". While Takei liked the scene overall, he felt that Sulu being called "Tiny" didn't make much sense, even when Harve Bennett explained it was due more to the large size of the security guard. When Takei first saw the film with an audience of fans, he came to recognize the scene (and Sulu's line "Don't call me 'Tiny'") as a real crowd pleaser, which changed his outlook to a positive reaction.
The scene in which Kirk stumbles into his chair after hearing of the death of his son was an improvisation by William Shatner, who was told by Leonard Nimoy to do whatever reaction Shatner wanted to do. Shatner has never told whether he meant to miss the chair and slip to the ground, or if he had meant to simply hit the seat hard, but missed going backwards.
The chirping on the tricorder (especially when Sulu scans after the Enterprise is destroyed) comes from an audio remote control device for the Radio Shack ("Realistic" label) answering machine. The remote control was able to be used away from home, over the phone to signal the answering machine (through electronic chirping sounds) to play back messages or carry out other functions.
Nicholas Meyer, director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) was originally asked to direct, but refused, because he thought that Spock's death should have remained final. He later directed the final film of the original series, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
In the earlier drafts of the screenplay, the Enterprise's auto destruct finished with the ship's engine core exploding, resulting in a massive matter and antimatter explosion, visible from the planet's surface. Harve Bennett later changed this to the primary hull exploding, and the secondary being destroyed in the planet's atmosphere, reasoning that an antimatter explosion would probably destroy the Klingon ship as well. However, a mix-up resulted in the ILM crew doing the sequence according to the earlier version. Bennett considered using this version in the final film, but asked ILM to redo it, this time saying it would make the scene afterward look too much like the ending of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). They saved money by re-using the footage from the initial sequence up to the point where the primary hull exploded, then started the new sequence just afterward.
Scenes of Spock's final moments and his death from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) were re-used as the engine room's flight recorder. The opening death sequence, funeral sequence, Spock's casket's landing spot, Spock's opening dialogue, and opening, were all re-used from Star Trek II, where they were all used at the end of that film.

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