Why does Chekov say that he remembers Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) if in the Star Trek TOS Chekov doesn’t appear in the episode “Space Seed?”

Also why is Chekov in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)?

Do I miss some chapter from Star Trek TOS that answers this?

  • 1
    As I recall there's no explanation given for this, but I haven't seen The Animated series and it's been a long time since I watched all of TOS. +1 for interest Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 16:29
  • 4
    Remember ... this is a reboot of Star Trek. Things are not going to be exactly the same. I mean, this time it was Kirk in the warp chamber getting fried and not Spock. You could ask the same question there. You can also assume that Chekov, while not in the episode, would have been somewhere on the ship ... he would have known about Khan. Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:31
  • Yes, because the Spock Paradox but about The wrath of khan? Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:33
  • 11
    I wasn't around in the 1800s, but if Napoleon showed up in front of me I might say that I "remembered" him, in the sense that I recognize that the man standing in front of me is the same man I had learned about previously. "I remember him" can be shorthand for "I remember hearing about him."
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 18:07
  • 1
    In an interview included as a DVD bonus feature, Walter Koenig jokes about his inclusion in the Khan film and his absence from the Khan episode of the original series. He seems to think that he was the only participant who noticed the problem before shooting began; he says that he considered bringing it up... for around five seconds. I took this quip to mean that he thought he might be absent from the film if anybody noticed the problem, although I'm not sure why that would be. I'm also not sure which DVD contained this interview; I think it may have been Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
    – Chaim
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 22:08

4 Answers 4


Out of Universe answer: Space Seed was supposed to be a bottle episode. As few of the non-regular cast, as well as as many of the regular cast were to be used as possible. Since the Enterprise was on a 5 year journey, the presumption was the "missing cast members were there (on board), just that only those few regulars that were shown were considered to be instrumental to that particular script.

In this case, only Kirk, McCoy, Spock, Scotty and Uhura were shown. "Oh My!" err, I mean Sulu was not. Checkov was not yet cast in the series. This all was to save money for the hiring of the Guest Star, Ricardo Montalban, who portrayed Khan.

In universe, this would not mean that all of the other crew wouldn't know what was happening, rather they just weren't instrumental, and therefor not shown. Chekov may have been assigned to some other part of the ship, and had not yet been assigned to the bridge crew. Checkov would still have known about Khan and his crew, as would Sulu and any other Enterprise crew that were not shown in the episode.

  • 17
    Chekov didn't not show up to save money; he didn't show up because he didn't exist as a character yet (he was created for season 2 and "Space Seed" is in season 1).
    – Micah
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:46
  • 1
    @Micah ... great point! Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 23:30
  • 9
    However, when Kirk mentions corbomite (fictional explosive) for the second time in TOS, Chekov nods and smiles, suggesting he was around for the first corbomite episode, just not on the bridge at the time. There are 430 people on the starship, and we see like 10 every week. It's possible he was assigned to some other part of the ship but was still aware of Khan.
    – user15319
    Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 14:52
  • 3
    I stand by the idea behind what I said, which was 'reinforced' by Barry Carter. We see the "heroes", the rest of the crew are background. Chekov may very well have been in the crew, just in the shuttle bay, or hydroponics, or whatever. Again, it's a five year voyage, out to where no one has gone before (or as the original said, no man...)
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 18:52
  • Wowsers! All this time and I misspelled Uhura and the catchphrase of George Takei and no one corrected me!
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 11:54

Not to compete with the above answer by CGCampbell, but just to add some further information, Memory Alpha has the following to say on the matter:

Khan's apparent recognition of Chekov and his remark "I never forget a face" are somewhat ironic, since Khan's appearance in TOS: "Space Seed" was in the first season and Chekov did not make his first appearance until Star Trek's second season. It is possible, however, that Chekov was on the Enterprise at the time and Khan had seen him off screen. In fact, as noted in the Special Edition DVD's text commentary, Walter Koenig often joked (at conventions and in interviews) that his character had made Khan wait overly long to use a bathroom on Khan's visit to the Enterprise and that was why Khan remembered his face so well.


This really doesn't present a problem at all. The Enterprise had a crew of over 400 people, the vast majority of whom we never see. Chekov was obviously a crew member, just not one of those precious few we get to see until his more prominent assignment (on the bridge) in seasons 2 & 3.


Also why is Chekov in "Star Trek Into Darkness"?

Star Trek into Darkness is in another timeline refered often as the Kelvinverse due to "Kelvin" (in this case the U.S.S. Kelvin) being a recurring name reference in Bad Robot works with Kelvin being a reference to JJ Abrams grandfather of the same name...

SPOCK: You are assuming that Nero knows how events are predicted to unfold. To the contrary, Nero's very presence has altered the flow of history, beginning with the attack on the USS Kelvin, culminating in the events of today, thereby creating an entire new chain of incidents that cannot be anticipated by either party.

UHURA: An alternate reality?

SPOCK: Precisely. Whatever our lives might have been, if the time continuum was disrupted, our destinies have changed.

The timeline was first created in 2009 Star Trek (the previous film) where in the future of the prime timeline, Ambassidor Spock fails Romulan from being destroyed by a nebula. A survivor with his crew named, Nero seeking revenge, uses "red matter" to create an articifical black hole and they and Ambassidor Spock time travel back in the time line (at different times), creating an alternate time line (possibly a branch off. Most Bad Robot shows that us time travel opperate this way and I am pretty sure Alex Kurtzman has been quoted saying the new timeline runs parallel to the prime, suggesting it is not "gone").

With that, the point (much like Fringe and possibly LOST) is that a new chain of events ensue and challanges what can change and what can stay the same looking at the alternate TOS characters. It's basically a look at identity through free will vs fate (or reciprcoity), when one has to consider a timeline being made from another...

So Chekov can be there, because the events of how the TOS characters come together are not the exact same.

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