The world of movies is truly a magical thing, especially when it comes to being on the set of a film like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. With that particular picture’s history full of evolution, via the various decisions and conflicts that were present during its genesis, it’s good to know that some things could be nailed down as constants in the making of a sci-fi classic. Funny enough, one consistency was in something that wasn’t consistently on set, as a key piece of Ricardo Montalban’s Khan costume kept disappearing.
As he contributed to a Paramount sponsored live stream commentary for Star Trek II, Inglorious Treksperts co-host and Star Trek history expert Mark A. Altman told a short, but interesting story about that very costume piece, and why it kept being taken:
Apparently this thing that Khan wore, the insignia pin, kept getting stolen. They had to keep making new ones, because everyone on the movie wanted it.
The target of consistent thievery on the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’s production was the very necklace that Khan himself wore throughout the portion of the film that saw Montalban’s muscular physique on display for all to see. It’s basically a Starfleet insignia piece, but the circle around the logo that’s synonymous with the Star Trek brand is broken.
You can take a look at the piece for yourself, in the photo below:
Now why would people constantly want to make off with this piece of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan history? Surely people would be scrambling to preserve all traces of the original title, or even the original scripts and the memos they triggered from those fighting to carve out a piece of franchise history, right? While there’s been no official reason for why this happened, there are some solid theories that feel extremely valid.
Namely, Ricardo Montalban was really stepping it up as Khan in Star Trek II. As Mark A. Altman mentioned during the various tidbits he and Inglorious Treksperts host Daren Dochterman would trade off during the livestreamed screening, Montalban was inspired to really dig into his return to the role of Khan by writer/director Nicholas Meyer.
So just imagine watching various scenes of Ricardo Montalban making Star Trek history with his chilling performance as Khan. What better memento of your time on the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan set than having the very symbol of an iconic villain to call your own? Even if you were just a fan of the series, having something that’s an evil perversion of the Starfleet insignia would be a total conversation piece.
The history of Star Trek II, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, is filled with stories that are not only interesting tales of the moviemaking process, but sometimes extremely personal tales that you’d never think of. No matter the film, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that there’s always a handful of stories that make for interesting conversation, with at least one or two props that everyone’s looking to take home for themselves.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD; and it can also be streamed on Prime Video.