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Spoiler Alert (for films that were released 1982-1991 :) )

  1. Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn
  2. Star Trek: The Search for Spock
  3. Star Trek: The Voyage Home
  4. Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country

Since I have exorcised The Motion Picture and V: The Final Frontier from my personal Star Trek canon, I am left with the above four TOS movies (which alternate between great and ok). Because I am a bit O/C about my collections of series not having any holes, I have removed the original numbers from the above film titles (II, III, IV and VI) and even made two new DVD covers for them (two double features: TWoK/TSfS and TVH/TUC). The lack of numbers now matches the style of the TNG films which have no numbers and only subtitles.

 

Many will argue that the above films really do not comprise a "tetralogy". It's a trilogy with a single sequel to that trilogy. I definitely see this view. Kirk feels old McCoy urges him to get back his command because that is his finest destiny. Spock dies without ever completely resolving his differences with his father and the Vulcan-Human conflict within himself. Kirk feels young again... but Spock's death feels like an open wound. Kirk gets Spock back but loses his son and the Enterprise in the process. After Spock’s katra spent time in his emotional human foil McCoy, Spock resolves his Vulcan-Human conflict and differences with his father. Kirk gets back his command and a new Enterprise. Kirk is home again, a home he knows he never should have left. The end, right?

 

Klingons were entered into this story in the middle chapter of the film trilogy. They killed Kirk's son and contributed to the course of events that resulted in the destruction of the Enterprise. A Klingon ambassador appears early in the third chapter of the trilogy, and the Klingon conflict of the narrative was effectively put on hold with the exclamation "There shall be no peace, as long as Kirk lives!". Despite the fact that the end of TVH seemingly ties a nice little bow around the character issues introduced in the TOS and TWoK, there really are more conflicts introduced in the “trilogy” to be resolved by another chapter. Kirk has to overcome his prejudice against Klingons to achieve peace. Spock investigates a plot involving a trusted protégé who betrays him by using logic to wrongly rationalize her prejudices against Klingons and justify murder.

 

And this fourth chapter is also a final chapter in that it shows not only the end of the new seven-year mission began at the end of the third chapter, but also the end of the second Enterprise and the voyages of Kirk as Captain of any Enterprise. A more peaceful relationship with the Klingons begins after not only the movie chapter TSfS, but also the original series which featured Klingons as major ongoing antagonist. For all of these reasons, I view the above films as a 4-part story which serves a sequel to the original Star trek TV series. (I view Star Trek: Generations as a TNG film, but also a sequel to the Tetralogy where Kirk serves as a supporting character for Picard, helping to resolve his regret over not progenerating offspring vs. his greater destiny as his generation’s Enterprise captain.)

Edited by Whill
Spoiler Alert

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I find The Search for Spock and The Undiscovered Country to be enjoyable, but suffer from plot holes that I haven’t been able to fill. While there is nothing lost when excising ST:TMP and STV: TFF from the remaining movie continuity, removing TSfS and TUC becomes problematic. TSfS is essential for getting from A to C (TWoK to TVH).

I really want this to make sense because I’ve always really enjoyed a lot of aspects of TSfS since I was a kid (I love Christopher Lloyd, and the stealing and destruction of the Enterprise).

 

And as stated in the previous post, if you have TSfS then having TUC does resolve the Klingon story arc and provides a fitting end for the adventures of the TOS crew.

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McCoy, possessed by Spock’s katra, asked Kirk why he was left on Genesis, and then tells him to go to Vulcan. Sarek does something similar. Why would Kirk need to take McCoy to Genesis first before going to Vulcan?

 

The purpose of a Vulcan transferring his katra to another person before death is so that Vulcan’s katra can eventually be transferred to the Katric Ark, a special place on Mt. Seleya that stored the katras of famous Vulcans. This was a Vulcan afterlife, and privileged living Vulcans could go to the Katric Ark and mind-meld with deceased Vulcan spirits to gain their wisdom. Sarek and Kirk had no knowledge that Spock’s body had been regenerated on Genesis, so Kirk should have been able to take McCoy strait to the planet Vulcan to have Spock’s katra transferred from McCoy to the Katric Ark. Spock would enter the Vulcan afterlife, and McCoy would then be at peace. Kirk clearly didn’t know that Spock’s body lived until he got to Genesis and spoke to Saavik on the comm. So I don’t see why Kirk would have had any real reason to go to Genesis before taking McCoy to Vulcan. But then if they hadn’t gone, Spock of course wouldn’t be living in the flesh again. Extremely contrived.

 

 

Some fans have suggested that Spock’s deceased body was necessary for the ritual to transfer his katra to the Ark. That is… er… illogical for multiple reasons.

  • Spock obviously felt it was important to transfer his katra to Bones, so wouldn’t he also want his body to go back to Vulcan for the ritual if that were necessary for the survival of his katra? Wouldn’t Spock have a last will and testament describing what his wishes were for his body after he died? Wouldn’t Kirk or Saavik know about Spock’s wishes, or at least have access to his will and want to honor it? Not that this is necessarily movie canon, but the novelization of TWoK specifically states that Spock’s will did not specify that his body should be returned to Vulcan.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise showed that the katra of Surak (ancient founder of modern Vulcan civilization) had been transferred from person to person over the centuries and survived without his deceased body still existing. This in of itself doesn’t make the movie incorrect, but the TV episodes sure do make a lot more sense than the movie.
  • Don’t some Vulcans die deaths that don’t leave a body? Might Vulcans also be vaporized by phasers or caught in warp core reactor overloads? To deny them the afterlife just because there is no body doesn’t seem very Vulcan.

Furthermore, why would they have any reason to believe that Spock’s body hadn’t been disintegrated or reorganized on an atomic level by the Genesis Wave? Why would they even believe Spock’s dead body still existed anyway?

 

The only thing I could come up with is that Spock’s katra somehow sensed that his body had been regenerated before they had left the Genesis planet at the end of TWoK. That is what drove McCoy to say what he said to Kirk in Spock’s quarters. That could have planted the idea on the mind of Kirk of going back to Genesis. Then perhaps the science vessel Grissom sent transmissions back to Starfleet that Spock’s tube was found with a life form readings and Sarek had actually found out about that through some leak in official Starfleet HQ sources that he wasn‘t supposed to have access to, so in the spirit of his son he “omitted” that information when he implored Kirk to get Spock on Genesis and then take Spock (body) and McCoy to Vulcan.

