Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Taglines: The final voyage of the Starship Enterprise.

In the wake of Spock’s ultimate deed of sacrifice, Admiral Kirk and the Enterprise crew return to Earth for some essential repairs to their ship. When they arrive at Spacedock, they are shocked to discover that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned. Even worse, Dr. McCoy begins acting strangely and Scotty has been reassigned to another ship. Kirk is forced to steal back the Enterprise and head across space to the Genesis Planet to save Spock and bring him to Vulcan. Unknown to them, the Klingons are planning to steal the secrets of the Genesis Device for their own deadly purpose.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a 1984 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. The film is the third feature film of the Star Trek science fiction franchise and is the center of a three-film story arc that begins with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and concludes with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. After the death of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), the crew of the USS Enterprise returns to Earth.

When James T. Kirk (William Shatner) learns that Spock’s spirit, or katra, is held in the mind of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Kirk and company steal the Enterprise to return Spock’s body to his home planet. The crew must also contend with hostile Klingons, led by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), bent on stealing the secrets of a powerful terraforming device.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Paramount commissioned the film after positive critical and commercial reaction to The Wrath of Khan. Nimoy directed, the first Star Trek cast member to do so. Producer Harve Bennett wrote the script starting from the end and working back, and intended the destruction of the Enterprise to be a shocking development. Bennett and Nimoy collaborated with effects house Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to develop storyboards and new ship designs; ILM also handled the film’s many special effects sequences. Aside from a single day of location shooting, all of the film’s scenes were shot on Paramount and ILM soundstages. Composer James Horner returned to expand his themes from the previous film.

The Search for Spock opened June 1, 1984. In its first week of release, the film grossed over $16 million from almost 2,000 theaters across North America. It went on to gross $76 million at the domestic box office, toward a total of $87 million worldwide. Critical reaction to The Search for Spock was positive, but notably less so than the previous film.

About the Story

The Federation Starship Enterprise returns to Earth following a battle with the superhuman Khan Noonien Singh, who tried to destroy the Enterprise by detonating an experimental terraforming device known as Genesis. The casualties of the fight include Admiral James T. Kirk’s Vulcan friend, Spock, whose casket was launched into space and eventually landed on the planet created by the Genesis Device. On arriving at Earth Spacedock, Doctor Leonard McCoy begins to act strangely and is detained. Commander-Starfleet, Admiral Morrow visits the Enterprise and informs the crew the ship is to be decommissioned; the crew is ordered not to speak about Genesis due to political fallout over the device.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) - Leonard Nimoy

David Marcus (Merritt Butrick)—Kirk’s son, a key scientist in Genesis’s development—and Lieutenant Saavik (Robin Curtis) are investigating the Genesis planet on board the science vessel Grissom. Discovering an unexpected life form on the surface, Marcus and Saavik transport to the planet. They find that the Genesis Device has resurrected Spock in the form of a child, although his mind is not present. Marcus admits that he used unstable “protomatter” in the development of the Genesis Device, causing Spock to age rapidly and meaning the planet will be destroyed within hours. Meanwhile, Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), the commander of a Klingon vessel, intercepts information about Genesis. Believing the device to be potentially useful as a weapon, he takes his cloaked ship to the Genesis planet, destroys the Grissom, and searches the planet for the survivors.

Spock’s father, Sarek (Mark Lenard), confronts Kirk about his son’s death. The pair learn that before he died, Spock transferred his katra, or living spirit, to McCoy. Spock’s katra and body are needed to lay him to rest on his homeworld, Vulcan, and without help, McCoy will die from carrying the katra.

Disobeying orders, Kirk and his officers spring McCoy from detention, disable the USS Excelsior, and steal the Enterprise from Spacedock to return to the Genesis planet to retrieve Spock’s body. On Genesis, the Klingons capture Marcus, Saavik and Spock and before Kruge can interrogate them their ship signals that the Enterprise has arrived and Kruge immediately beams back to the Bird of Prey.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Movie Poster (1984)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Directed by: Leonard Nimoy
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Robin Curtis
Screenplay by: Gene Roddenberry, Harve Bennett
Cinematography by: Charles Correll
Film Editing by: Robert F. Shugrue
Costume Design by: Robert Fletcher
Set Decoration by: Tom Pedigo
Art Direction by: John E. Chilberg
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 1, 1984