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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) Poster

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Michael Dorn plays Colonel Worf, the grandfather of his regular character Lieutenant Worf in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
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Frankie and Johnny (1991) was being filmed in the same studio, and required Al Pacino to have a surprised expression on his face after opening a door. Director Garry Marshall arranged for Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) be on the other side of the door that Pacino opened.
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Christian Slater wore the trousers made for William Shatner in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). "It was an honor to get into Shatner's pants", he quipped during a BBC interview.
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Christian Slater framed his 750 dollar paycheck for his walk-on part.
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General Chang's eyepatch has three bolts that go into the skull. They all have the Klingon insignia engraved on them.
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In a featurette on the Special Features from the 2-disc DVD, William Shatner, talks about how he was upset with Nicholas Meyer for breaking a promise regarding one of his lines. The line in question was when Kirk says "Let them die" during the scene when he and Spock are talking after the classified briefing. Shatner wanted to say the line, then gesture as if he didn't mean to say it, and he made Meyer promise to show it on camera. However, in the final cut, after Kirk says "Let them die", it cuts to Spock looking surprised, and only goes back to Kirk, cutting over when Kirk gestures with regret.
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Nichelle Nichols objected to the scene in which the crew desperately searches through old printed Klingonese translation dictionaries in order to speak the language without the standard universal translator being used. It seemed more logical to her that Uhura, being the ship's chief communications officer, would know the language of the Federation's main enemy, or at least have the appropriate information in the computer. However, Nicholas Meyer bluntly overruled her. In Star Trek (2009), Uhura specializes in xenolinguistics, intercepts and translates a Klingon communication, and speaks Klingonese in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
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According to George Takei in his autobiography, in earlier drafts of the script, it was Captain Sulu and the Excelsior crew who discover the Klingon Bird-of-Prey's weakness and use their gaseous anomaly equipment to find it. But, William Shatner objected because he felt that Captain Kirk would not need another Captain's help, and the scene was re-written.
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The official Star Trek Chronology suggests this film takes place in the year 2293, or 27 years after the events of the first episodes of the original Star Trek (1966) series, which the chronology suggests occur in 2266. This is taken from a line by McCoy stating he has served on the Enterprise for 27 years. According to the Chronology, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) therefore takes place about six years after the events of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), and some 22 years after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
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Producers Harve Bennett and Ralph Winter's original idea for this film was a prequel titled "Star Trek: The Academy Years" in which the young Enterprise crew meet at Starfleet Academy. A script was written by David Loughery. Gene Roddenberry and the original cast were vehemently against this idea. So were the fans who sent letters to Paramount demanding the return of the original cast. Paramount decided to cancel the prequel. A disappointed Bennett decided to leave the "Star Trek" franchise. The prequel idea was later used for Star Trek (2009).
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A subplot to this movie was to show that even in the 23rd century, humans hadn't totally shed their bigotries and prejudices. James Doohan had a line about "that Klingon bitch", but Nichelle Nichols refused to say it, in reference to the Klingons' "Yeah, but would you let your daughter marry one of them?" The line was dropped.
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The technique of showing the translators so it appears that Chang is speaking English during the trial is similar to technique used for the German-speaking members of the court in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). William Shatner starred in both films.
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Nicholas Meyer met with Gene Roddenberry following a rough cut screening, to fulfill Roddenberry's role as creative consultant. Roddenberry, who was in failing health at the time, was bound to a wheelchair, and had to be hooked up to an oxygen tank. Despite his frailty, Roddenberry demanded certain cuts to the film and, according to Meyer, engaged him in a heated argument. Roddenberry died several days after the meeting, and Meyer has expressed deep regret over his behavior in the meeting, not realizing just how sick Roddenberry really was at the time.
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Gene Roddenberry died within 48 hours of viewing the film. It was later dedicated to his memory.
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The final film appearance for DeForest Kelley (Star Trek (1966) regular "Bones") and Mark Lenard (beloved guest star Sarek) although Lenard's final television appearance Star Trek: The Next Generation: Unification I (1991) was filmed at approximately the same time. A photograph of Star Trek movies guest star Merritt Butrick, who died in 1989, appears as David Marcus in a photograph on Captain Kirk's desk.
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The name "Gorkon" is a blending of the last names Mikhail Gorbachev and Abraham Lincoln, two of Nicholas Meyer's models for the character of the Klingon chancellor.