 

Please Help! Can anyone come up with anything better?

Edited by Whill
"Spoke" -> Spock, lol

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The Undiscovered Country suffers in a similar way, but for more minor details. Sulu says that he has been in command of the Excelsior for three years, yet at Starfleet HQ McCoy asks where Sulu is. Why would McCoy have any reason to think that Sulu should be there just because the senior officers of the Enterprise are present. Sulu hasn’t been an Enterprise senior officer for at least three years.

 

Sulu also states that during the last three years he has been on a mission of cataloguing gaseous anomalies. By itself, that could just be a throw-away line that doesn’t mean anything, but near the end of the movie, Uhura says the Enterprise suddenly has the sensors programmed to sense gaseous anomalies when that hadn‘t been previously referenced and no explanation was provided as to why. Could both ships have possibly been on similar missions? Sure. But that’s sloppy script writing at least.

 

The only thing I can think of that would make the above things make more sense was if a previous version of the script stated that it was in fact the Enterprise that had been on that mission cataloguing gaseous anomalies, and Sulu was only recently transferred from the Enterprise to the Excelsior. Sulu’s recent reassignment may have been during leave and thus McCoy may not have heard yet. Of course, this is only a speculated out-of-universe cause for the discontinuities, not a resolution.

 

Anyone have any suggestions to at least resolve McCoy’s out-of-place question about Sulu who hasn’t been an Enterprise officer for three years? Or since these are just minor dialog issues, should I just “pretend” that Sulu just got assigned to the Excelsior and edit the few script lines in my mind?

Edited by Whill
formatting

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First one I feel is relatively easy to explain. Not only is Spock's mantra inside McCoy, but McCoy is also one of the leading minds in the medical field. Combine the two intelligences together and the McCoy/mantra entity could have easily figured (within a reasonable probability) that the Genesis wave had reconstituted Spock's body. Barring the idea that they thought there might be a chance of actually finding the body alive, there's also the chance that Spock's mantra simply knew the body still existed in some state and simply wanted the body back for a Vulcan burial. Yes, there are times when the body may not be present, but this is a time where it was a known fact the body was present until it was expelled down to Genesis. So it's just a mater of going back to Genesis, grabbing the body and going to Vulcan to do the whole Vulcan burial and mantra transferrence. I never really viewed this as a very hole at all. Just something that wasn't quite explained in detail.

 

As for the Sulu comment...think of it, if you're going to be having a major hearing in Starfleet HQ, it would be reasonable for the once-senior crew of the Enterprise to all be there. When Sulu isn't, McCoy asks. I'd have to watch the exact scene again, figure the time period of when the comment was made and so on before I could give a better answer. But I'm pretty sure this is another case of something that just fails at really explaining things fully on-screen.

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The Undiscovered Country suffers in a similar way, but for more minor details. Sulu says that he has been in command of the Excelsior for three years, yet at Starfleet HQ McCoy asks where Sulu is. Why would McCoy have any reason to think that Sulu should be there just because the senior officers of the Enterprise are present. Sulu hasn’t been an Enterprise senior officer for at least three years.

 

Sulu also states that during the last three years he has been on a mission of cataloguing gaseous anomalies. By itself, that could just be a throw-away line that doesn’t mean anything, but near the end of the movie, Uhura says the Enterprise suddenly has the sensors programmed to sense gaseous anomalies when that hadn‘t been previously referenced and no explanation was provided as to why. Could both ships have possibly been on similar missions? Sure. But that’s sloppy script writing at least.

 

The only thing I can think of that would make the above things make more sense was if a previous version of the script stated that it was in fact the Enterprise that had been on that mission cataloguing gaseous anomalies, and Sulu was only recently transferred from the Enterprise to the Excelsior. Sulu’s recent reassignment may have been during leave and thus McCoy may not have heard yet. Of course, this is only a speculated out-of-universe cause for the discontinuities, not a resolution.

Anyone have any suggestions to at least resolve McCoy’s out-of-place question about Sulu who hasn’t been an Enterprise officer for three years? Or since these are just minor dialog issues, should I just “pretend” that Sulu just got assigned to the Excelsior and edit the few script lines in my mind?

 

 

My feeling on the equipment for gaseous anomalies has always been that all Fed ships at least of the size of the Excelsior Class and Constitution class were all fitted with equipment for that purpose as part of their standard load out.

 

For what ever reason Star Fleet wanted more info on those types of anomalies, maybe they had been becoming more of a navigation issue.

 

As for McCoy, maybe he just without thinking asked where Sulu was because he saw everyone else there. From the sounds of it other crew members were doing other things when the meeting was called. Uhura was supposed to be giving a speech somewhere, Scotty sounded like he just came from a boat dealer... :-)

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If they had kept the original Vulcan "traitor" this would be a true Tetraology. ;) I happen to like ST5, besides, it has the best plot hole of all Star Trek: Spock is a 1/2 Vulcan but looks fully Vulcan, his brother is a full Vulcan but looks (almost) completely human. :confused:

Edited by Temprus
Left out the word hole

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If they had kept the original Vulcan "traitor" this would be a true Tetraology. ;):

 

I agree about the original traitor, but I thought I would clarify that for those who may not be aware.

 

Star Trek has been owned by Paramount since the 60's. (It was owned by Desilu Studios which was bought by Paramount). Gene Roddenbery, Star Trek's creator, was actually not much more than an Executive Creative Consultant to the franchise from the TOS third season on. Many feel this was appropriate because Gene was Star Trek. Others felt that he meddled and restricted the franchise too much. I feel somewhere in between. Towards the later TOS films before he died, he declared that certain elements of were "not canon" according to him. One that I happen to agree him rejecting with is Spock even having a brother (but then again I reject the entire movie so no need to line item reject anything in it). Shatner and Paramount did what they wanted because the Star Trek creator was only a consultant.

