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Space Seed (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Space Seed"
TOS, Episode 1x24
Production number: 6149-24
First aired: 16 February 1967
Remastered version aired: 18 November 2006
25th of 80 produced in TOS
22nd of 80 released in TOS
11th of 80 released in TOS Remastered
22nd of 728 released in all
Khan Noonien Singh, 2267
Teleplay By
Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber

Story By
Carey Wilber

Directed By
Marc Daniels
3141.9 (2267)
  Arc: Khan Noonien Singh (1 of 2)
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The Enterprise discovers an ancient spaceship carrying Augments from 1996 Earth, including their leader, Khan Noonien Singh.



In 2267, the SS Botany Bay, a DY-100 class starship, is discovered drifting in space by the USS Enterprise. Faint heart beats are detected, without any sign of respiration.

Act OneEdit

Spock is unable to identify the vessel. Captain Kirk, Scotty, historian Lieutenant Marla McGivers, and Doctor McCoy board the ship to investigate the life readings while Spock commands the Enterprise. Because of the fragmentary historical records on the era, the Enterprise crew mistake the ship's crew for refugees from the Eugenics Wars. Scotty takes note of the life support systems coming back on.

On board the Botany Bay, Scotty confirms that the vessel is Terran in origin. Lt. McGivers says that the ship is a sleeper ship, designed for long periods of interplanetary travel. One of the life units is then activated, and it is suspected that the man in this unit is the leader. Scotty notes the various ethnicities of the surviving crew of the vessel, still in suspended animation. The man asks how long he had been on the vessel; Kirk estimates the time at two centuries.

Act TwoEdit

Kirk orders McCoy and the unidentified man to sickbay on the Enterprise. McCoy is amazed at the physical and recuperative power of the man.

Scotty notes that twelve of the life units had failed, leaving 72 alive from the 1990s. Spock can find no record in the vessel. Kirk suspects that since Botany Bay was an Australian penal colony, this might have been a way to deport criminals. Spock refutes this, having no other explanation of his own. Spock also notes the extremely low probability that a vessel of this type could have survived for so long, and managed to leave Earth's solar system. Kirk orders the Botany Bay to be put under tow, and to set course to Starbase 12.

In sickbay, Kirk comes to speak to the man. McCoy notes his superior bodily strength and efficiency of his lungs, hinting at his Augment origin. Lt. McGivers arrives, while Kirk chides her on her performance on the landing party.

The man then awakes from his slumber and stretches, and notes a scalpel on the wall. He takes it, and moves back to his bed, feigning sleep. McCoy arrives to check his vital signs, and the man reaches towards McCoy's throat, threatening him with the scalpel. McCoy sarcastically, and in an admirable display of calm, says that if the man wished to kill him, it would be best if he would cut the carotid artery, just under the left ear. The man says he admires such bravery, and lets McCoy take back the scalpel. The man demands to speak to the captain of the vessel, and McCoy calls Kirk, saying he is a man with "many questions."

Khan wearing Starfleet uniform

Khan aboard the Enterprise

Kirk arrives, identifies himself as the captain, and asks the man his name. The man avoids the question, and asks what the ship's heading is. Kirk answers that it is Starbase 12, a planet in the Gamma 400 star system, the command base in that sector. The man identifies himself simply as "Khan." Kirk attempts to question Khan further, but he declines to elaborate on his history, acting fatigued. He says that he was once an engineer of sorts, and would like to study the ship's technical manuals. Kirk and McCoy then show him how to use the computers to access such information.

However, the individuals are all genetically-engineered "super-Humans" and their leader is Khan Noonien Singh, one of the worst tyrants ever seen on Earth.

Act ThreeEdit

Khan seizes control of the Enterprise after coercing McGivers to help him. With McGivers help, Khan beams over his fellow supermen from the Botany Bay and together, they cut off the life support on the bridge until Kirk decides to cooperate.

Act FourEdit

The bridge crew suffocates to the point of passing out. When they awaken, they are being held at phaserpoint by Khan's men in the briefing room while Khan holds Captain Kirk captive in Dr. McCoy's decompression chamber, and the rest of the bridge crew in the briefing room. Khan threatens to kill the captain if Kirk's crew doesn't join with him.

McGivers comes to Kirk's aid by knocking out the guard watching him. Spock floods the ship with knockout gas, but Khan is able to avoid the gas by escaping to engineering and cutting it off, rigging the ship to blow up. Kirk and Khan come to blows in engineering, with Kirk eventually defeating the "super-Human" by knocking him out with a club and saving the Enterprise from destruction. Kirk drops all charges against Khan and his people, and gives them the option of settling on the uninhabited world of Ceti Alpha V, an offer which Khan accepts. McGivers is given the option of a court martial for treason or going with them; she chooses to go with Khan.

