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I recently watched Star Trek season 1 episode 22, Space Seed, which is the first appearance of Khan Noonien Singh.

I didn't see Chekov anywhere in that episode, and I was waiting for him to show up and have some interaction with Khan. You can see from the clip of WOK below that Khan and Chekov clearly recognise each other immediately when they meet on Ceti Alpha VI:

I did some Googling and found out Chekov joined the crew just in time for the events of Space Seed, so he was definitely on the ship somewhere:

Chekov's first assignment, at the age of 22, was on the USS Enterprise under command of Captain James T. Kirk. He joined the crew sometime prior to the spring of 2267. (TOS: "Catspaw", "Who Mourns for Adonais?", "Space Seed", "I, Mudd"; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Is it ever explained anywhere how they recognize each other?

Did they just meet off camera somewhere or in some deleted scene perhaps?

And also, watch this scene because it's great.

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    Your video links have both gone dead. – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 0:07
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He never met him in the TOS tv series. Walter Koenig did not join the cast until the second season of TOS. So, as far as the cinematic/tv universe, it is a big, gaping plot hole.

In the expanded universe, we find out in the books that Chekov was an officer for the night watch aboard the Enterprise at the time of the Space Seed episode, having joined at some point between I, Mudd and Space Seed in the timeline, as you noted above. As such, he would be familiar with the events and probably met Khan and his crew "off camera", as far as the tv series goes.

In the books, we find out that during the time that Khan was on board, Chekov led a group of officers in resistance against him. This is referenced in the novelization for the Star Trek II movie, as well as in one or two other novels.

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    Also of interest: youtube.com/watch?v=APVUlNe2nPk and youtube.com/watch?v=bH1GPf9viPI – jamesdlin May 10 '15 at 20:59
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    It's not really a "big, gaping plot hole." The evidence that Chekov was on board the Enterprise at the time of Space Seed and the fact of Khan's genetically enhanced memory make up a perfectly reasonable explanation for their recognition of each other. – Ben Miller May 13 '15 at 13:30
  • That depends on how picky you are on Star Trek canon. Officially, Star Trek books are, for the most part, not official canon and therefore nothing that happens in them officially ever happened. There is nothing on-screen that can account for this discrepancy. It's only if you include the expanded universe (books, comics, etc) that this is explained. – BBlake May 13 '15 at 19:53
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    @BBlake There is also nothing on screen that clearly shows he was not on the Enterprise during that time. Khan's dialog in ST2 reveals that he was there, and there is nothing on screen that contradicts it. – Ben Miller May 18 '15 at 22:38
12

I read an interview with Walter Koenig many years ago and he talked about this. No he wasn't on the show in the first season when Space Seed was made. What happened was at the time Star Trek II was being filmed he felt that he did not have enough lines in the movie. So even though he knew that Chekov never met Khan before, he decided to just go along with it fearing he would be written out of the scene and have even less screen time if he had told them.

I found this reference:

"Though Khan recognizes Chekov immediately, the two never appear together onscreen in “Space Seed,” because Walter Koenig had not yet joined the cast. Meyer was aware of the continuity error but didn’t care about it. Supposedly Koenig picked up on the error right away, but didn’t speak a word of it lest they swap out his character for someone else."

  • Interesting stuff, but can you back it up in any way? Where did you see the interview, for instance... – Valorum May 11 '15 at 19:42
  • How would this work? Did Koenig write the script? – ThePopMachine May 12 '15 at 14:54
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    It's been so long I really do not remember where I read or saw it. But this site makes a small reference to it: "Though Khan recognizes Chekov immediately, the two never appear together onscreen in “Space Seed,” because Walter Koenig had not yet joined the cast. Meyer was aware of the continuity error but didn’t care about it. Supposedly Koenig picked up on the error right away, but didn’t speak a word of it lest they swap out his character for someone else." theviewscreen.com/star-trek-ii-the-wrath-of-khan – Mykewlname May 13 '15 at 18:30
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    It would be great if you integrated that into your answer. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 18 '15 at 0:15
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    Great find. Well done. – Valorum Jun 22 '15 at 16:08
9

Walter Koenig was at our Star Trek Convention several years ago. He told a funny story that explained how Khan had met Pavel Chekov.

Apparently, Chekov was in Engineering and was in the bathroom so long that Khan could barely hold himself together. When Chekov finally came out, Khan screamed at him to never get in his way again and said he would always remember his face.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • Funny and quite interesting. I'd love to see some kind of evidence to back this up as I'm sure he's been asked it more than once :-) – Valorum Jun 6 '15 at 7:19
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    @Valorum I don't know; have you never been asked the same thing so damn many times that you start making things up? "Why was my answer downvoted?" "Oh, we've been having a problem with cosmic rays flipping bits on the server." – Spencer Dec 1 '16 at 4:06
3

Chekov wasn't in the "cast" till season 2, but he was obviously a member of the Enterprise crew, the majority of which we never see (numbering over 400). Hardly a "gaping plot hole". The books aren't canon, no, and they don't have to be. All we know (from the exchange in WOT) is that Khan and Chekov obviously encountered each other at some point on the ship. That much is canon, and no more. And that's enough. No problem.

1

As state, Chekov (in reality) was not a member of the cast during the Khan episode "Space Seed." The lore clears this up, placing him on the night shift and having an off-screen encounter.

I remember seeing an interview years ago in which Walter Koenig (Chekov) explained he had read the script for "The Wrath of Khan" noticing his role and recalling that he wasn't a member of the cast in the season one episode featuring Khan. He stated that he remained silent regarding the plot-hole because he wanted a chance to play a captain. I believe this explanation came before his story of meeting Khan when he had "Montzuma's revenge."

Unfortunately, I was unable to find the video interview where he states he wanted to play a captain so bad he kept his mouth shut about the gaping plot hole. Regardless, the cited video is funnier and the lore explanation having Chekov as an unfeatured, non-bridge crew member on night shift during the events of the Khan episode makes sense as he would have been, at some time, promoted from within the Enterprise crew, leading to him being a featured cast member from season two on.

1

If you watch TOS in order of Stardate, the season 2 episode Catspaw, which first features Chekov, takes place as of Stardate 3018.2, and the season 1 episode Space Seed, in which he is not seen because he was not yet in cast, takes place as of Stardate 3141.9

Now most people "don't care about Stardate order as there was no order when it was being produced" but it does explain how Khan could recognise Chekov. And when you remember that there are slews of episodes that don't feature certain main cast members, it is reasonable.

So there's my answer, going purely off the TV series and not on books or comics or short stories.

  • This is the only persuasive answer of the bunch to me. The "they never listed all the things that didn't happen, so maybe something happened off screen" argument can be used to justify almost any plot hole or absurdity. – Sarah G Apr 21 '18 at 22:58
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Khan is shown on camera having access to the ships computer while convalescing in sickbay. This explains familiarity with marla and chekov (ships personell files) and how to overload the engines. You might want to retrict access there for non crewmembers jim!

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