Star Trek has been obsessed with remaking Wrath of Khan for decades, finally, it gets its best rehash in the form of Lower Decks’ season 4 finale.
WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 finale, “Old Friends, New Planets.”
- The season 4 finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks successfully rehashes Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, proving it should be the last attempt.
- Star Trek: Nemesis and the J.J. Abrams movies failed to capture what made Wrath of Khan great.
- The season 4 finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks pays homage to Wrath of Khan while putting a fresh spin on its elements, showing there are exciting stories to tell in Star Trek’s future.
After multiple failed attempts over the years, the season 4 finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks pulls off a pitch-perfect rehash of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which proves that it should be the last such attempt. Wrath of Khan is rightly regarded as the crowning achievement of the Star Trek: The Original Series movies, and many have tried to recapture its success without truly understanding what made it so great. With its focus on aging, regrets, and legacy, Star Trek: Picard season 3 had a good handle on the best thing about Khan, but had the good sense to tell a fitting story for the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew.
This was in sharp contrast to Star Trek: Nemesis, which played out as a hollow and toothless rehash of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Similarly, the J.J. Abrams movies squandered the goodwill toward its cast and fresh take on continuity with a fundamentally flawed Wrath of Khan remake. Star Trek Into Darkness was set much earlier in the life of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), but failed to make a virtue of this key change to the original movie’s themes. Finally, Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ season 4 finale remembers why Wrath of Khan is so great, and remixed the movie’s various elements into a suitably Lower Decks story.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Solved Nemesis & Into Darkness’ Wrath Of Khan Rehash Problems
Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan was a cold and unfeeling superman, and completely lacked Ricardo Montalban’s charisma. Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Khan were such great arch rivals because they were both charismatic men that believed their own hype. The difference was that Kirk valued the crew that he surrounded himself with, which Khan did not. Star Trek: Nemesis believed that Kirk and Khan were a dark mirror of each other, which is why it introduced Tom Hardy as Picard’s literal evil clone, Praetor Shinzon. By contrast, Robert Duncan McNeill’s Nick Locarno in Star Trek: Lower Decks is much more like Khan Noonien Singh; charismatic and egotistical.
Although Nick Locarno, like Khan in Star Trek 2, is able to marshal a crew of supporters, he will readily sacrifice them in pursuit of his own goals. Lt. JG Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) figured this out instantly, declaring that “this guy sucks!” Nick Locarno is, therefore, the perfect choice to be Khan to Mariner’s Captain Kirk. Like Nick, Mariner has always been someone who didn’t quite fit into Starfleet, but she still believes in the institution’s core values. Mariner believes in the bigger picture, Locarno is all about making a name for himself, making them perfect arch rivals in the Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 finale.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Needs To Be The Last Wrath Of Khan Rehash
Star Trek: Lower Decks contains so many elements from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that it’s extraordinary it doesn’t feel like an empty rehash. There’s a stolen Genesis device, a battle in a nebula, and the sacrifice of one of Mariner’s best friends. While Lt. JG D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) doesn’t sacrifice her life, she gives up her career in Starfleet to save Mariner from Locarno. Rather than just emptily rehash the big set pieces from Khan, “Old Friends, New Planets” stays true to the heart of Lower Decks.
The battle between Mariner and Locarno in “Old Friends, New Planets” is obviously a homage to Wrath of Khan, but it also puts a fresh spin of the movie’s main elements. This proves that there are so many new and exciting stories to tell in Star Trek‘s future. With the story of Khan Noonien Singh seemingly closed off in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Lower Decks has hopefully put a satisfying full stop on the franchise’s obsession with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.