The famous Star Trek franchise has garnered millions of fans around the world since good old 1966, when the original series starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy debuted. It is well deserved, of course. No other franchise has quite the combination of entertainment value, crazy plots, hilarious fight scenes, overuse of foundation, and overacting that the original series proudly boasted. Just like any awesome franchise’s fan base, Trekkies have come up with some pretty bizarre fan theories about the Star Trek universe and its many storylines and incarnations, from its various televisions series to the film adaptations.
From franchise crossovers to modern metaphors to religious tie-ins, these fan theories will leave you wondering… Could that really happen? Did that really happen? We’re well aware that while some of these fan theories are totally believable and probable, some of the others are completely insane and improbable. Regardless, they are entertaining!
Check out The 15 Craziest Star Trek Fan Theories.
15. Spock is a Descendant of Sherlock Holmes
This fan theory seems to be a pretty common one, so let’s get it out of the way. Spock is a Vulcan, a race of people that are cold, calculating, and relatively free of emotions. Spock in particular is different than much of his race, in that he does experience some pretty vulnerable moments of humanity. Sherlock Holmes, the famous sleuth character developed by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has displayed similar characteristics over the years. In fact, since Holmes is partly based on Doyle himself, many fans believe that Spock is a descendant of either the character or the author.
It could be a real possibility. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Spock himself says, “An ancestor of mine maintained that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” This little tidbit is a canon quote directly from a Sherlock Holmes novel. Put two and two together, and Sherlock Holmes (or Arthur Conan Doyle himself) could just be Spock’s great-great-great-great-etc grandfather. Of course, since Holmes is often portrayed by an actor with great cheekbones, it would make more sense that Spock would be related to him. Congrats on those genes, Spock.
14. Starfleet is part of a military dictatorship
This theory is very believable, given what we do know about the United Federation of Planets.
The Federation is what appears to be a utopian future version of the United Nations. However, there were several instances where Kirk blatantly disregarded an order from the Federation because it was downright harmful. And when you think about it, an intergalactic group of fascists trying to collect taxes from planets they “own” would definitely be interested in using a “service” like the Starfleet to travel to unexplored planets and gentrify, colonize, and rob the living crap out of aliens. Why else would they be embarking on a “five year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before“? For science? For peace? Or for power?
Thinking of the Starfleet as a privatized military is kind of a bummer, but at least the Starship Enterprise is full of level-headed, decent people that aren’t afraid to disobey potentially dangerous orders from the Federation.
13. Calculators don’t exist
On a lighter note, the original series’ Communicators looked more like something we’d put cute charms on and text our buddies with in middle school. And if the Communicators looked a little goofy, imagine what the Star Trek universe’s calculators would look like? We’ll never know– they don’t seem to exist in the future.
The crew of the Enterprise used something called an E6B, a device that looks and functions like an obsolete slide rule. What could the point be in using such an archaic form of computing several centuries in the future, with nothing but super-advanced technology around them? Some fans suggest that human beings in the Star Trek universe just never invented calculators. Or computers. Or iPhones with calculating capabilities. Other fans believe that the old computing device is used to double check the equations and formulas that the advanced Enterprise computers have already done, to avoid any chance of error.
12. John Harrison is based on Osama Bin Laden
Star Trek, in all of its media forms, has been known for its political satire and commentary. In the 2013 film Into Darkness, Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a trained terrorist that was essentially manufactured by Section 31, the enigmatic and shady section of Starfleet. Starfleet planned to start a war with the Klingon Empire and were going to use Harrison in their battles. Similarly, Osama Bin Laden was trained by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War to be a terrorist soldier against the Soviet Union. Like Harrison, he went rogue, and started his own group called al-Qaeda and waged his own war against the U.S.
The similarities between the two are hard to ignore, and this theory kind of goes hand-in-hand with the theory that Starfleet is a military dictatorship. The Klingons were a clear representation of the Soviet Union throughout the franchise, so is this really that far out there?
11. Nibiru’s aliens are based on Scientology beliefs
L. Ron Hubbard wrote some interesting science fiction works back in the day that were fairly similar to the universe of Star Trek. While Hubbard went on to found the religion of Scientology, Gene Roddenberry didn’t have the same luck.
