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Star Trek

Question: Why do the phasers have recoil (kick-back) when fired?

Answer: Phasers fire nadion particle bursts or bolts, which are fictional but are presumably similar to photons, and would therefore have mass and kinetic energy - so depending on the power output of the phaser, it should impart a not insignificant momentum change.

Question: On the Federation ships, in addition to the signature photon torpedoes and phaser banks of the series, there were arrays of small anti-aircraft-like cannons that fired rapid tiny blue energy bolts. 'Probably most-prominently seen on the USS Kelvin, but other ships might have used them. I was wondering what they were (i.e. if there was an official designation).

Answer: Those turrets firing the blue bolts are actually the torpedo launchers. According to Memory Alpha, the Kelvin was fitted with "rapid-fire, double-barrel torpedo launchers that fired blue photon torpedoes". Due to the relatively low-tech weaponry of the Kelvin compared to ships like the Enterprise (which from then on were implied to have been developed based on the information gathered from the Kelvin's fight with the futuristic Narada), the torpedoes are not as advanced as the larger, more powerful, slower-firing red torpedoes shown thereafter.

Question: Uhura indicates that the Enterprise crew is in an "alternate reality" based on Nero coming from the future and changing events. Kirk later on says to Spock prime that Spock had "changed history." Is this an actual alternate reality with the prime timeline intact, or has the prime timeline been changed?

Answer: Yes, the new Star Trek movies are occurring in an alternate reality. The writers talked about it and are specifically using a "quantum reality" approach to the timeline where dramatic temporal events cause a branching of known realities. Specifically, everything that happened in previous movies and series remains intact in the Prime timeline, and these new movies are a new timeline that is occurring at the same time, but in a different reality. Hence "alternate reality" rather than "altered timeline".

Question: The guy who plays Chekov in this movie uses a Russian accent that, to me, sounds fake. Is it fake? The original guy's sounded pretty real.

Answer: Neither accent is particularly accurate. Anton Yelchin was born in Russia and, while his family moved to America when he was only a baby, he has no difficulty doing an authentic Russian accent, but the accent he selected for the movie was principally based on the accent used by Walter Koenig as the original Chekov, which is effectively a 1960's Hollywood stereotype Russian accent that bears little resemblance to anything overly genuine. Yelchin tweaked it slightly, making it marginally closer to a genuine accent and exaggerating it rather more than Koenig, but, ultimately, neither accent is overly authentic.

Question: When on the drill, Sulu pulls out a collapsible sword. Is that a standard issue item for them or that suit, or is that just something that Sulu had? If it was just his, where did he get it and where was it before he got in the space jump suit?

Answer: Given the standard issuing of phasers, it's safe to say that a relatively archaic item like a sword (even a high-tech one), which requires certain training to use effectively, is not going to be standard issue (note also that Kirk doesn't have one, as he's forced to resort to trying to hit his opponent with his helmet). As such we can safely assume that this is Sulu's own personal property, and thus, given the stated possibility of hand-to-hand combat, he retrieved it from his cabin before donning his suit.

Question: After his talk with Pike, Kirk holds a salt shaker shaped like the Kelvin's class of ship. That is awesome. Where can I find salt and pepper shakers like that?

Answer: Sadly, despite the obvious merchandising possibilities and the availability of other models of the Kelvin, the salt and pepper shakers are not, as yet, available to buy.

Question: Kirk has an allergic reaction to whatever it was that McCoy gave him. Is this connected and or a nod to in Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn, where McCoy gives Kirk reading glasses for his birthday, saying he knows he's allergic to Retnox?

Answer: It could be, though it's never stated. It's logical though, if he has an allergic reaction to one type of medication, he could be sensitive to another. It was probably something the reboot version thought would be interesting and humorous to include, and it makes Kirk seem a little less invincible.

Question: Spock, in the Jellyfish, warps and leads the Narada away from Earth. Then both the Jellyfish and Narada jump out of warp. Where are both ships located in the universe? There is a debate with a friend where I believe that they warp somewhere outside of Earth's Solar System, not near any other planets, but there is not enough data to determine the exact location. The person that I am debating with believes that they are somewhere near Saturn because the Enterprise appears. I dispute this with my friend because all the Red Matter got destroyed, creating a huge black hole. Wouldn't a black hole near Saturn also endanger the planet and anything near it?

Answer: There's certainly no evidence that they're still within the solar system; the Enterprise arrives dropping out of warp, which would seem to be good evidence that they're not anywhere near Saturn any more. While no specifics are given, Spock jumps into warp to get the red matter on board well away from anything it could endanger; as a handy side-effect, this also serves to draw the Narada away to a location where it can be taken out safely. Given that, Spock would most certainly have ensured that he came out of warp well away from any major celestial bodies; the most logical place would be to emerge somewhere outside the solar system.

Question: In the 2009 Star Trek movie, the young kirk is driving his step father's car, and passes someone about his age on the road, Johnny. Who is Johnny and what is his significance to the storyline?

