Today, Star Trek Beyond hits movie theaters around the world. It’s the thirteenth Star Trek film ever and if that wasn’t pressure enough, it’s also releasing during a year that serves as the 50th anniversary for the entire shebang. Since 1966, Star Trek has existed in some form, which means Beyond potentially has a lot of fan service to deal with. One of the film’s screenwriters is, of course Simon Pegg, who in addition to playing Scotty in these movies, is also a huge science fiction fan.
Some fans and critics have worried Star Trek Beyond looks like a movie made without a respect to Star Trek in mind. Why is there pop-music in the trailers? How come Kirk is on a motorcycle? But the truth is, Beyond contains a slew of easter eggs and references to the entirety of Star Trek and its long history. Here’s a giant, spoiler-filled list to guide you through every deep-Trekkie-cut in the new movie.
During his Captain’s log voiceover at the start of the movie, Kirk mentions it is the 966th day of the Enterprise’s 5-Year-Mission. 9-66 is a reference to September 1966, the month the first aired Star Trek episode, “The Man Trap,” debuted.
Chekov’s Proud Russian Heritage
Though Bones and Kirk have a conversation in the film being surprised that Chekov isn’t a “Vodka guy,” toward the end of the film, we do see Chekov (Anton Yelchin) lecturing an alien guest at Kirk’s birthday party that whiskey was invented “by a little old lady” in Russia. In the original series, Chekov (Walter Koenig) frequently made erroneous claims that various inventions from Earth, were in fact, “actually” Russian in origin.
Spock and the Mirror
At the end of the movie, as Spock (Zachary Quinto) is going through the possessions of the now-deceased future-version of himself (Leonard Nimoy) he is briefly depicted in front of a refracted mirror. This scene is vaguely reminiscent of the original Spock meditating in his quarters in front of a mirror in The Wrath of Khan.
Snap Wexley at StarBase Yorktown
Not exactly a Star Trek reference, but actor Greg Grunberg, a longtime friend of producer J.J. Abrams, appears as a Star Fleet officer at StarBase Yorktown. Star Wars fans will recognize Grunberg as Snap Wexley, a fighter pilot for the Resistance in The Force Awakens. Grunberg also had a small background part in the 2009 Star Trek
“Skip to the End”
Screenwriter Simon Pegg’s hilarious sitcom Spaced helped to launch his career as an actor and a writer. One of the common catchphrases of his comic-book-loving character Tim was “skip to the end,” which forced other characters to cut out the b/s of a long-complicated tale. Cutely, Captain Kirk uses this catchphrase on Scotty in Star Trek Beyond.
During Kirk’s birthday party at the end of Beyond, he makes a toast by saying “to absent friends.” Kirk (William Shatner) makes this same toast in Star Trek III:The Search for Spock in reference to the death of Spock (and other members of the Enterprise crew.) Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) also toasts “to absent friends,” in Star Trek: Nemesis after Data is “killed.” The toast in Beyond warmly honors this Trek-tradition, but also seems to reference the passing of Leonard Nimoy, and tragically, the death of Anton Yelchin.
Kirk Is Feeling “Episodic”
During Kirk’s Captain’s Log, he mentions he is feeling “episodic,” by the routine of his life. This is (duh) a reference to the 79 “episodes” of the original Star Trek, in which Kirk gets to do all sorts of stuff, including, wielding rocks that look like…um…well, you get it!
The super-nifty Starbase visited by the Enterprise is called “Starbase Yorktown.” Though the name could derive from numerous historical sources, one of Gene Roddenberry’s original ideas for a name for the ship on Star Trek wasn’t the Enterprise, but instead, the U.S.S. Yorktown.
“It’s Been a Long Road…”
The vast majority of Star Trek Beyond’s deepest cuts are references to the 2001-2005 TV show, Enterprise. That’s right: the supposedly most disliked of all the Star Treks (and the only one with an on-air theme song containing lyrics) actually gets the majority of the shout-outs here. Mostly, this is because by virtue of taking place in the 2151, the continuity of Enterprise is largely untouched by the time-travel/alternate universe changes from the 2009 film. (That “temporal incursion” takes place in 2233, and the rest of the action takes place in 2258) That 2009 film even contained a reference to “Admiral Archer’s prize-beagle,” which must have been Porthos, Scott Bakula’s dog on Enterprise.