As soon as Khan and his people leave, Kirk and Spock express an interest in returning to Ceti Alpha V in a hundred years to learn what crop will sprout from the seed they planted, unaware of their eventual re-encounter with the genetically superior tyrant fifteen years later.

Log EntriesEdit

  • "Captain's log, stardate 3141.9. A full hour has elapsed since interception of the strange vessel. Our presence alongside is still being completely ignored. Although our sensors continue to show signs of equipment and life aboard, there's been no indication of danger to us."
  • "Captain's log, supplemental. Alongside the SS Botany Bay for ten hours now, a boarding party of engineering and medical specialists are now completing their examination of the mysterious vessel. Attempts to revive other sleepers await our success or failure with the casualty already beamed over. Dr. McCoy is frankly amazed at his physical and recuperative power."
  • "Stardate 3142.8. They have my ship, discarding their own worthless vessel. Only moments of air left on the bridge now. Commendations recommended for Lieutenant Uhura, Technicians First Class Thule and Harrison... Lieutenant Spinelli... and, of course, Mr. Spock. I take full responsibility... I take full..."
  • "Captain's log, stardate 3143.3. Control of the Enterprise has been regained. I wish my next decisions were no more difficult. Khan and his people, what a waste to put them in a reorientation center... and what do I do about McGivers?"

Memorable QuotesEdit

"I fail to understand why it always gives you pleasure to see me proven wrong."
"An emotional Earth weakness of mine."

- Spock and Kirk, as the Enterprise encounters the Botany Bay

"Your attempt to improve the race through selective breeding."
"Oh, now wait a minute. Not 'our' attempt, Mr. Spock. A group of ambitious scientists'. I'm sure you know the type. Devoted to logic, completely unemotional..."

- Spock and McCoy, on the Eugenics Wars

"I signed aboard this ship to practice medicine, not to have my atoms scattered back and forth across space by this gadget."

- McCoy, before beaming over to the Botany Bay

"Insufficient facts always invites danger, captain."

- Spock, on the mystery surrounding the Botany Bay crew

"Well either choke me or cut my throat! Make up your mind!"

- McCoy, as Khan chokes him with a scalpel in hand

"Where am I?"
"You're in ..." (Khan squeezes McCoy's neck) "You're in bed, holding a knife at your doctor's throat."

- Khan and McCoy, in sickbay

"Superior ability breeds superior ambition."

- Spock

"Would you reveal to war-weary populations that some eighty Napoleons might still be alive?"

- Spock, on the potential threat of the passengers of the Botany Bay

"A beautiful woman. My name is Khan. Please sit and entertain me."

- Khan, meeting McGivers for the first time

"But I caution you. Such men dare take what they want."

- Khan, before kissing McGivers

"Tyranny, sir? Or an attempt to unify humanity?"
"Unify, sir? Like a team of animals under one whip?"

- Khan and Spock, on the reign of the dictators during the Eugenics Wars

"You have a tendency to express ideas in military terms, Mister Khan. This is a social occasion."
"It has been said that social occasions are only warfare concealed."

- Kirk and Khan

"You fled. Why? Were you afraid?"
"I've never been afraid."
"But you left at the very instant that man needed courage."
"We offered the world order!"

- Kirk and Khan

"Go or stay, but do it because it is what you wish to do."

- Khan, to McGivers

"He was the best of the tyrants and the most dangerous."

- Kirk on Khan, during the Eugenics War

"We can be against him and admire him all at the same time."

- Kirk and Spock, on Khan

"The trip is over. The battle begins again. Only this time it's not a world we win. It's a universe."

- Khan, greeting his revived followers

"Your air should be getting quite thin by now. Will you surrender the bridge?"
"Academic, Captain. Refuse and every person on the bridge will suffocate."

- Khan and Kirk

"Nothing ever changes, except man. Your technical accomplishments? Improve a mechanical device and you may double productivity but improve man and you gain a thousand fold. I am such a man."

- Khan, to his hostages

"My vessel was useless. I need you and yours to select a colony planet, one with a population willing to be led by us."
"To be conquered by you... a starship would make that most simple, wouldn't it?"

- Khan, on his intentions for the Enterprise and McCoy retorting

"Each of you in turn will go in there! Die while the others watch!"

- Khan, to his hostages

"It does not matter, the captain is dead. Take Mr. Spock next."

- Khan

"If I understood your manuals, that's an overload in progress. Your ship flares up like an exploding sun within MINUTES!"

