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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Star Trek Beyond Star Trek Beyond
Written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung
Directed by Justin Lin
Released July 2016


Halfway into its 5-year mission, the Enterprise is waylaid by a threat never seen before and the crew left stranded on an uncharted planet.


Read the story summary of the movie at Memory Alpha


Characters appearing in this movie


Captain Kirk



Dr. McCoy

Lt. Uhura

Lt. Sulu

Lt. Chekov

Demora Sulu

Lt. Keenser

Ben (Sulu's husband)

Spock-Prime (mentioned only, deceased)

Commander Finnegan

Kalara (Jessica Wolff)

Commodore Paris

Ensign Syl (dies in this film)

Krall (Captain Balthazar Edison, dies in this film)


Manas (Anderson Le, dies in this film)

Kevin (a Teenaxi) 


Didja Know?


The co-writers of the film also have roles in it: Simon Pegg has played Scotty in all three of the Kelvin Timeline films and Doug Jung plays Sulu's husband, Ben.


Sulu is depicted as homosexual in this film in honor of George Takei, who played Sulu in the original TV and film series set in the original timeline, who is homosexual himself. However, Takei has stated that he disapproves of the depiction of Sulu as homosexual, as Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had not written him that way.


The name of the planet Altamid in this film is an anagram of "Matilda", the name of Simon Pegg's daughter.


The U.S.S. Franklin was named for the director's father, Frank Lin.



Didja Notice?


The Starfleet uniforms seen in this film are altered from those seen in the previous films of the Kelvin Timeline.


After an emergency beam-up to the Enterprise during an altercation with the Teenaxi, Kirk mumbles, "I ripped my shirt again." This is a callback to episodes of the original TV series, where Kirk frequently got his shirt ripped in combat with opponents.


    At 3:31 on the Blu-ray, Kirk is carrying what appears to be a Saurian brandy bottle. Later in the movie, Kirk tells Bones that it's the Saurian brandy they picked up on Thasus. Thasus is the world a Federation transport ship crashed on, carrying the boy Charlie Evans, from the original series episode "Charlie X".

    Bones remarks that Saurian brandy is illegal. This is a play on a scene between Kirk and Bones in the 1982 film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, in which Bones brings Kirk a birthday gift of Romulan ale, which Kirk remarks is illegal.


As he cleans up in his quarters after the Teenaxi altercation, Kirk records in his log that it is stardate 2263.2, the ship's 966th day in deep space, a little under three years into their 5-year mission. The 2263.2 stardate seems to place this story before the events of the "LiveEvil" storyline which clearly takes place before this one!


At 4:48 on the Blu-ray, notice that Sulu is wearing a wedding band on his finger and there is a photograph of a little girl tucked into the corner of his helm console. Later in the film, it is shown that Sulu is married to another man (named as Ben in the closing credits) at Starbase Yorktown. Ben is portrayed by the script's co-writer Doug Jung. The couple's daughter is unnamed here, but in "Whom God Destroys" Part 2 is identified as Demora. In the original timeline, Demora first appeared (as an adult) in the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations; she also appears in a number of expanded universe stories in novels and comics, including The Captain's Daughter, where she is said to be the child of Hikaru Sulu and Susan Ling.


The green-skinned woman who is throwing a male crewmate out of her quarters at 5:20 on the Blu-ray is presumably an Orion.


During the introductory captain's log, Kirk remarks that things have started to feel "episodic". This is likely a joking reference to episodes of the original TV series.


At 5:32 on the Blu-ray, Kirk spills some coffee on his tunic. This may be a bit of an in-joke to episodes of the original TV series, of which remastered video of the episodes for 21st Century consumption revealed coffee stains on the actors' costumes in many instances!


Bones toasts to Kirk, "To perfect eyesight...and a full head of hair." This may be a joking reference to the hair loss of actor William Shatner, who played Kirk in the original series and to Kirk needing glasses to read in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.


At 9:37 on the Blu-ray, notice that there is a "Public Transporter" booth in the public square area of Yorktown.


Spock receives the news that Spock-Prime has died. This was added to the film as actor Leonard Nimoy died in 2015. The datapad display Spock reads at 12:11 on the Blu-ray shows that Spock-Prime died on stardate 2263.02 and displays his Starfleet rankings from the Prime-timeline: second officer on the USS Enterprise, executive officer on the USS Enterprise-A, and Ambassador.



At 12:57 on the Blu-ray, actor Greg Grunberg plays Commander Finnegan of Starbase Yorktown. Finnegan first appeared in the Kelvin Timeline in The Assassination Game. In the original timeline, a simulacrum of Finnegan appeared on the so-called Shore Leave Planet in the TOS episode "Shore Leave".


