Star Trek: A Watching & Reading Guide to the Kelvin Timeline
What's the best chronological order to watch and read the Star Trek Kelvin timeline stories in? Here's our suggestion...
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Over the years, Star Trek has presented us with many alternative timelines and parallel dimensions, but none have become so prominent as the Kelvin Timeline. Home to alternative versions of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew of Captain James T. Kirk, science officer Mr. Spock, chief medical officer Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, communications officer Nyota Uhura, chief engineer Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott, Helmsman Hikaru Sulu, and Navigator Pavel Chekov.
You will probably know the Kelvin Timeline from the 2009 movie Star Trek, and its sequels Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond. However, there is more to this alternate reality than just those movies.
Here we will give you an unofficial guide to the Kelvin Timeline, consisting of movies, TV series, video games, and comics. “Punch it!”
1. Star Trek: Enterprise
Medium: TV show, seasons 1 to 4 (2001-2005)
The adventures of the Enterprise NX-01 crew, led by Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), take place between the years 2151 and 2155. Or rather, those are the adventures we see in seasons 1 to 4, as the show was cancelled before it could cover topics like the Earth-Romulan War, the origin of the Borg Queen, and the formation of the Federation. The creation of the Kelvin Timeline takes place 78 years later, in 2233, and therefore makes Star Trek: Enterprise the only TV series set in both timelines.
In Star Trek Into Darkness, a model of the NX-01 Enterprise can be seen in Admiral Markus’ collection. Video footage in Star Trek Beyond shows us that the crew on the U.S.S. Franklin wore the same uniforms as the NX-01 Enterprise crew. And the Franklin’s Captain, Balthazar M. Edison, is implied to have been part of the MACO attachment of the NX-01 Enterprise during Earth’s conflict with the Xindi.
What one must wonder is how the Borg that crashed in the Arctic after the Prime Timeline’s time travel movie Star Trek: First Contact exactly shows up in the episode “Regeneration.” Does that mean the Kelvin Timeline has no further effect on the past of the Prime Timeline, or that The Next Generation era turns out (mostly) the same in the Kelvin Timeline? We can only wait to see how the Kelvin Timeline develops.
The final episode of the show, “These Are the Voyages…,”is only partially canon to the Kelvin Timeline, due to it basically being a holodeck episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation set during its season 7 episode “The Pegasus.” The historical parts involving the Enterprise NX-01 crew did happen, but everything involving Star Trek: The Next Generation does not.
2. Star Trek: Countdown
Medium: comic (2009)
This comic from IDW Publishing written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones, after a story by movie scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, further connects the Prime Timeline with the Kelvin Timeline and gives more motivation to movie antagonist Nero. The story leads up to the events in Star Trek, but is set in the Prime Timeline eight years after the events of the movie Star Trek: Nemesis in 2387, and it picks up some threads from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Unification” two-parter. It furthermore shows where The Next Generation crew ended up since.
Romulus, and the rest of the galaxy, is in danger of a massively destructive supernova. Spock, now ambassador on Romulus, tells the Romulan Senate of the threat and proposes the use of the Vulcan substance called “red matter” as a solution, which causes quite a stir. With a ship called Jellyfish, designed by Geordi La Forge, Spock attempts to use the red matter to create a singularity to absorb the supernova. Unfortunately, this comes too late for Romulus and the planet is destroyed. This leads to the crew of the mining ship Narada and its Captain Nero to seek revenge on Ambassador Spock and follow him through the singularity and into the past.
The destruction of Romulus eventually leads to the Prime Timeline events in the MMORPG videogame Star Trek Online. However, the canon status of that game’s story can be overwritten by potential future post-Star Trek: Nemesis projects if the power that be choose to do so.
Just recently, Eaglemoss reprinted Star Trek: Countdown as the first hardcover paperback volume in their Star Trek graphic novel collection, with a bonus classic –1960s comic story “Planet of No Return.”
3. Star Trek
Medium: movie (2009)
Directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the story starts on the U.S.S. Kelvin in 2233. The encounter between the Romulan ship Narada emerging from the singularity and the Kelvin causes a diversion of the Prime Timeline and the creation of the Kelvin Timeline. After this, the story picks up in 2255 when Captain Christopher Pike convinces James T. Kirk to enlist in Starfleet. Three years later, in 2258, the Narada and its Captain Nero show up again to continue their vengeance for the destruction of Romulus, and threaten the Federation.
