Continuity mistake: When Khan's number one officer is dying in the arms of Khan, they exchange a word or two before the first officer dies quite dramatically with his eyes open. Khan then fully embraces the corpse and looks up to the viewer screen and vows to get even with Kirk. However, the "corpse", whose eyes are open, closes them upon Khan's embrace. (01:29:05)
Plot hole: Why doesn't Reliant know that Khan is exiled here? The Federation is so terrified and opposed to genetic engineering that it's still illegal 300 years after Khan. So why is there no warning along with the data on the Ceti Alpha system? Kirk logged what happened with Khan and his solution of marooning him. Starships use nav data to navigate star systems. Ceti Alpha 6 exploded, yet the helmsman or computer never noticed that there is one less planet than there was when Kirk was there? There is no debris from the explosion? Ceti Alpha 5 is the exact same size and was conveniently blown into the exact same orbit as Ceti Alpha 6 used to have? So there is nothing whatsoever to make the crew even suspect that it's not 6? Enterprise would have to have scanned the planets in the system to know that one was habitable for Khan. Did Ceti Alpha 6's destruction somehow magically turn Ceti Alpha 5 into its exact duplicate? If Starfleet ships have been there to map after Ceti Alpha 6 exploded, none of them bothered to check on the exiles? Pretty callous for Starfleet, don't you think? With the technology and amounts of information available to Starfleet vessels, there is NO logical reason for the Reliant to think that this planet is Ceti Alpha 6. Finally, would the Federation be willing to test a device whose exact effects will be unknown on a planet so close to another inhabited one? (00:21:00)
Revealing mistake: When the Enterprise is leaving space dock, look at the right (starboard) side of the ship. You can see the shape of the mounting arm the model was mounted on, even though it was blacked out to look like space, and it also blocked out the bottom of the dock. The footage was reused from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Continuity mistake: Spock's funeral takes place in Torpedo Bay 1, on the starboard side of the ship. The interior shots, however, show Torpedo Bay 2 (you can see the label and the airlock from the beginning of the movie). In addition, the arm that lowers the torpedo is marked with a '2'. Making matters worse, Torpedo Bay 2 was destroyed in the battle with USS Reliant. (01:43:20 - 01:44:45)
Continuity mistake: When Spock is dying within the glass confines of the ships nuclear power source room with Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) on the opposite side of the glass, in one scene speaking to Spock, Admiral Kirk's red Federation uniform jacket lapel is unbuttoned at the top. In the very next scene the uniform jacket is buttoned. (01:40:10)
Character mistake: While Khan is "interviewing" Chekhov and Terrell, he stated, "On Earth, two hundred years ago, I was a prince, with power over millions." The official date for this movie is 2285. That would place Khan on earth around 2085 by this statement. However, it is made clear in the episode "Space Seed" that Khan and his followers escaped earth in the year 1996: nearly one hundred years earlier. Quite a way off to be a rounding error. (00:21:45)
Continuity mistake: When Reliant is hit, a large piece of debris falls to the deck, killing Joachim. In the wide shot as Khan makes his way to the debris, a large mass of hanging wires dangles from the ceiling, lower than Khan's head while he is bent over. But the next closer shot has Khan standing erect, lifting the debris, and the wires have vanished. (DVD Director's Cut). (01:28:20)
Audio problem: When Kirk says, "Stop energizers," watch his lips closely - he really says, "Stop engines." Mike Okuda points this out in the text commentary on the Director's Edition DVD. The reason the line (and also the one following it) was redubbed was because someone pointed out during post-production that the engines couldn't simply be stopped on a dime. (00:39:08)
Continuity mistake: When Spock gives the neck-pinch to McCoy, who slumps to the floor slowly, the floor inside the chamber is a dark-tan/light-brown color, but the close-up of the mind-meld on McCoy's face shows the same floor lit prominently with blue lights. (Director's Cut DVD). (01:35:40)
Continuity mistake: After being marooned inside Regula I, McCoy is tending to Chekov who is lying unconscious. He says, "He's coming around." You then see McCoy handing him a bandage to hold to his ear and Chekov raises his arm to hold it. Immediately following, there is a shot of McCoy saying "...She's finished," (referring to the Enterprise) and you can see Chekov raising his hand to his ear again. (01:14:05)
Continuity mistake: When McCoy bumps into a hanging body's arm and yells 'Jim.', the next shot shows Kirk lowering a body from an upper level by rope. To his right, another body dangles (feet point up, frontside visible). In the following close-ups of Kirk, this body is much closer to him and is turned over (feet point down, backside visible). No time compression occurs between the two shots. (Director's cut DVD). (01:03:55)
Other mistake: On board the USS Reliant as it orbits Ceti Alpha 6 the systems panels show ship diagnostic diagrams including a wire model of a Constitution class hull, something the Reliant doesn't have. (00:13:01)
Continuity mistake: After the Reliant attack, when Scotty's nephew is talking to Kirk in sickbay, he asks Kirk if the word is given, and Kirk takes his bloody hand then places it against his tunic. After he dies, the next scene shows the bloody handprint in a totally different spot on the tunic. (00:58:20)
Continuity mistake: When Kirk and McCoy are in the turbolift, just before Kirk is told about the message from Carol Marcus, they are both standing right next to the door, but in the close up of McCoy, right after Kirk is informed of the message, McCoy has suddenly moved along the wall.
Factual error: Inside the nebula, the Enterprise rises from below and fires a photon torpedo at the Reliant, striking it directly on the dorsal torpedo pod. Watch as the torpedo hits and the pod explodes. Large pieces of the bulkhead explode outward, then begin to fall downward towards the saucer section before they cut camera angles, despite there being nothing dragging them in that direction. (01:31:25)
Continuity mistake: When Spock is kneeling in his quarters, talking with Kirk, a shot facing Spock's front shows that the bottom of the lighted mirror on the wall is behind his head. In the next side shot, it's not there as he is now much further from the wall and the mirror is out of the shot at right. The angle of the second shot does not excuse the mistake- the mirror should still be visible at the new angle. (Director's Cut DVD). (00:39:30)