A major plot-point in Beyond deals with the Enterprise crew discovering the long-lost early Star Fleet ship, the U.S.S. Franklin. The design of this ship is similar enough to the “Enterprise” on the show Enterprise because its from around the same time period. Before mutating into the evil Krall, it is revealed Idris Elba’s character was actually a Star Fleet Captain named Balthazar M. Edison who alive during the formation of the Federation in 2161. There’s a little bit of timeline stuff that is wonky here, but through the dialogue, we’re lead to believe that Captain Edison was a member of MACO and fought against the Xindi. In the third season of Enterprise MACO is depicted to be an army-style organization that serves alongside Star Fleet during their war with the alien baddies, the Xindi. As Edison fights Kirk in the climax of Beyond he mentions the war agains the Xindi and the Romulans. The latter is a reference to both the brief appearance of the Romulans in Enterprise but also is a reference to crew members talking about the Romulan War in the original episode “Balance of Terror.”
Scotty also says that MACO was disbanded after the Federation was formed, saying that “we’re not a military organization.” This can be taken as a vague reference to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in which David Marcus says that the “scientists have always been pawns of the military” to which his mother, Carol Marcus, protests saying that “Star Fleet has kept the peace…”
The uniform Spock borrows from the Franklin vaguely evokes the jumpsuit design of the uniforms on Enterprise, as does the flashback footage showing Edison and his crew. Meanwhile, the technology of the ship itself has all sorts of shout-outs to the 2001-2005 show: Scotty mentions “polarizing the hull,” the presence of “phase canons,” and also that the transporter is mostly used for cargo, even though he modifies it for people.
Finally, Scotty also says that the old ships were “built in space,” which is again, a reference to the TV show Enterprise, but also to the controversial depiction of the Enterprise being built on Earth, in Iowa, in the 2009 film.
One of the most heartwarming moments in Star Trek Beyond occurs when Spock finds a photo of the old-school crew among the possessions of Old Spock. In the movie, we’re meant to take this as Spock realizing how important these people were to his future-self, well into their middle and old ages. The photo itself is a publicity still taken from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Like, the TV show Enterprise, The Final Frontier is not regarded as a popular Star Trek film. But, this picture of everyone together sure is sweet.
Late in the film, Scotty and Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) rig up music on the Franklin to dissrupt the hive-mind of Krall’s ships. The song that plays is, of course, “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. Kirk notes that it’s a “good choice.” In his very first scene, a very young Kirk is blasting the same song while stealing a car in the 2009 Star Trek. Both Bones and Spock also refer to the selection as “classical music.”
When the Enterprise is destroyed, Captain Kirk tells everyone to get to their “Kelvin pods.” This is a reference to the Starship Kelvin, which was destroyed in the first of the new films. Kirk’ dad, George Kirk, died because there were no escape pods on the bridge.
In a humorous scene at the start of the movie, Kirk is conversing with some really nasty-looking aliens, who turn out to actually be hilariously and adorably tiny. This brilliant perspective shift is a classic Trek idea. In the episode “The Corbomite Maneuver,” the crew encounters a very scary alien who turns out to actually have the form of a tiny, super-intelligent baby who drinks booze and laughs a lot.
Bones and Spock Counting on Each Other
When the crew escapes the Enterprise following its destruction, Spock and Bones are stranded together after Spock is almost mortally wounded. This mirrors other occasions in which Spock and Bones are stuck together, notably, “All Our Yesterdays,” in which the two are transported to an ice age of an alien planet’s past. Spock gets super emotional in both scenarios. Additionally, when Scotty beams up Spock and Bones separately, he jokes about the prospect of accidentally combining them into one person. This references Star Trek III in which we learn Spock did in fact, put his living soul (katra) into Bones for safe-keeping, effectively making them one person for a short time.