The Kelvin incident causes a number of diversions from the Prime Timeline. For example, James T. Kirk’s father, George Kirk, dies saving the Kelvin escape shuttles from the Narada, while his wife, Winona, gives birth to James T. Kirk on one of the shuttles. In the Prime Timeline, Kirk was born on Earth in Ohio.
Another difference of note in the Kelvin Timeline is an earlier born Pavel Chekov. In the Prime Timeline, Chekov was born in 2245, while in the Kelvin Timeline he was born in 2241. A change that was probably made because Chekov would otherwise be a 13-year-old during the events of Star Trek. Former Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike also goes through a number of changes that arguably benefit him, as the events of Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Cage” most likely do not occur.
The biggest change might be to the Enterprise herself. The interior of the ship is a lot different from what we saw in The Original Series. Most notably is the engineering section, which is humongous when compared to all others in Star Trek shows or movies – in fact it’s actually the Budweiser Brewery in Los Angeles. The ship’s measurements are also different. The Prime Timeline Constitution-class Enterprise is 288.6 meters in length, while the Galaxy-class Enterprise-D is 641 meters in length, but both are topped by the Kelvin Timeline Constitution-class Enterprise that has a length of 1,200 meters, according to the 2009 reference book Star Trek – The Art of The Film. However, the Enterprise we see in the Kelvin Timeline movies is likely not the counterpart of the Prime Timeline Enterprise. More on that later when we talk about the comic Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness.
IDW also adapted the movie into a six-issue comic, if you’d rather keep on reading.
There is also a tie-in videogame called Star Trek D·A·C, an arcade style top-down shooter. The “D·A·C” in the title stands for the game modes in the game: deathmatch, assault, and conquest.
4. Star Trek: Nero
Medium: comic (2009)
This four-issue comic from IDW written again by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones, after a story by movie scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, takes place during Star Trek. It follows Nero and his Narada crew between the moment they emerge from the singularity and their second appearance in the movie. The comic tells us what they did in those years. Actually, the comic takes a deleted scene of Nero on a Klingon prison planet and expands upon it. It’s a shame that scene was cut from the movie.
It might be best to read this comic after seeing Star Trek, as it’s quite spoiler heavy. Repeat viewers might find added motivation to Nero’s actions in the movie.
5. Star Trek, Vol. 1
Medium: comic, issues 1 to 4 (2011)
Overseen by writer/producer Roberto Orci and written by Mike Johnson, the Star Trek comic from IDW gives us Kelvin Timeline versions of Prime Timeline Star Trek: The Original Series stories. In this first volume, we get two stories set after Star Trek. The first is “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which was The Original Series‘ the second pilot episode after “The Cage.” The second story is “The Galileo Seven,” which is a season 1 episode.
The comic contradicts Star Trek Into Darkness a bit, as in the movie Kirk says he didn’t lose any crew members during his first year as captain.
6. Star Trek, Vol. 2
Medium: comic, issues 5 to 8 (2011)
The second volume tells a Kelvin version of The Original Series’s “Operation – Annihilate!,” the season 1 finale. This version of the story gives us flashbacks to just after young Kirk crashed the Corvette in the movie. The comic makes it clear that, unlike what the credits of Star Trek told us, the owner of the Corvette was not Kirk’s stepfather but his maternal uncle, Frank. Frank has a live-action appearance in a deleted scene of the movie.
The second story, called “Vulcan’s Vengeance,” is the first story not to adapt an Original Series story. However, according to writer Mike Johnson, the story is to be seen as the Kelvin Timeline’s answer to The Original Series’s “Balance of Terror.” In the story, a group of rogue Vulcans want to take revenge on the Romulan Empire after Nero’s deeds in Star Trek. Spock attempts to infiltrate, but gets a nasty surprise.
7. Star Trek, Vol. 3
Medium: comic, issues 9 to 12 (2012)
Volume 3 starts with “The Return of the Archons,” an adaptation of the season 1 episode of The Original Series. In it the Enterprise gets a lead on the U.S.S. Archon, a starship that disappeared a century earlier.