- Khan, setting the Enterprise's engines to overload

"I have five times your strength. You're no match for me!"

- Khan, shortly before being incapacitated by Kirk

"Those men went on to tame a continent, Mister Khan. Can you tame a world?"

- Kirk, before exiling Khan to Ceti Alpha V

"I will take her. And I've gotten something else I wanted. A world to win, an empire to build."

- Khan's last words at the hearing

"It is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven."

- Kirk to Scott, quoting John Milton's Paradise Lost

"It would be interesting, captain, to return to that world in a hundred years and to learn what crop has sprung from the seed you planted today."

- Spock, unaware that he and Kirk will encounter Khan again in fifteen years

Background InformationEdit

Story Edit

Script Edit

  • In writer Carey Wilber's original treatment, the Khan character is a Nordic superman named Harold Erricsen. This evolved in the first draft, where the character first introduces himself as John Ericssen, but is later revealed to be Ragnar Thorwald, who was involved in "the First World Tyranny". Thorwald is more brutal in this version of the story, where he dispatches the guard outside his quarters with a phaser. (Star Trek Magazine issue 120, The Star Trek Compendium, pp. 57-58)
  • Wilber used the 18th century British custom of shipping out the undesirables as a parallel for his concept of "seed ships", used to take unwanted criminals out to space from the overpopulated Earth (hence the name Botany Bay). Is his original treatment, the Botany Bay left Earth in 2096, with 100 criminals (both men and women) and a team of a few volunteering lawmen aboard. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 57)
  • James Blish uses the name Sibahl Khan Noonien in his adaptation of the episode for Bantam Books' Star Trek 2.
  • According to, an earlier version of the script had the SS Botany Bay as a CZ-100 class ship located by the USS Enterprise in the Coalsack.
  • There are scenes in the Second Revised Final Draft, dated 13 December 1966, that were either unfilmed, or not aired:
    • Lieutenant Marla McGivers has a scene with Yeoman Baker in which Baker informs her that Lieutenant Hanson wants to go to a ship's dance with her. McGivers tells her to tell Hanson to get lost, that she is waiting for a man who will "knock down my door and carry me to where he wants me."
    • This Yeoman Baker then has a couple lines of dialog as the court recorder at Khan's trial. According to Bjo Trimble's Star Trek Concordance, Barbara Baldavin's name appeared on Desilu call sheets as playing Baker.
  • A line of Kirk at the end of the episode was scripted but cut from the filmed episode, saying he hopes Khan and his followers will not come looking after them. However, James Blish includes this as the last line of his write-up of the episode in Star Trek 2. [1]

Cast Edit

  • George Takei (Sulu) does not appear in this episode. Neither does Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov), although Khan remembered him years later. There are several non-canon explanations for this, all pointing to some off-screen contact between the two characters.
  • The script featured a female character named Baker, who was a friend of Marla McGivers. Her scene was filmed, and Baker was played by Barbara Baldavin, who previously appeared as Angela Martine in "Balance of Terror" and "Shore Leave", but it ended up as a deleted scene. Several sources still claim Baldavin as appearing in this episode as "Baker". [2]
  • John Arndt (Fields) was a regular extra; he also played unnamed crewmen in "Miri" and "Dagger of the Mind". When Arndt appeared in "Balance of Terror", his character was named Fields. His part seems to have been edited out of this episode.
  • This is the only appearance by John Winston as Kyle in which he has no dialog.
  • The Augment hypoed by McGivers in sickbay was previously seen as a member of the Alpha 177 science team in "The Enemy Within"; he is later seen as a Klingon in the final planet scene in Kor's office in "Errand of Mercy" and as another Klingon in "Day of the Dove". The identity of this extra is not known.

Costumes Edit

  • At the banquet, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty are the only officers wearing dress uniforms.
  • This is the only episode in which Scotty wears his dress uniform without his ceremonial tartan.
  • Lieutenant McGivers wears no braid on the sleeves of her uniform.
  • Khan goes through a record five changes of costume for a male cast member of the original series: He is draped in gold mesh when he is brought back to consciousness; he is then in a short-sleeved sickbay tunic while recuperating; during his scene with McGivers in her quarters and while at dinner, he is seen in a jacket with oval patterns; while consulting with Kirk in his quarters, he is in an Enterprise engineering tunic; and finally, when he returns to the Botany Bay, he wears the red jumpsuit of his fellow exiles.

