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The Search for Spock is the third theatrical film release of the Star Trek franchise, premiering in 1984. The story was a direct sequel to TOS movie: The Wrath of Khan. The film was adapted as a novelization from Pocket Books and a comic book adaptation released by DC Comics. A young reader storybook was also issued by Pocket.


As the crew grieves for Mister Spock, the awesome Genesis Device, now controlled by the Federation, has transformed an inert nebula into a new planet teeming with life. But Genesis can also destroy existing worlds.
The creators of the device want it given freely to the galaxy. But Starfleet Command fears that it will become a force of evil. And the enemies of the Federation will not rest until they seize it—as their most powerful weapon in the battle to conquer the galaxy!


At Captain Spock's funeral, Rear Admiral James T. Kirk eulogizes his friend. Scotty's bagpipes play as Lieutenant junior grade Saavik codes the torpedo launcher to shoot Spock's coffin, a photon torpedo casing, into orbit of the Genesis Planet. Spock lands in a dense plant-filled jungle on the planet's first morning.

The opening of the film was created by adding stock footage from TOS movie: The Wrath of Khan. The comic version of the story adapted the scene on the planet, but no such recap was included in the novelization, which began with a narration of a later memorial service.

The Enterprise crew meets on the recreation deck for a wake for fallen colleagues organized by Doctor McCoy and Mr. Scott. With a large amount of alcohol available, the gathering is somber and depressed. Doctor McCoy has noticed an odd detachment in his mental state, and is only pretending to imbibe the drinks, even though he is quite disoriented without actually being drunk.

After toasts to Spock, Peter Preston and the lost scientists and cadets, Saavik and David Marcus have a private conversation, and McCoy becomes more disoriented, climbing on the table to finish his toast, proclaiming that "grief is not logical". Admiral Kirk talks him down off the table. Hikaru Sulu takes a moment to thank David Marcus for resuscitating him following the battle with Khan Noonien Singh, but Marcus is nearly too despondent to notice the officer's genuine gratitude, and Sulu makes an attempt to counsel Marcus on the difficulties of dealing with the loss of the Genesis Project. Saavik and David finish their conversation, with Saavik revealing that she does not partake of alcohol for fear of uncovering the tendencies of her Romulan heritage.

Kirk and Carol Marcus share a word of the lost scientists, and Saavik muses on her decision to set the course for Spock's coffin to soft land on a wavefront of energy from the Genesis effect, against her orders that the coffin should burn up in the atmosphere of the Genesis Planet.

After making a clumsy attempt to avoid an offer of company from Admiral Kirk, David and Saavik leave the gathering and share an intimate moment in quarters. David happens to notice Saavik's family mark, and discusses the uncomfortable topic of her parentage, and the experimental nature of the intimacy they were experiencing, between a Human and half-Romulan.

Kirk dismisses the cadets attending the wake and orders the last attendee, Mr. Scott, to return to his quarters, and wakes McCoy. A drowsy McCoy again frustrates Kirk by quoting Spock, commenting on the foolishness of imbibing poison for recreational purposes.

The next morning, Dr. Christine Chapel checks on McCoy, who remains passed out and slightly feverish. McCoy recognizes her and comments "Vulcans do not love", angering her with a remembrance of her infatuation with Spock years earlier. Meanwhile, Saavik wakes next to David, after a vivid dream where she heard Spock's voice calling to her.

Aboard a hired freighter, the Merchantman, a ship's crew wonders about their captain's intentions and a mysterious cargo, and the numerous course changes they are making near the border of Klingon space.

The Enterprise catches up with the USS Grissom, and Captain J.T. Esteban comes aboard to debrief David and Carol Marcus on the state of the Genesis Project. David is infuriated at the secrecy the Federation intends to apply to what the public sees as a dangerous new weapon, and Carol is adamant in her refusal to continue participating in the research, and declines an offer to travel aboard Grissom and study the Genesis Planet.

The opening of the novelization was not featured in the film or comic adaptation.
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Movie characters[]

Pavel ChekovMiguel DarbyJ.T. EstebanFosterScott HeisenbergGerrold KilendarJames T. KirkKnorrKrugeMaltzDavid MarcusHans MarkheimLeonard McCoyHarry MorrowHarry PriceRegnorSaavikSarekMontgomery ScottS'lithSpockLawrence StylesHikaru SuluT'LarTahglioTorgNyota UhuraValkrisWarrigulGenesis wormsunnamed Starfleet personnelunnamed USS Excelsior personnelunnamed USS Grissom personnelunnamed Klingonsunnamed Humansunnamed aliens
Referenced only
David Andrew McCoySkonSolkar

Novelization characters[]

Christine ChapelPavel ChekovJ.T. EstebanFarrendahlFosterFredR. GrenniScott HeisenbergKendraJames T. KirkKrugeAquila MadisonMaltzCarol MarcusDavid MarcusLeonard McCoyHarry MorrowTerrence LaurierHarry PriceSaavikSarekMontgomery ScottSpockStarDannan StuartLawrence StylesHikaru SuluT'LarTorgTranNyota UhuraValkrisWarrigulunnamed Merchantman personnel
Referenced only
Mandala FlynnJedda Adzhin-DallKiosanVance MadisonDelwin MarchDavid Andrew McCoyEleanora McCoyNgarakkaniPeter PrestonSkonSolkarZinaida Chitirih-Ra-Payjh