The next story had to happen at some point. It’s a Kelvin Timeline version of The Original Series season 2 episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” In the story, called “The Truth About Tribbles,” Scotty has found an ideal pet for his cousin Chris, a furry little animal called a Tribble. It’s only after Scotty has teleported the pet Tribble to his cousin on Earth that the Enterprise’s crew discovers the unfortunate side effect of two Tribbles in one room.
The stories of Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 are also collected in Star Trek: New Adventures, Vol. 1.
8. Star Trek, Vol. 4
Medium: comic, issues 13 to 16 (2012)
IDW’s fourth volume presents us with three stories. The first is “Hendorff” about the life of red shirt security officer Hendorff, which you might better know by his Kirk given nickname “Cupcake.” In the story, Hendorff muses about the Kelvin version of events of The Original Series season 2 episode “The Apple.”
The second story is called “Keenser’s Story” and tells us how he ended up as Scotty’s sidekick.
The third story, “Mirrored,” is the Kelvin Timeline version of The Original Series season 2 episode “Mirror, Mirror.” In it Bones and Scotty have a discussion about alternate timelines. Following that we are transported to a Mirror Kelvin Timeline where there is no Federation of Planets but a Terran Empire, and where Mirror Spock is captain of the ISS Enterprise. Mirror Kirk, however, plans his revenge on Mirror Spock.
9. Star Trek, Vol. 5
Medium: comic, issues 17 to 20 (2013)
It’s flashback time in this fifth volume of IDW’s comic. In “Bones,” written by Mike Johnson and F. Leonard Johnson, we learn how Dr. Leonard McCoy ended up in that shuttle Kirk boards early on in Star Trek. In “The Voice of Falling Star,” written by Ryan Parrott, we discover more about Uhura and her first meeting with Spock. Then, in “Scotty,” we see how a young Montgomery Scott found his interest in engineering. And finally, in “Red Level Down,” it’s revealed that Sulu and Chekov’s lives were intertwined since their time at Starfleet Academy.
10. Star Trek
Medium: video game (2013)
In April 2013, Paramount Digital Entertainment and Namco Bandai published Star Trek, a video game developed by Digital Extremes for PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. The game stars the likenesses and voice talents of the cast of the movies. With a story by Marianne Krawczyk, with input from movie scribes Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, and comic writer Mike Johnson. It’s set between the comic Star Trek, Vol. 5 and the movie Star Trek Into Darkness, about a year after Star Trek in 2259. The Enterprise encounters a group of Vulcan scientists who want to create a new Vulcan home planet. They however open a rip in space, prompting a Gorn invasion.
The story’s canon status is in dispute. While Krawczyk’s story had input from the Star Trek movie scribes, and Senior Vice President of Paramount Pictures and producer on the game Brian Miller said the story was set in the Kelvin Timeline canon, Roberto Orci later said it was not canon. Probably because the game was panned by critics. Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams said he was “emotionally hurt” by the game’s poor quality and reviews and that it hurt Star Trek Into Darkness by being released just before it. Nevertheless, in 2013, the 24th issue of IDW’s canon Star Trek comic reveals the story of the video game to be canon.
11. Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness
Medium: comic (2013)
IDW’s four-issue prelude to the movie Star Trek Into Darkness, written by Mike Johnson, after a story by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, isn’t as heavily involved with the plot of the movie as Star Trek: Countdown was with Star Trek’s. The story of the comic chronicles the “Mudd incident” that is mentioned in Star Trek Into Darkness and explains how they got that ship they use to go to Qo’noS. But more importantly, we are introduced to the Kelvin Timeline version of Captain Robert April, who in the Prime Timeline was the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise before Captain Pike and Captain Kirk. In the Kelvin Timeline, this is still true. How is that possible, as the U.S.S. Enterprise was brand new in Star Trek? Well, April was the captain of a U.S.S. Enterprise before the U.S.S. Enterprise Kirk is the captain of. Yes, in the Kelvin timeline there is an Enterprise between the NX-01 Enterprise and the U.S.S. Enterprise Kirk helms.
Interestingly, the way the comic portrays April’s Enterprise is more reminiscent to the Enterprise we saw in The Original Series. The comic also tells us April’s Enterprise was used before the Kelvin Timeline was created. This could mean that April’s Enterprise was the Kelvin Timeline counterpart to the Prime Timeline’s Enterprise and not the one we see in the movies. Why isn’t Kirk’s Enterprise not called the Enterprise-A then? Theorize in the comments section!