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Gene Roddenberry expressed his displeasure with this film's storyline after viewing a rough cut, complaining that the Klingons were simply used as generic villains and their society and cultural viewpoints never really explored. After the release of the film and Roddenberry's death, Executive Producer Leonard Nimoy admitted that Roddenberry had been right. Subsequent episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) explored Klingon society and culture extensively.
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It was long rumored that when filming was through one day nearing the end of production, Kim Cattrall posed nude for some steamy photos on the bridge set, but Leonard Nimoy happened on scene and seized the film, destroying it and having studio security toss the photographer out. This has been repeatedly stated to be false by both Mr. Nimoy and Ms. Cattrall, and not one shred of verifiable evidence has ever been produced.
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The design/concept used for the explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis would later be used in several other movies, such as Stargate (1994), as well as the remastered versions of Star Wars (1977) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). This effect would later become known as the "Praxis Effect".
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William Shatner performed a stunt in the fight with the blue Behemoth Alien. Shatner himself fell into the fire.
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Christopher Plummer asked that he be allowed to wear less "severe" Klingon make-up for his role as General Chang.
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The Casting Director was Mary Jo Slater, mother of Christian Slater. Thus, his small role as a Communications Officer aboard the Excelsior.
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Nicholas Meyer and Leonard Nimoy dispute who came up with the concept of using the film as an allegory for the fall of Soviet Communism, with both men claiming credit for the idea. Nimoy and Meyer also had a bitter dispute during post-production, with Nimoy preferring his own edit of the film, to that of Meyer, who refused to incorporate Nimoy's changes into the final cut of the film.
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Nothing from the original draft by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal was used in the final film. However, the two went to the Writers Guild and demanded story credit. The Guild originally removed Leonard Nimoy's story credit, but Nimoy threatened to sue the Guild and Paramount if his credit was not restored. Finally, all three of them received story credit.
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The Enterprise bridge set was designed so Uhura and Spock wouldn't be forced to face the wall in their normal working positions. "Desk extensions" were added to make it easier to film them, and to allow their characters to see the main viewscreen while working.
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First Trek production to use actual computer displays on starship bridge sets.
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Exterior scenes for Rura Penthe were filmed outside and on location at Bronson Park in Los Angeles. The scenes were filmed in warm weather, with William Shatner and DeForest Kelley trying to cover up the fact that they were sweating, and not freezing to death as was to be portrayed on-screen.
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Captain Sulu (George Takei) is the only Star Trek (1966) regular character to be given command of a starship other than the Enterprise.
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The film is largely an allegory about the fall of Soviet Communism. When General Chang demands that Kirk answer a question without waiting for the translation, it is an allusion to the real-life exchange at the United Nations between U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson and Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Also, the explosion on Praxis due to "insufficient safety measures" is akin to the meltdown at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in present-day Ukraine, which is believed to have contributed to the decline of the Soviet Union. Spock says that there was seventy years of "unremitting hostility" between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, which is not how long the Cold War lasted, but is the approximate length of time that the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) existed in the twentieth century, with a communist form of government.
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Valeris and Uhura both wear skirts, non-regulation in the time period of the movie. All other female Star Fleet crew wear slacks or jumpsuits.
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The opening was originally intended to be much longer, with Kirk and Spock assembling the crew from their post-Enterprise careers. Scotty was in charge of the engineering team disassembling the captured Bird-of-Prey. Uhura was a radio hostess. Chekov was playing chess with aliens. However, budget limitations forced these scenes to be scrapped, and replaced with the introduction at Starfleet Headquarters.
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The name of Gorkon's flagship (and the name of the Klingon home planet) is spelled Qo'noS and pronounced "kronos" in English. Kronos was a tyrannical, cannibalistic Greek god who swallowed his prey whole. Chronos, a homonym, means Time, and Kronos has sometimes been identified with Father Time.
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Some of the Klingons wear costumes from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
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The Klingon translating Chang's words into English is Klaa (Todd Bryant), the renegade captain from the previous film, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). Though it isn't said in the film, several sources state the character was demoted to translator duty as punishment for his unsanctioned attack on Kirk.
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Kim Cattrall initially turned down the part of Valeris, thinking she was to play Saavik. Upon finding out she was to play a new character, she agreed. Cattrall also designed her own hairstyle for the part of Valeris, and also came up with the idea to completely shave off her sideburns in order to more prominently show her Vulcan ears.