Sets and Props Edit

  • Although only one hallway of the Botany Bay is seen in detail, the design crew took the time and effort to build the beginnings of several other corridors with their own life support canisters, despite their only being seen for a few seconds.
  • In this episode, "The Menagerie, Part I", and "The Menagerie, Part II", we see the other end of the briefing room set – a wall with a viewing screen was added in. Usually the room is only seen from the end nearest to the door. However, the rotating viewer, usually seen on the top of the table, is missing here.
  • One of the instruments on the back wall of the Botany Bay eventually found its way to the transporter room, as a scanner (with an added viewer that was similar to the one on Spock's science station) in the second season.
  • The unique engineering "clubs," one of which Kirk used to subdue Khan during their fight, were never used or even seen in another episode. Nor is the collection of ancient medical instruments that adorns the wall of sick bay. The mirror that figures during McGivers' hairdo scene, however, is seen again in "The Deadly Years".
  • The cryogenic chambers from the Botany Bay were recycled and built into the sickbay set from season 2. Also, one of them served as the decompression chamber in "The Lights of Zetar".
  • William Shatner's phaser is accidentally knocked off his belt when he smashes the glass to free the reviving Khan aboard the S.S. Botany Bay. The phaser can be seen falling to the floor (when viewed in slow motion) as Shatner uses the flashlight (that Scotty had been carrying in his right hand) on the window. Scotty can be seen grabbing the flashlight off the transporter console just before they beam over.

Effects Edit

Production Edit

  • Most of the music used in this episode is taken from "Charlie X", composed by Fred Steiner. Some of Alexander Courage's cues from "The Cage" can also be heard, most notably the "Talosian illusion" theme.
  • There is a fairly egregious continuity error in this episode. In the transporter room, Scotty (wearing a red shirt) and Kyle (wearing blue) are manning the controls at the beginning of the scene. Scotty leaves to join Kirk, McCoy and McGivers on the transporter pad, presumably leaving Kyle to operate the controls. Yet, we see the red-sleeved arm of Scotty activating the transporter.
  • One questionable take from this episode occurs when the camera pans over the mostly unconscious bridge crew as Kirk records his captain's log with commendations for the fallen crew. There are seven visible people on the bridge, but seem to be eight in total (with the navigator, later seen in Khan's prisoner's row but not in the bridge sequence). From the beginning of the pan it shows Spock, Uhura, Brent (played by Frank da Vinci), Leslie (played by Eddie Paskey), a red-shirted extra (played by Ron Veto), Spinelli and then Kirk. Kirk reads off the names of only five crew members however: Uhura, Thule, Harrison, Spinelli and Spock. It seems that one reference is intended to be to the Eddie Paskey character, but that is unlikely since Kirk mentioned both with the rank "technician first class" and the Leslie uniform has lieutenant stripes. While it is odd that Leslie (and the unnamed-in-this episode navigator who is sometimes referred to as Hadley) was skipped in the mentions, it leads to the conclusion that the red-shirted man was Harrison (or possibly Thule, who remains unseen, unless it was meant to refer to blue-shirted Brent).
  • The preview trailer for this episode has the stardate as 3142.3.

Production TimelineEdit

Remastered InformationEdit

  • "Space Seed" was the eleventh episode of the remastered version of The Original Series to air. It premiered in syndication the weekend of 18 November 2006. For the revamped episode, a highly detailed model of the Botany Bay was created, aged and weathered appropriately.
The next remastered episode to air was "The Menagerie, Part I".

Video and DVD ReleasesEdit

This release included "The Changeling" and was originally unrated, as it was released prior to the Video Recordings Act 1984. After 1985, it was given a rating of PG.

Links and ReferencesEdit


Guest StarsEdit


Uncredited Co-StarsEdit



1992; 1996; 2018; Alexander the Great; anesthesia gas; Australia; "Bones"; Botany Bay; Botany Bay, SS; CQ; Ceti Alpha V; Ceti Alpha system; carotid artery; conquistadors; DY-100 class; DY-500; decompression chamber; Earth; Ericson, Leif; Eugenics Wars; European; Flavius; fleet admiral; Gamma 400 system; India; Latin; Ling; logic; McPherson; Milton, John; Morse code; Napoleon; Oriental; Paradise Lost; Richard; Rodriguez; Sikh; sleeper ship; Starbase 12; Starbase 12 planet; technical manual; Thule; transistor units; Vulcan neck pinch;

External linkEdit

Previous episode produced:
"A Taste of Armageddon"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1
Next episode produced:
"This Side of Paradise"
Previous episode aired:
"The Return of the Archons"
Next episode aired:
"A Taste of Armageddon"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Mirror, Mirror"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"The Menagerie, Part I"

de:Der schlafende Tiger es:Space Seed fr:Space Seed ja:TOS:宇宙の帝王 nl:Space Seed pl:Space Seed

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