Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was an incredible movie that is still considered to be one of the best Star Trek films today
But the story we saw unfold on movie screens around the world wasn’t the first idea that would bring back Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh. And while I wouldn’t say the original idea was better than what released, it does sound like it would have been an amazing movie in itself. And could possibly even be considered for a Khan movie today.
Harve Bennett, who wrote the story that we saw, had a much different take when he started working on Wrath of Khan. Though Khan would still have been just as evil, the film would have painted a target on Admiral Kirk’s back, making him the most wanted man in the galaxy.
According to William Shatner, who wrote Star Trek Movie Memories, Bennet’s idea had Khan working the youth of the galaxy into a frenzy that would cause them to lead a revolution against the United Federation of Planets. That alone wouldn’t have satisfied Khan’s thirst for revenge against Kirk so he would have also framed Kirk, most likely as the leader of the revolution. And that would have led to the Admiral being hunted by not only the Federation he served, but aliens and humans alike.
We got a small sample of Kirk and his crew on the run from Starfleet in Star Trek III The Search for Spock, but Bennett’s idea creates the image of the entire Federation being out for Kirk’s blood. All eyes would have been on him, and a price would have been on his head. Since he wasn’t the type of man that would have gone into hiding, he would have fought to clear his name, with help from his loyal crew.
This could have been an epic story, one that could still work today in the Kelvin timeline since Khan has been resurrected. It would be intriguing to see Kirk fighting against the same people he’d served alongside for so many years.