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This is the first Star Trek movie to validate that Kirk's middle name is Tiberius. The "T" in James T. Kirk was officially given as "Tiberius" by writer David Gerrold, uttered by Kirk himself in Star Trek: Bem (1974). (David Gerrold is the screenwriter of Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles (1967), Star Trek (1966)'s most famous and consistently most-liked episode.) Sulu's first name is given as Hikaru for the first time on screen (it appears in Star Trek books going back to at least 1981). Uhura first name is not mentioned - Gene Roddenberry had originally offered Penda (which appears in early ST guide books) but later decided on Nyota (also spelled Niota), which was finally spoken on screen in Star Trek (2009).
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The banquet hall used for the formal dinner between the Enterprise-A senior staff and the Klingon Delegation is a redress of the Observation Lounge from the Enterprise-D.
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Christopher Plummer's character, General Chang, was originally to have had hair, but as his make-up was being applied for the first time, Plummer liked the bald look, and had the make-up technician omit the hair.
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Rene Auberjonois has said he knew his scenes were edited out of the theatrical release, but was unaware that they had been added to the home video and broadcast releases. He first learned of it appearing at his first Star Trek convention to promote his role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), and fans were asking him questions about his role in the movie. He added that he had completely forgotten the name of his character Colonel West.
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The Klingon Language Institute, an organization dedicated to the Klingon language as formulated by Marc Okrand, took it upon themselves to translate William Shakespeare into Klingon based on David Warner's line about hearing Shakespeare in the original Klingon.
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According to Nicholas Meyer, Brock Peters found Admiral Cartwright's words during the briefing scene to be so offensive he needed several takes to get them all out. In a similar vein, Nichelle Nichols refused to speak the line "Guess who's coming to dinner?" - an intentional reference to Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - which is heard prior to the Klingons' visit to the Enterprise. The line was instead given to Walter Koenig (Chekov).
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The arctic wilderness shots were all filmed by the second unit with doubles. None of the principal cast went to Alaska.
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David Warner is the only actor to appear in two consecutive "Star Trek" films as two different characters. He first appeared in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) as St. John Talbot, the human hostage on Nimbus III, and appears in this film as Klingon Chancellor Gorkon.
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Spock's "Only Nixon could go to China" line refers to the 37th U.S. President Richard Nixon having been seen as the best American politician to be sent to China to discuss detente. His strong anti-Communist stance avoided giving the impression that the U.S. had "gone soft" and sent a sympathetic negotiator.
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The chorus heard in the background of many scenes, mainly those on Rura Penthe, says "To be, or not to be" in Klingon.
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In several drafts of the script, there was an early scene where Kirk learns that Carol Marcus (from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)) has died. Although the scene was eventually cut (it is included in the film novelization), the result of this fresh grief remained in the final film: Kirk's renewed blame of the Klingons for David's death in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
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The set used for the Federation President's office is a redress of the same set used for the Ten Forward lounge on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
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Whoopi Goldberg, who played the recurring role of Guinan in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) wanted to play the role of a Klingon princess in the film. However, Leonard Nimoy felt it would have been too distracting to have a well-known star in the film, and convinced Nicholas Meyer not to do it.
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At the wrap party, Nicholas Meyer was presented with the steering wheel from the Klingon Bird-of-Prey.
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The transporter room is a redress of the Enterprise-D's transporter room from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
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The door open/close sound effect from the original Star Trek (1966) series was reintroduced in the scenes of the Main Control Room level of the Enterprise-A.
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As of 2015, the only Star Trek film to show the crew's quarters; this film establishes that crew quarters are co-ed.
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The release of the film helped cap off a series of events commemorating Star Trek (1966)'s 25th Anniversary.
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The subtitle, "The Undiscovered Country", had been considered as a title for the installment which became Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). It comes from Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy, as do many of General Chang's William Shakespeare quotes. Two of the more obscure lines Chang speaks during the final battle between the Klingons and the Enterprise are "Our revels now have ended..." from "The Tempest" and "The game's afoot" from "Henry V". Chang's line "Have we not heard the chimes at midnight?" is from Henry IV: Part 2.
