How the new Trek movie relates to previous Trek

Given how some people seem to not fully understand how the new Star Trek movie fits in with all other things Trek, I think it is appropriate to write a little about this.

Since the new movie has come out, I’ve heard various things.  For example, I’ve heard some say that this ruins all Trek given what happens in the movie.  Others have said that this finally explains how Kirk and Spock (and company) meet up.

Really, both are wrong!  This does not ruin anything, and it also does not show us how anyone met anyone.  At this point, I’d like to bring in a diagram to help show what I mean. [Picture used with permission from TerryN. Their original post is here.]

How the new movie affects the Trek timeline
How the new movie affects the Trek timeline

I think that picture definitely helps with explaining how the new movie’s timeline affects (or rather, does not affect) what is already established.

The events of Star Trek: Enterprise remain.  The deviation occurs prior to what would have been the original Star Trek series.  The difference is caused by Nero, commanding the Narada, falling through the black hole and encountering the USS Kelvin.  From that point on, everything else was happening in an alternate timeline.  (Which, coincidentally enough, is all but 2 minutes of the movie!)

Am I (or others) just making this up? Nope!  The dialogue was said on screen, in the movie, between Uhura and Spock.  If you don’t believe me, go watch the movie again.

So, did this new movie ruin previous Trek?  Did it tell us the hidden truth behind Kirk and Spock’s friendship?  Did it show how the crew found themselves together on the Enterprise?

Nope!

Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone say one of the things above.  It may help them better understand the movie (and any future ones that may come from JJ Abrams).

New Enterprise = Not Your Father’s Starship

I just came across an interesting article about the new Star Trek movie and the various visual effects.  I had found that article through this page, which I got from @mexijew’s tweet.

One thing that stuck out for me: the new Enterprise is 2,357 feet long.  That is roughly 718 meters.  That makes it longer than the Enterprise-E!

Is that a trivial point? Maybe.  It definitely means a few things, at least from my view point:

  1. The events in the alternate timeline of the new movie (we’ll call it the JJ-verse), following the destruction of the USS Kelvin (where the divergence occurs), apparently lead to Starfleet making things bigger.  Perhaps this was in response to the large ship that destroyed the Kelvin in the first place.
  2. It is quite possible that, if we are to say that the TOS we know, for the most part, would have lived on if not for Nero’s interruption, that Starfleet would normally have went with more compact designs.  This would explain the smaller Constitution-class ship we have all come to know and love from the original series.
  3. The impact of the Kelvin’s destruction did more than just affect Kirk, but many other things as well.  Seeing the Kelvin destroyed at the beginning of the film was something that lead to many changes from what we currently see.  Not only did it affect how the crew got together, but it could very well have changed Starfleet’s entire way of viewing things.

Of course, in the opening scenes, we see a much more modern looking Kelvin.  It is easy to say, “Yes, it was just a movie, and JJ Abrams wanted things bigger.”  That could be true.  After all, George Kirk apparently saved over 800 lives from the Kelvin, which outnumbers even the original Enterprise’s crew compliment of 400-something.

Given that, while the new Enterprise may be bigger due to the Kelvin’s destruction, I do not imagine the Kelvin itself being a large vessel.  Rather, to explain the number of people on board, I have to ask what the ship was doing prior to the movie.  Did they just rescue people from some catastrophe, perhaps?

Whatever the case, I think this is something that may be analyzed for some time.  I know that, given my level of geekness, I’ll probably be trying to make this new movie fit into Star Trek’s canon in some way, despite the fact that I don’t view it as a Trek movie.  This film was a great movie in its own right.  But it definitely means a new start for Star Trek, especially since there is now a whole new timeline to explore.

What were your views on the changes brought about by the new movie?

Update: I was given the following by @TheWillEd, and I think it’s worth adding to this post.

The difference in people on Kelvin vs Enterprise is explained relatively easier I believe. The Enterprise (TOS Era) was a war vessel with no families allowed on the vessel. While the Kelvin seemed to be more of an Exploration/Scientific vessel. This would mean that there’d be the standard staff for operation of the vessel (which may go upwards around the 400 range) with the addition of the science crew, and potentially families as well(with the inclusion of George Kirk’s pregnant wife… whom was never indicated if she had any involvement in Starfleet.) While it may not be an actual indicator, I like to believe that the fact that the primary uniform colour of blue on the Kelvin would be indicative of this.