12. Star Trek Into Darkness
Medium: movie (2013)
Again directed by J.J. Abrams, and written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof. It’s now 2259, a year after the events in Star Trek, and we meet the Enterprise crew on the primitive planet Niburu. Captain Kirk and his crew violate the Prime Directive when saving the native tribes people from an impending volcanic eruption. Back on Earth this leads to a demotion for Kirk by a disappointed Admiral Pike. However, when rogue Starfleet officer John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks a Starfleet summit, Kirk and his crew is sent to apprehend him. This leads to revelations of the dark side of Starfleet with which Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans are familiar with, and a Kelvin Timeline retelling of the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Paramount Pictures and production company Bad Robot went to great lengths to “cloak” the true name of Cumberbatch’s character. They redubbed promotional scenes, and actors had a hard time talking around it in press interviews, often going to answers like “Cumberbatch plays a character who has previously appeared in Star Trek canon.” This isn’t untrue, as Lieutenant Harrison was indeed a character in The Original Series, appearing in season 1 episodes “Charlie X,” “The Galileo Seven,” “Arena,” “The Return of the Archons,” and “Operation – Annihilate!”
When Kirk and company visit Klingon home planet Qo’noS, something very interesting happens. Qo’noS’ moon Praxis is already destroyed. This might have enormous repercussions for the Kelvin Timeline, as in the Prime Timeline the Klingons where forced to peace talks after the moon blew up, as seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In Star Trek Into Darkness, the destruction of Praxis isn’t seen as something that will halt the Klingons, meaning that those peace talks with the Federation might not occur.
Keep an eye out for a Star Wars easter egg around the one hour and seventeen minutes mark, as astromech droid R2-D2 flies by.
The U.S.S. Vengeance is said to be twice the size of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Which is enormous, as according to the 2009 reference book Star Trek – The Art of The Film the Enterprise is 1,200 meters in length, meaning that the Vengeance would be roughly 2,400 metres in length! It has to be said that there have been a number of contradicting measurements given for the Enterprise’s size, but still, that would mean the ship is still a lot bigger than the Prime Timeline’s U.S.S. Enterprise-E which is 685 metres.
To depict the engineering section, the L.A. Budweiser Brewery was revisited, but also the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, which is used as the Enterprise’s warp core.
While this was the first Star Trek movie in 3D, certain scenes where shot in the IMAX format. These scenes have had a bumpy road getting to home media. At firstthe IMAX version of the movie, which removes the black bars on the top and bottom of your screen, was only available on iTunes. Eventually this was fixed with the Blu-ray release of Star Trek: The Compendium, a collection of both Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. But this release doesn’t have the 3D version of Star Trek Into Darkness. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Star Trek Into Darkness does include the IMAX scenes, but also lacks a 3D version.
13. Star Trek: Khan
Medium: comic (2013, 2014)
This IDW five-issue series tells the story of the Kelvin Timeline’s Khan Noonien Singh before and after Star Trek Into Darkness. As we see Khan during the Eugenics Wars, this means this part of his story is set in the Prime Timeline. When Khan is awakened, he is the Kelvin Timeline version, and we see how he got on before the events of Star Trek Into Darkness. Most importantly, this comic explains how Khan goes from being a Sikh, as portrayed by Ricardo Montalban in the Prime Timeline, to the very English Benedict Cumberbatch in the Kelvin Timeline. Something that probably would have been better addressed in the movie.
14. Star Trek, Vol. 6: After Darkness
Medium: comic, issues 21 to 24 (2013)
Volume 6 of the Star Trek comic picks up after Star Trek Into Darkness, which ended in 2260. The U.S.S. Enterprise is in preparation to embark on a five-year mission into unknown space. Doctor Carol Marcus has joined the crew, and Spock has come under the influence of the Vulcan mating condition known as “Pon Farr.” This calls for a detour to New Vulcan, where Spock’s girlfriend Uhura finds a nasty surprise waiting. Meanwhile, the Klingons are very much not amused by Kirk’s little visit to Qo’noS, and Section 31 is looking to partner up to get their revenge.
The other story in this volume involves the Gorn, and confirms that the story of the Star Trek video game is to be considered canon.
