Thursday, January 22, 2004

The film opens on the starship Excelsior, Captain Sulu commanding. After years of lobbying for his character’s promotion, and even with a scene indicating it shot (by Nick Meyer) but not used for Star Trek II, George Takei wrote in his autobiography that he didn’t know about Sulu’s new status until first reading the Star Trek VI script. (He also suggests that Harv Bennett got him to sign for Star Trek V with a deal that included a raise for VI, believing that his Starfleet Academy idea would make this an empty promise. But Takei took his case to the conventions---12 in a row in three months-- and may have been instrumental in stopping Bennett’s plan. )

Excelsior is returning from a three year mission, the first indication of how much time has passed since the last adventure (based on other internal evidence, the Okudas’ timeline has it as six years later, while J.M. Dillard's novelization says ten years past.) The Excelsior is hit with an energy wave created by a mammoth explosion that has destroyed the Klingon moon Praxis, an overmined moon supplying energy to the Klingon empire. The Klingons at first deny the incident is serious and refuse Sulu’s help.

The only other familiar face on the Excelsior is Janice Rand, played by Grace Lee Whitney, now a communications officer. She and Sulu have the final exchange of the scene. “Should I report this?” she asks him. “Are you kidding?” Captain Sulu says, as only George Takei can. At last his commanding voice is given command.

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