Seven cool things about the Star Trek universe we hope to see in the new movie.
The long-awaited new “reboot” of the Star Trek franchise opens in just 30 days (Update: Read our review of the new film here) and the previews growing ever more pervasive on television and online have just begun to reveal the new film’s rollicking story. We expect that’ll continue up until its opening, but in the meantime – being somewhat neophyte Trekkers ourselves – we’ve come up with a list of people, places, and things we’d like to see shown or at least visually referenced. Each one, we think, could ramp up the cool factor even further.
The following list isn’t in any particular order, and we apologize in advance for any gaps in our knowledge. These are ideas and concepts we’ve come across over the years, and we’ve taken what we could from Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki, to fill in the blanks. Also, what’s below doesn’t necessarily include everything from the semi- and non-canonical expanded universe of Trek novels, video games, comic books, cartoons, and role playing games. We’ve barely dipped a toe into that ocean.
The Battle of Cheron and the defeat of the Romulan Star Empire: The Romulans (like Mr. Spock’s Vulcans, but craftier and far more malicious) are the bad guys of the new film, but in Star Trek continuity Earth and its allies fought a long and mutually devastating war with their vast Star Empire a century before. Little is known about this conflict’s climactic battle except that the defeat was a humiliating loss for the Romulans and directly led to the formation of the Unied Federation of Planets.
If other franchises like Star Wars and Battlestar: Galactica have anything on Star Trek, it’s a well-known space battle. Showing such an event as a Midway-in-space-style slugfest would fix that once and for all.
Robert April, the Enterprise‘s “first” captain: When Gene Roddenberry wrote the first Star Trek treatment for MGM in 1964, the ship was called the Yorktown and was captained by Robert April, a part reportedly meant for Jack Lord or Lloyd Bridges, among others. Over the years a number of canonical and non-canonical sources have incorporated and fleshed out April’s character, establishing his British heritage and giving him a more militaristic bearing than his successors Christopher Pike (played in the new movie by Bruce Greenwood) and James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). Seeing this earliest of Star Trek creations, possibly in his later career as an ambassador, would make a great tribute to the mid-20th Century bravado of the original series.
The legacy of Star Trek: Enterprise: Probably the least-loved of the six series, Enterprise was nevertheless exciting and remarkably well-acted TV sci-fi. Especially in its second two seasons, when its storylines and tone took smarter but markedly darker turns, the prequel series offered multi-episode arcs that settled a lot of long-running fan debates while also fixing inconsistencies in the overarching Trek timeline and universe. And it managed all that while still remaining the most action-oriented Trek yet.
Honestly, we expect this black sheep of the Trek franchises to get short shrift in the movie, but it deserves some kind of acknowledgement for its efforts to explain the backstory of every series set after it.
Gary Mitchell, Captain Kirk’s best friend: The pilot to the original series featured helmsman (and possible First Officer) Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell, Kirk’s buddy from their days at Starfleet Academy and as wily an officer as Kirk himself. Driven mad from psychic powers gained on a world at the edge of known space, he attempted to kill Kirk and the Enterprise’s crew before meeting his own death at Kirk’s hands. Mitchell was played by Gary Lockwood, who two years later starred as the astronaut murdered by the HAL-9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
There’s no mention of a Lockwood character in IMDB’s listing of the new film’s cast, which is kind of a shame. Introducing a character that died in the series’ first episode would have lent a grim in-joke to the crew’s “first” adventure, if indeed the new film works as a prequel to the 1960′s series.
Andorians, the warlike anti-Vulcans: Blue-skinned inhabitants of a frozen moon that orbits a ringed gas giant, Andorians are fiery-tempered warriors who pride themselves on letting emotions guide their decisions. The historical enemies of the dispassionate Vulcans (who live on a world of deserts and volcanoes), they were among Earth’s strongest allies in the war with the Romulans and then later a founding member of the Federation.
They’re also among the most prominent aliens in the Trek galaxy, appearing in all its three time periods. It almost wouldn’t be the same without one or two of them manning a station aboard the Enterprise or filling in the ranks at Starfleet Command. And speaking of cool alien races…
Caitians, the Federation’s cat-people: One of two feline-derived species in the expanded, non-canon universe, Caitians were also briefly glimpsed in the gallery shown at the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Various stories and sourcebooks published over the last two decades describe them, somewhat ironically, as a peaceful, vegetarian, and spiritual people who value loyalty above all else.
An interplanetary civilization like the Federation can’t have too many aliens interacting with humans. And cat-people are cool by definition.
The Neutral Zone, the no-man’s land between Federation and Romulan space: Part of the bitter peace created at the end of the Earth-Romulan War, the Neutral Zone was established as a no-fly zone between the two warring powers. That didn’t stop both sides from heavily fortifying their boundaries, with the new Federation building massive stellar fortresses out of hollowed-out asteroids towed into formation for that purpose.
Actually, of everything on this list we give the Neutral Zone the best odds of making an appearance. Not for nothing, but the Zone and the Romulan Star Empire were introduced in the episode ”Balance of Terror,” considered by many (including series creator Gene Roddenberry) to be among the best of the original series.
Star Trek opens nationwide May 7, with international release dates varying through that week.
- Michael Kabel