 

When it came to TUC, the original traitor in the script it was Saavik, not Valeris. This was extremely logical. Saavik had a reason to hate Klingons that the movie fans had seen through her personal encounters with Klingons on the Genesis planet. David died saving her life. Roddenberry vehemently opposed Saavik being used in this story. He argued that she was a beloved charater and fans would not accept her as a traitor. This is where I disagree with Roddenberry. I don't know if other fans would have rejected Saavik being a bad guy, but I would have liked it for sure. It was better than just writing her out of the franchise forever in TVH with no on-screen explaination provided. But they went with Roddenberry this time and changed the script to a new character. Valeris is just a clone of Saavik (Spock's Vulcan protoge/helms officer that inappropriately quotes regulations to Kirk).

 

That was Gene's last demand for Star Trek before he passed away (before the movie even came out). Now the franchise determines what is canon whether it contradicts Gene's vision or not, for better or worse. I wish the director and Paramount had stuck to their guns and used the Saavik character, even if she was portrayed by a third actress. That would have truly been a shocker because no one watching the film for the first time would expect that Saavik would be a traitor. When I first watched the movie, I correctly guessed that Valeris was the traitor early on.

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I knew she was the traitor early on too but I failed to properly catch her name and thought she was the same character as Saavik, especially since Saavik went through many different actresses in the other films. Just as well, otherwise Saavik would not have lived on to be Mrs. Spock.

 

EDIT: Paramount must agree with you because they refer to ST 2-4 as the Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy.

Edited by Temprus

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Just as well, otherwise Saavik would not have lived on to be Mrs. Spock.

 

In canon, they established that Spock had gotten married in the 24th century (Picard mentioned to Sarek that he had been at the wedding of Sarek's son), but they never revealed who Spock had married. But yeah, I read online that in Trek's EU, Saavik and Spock were married... That prompted me to remember back to my childhood when I had read the novelization of TSfS in which Saavik (previously established in TWoK as a half-Romulan) had an affair with David Marcus on the Grissom on the way to the Genesis planet. In the space of days, Saavik had done it with both Kirk's son and Spock katra-less body (as suggested by the movie to ease his accelerated pon far condition)...

 

I don't adhere to Trek EU anymore, but as a kid I dreamed up crazy stuff like Saavik had ovulated two eggs and, under the influence of the Genesis wave, was simultaneously impregnated by both David and Spock, thus eventually giving birth to maternal half-brother fraternal twins: (1) a half-human, one-quarter-Vulcan, one-quarter-Romulan who was the grandson of Kirk, and (2) a three-quarters-Vulcan, one-quarter Romulan son of Spock. That was the basis of my "next generation" idea (literally) long before TNG had been announced! I told you guys I had a very active imagination as a kid. :cool:

 

...If Saavik is a half-Romulan as the original movie scripts and the EU indicate, then I guess she would be an appropriate wife for Spock in light of his 24th century mission of Vulcan-Romulan Reunification. I know married Vulcans technically only need to get together once every 7 years, but I imagine that after Spock reconciled his internal Vulcan-Human conflict, he would want a little bit more human life, and more out of a married than what pure Vulcan's might require. And if Saavik was half-Romulan, than she would be a perfect candidate for a mission like Spock's. But then where was she on Romulus when Picard and Data met Spock there? There was no mention of her...

 

As typing this post, I just came up with this... Sometime after Saavik and Spock were married but before the TNG Episode "Unification", Saavik's Romulan heritage became known to Starfleet and they convinced her into going on intelligence missions in Romulan space. She grew to support Vulcan-Romulan Reunification and shared her convictions with Spock. She later died on a mission, perhaps sacrificing her life to further the cause among sympathetic Romulans. Her demise was hushed up in the Federation. Inspired by his wife's life, Spock takes up the mantel and begins his unauthorized endeavors towards the goals of Reunification... That works for me!

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Paramount must agree with you because they refer to ST 2-4 as the Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy.

 

They've had the TOS six-movie saga packs available for years, but I also noticed that trilogy pack when I was at Best Buy earlier this year. Except for Federation-Klingon Peace, TWoK, TSfS and TVH do compose a trilogy of sorts, so that is logical to me. I find it ironic that it is titled "The Motion Picture" Trilogy but it does not contain The Motion Picture. TMP may be considered Trek canon under Paramount's official canon policy, but that trilogy set further proves to me that TMP was officially unoffically disregarded as canon. TWoK is not a sequel to TMP but instead a TOS episode, the TWoK uniforms are completely different and totally unrelated to the TMP uniforms, and TVH includes elements of the basic plot of TMP (probe returning to Earth and may destroy it if Kirk doesn't save the planet, resulting in Kirk taking command of the "new" Enterprise for another mission after previously wasting his talents on a "desk job" for a while). As a kid I realized that ST 2-4 was the unoffical reboot of the movie series after TMP.

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Grimace and Tinman, thank you both for your replies to my pleas for help. I want it to be clear that despite my criticisms of the movies, I truly appreciate you taking the time to reply and attempting to resolve my issues.

 

Not only is Spock's mantra inside McCoy, but McCoy is also one of the leading minds in the medical field. Combine the two intelligences together and the McCoy/mantra entity could have easily figured (within a reasonable probability) that the Genesis wave had reconstituted Spock's body... there's also the chance that Spock's mantra simply knew the body still existed in some state...

 

I'm down with all that.

 

Barring the idea that they thought there might be a chance of actually finding the body alive, there's also the chance that Spock's mantra simply knew the body still existed in some state and simply wanted the body back for a Vulcan burial. Yes, there are times when the body may not be present, but this is a time where it was a known fact the body was present until it was expelled down to Genesis.

 

My problem is still, why get rid of the body in the first place? Spock would know about the Vulcan burial when he was alive. He wouldn't want his body to be launched out into space, and thus would have willed his body be returned to Vulcan upon death if that was important to him. And if they had kept his body on the Enterprise, then they wouldn't have had to go back to Genesis to get his body. They could have taken Spock's body and McCoy to Vulcan and have the Vulcan burial. And then of course Spock would have stayed dead, but that would have been more logical then launching his body just to go back and get it later.

