Sep. 08, 1966
60 min.
NBC TV Network

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Star Trek: The Original Series

Set in the 23rd century. Earth has survived World War III and has moved on to explore the stars. Humanity has allied itself with alien races and formed the United Federation of Planets, and Star Fleet serves as its exploratory and military branch. James T.Kirk the Captain of the Starship Enterprise explores the galaxy with a crew of 430.

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Khan Noonien Singh Star Trek: The Original Series
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Khan Noonien Singh

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  Played by:
Ricardo MontalbanRicardo Montalban
He was the epitome of continental elegance, charm and grace on film and TV and in the late 40s and early ...

Character Bio

Khan Noonien Singh photo
Khan Noonien Singh (or just Khan), was the most prominent of the genetically-engineered Humans of the late-20th century Eugenics Wars period on Earth, considered even three centuries later to have been "the best" of them. Reappearing with a cadre of Augment followers in the 23rd century, Khan was to become a notorious enemy of James T. Kirk, as well as a warning of the danger in attempting to create "supermen" through technological means.

He was the product of a secret selective-breeding and genetic engineering program, based on the eugenic philosophy that held improving the capabilities of a man improved the entire Human race. Augments produced by the program possessed physical strength and analytical capabilities considerably superior to ordinary Humans, and were created from a variety of Earth's ethnic groups. Khan's background was suspected to be Sikh.

Khan would live up to the axiom coined by one of his creators, "superior ability breeds superior ambition". By 1993, a wave of the genetic "supermen" including Khan, had simultaneously assumed control of more than 40 of Earth's nations. From 1992 to 1996, Khan was absolute ruler of more than one-quarter of Earth's population, including regions of Asia and the Middle East. Considered "the best of tyrants", he severely curtailed the freedoms of his subjects, but his reign was an exception to similar circumstances in Earth history – lacking massacres or internal war.

In the mid 1990s, the Augment tyrants began warring amongst themselves. Other nations joined in to force them from power in a series of struggles that became known as the Eugenics Wars. Eventually, most of the tyrants were defeated and their territory re-captured, but up to 90 "supermen" were never accounted for.

Khan escaped the wars and their consequences along with 84 followers who swore to live and die at his command. He saw his best option in a risky, self-imposed exile. In 1996, he took control of a DY-100-class interplanetary sleeper ship he christened SS Botany Bay, named for the site of the Australian penal colony. Set on a course outbound from the solar system, but with no apparent destination in mind, Khan and his people remained in suspended animation for Botany Bay's (nearly) 300-year sublight journey.

23rd century return

The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) discovered the Botany Bay in the Mutara sector in 2267. The boarding party's arrival triggered Khan's stasis unit to revive him, but the ancient mechanism faltered. The decision of Kirk to remove him from the stasis chamber, and Dr. Leonard McCoy's subsequent ministrations, saved Khan's life.

Twelve of the stasis units failed during the voyage. Kirk, taking the Botany Bay in tow, left the remaining 72 sleepers for disposition at Starbase 12 following their leader's successful recovery. The Botany Bay's undocumented departure, and the fragmented records of the period, initially obscured the identity of the sleepers from the Enterprise crew; but the man with incredible recuperative powers in sickbay led Kirk to suspect their genetically-manipulated nature.

Khan took advantage of Kirk's hospitality, catching up with his lost history by absorbing the ship's technical manuals and finding a weakness in the attraction he engendered from the pliant and submissive ship's historian, Lieutenant Marla McGivers. At a dinner given in his honor, Khan regaled the Captain's table with a romantic interpretation of the Eugenics Wars, until he was finally prodded into declaring, "We offered the world order!"

Khan began his takeover of the Enterprise, starting with his influence over McGivers. With her help, Khan escaped to the Botany Bay, and revived his followers returned and took control from engineering and cut life support to the bridge. With the crew subdued and Kirk held hostage, Khan asked the officers to spare Kirk's life by joining in his quest to take the Enterprise to a colony "willing to be led" by himself. The officers' recalcitrance led McGivers, unwilling to go so far as to participate in murder, to betray Khan and release Kirk. Once the Augments were disabled with anesthetic gas, Kirk engaged Khan in physical combat. Khan's superior strength nearly won him the battle, but Kirk used a broken piece of piping to defeat him.

The prospect of imprisoning and rehabilitating the Augments seemed a waste. Instead, Kirk granted an opportunity for Khan and his followers: to colonize the dangerous but habitable world of Ceti Alpha V. McGivers was given the choice of facing court martial or joining the new colony. Khan accepted McGivers' company, and took up Kirk's challenge to "tame a world", citing Milton's Lucifer
("It is better to Rule in Hell, than Serve in Heaven").

Episode Screenshots

03x11 - Wink of an Eye
Season 3, Episode 11
03x22 - The Savage Curtain
Season 3, Episode 22
02x04 - Mirror, Mirror
Season 2, Episode 04
03x18 - The Lights of Zetar
Season 3, Episode 18
[More Episodes]

Khan Noonien Singh Photos

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