The stories of Star Trek Volume 6, together with Volume 4 and Volume 5, are also collected in Star Trek: New Adventures, Vol. 2, which does not include Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness or Star Trek: Khan.
15. Star Trek, Vol. 7: The Khitomer Conflict
Medium: comic, issues 25 to 28 (2013)
The Enterprise is about to embark on the five-year mission into unknown space, picking up the last new crew members at a starbase, including, to the surprise of Hikaru Sulu, engineering officer Yuki Sulu, his younger sister.
On the planet Khitomer, a new Klingon colony is being set up. However, the colony is soon destroyed by Romulan warships who have acquired some technology from a third party. The Enterprise gets involved and clashes with Klingon ships that have an eerie resemblance to Nero’s Nerada.
Yuki Sulu is a new character that hasn’t appeared before in the Prime Timeline that we could find. It is unknown if her existence is caused by the creation of the Kelvin Timeline or that she just was never mentioned in the Prime Timeline.
You might remember the planet Khitomer from Prime Timeline movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
16. Star Trek, Vol. 8
Medium: comic, issues 29 to 34 (2014)
Volume 8 features three stories. In the first story, “Parallel Lives,” we follow a mission on the U.S.S. Enterprise helmed by Captain Jane Tiberius Kirk. Yes, Jane Kirk. This is a parallel universe to the Kelvin Timeline where the same things happened but everyone is gender swapped. This means that most of the main characters are now female. The story also explores whether Kirk’s contact with Khan’s blood will have repercussions in the future. Eventually, this gender-swapped crew encounters another Enterprise – the Enterprise of Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
In Star Trek Into Darkness, you might have spotted the cyborg-looking crew member on the bridge. This is Starfleet’s first and only Humanoid Mainframe Interface, Science Officer 0718. Where did he come from all of a sudden? “I, Enterprise” explains.
In “Lost Apollo,” the Enterprise’s away team gets stuck on a planet where they find a connection to NASA’s Apollo program.
The stories of Star Trek Volume 7 and Volume 8 are also collected in Star Trek: New Adventures, Vol. 3.
17. Star Trek, Vol. 9: The Q Gambit
Medium: comic, issues 35 to 40 (2014, 2015)
This story has a lot of connections to The Next Generation era. We return to the Prime Timeline post-Star Trek: Countdown. Q visits Ambassador Jean-Luc Picard on the U.S.S. Enterprise-E. Here Q informs Picard that Spock survived and that his actions created the Kelvin Timeline. Before Q leaves, he tells Picard that Spock’s actions may have saved the Prime Timeline but might have doomed the future of the Kelvin Timeline. Then Q departs to visit the Kelvin Timeline U.S.S. Enterprise, where he takes Kirk on a trip to the Kelvin version of The Next Generation era.
18. Star Trek, Vol. 10
Medium: comic, issues 41 to 45 (2015)
In “Behemoth,” the Enterprise encounters its first alien lifeform in unknown space in a damaged ship. This unknown alien might be their only hope to stop a big threat coming their way.
In “Eurydice,” directly after the events of “Behemoth,” the Enterprise crew find themselves in the unknown space of the Delta Quadrant. Decades of travel away from home and with a low energy supply, they seemingly find help back to Federation space from female alien Eurydice.
19. Star Trek, Vol. 11
Medium: comic, issues 46 to 49 (2015)
Having found a way to get back to Federation space, tensions rise among the crew when the Enterprise gets stuck in a pocket of interphase, a state in which time and space cease to exist. Then the Enterprise gets stuck in “The Tholian Webs.” This story is a Kelvin reimagining of The Original Series season 3 episode “The Tholian Web.”
Seeing the leadership potential in Lieutenant Sulu, Captain Kirk gives him command over an away team in “Deity.” On the planet, Sulu’s team encounter the native population during a ritual. When their deity shows up, Sulu’s team and the Enterprise have a clash with the Prime Directive.
The stories of Star Trek Volume 9: The Q Gambit, Volume 10, and Volume 11 are also collected in Star Trek: New Adventures, Vol. 4.
20. Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
Medium: comic (2015, 2016)
In 2258, the U.S.S. Enterprise crew are cadets at Starfleet Academy. When Cadet Uhura picks up a distress signal from the U.S.S. Slayton, she calls in some help from the other members of the would-be crew. However, when she gets close to the origin of the signal, Uhura gets stonewalled from further investigation, and the trail goes cold.
