Star Trek: A Watching & Reading Guide to the Kelvin Timeline

Having found a way to get back to Federation space, tensions rise among the crew when the Enterprise gets stuck in a pocket of interphase, a state in which time and space cease to exist. Then the Enterprise gets stuck in “The Tholian Webs.” This story is a Kelvin reimagining of The Original Series season 3 episode “The Tholian Web.”

Seeing the leadership potential in Lieutenant Sulu, Captain Kirk gives him command over an away team in “Deity.” On the planet, Sulu’s team encounter the native population during a ritual. When their deity shows up, Sulu’s team and the Enterprise have a clash with the Prime Directive.

The stories of Star Trek Volume 9: The Q Gambit, Volume 10, and Volume 11 are also collected in Star Trek: New Adventures, Vol. 4.

20. Star Trek: Starfleet Academy

Medium: comic (2015, 2016)

In 2258, the U.S.S. Enterprise crew are cadets at Starfleet Academy. When Cadet Uhura picks up a distress signal from the U.S.S. Slayton, she calls in some help from the other members of the would-be crew. However, when she gets close to the origin of the signal, Uhura gets stonewalled from further investigation, and the trail goes cold.

Three years later, in 2261, Vulcan Cadet T’laan wants to leave Starfleet Academy as she feels out of place. Her professor persuades her to stay to compete in the Starfleet Academy team in the Centennial Competition between academies from throughout the Federation, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Starfleet Academy. She joins a team consisting of the Andorian Shev, the Monchezkin K’bentayr, and the humans Lucia Gonzales and Grace Chen. During the competition this team also comes across the distress signal of the U.S.S. Slayton and start their own investigation.

21. Star Trek, Vol. 12

Medium: comic, issues 50 to 54 (2015, 2016)

“Live Evil” finds its inspiration in The Original Series season 2 episode “Mirror, Mirror.” When the Enterprise gets caught in an ion storm everything seems normal afterwards, until the Enterprise encounters a planet that hails them as the Imperial flagship. When Kirk leads an away team to the surface, they encounter no other than Khan Noonien Singh, man of peace.

Remember Uhura’s Orion roommate at Starfleet Academy, Gaila, with whom Kirk had a fling in Star Trek? She is the central character in “Reunion.” When the Enterprise rendezvous with the U.S.S. Tereshkova, Gaila visits her red shirt brother Kai on the Enterprise. All seems fine until Gaila and Kai’s past comes knocking.

22. Star Trek, Vol. 13

Medium: comic, issues 55 to 60 (2016)

“Legacy of Spock: celebrates both the 50th anniversary of Star Trek as well as the late Leonard Nimoy. Set after Prime Spock attended the promotion of James T. Kirk to captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, he intends to join the remainder of the Vulcan species. However, Spock’s father, Sarek, warns him that he should prepare for a cold greeting. The Vulcans want to resettle on the planet Ceti Alpha V, which causes Spock to speak up, as he very well knows that this planet soon will be a desolate place, as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan showed us. Meanwhile, Romulan elements see this as the opportune moment to snuff out the Vulcans…

The series finale of the ongoing Star Trek comic is “Connection.” In this story, both the Kelvin Timeline Enterprise crew and the Prime Timeline Enterprise crew encounter the same anomaly. This causes the minds of crewmembers to swap bodies. The only solution is for both crews to work together in both timelines.

23. Star Trek: Manifest Destiny

Medium: comic (2016)

This four-issue story, written by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott, is the final one before Star Trek Beyond. The Enterprise encounters a rogue and very aggressive Klingon faction. The Enterprise is on red alert as the Klingons attempt to board the ship. If this situation isn’t defused quickly, war with the Klingon Empire is a high possibility.

24. Star Trek Beyond

Medium: movie (2016)

In 2263, after almost three years into the USS Enterprise’s five-year mission, the Enterprise visits the Federation Starbase Yorktown. When an escape pod is found drifting at a nearby nebula, the Enterprise investigates. The pod’s occupant, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded on the planet Altamid, located past the dangerous and unexplored nebula. When the Enterprise travels to the planet, they are greeted by a powerful, hostile force.

Unlike the previous two movies, Star Trek Beyond is directed by Justin Lin. Writing duties also changed, as Simon Pegg co-wrote the movie with Doug Jung. While Pegg reprises the role of Scotty, Jung also has a role in the movie. He plays Sulu’s husband, Ben, whom we meet on the Starbase Yorktown along with their daughter. While their daughter remains unnamed in the movie, it is possible that she is the Kelvin Timeline version of Demora Sulu, who we saw in the Prime Timeline movie Star Trek: Generations.

There is a black lining to the movie, as two stars from the series died before release. Leonard Nimoy fell into a coma on February 25, 2015, and died February 27, 2015, at the age of 83 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Star Trek Beyond was dedicated to Nimoy.

