Star Trek III: The Search for Spock could’ve been so much better.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock had the impossible task of following up Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It’s like following up pizza with a spinach and kale salad. It doesn’t matter how good that salad is, it’s still a salad against pizza. It’s just not fair. No film could’ve topped Wrath of Khan, but someone had to try.
That’s how we got Search for Spock, a movie about James Kirk and the rest of his surviving bridge crew, going on a mission to try and resurrect Spock. There was a sub-plot where Christopher Lloyd, as a Klingon, and his ship was trying to capture the experimental planet of Genesis but that was largely secondary to the film’s core purpose.
It was a wildly messy movie. Namely, the fact they kill off Kirk’s son, and at the end of the movie when Spock is made whole, it’s like Kirks’ son was never a character in the film’s canon at all. Tonally, it’s wildly inconsistent.
And it hurts to know that it could’ve been so much better.
The original Star Trek: III was so much better on paper.
A leak and rewrites for the filmmakers to change the plot of the film. It was originally going to be about Romulans, not Klingons, fighting with Kirk. They were going to have a “swarthy” and “handsome” Romulan commander to play against Kirk, possibly taking inspiration from the original series episode “The Balance of Terror”.
The core of the movie would’ve seen a reborn, but feral Spock, picking off the Romulans on Genesis. The Romulans would’ve been trying to mine the planet for dilithium.
The film even had a much better title, “Star Trek III: Return to Genesis”.
One of the best bits of drama attached to the film was the inclusion of Vulcan wanting to secede from the Federation due to the creation of the Genesis planet. This would’ve created some serious conflict, something Star Trek revels in.
Sadly, this isn’t the film fans got.
Search for Spock is still a fine movie, but it doesn’t live up to Wrath of Khan or a few others in Star Trek’s canon.