Star Trek: Beyond marks the third film in the new Star Trek reboot series, a sort of spinoff of the original series, if you will. Captain Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and Uhura are all back, among others, as the crew of the USS Enterprise and ready to go on a whole new adventure, this time sans director J.J. Abrams. The highly anticipated sequel comes three years after the disappointing sequel Star Trek Into Darkness and seven years after the original reboot film, Star Trek. Before we dive in to another USS Enterprise adventure, there's a few important plot points from the past two films you need to know. Here's a Star Trek movie recap to get you up to date in time.
It's important to note that, even though Star Trek Beyond is technically the third film in the newest Star Trek film series, not every plot point from the past two films will affect the course of the third. Specifically, Star Trek Into Darkness is believed to have very little impact on the new film. After it's underwhelming reception by fans, Star Trek Into Darkness appears to have been mostly swept under the rug. Beyond director Justin Lin has basically confirmed that, while the events of Into Darkness still hold, they won't be touched on in his film. So, if you're a Star Trek series fan who was planning on jumping into Beyond without having seen the first two films, you might want to check out the first Star Trek film. If you don't have time to even do that, here's everything you need to know before Star Trek: Beyond.
1. Original Spock Accidentally Created An Alternate Universe
One of the most important things to know about this modern round of Star Trek films is that the first film established an alternate timeline. While the beloved characters from the original series are still our main protagonists, and the basic idea of Starfleet and the explorations of galaxies remains, they are not quite the same. Leonard Nimoy reprised his iconic role as Spock in the first two Star Trek films to play, well, Spock Prime. Years after the events of the original series and films, Spock accidentally created a black hole that caused him and Star Trek villain Nero to travel back in time and change the course of history — starting with an attack on the USS Kelvin that killed Captain Kirk's father. (Fun fact: pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth played Kirk's dad in the film.)
2. Captain Kirk & Spock Have A Love/Hate Relationship
James T. Kirk didn't start out this Star Trek reboot as captain — far from it — in fact, his BFF Bones (aka Dr. McCoy) had to sneak him onto the ship, and Kirk had to fight Spock (physically) to earn the Captain's seat. Spock disliked Kirk from the start, and while the two managed to bond over the first two films, they still struggle when Spock's logical side conflicts with Kirk's emotional one (and vice versa). Their relationship remains one of both affection and frustration.
3. Spock & Uhura Are Dating
Courtesy of the alternate universe, when we first meet Spock and Uhura in Star Trek, the two are engaging in a secret relationship that becomes less secret in Stark Trek Into Darkness and looks like it might come to an end in Beyond. (Shippers, cross your fingers.)
4. Kirk, However, Is Single
OK, technically, this one's still TBD, but based on the first two films, Captain Kirk is definitely single and ready to mingle. Though Star Trek Into Darkness introduced Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) as a seemingly potential love interest, Carol is notably absent from any Beyond promotional material and she's been confirmed as not having a role in the film. She's not the only new character introduced in the sequel that won't be in the new film. Benedict Cumberbatch's villainous Khan is also nowhere to be found in Beyond.
5. Vulcan Was Destroyed
This likely won't come up in Beyond, but it's important to note that Spock's home planet, Vulcan, was destroyed by Nero in Star Trek. The loss of the planet has significantly reduced the Vulcan race, and also cost Spock's mother her life.
6. Captain Pike Is Dead
Captain Pike, the man who dared Kirk to join Starfleet in the first film, died in Star Trek Into Darkness at the hands of Kahn. It's a death that fueled both Kirk and Spock to defeat Khan, and will likely come into play in Beyond.
7. Spock Broke The Rules To Save Kirk
This one's a bit tricky, as many interpreted the events at the end of Star Trek Into Darkness to mean that death is now curable in the Star Trek universe. Kirk died to save the ship from Khan and Admiral Marcus, which helped teach Spock a lesson about death and loss, and then was revived using Khan's magical blood. Fans shouldn't expect to see Beyond take place in a world where death is no longer a reality, however, as this particular development appears to have been scratched in favor of dramatic tension. (In other words, it probably won't be addressed directly in Beyond.)
8. The Crew Is On A 5-Year Mission In Space
Star Trek Into Darkness ended with the USS Enterprise crew embarking on a five year exploratory mission into space. Beyond will pick up about two and a half years later.
9. The Gang's All Here
Despite all the changes, misadventures, and deaths set in place in the first two Star Trek films, the beloved crew of the Starship Enterprise — Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov — are all present and accounted for.
Now that you've gone through this vigorous Star Trek recap, I think you're ready to go Beyond with me.