The commanding officer of Yorktown is Commodore Paris. Co-writer Simon Pegg has acknowledged that Commodore Paris is probably the grandmother of Lt. Tom Paris, who appeared in episodes of ST: Voyager.


The dress uniforms worn by Captain Kirk and Commodore Paris have a visible zipper and zipper handle, unlike typical Starfleet uniforms seen in the past (though the uniforms on episodes of ST: Enterprise had zippered pockets).


Kirk applies for a position as vice admiral at Yorktown, recommending Commander Spock succeed him as captain of the Enterprise.


Kirk's statement to the Enterprise crew over the intercom, "We've come to understand that there is no such thing as the unknown, but only the temporarily hidden," is very similar to a statement he made in the original series episode "The Corbomite Maneuver".


Much of the Enterprise crew escapes the ship's fate by jettisoning in Kelvin pods, presumably named for the U.S.S. Kelvin which was sacrificed under command of Lt. Commander George Kirk in battle against the Narada in "Rebirth". Most of the Kelvin's crew escaped its destruction in escape pods.


The fate of the saucer section of the Enterprise has callbacks to both the destruction of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Search for Spock and that of the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: Generations.


At 39:33 on the Blu-ray, a large ring can be seen on the ring finger of Scotty's right hand. It looks like there may be some kind of design on it (Starfleet symbol?).


On Altamid, Jayla makes her home in the wreckage of the U.S.S. Franklin, NX-326, an early Earth ship capable of speeds up to warp four. According to film editor Dylan Highsmith, it was actually built before the U.S.S. Enterprise NX-01 (seen in ST: Enterprise and capable of warp five) and before the founding of the Federation, but was later given the NX registry number and "U.S.S." Starfleet identifier.


The Franklin is seen to be quite similar in design to the Enterprise NX-01.


As he is discussing the death of Ambassador Spock (Spock-Prime) with McCoy, Spock remarks, "When you've lived as many lives as he, fear of death is illogical." He could just be speaking metaphorically of all the experiences and duties Spock-Prime has seen, but it may also be that Spock-Prime has told him of his previous death (in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan) and subsequent rebirth (in Star Trek: The Seach for Spock).


The song Jaylah is listening to as she and Scotty begin fixing the Franklin is "Fight the Power" (1989) by Public Enemy.


Scotty tells Kirk that the Franklin was lost in the Gagarin Radiation Belt in the early 2160s. The Gagarin Radiation Belt was also mentioned in the ST: Enterprise episode "Strange New World". Presumably, the belt was named after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.


Scotty tells Kirk there are a number of theories of how the Franklin made it so far out in space with only warp four capability, including "captured by a giant green space hand". This is a callback to the original series episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?" in which a powerful space being, who was once worshipped as the god Apollo by the ancient Greeks on Earth, captures the Enterprise with a giant green hand projected into space. (During the end credits of the film, at 1:55:06 on the Blu-ray, look for a similar green hand in space!) Green hand


Aboard the Franklin, Kirk finds and later rides a PX70 motorcycle from the 22nd Century. Kirk says his mother told him that his father used to own one.


The words on the glass around the cargo transporter on the Franklin read "DANGER, DO NOT ENTER TRANSPORTATION AREA WHILE TRANSPORTATION IN PROGRESS". This was also seen on the transporter pads aboard the Enterprise in "The Vengeance of Nero".


As McCoy tries to patch up Spock after they are beamed to the Franklin, Spock quotes, "The miserable have no other medicine but only hope," which McCoy correctly identifies as coming from Shakespeare. The quote is from William Shakespeare's 1604 play Measure for Measure.


When Spock reveals to the others that he gave Lt. Uhura, as a token of his affection and respect, a neckalce of vokaya, a Vulcan stone that emits a harmless, though distinctive, radiation, making it possible to track her whereabouts (though that was not his intention), McCoy remarks, "I'm glad he doesn't respect me." Of course, Spock admitted privately to Dr. McCoy he does very much respect him earlier in their struggle to survive after crash-landing on Altamid.


Notice that Krall's alien facial features become less distinct as the film progresses until he "rejuvenates" himself with the DNA of others, an early indication that he is not as alien from humanity as he first seems.


Krall remarks, "The Federation has pushed the frontier for centuries." But the Federation has existed for only about one century at this point in the timeline.


At 1:21:33, we see that Jaylah appears to have blue blood.


The song the Franklin blasts over VHF to discombobulate Krall's swarm of drone ships is "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys. When Jaylah plays the song, Kirk mumbles, "That's a good choice." This is probably because he is already familiar with it. The song also appeared in the 2009 Star Trek film, when Kirk, as a boy, stole a Corvette automobile and played the same song while driving it (see the "Parallels" study). McCoy refers to the song as "classical music" and Spock seems to agree!


