This has been percolating since I saw the Bagdad performance of Trek in the Park
did one last performance of their fun theatrical version of the Star Trek
episode "Space Seed" a few weeks ago, on stage that time in the Bagdad Theater and Pub, and the theater followed that with a screening of the film inspired by the episode, the still-fantastic The Wrath of Khan
. I sat in the far back left of the main level, below the balcony. Still a good-enough view of the play and the film (what I could stay and watch; I left when the Enterprise
I sat near people discussing Star Trek
, and treating a certain something like a big revelation. In Khan
, Khan recognizes Chekov, though Walter Koenig was not in "Space Seed." (Koening as Chekov joined the cast in the second season. The "official" story was that Gene Roddenberry was responding to a Russian science fiction fan asking why several other nationalities except Russians were on the ship, but the story in William Shatner and Chris Kreski's Star Trek Memories
is that it was a response to the popularity of The Monkees
. Remember, Chekov looks like Davy Jones!) It's a well-known discrepancy; the filmmakers just decided to live with it, justifying it by deciding we can say Chekov served elsewhere on the ship when Khan tried to take it over
The people I was listening to seemed to be going "Ah-HAA! Gotcha! That couldn't have happened!" They seemed rather self-satisfied at the catch. Heck, they even seemed to think They tried to pull one over on us, but we caught 'em!
To which I say:
Why not instead have fun with it?
Justify it. Come up with an in-universe explanation. The Khan
filmmakers did, and it was an easy-to-create justification. They also knew that the majority of Khan
's likely viewers would not have seen "Space Seed" and not be bothered by the discrepancy. It wouldn't be an issue.
Me, I try to be amused by continuity errors. Like in Robinson Crusoe
where Crusoe strips naked, swims to and climbs onboard a wrecked ship, and then starts filling his pockets. As Stephen King said, "Such literary invention knows no bounds." As I've said, "He'd only have pockets in that circumstance if he were REALLY fat," but then I can be an awful person.
True, such explanations can get way too complicated. I remember being annoyed at the early '90s book The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers
by Phil Farrand, a book of Star Trek: TNG
trivia. One section I found almost unreadable was "The Creator Is Always Right," where he overexplained truly niggling mistakes. Picard mixing up the Tarelians and the Talarians? Here, have an insanely complicated Rube Goldberg-y explanation for two syllables getting switched. Riker turns left when the computer tells him to turn right? DIRECTIONS ARE DIFFERENT FOUR HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW, MAN. Farrand at other moments came up with simpler, and MUCH MORE INTERESTING, explanations for things that weren't quite explained on the show, that added depth and cause those nice moments of "Oh! That would make sense!," but his overdoing it was one of the several problems I had with that book. Many other authors have managed much more interesting justifications and explanations; it's part of their job. Like Douglas Adams figuring out what was really
going on with the petunias. (Writing that just made me smile.)
smiles aside, I wondered if that group at the Trek
event were getting much enjoyment out of that catch. I wonder how they'd would react to the biggest movie continuity error I can think of right off: at the very freakin' start of Citizen Kane
, NO ONE HEARS KANE SAY "ROSEBUD." I've read the script; it specifically states
that the nurse who enters Kane's room didn't hear him. Later when the reporter Thompson interviews one of Kane's butler's, that butler recounts overhearing it, but Thompson had already heard of "Rosebud" from someone else. But who?. Supposedly someone once cornered Orson Welles and asked him about that, and Welles said something like "Never mention that to anybody!" Though I suspect if he said that, he said it with a smile. I'm guessing he was amused by it. Because, guess what? THE FILM DOESN'T FALL APART. We can live with the error. Getting hung up on the error would impede our progress through the story. It would, in that case, in fact be less
of a story if there'd been more of an explanation of that detail. Charles Foster Kane has rudimentary bugs in his estate, like a mid-century Nixon? Not as interesting. Just writing that seems like a distraction. I'd say the people I sat near were letting it be a distraction. And not an interesting one.
P.S. I know the tone of this might be "That group of people should've reacted the way I reacted," but right now I don't mind possibly being a little unfair.