Green Space Hand
When Scotty discusses the potential fate of the U.S.S. Franklin, he mentions a “green space hand.” That’s a reference to the original series episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” in which the hand of Apollo really does grab the Enterprise. Fun fact: footage from that EXACT episode also appears on a TV in the background of this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
Kirk’s Birthday Blues
While sharing a drink with Bones in Star Trek Beyond, Kirk mentions his birthday is coming up, and he’s depressed about it. The same thing happens in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, though that Kirk is considerably older. This scene between Kirk and Bones also resembles a conversation between Captain Pike and Dr. Boyce in the very first Star Trek thing ever filmed, the unaired pilot “The Cage.” There, Captain Pike expressed his concern for continuing to be Captain of the Enterprise, and over a drink, Dr. Boyce tried to talk some sense into him.
In the scene in Beyond, Kirk also mentions having finished some Saurian Brandy, which is the booze Kirk and Bones hit the hardest in the original series. Bones also claims its “illegal,” a long-running Star Trek joke usually ascribed to Romulan Ale, which everyone gets crunked-on in Star Trek VI, Star Trek: Nemesis and so on.
The excellent actor Shohreh Aghdashloo (famous for the SyFy show The Expanse) appears in Beyond as Kirk’s boss, a Starfleet official named “Commodore Paris.” In the original series, Kirk had a bunch of Commodore bosses, but the name “Paris” seems to evoke a character from the 1995 series Star Trek: Voyager. Lt. Tom Paris was the rogue helmsman of that ship, and his father, a respected Star Fleet admiral, “Admiral Paris.” Is Shohreh Aghdashloo’s character an ancestor of that family? Or is the name just the same?
Star Fleet Captains GONE WILD!!!
As mentioned, Idris Elba’s Kralls is really a crazy depressed Star Fleet captain named Balthazar Edison. In the the final showdown with Kirk, he’s even wearing the classic command-gold uniform! The idea of Kirk having to face fellow captains who have lost their marbles is an extremely common Star Trek plot-device: Decker goes crazy after losing his ship in “The Doomsday Machine,” Captain Tracey turns into a massive asshole in the “The Omega Glory,” and the less said about Garth in “Whom Gods Destroy,” the better.
But the idea of giving the heroic captains of Star Trek mirror-images of colleagues who lose their marbles didn’t stop with the original series. Like Edison, Captain Maxwell was a former war-hero and went rogue in The Next Generation episode “The Wounded,” while jerky (“get it done!”) Captain Jellico briefly messes with the Enterprise in “Chain of Command.” In Deep Space Nine Sisko has to tango with his old friend Commander Hutchinson who also betrays him. Finally, Captain Janeway has to take-out a batshit homicidal Captain Rudy Ransom in the two part episode “Equinox .” Janeway doesn’t get a break with this shit either, as she also has to deal with the evil Captain Braxton, from a future-version of Star Fleet in “Future’s End,” and “Relativity.”
The Stone of Gol: Reloaded
The super-scary bio-weapon sought-after by Krall in Beyond not only looks like this other artifact from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Gambit,* it also does the same thing! In this episode, Picard and Riker went undercover as criminals only to discover that very ancient Vulcan relic was being reconstructed that could basically melt-the-shit out of people, similar to what we see Krall’s weapon do in the new movie.
First, Best Destiny
As mentioned, Kirk is really thinking about quitting being Captain in Star Trek Beyond, so much so he really might take a desk job as Vice Admiral. This is a direct reference to Kirk getting promoted in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and then later regretting that decision in The Wrath of Khan. In that film, Spock tells Kirk that “Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny. Anything else, is a waste of material.” Luckily, Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk comes to his senses by the end of Beyond and never takes the desk job.
At the very end of Star Trek Beyond we’re shown a new Starship Enterprise being constructed very rapidly. As we know, it’s a proud Trek-tradition to blow-up the ship and then build a new one. The first time this happened, the original crew was given a new Enterprise in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. That Enterprise had the registry of NCC-1701-A. The new “second” Enterprise in Beyond does, too. It also looks a little different from its predecessor, but not too much.
Star Trek Beyond is in theaters now. Go boldly and find all the other nerdy references we missed!