Star Trek XI Desiderata

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The eleventh Star Trek film is currently being filmed, and I wanted to express some desires (some perhaps more likely than others) of a few things I want to see in it. I've had three longstanding problems in Star Trek history, and all three of them will be relevant for this film. I've actually wanted to express these in a blog post since I first heard they were doing this (which had to have been at least a year ago), but I never got around to it until now.

1. There are supposed to be Klingons in it, according to rumors. This film takes place between the Star Trek: Enterprise series and the original series. There's always been a problem with the look of the Klingons. In the original series, they look like humans. Then they get those funny foreheads. in the movies It's much cooler, but they needed an explanation of why the look changed. Now until Deep Space Nine came along with their Tribble time travel episode, they might have been able to say that the original series just portrayed them poorly, and they always looked like what we've seen since the first film. But once DS9 revealed that Miles O'Brien didn't recognize the original-series-era Klingons as Klingons, and Worf revealed that something had happened that Klingons don't discuss in public, the franchise had to offer an explanation.

I'm glad to say that the final season of Enterprise did exactly that and did an excellent job with the explanation. Klingon DNA became altered to include human DNA in most of the population, and they projected a time period for how long they'd fix the problem that matches up with how long it took. So that one's taken care of. There is the problem that by the time of the original series the crew believed that no humans had ever seen Klingons. I haven't seen that quite explained yet. If Abrams has Klingons in a film with Kirk and Spock as young officers or cadets, then we'll need some further continuity explanations or some careful avoidance of any contact with the Klingons (which Enterprise was able to pull off a few times with Romulans that the crew never met, or at least never knew they met). We'll see if it works. They claim to be paying close attention to canon so as to avoid any problems.

2. The movie is rumored to contain time travel. I have a huge problem with Star Trek time travel that happens far too often, and I really don't want to see it in this film. Why are there all these episodes that never happened? Most of the time travel episodes end with something changing the past so that the entire episode never happened. Then why did we watch it? Why did they bother filming it? And if it never happened, why did they end up at a place where the events that never happened were able to cause the state things revert to when it becomes true that it never happened?

This, of course, is not something the creators of Star Trek can really do anything about. It's just the result of a really stupid view of time travel. If someone really could come up with a story to explain why all these people keep changing the past and experiencing effects of things that never happened, while retaining a plausible theory of time travel involving a fixed timeline, then I'd be overjoyed. I'm not holding my breath, and I certainly don't think J.J. Abrams is the one to do it. But if he stays away from this problem, I'll be satisfied enough, and if he doesn't do any past-changing at all, which is a metaphysical impossibility, I'll be very happy.

3. The fashion trends and technology across the generations seem to follow a strange progression. First, they have fashion trends moving from the early 2000s, then 100 years later we're in the 1960s, then we follow the right progression through to the 80s twenty years later. But then 100 years later we're moving from the 80s to the 90s and beyond. Sure, they throw enough futuristic-looking stuff to throw you off the scent, but it's obvious whenever you see civilian outfits, especially the extremely immodest ones worn by all those attractive young women on several of the shows. Will this new piece in the midst of all the continuity explain all this? I doubt it. It was fun to see a mention of the retro outfits in the DS9 Tribbles episode, though, and a little humor about it in this film would be welcome.

As far as technology goes, they tried to avoid continuity problems by having large, hand-held communicators on Enterprise, but they look so much cooler and more advanced than the original series ones that it can't really be chronologically correct. The ship interiors in Enterprise are more advanced than in any other series, even with some attempts to make certain things more archaic. The real problem, though, is the computer displays. How is it that they could have the most advanced displays in the history of Star Trek as early as Enterprise, but then 100 years later they have stuff that makes Tron look like something ILM designed for Star Wars Episode III?

They tried to deal with this to some extent in the DS9 Tribble episode, when Dax said she loved the more simplified look that the more austere aesthetic of the period brought in, but is that good enough? Something like that would be humorous enough to satisfy me, I suppose, since a prequel between the Enterprise period and the original series period probably can't deal with this problem. Still, it would be wonderful if they could make progress on it. I can't really say that any of this is what I'm most hoping for in the 11th film, but some of it would indeed be nice.

3 Comments

Yes good point. I really do hate the stupid stuff in time travel pieces. Most of the time its just silly and contrived. Worst of all it give me the willies. I just don't like the idea of time travel I guess. It throws off to much that is fundamental. Well, not time travel into the future, thats fine, but time paradoxes are the devil. I got to say "Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury isn't bad, but the horror it produces is one purpose, so thats why its excusable. Ever heard of The Butterfly Effect? Never seen it but it freaks me out just watching the trailer.

Oh, I love time travel in science fiction. It's one of my favorite devices. I prefer ones that allow fulfillment of the past rather than changing the past (e.g. Twelve Monkeys, Prisoner of Azkaban, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, several Heinlein stories. But even if they get the metaphysics wrong (and almost everyone does), they shouldn't get it as badly as these "it never happened but it caused things to be the way they are anyway" episodes.

Yeah yeah, I have to agree. Fullfillment of the past is good. I hadn't thought of those instances, but they actually work quite well, in an almost "destiny" device kinda way.

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