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The film marked DeForest Kelley's last on-screen performance as Dr. McCoy, and likewise Uhura's final canonical appearance as played by Nichelle Nichols. Nichols would later reprise her role in Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II (2004), an unofficial continuation of the original series based on ideas by Gene Roddenberry and made with the blessing of Paramount and the participation of the Roddenberry estate, including that of his late wife, Majel Barrett
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The Federation President appears to be the same species as the U.S.S. Saratoga helmsman in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
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Walter Koenig wrote an outline in which the Enterprise crew, except Spock, are forced to retire. Spock and his new crew are captured by a worm-like race of aliens and the old crew must reunite to rescue them. In the end, all of the original cast except McCoy and Spock die. Koenig's idea was rejected by Paramount.
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Nicholas Meyer initially wished to use Gustav Holst's "The Planets" as the music for the film, but found that it would cost far too much in royalties and be far too tedious to edit into the film. He then asked James Horner, a composer to whom he gave his big break with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), to return and wrap up the original series. Horner stated his career had outgrown "Star Trek" and declined. Meyer then went to Jerry Goldsmith, who flatly refused after the failure of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). Finally, Meyer asked for demo tapes to be submitted, and he chose the theme of unknown composer Cliff Eidelman because it combined the best of "The Planets" with the styles of Horner and Goldsmith, while still sounding "fresh and original."
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The Klingon trial concept was originally introduced in a draft script for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
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At the dinner with the Klingons the characters quote from Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. At that table are two notable Hamlets (Christopher Plummer in 1957 and 1964, and David Warner in 1965), as well as William Shatner, who began his career in Canada, understudying Plummer in Shakespeare plays. Early in their careers Shatner understudied Plummer in King Lear. Invited to the Edinburgh Festival, Plummer could not appear due to a kidney stone and Shatner replaced him with no rehearsals and with only four hours notice. The two had been having a friendly rivalry and, hearing rave reviews of Shatner's Lear, Plummer's performance the following night was what he described as being the best of his career - and he later acknowledged Shatner as providing the impetus for this..
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Jack Palance was offered the part of Chancellor Gorkon, but passed, because the filming dates clashed with City Slickers (1991) for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
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Nicholas Meyer and Denny Martin Flinn wrote the script through an early version of e-mail. Meyer lived in Europe, and Flinn lived in Los Angeles.
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The sets for the Enterprise hallways and Engineering are redresses of the Enterprise set from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
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The Federation President's Office was depicted as being located in Paris. This was something of a concession for Nicholas Meyer, who had wanted Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) to take place in Paris.
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The Morska listening post scene was done on the first day of shooting.
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The establishing shots of Camp Khitomer were filmed at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California.
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Valeris was originally written to be Saavik, Spock's trainee from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) lending greater impact to her character's betrayal. However, Gene Roddenberry objected to the character's actions, ending up in a battle with Nicholas Meyer (who believed the Saavik character was his to do with as he pleased). Roddenberry won the dispute and the character was re-written into Valeris, who is played by Kim Cattrall. Cattrall wanted to play a different character rather than be the third incarnation of Saavik, following Kirstie Alley and Robin Curtis. Meyer had originally wanted Cattrall to play Saavik back in 1982, but scheduling conflicts prevented her from working on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), as she was filming Police Academy (1984) at the time. She initially turned down the part of Valeris, thinking she was to play Saavik. Upon finding out she was to play a new character, she agreed. Cattrall also designed her own hairstyle for the part of Valeris, and also came up with the idea to completely shave off her sideburns in order to more prominently show her Vulcan ears.
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The painting in Spock's stateroom is a copy of "Adam et Eve chassés du Paradis" by Marc Chagall (1961).
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The Romulan ale visible in the dinner scene is much lighter blue than in any other Trek-universe movie or television episode. The ale's color has ranged from pale to dark blue in various productions, and can indicate the ale's "vintage."
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Nicholas Meyer (previously of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)) is the only returning director to direct two non-consecutive Star Trek films. Leonard Nimoy, Jonathan Frakes, and J.J. Abrams all directed two in a row.
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In earlier screenplay drafts, the character of Maltz from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) appeared at the trial as one of Chang's witnesses, answering questions about Kirk's killing of the Klingon crew from that film. The scene was dropped, as it was deemed extraneous, and John Larroquette was unavailable to reprise the part anyway.
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According to Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special (1991), the contents for the food props during the dinner scene aboard the Enterprise-A were: plastic sperm whale, hardboiled "Klingon" egg, unspecified flower species, chicken a-la-king, and blue Kool-Aid for the Romulan Ale.
