The events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan are legendary. The way Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) dueled Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán) is considered by many to be the best action ever produced in the franchise.
Spock’s role was also significant – as he was serving as a member of the crew and as an instructor to the trainees aboard the Enterprise when the emergency struck. Thanks to Mr. Spock’s (Leonard Nimoy) attorney and Dr. McCoy was eventually able to defeat Kirk Khan – at a significant cost.
The roles of the supporting characters were also important. Saavik (Kirstie Alley) appeared to be taking the mantle as the “next generation” of Starfleet leaders. At the same time, Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Scotty (James Doohan) stayed at their posts to support the crew and ship during battles.
Steal the Enterprise
All served admirably. But some fans have mentioned that things might have been different if two characters had been swapped – Sulu (George Takei) and Chekov (Walter Koenig). Accordingly a Reddit opinion of a Trek fanif Sulu had been assigned to the USS Reliant instead of Chekov, the story would have ended very differently.
“On Reliant, Sulu would certainly have made first officer, even more so than Chekov did his junior,” the fan wrote to get Reliant.”
“‘Star Trek’ would have been better if Sulu took Chekov’s place on Reliant,” wrote the fan the Enterprise, then another ship of the line.”
The Infamous Treksperts
Opinions about Sulu and Chekov held by this Reddit user are shared by the voices that create the Inglorious Treksperts podcast. in one last episode of their showTrekspert Ashley Edward Miller asked if Chekov was a character who needed to be with the rest of Kirk’s crew.
“I mean…do we need Chekov?” Miller mused during an episode examining Star Trek III.
“Let me tell you this,” Miller said. “If you’re going to leave someone behind, isn’t it cooler to bring Uhura and leave Chekov?”
The Treksperts have gone into detail about Chekov’s value to the Enterprise a few times, including when he was during the famous “Wormhole Scene‘ in Star Trek: The Movie.
A scene, those from the final edit of Wrath of Khan‘ would have made Sulu’s presence aboard the Enterprise seem a bit silly. Originally, Sulu was to be promoted to the rank of Captain, and his new ship was the USS Excelsior. Had they left the scene in the film, it would have meant that there would have been four captains aboard the Enterprise – Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and Scotty.
Had Sulu been promoted to captain as planned, the Stealing the Enterprise scene would have been very different. Instead of Captain Styles (James Sikking) chased Kirk out of spacedock, it would have been his old ally Sulu.
As mentioned in Star Trek III, Mr. Scott was promoted to Captain of Engineering aboard the Excelsior. As most fans know, Sulu finally got his chance for the center slot in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Sulu played an important role in this film and returned as the captain of the Excelsior in the “Voyager” episode: “flashback.”
In the original villain encounter, neither Sulu nor Chekov faced Khan. In the classic TOS episode “space seed,“Takei didn’t show up and Koenig wasn’t in the cast yet. Fans have been pointing this out for years Chekov did not meet Khan in “Space Seed”, and it was assumed that Chekov was somewhere on board the Enterprise and Khan met him. That scene just wasn’t in the main story. It’s safe to say that Sulu could have met Khan during Space Seed as well.
READ MORE: Star Trek: Discovery Explains Why Harry Kim Was Never Promoted
https://heavy.com/entertainment/star-trek/sulu-instead-of-chekov-on-khan/ What if Sulu scored Khan instead of Chekov? A Wrath of Khan fan debate