In J.J. Abrams’ Into Darkness (Abrams was also a Scientology fan once upon a time), the crew of the Enterprise go on a mission to prevent the planet Nibiru’s catastrophic volcano from erupting and wiping out all of the living things on the planet. The primitive inhabitants of Nibiru witness this rescue and record the event via ancient markings. Kirk is reprimanded for exposing the still-developing planet to foreign technology and effectively flipping their world upside down.
Much of Scientology’s dogma comes from a mythos similar to this. Also, many Scientologists believe that an apocalyptic event similar to Nibiru’s will happen to us in this century. That’s quite a similarity, and judging by Abrams’ past hobbies, it very well could have been intentional.
10. India and China were destroyed by Khan
Could this be why there are so few Indian and Chinese characters in the Star Trek universe?
World War III is referenced several times throughout the Star Trek universe, but much of the information about it is ambiguous or conflicting. A common theme surrounding this history is that it was tragic, ugly, and occurred long before space travel was a thing.
A popular fan theory states that there are less than six Chinese or Indian characters across all of Star Trek‘s television shows, and what few Asian characters appear on the shows are either Japanese or from America. This is strange indeed, especially because both countries have an enormous population. An explanation that accompanies this theory is that Khan, who dominated most of the Asian continent, implemented eugenics experiments to the point that they nearly wiped out much of the two countries’ native cultures. With an already weakened population, it would make sense that India and China would have been easily wiped out during World War III’s nuclear attacks.
9. The V’Ger and The Borg Are Connected
This theory is one of few that have been officially confirmed by Star Trek’s creator Gene Roddenberry. Indeed, the ones to modify the Voyager probe into V’Ger were the Borg. Nero also confirms this theory.
The Borg are an alien race composed of a hodgepodge of various species that have become cybernetic organisms built around a hive mind called the Collective. The Borg assimilate other species into their hive by injecting them with nanoprobes and implanting robotic parts into their bodies. The Borg are perfectionists, operating under the belief that assimilation is necessary to better the universe and its inhabitants.
There was much speculation that the Borg and the V’ger, a vessel containing a sentient being that evolved from Voyager 6 found in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, were somehow connected. Suspicions were at an all-time high when, upon finding the vessel, Spock famously says “Any show of resistance would be futile, Captain.” The “resistance is futile” line comes from the Borg.
8. Captain Kirk made Humpback whales go extinct on Earth
What did whales ever do to you, Kirk?!
This fan theory has been present for quite a while and is sort of probable. Thanks to whaling in real life, the humpback whale population has been dwindling violently for centuries. (Thankfully, these beauties are now increasing in population.) When the original Star Trek series came out, however only a couple thousand humpback whales remained alive. In the show, though, the species had been long extinct.
In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the Enterprise drags a Klingon ship to Earth. At the time, the planet was being attacked by an alien probe. In order to stop the attack, the only chance the crew has is to travel back in time to 1986 to find two humpback whales (and a marine biologist) and bring them back to the future. Messing with these whales and the biologist trying to preserve them caused a sort of butterfly effect that led to the species going extinct in the future. Way to go, Kirk.
7. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is a compulsive liar
Theory merges with character opinion for this theory surrounding Captain Jean-Luc Picard, as played by Patrick Stewart. Picard is the star of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent features films, and he serves as the captain of the USS Enterprise. The belief is that Picard, while a one of the series’ very best captains, is a complete and total pathological liar. Everything he says, the way he speaks, and his actions are all done for the sole purpose of impressing people in a sociopathic manner.
Picard’s apparent love for Shakespeare is an example. He talks a lot about the playwright but apparently has next to no knowledge of his works sans some well-known quotes. He also has a vast collection of detective novels and an entire holodeck based on detective pulp mysteries, but admits later on that he’s never read them. Picard’s use of curse words and lack of integrity toward the things he’s seemingly passionate about is not only strange, but a little bit unnerving.
6. Star Trek was created by George McFly
Yes, the George McFly from Back To The Future. Bear with us.
Who doesn’t love a good cross-genre theory? George McFly, the father of Back To The Future‘s Marty McFly, becomes a famous science fiction writer later in his life. Back in time, when he is visited by an “alien” (Marty), he is rudely awakened by the musical stylings of Van Halen, which in all honesty probably sounded horrifyingly foreign at the time. Marty confronts him, claiming to be “Darth Vader, an extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan” and threatens to melt his brain if he doesn’t ask Lorraine (Marty’s mother) out. The theory states that after this traumatic event, the encounter inspires George McFly to write novels that eventually inspire the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises that would be released in 1966 and 1977, respectively.
