Stupid Star Trek (TOS) question:

So I was watching “ST2:Wrath of Khan” and explaining to my girlfriend that it was a followup to an old ST episode,and that was how Chekov knew it Khan’s ship when he saw Khan’s ship on Ceti Alpha VI–and also that was how Khan recognized Chekov. The next day we happened to catch that old ST episode, but Chekov wasn’t in it. Now I know Koenig didn’t join the series until the second season, but Mr. Sulu wasn’t in the episode either–though I thought he was part of the cast all the way through. Instead they had some real ugly dude named Farelli or something. Where were those guys (Sulu and Chekov) in that episode?

To Clarify:
Why wasn’t George Takei in this episode?
(I don’t want speculative answers to the whearabouts of the fictional characters. )

There were 29 episodes in the first season of Star Trek. As far as I can tell, Takei only appeared in 17 of these episodes. I have no idea why. His bio says that he took time off during season 2 to work with John Wayne on the Green Berets, but does not mention any reason for absence during season 1.

George Takei was a regular cast member but he did not appear in the “space seed” episode, maybe they cut the scenes were he appeared in the episode. Ironically many of the George Takei scenes were cut also from TWOK. In Koenig’s case, he was not a cast member of Star Trek until the second season.

The only defense left to them is that Khan did had access to the historical and technical data of the federation, Khan’s enhanced mind could remember the face of other federation cadets or officers that were going to be assigned soon to the Enterprise….
Of course that is a very lame explanation, The reality is that the movie people goofed.

Fans made fun of the error in a punchline contest of the conversation with Khan and Chekov:

one quote: “Our scenes together didn’t make it past the censors?”

It’s a kludge, pure & simple. They needed a male, secondary character from the original series for Khan’s introductory scene. That meant Sulu or Chekov.

And it’s not much of a kludge either. The fact that Chekov wasn’t in that episode is one of those things that only occurs to you much later on (or probably never). It’s not like getting a name wrong or something.

And it would have been far worse trying to contrieve a reason for say Scotty or McCoy to be there.

"For crying out loud, it’s just a TV show!"

The general answer among Trek fans is that even though Checkov became part of the bridge crew in season two, he was probably assigned elsewhere on the ship before that. So Khan could have met him, even if we didn’t see it take place in the episode.