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In 2006, William Shatner appeared in a television spot for DirecTV, using re-edited footage from this movie. Shatner is the only one to have new lines, and although Leonard Nimoy and Walter Koenig also appear in the ad, their lines were taken straight from movie footage.
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Nichelle Nichols, who plays Uhura, famously refused to use the phrase "Guess who's coming to dinner?" in this movie, which was meant to be a reference to Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) (a movie about racial bigotry). That movie was remade as Guess Who (2005), starring Zoe Saldana, who would later take over the role of Uhura in Star Trek (2009) and its sequels.
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Along with Hook (1991), this is one of two films released in December 1991 to feature the line, "Second star to the right and straight on till morning."
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DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Nicholas Meyer): [Sherlock Holmes]: Spock tells the crew, "An ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the solution." The "ancestor" Spock quotes is Sherlock Holmes, another fictional character well-versed in logic. Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is often used as a role model for characters in the Star Trek Universe, e.g. Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Plummer have both played Holmes on stage and screen. Nicholas Meyer wrote several Sherlock Holmes "pastiche" novels, including "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution", considered by many to be the best non-Doyle story of Sherlock Holmes.
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When the Klingons return to their ship after the dinner on the Enterprise, Chang speaks a Klingon phrase into his communicator (without English subtitles). Chang says "daHmacheH" which, in English, means "Ready to return now."
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This is the only Star Trek film to be shot in the Super 35 format (all of the others were shot in Panavision anamorphic). Nicholas Meyer and Cinematographer Hiro Narita chose this format, mostly because they thought it would make the film look different from the previous five.
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The name of the penal colony Kirk and McCoy are sent to, Rura Penthe, comes from the name of the slave labor camp in the film "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" (1954).
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Marc Okrand, who developed the Klingon language, had originally decided not to have a Klingon translation for the verb "to be". In English, "to be" is often used as a verb that links the subject of a sentence to a description (e.g. "he is afraid"). Okrand reasoned that Klingon would have separate verbs that described subjects, for example "to be afraid" or "to be concerned". When he was asked to translate "To be or not to be", he solved it by inventing the word "taH", which means "to continue/endure".
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During the course of the film's pre-production, Paramount was attempting austerity in the wake of a string of high budgeted and profile films which had underperformed at the box-office. Due to this, the film's budget was cut, which Nicholas Meyer was initially unaware of. Upon finding out, Meyer immediately began to restore the original budget, but was unable to find a compromise with the studio. As a result the project was officially dead for a few weeks in early 1991. However, after a shake up with their executives, Paramount brought in new officials, with whom Meyer was able to find agreement with the budget.
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First film in which campaign ribbons are worn by senior Starfleet officers.
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George Takei (Captain Hikaru Sulu), Grace Lee Whitney (Commander Janice Rand), Jeremy Roberts (Lt. Dmitri Valtane) and Boris Lee Krutonog (Lt. Commander Lojur) would all later reprise their roles in Star Trek: Voyager: Flashback (1996), which recreated the film's opening scene and revealed that Voyager's second officer Tuvok (then a rookie officer) was also present on the Excelsior bridge, although not visible onscreen.
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"To be, or not to be" in Klingon is "taH pagh, taH be'".
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The only Star Trek film featuring the original series cast that does not include Hikaru Sulu at the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Having been promoted to Captain, he is instead in command of the U.S.S. Excelsior.
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The character of Dax in this film (a young crew member questioned during the search for incriminating evidence) cannot be the often-reincarnating character of Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). DS9's Dax would, at the time of this film, be in the persona of Curzon Dax, a Federation Ambassador, which is clearly not the case for the character of this film. The name was a coincidence.
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The mine elevator's movement was simulated by cranking a textured belt behind the actors.
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The film takes place in 2293.
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David Warner is only nine years older than Rosanna DeSoto who plays his daughter.
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Originally conceived as a prequel to the original Star Trek (1966) television series. The story was to follow young Kirk and Spock when they met in Starfleet Academy, with Ethan Hawke rumored for the role of Kirk and John Cusack rumored for the role of Spock. However, partially due to the mixed to poor critical reception of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), and because of the strong desire for a future film involving the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), it was decided to do a final film with the original cast, which would end with their retirement, and allude to the new cast taking over the franchise. A prequel series would later appear in the form of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise (2001), and Star Trek (2009) is a prequel film.
