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Sunday November 30, 2008 4:30 pm

Captain Kirk can drive?  Star Trek continuity and the new Star Trek film

Posted by David Torres Categories: Editorials, Movies, Television,


I was just watching the new Star Trek trailer again.  As you know, the trailer opens with a young James Kirk driving a car, but if you watch the classic Star Trek episode “A Piece of the Action” Kirk does not know how to drive a car. 

In the episode, Captain Kirk and the crew arrive on a planet that has been exposed to Earth culture by a book about Chicago gangsters of the 1920s.  The entire planet looks like Earth during that time period - complete with cars.  Kirk and Spock get in a car and Kirk does not do a good job of driving.  But in the new trailer, he’s a master.  Are the writers of the new film aware of this discrepancy?  Do they care?  Am I being a fanboy?  I’m just wondering how much more Star Trek continuity will be altered in this new film?

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From what we’ve seen in the recent trailer, there are some definite changes in regards to continuity. The bridge is completely different from what it looked like in the television show. Now I know the show was from the 1960s and it would look ridiculous if we put the same set on the big screen, but I was hoping for more minor changes to the bridge instead of a completely new design. I think the more modern looking bridge contrasts with the traditional 60s Starfleet uniforms. But this is something more aesthetic than a change in continuity. I think that’s why the look of the Klingons was probably changed back in the first Star Trek film. The ridges on the forehead look a lot cooler and more alien than the evil goatees.

The thing with the car is minor, but I’m a stickler for details when it comes to an ongoing franchise like Star Trek. I think by having an established continuity, it makes the fantasy a little bit more real.  Its own world; its own history. I think that’s why people like sequels. It’s not just the continuation of the story, but the molding and shaping of the characters and the world they live in. That’s why I’m anxiously awaiting the Harry Potter Encyclopedia - another franchise that I love. The encyclopedia will be a complete history of the character and that world. If years from now we see a continuation of the Harry Potter story or its world, something in that new story contradicting what already existed in continuity weakens the story and the fantasy.

Lets be frank, we all secretly wish all these things were real.  Why do you see so many people dressing up at conventions?  So that’s why I hope the new Trek film doesn’t divert too much from the old series.  Lets keep the fantasy as real as possible. 



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