12. Kirk And Khan Never Meet Face To Face—But It Wasn't Always This Way In The Script
Captain Kirk and Khan Noonien Singh never meet face-to-face in Star Trek II. Every interaction the two have takes place using a view screen or a communicator. During principal photography, William Shatner and Ricardo Montalbán had even less interaction, neither actor being available for the other to read lines off camera (probably due to the shooting schedules of TJ Hooker and Fantasy Island, which were both in active production in 1981).
In a 1994 interview, Ricardo Montalbán remarked, “I had to do my lines with the script girl, who, as you might imagine, sounded nothing like Bill [Shatner].” If you ever have the opportunity to hear the film’s raw production audio, it will only enhance your appreciation of Montalbán’s performance. He does everything you see in the finished film, while Mary Jane Ferguson, the script supervisor, blandly reads Kirk’s lines back to him.
Some sources even claim that Shatner and Montalbán never met on set at all, but this is not strictly true. Shatner and Montalbán appeared together in a series of promotional photographs taken on the Genesis Cave set, although Montalbán was not in costume for them.
In Meyer’s earliest version of the script, however, Kirk and Khan did meet in person and even had a sword fight (Kirk lost, but survived). For budgetary reasons, however, that sequence was dropped from the script during rewrites and was never replaced with a different meeting between the two characters.