As many know, the story of “Wrath of Khan” caught up with the abandoned villain Khan, who was left on the planet Ceti Alpha V after the events of the original series episode “Space Seed” (February 16, 1967). The planet has meanwhile suffered an environmental disaster, leaving Khan and his entourage stranded on a dying desert world. Upset that Kirk (William Shatner) never bothered to check on him, Khan steals a Federation starship using unusual brain-manipulating earworms to control Starfleet officers. He begins his revenge mission.
Revenge stories are good fodder for action movies, but Roddenberry didn’t want “Star Trek II” to be an action movie. like “Star Trek: The Movie” he would have preferred something more striking and based on sci-fi ideas. Roddenberry hated the final script for “Khan”, thinking the dialogue was cheesy. He was quoted as saying:
“I thought it was an exciting picture. […] However, I experienced many problems. I thought they were very lucky to have the actor to play Khan in Ricardo Montalbán as it wasn’t a well-written role. ‘I will chase you across the moons of Jupiter’ etc. If any actor had it, it would draw snickers from the audience. Montalbán saved their asses. Khan wasn’t written as an exciting character, he was pretty flimsy. “Khan in the TV episode was a much deeper and better character than the one in the Khan movie, but Montalbán pulled it off.”
Khan’s sentence was actually “I will chase him through the moons of Nibia, the ‘Antares vortex, and the flames of hell before I hand him over,” but it’s clear what Roddenberry means.