 

I re-watched some of the scenes from the movie, and Sarek emphatically first asks Kirk why he left "Spock" on Genesis when the only part of Spock that was left there was his dead body. Then there's the dialogue that reveals Spock had a eternal soul. Sarek gives up hope when it's not in Kirk, then Kirk says if there was that much on the line, then Spock would have found a way, leading them to discover McCoy had it. (As stated above, if Spock also valued that there was "that much" at stake, he would not have wanted his body launched into space.) Then Sarek states that Kirk must bring "both of them" to Vulcan. Kirk replies that will be a problem due to Genesis being forbidden. So the "both" of them that Sarek is speaking of is clearly the living McCoy and the dead Spock's body. "One alive and one not, but both in pain." Spock's dead body would not be in pain, only Spock's katra which is not on Genesis. It is in McCoy. To truly bring "both" of them who were in pain to Vulcan, you would only have to bring McCoy since he has the Spock-in-pain inside him. Again, they should have been able to just go strait to Vulcan to resolve their pain, and to pass Spock into the afterlife. Spock's dead body should not be required or they would have kept it.

 

It still makes no sense to me to get rid of something in the first place, just to have to go back and get it later.

 

My feeling on the equipment for gaseous anomalies has always been that all Fed ships at least of the size of the Excelsior Class and Constitution class were all fitted with equipment for that purpose as part of their standard load out.

 

For what ever reason Star Fleet wanted more info on those types of anomalies, maybe they had been becoming more of a navigation issue.

 

OK, logical.

 

As for McCoy, maybe he just without thinking asked where Sulu was because he saw everyone else there. From the sounds of it other crew members were doing other things when the meeting was called. Uhura was supposed to be giving a speech somewhere, Scotty sounded like he just came from a boat dealer... :-)

 

As for the Sulu comment...think of it, if you're going to be having a major hearing in Starfleet HQ, it would be reasonable for the once-senior crew of the Enterprise to all be there. When Sulu isn't, McCoy asks. I'd have to watch the exact scene again, figure the time period of when the comment was made and so on before I could give a better answer. But I'm pretty sure this is another case of something that just fails at really explaining things fully on-screen.

 

I re-watched the scene. The Starfleet HQ meeting is 3 months later than Sulu encountering the explosion of the Klingon moon. McCoy speculates that tthey might be planning a retirement party for them and then a little laster says "If we're all here, where's Sulu?" So being a few months after Sulu completed his three year assignement cataloguing gaseous planetary anomalies in the Beta Quadrant, maybe McCoy thought that Sulu would be a part of the retirement celebration. So that might explain McCoy's question, but that still doesn't really explain Kirk's reply, "Captain Sulu is on assignment" emphasizing the word captain. He's still been a captain for three years, something that McCoy would know. And then when they get to the Enterprise in the next scene, we meet Valeris who says, "I was told that you needed a helmsman so I volunteered." That still makes more sense if Sulu was originally supposed to have just been promoted. And that would make McCoy's question about Sulu and Kirk's answer make a lot more sense.

 

What I just read online was that in the original script, all of the crew (except maybe Sulu and Spock) were already 3-months retired at the start of the movie, but they were recalled into duty for this final Klingon peace mission. There was a whole sequence where the Enterprise officers had moved on to other vocations, and they all got invitations one by one to come back to HQ. But I guess it would take too much time and/or money to film all those seperate scenes so they rewrote it. References to that version of the script remain in Uhura and Scotty's comments that Tinman mentioned. But in the final version of the film, it is stated they are still three months away from retirement (so maybe Scotty bought his boat to already have it ready for his coming retirement).

 

If Kirk's senior crew had finished what they thought had been their final voyages on the Enterpise three months prior, then it makes sense that McCoy might not have been aware that Sulu had just recently been promoted to Captain, and that when recalled, the Enterprise would need a new helm officer (enter Saavik... I mean Valeris). So I understand why they edited the script, but they seemed to half-ass it by not clearing up all the continuity issues the edits caused. Sloppy.

 

I'm not crticising these movies to bash them. I truly want to come up with fixes so I can enjoy them more. I'm racking my brain...

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My problem is still, why get rid of the body in the first place? Spock would know about the Vulcan burial when he was alive. He wouldn't want his body to be launched out into space, and thus would have willed his body be returned to Vulcan upon death if that was important to him. And if they had kept his body on the Enterprise, then they wouldn't have had to go back to Genesis to get his body. They could have taken Spock's body and McCoy to Vulcan and have the Vulcan burial. And then of course Spock would have stayed dead, but that would have been more logical then launching his body just to go back and get it later.

 

I re-watched some of the scenes from the movie, and Sarek emphatically first asks Kirk why he left "Spock" on Genesis when the only part of Spock that was left there was his dead body. Then there's the dialogue that reveals Spock had a eternal soul. Sarek gives up hope when it's not in Kirk, then Kirk says if there was that much on the line, then Spock would have found a way, leading them to discover McCoy had it. (As stated above, if Spock also valued that there was "that much" at stake, he would not have wanted his body launched into space.) Then Sarek states that Kirk must bring "both of them" to Vulcan. Kirk replies that will be a problem due to Genesis being forbidden. So the "both" of them that Sarek is speaking of is clearly the living McCoy and the dead Spock's body. "One alive and one not, but both in pain." Spock's dead body would not be in pain, only Spock's katra which is not on Genesis. It is in McCoy. To truly bring "both" of them who were in pain to Vulcan, you would only have to bring McCoy since he has the Spock-in-pain inside him. Again, they should have been able to just go strait to Vulcan to resolve their pain, and to pass Spock into the afterlife. Spock's dead body should not be required or they would have kept it.

 

It still makes no sense to me to get rid of something in the first place, just to have to go back and get it later.

 

How about this - Kirk thought that he had finally faced the Kobayashi Maru, the No-Win Scenario, and had lost his First Officer and good friend forever. Once the realization that Spock's katra was in McCoy, and after his musing on the Genesis Effect being Life from Lifelessness (at the end of Wrath of Khan), Kirk realized that he hadn't lost the Kobayashi Maru just yet, but if he didn't act fast he would...

