Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) September 30, 2014

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) is the second film with the original cast. It is also considered a Trek classic, on which all other films have since been judged. Three major themes run through this film, all of which are timeless: (1) time, (2) revenge, and (3) sacrifice.


In this film, the crew has aged and this issue is addressed throughout. The film uses  Kirk’s birthday as a way to talk about time. Spock gives Kirk a copy of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (which also hints at the future matched struggle between Kirk and Khan in the film). Later, when Kirk and Dr. McCoy have a conversation about his birthday, the good doctor advises Kirk to “get back his command” before he becomes too old. The contrast between the elder and more experienced crew and the young recruits on the USS Enterprise highlight the effect that time has on a person.


Vengeance is a dish best served cold…and it is very cold in space.

This line defines the enemy in this film, Khan. Khan, a genetically-modified superhuman from the twentieth century has been awoken, and since the time of the “Space Seed” episode has been marooned on a planet. He and his crew were “accidentally” discovered by the USS Reliant. Khan takes over the ship and goes on a quest to destroy Kirk. His main motivation is revenge.

He steals a “Genesis” device (a torpedo that creates “life from lifelessness.”). He uses it in a final battle with Kirk and the USS Enterprise in the hope of killing Kirk. Unfortunately, for Khan, it is a failed attempt because of one man’s sacrifice.


Spock personally intervenes in the final. He realigns the warp core so that the ship can escape in the coming explosion. However, he dies in the attempt. The sacrifice of one person saves the entire crew. Messianic allusions are very evident in this scene. A phrase used throughout the movie (based upon the philosophy of utilitarianism) builds up to this point: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.”

The Bible speaks to each of these themes.


God is Eternal. He is timeless. While we age, there will be a time when there will be no more pain, no more tears, and no more aging.

Genesis 21:33, Psalm 90:1-4, Revelation 21:4


Vengeance belongs only to God. We are called to live as humble servants. Paybacks are God’s territory.

Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19


God also made the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. Jesus died so that you and I may “live long and prosper” to use Spock’s words. The needs of the many (forgiveness of sin) outweigh the needs of the One (Jesus – who came not to be served but to serve and be a ransom for many.)

Matthew 20:28

As part of the Star Trek trilogy, the movie addresses spiritual themes which will continue through Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Yet, as an individual work, this film is considered a classic.


  1. What do you think about God and time? How do you think it will be to exist with God outside of time?
  2. Do you know anyone who has taken revenge on someone? What were the results? Do you think this is one reason why vengeance should belong to God?
  3. What do you think about the sacrifice which Spock makes in the movie? How does this sacirifice shadow the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

#startrek, #spock, #kirk, #khan,



Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment