In “Space Seed,” Khan and his “augmented” followers choose to be exiled to planet Ceti Alpha V, a lush but untamed world. In the words of John Milton, it’s better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. Then a planetary cataclysm disrupts the environment of Khan’s new world, truly turning it into the Hell he’d described. The terrible desert Ceti Alpha V has become is only glimpsed in “Wrath of Khan” before Khan’s people leave it by hijacking the Starfleet vessel the USS Reliant. So, we’re left to imagine how torturous 15 years there must have been.
Bennett crafted a treatment titled “Star Trek: Prison Planet” to show audiences firsthand. Ricardo Montalbán would have returned as Khan and the film would be a “vehicle” for him, per Egan. However, “Prison Planet” fell by the wayside when Paramount decided to prioritize “Star Trek III.” This story illustrates how Hollywood has changed in the intervening decades. Nowadays in the age of unkillable franchises, Paramount executives would be thrilled to have both a sequel and a spin-off to a hit film. Rather than choosing one film over the other, they would likely turn “Prison Planet” into a Paramount+ mini-series.
As fate would have it, Nicholas Meyer, director of “Wrath of Khan,” proposed doing a Khan mini-series, “Ceti Alpha V,” in 2021. The project has since evolved into an audio drama (which saves them the trouble of finding an actor who can completely imitate Montalbán — Benedict Cumberbatch ain’t it).