 

Spock may have planned on McCoy taking his Katra to Mount Seleya for the fal-tor-pan ritual, but Kirk realized that he might be able to give Spock more life, instead of just the Afterlife.

 

Then, of course, he loses David Marcus to the Klingons, and back to square one, except due to the instability of the Genesis Planet, this time it's lost forever. One man's fight against inevitability spanning two movies.

Edited by Lee Torres

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Thanks Lee. All of that alone makes sense (and I've thought similar things about the no-win scenerios). Except that I guess we have to apply the "Genesis hope" to Sarek too, because when Sarek first gets Kirk alone, he asks him why he left Spock on Genesis. That Sarek-in-Kirk's-apartment scene is right after Saavik and David scan the Genesis planet and find Spock's torpedo tube with life readings, and then their captain argued why he shouldn't report it to Starfleet yet. Maybe they did send a message off-screen anyway. Maybe Sarek had learned all about the Genesis Device and perhaps even that transmission, and then had hope that Spock's body lived, but didn't come right out and tell Kirk? And since McCoy/Spock's katra had earlier asked Kirk why he left Spock on Genesis, perhaps "they" had also previously thought that or even felt Spock's body's regeneration. Maybe even Sarek's mindmeld with Kirk further planted the idea that he should go to Genesis first before Vulcan to get "Spock".

 

I'm working out other stuff from Spock's point of view before dying that ties into this, but have to go to bed now, so another time...

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McCoy, possessed by Spock’s katra, asked Kirk why he was left on Genesis, and then tells him to go to Vulcan. Sarek does something similar. Why would Kirk need to take McCoy to Genesis first before going to Vulcan?

The purpose of a Vulcan transferring his katra to another person before death is so that Vulcan’s katra can eventually be transferred to the Katric Ark, a special place on Mt. Seleya that stored the katras of famous Vulcans. This was a Vulcan afterlife, and privileged living Vulcans could go to the Katric Ark and mind-meld with deceased Vulcan spirits to gain their wisdom. Sarek and Kirk had no knowledge that Spock’s body had been regenerated on Genesis, so Kirk should have been able to take McCoy strait to the planet Vulcan to have Spock’s katra transferred from McCoy to the Katric Ark. Spock would enter the Vulcan afterlife, and McCoy would then be at peace. Kirk clearly didn’t know that Spock’s body lived until he got to Genesis and spoke to Saavik on the comm. So I don’t see why Kirk would have had any real reason to go to Genesis before taking McCoy to Vulcan. But then if they hadn’t gone, Spock of course wouldn’t be living in the flesh again. Extremely contrived.

Please Help! Can anyone come up with anything better?

 

His body was left on Genesis at the end of the second movie because it was a fitting tribute to his sacrifice to save the crew. It was also a way to get rid of him since Nimoy, at that time, didn't want to come back and do another movie. Without the body Nimoy couldn't rejoin the cast.

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Thanks Cry, but I'm well aware of the behind-the-scenes reality. Saavik was originally written to be the replacement for Spock. After Spock died, there was a massive letter campaign from fans to Paramount to bring Spock back to life. I agree that the ending of TWoK is a fitting tribute to the Spock character and TWoK is just fine the way it is - as a single movie on its own. But TSfS is the problem. I was asking for an in-universe explaination that made the movies make sense together as a series. If the characters knew that Spock's body lived on Genesis, then their actions would all make sense. But the problem is Kirk was clearly shown to be surprised to hear that Spock's body had been regenerated after he had already travelled to Genesis. The fact that Spock's body was left on Genesis at the end of TWoK doesn't retroactively make sense in context of TSfS, but it did make sense without any sequels and without Spock coming back to life. But Spock came back to life so I'm just trying to make it all work for me. I need in-universe explainations.

Edited by Whill

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I guess I don't understand your conundrum. Kirk ejected Spock's body to Genesis as tribute to a fallen shipmate, just like a burial at sea of old.

Kirk didn't think about going back to Genesis right away. It took a half-crazed McCoy and Spock's father to plant the seed and then fully explain it to him. The Vulcan mind meld with Sarek revealed everything to Kirk, and not to us. Who knows what was in that mind meld. Who knows what mysticism Sarek revealed to Kirk about the Vulcan possibilities of life after death. Who knows if Sarek only revealed that it would be more honorable in the Vulcan sense to have the body when the ritual was done. Whatever it was, though, it got Kirk to go back to Genesis to gather Spock's body, and then discover that Spock had been reconstituted by Genesis.

 

I don't see where a lot more needs to be explained, but maybe I'm missing what you consider to be the hole.

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According to the Star Trek Wiki regarding The Undiscovered Country:

 

According to George Takei's autobiography To the Stars, early drafts did feature the Excelsior discovering the Bird-of-Prey's weakness and using their gaseous anomaly equipment to find it. According to Takei, William Shatner asked that the scene be re-written, arguing that Captain Kirk would never need anyone to come charging to his rescue.

That does explain why Excelsior is the ship that finished a 3-year mission cataloguing gaseous anomalies but the Enterprise crew is the one that discovers the Bird-of-Prey's weakness. Knowing Shatner's ego, I believe that. This is a minor point, but does illustrate how sloppily editing the continuity of a movie can cause problems. If they did edit the scene to satisfy Shatner, then it would have been more appropriate to edit the beginning of the movie to mention that Enterprise had completed a mission of cataloguing gaseous anomalies (instead of Excelsior). All Excelsior did in the final scene was "target that explosion", which makes the early reference of Excelsior being the ship that had completed a gaseous anomaly cataloguing mission pointless. When I say "sloppy" I mean half-@ssed. Sometimes one edit requires more edits to be complete.

 

That, Captain Sulu's out-of-place reference at a meeting with Starfleet top brass and Enterprise senior officers at least three years after Sulu has not been Enterprise officer, and the Enterprise needing a new helm officer three years after Sulu had left, are all little details that don't really bother me too much because they are easier to come up with explainations. I really only mentioned these in case someone had any explainations that worked for me. Thanks for your feedback.

 

But my real issues are with The Search for Spock...