Comic adaptation characters[]

Pavel ChekovJ.T. EstebanJames T. KirkKnorrKrugeMaltzDavid MarcusLeonard McCoyHarry MorrowHarry PriceSaavikSarekMontgomery ScottS'lithSpockLawrence StylesHikaru SuluT'LarTorgNyota UhuraValkrisWarrigul
Referenced only
David Andrew McCoySkonSolkar

Starships and vehicles[]

IKS B'rel (B'rel-class bird-of-prey) • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class refit heavy cruiser) • USS Excelsior (Excelsior-class) • USS Grissom (Oberth-class) • Merchantmanorbital shuttle
Referenced only
USS Federation (Federation-class) • USS FirenzeUSS Hermes (Hermes-class) • USS Magellanic Clouds (Federation galaxy ship) • USS Ranger (Enterprise-subclass Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • USS Saladin (Saladin-class)


Shipboard locations[]

IKS B'rel
bridgecrew areatransporter room
USS Enterprise
bridgecorridorengineeringquarters (McCoy's, Spock's) • recreation decksickbaytorpedo baytransporter room
USS Excelsior
bridgeengineeringquarters (Styles's) • turbolift
USS Grissom
bridgenavigationquarters (Valkris's) • quarters (Tran's)

Planetary locations[]

Mount Seleya
San Francisco (Kirk's apartmentStarfleet HeadquartersOld City Station)

Stations and outposts[]

Earth SpacedockSpacelab Regula I

Planet and planetoids[]

EarthGenesis PlanetRegulaVulcan
Referenced only
Amenhotep IX

Stars and systems[]

MutaraSol systemVulcan system
Referenced only
Amenhotep system

Stellar regions and locations[]

Andromeda GalaxyMutara sectorOrganian spacesector 001Vulcan sector

Races and cultures[]


States and organizations[]

Klingon Defense Force/Klingon Imperial FleetKlingon EmpireStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Romulan Star Empire

Science and classification[]

Technology and weapons[]

antimatter inducercloaking devicecomputerd'k tahgdaggerdata recordGenesis Devicelava lampmedical tricorderphasershuttlestarshiptranswarp computertranswarp drivetricorderturbolifttype 2 phaserwarp drive



Materials and substances[]

Food and beverages[]
Altair waterArcanis LagerKentucky bourbon


Drugs and treatments[]

Occupations and titles[]

admiralcadetcaptainchief engineerchief medical officercommandercommanding officercommander of Starfleetcommunications officerduelistfirst officerfleet admirallieutenantlieutenant junior gradelordrankrear admiralscience officersecond officersecurity

Other references[]

auto-destructbeverageblue alertdartsdrugenergyfoodFrench languagegamegenetic hybridgovernment • "The Great Experiment"• The Hunting of the SnarkkatraKlingoneselifeformmetalparlor gameplanetkotegaeshikellicammattermedicineProject Genesisprototyperaces and culturessectorshakedown cruisesnarkspacestarstar systemtechnologytitleVulcan gongVulcan languageWarrigulweapon


Related media[]

Video releases[]


Adaptation images[]

Comic adaptation images[]
Novelization images[]



published order
Previous novel:
The Wrath of Khan
TOS movies & novelizations Next novel:
The Voyage Home
Previous novel:
The Final Reflection
TOS numbered novels Next novel:
My Enemy, My Ally
Previous story:
The Wrath of Khan
Stories by:
Vonda N. McIntyre
Next story:
Enterprise: The First Adventure
chronological order
Previous adventure:
The Azphari Enigma
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
A Vulcan, A Klingon, and an Angel
Previous adventure:
The Wrath of Khan
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
A Vulcan, A Klingon, and an Angel
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2285.
The Memory Beta Chronology places events from this story in 2 other timeframe(s):
Previous adventure:
The Wrath of Khan
The Search for Spock film prologue
Chapters 1–2 of novelization
Next adventure:
The Wormhole Connection
Previous adventure:
Blood Fever
Chapters 2–13
Next adventure:
A Vulcan, A Klingon, and an Angel
Publication and production history[]
1984, June
Movie released.
Pocket Books publishes novelization by Vonda N. McIntyre as number seventeen in the TOS numbered novel series.
DC Comics publishes comic book adaptation by Mike W. Barr with art by Tom Sutton and Ricardo Villagran.
2004, October
Pocket Books reprint novelization in the Signature Edition omnibus: Duty, Honor, Redemption, along with The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home.
2008, September
Comic adaptation re-released in The Complete Comic Book Collection released by Graphic Imaging Technologies.
2009, November
Comic adaptation re-released as part of the Movie Omnibus, with other TOS movie adaptations. Published by IDW Publishing.
German language: Star Trek III: Auf der Suche nach Mr. Spock, translated by Hans Maeter. (Heyne)
Japanese language: 宇宙大作戦 スター・トレック3 ミスター・スポックを探せ!, translated by Noriyoshi Saito. (Hayakawa Bunko)
French language: A la recherche de Spock, translated by Gilles Dupreux. (Arena)

External links[]