How Does Krall's Energy Transference Work In 'Star Trek Beyond'? Well, It's Complicated

Star Trek Beyond finds the crew of the Starship Enterprise facing off against a brand new enemy: Krall. It might sound bold to say that Krall is a villain unlike those Captain Kirk and Spock have encountered before, but it's true, at least in the reboot films. With his imposing stature and creepy, scaled body, Krall is certainly more frightening a figure than Star Trek Into Darkness' Khan, who had the benefit of looking like Benedict Cumberbatch. He also has much more terrifying abilities than that super-strong alien, like how he can seemingly suck the life out of people — a power Uhura later describes as "energy transference." But just how does Krall's energy transference work in Star Trek Beyond and what does it mean for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise?

Krall's energy transference in Star Trek Beyond is never fully explained, making it arguably the most mysterious (and confusing) plot point of the movie. Throughout the film, it is revealed that Krall can kill people by simply grabbing ahold of their bodies and taking their energy, a process that causes victims to appear emaciated, drained and utterly destroyed form the inside out. When Krall does take a person's energy, it causes his face to change and flicker, almost as if it is contributing to the grey grooves on his face and head. It's a power that makes Krall both intriguing and terrifying, but it also creates a decent amount of plot holes.

The fact that Krall can somehow suck the life out of people isn't what drives his evilness, though it sure does help. The villain is actually driven by a deep hatred of the Federation, which makes him desperate to destroy it at all costs. In fact, Krall's distaste for the Federation is just about the only thing we know about him. Actor Idris Elba and filmmakers have been careful not to reveal too much about the newest Star Trek villain, but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly , Elba described Krall as "a man with a definite purpose. I say a man, but he's not a man. Or is he?"

This vague tease actually revealed a lot about Krall and helps explain Krall's energy transference. In the last act of the film (spoiler alert!), it's revealed that Krall isn't an alien at all. He's actually a man, or at least, he used to be. In fact, before Krall became Krall, he was a Federation Captain, who ended up stranded on one of the Federation's very first missions. After losing most of his crew, he and a few survivors stumbled upon some kind of alien technology that helped extend their lives. Supposedly, this alien technology gave them the ability to survive off the energy of living beings — hence the energy transference. It is this energy transference and prolonged life that altered Krall's appearance, and the man who once looked like Elba now looks like a scaly alligator man.

So, the energy transference has kept Krall alive all these years, and it's also a power he uses to kill people at will. What isn't clear is how Krall's energy transference works. Though he appears to be using some kind of contraption to tie up potential victims before he sucks the life out of them, he does not need technology to perform his energy transference, as evidenced by his using it at will on various ships. But, if Krall can simply take the life of any of his enemies by touch, or strong grip, then why doesn't he kill Kirk during their hand-to-hand combat? The specifics of Krall's energy transference appear to have been left on the cutting room floor or cast aside for the sake of simplicity.

This is one Star Trek Beyond mystery that will probably never be solved.

Images: Paramount Pictures; entertainmentweekly/tumblr; anthonystark/tumblr