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I guess I don't understand your conundrum. Kirk ejected Spock's body to Genesis as tribute to a fallen shipmate, just like a burial at sea of old.

Kirk didn't think about going back to Genesis right away. It took a half-crazed McCoy and Spock's father to plant the seed and then fully explain it to him. The Vulcan mind meld with Sarek revealed everything to Kirk, and not to us. Who knows what was in that mind meld. Who knows what mysticism Sarek revealed to Kirk about the Vulcan possibilities of life after death. Who knows if Sarek only revealed that it would be more honorable in the Vulcan sense to have the body when the ritual was done. Whatever it was, though, it got Kirk to go back to Genesis to gather Spock's body, and then discover that Spock had been reconstituted by Genesis.

 

I don't see where a lot more needs to be explained, but maybe I'm missing what you consider to be the hole.

From what I have gathered on other websites, The Search for Spock suffered from half-@ssed editing as well. They didn't want the characters to find out Spock's body lived too soon in the movie for suspense or pacing reasons. The title of word Search implies a journey of discovery, and they didn't want to give away the possible resolution too soon, I guess.

 

I'm not trying to ruin any one else's enjoyment of the films by picking nits. If The Search for Spock works for you completely as is, then I am happy for you (and a little jealous). And Grimace, thanks for sharing your suggestion about Sarek's mind-meld with Kirk. I have had been thinking along those lines as well. I'm sorry I haven't been more clear about my pleas for help. Let's review:

  1. There is no problem with The Wrath of Khan... on its own. Shooting Spock's coffin-tube out into space and it soft-landing on Genesis (whether intentional or not) is a fitting end to Spock's funeral in the film.
  2. The problem comes in with some of TSFS's explanations for things that happen in that movie and retroactive explanaitions of the events of TWOK.
  3. Spock's mysterious meld with McCoy ("Remember") became the basis for Spock having a spirit that lived on in McCoy. Check. Normally the reason for that transfer is so that the Vulcan spirit can go to the Vulcan afterlife on the planet Vulcan. Check. Spock's tube landing on the Genesis planet became the explaination for why his dead body became regenerated. Check. Retrieving Spock's regerated body and then taking both it and McCoy to Vulcan allowed for Spock's spirit to be reunited with his body, and thus for the Spock character to be ressurected from death. Check. I have no problem with any of these basic premises on their own.
  4. If the body is not needed for Vulcan burial, then it makes total sense to launch the body into space. But then why go back to Genesis at all? If the body was not needed and they didn't know that the body lived, and Kirk, McCoy and Sarek would have no reason to go back and get the body. Once discovering that McCoy held Spock's Katra, they would have just gone strait to Vulcan so Spock could enter the afterlife.

However, the plot hole for me is that if the deceased body was needed for traditional Vulcan burial as has been suggested here, I think Spock would have had a will that stated to not launch his body out into space according to naval/Starfleet tradition. I think he would have willed his body to remain on the ship so that it could eventually be returned to Vulcan according to Vulcan tradition. Then his body would be there for Vulcan burial and McCoy would have gone to take Spock's spirit to the afterlife. My problem is, it doesn't make sense to launch a body into space and/or the Genesis planet, just to have to go back and get it later. It makes more sense to keep the body on the ship, like the rest of the crew that died on the ship.

 

Since the body was lauched out of the ship, it seems to me that it wasn't needed for Vulcan burial. It also seems more logical to me that it wouldn't be needed. Which takes me back to #4 above: If the body was not needed, then why go back to get it at all? And people say the 2009 movie's plot seemed very contrived!

 

When my brother was in town the past 4 days for my grandfather's funeral, we re-watched the films. I am also now reading the novelization of TSFS. I just ordered updated (2009) DVDs to have commentary tracks. I'm desperately hoping to make sense of this!

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Okay, you're missing things. First off Kirk didn't intend to go back to Genesis to get Spock's body. He didn't WANT to go back to the planet. McCoy busts into Spock's room, Kirk goes in to see what had happened, and he hears a vaguely familiar voice telling him "Why did you leave me on Genesis?" There was other dialogue and Kirk rushes and grabs the figure to discover it's McCoy. McCoy collapses.

 

Later, McCoy is literally obsessed with getting back to Genesis. He was doing everything to get back there, including the rather futile effort to perform a Vulcan neck pinch on a Starfleet Security officer. Undoubtedly Kirk heard of this. Then Kirk gets a visit from Sarek asking very strange questions...why had he left Spock's body? Did he want to deny Spock his future? Remember Kirk's words... "I saw no future."

 

Sarek knew something that Kirk didn't. They mind meld. WHAMMO! Kirk now knows...there was still a small chance that Spock may have been saved. Perhaps the Vulcans have some mystical Lo Far ritual or some such that had a very small chance of healing the body and the re-transmittal of Spock's katra may have brought it back to life. Remember, Kirk doesn't believe in a no-win scenario, so any chance, no matter how slim, would have been enough for Kirk to gamble for a chance to get his friend back.

 

It's only AFTER the mind meld with Sarek that Kirk decides to go back to get Spock's body. He doesn't know he's alive. He tried legal channels. I remember him saying "The word...is no. Therefore I am going anyway." Kirk was going to get Spock's body in the hopes that there was some slim chance to get his friend back. They break Bones out, they jury rig the Enterprise and away they go. Only when they get to the planet and discover the Grissom blown to bits do they learn that Spock was actually reconstituted by the Genesis Wave. Then they have to save both him and David (Saavik was just kind of an extra in this movie, really) from the Klingons. He fails when it came to David, but he gets his revenge and he gets Spock back and Spock's katra out of McCoy's head and all is how it should be.

 

Obviously Spock DIDN'T have a will, otherwise I doubt Kirk would have just punched him out in a torpedo tube to the planet. Kirk didn't want to go back. A combination of McCoy being obsessed with going back and a visit from Sarek prompted Kirk to decide to go back and get the body in the hope that there was some way to get his friend back. I don't think any of it had to do with a Vulcan burial, really. I think it was a chance, however small of actually getting his friend back. This was all information that was passed during the Vulcan Mind Meld and not at all explained in the movie but could be inferred.

