New Star Trek Movie Takes Place In Alternate Timeline

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old new ncc 1701 New Star Trek Movie Takes Place In Alternate Timeline

Man… I love it when I’m right – and this makes twice in one week for me. icon razz New Star Trek Movie Takes Place In Alternate Timeline

Over the course of the last few weeks I’ve read small comments by Roberto Orci over at the TrekMovie site which led me to believe that yes, Star Trek “canon” issues (how this film fits into the overall Star Trek history) would be addressed in the new movie.

Today we not only confirmation of that – but exactly HOW these apparent inconsistencies will be addressed.

In an discussion over at TrekMovie, Anthony (who runs the site) finally asked the question that Trekkies have been wanting the answer to:

“OK, now let’s get really into it… the big question is: Is the destruction of the Kelvin, the canon reason why everything is different?”

Will the following answer be satisfying? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. I’ll include bits and pieces of the interview, you can head over to TrekMovie for the whole thing (which is quite long and technical and will be a joy to read for real Star Trek fans).

Roberto Orci: It is the reason why some things are different, but not everything is different. Not everything is inconsistent with what might have actually happened, in canon. Some of the things that seem that they are totally different, I will argue, once the film comes out, fall well within what could have been the non-time travel version of this move. So, for example, Kirk is different, because his back story has totally changed, in that his parents…and all that. But you are saying that maybe Scotty or Spock’s back story would not be affected by that change?

Roberto Orci: Right.

Anthony: Does the time travel explain why the Enterprise looks different and why it is being built in Riverside Iowa? Yes, and yes.

So J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie takes place in/creates an alternate timeline/version of the Trek universe we know and love. He talks a lot about quantum physics and the new way of viewing time travel (if it were actually possible). According to Orci, the old time travel paradox question of whether you can go back and kill your own grandfather has been answered – and the answer is: Yes.

The idea is that event would exist in an alternate timeline in which you would never be born. In that timeline you’re a guy who came from nowhere and killed the man who was to be your grandfather. In that timeline you will never exist. According to this theory there is NO WAY to go back in time and change events that will affect the timeline you started from.

The problem with even this explanation is that it goes against what has been established in previous Star Trek episodes and movies: In prior Trek time travel DOES repair problems and the crew returns to the “fixed” future they left. Examples of this include the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” where a starship was sent back to fight a crucial battle and it set the existing timeline straight, and the film “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” where Kirk and Co. went back in time to bring humpback whales back to the future to avert the destruction of humanity.

The reasoning given is that at the time those were filmed there was a different view of time travel. Actually the version of time travel they’re using in the new film goes all the way back (in movies, anyway) to the first Back to the Future film, where Dr. Brown explains the splitting off of an alternate timeline to Marty as a possibility if something went wrong.

Anyway, here’s the summary of the whole thing in bullet point form:

  • Q: Why do some things appear different in the new Star Trek movie?
  • A: There is an alternative timeline created by Nero traveling back in time.
  • Q: Is everything different in the alternative timeline?
  • A: No, some things remain the same.
  • Q: Does this alternative timeline wipe out the original timeline (from TOS – Nemesis)?
  • A: No, quantum theory says they both co-exist.
  • Q: Does the original timeline continue?
  • A: Yes, again as explained by quantum theory.
  • Q: Does this quantum theory approach conform to ‘Trek science?’
  • A: Depends on the episode, but it is explicitly cited by Data in the episode “Parallels.”

So there you have it. What do you think? Are you satisfied with this explanation of why and how they were able to update and change things in the movie?

Star Trek opens on May 8, 2009

Source: TrekMovie via AICN

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  1. Can’t all these time lines just get along? Can’t we all be friends, these shows and movies are about 2 things. The human condition and the history of our future. And from the words of Dr. Emmett Brown, “the future isnt written, it’s what we make of it”

  2. I really hate that Hollywood is taking so many good series and destroying them to make new ones. The take an American hero icon Mr. Phelps and have him go bad of Tom Cruise can be the hero. Now Star Trek. They need to fix the time line. Why do they have to destroy everything that Star Trek fans have come to love in order to make these new actor the heros. There is still a lot of room to do what they want with the original time line. There are also major problems with not fixing the time line.