At 1:38:52 on the Blu-ray, Captain Balthazar Edison's file shows his middle initial as "M" and he was a member of United Earth Military Assault Command Operations (MACO) before the Federation was formed. MACO also appeared or was mentioned in several episodes of ST: Enterprise.


Edison tells Kirk he fought for humanity and lost millions to the Xindi and Romulan wars. These two wars were important elements in episodes of ST: Enterprise.


At 1:42:52 on the Blu-ray, Kirk and Edison smash and fall through a glass pane at Yorktown during the fight and plummet towards the hub of the station. That seems highly unlikely. Wouldn't those panes be made out of transparent aluminum or something extremely strong like that? It wouldn't be a plain old thin pane of glass!


At 1:47:35 on the Blu-ray, a ship that may be an early runabout type is seen on top of a building's landing pad on Yorktown.



The names of the some of the lost Franklin crewmembers are seen at 1:47:54 on the Blu-ray, marked "case closed". A couple of the names are members of the production of Star Trek films. The names seen are: Meghan Noble (first assistant editor), Mae Crosby (music preparation on Star Trek Into Darkness; Mae is a white woman, but the name is depicted under the image of a black man!), Jessica Wolff, and Anderson Le.


Kirk is offered a position as vice admiral, but turns it down to remain the captain of a starship, commenting that vice admirals don't fly, "Where's the fun in that?" Possibly, the "Where's the fun in that?" line was inspired by Dr. Grant's line in Jurassic Park when told that a new computer program for ground-penetrating sonar may soon make it so that paleontologists won't have to dig anymore.


The photograph of the original Enterprise crew that Spock finds among Spock-Prime's belongings is a promotional photo from the 1989 film, Star Trek: The Final Frontier.

Crew photo


At his birthday party, Kirk's toast of "To the Enterprise and to absent friends," has appeared previously in the original timeline in Star Trek: The Search for Spock and Star Trek: Nemesis.


Chekov tells an alien crewmember that Scotch was invented by a little old lady in Russia. This is a callback to the Ensign Chekov of the original TV series in the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles", where he tried to tell Scotty that Scotch whiskey was invented by a little old lady in Leningrad. The dialog goes toward Chekov's general tendency to make such claims of Russian greatness; during the Cold War time of the original series, the government propaganda of the Soviet Union also liked to make boasts of Soviet successes (which were of questionable accuracy).


Following the destruction of the Enterprise in this film, the Enterprise-A is seen under construction at Yorktown at the end of the film.


During the end credits sequence, at about 1:54:35 on the Blu-ray, the camera-view shot of skimming across a worldlet's surface may be an intentional callback to the CG Genesis simulation in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.


The film is dedicated "In Loving Memory of Leonard Nimoy" and "For Anton". Leonard Nimoy, Spock-Prime, died in February 2015 of heart disease. Anton Yelchin, the Chekov of the current film series, was tragically killed in an automotive accident in June 2016, shortly before the release of this film.


The song that plays during much of the end credits sequence is "Sledgehammer" by Rihanna, written for the film.


Notes from the "Beyond the Darkness" special feature on the Blu-ray release


The scene of Kirk breaking into Krall's prison camp on the motorcycle is a play on a scene from the 1963 film The Great Escape, in which Steve McQueen plays an American military captain who escapes from a German prison camp (circa WWII) on a motorcyle.


The Yorktown scenes were shot in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.


Memorable Dialog


I ripped my shirt again.mp3

where one day ends and the next one begins.mp3

a challenge to feel grounded.mp3

a little episodic.mp3

sneeze on the warp core.mp3

that stuff's illegal.mp3

a vodka guy.mp3

your southern charm.mp3

one year older.mp3

a full head of hair.mp3

it's me, not you.mp3

captain of the Enterprise.mp3

there is no such thing as the unknown.mp3

shields up.mp3

cut the horsehit.mp3

I can confirm your theory to be horseshit.mp3

Montgomery Scotty.mp3

making little Vulcans.mp3

Ambassador Spock has died.mp3

I don't know what hell he'd do without you.mp3

I don't want it to be just my fault.mp3

I'm glad he doesn't respect me.mp3

kick its ass.mp3

yes or no?.mp3

classical music.mp3

better to die saving lives than to live with taking them.mp3

what would I do without you, Spock?.mp3

vice admirals don't fly.mp3

it's gonna be so much fun.mp3

you old romantic.mp3

a little old lady in Russia.mp3

space, the final frontier.mp3 


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