40 years later, Star Trek will finally solve a classic Khan mystery

What happened on Ceti Alpha V after the Enterprise left?

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Khan is back! After several years of speculation and rumor, a prequel series all about the Star Trek villain's exile on Ceti Alpha V is finally happening. But the format might not be what fans expected. Here’s what to know about what to expect from the Wrath of Khan prequel series, and how it's poised to answer a burning Trekkie question four decades in the making.

On Star Trek Day 2022, Nicholas Meyer — director of The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country, and consulting producer on Discovery Season 1 — made a surprise announcement: The infamous Star Trek supervillain Khan Noonien Singh will finally get his own series. But it will happen in the form of a limited-run scripted podcast.

According to Paramount:

“The scripted podcast will examine what happened in the years after Captain Kirk left Khan on the untamed world of Ceti Alpha V and tells the story of Khan and his followers prior to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

What does this all mean? Let’s dive in.


Khan: Ceti Alpha V timeline, explained

In between the Star Trek episode “Space Seed,” and the return of Khan in The Wrath of Khan, 18 years pass. So in theory, the new Khan series will explore the time between 2267 and 2285. The large question the series will answer is: what exactly happened during that time?

But that question also leads to several other smaller questions fans have had for years. Such as:

  • When did Khan’s wife pass away?
  • Where did his younger followers come from?
  • Why didn’t Starfleet send another ship to check on Khan?
  • How could the Reliant have confused Ceti Alpha VI for Ceti Alpha V?
  • How did Khan get that sweet necklace? (Okay maybe this question doesn’t need to be answered.)

Nicholas Meyer onstage for “Star Trek Day,” announcing Star Trek: Khan.

Jesse Grant/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Star Trek: Khan, explained

According to Paramount, the series will be produced by Alex Kurtzman, Aaron Baiers, Trevor Roth, and Rod Roddenberry. However, sole writing credit seems to be going to Nicholas Meyer, the visionary behind The Wrath of Khan. Back when rumors of a Khan miniseries first started circulating in 2017, Meyer wrote to Inverse jokingly saying “I khannot possibly comment” on the existence of the concept, which pretty much confirmed it was in development. But now, what’s great is that it seems that Meyer will get to write what is basically a radio play entirely on his own.

As Star Trek producer Alex Kurtzman put it:

“Nick made the definitive ‘Trek’ movie when he made ‘Wrath,’ and we’ve all been standing in its shadow since. Forty years have offered him a lot of perspective on these extraordinary characters and the way they’ve impacted generations of fans. Now he’s come up with something as surprising, gripping and emotional as the original, and it’s a real honor to be able to let him tell the next chapter in this story exactly the way he wants to.”

Star Trek has never done this before. An in-canon scripted podcast is officially a new venture for the franchise. Although the official Trek podcast, The Pod Directive — hosted by Tawny Newsome and Paul F. Tompkins — has been around since 2020, a scripted fictional podcast is bold new territory for the final frontier.

Do we know the Star Trek: Khan release date and cast?

Khan in “Space Seed.”


So, when do we get to hear Khaaaaaan? Well, right now, there’s no release date. The Pod Directive will return in early 2023, but we’re just going to have to wait a little longer for Khan. There’s also no voice cast, yet. Ricardo Montalbán, who played Khan in “Space Seed” and The Wrath, passed away in 2009. Benedict Cumberbatch played the alternate Khan in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, but it feels unlikely he’d voice the character for this project.

At this point, we don’t know. But when it comes to Khan, Trek fans can wait. It’s already been 40 years. What’s a few more months?

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