Science Fiction: February 2008 Archives

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.



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