 

Granted, it's been about 6 years or so since I've watched TSFS, so I'm just going by memory on this chain of events. But I'm fairly certain that's how it plays out and thus why Kirk decides to go back to Genesis against Starfleet orders.

 

Does this help you understand it any better?

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Okay, you're missing things... Does this help you understand it any better?

 

I appreciate your efforts. Thanks for even bothering with this for me. But I am not missing anything you have mentioned, and I understand what you are saying. I've obviously continued to fail to make that clear. I've understood all along that Kirk didn't want to go back to Genesis and didn't decide to do so until after his mind meld with Sarek.

 

EDIT: I should have kept reading the novelization...

Edited by Whill
I should have kept reading the novelization...

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I have taken the TSFS movie script, and then added dialogue lines and a little bit of other explaination from the novelization. The movie dialogue is in bold, while the novelization dialogue is not. Italics mean I have paraphrased, summerized or described the book's descriptive text.

 

KIRK: ...Come. ...Sarek! Ambassador, I had no idea you were here. I believe you know my crew.

SAREK: I will speak with you alone, Kirk.

KIRK: Please excuse us. ...Ambassador, I would have come to Vulcan to express my deepest sympathy.

SAREK: Spare me your human platitudes, Kirk. I have been to your Government. I have seen the Genesis information, and your own report.

KIRK: Then you know how bravely your son met his death.

SAREK: Met his death? How could you, who claim to be his friend, assume that? Why did you not bring him back to Vulcan?

KIRK: He asked me not to.

SAREK: I find that unlikely in the extreme.

KIRK: His will states quite clearly that he did not wish to be returned to Vulcan, should he die in service of Starfleet.

SAREK: I am also aware that Starfleet regulations specifically require that any Vulcan’s body to be returned to the home world. Surely this would override the dictates of the will…

KIRK: …I’ll tell you why I followed Spock’s request rather than the rules of Starfleet! It’s because in all the years I knew Spock, never once did you or any Vulcan treat him with the respect and regard that he deserves… He spent his own life living up to Vulcan ideals - and he came a hell of a lot closer to succeeding than a lot of Vulcans I’ve met. But he made one choice of his own - Starfleet instead of the Vulcan Academy - and you cut him off! …For nearly 20 years I watched him observe the slights and subtle bigotry of the Vulcans! When he died, I was damned if I would take him back to Vulcan and give him over to you so you could put him in the ground and wash your hands of him! He deserved a hero’s burial and that’s what I gave him - the fires of space!

SAREK: Why did you leave him behind on Genesis?! Spock trusted you. You denied him his future!

KIRK: I saw no future.

SAREK: You missed the point, then and now. Only his body was in death, Kirk. And you were the last one to be with him.

KIRK: Yes, I was.

SAREK: Then you must know that you should have come with him to Vulcan.

KIRK: But ...why?

SAREK: Because he asked you to! He entrusted you with his very essence, with everything that was not of the body. He asked you to bring him to us ...and bring that which he gave you, his katra, his living spirit.

KIRK: Sir, ...your son meant more to me than you can know. I'd have given my life if it would have saved his. Believe me when I tell you ...he made no request of me!

SAREK: He would not have spoken of it openly.

KIRK: Then, how was...

SAREK: Kirk, I must have your thoughts. May I join your mind?

KIRK: Of course.

 

At the beginning of the mind-meld, Kirk feels that the recent message from Grissom that Spock’s deceased body may still exist gives Sarek a strong resonance of hope that there is still time to recover the body and thus save Spock’s katra for the Hall of Ancient Thought on Mt. Seleya. To continue, here is a direct quote from the book:

 

“And James Kirk understood that even if Sarek found what he sought, Spock was lost to the world he lived in. Only a few individuals trained for years in Vulcan philosophic discipline, could communicate with the presences that existed within the Hall of Ancient Thought. If Sarek found what he was looking for, he would give Spock a chance at immortality… but not another chance at life.”

 

The mind-meld sequence then plays out as it did in the movie, reprising the death scene dialogue from TWOK…

 

SAREK: Forgive me. It is not here. I had assumed he mind-melded with you. It is the Vulcan way ...when the body's end is near.

KIRK: We were separated! He couldn't touch me.

SAREK: I see. ...Then everything that he was. ...Everything that he knew ...is lost.

KIRK: Please wait! ...He would have found a way! If there was that much at stake, ...Spock would have found a way!

SAREK: Yes. ...But how?

KIRK: What if he joined with someone else?

 

The engine room flight recorder sequence plays out as it does in the movie…

 

KIRK: McCoy!

SAREK: One alive, one not. Yet both in pain.

KIRK: One going mad from the pain! Why did Spock leave the wrong instructions?

SAREK: Do you recall the precise words, Kirk?

 

Sarek then “repeated a phrase from Spock’s will as he had plucked it from Kirk’s mind”…

 

SAREK: “Failing a subsequent revision of this document, my remains are not to be returned to Vulcan.” Spock did not believe that his human heritage would permit the transfer of his katra. He did leave the possibility open.

KIRK: But he never made a revision. He only left-

SAREK: -The good Dr. McCoy, who if the process had worked properly, would have known what to do… He is undergoing an allergic reaction.

KIRK: What?

SAREK: It is unusual, but not unprecedented. McCoy’s mind is rejecting what Spock gave to him. …the result is McCoy was unable to assimilate the information even so far as to rescind the provision of Spock’s will that may not destroy them both. It would have been better if Spock had been near another Vulcan when he died. He did not prepare well, Kirk. He left too many factors open to chance-

KIRK: This is hardly the time to criticize Spock! …What do we do to make things right?

SAREK: It may already be too late.

KIRK: Sarek-!

SAREK: The fact that McCoy even retains even a semblance of sanity gives me some cause for hope. You are fortunate that you failed in your plan to burn my son like a barbarian chieftain. Had it succeeded, McCoy would surely be lost to us now. The mind and the body are a duality, they are parts of a whole. If one is destroyed, the other must disintegrate. If they are separated… the greater the difference, the greater the strain, until it become intolerable.

KIRK: The strain on McCoy, you mean.

SAREK: Precisely.

KIRK: What must I do?

