Star Trek (2009)
0) Forward: When I decided to write a blog on the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline I went digging in my back up hard drive to see if I had any notes on the subject back when the first and second movies came out, 2009-2013. What lies beneath is a review/blog/Myspace post I had about the 2009 reboot film.
After reading through it and correcting some poor grammar on my end, what else is new; I found the subject matter still pretty insightful. It makes me want to come back to this subject of where the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline could have been great, over just being…. Alright… I decided to keep the original layout format. This was way before I started writing as something more serious… Enjoy more Star Trek…
1) Introduction: To all the readers, web-bloggers, movie fans, haters, webzone fans & Star Trek fans. As I sat in a half full movie theater on May 7th 2009, in Port Charlotte, FL to see the newest edition of the Star Trek franchise, tag-lined, “Not your Father’s Star Trek.” I wasn’t disappointed at all. It had everything I thought it would have.
Now many people are on forums, asking loads questions related to; plot-holes, the characters, technology, alternate timelines, Star Trek canon. You name it, it is somewhere, pending on your choice of forums you all like to vent/query on.
So I am here to “attempt” to clear up some of these questions. Am I qualified to do so? Well, that is opinion… I have been a Star Trek fan my whole life. I grew up on the TOS films. I still remember sitting in a drive-in in Erie, PA, in PJs watching a double feature of “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” & “The Last Starfighter.” I obtained an AS Degree in Motion Picture development in 2004 where I specialized in Video Editing & Script Writing.
The fact that I have done very little in the field of Motion Pictures is irrelevant. What is relevant is that I understand; Plots, Character Development & Pacing. My grades showed that to be true. I also study Quantum Mechanics as a hobby, granted I don’t understand most of the complex mathematics in Quantum Mechanics but I get enough of it to understand concepts. I at least am open minded to “possibilities.” So as a fan and as someone who might have some insight on these movie points, I have elected to share as much as “I believe” is what was intended by some of the confusing but yet, clever script, called “Star Trek (2009).”
2) Characters: Some on the webzones have been saying how they do not like the character development of the key players in this film. We all forget that these characters are not yet established as the characters we grew up on. At this point in the story and due to the events of the first 10 minutes of the film, everything is being sped up. All the key players are affected by the destruction of the USS Kelvin. We don’t see every little character detail, but it is there.
We only see this with Kirk… Kirk’s life has already been changed by this event. By the time they are all grown up and meeting up on the USS Enterprise this single event has changed the way they all react to their environment. Towards the end of the film you notice, mainly in Kirk & McCoy, that the mannerisms we are so accustomed to see start to appear. Kirk has the swagger and the talking mannerisms as he sits in his chair as Captain of the USS Enterprise in the last scene of the film. We see McCoy at his side with his glum, “why me” look on his face. These are all signs that things are working themselves out within the parameters of the characters we are used to seeing.
3) Technology: This one sort of got to me in the theater as I watched the film. I know my Trek lore pretty good and with all the web tools out there, getting exact dates of when events happened and ships being built, where and why. The event when Nero came out of the black hole and attacked the USS Kelvin changes everything from character development to technologically advancing, even within the confines of Star Trek.
This is the single starting point of the story and where things change. I will say this over and over. Due to Nero’s actions the Federation is now stepping things up from; ship production, weapons enhancing, recruiting & advanced ship production. The Federation, worried about this attack is going forward with experimental new ship designs. The Constitution Class Starship is rushed into production and is the first of these new class of starships.
The USS Constitution is the first of her class, but in this “alternate timeline” we are unsure if the ship is even constructed. The only constitution class we see is the USS Enterprise. She is the newest, fastest, most advanced ship in the fleet. By the time, Kirk is captain in the TOS era, the USS Enterprise is already at least 10-15 years old. Here, it is brand new, on her maiden voyage. This ship is bigger too. In length, the original USS Enterprise from the TOS era was 288.6 meters. This Kelvin Timeline USS Enterprise is 725.35 meters in length. To give even better perspective the TNG USS Enterprise D is 642.5 meters in length.
