In The Wrath of Khan, Khan wears a broken Starfleet insignia around his neck:

enter image description here

At some point, I convinced myself that he snatched it from one of the Reliant crew members, given that its style was contemporary for the time, and given that

"Admiral Kirk never bothered to check on our progress"

suggesting that they hadn't had much contact with Starfleet since their relocation to Ceti Alpha V. For comparison, here is what the insignia looked like at the time Khan was exiled — basically a patch embroidered into the garment:

enter image description here

However, I decided to check when we first see Khan sporting the insignia in Wrath, and he is in fact already wearing it on Ceti Alpha V:

enter image description here

The question is:

Who did Khan get this insignia from?

  • 1
    Was the hood ornament of the Reliant.
    – Lexible
    Feb 7, 2018 at 17:23

2 Answers 2


This is a matter of some fan debate, with no clear explanation in or out of universe. Out of universe, it is generally recognized as a continuity error.

Firing up the fan rationalization machine, we have that it was a keepsake belonging to Marla McGivers, either taken from her personal effects on the Enterprise, or constructed from scrap metal as a gift from Khan. In either case, its resemblance to the uniform belt buckle adopted well after Khan was marooned was purely coincidental.

  • 1
    Not excessively coincidental, IMO; it doesn't look that different from the ToS era insignia. Oct 23, 2015 at 21:05
  • I would favor the idea that it was Marla's, and that it was the remnant of an object derived from something which later became the model for the uniform buckle. Still coincidental, but it covers why the resemblance is so precise.
    – Politank-Z
    Oct 23, 2015 at 21:09
  • @HarryJohnston : The action icon itself is no different from the TOS era, but the material is --- to my knowledge, we never saw a metallic Starfleet insignia in TOS.
    – Praxis
    Oct 27, 2015 at 21:27
  • 1
    Yes, but "let's make it out of metal" isn't exactly a stroke of genius. Khan deciding to make a gift for Marla out of metal and Starfleet deciding to make their new belt buckles out of metal may be a coincidence, but if so it is not a far-fetched one. Oct 27, 2015 at 23:23

To say that the insignia belonged to Marla is problematic. Marla Mcgivers wore an engineering insignia, as did Kahn on the uniform when they were exiled.

Marla McGivers

However, as an historian and artist, she did work in bronze sculptures. It could have been a gift to Kahn, the broken circle representing the broken promise of the Federation to check in on them. Rather than a 'bear claw' or teeth trophy it would be a constant reminder of those who betrayed him and his vow to reap vengeance on those who wore the command emblem.

  • 1
    with a bit of supporting evidence for her sculpting work, that's a heck of a rationalization. Especially when you look closer and see the detailed band and clasp in the shape of a flower. Definitely attaches it to Marla on some level
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 7, 2018 at 17:05

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