Three years later, in 2261, Vulcan Cadet T’laan wants to leave Starfleet Academy as she feels out of place. Her professor persuades her to stay to compete in the Starfleet Academy team in the Centennial Competition between academies from throughout the Federation, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Starfleet Academy. She joins a team consisting of the Andorian Shev, the Monchezkin K’bentayr, and the humans Lucia Gonzales and Grace Chen. During the competition this team also comes across the distress signal of the U.S.S. Slayton and start their own investigation.
21. Star Trek, Vol. 12
Medium: comic, issues 50 to 54 (2015, 2016)
“Live Evil” finds its inspiration in The Original Series season 2 episode “Mirror, Mirror.” When the Enterprise gets caught in an ion storm everything seems normal afterwards, until the Enterprise encounters a planet that hails them as the Imperial flagship. When Kirk leads an away team to the surface, they encounter no other than Khan Noonien Singh, man of peace.
Remember Uhura’s Orion roommate at Starfleet Academy, Gaila, with whom Kirk had a fling in Star Trek? She is the central character in “Reunion.” When the Enterprise rendezvous with the U.S.S. Tereshkova, Gaila visits her red shirt brother Kai on the Enterprise. All seems fine until Gaila and Kai’s past comes knocking.
22. Star Trek, Vol. 13
Medium: comic, issues 55 to 60 (2016)
“Legacy of Spock: celebrates both the 50th anniversary of Star Trek as well as the late Leonard Nimoy. Set after Prime Spock attended the promotion of James T. Kirk to captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, he intends to join the remainder of the Vulcan species. However, Spock’s father, Sarek, warns him that he should prepare for a cold greeting. The Vulcans want to resettle on the planet Ceti Alpha V, which causes Spock to speak up, as he very well knows that this planet soon will be a desolate place, as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan showed us. Meanwhile, Romulan elements see this as the opportune moment to snuff out the Vulcans…
The series finale of the ongoing Star Trek comic is “Connection.” In this story, both the Kelvin Timeline Enterprise crew and the Prime Timeline Enterprise crew encounter the same anomaly. This causes the minds of crewmembers to swap bodies. The only solution is for both crews to work together in both timelines.
23. Star Trek: Manifest Destiny
Medium: comic (2016)
This four-issue story, written by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott, is the final one before Star Trek Beyond. The Enterprise encounters a rogue and very aggressive Klingon faction. The Enterprise is on red alert as the Klingons attempt to board the ship. If this situation isn’t defused quickly, war with the Klingon Empire is a high possibility.
24. Star Trek Beyond
Medium: movie (2016)
In 2263, after almost three years into the USS Enterprise’s five-year mission, the Enterprise visits the Federation Starbase Yorktown. When an escape pod is found drifting at a nearby nebula, the Enterprise investigates. The pod’s occupant, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded on the planet Altamid, located past the dangerous and unexplored nebula. When the Enterprise travels to the planet, they are greeted by a powerful, hostile force.
Unlike the previous two movies, Star Trek Beyond is directed by Justin Lin. Writing duties also changed, as Simon Pegg co-wrote the movie with Doug Jung. While Pegg reprises the role of Scotty, Jung also has a role in the movie. He plays Sulu’s husband, Ben, whom we meet on the Starbase Yorktown along with their daughter. While their daughter remains unnamed in the movie, it is possible that she is the Kelvin Timeline version of Demora Sulu, who we saw in the Prime Timeline movie Star Trek: Generations.
There is a black lining to the movie, as two stars from the series died before release. Leonard Nimoy fell into a coma on February 25, 2015, and died February 27, 2015, at the age of 83 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Star Trek Beyond was dedicated to Nimoy.
Anton Yelchin died in June 2016, at the age of just 27. Star Trek Beyond was the first project of his that was released posthumously, and one of a number of projects dedicated to him. An “in memoriam” was included in Star Trek issue 60.
Released in the year of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, there are multiple hints to the past of the franchise. The movie starts on the 966th day of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s five-year mission, a reference to 1966, the year that Star Trek: The Original Series first premiered on television screens. It also means the five-year mission is almost three years underway, which might be a reference to the three live-action seasons the show got. In the movie, Kirk says that the mission has begun to feel “episodic” – a reference to the episodic nature of The Original Series. Throughout the movie, you will see exactly 50 different new alien makeups, which was rewarded with a Oscar nomination for Best Makeup.