5. The events of Star Trek are holodeck program “dreams”
Let’s hope this fan theory isn’t actually true, or else our beloved Star Trek has fallen victim to the most overused and annoying cinematic trope to ever exist: Everything is just a dream. Or a holodeck projection, apparently.
There exists a theory, a quite depressing one, that predicts that all of the events that have transpired aboard the Enterprise were simply a series of intense holodeck programs. Some fans believe it existed for the purpose of training or to be an entertaining interactive story. Others believe that Zefram Cochrane was never able to successfully create an operating warp drive, and in his depressed failure, decided to exist for the rest of his life as the spectator of a detailed holodeck program. This would mean that everything we’ve seen in Star Trek, every character we’ve come to love, every defeat, every victory, and every witty one-liner was just the fictional creation of a deluded and miserable failed engineer.
4. Klingons experimented with genetic mutation
Let’s be honest. When Star Trek premiered, it was a very low budget production, even for its time. When we first encountered the Klingon race on the show, they barely looked like an alien race, but rather some humanoid characters with a bit more makeup on. (And that’s saying a lot.) Once Star Trek started making more money, the creatives behind the show began to invest in special effects, professional makeup artists, and other things that would make the Star Trek universe look way more legitimate and cool. In doing so, the Klingons were drastically changed into aggressive, battle-ready villains with ridged foreheads and sharp teeth.
There really was no need to come up with an excuse for the change, but fans decided to create a theory that the Klingons’ physical change was due to an experiment with genetic mutation gone wrong that affected the whole race. The franchise’s producers thought the theory was pretty cool, so they made it canon.
3. Sha Ka Ree (Vulcan god) is actually the biblical God
This theory gets a little dark.
In the not-so-great Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, we learn about the Vulcan god Sha Ka Ree. Sha Ka Ree, or rather a very convincing impersonator, lures the Enterprise to a planet directly at the center of the galaxy under the guise of the god in order to steal their ship and escape.
It’s very obvious that the guy was a fake, but some fans theorize that the being was actually a supreme being of the highest celestial order. Specifically, the Earth god of the Abrahamic religions, from the Bible, good old Yahweh himself. The fire and brimstone, big, aggressive Old Testament God, to be specific. There was supposedly a lot of symbolism behind this God and his ultimate death at the hands of Spock at the end of the film– Science had successfully “killed” religion.
2. The Star Trek Universe is trying to fix itself
The 2009 Star Trek movie was the bomb, sure, but there’s also a theory out there that asserts that the universe is trying to repair itself after the alternate timeline was created.
The theory states that the universe is constantly correcting itself, and the events of Star Trek are no exception. When Nero destroyed the planet Vulcan, the universe began to piece things together in a specific way to protect its natural order. It does so by putting the Enterprise crew together to defeat Nero and restore the natural timeline.
This makes little sense, sure. But it is rumored that the theory also almost made it into the final cut of the movie. The unfilmed scene would have shown Kirk and old Spock on the frozen planet, and Spock would have explained (hopefully in better detail) that the universe is trying to correct Nero’s mistakes and restore the natural order. This would have been interesting, because that would mean that the universe is much more of a living thing — dare we say, godlike — than we believe.
1. The Real Reason The Eugenics Wars Didn’t Happen In The ’90s
This theory has so many “maybes” and “ifs” that it might as well just wobble to the ground. However, some fans really hold onto this theory. It is supposed to serve as an explanation as to why the Eugenics Wars didn’t happen and why Khan didn’t take over the planet.
In the original series episode “A City on the Edge of Forever”, Kirk and Spock travel back in time to the 1930s to fix something that McCoy screwed up when he time-traveled there earlier. Kirk then falls for a woman named Edith, and eventually finds out that they have to kill her in order to correct the natural timeline. When McCoy traveled there, he saved Edith from being hit by a car, and it caused a serious butterfly effect in which the pacifist Edith goes to the U.S., starts a political movement, the U.S. doesn’t enter WWII, and Nazi Germany takes over the world. Pretty nuts, right? They of course kill her, but we find out that another man died in that storyline who might have prevented the Eugenics Wars. In the corrected timeline, he survives, prevents the genetic engineering projects, and the Eugenics Wars don’t happen in the ’90s.
What’s the craziest Trek theory that you’ve ever heard? Will any of the theories listed above be proven true? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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