Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a 1984 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. The film is the third feature film of the Star Trek science fiction franchise and is the center of a three-film story arc that begins with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and concludes with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. After the death of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), the crew of the USS Enterprise returns to Earth. When James T. Kirk (William Shatner) learns that Spock's spirit, or katra, is held in the mind of Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Kirk and company steal the Enterprise to return Spock's body to his home planet. The crew must also contend with hostile Klingons, led by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), bent on stealing the secrets of a powerful terraforming device.
Paramount commissioned the film after positive critical and commercial reaction to The Wrath of Khan. Nimoy directed, the first Star Trek cast member to do so. Producer Harve Bennett wrote the script starting from the end and working back, and intended the destruction of the Enterprise to be a shocking development. Bennett and Nimoy collaborated with effects house Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to develop storyboards and new ship designs; ILM also handled the film's many special effects sequences. Aside from a single day of location shooting, all of the film's scenes were shot on Paramount and ILM soundstages. Composer James Horner returned to expand his themes from the previous film.
The Search for Spock opened June 1, 1984. In its first week of release, the film grossed over $16 million from almost 2,000 theaters across North America. It went on to gross $76 million at the domestic box office, toward a total of $87 million worldwide. Critical reaction to The Search for Spock was mixed. Reviewers generally praised the cast and characters, while criticism tended to focus on the plot; the special effects were conflictingly received. Roger Ebert called the film a compromise between the tones of the first and second Star Trek films. The Search for Spock was released on multiple home video formats, including VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray high definition discs. Nimoy went on to direct The Search for Spock 's sequel, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
The Federation Starship Enterprise returns to Earth following a battle with the superhuman Khan Noonien Singh, who tried to destroy the Enterprise by detonating an experimental terraforming device known as Genesis. The casualties of the fight include Admiral James T. Kirk's Vulcan friend, Spock, whose casket was launched into space and eventually landed on the planet created by the Genesis Device. On arriving at Earth Spacedock, Doctor Leonard McCoy begins to act strangely and is detained. Starfleet Admiral Morrow visits the Enterprise and informs the crew the ship is to be decommissioned; the crew is ordered not to speak about Genesis due to political fallout over the device.