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Watch This: Bye-Bye Enterprise, Cumberbatch a Klingon?, and Other Reactions to New Star Trek Trailer

UPDATE: 5/19/2013-The movie is out now.  Head here to check out our spoiler-free review.

UPDATE: 5/2/2013 – The massive ship piloted by Cumberbatch in the trailer has a name.  That name?  The U.S.S. Vengeance.  I guess the U.S.S. Wrath and U.S.S. Retribution were taken, and the U.S.S. Khan was too on the nose.

Here is the part where I say stuff and you wait for it to end so you can get to watching the video.  Well, I think that about covers it then.  Here is the final theatrical trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness:

From the 1 minute, 15 second mark, what the hell is this?

Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-huge-reveal
Good Enterprise on left, the Big, Bad Evil Enterprise on right

Tor.com is arguing the giant black ship, which Benedict Cumberbatch captains in the trailer, looks an awful lot like the Enterprise E, i.e., the version of the Enterprise used by the Next Generation crew in the films Star Trek: First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis.  This doesn’t necessarily mean it is the Enterprise E, but the design similarities suggest it could be an Enterprise from the Mirror Universe.  I don’t know about all that.  Frankly, I’ve always thought the various star ships in Star Trek look pretty similar – saucer-shaped primary hull connected to a narrow or fat body supported by two elongated jet propulsion-esque parts called warp nacelles.  That describes more than just the Enterprise in the Star Trek universe.   However, there is a definite similarity here which is likely intentional.  It creates an effective, almost comedic juxtaposition in how out-gunned Kirk & company are going to be in their fight against not-Khan-but-probably-is-Khan.

The last time we saw Khan in the Star Trek universe (in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan) he was on the deck of the Enterprise USS Reliant, a Federation starship he had commandeered in his plot for revenge against Kirk.  Cumberbatch’s villain in the new movie happens to have a ship which looks an awful lot like a Federation starship, albeit a hybrid one.  Doesn’t mean he will turn out to be Khan, of course.  Just something I thought I’d point out.

At the 1 minute, 56 second mark of the trailer Simon Pegg’s Scotty indicates the Enterprise might be destroyed or made unusable, likely as a result of Cumberbatch’s “You call that a ship?  Now, this, this is a ship!” battle advantage.  If such a thing does come to pass, it won’t be the first time the Enterprise has been destroyed in one of the movies or tv shows.  Below is not a list of every single version of the various starships to be called Enterprise in Star Trek, but instead a list of those which we have actually seen destroyed in battle:

NCC-1701
NCC-1701

The ship survived a bald woman (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and a bare-chested Ricardo Montalban (Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan) but could not make it past Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock).

NCC-1701-C
NCC-1701-C

Oh, Enterprise C, we hardly knew ya.  You showed up in the Next Generation episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” in which you, too, were destroyed in battle with the Klingons.

NCC-1701-D
NCC-1701-D

We followed you through seven seasons of Next Generation and waited patiently during the speech-y Star Trek: Generations only to see you destroyed in battle with the Klingons. As the Simpsons version of Captain Kirk once said in a parody of Star Trek, “[exasperated sigh] Again with the Klingons?”

So, the Klingons have been behind every destruction of the Enterprise in the Star Trek universe, and the Enterprise appears likely to perish in the new film. You know what this means? Cumberbatch’s character in Into Darkness must be a Klingon.  Granted, he does not look like a traditional Klingon, but that hasn’t stopped Star Trek before:

Klingons_Star_Trek_TOS
Original Series version of Klingons
Next Generation and all spin-offs' version of Klingons.  This is Worf.  He is not a merry man.
Next Generation and all spin-offs’ version of Klingons. This is Worf. He is not a merry man.

Okay.  I am only kind of joking, but I may actually be right.  As I was writing this article Hollywood.com published a very thorough argument that Cumberbatch’s character in the new movie is either a Klingon or aligned with the Klingons, who we see in the trailer as the anonymous foot soldiers wearing the shiny helmets. Check it out here.  The following is my summation of their argument:

1. In the original continuity, Klingons naturally look like Worf, pictured above.  However, in response to human genetic testing they uncovered and interpreted as a threat they began experimenting with splicing Klingon and human DNA to produce deep-cover agents who could infiltrate Starfleet.  The experiments, although initially successful, morphed into a virus which affected the entire Klingon community.  By the time of the Original Series, most if not all Klingons looked human.  This negated the intent to place deep cover agents as there is no element of disguise when all Klingons look human.  At some point between the Original Series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture the Klingons were able to reverse the effect.

