Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Template:Infobox Movie (2) Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Paramount Pictures, 1984; see also 1984 in film) is the third feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. It is often referred to as ST3:TSFS or TSFS. It is a direct sequel to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and has a similar feel although often with a lighter, more humorous touch.


Plot summary

A few days after the events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the USS Enterprise limps back to Earth. Once there, Admiral James T. Kirk is informed that the obsolete vessel's days are over (it is stated to be 20 years old, but official production timelines place it as about 40 years old, with Kirk's command of the Enterprise being about 20 years); it won't be refit, but will instead be retired, and its crew reassigned. Meanwhile, Dr. Leonard McCoy exhibits strange behavior, somehow related to the deceased Captain Spock.

Simultaneously, Kirk's son Dr. David Marcus and Lieutenant Saavik explore the Genesis planet, created at the end of the last film. Unknown to them, Klingon commander Kruge becomes interested in Genesis, and travels to the Genesis planet to learn its secrets.

Spock's father Sarek turns up on Earth and discovers with Kirk that McCoy possesses Spock's "katra" (soul), but that both his katra and body are needed to properly lay him to rest on his homeworld Vulcan, or McCoy could die. Disobeying orders, Kirk reunites his officers and steals the Enterprise to head to the Genesis planet, which is beginning to self-destruct.

Kruge arrives at Genesis first, destroying the research vessel USS Grissom there. His crew captures the scientists on the planet — David, Saavik, and a Vulcan child — and then the Enterprise arrives. The Enterprise is much larger than the Klingon ship, but is crippled by its recent battle and skeleton crew. Kirk sacrifices the ship to kill Kruge's men, and defeats Kruge in hand-to-hand combat on the planet's surface, which is rapidly disintegrating. Kirk captures the Klingon ship and escapes the Genesis planet just in time as it explodes, and returning both McCoy and the now-aged boy — who is Spock — to Vulcan, where his katra is returned to his body.

Main cast


A theme of TWOK was summed up by Spock as "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." A theme of TSFS is "the needs of the one sometimes outweigh the needs of the many." Kirk and company are willing to sacrifice their careers, lives, and ship to put Spock's soul to rest, never mind actually resurrecting him.

In the Original Series, much was made of the attachment Kirk had to the Enterprise, so his willing destruction of the vessel here is a resounding note indeed.


TSFS was directed by Leonard Nimoy, which fueled advance speculation that Spock would turn up alive and well.

The film contains much more humor than TWOK, fueled partly by the comic talents of Christopher Lloyd, DeForest Kelley and James Doohan (as Scotty). Shatner's performance, on the other hand, has been viewed to be not up to the level of his TWOK work.

The destruction of the Enterprise had to be done twice, since the initial destruction sequence was deemed to have little emotional impact, and also appeared to be too similar to the ending of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Early drafts involved Romulans as antagonists, rather than the Klingons. This is why in the final film the Klingon ship is a Bird-of-Prey, which historically was a Romulan ship name. Star Trek: The Next Generation would perpetuate this confusion between the two races, attributing the Romulans' sense of honor to the Klingons.

The music was scored by James Horner.

Although fans welcomed the return of Spock, the film did not generate the same acclaim from critics and fans as its predecessor, helping to establish the notion that odd-numbered Trek films are somehow inferior and less financially successful than the even-numbered ones, a notion that held true until 2002 when the 10th Trek film failed at the box office.


The film marks the first apperance of a guest star "movie era" admiral, that being that character of Fleet Admiral Morrow. It is also the first time in Star Trek that more than one admiral is seen on camera at the same time (Morrow and Kirk) and also the first apperance of a Fleet Admiral in Star Trek (a character named Fleet Admiral Nogura had been mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture but was never seen on camera).

In the film, it is not exactly clear why (during the transporter room scene where Uhura gives Kirk and friends permission to beam aboard the Enterprise) Uhura locks her fellow officer - dubbed "Mr. Adventure" in the script and "Lieutenant Heisenberg" in the novelization - in the closet. Some fans have speculated that Uhura did this out of revenge for Heisenberg's remark about Uhura's career "winding down", but it is unlikely that Uhura would stoop to such levels merely due to an offhand remark. The novelization makes it clear that Uhura's actions were intended to prevent Heisenberg from stopping Kirk and company's attempt to steal the Enterprise, and also to make it clear to Starfleet that Heisenberg was attempting to do his duty (as evidenced by his objections in the film that Kirk's group had no official Starfleet orders, nor did they have proper identification) and that he was not involved in the conspiracy to steal the ship.

This film contains one of the few instances of Pavel Chekov actually speaking Russian. In the opening scenes when the crew discover life signs in Spock's quarters, Kirk leaves the bridge to investigate. Chekov, at the science console, says (in Russian) "I'm not crazy! There it is." (pointing to the computer screen)

External links

Star Trek
Series: Movies:
cs:Star Trek: The Search for Spock

de:Star Trek III: Auf der Suche nach Mr. Spock fr:Star Trek III : À la recherche de Spock it:Star Trek III- Alla ricerca di Spock ja:スタートレックIII ミスター・スポックを探せ! sl:Zvezdne steze 3: Iskanje Spocka


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