Star Trek's original crew in accurate uniforms corrects the only flaw in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.
While Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is the best part of the franchise, over the years, fans have had questions about the drastic change in Starfleet uniforms since the end of Star Trek: The Original Series. Though only a few years after Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in-universe, there was a decade between the two films, explaining the drastic changes. A fan on social media decided to “correct” another issue with the new uniforms by re-coloring them to match the proper Starfleet designations from Star Trek: The Original Series, which is what this crew would be wearing instead of every officer wearing a red uniform.
The new colors make the overcoat and turtleneck design pop out even more than the standard red from the movie. While it may seem minor, Star Trek fans know what each color means regarding the officer’s role on the ship. An entire bridge crew wearing red, which designates security and engineering, may look good on the big screen, but in terms of Starfleet, it’s throwing away tradition and protocol.
“Redshirt” developed as a term because Star Trek: The Original Series threw security officers at any danger to make it seem like Kirk and Spock were in danger without hurting the two leads (IMDb covers how many the show went through). If the entire leadership of a ship is in red, that communicates everyone is expendable, which makes the fan project to display the crew in the proper uniforms not just a fun art project, but correcting one of the few flaws found in Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan.
Sulu (George Takei), Scott (James Doohan), and Uhura (Nichelle Nicols) are still in the red, matching their helmsman, Chief Engineer, and Communications Officer duties, respectively. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) is in blue as the Chief Medical Officer, with Saavik (Kirstie Alley) in grey as an officer-in-training. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Chekov (Walter Koenig) wear the gold of commanding officers.
The monochromatic red uniforms introduced in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and worn for the remaining movies up to Star Trek: Generations designated the different branches with the strap over the right shoulder. Badges and insignias on the strap, or sometimes on the left cuff, communicated the same information as the show’s colorful uniforms in a significantly more complicated fashion. Keeping track of the specifics of Starfleet uniforms during this period is exceedingly difficult while enjoying any of the movies, except for Star Trek: The Voyage Home, which no one enjoys.
Starting with Star Trek: The Next Generation, the color scheme was expanded with more colors allowing for a more precise designation of duty while the traditional colors from Star Trek: The Original Series were flipped around in one instance. Red became the color of commanding officers worn by Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes), while gold was now for engineering, as seen on LaForge (LaVar Burton). Science and medical now ran from blue to green, as seen on Dr. Crusher (Gates Mcfadden) and Troi (Marina Sirtis).
Updating the uniforms worn in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan makes it clear at a glance what each character specializes in, even allowing new viewers to quickly figure out the color code from context clues while watching one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. Star Trek’s use of Naval designations has always helped it stand out in the world of sci-fi, especially compared to Star Wars, which focuses on the loosely organized Rebel Alliance. It may seem simple, but adjusting the uniform colors helps emphasize what has always made Star Trek great, over 50 years since the first Redshirt was killed in the line of duty.