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John Schuck (The Klingon ambassador) was formerly married to Susan Bay, who would later marry Leonard Nimoy.
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William Shatner had once been Christopher Plummer's understudy in the theater.
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Being the last movie focusing solely on the original Star Trek cast and characters, there was early consideration to feature Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) in the story. At the time however The Next Generation was still in the midst of its run on television, and Paramount had no plans to transition it to a movie series, or give any impression of such. In addition, Gene Roddenberry was long opposed to such crossovers between the Original Star Trek (1966) and The Next Generation, even though Bones had already appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint (1987) at Roddenberry's insistence, and Spock's father Sarek appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Sarek (1990) (when Roddenberry's personal involvement with TNG was decreasing). Both Sarek and Spock himself appeared in TNG's "Unification" serial, filmed around the same time as this movie.
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When Spock tells Valeris to have faith "That the universe will unfold as it should", this is a paraphrase of the 1927 Max Ehrmann poem "Desiderata", which say, in part, "And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."
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This film's title was originally intended for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). It was a reference to Spock's death in the earlier movie. It was changed because the executives at Paramount wanted Khan's name in the title.
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The teaser trailer is tagged with its original December 13, 1991 release date. It was moved up a week early to avoid competing with Hook (1991) and The Last Boy Scout (1991).
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Nicholas Meyer wanted to keep some Enterprise prop blankets for his personal use, but he was told the stencil wouldn't stand up to normal use.
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Art department gag: a few seconds before the first Rura Penthe shot, a small cylindrical object can be seen near Valeris' left hand in the two-shot of her and Chekov. It is a lock cylinder for starting the Enterprise with a key.
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The door outside the Enteprise galley set leads to the transporter room set.
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Brock Peters, who plays Admiral Cartwright, would later go on to appear in several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Captain Benjamin Sisko's father, Joseph Sisko. As well as another character called "Preacher".
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Released between the airing Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Matter of Time (1991) (#5.9) & Star Trek: The Next Generation: New Ground (1992) (#5.10).
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Colonel West's plan to send in a commando team to rescue Kirk and McCoy is reminiscent of Operation Eagle Claw, the failed mission from 1980 to free the hostages at the American Embassy in Teheran, Iran. The Delta Force team that was sent deep into Iran itself encountered many problems including equipment malfunctions, bad weather, and conflicting intelligence reports.
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The door outside the set used for Spock's and Kirk's quarters, leads to the sick bay set.
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The electron microscope prop that Spock uses to analyze the Klingon blood is the same prop that Freeman Lowell uses in Silent Running (1972) to reprogram the drones Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
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The same destruction of the Klingon Bird-of-Prey scene has been used multiple times in the Star Trek franchise, most notably in Star Trek: Generations (1994), and in a few episodes of The Next Generation.
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The novelization names the Federation President as Ra-ghoratrei, a Deltan. Neither detail of the President is mentioned in the movie.
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John Schuck reprises his role as the Klingon Ambassador from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
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Although he receives "Also Starring" billing, Mark Lenard (Ambassador Sarek) has only one line.
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Many of the characters, especially General Chang, make reference to William Shakespeare in general, and Hamlet in particular. Christopher Plummer played Hamlet in Hamlet at Elsinore (1964). Chang also quotes Prospero from The Tempest, "Our revels now are ended." Plummer went on to play Prospero in The Tempest (2010).
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Was the first film to be coded in DolbyDigital (AC-3) for test prints only; not for theatrical release. The first film with a theatrical release of Dolby Digital was Batman Returns (1992).
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The film was produced simultaneously with the fifth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
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John Schuck has appeared in two Star Trek films and three Star Trek spin-off series. He has played the Klingon Ambassador Kamarag in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Doctor Antaak Enterprise "Affliction" and "Divergence", Parn in DS9 "The Maquis Part 2" and Chorus #2 in Voyager "Muse".
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The network premiere of the movie brings "Star Trek" full circle. The original Star Trek (1966) series aired on the NBC network from 1966-69, as did the Animated Star Trek (1973) from 1973-74. The first four movies premiered on ABC-TV, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) on CBS-TV, following with the last film starring the original cast premiering back on original network NBC.
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Bones makes two references to Kobayashi Maru to Kirk, first in this film, and then again in Star Trek (2009).
