On February 16th 1967 the Star Trek TOS episode “Space Seed” first aired. The classic episode of the Original Star Trek introduced us to Khan Noonian Sing,played briillanty by Richardo Montelbann. Let’s look at a few facts about this classic episode.
#1 The original draft was not about supermen but a group of criminals sent out into space. After suggestions by producer Gene L. Coon the criminals were changed to supermen. Origionally the Kahn character was a Nordic superman named Harold Erricsen.
This comes to us courtesy of Memory Alpha. Since i’m not using Wikipedia we’ll call this TheWikiThatGoesWhereEveryManHasGoneBefore.
There’s some other interesting information in the Wikia enry for Space Seed. The writer, Carey Wilber used the tradition of 18th Century Britian sending out ships of undersireables to distant lands and expanded that to the “seed ships” that in the original treatment had 100 criminals and accompanying lawmen.(The Star Trek Compendium, p. 57)
Gene Roddenbury made the point that it would seem a waste of resources to send a ship with just criminals, something Kirk and Spock comment on as well. It was from there that the idea of a group of Napoleans being sent into space was developed.(These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
Maria Jose and John Tenutoat are professors of sociology at The College Of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois. In 2013 they did a multi-part blog post for StarTrek.com about the making of this episode, based off material found in the archive of writer/director Nicholas Meyer at the University Of Iowa and Gene Roddenbury at UCLA.
The original treatment has Sulu make an appearance in the episode which he does not do in the broadcast version, but no mention of Chekov (We’ll get to him later).
One interesting thing of note is in the second part of this story. They discuss memos producer Gene Coon sent on Sept 7th and Sept 9th of 1966 discussing the episode with Charley Wilber and discussing what needed to be changed. One of the major things he wrote about was Kahn, then still Erricson. He saw a chance to make a real rival for Kirk out of this character.
The third part of the blog piece discusses the decision to cast Ricardo Montalban
#2 In the script Kirk has a line at the end where he says he hopes Kahn and his people never go looking for them. That line was cut from the broadcast version.
It seems as if Kirk and Khan were meant to face off again, and the episode almost predicts this. George Takei discusses this in opening segments filmed for the 30th Anniversary VHS releases in 1996.
The novelization of the episode featured in the book Star Trek 2 does include the cut line of dialogue.
#3 While we never get an explanation on camera of how Khan knew Chekov, the non-canon novel To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh says he was involved in an attempt to overthrow Khan’s control of the ship.
One of the biggest mysteries in science fiction is how Khan knew who Chekov was when he had not been cast when this episode aired. The common, although never stated, explanation is that Chekov was there but not on camera.
That was explained in the book To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh, a non-canon novel released in 2005 that tells the story of what happened on Ceti Alpha V. In the book we learn that Chekov had led a failed attempt to retake engineeering from Kahn’s control. I also found an interesting nugget in a review of Star Trek 2 from TheReviewScreen.com.
I can’t find anything to indicate if that is true or not, but it wouldn’t be illogical if that were the case. Walter Koeing has his own theory as to how Khan and Chekov meet.
So we end another Midweek Trivia. On that note, may you live long and prosper, and may your spaceship never get taken over by Indian supermen who were Nordic at one time.