SAREK: You must recover Spock’s body from Genesis. You must bring it, and Dr. McCoy to Mount Seleya, on Vulcan. Only there the passage is possible. Only there can both find peace.

KIRK: What you ask ...is difficult.

SAREK: You will find a way, Kirk. ...If you honor them both, you must.

KIRK: I will. I swear it.

 

And the book shows a final discussion in which Kirk attempts to gain an understanding from Sarek about what exactly will Spock’s immortal existence will be like if his deceased body is successfully recovered from Genesis allowing his katra is successfully transferred from McCoy to the Hall of Ancient Thought (the Vulcan afterlife). Sarek tells Kirk that he would have to learn the Vulcan language and take ten years of his life to study Vulcan mysticism to even begin to understand. Kirk gets angry again and explains that he needs more details to tell Admiral Morrow when he asks for permission to return to Genesis, but Sarek refuses to elucidate.

 

And I’ll also add that although it as not revealed by the film, the novelizations states that Saavik is only half-Vulcan (and half-Romulan). She was 10-year-old orphan when she was rescued from an abandoned Romulan colony by Spock sometime in the years after the five-year mission of TOS. Spock made sure she was taken care of and sponsored her enrollment in Starfleet Academy. Despite the fact that she was trained in the Vulcan language and general (logical) way of life, she had never actually been to Vulcan before the end of TSFS and had not learned about Vulcan mysticism regarding death and afterlife...

Edited by Whill
(forgotten punctuation)

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...That is why Saavik did not question Spock’s funeral or any other actions Kirk made regarding the death of Spock.

 

So according to the novelization, Spock did indeed have a will that stated that his remains were not to be returned to Vulcan, and because of that, Kirk intended for Spock’s body to be launched into space and incinerated in the upper atmosphere of the Genesis Planet, not unlike a Viking hero‘s funeral pyre at sea. Gravity was in flux and the coffin-tube soft-landed, unbeknownst to the crew at the time.

 

There was no “Genesis hope” in either Sarek or Kirk that Spock’s body may have been regenerated. It is made explicitly clear that the deceased body of the Vulcan is necessary for the ritual to transfer the katra from the katra holder to the Hall of Ancient Thought on Vulcan (afterlife), so that and McCoy’s well-being alone are reasons enough to go back to Genesis to retrieve Spock’s dead body.

 

Sarek had always just assumed Spock would prepare for following all Vulcan death traditions. After Sarek learned the exact language of the Spock’s will from Kirk‘s mind, Sarek is convinced that because Spock was half human, Spock did not believe that he would be able to transfer his katra to another when he wrote the will, but he remained open to the possibility that he may change his mind in the future. That was obviously to suggest that is what ended up happening, that Spock must have changed his mind at the last minute and melded with McCoy.

 

Sarek speculates that the mind-meld didn’t work perfectly because of multiple possible factors such as Spock is half-human, McCoy is allergic to katras and McCoy is not Vulcan. If it had worked correctly, then Spock’s katra would have clearly explained to McCoy what was going on and that, contrary to the will, they had to keep Spock’s dead body after all. If McCoy had been completely lucid and not acting as fruity as a nut cake, it can then be assumed that Kirk would have believed McCoy, ignored Spock’s will, and sent the body and McCoy to Mt. Seleya on Vulcan so Spock’s katra can hopefully gain Vulcan immortality. (But then of course Spock couldn’t have come back to life so it’s a good thing the katra transfer didn’t work right!)

 

This also works to explain why McCoy refers to Spock’s body on Genesis and then immediately refers to going to Mt. Seleya on Vulcan. Spock’s katra and McCoy are not clearly communicating with each other due to the problematic katra transfer. Sarek also states that the issue is amplified by the distance between Spock’s katra in McCoy on Earth and Spock’s body on Genesis, furthermore impressing the value of a Vulcan’s body soon after death and McCoy‘s peril.

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These explanations are extremely contrived, but they still work for me. Saavik was not raised on Vulcan and didn’t know anything about Vulcan death traditions. Sarek expected Spock would prepare for following all Vulcan death traditions. Spock had a will to not have his body returned to Vulcan because he believed at the time he wrote it that he couldn’t perform the katra transfer due to him being half-human. Spock changed his mind when the moment came and tried it anyway. It worked but not perfectly, so Spock’s katra did not clearly communicate to McCoy what had happened, or to save his body. The body was required for the Vulcan afterlife ritual, so they had a reason to go back to Genesis to get it without suspecting or hoping the body had been regenerated.

 

Of course even with the added dialogue between Sarek and Kirk in the novelization, the conversation still seems a bit disconnected in parts. For the book and more importantly the movie, I think I can now write this off as Sarek’s logic faltering when it comes to his son. I suspect the author writing the novelization was given the script and added dialogue with explanations in an attempt to make it make more sense. Since the movie is disconnected on its own, I am willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt in that she is largely responsible for working out the details more than the possibility that the script had all this dialogue and it was shortened during filming or editing.

 

Either way, I’m still critical of the film for not including essential details to make TSFS make more sense with respect to TWOK. This is the first katra transfer we have ever seen in Trek. The movie mentioning Spock’s will and how he changed his mind would have explained why he didn’t will his body to be returned to Vulcan even though the body is needed for the Vulcan afterlife ritual. From the movie alone, we had no idea that the katra transfer mind-meld didn’t work correctly and McCoy would have been able to explain things if it had.

 

But the point of this thread was always to help my appreciate of the movies. I think after first reading the novelization in my childhood the movie made sense to me, but after going so many years without watching the movie I forgot those details. This discussion and my rereading of the TSFS novelization (for the first time since 1984) completely resolves things for me. When I create a new custom DVD cover for the movie, I will include some of this essential information in the plot synopsis on the back! I love this movie on its own, and now I can fully appreciate it again as part of a larger continuity of films and series I enjoy.

 

And I’m so extremely thankful for the author including these essential details. In my mind, this completely redeems her for later writing an absolutely awful original Star Wars novel based on a rejected DS9 script (Crystal Star). Vonda N. McIntyre, I thank you again, and I finally forgive you!

Edited by Whill

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