Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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)

BocaDavie Premium member

Factual error: It is long-established in Star Trek canon that onboard diagnostics can detect any animate intruders on Federation vessels. Any living thing that exists upon a Federation vessel can be identified, and its location specifically noted on Federation property. How is it, then, that there are rats aboard the Regula I space station (as observed by Doctor McCoy) that haven't been eradicated?

Charles Austin Miller
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Suggested correction: When was this established? There are a number of episodes of the original series where the plot depends on them not being able to detect intruders. "Court Martial" for example.

"Court Martial" is probably the worst example you could use for your argument. In that episode, the vengeful Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Finney repeatedly sabotaged the Enterprise main computer (changing ship's chronological data records in order to fake his own "death" and frame Captain Kirk for a murder that never happened). Finney also sabotaged the computer and caused the Enterprise to fall out of orbit. Indeed, Spock discovered that the ship's computer was malfunctioning due to sabotage. So, Finney was more than capable of sabotaging the ship's bio-scanners, as well, to conceal himself from a whole-ship scan. In fact, they had to resort to a very sensitive audio-scan of the Enterprise, selectively eliminating the audible heartbeats of every known person aboard the ship. When all known heartbeats were eliminated, just one unknown heartbeat remained, and its owner couldn't be identified. Therefore, Finney had certainly tampered with the bio-scanner to conceal his whereabouts. It's very doubtful, however, that foot-long rats hacked the bio-scanners aboard the Regula research station to conceal their whereabouts.

Charles Austin Miller

Every time the Enterprise computer system reported an "intruder alert," and every time they asked the computer for the location of specific individuals and lifeforms anywhere aboard the ship. This was all well-established in the Original Series.

Charles Austin Miller

It's a big leap to go from that to they can detect any living being. It is explicitly established that under many circumstances they can't even detect a full grown man if they are in hiding. This is the whole basis of the plot of "Court Martial." Even as late as The Next Generation it is established that it is difficult to find someone if they're not wearing their communicator badge.

Yet they can detect single-celled organisms on a planet's surface from thousands of miles away. The technology certainly exists in the Star Trek universe, and especially for the highly-classified Genesis Experiment. In "The Wrath of Khan," Dr. Carol Marcus stipulates that the Genesis Experiment cannot be contaminated by so much as a microbe, and complete sterility is a condition for selecting a test planet. Yet they have foot-long rats scurrying around the Genesis research facility? That is a plot hole, a continuity problem and a factual error all rolled into one.

Charles Austin Miller

Reliant scanned the planet to search for any life forms. That scan was inaccurate and it read Khan's entire group (and presumably the Ceti eels) as non-specific, potential life matter. Reliant's crew speculates that it could just be some speck of matter and they are completely shocked to find multiple living humans there. If they were using these highly advanced sensors you claim they were using they would not have been surprised by the presence of humans at all. And even if they could, there is nothing to suggest they should also use those sensors for pest control on their space station.


Suggested correction: It is not established that Regula 1 has the same internal sensors that a starship has.


It is definitely established, however, that the Regula 1 space station is conducting the most highly-classified technological research and development in the entire Federation: The Genesis Project, which entailed re-engineering whole worlds to create new ecosystems where no life existed before. If anything, Regula 1 should be equipped with even more sensitive and discriminating biological sensors than any starship in the Federation, for the express purpose of preventing biological contamination of their experiments. So, Regula 1 must have necessarily possessed the most sophisticated biological sensors available. As Dr. Carol Marcus emphasized, the Genesis Project couldn't risk contamination by so much as a microbe, nevermind foot-long rats creeping around the space station.

Charles Austin Miller

None of the scanning shown in the film was done by the Regula 1 station. The Reliant is what scanned the planet where Khan was found. Even if Regula 1 did have highly advanced sensors there is nothing to suggest anyone has the time or need to regularly scan for pests on the station itself. The presence of a pest in the Genesis cave itself would have been an error, but not on the station. A pest on the station has no bearing on the Genesis project itself. There are too many assumptions for this to be considered a movie mistake.


The rat was not shown in the Genesis Cave, it was shown aboard the Regula space station, where the Genesis Device itself was constructed before it was beamed inside the planetoid for a test run. The point you're missing is that the space station had rats crawling around inside, but a rat infestation wouldn't be tolerated at an ultra-top-secret research and development facility for a project that was highly sensitive to biological contamination.


Suggested correction: Obviously the first thing the rats did was chew through the cables to the lifeform scanners.

Which would set off alarms like crazy aboard the station because preventing biological contamination of the Genesis Experiment was a No.1 priority for Dr. Carol Marcus. Undoubtedly, the station was bristling with redundant bio-scanners.

Charles Austin Miller

All of which had been also chewed through! No, you make a good point.


Continuity mistake: The blood stain on Kirk's jacket keeps moving around.

More mistakes in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Dr. McCoy: Go... Where are we going?
Captain Kirk: Where they went.
Dr. McCoy: Suppose they went nowhere.
Captain Kirk: Then this will be your big chance to get away from it all.

More quotes from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Trivia: This movie is basically a retelling of another story. When the camera first pans the shelves of the Botany Bay it stops and centers on one book on the shelf in particular.....Moby Dick. That is what this movie is about. Khan is Ahab, The Enterprise is Moby Dick. At one point in the book the whale is circling Ahab's ship on the ocean. At one point in the movie the Enterprise is circling the Reliant (Khan's ship) in the Motara Nebula. Ahab had a scar up one entire side of his body given to him by an encounter with the Whale. At the end of the movie Khan has a burn mark/scar up one side of his body as well. Not to mention that Khan quotes from Moby Dick throughout the movie. The last quote he utters is one that Ahab uttered "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee, for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee."

More trivia for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Question: Where would Kahn learn a Klingon proverb? He was marooned on a planet, and before that he was in hibernation.

Answer: Given Khan's heightened intellect, he'd undoubtedly be an information junkie - he's had plenty of time, either on the Enterprise before his marooning or afterwards on the Reliant, to read up on the current state of the galaxy - he presumably found the proverb in some datafile somewhere.

Tailkinker Premium member
More questions & answers from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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