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In a 2016 interview, Nicholas Meyer expressed regret over being naive regarding the film's plot points reflecting the end of the Cold War. Meyer said he has also come to regret portraying Spock's mind meld interrogation of Valeris, which he likened to water boarding.
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McCoy says he doesn't even know Gorkon's (Klingons') anatomy. Aside from him determining a Klingon's identity in a television episode about tribbles, there are two books related to McCoy. On an episode of Voyager, Harry Kim refers to McCoy's reference book Comparative Alien Physiology. Ballantine published the STAR TREK STAR FLEET MEDICAL REFERENCE MANUAL, lists McCoy was listed as advisor, and which contains a section on Klingons. Which means that, at the time that he determined a Klingon's identity, and subsequently didn't know enough about Gorkon's anatomy to save his life, was before he learned thoroughly about Klingon anatomy.
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The first Star Trek film since Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) to be directed by someone who wasn't an actor from the original Star Trek (1966). Namely, the same man who directed that film, Nicholas Meyer.
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This was the first of two films co-written by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal in which David Warner (Chancellor Gorkon) appeared. The second was Planet of the Apes (2001).
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One of two theatrical films directed by Nicholas Meyer that were released in 1991. The two productions are Company Business (1991) and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). Moreover, Meyer was sole Screenwriter on the former and co-Screenwriter on the latter. The two are the final theatrical movies (to date, October 2016) that have been directed by Meyer.
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While examining the torpedo attack on the Klingon ship, Spock says, An ancestor of mine maintained, That if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. This was one of Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous Holmes quotes. This could indicate that the entire Star Trek Universe is actually a continuation of the TV show in which he appears and that Khan as played by Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), who looks exactly like Holmes (Also played by Cumberbatch), could be a distant human relative of Spock's.
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Rura Penthe is also the name of the prison island in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
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The opening title and credits begin with a metallic pink/purple in the upper half of all letters, a color similar to the Klingon blood. The colors change to that containing none of the pink/purple, and ending with the pink/purple on the bottom half.
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Rura Penthe is based on prison labor camps. In prison labor camps, convicted criminals were sent to the labor camps as a form of punishment which prisoners were forced to work as slaves.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Nicholas Meyer was worried that William Shatner would be upset at some of the lines written for the scene where Martia, disguised as Kirk, fights him ('I can't believe I kissed you!' 'Must have been your lifelong ambition!'). However, Shatner reportedly loved it.
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First use of forcible Vulcan mind-meld to interrogate an unwilling subject.
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As this was anticipated to be the last film with the original Star Trek (1966) series cast, there were rumors that Kirk would be permanently killed off in it. The rumors were fueled by a trailer featuring the image of Kirk being vaporized by a phaser. The scene was actually of Martia being killed after shape shifting into a double of Kirk.
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Several scenes, which are present in the VHS release, as well as most television broadcast cuts, are noticeably absent from the DVD and Blu-ray releases, and are not even included as Deleted Scenes . These scenes include the visual inspection of the torpedoes by Scotty and Spock (which contains Scotty's "that Klingon bitch" line) as well as all of Colonel West's scenes (including his reveal as an in-disguise Klingon assassin at the peace conference). These scenes do exist, however, on the 2-disc Director's Cut DVD of the movie.
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In both Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Spock says the line "Perhaps you're right" just as he is about to do something sneaky. In "Khan", he says it just before he nerve pinches McCoy and in "Country", just before he stealthily places a tracer patch on Kirk's uniform before Kirk beams onto Gorkon's ship.
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Kirk makes open references to Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) in his final Captain's Log, by amending "where no man has gone before" in mid-statement to say "where no one has gone before", which is the opening prologue of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). Kirk's comment about "the next generation" was not of the television series but of the next Enterprise, the Enterprise-B. The next film, of course, was Star Trek: Generations (1994), which predominantly featured the Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) cast, and also featured the Enterprise-B. The actors' signatures at the end were supposed to be the characters' signatures as they signed the final log.
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According to the producers, the Klingon blood was purple to avoid an R-rating. Also, the use of purple blood was to serve as a visual symbol both metaphorical (showing the vast differences between Klingon and Terran values and ideals) and literal (showing the differences between the two species' anatomies; slamming home why McCoy could never have saved the Chancellor's life). Klingon blood has always been red like Terran blood in all other Star Trek Universe portrayals.
