Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise based on the television series created by Gene Roddenberry. The first television series, simply called Star Trek and now referred to as The Original Series, debuted in 1966 and aired for three seasons on the television network NBC. It followed the interstellar adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew aboard the starship USS Enterprise, a space exploration vessel, built by the interstellar federal republic United Federation of Planets in the twenty-third century. The Star Trek canon of the franchise include The Original Series, an animated series, four television series, its film franchise and an upcoming television series scheduled to debut in 2017.
In creating Star Trek, Roddenberry was inspired by the Horatio Hornblower novels, the satirical book Gulliver’s Travels, and by works of western genre such as the television series Wagon Train. These adventures continued in the short-lived Star Trek: The Animated Series and six feature films. Four spin-off television series were eventually produced: Star Trek: The Next Generation followed the crew of a new starship Enterprise set a century after the original series; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager set contemporaneously with The Next Generation; and Star Trek: Enterprise set before the original series in the early days of human interstellar travel. Four additional The Next Generation feature films were produced. In 2009, the film franchise underwent a “reboot” set in an alternate timeline, or “Kelvin Timeline”, titled simply Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original show; their adventures were continued in the sequel film, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). The thirteenth film feature and sequel, Star Trek Beyond (2016), was released to coincide with the franchise’s 50th anniversary. A new Star Trek TV series, titled Star Trek: Discovery, will premiere in May 2017 on the digital platform CBS All Access.
Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades. Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies or Trekkers. The franchise spans a wide range of spin-offs including games, figurines, novels, toys, and comics. Star Trek had a themed attraction in Las Vegas that opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008. At least two museum exhibits of props travel the world. The series has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon. Several parodies have been made of Star Trek. In addition, viewers have produced several fan productions.
Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions, including the cell phone and tablet computers. The franchise is also noted for its progressive civil rights stances. The Original Series included one of television’s first multiracial casts. Star Trek references can be found throughout popular culture from movies such as the submarine thriller Crimson Tide to the animated series South Park.
Star Trek Beyond
Three years into its five-year mission, the USS Enterprise arrives at Starbase Yorktown, a massive space station, for resupply and shore leave for her crew. Struggling to find continued meaning in the endless nature of their mission of exploration, Captain James T. Kirk has applied for a promotion to Vice Admiral. He recommends Spock as the new captain of the Enterprise. Meanwhile, Hikaru Sulu reunites with his family, Montgomery Scott works to keep the ship operational, and Spock and Nyota Uhura amicably end their relationship; Spock also receives word from New Vulcan that Ambassador Spock (Spock’s future self from the original timeline) has died.
The Enterprise is dispatched on a rescue mission at short notice after an escape pod drifts out of a nearby uncharted nebula. The survivor, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded on Altamid, a planet within the nebula. The rescue turns into an ambush when the Enterprise is severely damaged by a massive swarm of small ships, with its deflector dish destroyed and warp nacelles severed. Krall and his crew board the crippled ship and unsuccessfully search for a relic called the Abronath that Kirk had obtained from a failed diplomatic mission. Krall captures and removes many crew members from the ship and has his swarm ships cut the Enterprise in half at the neck section. Kirk then orders the crew to abandon ship as the Enterprise‘s saucer section hurtles towards the planet and crashes on the surface.
On the planet’s surface, Sulu, Uhura, and other survivors are captured by Krall. Kirk and navigator Pavel Chekov, accompanied by Kalara, locate the wrecked saucer section. Kalara is discovered to be following Krall’s orders when she tries to retrieve the Abronath. To escape Krall’s soldiers, Kirk activates the still-functional thrusters, causing the saucer to lurch forward, crushing Kalara. Meanwhile, a wounded Spock and Dr. Leonard McCoy search for other survivors. Spock confides to McCoy that he intends to leave Starfleet to continue the late Ambassador Spock’s work on New Vulcan. Meanwhile, Scott is rescued by Jaylah, a scavenger who previously escaped Krall’s encampment. She takes Scott to her makeshift home, the grounded USS Franklin, an early Starfleet vessel reported missing over a century earlier. Scott is reunited with Kirk, Chekov, McCoy and Spock. Using the ship as a base, they plot to raid Krall’s camp and transport the crew to the Franklin, then escape the planet in the repaired ship. Meanwhile, Krall coerces Ensign Syl to hand over the Abronath that she had kept hidden for Kirk, then dissolves her completely. The Abronath is the missing half of an ancient bioweapon, created by the planet’s original inhabitants, which can disintegrate any humanoid. With the device complete, Krall intends to attack Yorktown and kill its inhabitants and, using its advanced technology, go on to attack the Federation. Kirk and the others free the crew as Krall launches into space with the bioweapon, leading his drone fleet to Yorktown.
The Starfleet crew pursues Krall on the Franklin. Scott transports Spock and McCoy into one of Krall’s “swarm” ships. They learn that VHF transmissions can disrupt Krall’s communications. Matching the swarm’s frequency and using the ‘classical’ song “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, they destroy almost the entire swarm. Krall and his three surviving ships crash in Yorktown. As Krall flees into the city, Uhura and Kirk discover from the Franklin‘s logs that he is actually Balthazar Edison, the former captain of the Franklin. A pre-Federation human soldier, Edison became disillusioned with the newly founded Federation, rejecting its principles of unity and cooperation with former enemies. When he and his crew were stranded on Altamid by a rogue wormhole, he believed the Federation had deliberately abandoned them. The three survivors prolonged their lives with the technology of the planet’s extinct natives (at the cost of their human physiology and their numerous victims’ lives), and repurposed their dormant drone workers into the swarm. Edison now plans to destroy the Federation and resume galactic conflict. Kirk pursues Edison into Yorktown‘s ventilation system, where Edison activates the bioweapon. Before it can be unleashed, Kirk ejects Edison and the bioweapon out of Yorktown, disintegrating him in space and leaving the weapon lost forever. Spock and McCoy save Kirk moments before he is also blown into open space.
Commodore Paris closes the unsolved cases of the fate of Captain Edison and the USS Franklin crew. Kirk decides to remain as a captain, and Spock chooses to stay in Starfleet and resumes his relationship with Uhura. Jaylah has been accepted into Starfleet Academy based on Kirk’s recommendation. As the crew celebrates Kirk’s birthday, they view the construction of their new ship, the USS Enterprise-A, and after its completion they depart on their next mission.