The passing of Leonard Nimoy is addressed in the movie, as Spock learns of the news. Among Prime Spock’s possessions is a picture of the Prime Timeline Enterprise crew. The U.S.S. Franklin and its crew are not only a call back to the Star Trek: Enterprise era, but the Franklin’s registry number NX-326 is also a reference to Leonard Nimoy’s birthday of March 26th. When Kirk asks Sulu if he can fly the Franklin, he responds with “Are you kidding me?” The line is delivered with the same expression and tone as George Takei’s Sulu in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The name Franklin is also a reference to director Justin Lin’s father, Frank Lin. On the dedication plaque, there is a little bit of space left between “Frank” and “Lin.”
While we are on the subject of Lin’s family, his son, Oqwe Lin, is briefly seen as a green alien child when the Enterprise enters the Starbase Yorktown. The name “Yorktown” is also a reference, as Gene Roddenberry’s early script treatments for The Original Series used the name “Yorktown” instead of “Enterprise” for the name of the starship.
When Scotty discusses the theories around the U.S.S. Franklin’s disappearance, one is a “giant green space hand,” a reference to The Original Series season 2 episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” The hand can be briefly seen during the credits.
When the Enterprise crew disembarks on Starbase Yorktown, you can hear the Starbase’s communication system call out the Federation starship NCC-2893. This is the registry number of the U.S.S. Stargazer, the starship Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard once commanded before the Enterprise-D. At one point in the movie, Kirk says, “I ripped my shirt again.” This is a reference to the many times Kirk ripped his shirt in The Original Series. At the end of the movie, the main cast gives the iconic introductory speech used at the beginning of both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes.
Star Trek Beyond is the fourth movie to be presented in the Barco Escape format, which seems similar to the Cinerama technique introduced in the 1950s. This technology uses three connected cinema screens to “wrap” the picture around the audience. Two screens are placed from the sides of the central screen to the left and right wall, giving a wide, panoramic experience. The Barco Escape Star Trek Beyond trailer on the Barco Escape YouTube channel gives you an idea of what this experience is like.
25. Star Trek: Boldly Go
Medium: comic (2016-)
IDW Publishing and writer Mike Johnson return with this follow-up comic series set after the majority of Star Trek Beyond. The crewmembers have been reassigned or have taken a leave from Starfleet. Kirk, McCoy, and Chekov are reassigned to the U.S.S. Endeavour, and Sulu is reassigned to the U.S.S. Concord, while Spock and Uhura are visiting New Vulcan. Scotty is teaching at Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. The cadets we met in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy return and are joined by Star Trek Beyond’s Jaylah.
Things turn bad when the U.S.S. Endeavour picks up the survivors of an attack on the U.S.S. Concord. Sulu survived and has one eerie message from the attackers: Resistance is futile.
The first volume of Star Trek: Boldy Go, consisting of the first six issues, is available on July 25th.
Star Trek/Green Lantern Stories
IDW Publishing is known for their cross company and cross franchise crossovers. IDW and DC Comics teamed up for two of these crossovers, written by Mike Johnson, starring the cast of IDW’s Kelvin Timeline comics and DC Comics’ Green Lantern comics. The first story is called Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War and the second Star Trek/Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds, which is a direct sequel. It features the Green Lantern comic cast coming to the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline universe as a follow up of sorts to DC Comics event Blackest Night. Lantern rings choose new bearers amongst Star Trek characters and ignite conflict between the Federation and its enemies.
These Star Trek/Green Lantern stories are set in a diversion of the Kelvin Timeline, which happens between Star Trek, Vol. 13 and Star Trek Beyond.
At the moment, IDW’s Star Trek: Boldly Go comic is the torchbearer for the continuation of the Kelvin Timeline. There are talks about a fourth movie, and multiple actors, like Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, have already signed on. Chris Hemsworth’s George Kirk might also return for the fourth movie. Producer J.J. Abrams has stated that Chekov would not be recast, but written out of the story, after the untimely death of Anton Yelchin.
But until the fourth movie comes around, we will have Star Trek: Discovery in the Prime Timeline to take us where no one has gone before…
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!