    1. In STE, they revealed the guardians of the time line. Where are they?

    2. As soon as the time line reaches the point where they go back in time to destroy Vulcan, their planet is not destroyed this time, or if it is, it won’t be Spock’s fault, so they don’t go back and the time line will correct itself.

  3. So they say that Nero going back to the past and confronting the Kelvin is what changed the timeline and allowed for Vulcan’s sky to be blue instead of red, for the Enterprise to be built on land instead of space, for there to suddenly be brands like Nokia and Budweiser in a future where no one uses money, etc. But if that was the case, why was Kirk’s mother on the Kelvin to begin with? She should have been back in Iowa where the Kirk of the original, pre-Nero timeline was born, right?

  4. I think the problem started with having a director more dedicated to Star Wars then StarTrek. Also they were simply not interested in following a fixes story but to do with what they want. Th most funny thing is when you consider that an new guy just out of the academy is given the command of the federation flagship.

    Also hos does being in a different timeline make the characters age equvalent to each other so that they were at the academy at the same time.

  5. Fuh … done it. Installed Samsung Universal driver and windows 8 considered
    it better driver, though it never operated. It can be erased trough the Control panel -) Programs and something.
    After that just adhere to Aaron information.
    Fun … Thanks !!! ).

  6. well… as per the 2013 movie, Future spock is still in the alternate timeline although he isn’t really doing anything.
    Maybe he’s preparing to reset the entire fiasco started by Nero.

    Imagine the next Star Trek movie (after the 2013 one ofcourse) might showcase future Spock to collaborate his past Spock, to prevent this timeline from ever happening.
    Thereby resetting the universe so that Future Spock may return to his original timeline.
    Well… in a sense, that’s the only way Future Spock can return to his timeline (unless he can jump timelines, which as per Star Trek history can happen with only one other timeline and that is the timelines where everyone is kinda evil).
    So, he’s basically trapped here for now.

    Now, getting ahead of myself but imagine on the original timeline, Spock has gone in the past chasing Nero and the crew is doing their best to get him back amidst their own chaos cuz somehow they’re trapped in a cronoton bubble and arent affected by the timeline changes.
    Then Spock restores the timeline, returns to the original timeline and they clean up whatever mess they’re in.
    I think that could make for an awesome movie. Old and New Star Trek fans alike

  7. A timeline shift caused by Romulans cannot describe what we experience in the new Trek franchise. The computers on the USS Kelvin were already markedly different than those of the TOS Enterprise – in a way that doesn’t fit aesthetically with the classic timeframe. Obviously this is because the filmmakers wanted to market to today’s audience, because nobody wants to pretend that four rocker switches and some Christmas Tree lights are very effective or informative. But within the world of ST, the difference can’t be explained by the Romulans. Also, in the second movie, Khan is obviously quite different. Not to mention all of the characters look different in both movies, especially Scotty and Chekov. Again, that’s a matter of practicality, it had to be re-cast. (And the new cast was wonderfully picked.) But to pretend these are the same guys from the original franchise pushes my suspension of disbelief way too far.

    An parallel universe Trek, however, is a different matter. In Quantum Physics it is suspected that there are countless parallel realities… Some in which I may look exactly the same, but in others perhaps I look different. I may also look the same and have a different name. And so on. Each reality has its own timeline of events.

    So there are two ways to look at the new Trek franchise:

    1) The re-imagined Trek is a franchise remake, plane and simple. In this view it has nothing at all to do with the original Trek franchise. Nimoy’s presence as “old Spock” means he is playing the old Spock from the remade universe (albeit from an alternate timeline), not the original universe.

    2) The re-imagined Trek is an alternate universe entirely, not just an altered timeline which is different. It’s a place where technology, people and events are all shifted around. The Romulans did NOT cause it – rather, the black hole caused it. The black hole took Spock and the Romulans into a parallel universe AND back in time, simultaneously.

    I tend to like #1 better because it’s nice and clean. You can watch Abrams’ two movies without knowing anything about the original Trek and it holds up just fine. A remake is a remake.

  8. Seen all star trek series apart from Enterprise which was confusing. Seen all movies. And when someone told me after watching Into The Darkness that it was a different timeline Iv said wtf. Why ruin it all with this new timeline. The new movies are not good as it is too many special effects not really believable to fast telling a story. It is like star wars you go back and make a hash of things that should be left alone and not turned into comedies.

  9. I became fairly excited upon seeing this then saw it was written five years ago. Still a good read.