2011-06-13

A few things you might not know about “Star Trek (2009)”

When I watched the original Star Trek TV series as a kid in the late 1970s, it was a revelation: a new magical world opened up. Like fairy tales, but cooler, because it all seemed so real (remember: I was a kid). Since then, Trek TV series and movies have had their ups and downs. The last outing of the franchise, “Star Trek (2009)” [amazon.com, itunes.com], is a lot of fun, even though its story does not leave me completely satisfied. I recently re-watched it and collected several things that you might not know about it. [Warning: spoilers.]
  • Notable actors and cameos (some of them appeared in J.J. Abrams’ TV series):
    • Chris Hemsworth [“Thor”] plays Kirk’s father.
    • Paul McGillion [“Stargate Atlantis”] has a brief appearance when the ships leave for Vulcan. He auditioned for the role of Scotty, but didn’t get it, so this might be some form of compensation. He would have been a real Scot.
    • Rachel Nichols [“Alias”] is the green alien that hooks up with Kirk.
    • Amanda Foreman [“Felicity”] briefly appears on the bridge of the Enterprise.
    • Christopher Doohan, son of James Doohan, the original Scott, is seen working in the engine room of the Enterprise.
  • Simon Pegg is not Scottish, but he had help with his accent as Scotty. Quote:
    “I asked JJ if I could say ‘get tae f . . .’. It’s pretty much one of the first things Scotty says,” the actor/writer/comedian notes with some pride.

    “Obviously, it’s important to me that the Scottish audience accept me as Scottish. Also, half my family are Scottish and I want to be able to go there now and again without being booed. So I put that line in very early on, a joke just for Scottish people — because they’d know what I was about to say.”

    Gloucestershire-born Pegg had some help getting his accent right. His wife Maureen, from East Kilbride, was on set in Los Angeles as his dialogue coach.

    He also received pointers from Tommy Gormley, the film’s first assistant director and a Glaswegian.

  • Foreshadowing the future (as depicted in the original series):
    • McCoy’s first reaction to Spock is “I like him”. The verbal fights between the more emotional McCoy and the logic-oriented Spock are a classic part of the TV series. We get first hints of that later in the movie.
    • McCoy is afraid of flying. On TV and in the original movies, McCoy is known for being afraid of transporters and preferring to fly.
    • Pike was originally supposed to be the Captain of the Enterprise, but the pilot with him was rejected and the actor quit. A second pilot then introduced Kirk. Quoting Wikipedia:
      "The Cage" is the original pilot episode of Star Trek: The Original Series science fiction series and resulting franchise. It was completed in early 1965 (with a copyright date of 1964), but not broadcast on television in its complete form until the autumn of 1988. The episode was written by Gene Roddenberry and directed by Robert Butler. It was rejected by NBC in February 1965, but they ordered a second pilot: "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Much original footage from "The Cage" was later incorporated into the first season two-part episode: "The Menagerie".
      In "The Menagerie", Pike is shown in a wheelchair.
  • The old Spock says to the young Kirk “I have been and always shall be your friend.” That is a quote from the second motion picture, “The Wrath of Khan”.
  • The Centaurian Slug used to interrogate Pike is also an homage to “Khan”. Quote:
    Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman invented the Centaurian slug as an homage to the Ceti eel, from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. They considered having Nero actually use a Ceti eel, but "wanted 'homage' instead of a direct lift. [1] Deleted scenes from the film establish Nero got the slugs from the Klingons on Rura Penthe, who used them to interrogate prisoners.
  • The timeline initially confused me, because I thought that the Narada travelled back and forth in time several times (Nero does not seem to age). Since then, I’ve puzzled it together:
    1. Coming from the future, the Narada arrives in the present, about 25 years ahead of Spock.
    2. The USS Kelvin cripples the Narada.
    3. This enables the Klingons to capture Nero and this crew.
    4. They remain on a Klingon prison planet for 25 years.
    5. They break out and destroy a Klingon armada which causes the transmission that Uhura picks up.
    6. Nero captures Spock who just arrived and thus gets the red matter he needs to destroy Vulcan.
    It’s a shame (4) was largely left out of the movie. There seems to be a deleted scene that briefly shows Nero on the prison planet.
  • There are two comics that fill out some of the gaps of the movie:
    • Star Trek: Countdown” describes how Nero came to hate Spock so much.
    • Star Trek: Nero” describes what happened between the attack on the Kelvin and the attack on Vulcan.
Further watching and reading:
  1. The Onion makes fun of the new movie not being like the old ones: Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As “Fun, Watchable”
  2. The Best And The Worst Of Abrams' Star Trek Easter Eggs. Quote:
    As you probably already noticed, the whole reason Scotty is banished to Delta Vega is because he tried to transport Admiral Archer's dog... and the dog is still out there, somewhere. A nice nod to the last time someone tried to make a Star Trek prequel. [Refers to “Star Trek: Enterprise (TV Series 2001–2005)”]

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