The Federation is building nearly superior ships of the 24th century in the 23rd century. The federation also has cracked the Transwarp Threshold as well. That could be its own separate subject but just know even in Star Trek, Transwarp = Ludacris Speed…
This is another sign that this has become an “alternative timeline.” Nero’s ship is a hybrid mining/drilling vessel of a merger between Romulan/Borg Technology from the 24th Century. Their shielding/weapons/propulsion/damage control is much more advanced than anything the Federation has seen to this date in this alternate TOS era.
The USS Kelvin, USS Enterprise, a small Federation task fleet of about 8 to 10 ships & 47 Klingon Ships, were no match for Nero’s “Beast,” the Narada… We do see the ship take damage but due to Borg Technology I wouldn’t be surprised if the ship repaired itself for the most part with little Romulan intervention.
With all that had happened with the destruction of the USS Kelvin. The Federation Technology we do see in the film makes complete sense. It only doesn’t make sense if you believe the timeline they are in, is the one we are used to seeing, which we now call the prime timeline.
This is where Star Trek (2009) falls short. They released a series of comics that fill in the backstory as to who Nero is, what the Narada is, how Picard and the USS Enterprise E have their say in all this. What the red matter is and why it’s created. Where Spock (Prime) fits in. Why a single supernova is hazardous to a quarter of the galaxy. Pretty much everything one would need to understand the first few minutes of the film and when it time jumps to grown up Kirk/Spock. Most people, grown-ups, are not going to do all that work just to prep for a movie that is supposed to be about new beginnings and “not our father’s Star Trek.”
With that said this movie might have lost people it could have had. There is a whole subplot of how Nero and crew get captured by the Klingons and how they escape 20 years later only to bump into V’ger along the way to capture Prime Spock. Yeah, its all kinds of jacked up that way. However, it still gets a lot right. If you are really into Star Trek technologies this alternate timeline could really pump out a geek show for nerds. This is the first of at least four possible films, so we’ll see…
4) Plot: The plot isn’t easy to understand if you are not a supernerd but it is understandable. It all comes down to this new substance they call “Red Matter” apparently when outside it’s electromagnetic shield, this stuff implodes an creates a temporary singularity (black hole) that is powerful enough to swallow a planet whole or consume all the explosive energy of a supernova traveling at transwarp. That is why this supernova is so dangerous because it is traveling at transwarp speeds.
Star Trek has been legendary for creating new “things” that has extremely destructive power or change the fabric of space/time how we are used to seeing it. It’s all fiction but that is the beauty of it. With the creativity you can make things up as you see fit, and leave the imagination to fill in the gaps.
Basically, that is what this whole thing is all about, what you are reading here is just my creativity filling the plot-gaps I saw in the film. They do this in just about every Trek movie from the first one, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
Things Star Trek Made Up During Movies to Drive the Story aka the “MacGuffin.” The MacGuffin is simply an object, device, or event, anything that is necessary to drive the plot and the motivation of the characters, along their journey:
Star Trek: The Motion Picture:
• V’ger – an almost planet sized living space craft.
• V’ger/Ilea/Decker new lifeform – a physical merger of V’ger, Ilea & Commander Decker
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
• The Genesis Device – a device that can create a living/breathing planet from a dead space body.
• David Marcus – Kirks estranged son
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock:
• Kattra – The lifeforce of a Vulcan embedded in another living being, essentially 2 souls in one body.
• Genesis Planet – The Genesis Device created a planet that is unstable and decides to blow up when everyone is on it.
• Klingon Bird of Prey – New ship we have never seen that can become invisible and is a staple for the Klingon’s battle fleet for the next 150 years in universe.
• Transwarp Drive – Apparently you can go faster and farther in less time, it was a failure.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:
• The Probe – An unknown probe that has the ability to vaporize oceans and deem all star ships in firing range weapons powerless.
• Time Travel – “Sure, you slingshot around the sun, pick up enough speed you're in time warp. If you don't, you're fried.”
• Whales – A pair of Humpback whales from Earth in 1986 can talk to the probe and send it on its merry way.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier:
• Sybok – Spock’s half-brother, hey who knew?
• Sha Kha Rhee – The Vulcan word for GOD, so GOD is trapped on a planet that lies in the center of the Galaxy. You know I thought there was a super massive black hole there, not a strange looking glowing blue planet, where nothing grows and GOD just chills there, with “deleted scenes, Rock Men;” Right...
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country:
• Federation/Klingon Peace talks – in the TOS era, well I guess that is a cool idea, it tied into the TNG show pretty good, and it was a nice send off the original cast.
