Enduring Ship Designs of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Klingon Bird-of-Prey

Within seconds of encountering two other ships in this list, the Bird-of-Prey blew them up. That’s pretty Klingon.

The Bird-of-Prey was originally going to be a Romulan ship, since the the Star Trek III script called for a Romulan antagonist. It even had a cloaking device and a predatory bird painted on its ventral surface, just like the Romulan vessel in “Balance of Terror” from 1966.

At some point, the more popular Klingons were subbed in, but the ship was already designed and already awesome, so it was kept. Since Romulans had used Klingon ships in the 1968 episode “The Enterprise Incident,” a fan theory sprung up positing an on-again, off-again alliance between the two races.

This particular Bird-of-Prey was captained by Kruge, who used it to destroy two other ships before encountering the Enterprise. Fortunately for Kruge, Enterprise was in no condition for a protracted fight. Unfortunately for Kruge, Admiral Kirk still managed to kill most of his crew by faking a surrender, allowing a boarding party, and activating the self-destruct sequence.

Preeeeeeeetty sure that’s a war crime.

Kirk, of course, purloined Kruge’s ship and proceeded to save Earth with it in the following film, The Voyage Home. It survived a trip back in time, a couple nights cloaked in Golden Gate Park, and another trip forward carrying two humpback whales, but sank in San Francisco Bay. Presumably, Starfleet would be eager to recover it for study, but it’s never mentioned.

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