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The Making of Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan Paperback – October 1, 1982
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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However, unlike fine wine, this book has not aged well. Since its initial publication, it's been superseded by other books covering the same subject in more detail, including works by Captain James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner ("Star Trek Movie Memories") and the film's director, Nicholas Meyer ("The View from The Bridge").
Not to be found in these pages are details about how Paramount Pictures forced ST creator Gene Roddenberry out of the film's production, blaming him for the cost overruns and the constant rewriting on "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." (Indeed, Roddenberry is barely mentioned in this book.) Or about how the studio hired respected television producer Harve Bennett because he could produce the movie for less than ST:TMP's $46 million cost. Or about how Meyer wrote the final draft screenplay (credited to Jack B. Sowards) in 12 days because visual effects creator Industrial Light & Magic needed a finished script in order to begin its work.
In brief, this book is The Official Paramount Pictures Public Relations Department Version of The Making of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. (The movie's unit publicist, Edward Egan, is mentioned frequently in the early part of this book. It's not difficult to imagine him standing over author Allan Asherman's shoulder, warning him, "You air the studio's dirty laundry in this book, mister, and you're toast!")
That said, it's not without value. It offers a far more detailed telling of the film's writing process than either of the books cited above. The most useful chapter in this regard, "The Cuts," includes descriptions of material from the film's revised final draft script that was not included in its final cut. This material will be familiar to readers of Vonda N. McIntyre's excellent novelization, as virtually all of it appeared there. (Meyer later restored to the film the engine room scene where Kirk learns that Cadet Peter Preston is Scotty's nephew.)
The book also offers details on the creation of the special effects that is also more detailed than that in the Shatner or Meyer works. One will come away with an appreciation of how painstaking creating effects in the pre-CGI era was.
Unfortunately, that good is outweighed by Asherman's gushing tone about the film and its participants, both on- and off-screen, as well as his gossipy, cashier-stand tabloid tone regarding early speculations about the film (Everyone who ever appeared in an Original Series episode will appear in it! It'll be an eight-hour miniseries! Khan will be a villainous android! Gad.) and the unfounded notion that an alternate ending was created in which Mr. Spock survived the film's events. He also pads the brief volume with his own review of the film, which he later recycled into revised editions of his "Star Trek Compendium."
This book tells parts of the story of the film's production, but not the whole story. I recommend purchasing this book in conjunction with both Shatner's and Meyer's works in order to get the complete picture, so to speak.