Warning: May contain potential spoilers
The first trailer for Star Trek Beyond has beamed down this week and, predictably, it’s causing something of a stir. As ever, a large portion of Trekkie purists are unimpressed, claiming that there’s too much action and less exploration – which was not the ethos of the original series.
Times change, and for Trek’s contemporary fans this first glimpse offers hope that the franchise can claw back some credibility after the lukewarm reception of Star Trek Into Darkness.
What’s the plot?
“We have no ship, no crew, how are we going to get out of this one” – The words of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) offering us our first insight as to the plot for Beyond.
The action sequences suggest that the Enterprise takes – another – beating, but this time it looks terminal (we’ll come back to this later). It seems as if the crew of the Enterprise is forced to abandon ship and seek refuge on a nearby planet.
Clearly, they are not welcome.
Meanwhile, a villain, played by Idris Elba’s, mutters that “This is where the frontier is pushed back”. He is obviously not happy about the Federation’s expansion towards his home world - more on this in a minute.
It is highly unlikely that this will be the cut and thrust of the film. A villain angry with expansion? It seems too neat. We’ll have to wait for the next trailer for some more clues.
Is the Enterprise gone for good?
Starfleet must be fuming as their flagship space vessel, the USS Enterprise, has taken yet another almighty hammering. 23rd Century insurers must be pulling their hair out.
However this time the punishment looks to be terminal as the Enterprise is clearly seen to be completely destroyed, with no obvious hope of salvage.
This doesn’t strictly mean the end of the franchise, though. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, either. Remember the original Enterprise (NCC-1701) was destroyed in the 1984 installment Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. That paved the way for a new Enterprise, with the registration NCC 1701-A…
Who is the bad guy?
Idris Elba plays the lead villain in Beyond, and his name is Kraal. Despite the name having a Klingon ring to it, he is clearly not a Klingon. However it does offer our biggest potential clue yet: Arena.
Arena was the title of the original series’ 18th episode in 1966. The crew of the Enterprise chase down an unknown alien ship after it attacks a Federation outpost. After a dangerous chase, Captain Kirk is mysteriously teleported down to a nearby planet to face-off with one of the attackers. It turns out to be a previously unknown species: a Gorn.
Kirk and the Gorn spend most of the episode trying to kill each other, hence the title.
The Gorn were unhappy that an outpost had been built in their claimed territory, and that they had the right to defend themselves. Could Elba be a Gorn, and could the Gorn have a name? Looking at the costumes, it’s a distinct possibility.
It's worth noting that Gorns are not an "unknown species" in this Star Trek universe. In Into Darkness, Dr. McCoy is heard saying that he delivered "Gorn occuplets".
Beastie Boys clue?
Captain Kirk has had an affinity for the Beastie Boys since the 2009 movie, with Sabotage being his track of choice when he stole his step-father’s car. He also had them playing during an intimate moment in Into Darkness.
This time, though, the track has been used in the trailer, so how important is that? Or, more to the point, is the track title – Sabotage – a clue?
Who is the ally?
We see a lot of Sofia Boutella’s as-yet unnamed character. Covered in white latex she seems to be quite active and not afraid to beat people with her stick. What her role is, and how important it is, remains unknown.
However she does offer an intriguing line: “I know why you’re here, why we are all here” [referring to the alien world]. Could this relate somehow to the idea of sabotage aboard the Enterprise?
Did you spot Dubai?
We can’t talk about the new trailer without mentioning Dubai’s appearance. Both Shaikh Zayed Road and JLT make brief appearances. However we don’t yet know if they feature on Earth or on an alien planet. The latter seems more likely as we see JLT attacked by flying robots.
Star Trek Beyond is due for release on July 22, 2016.