Author: Travis Hayward
On Tuesday night, June 13, 2017, a packed house of Angelenos dared to go where no man had gone before boldly. Patrons of the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood were transported to the far reaches of space aboard the iconic USS Enterprise at Mad Monster’s 35th Anniversary screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Arguably the best film of the franchise, Star Trek II acts as a direct sequel to an episode of the television series, rather than the previous cinematic outing, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The episode in question, Space Seed, was screened before last night’s feature to serve as a proper backdrop to Khan’s story.
After being awakened from a 200-year slumber by the Enterprise crew, Khan quickly betrays them and attempts to take the ship. His plans are foiled by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and company, and he is exiled to an abandoned planet, setting the foreground for the acclaimed movie we are all celebrating.
The villainous Khan, played with chilling vigor by the legendary Ricardo Montalban, is the perfect antagonist to Captain Kirk. While the two differ in strength and physique, their determination and leadership are so much alike. Although Khan’s intentions are a bit more violent, Kirk and Khan both share a strong desire to discover new life forms and planets. One might say he’s like the Joker to Captain Kirk’s Batman.
Immediately following the screening of Space Seed, the crowd was treated to a brief Q&A with director Nicholas Meyer, sound designer Alan Howarth, and stars Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) and Ike Eisenmann (Cadet Peter Preston). “I love the people who love the show,” said Nichols, starting the table talk by thanking the fans who have supported her, and the beloved franchise, for over 50 years.
Meyer shared some stories from pre-production, including a rather humorous anecdote in which they went through five drafts of the script before Shatner approved it. Eisenmann also brought forth the humor in a clever story of always being snubbed by Spock (Leonard Nimoy) when it came to the film’s two major death scenes. Meyer and Howarth shared their experiences working with the late James Horner in one of his earliest motion picture compositions.
After the Q&A, the lights went down, and the audience was gifted the unforgettable classic voyage of the USS Enterprise and their heroic battle against the cruelty of Khan. In the film, Khan seeks revenge against Kirk and his crew for marooning him on a deserted planet and inadvertently contributing to the death of his wife. The Enterprise is ready to fight back but perhaps not ready for what their negligence will cost them.
For those wanting to experience this adventure in a streaming form, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is available on all media platforms.