Star Trek Into Darkness is not, to use a cliché, your father’s Star Trek. Unless you were born between 2009 — when J.J. Abrams first took the helm of the franchise and offered up a cinematic “reboot” of the beloved TV/film series — and now, the new film may not exactly be “your” Star Trek either. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, audience members with no real ties to previous versions of the Enterprise’s crew and history can enjoy Star Trek Into Darkness for what it is: an entertaining sci-fi/action film that doesn’t require prior knowledge of a backstory in order to follow the plot.
That’s not to say that fans of the Star Trek incarnations that have come before can’t enjoy the new film, too. After all, there are enough inside jokes and subtle references to the TV series, previous films and comic books that an open-minded Trekkie/Trekker (depending on your preference) can have a good time and not get hung up on the issue of whether or not Spock should show so many emotions, technically speaking.
• During the opening sequence, McCoy says, “Shut up Spock, we’re rescuing you!” McCoy spoke the same line in the original series episode “The Immunity Syndrome.”
• Chekov spends much of the film in engineering rather than the bridge, so that he doesn’t interact with Khan. This is in keeping with the original series episode “Space Seed,” which aired before Chekov was added to the cast. Khan’s face-to-face interaction with the rest of the crew onboard the Enterprise is a first since “Space Seed.”
• When calling down to the shuttle bay, Sulu commands the crew to prepare the transport captured during the “Mudd incident last month,” a reference to the comic-book prequel Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness.
• When Kirk is in the Med Bay, the screen displaying information on his vital conditions includes a notation for “D. Boyce.” Dr. Boyce was the name of the ship’s doctor in the original series pilot, “The Cage,” (which first aired in 1988, though it had been filmed in the 1964-65).
• The seat belts that deploy from crew chairs on the bridge and at a warp core control station had originally been featured in a deleted final scene from Star Trek: Nemesis.
• Karl Urban (Dr. McCoy) pays homage to DeForest Kelley by wearing a pinkie ring on his left hand, just as Kelley did when he played the doctor in the original series and movies.
Abrams has gone on the record as saying many of the elements he has created for his Star Trek titles are intentionally different than, though no less respectful of, what has come before. “The idea, now that we are in an independent timeline, allows us to use any of the ingredients from the past — or come up with brand-new ones — to make potential stories.”
If longtime fans can embrace the idea that things have changed aboard the Enterprise and for her crew, then the next generation (see what I did there?) of Star Trek fans may be inspired to go back and see what they’ve missed up until now.
Star Trek Into Darkness is available starting September 10 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2013 Paramount Pictures
Credit: Zade Rosenthal