Though the final scenes for Star Trek Beyond depict the glorious replacement starship Enterprise being built in a hurry at Starbase Yorktown, it’s possible this spiffy new ship was actually the result of repurposing a totally different starship already there.
New evidence suggests the speedy completion of the new Enterprise-A was totally reliant upon another half-completed starship which was initially under construction at Starbase Yorktown. In fact, just before the Enterprise heads out on its ill-fated rescue mission at the start of Beyond, Admiral Paris (Shohreh Aghdashloo) tells Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) that there is a starship with “more advanced technology” at the Starbase but that it’s still “under construction.” Now, fans on Facebook and Trekcore’s Twitter account have identified another ship hanging out in space dock with the new Enterprise; the U.S.S. Salcombe. This ship is named for Rhys Salcombe, the lead CG artist responsible for creating the memorable final sequence.
At this point, it’s not totally clear if we’re meant to believe the starship Salcombe was cannibalized to create the new Enterprise, or if the new Enterprise was a brand-new construction, separate from the “more advanced” ship Admiral Paris mentioned. Other scenarios are possible of course: The Salcombe was left intact and also wasn’t the newer ship mentioned by Admiral Paris. Or, maybe the final sped-up sequence wasn’t taking place right after the movie, but instead, happened several months later.
However, if an existing Starfleet vessel was appropriated to become a new Enterprise, that serves as a nice nod to the original “second” Enterprise. Various Trek apocrypha asserts the idea that the Enterprise NCC-1701-A was originally another ship before being hastily renamed by Starfleet in order to reward Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) for a job well done. In the book Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise the ship was originally called the Ti-Ho. However, the directions on the 1987 plastic AMT/Ertl model kit (which this writer constructed at the age of eight) claimed the Enterprise-A was in fact originally called the…U.S.S. Yorktown before being renamed by Starfleet at the last minute.
If by some chance, animators like Rhys Salcombe were aware of the Yorktown detail from this old Star Trek model kit, and constructed their new Enterprise in Starbase Yorktown to give us the specific impression that the new ship was being created out of another existing ship, well, then the people working on Beyond are even bigger Trekkies than we even realized.