• Bird of Prey (prototype) – A Bird of Prey that can fire torpedoes while cloaked, they never even did that in the TNG, almost 100 years in the future.
Star Trek VII: Generations:
• Nexus – An unknown energy ribbon that bends space/time so much that when in the ribbon space/time/place/even being, do not matter, call it a dream like reality that can become anything you want.
• Kirk in the 24 Century – Yeah Spock/McCoy/Scotty are all here, so why not Kirk, oh wait, let’s not tell any of them what happened after the fact.
• Generations – Generations sucked for the most part, it would have only worked if they had the future TOS players come for an epic funeral at the end of Generations or make Star Trek VIII based on William’s Shatner’s book, “Star Trek: The Return”
5) Alternate Timelines: Star Trek fans are upset thinking that what has happened in the new “Star Trek (2009)” film is what is now going on, this is not the case. The TOS/TNG 24th Century is moving along on its merry way. Vulcan is still there, Pike commands two 5-year missions before Kirk assumes command. Spock still dies at the end of the “Wrath of Kahn.”
This is an “Alternative timeline.” It is separate from what we all know, this is why there are so many changes in characterization/technology/timelines. Spock & Nero did not time travel to the past on their own accord. The time travel device that was used was an artificial black hole made by “The Red Matter.” Therefore all the properties that are associated with what we know as black holes/singularities/time travel within the confines of Star Trek lore are different.
I have a theory about timelines, especially within science fiction stories. Nero went in first, he ended up on the day of Kirk’s birthday, attacks the USS Kelvin, which is way way out gunned. Kirk’s father sacrifices himself to save what is left of the crew. The USS Kelvin probably wouldn’t even have been in the area unless they were dispatched by Starfleet to monitor the spatial-anomaly.
This “Red Matter” material punched a hole so hard into space/time that it opened up a rift to another dimension that was very close to the one they were in, this happens in Star Trek all the time, just this time we didn’t get to see it, so everyone is roaring about it.
It’s explained in the prequel comic series but not enough in the film. This event, changes everything. This is the single starting point of the story and where things change.” From the point that Nero’s ship comes through the singularity, space/time tries to correct the problem time and time again, like it is its own character. It is like an unseen force in this movie. Over and over again we seen things that are familiar but yet, different.
The USS Enterprise being built in Iowa, not in SF. Pike recruits Kirk to join Starfleet. In the TOS Menagerie: Part 1 Kirk says he has never physically met Captain Pike, but yet, in the movie Pike recruits Kirk to join Starfleet. Even Scotty being on the Ice World could be explained by Nero’s coming and destroying of the USS Kelvin.
Spock is stuck in this alternate timeline as well. All the “Red Matter” that was accumulated was destroyed during Nero’s last minutes. Nero could still be alive though, we never actually see him die, it is assumed he dies, but a man as hell bent on revenge and using Borg Technology can do a great many things. I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow he could be brought back in a future installment or an installment that fixes all the changes.
Space/Time attempts to correct the singularity in several ways. Bringing the USS Enterprise, Pike, Kirk, Spock, Spock (Prime), McCoy, & Uhura together in the same place at the same time. Regardless if the writers are the ones pulling the strings, they are. It is just another “thing” I can use to say, “look, when it is all over with, things are almost as they should be.”
Kirk is Captain, all the senior USS Enterprise staff is there. Captain Pike is in a wheel chair. It just happens way sooner than it was supposed to and in a different way. The only way it could have ended was with Nero’s ship being destroyed.
Space/Time started putting the pieces together as soon as the ship appears. One could argue that the USS Kelvin’s appearance where Nero appears is all part of the motion to correct the singularity. Kind of like how in “Final Destination” Death keeps trying to kill the people that were supposed to die in the plane crash.
This is a common theme in Star Trek (2009) and in most sci/fi time travel pieces. However, what about the V’ger/Nero connection? What about V’ger? Star Trek (2009) really opens a Pandora’s box of new possibilities considering where/how/what V’ger does in this timeline and does V’ger know of the prime timeline? All these things could be explored, but will they choose to explore these idea in older plots/characters or do stray even farther from Star Trek and more into Fast & Furious territory of senseless, unrealistic action followed by poor characterization?
Star Trek (2009)