2. What if in the new J.J. Abrams continuity the Klingons genetic experiments were successful but did not produce a virus?  What if the John Harrison character played by Cumberbatch is actually a Klingon in deep cover in Starfleet?  The trailer indicates Harrison might be working in alliance with the Klingons, but what if he is actually one of them?

If you consider the Abrams films tied to the continuity of the TV shows and prior films then actions from the show Enterprise negate this. However, if you consider the Abrams films free to do whatever they want this is certainly a possibility.  We have not actually seen what the Klingons in this new universe look like, and they already heavily altered the appearance of the Romulans in the first Star Trek.

When will we absolutely find out for sure?  On 5/17/2013 when Star Trek Into Darkness is released in the USA,  with a mixture of earlier and later release dates for other regions of the world.

Theorize with us in the comments.

Editorial Note: 4/23/2013-The above article originally stated that in Wrath of Khan the ship commandeered by Khan is the Enteprise.  A commentator responded to the article to point out that Khan actually captains the USS Reliant.  In response, the offending text has been corrected.  We hang our heads in shame, and kindly hand in our Star Trek fan badge and phaser.

Related Articles:

Star Trek: Into Darkness News: An Earlier Release Date, Early Reviews & A Look at the Klingons (weminoredinfilm.com)

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3 comments

  1. Khan was not last seen on the deck of the Enterprise. He commandeered the U.S.S. Reliant in Star Trek II. The Reliant was a Miranda-class starship which eschewed the two-hull design of the Constitution-class for a saucer-only hull to which the nacelle pylons were directly attached.

    Khan did commandeer the Enterprise in “Space Seed” but those events would not have yet happened as they took place in approximately 2266 when Kirk was 34. These films, even in an alternate timeline, take place earlier though they significantly screw with the chronology and character ages (in the original series, Chekov was 12 years younger than Kirk which would make Anton Yelchin’s depiction the most mature-looking child in history).

    The Klingons are seen in the trailer though they’re wearing helmets so it’s hard to say if there will be a disappointing remodeling of their appearance ala Romulans with tattoos from the last film or either a faithful representation of their original series looks or cinematic prostetics. However, Hollywood.com’s claim that Harrison may be a Klingon has one vital error. He doesn’t have to be a result of the Klingons finding Khan or any of his 20th century companions. A fourth season Enterprise story revealed that the human-like appearance of the original series’ Klingons was the result of experimentation with Erik Soong’s Augments rather than anything to do with Khan (though that experimentation was an extension of the pre-Eugenics War research which produced Khan). Since the timeline of the new films deviated after the time of Enterprise, it can be assumed that the Augment/Klingon alterations already occurred (we know Archer did exist since the scene with Kirk and Scotty mentioned him).

    I don’t know if I trust the film’s writers to be that faithful to Star Trek’s established canon or intelligent enough to draft a story that takes such things into account in a rational manner though. I’m still cringing over beaming people light years away and black holes that “threaten the entire galaxy”.

  2. I have corrected the mistake about the U.S.S. Reliant. Thanks. I recognized the Klingons from the trailer, as I had seen the Star Trek deleted scene featuring Victor Garber’s Klingon in a similar costume as those featured in the new trailer. The continuity of the JJ Abrams Star Trek versus everything that came before is complicated, but you clearly have a handle on it. Technically, since Leonard Nimoy’s Spock was in the first movie, and there was a joking reference to Admiral Archer we should be able to take everything from Star Trek: Enterprise as being part of the canon of the JJ Abrams universe. However, that Archer reference could have been nothing more than a glorified bone thrown to the hardcore fans. Is it possible the writers do not consider themselves beholden to anything that came before, and are going to play this thing fast and loose?

    Either way, I actually like the trailers for the film so far, even if some of the scenes seem lifted from prior films (there is a pretty blatant steal from Godfather 3). I do wonder if it turns out Cumberbatch is indeed playing somebody more than just a guy named John Harrison we won’t get the big reveal until almost the very end, ala Marion Cotillard’s character in The Dark Knight Rises. Like just all of a sudden Cumberbatch reveals, “For it is I, Khan!” to which the audience responds with a Shatner-sized, “Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!”

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