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Despite having a pivotal role in the film, David Warner (Chancellor Gorkon) only has ten minutes of screen time.
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Theatrical trailer features different/additional footage: the wide shots on Rura Penthe show Kirk, McCoy, and Martia escaping during daylight while in the film they escape during dusk or dawn, the arrival of the President of the Federation and Azetbur on Camp Khitomer, and when Martia (disguised as Kirk) is shot, you see a close-up of her, not the wide shot that was used in the film. The last was probably to trick the audience into believing Kirk would be killed off in this picture, so that they would be relieved when they saw the film and saw that he wasn't.
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Kim Cattrall says that she was allowed to choose the name of her character and decided on "Valeris", integrating "Eris", the name of the Greek goddess of strife and subtly hinting at her character's part in the grand scheme of the movie.
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During the confusion after Kronos 1 has been hit twice, you can see Valeris program the database concerning the two torpedoes. She programs her console and then hits the single red button. Later in the movie, after Kirk yells "fire" to shoot the altered torpedo, there is a close-up of someone firing the torpedo, using the same button to show you what that button does. Before she does this, the database, according to Scotty shows all torpedoes "stocked and fully loaded". After she does this, Spock reports that the database shows two torpedoes missing.
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David Warner was almost seriously injured during the filming of Gorkon's death scene. A light exploded and a large piece of it barely missed landing on his head.
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Just as Spock is surmising that "someone" has forged an entry in the photon torpedo data banks, Valeris (the guilty party) makes an entrance by sliding down the pole.
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The Klingon prison planet Rura Penthe reappeared in Star Trek (2009) in a scene that was filmed, but was deleted, which saw Nero (Eric Bana) and his crew imprisoned on Rura Penthe, following their capture by the Klingons, but they escape.
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Colonel West, the Starfleet Marine officer who conducts the Operation Retrieve briefing, is a punning reference to Colonel Oliver North, the U.S. Marine accused of shredding confidential documents associated with the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. Colonel West was played by Rene Auberjonois, who would be cast a couple of years later as Constable Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and had worked with John Schuck on MASH (1970).
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The main plot of the movie includes the ending of the conflict between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, which thereafter allows the two superpowers to co-exist peacefully in the Milky Way. This, in turn, helps create the setting for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), which is set years afterwards, primarily on a new starship Enterprise, commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), and which now has a Klingon serving as a member of the main crew, Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn). Coincidentally, Worf's family is portrayed as having played a part in the events of the peace between the Federation and Klingons, since his grandfather, Colonel Worf, was appointed as the Defense Attorney for Kirk and McCoy following the assassination of Chancellor Gorkon. Colonel Worf was likewise played by Michael Dorn.
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After becoming Chancellor, Azetbur wears the necklace that her father Gorkon wore.
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Martia says she thought she would "assume a pleasing shape." Like the title of the film, this is a reference to William Shakespeare "Hamlet". In this case, the line comes from his "rogue and peasant slave" monologue. He states that the ghost of this father could be the devil, saying "The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape." A demon could be assuming a pleasing shape, to trick him into wrongfully avenging his father's death upon his uncle. Then he resolves to test his uncle's conscience with a play - a moment which provided the title for an earlier Star Trek (1966) production: Star Trek: The Conscience of the King (1966). The line possibly foreshadows the revelation of Martia's duplicity.
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After Kirk saves the Federation President he comments on some saying peace is "the end of history". Since Star Trek VI is an allegory of the end of the Cold War, this was likely a reference to Francis Fukuyama's well known 1989 article in The National Interest titled "The End of History", which was an examination of the post-Cold War world.
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Originally, the film was to end with Captain Kirk "handing over the keys" to the Enterprise to Captain Picard. This was dropped because Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) takes place 70 years after Star Trek (1966). The film takes place 71 years before Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint (1987) and Captain Picard was born 12 years after Chancellor Gorkon's assassination.
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Coincidentally, two characters who are ultimately exposed as traitors are played by actors who later ended up on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: René Auberjenois (as Constable Odo) and Brock Peters (as Joseph Sisko).
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Before Kirk and McCoy go to the Klingon ship, Spock places a thin fuzzy strip on Kirk's shoulder, later called a "viridium patch". Veridian was the planetary system where the climax took place in Star Trek: Generations (1994).
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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