Anton Yelchin died in June 2016, at the age of just 27. Star Trek Beyond was the first project of his that was released posthumously, and one of a number of projects dedicated to him. An “in memoriam” was included in Star Trek issue 60.

Released in the year of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, there are multiple hints to the past of the franchise. The movie starts on the 966th day of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s five-year mission, a reference to 1966, the year that Star Trek: The Original Series first premiered on television screens. It also means the five-year mission is almost three years underway, which might be a reference to the three live-action seasons the show got. In the movie, Kirk says that the mission has begun to feel “episodic” – a reference to the episodic nature of The Original Series. Throughout the movie, you will see exactly 50 different new alien makeups, which was rewarded with a Oscar nomination for Best Makeup.

The passing of Leonard Nimoy is addressed in the movie, as Spock learns of the news. Among Prime Spock’s possessions is a picture of the Prime Timeline Enterprise crew. The U.S.S. Franklin and its crew are not only a call back to the Star Trek: Enterprise era, but the Franklin’s registry number NX-326 is also a reference to Leonard Nimoy’s birthday of March 26th. When Kirk asks Sulu if he can fly the Franklin, he responds with “Are you kidding me?” The line is delivered with the same expression and tone as George Takei’s Sulu in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The name Franklin is also a reference to director Justin Lin’s father, Frank Lin. On the dedication plaque, there is a little bit of space left between “Frank” and “Lin.”

While we are on the subject of Lin’s family, his son, Oqwe Lin, is briefly seen as a green alien child when the Enterprise enters the Starbase Yorktown. The name “Yorktown” is also a reference, as Gene Roddenberry’s early script treatments for The Original Series used the name “Yorktown” instead of “Enterprise” for the name of the starship.

When Scotty discusses the theories around the U.S.S. Franklin’s disappearance, one is a “giant green space hand,” a reference to The Original Series season 2 episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” The hand can be briefly seen during the credits.

When the Enterprise crew disembarks on Starbase Yorktown, you can hear the Starbase’s communication system call out the Federation starship NCC-2893. This is the registry number of the U.S.S. Stargazer, the starship Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard once commanded before the Enterprise-D. At one point in the movie, Kirk says, “I ripped my shirt again.” This is a reference to the many times Kirk ripped his shirt in The Original Series. At the end of the movie, the main cast gives the iconic introductory speech used at the beginning of both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes.

Star Trek Beyond is the fourth movie to be presented in the Barco Escape format, which seems similar to the Cinerama technique introduced in the 1950s. This technology uses three connected cinema screens to “wrap” the picture around the audience. Two screens are placed from the sides of the central screen to the left and right wall, giving a wide, panoramic experience. The Barco Escape Star Trek Beyond trailer on the Barco Escape YouTube channel gives you an idea of what this experience is like.

25. Star Trek: Boldly Go

Medium: comic (2016-)

IDW Publishing and writer Mike Johnson return with this follow-up comic series set after the majority of Star Trek Beyond. The crewmembers have been reassigned or have taken a leave from Starfleet. Kirk, McCoy, and Chekov are reassigned to the U.S.S. Endeavour, and Sulu is reassigned to the U.S.S. Concord, while Spock and Uhura are visiting New Vulcan. Scotty is teaching at Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. The cadets we met in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy return and are joined by Star Trek Beyond’s Jaylah.

Things turn bad when the U.S.S. Endeavour picks up the survivors of an attack on the U.S.S. Concord. Sulu survived and has one eerie message from the attackers: Resistance is futile.

The first volume of Star Trek: Boldy Go, consisting of the first six issues, is available on July 25th.

Star Trek/Green Lantern Stories

IDW Publishing is known for their cross company and cross franchise crossovers. IDW and DC Comics teamed up for two of these crossovers, written by Mike Johnson, starring the cast of IDW’s Kelvin Timeline comics and DC Comics’ Green Lantern comics. The first story is called Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War and the second Star Trek/Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds, which is a direct sequel. It features the Green Lantern comic cast coming to the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline universe as a follow up of sorts to DC Comics event Blackest Night. Lantern rings choose new bearers amongst Star Trek characters and ignite conflict between the Federation and its enemies.

These Star Trek/Green Lantern stories are set in a diversion of the Kelvin Timeline, which happens between Star Trek, Vol. 13 and Star Trek Beyond.

At the moment, IDW’s Star Trek: Boldly Go comic is the torchbearer for the continuation of the Kelvin Timeline. There are talks about a fourth movie, and multiple actors, like Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, have already signed on. Chris Hemsworth’s George Kirk might also return for the fourth movie. Producer J.J. Abrams has stated that Chekov would not be recast, but written out of the story, after the untimely death of Anton Yelchin.

But until the fourth movie comes around, we will have Star Trek: Discovery in the Prime Timeline to take us where no one has gone before…

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