Answer: He's just someone Kirk knows, and Jim is showing off, and doesn't care who sees him. The actor was originally cast as George, Jim's brother, but all of his other scenes were cut so they redubbed the line and eliminated the character to avoid confusion.

Question: Why was Spock's ship carrying so much red matter? We see that a tiny drop is enough to destroy a planet, and Spock uses a similarly tiny drop to destroy the exploding star, so why would the ship carry what appears to be hundreds of thousands of that quantity?

Answer: Spock's trying to stop a supernova, which is a hellishly big deal. Much better to take too much and end up not needing it, than take too little and end up failing.

Question: How did Spock Prime get off Delta Vega?

Answer: Most likely, the Federation sent a ship to pick him up after the events of the movie. After all, some time passes between the destruction of Narada and the ceremony of Kirk's promotion.

Question: How come in the scene where Kirk rescues Captain Pike from on board the Narada, Pike appears to be able to move fine with only some assistance from Kirk, but at the scene at the end he is in a wheelchair?

Answer: The wheelchair may well be just a temporary measure. While Pike's able to move with Kirk's assistance, he's clearly not enjoying the experience, but, given that it's get moving or stay on a doomed ship, he just has to go for it. Even with the advanced medical technology available to them, it's not unreasonable that he wouldn't be back to normal immediately, and thus using a wheelchair for the time being is a sensible move, rather than continuing to move under his own power and risk damaging things further.

Question: In the Iowa bar where Kirk meets Uhura, he says something about her being from another world. Is Uhura from another planet, other than Earth? I can't remember anything from the original series that states this.

Answer: Kirk's never met Uhura - he wouldn't know where she's from. When he asks her name, she says that her name is "just Uhura" - Kirk's expecting to hear two names, first name and surname (just as he introduced himself as "Jim Kirk"). As such, his first question is to ask whether they don't have surnames on whatever world she comes from. As it happens, she is from Earth, she just doesn't want to tell him her full name; he doesn't know that, so he's making assumptions that are, in this case, completely wrong.

Question: In the scene where Kirk boards the shuttle and bangs his head, is this by any chance a homage to the infamous Stormtrooper blooper in Star Wars?

Answer: No. There are plenty of scenes in movies where people bang their heads, including Scotty in Star Trek V. There is no evidence that this is intended as a specific homage to any of them.

Question: When Spock throws Kirk off the ship, Spock intends to immediately return to Earth, something that we've seen to take about five minutes, and he would certainly want to get there as soon as possible. But Kirk is able to crash land, wander the ice planet, get saved by Old Spock, learn his entire back story, travel to the outpost, meet Scotty, and get beamed back - and the ship is still in warp. Why weren't they already back to Earth?

Answer: Because, as they clearly state, they're NOT heading back to Earth. That's what Kirk wanted to do, but Spock decided to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet instead - their disagreement is what gets Kirk thrown off the ship in the first place. We don't know how far away the fleet is, so it's not unreasonable that the Enterprise could still be in warp at that point.

Question: How are Kirk, Sulu, and Olson able to parachute from space to Earth without burning up in the atmosphere?

Answer: Vulcan has a thinner atmosphere than Earth. That, combined with the special dive suits they're wearing and the lower speed than space vehicle re-entry makes it possible.

Question: Nero destroys Vulcan, because he believes Spock caused the destruction of Romulas. In the movie, 'The Journey Home' when the Enterprise crew go back to find the whales, the movie starts off with the crew on Vulcan with the stolen Klingon spacecraft, also Spock is talking to his mother as he regains his memories. How can that happen if Nero destroys Vulcan and Spock's mother dies in that event? Also, in 'Star Trek Nemisis' the movie starts with scenes on Romulas, but it was destroyed, how can that be?

Answer: As elder Spock speaks to Kirk, it is mentioned that in the 'real' timeline George Kirk actually lived for many years, long enough to see his son, James, become Captain of Enterprise. It is in that timeline that 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home' and 'Star Trek: Nemesis' occur. There are numerous changes to the 'real' timeline, including the fact that James never knew his father. As to the "how", when elder Spock tells James of his failed effort (120 years in the future) to save Romulas from being obliterated by a supernova (after the events of Nemesis), he explains that it results in the black hole that transports Spock (in his ship) and Nero (in his ship, the Narada) into the past - which changes the timeline.

Question: If Spock easily destroys the Romulan drill in his "Jellyfish" ship, and Kirk and Sulu nearly take it out using hand phasers, why couldn't the Starfleet garrison on Earth, or some other planetary defense weaponry destroy it? Surely there was a single ship with minimal armament that could have taken it down.

Answer: Spock's ship is from 200 years in the future, and is likely quite a bit more powerful than its size would imply. Kirk and Sulu were able to land on the drill because of their significantly smaller size to a ship, i.e. they were invisible to scanning. And finally, as was so amptly displayed by the Nerada, it destroyed seven Federation Starships in a matter of minutes, I think its fair to theorise that a much smaller ship would fare little better in sneaking a shot at the drill.

Question: How did Kirk and Scotty manage to teleport onto the Enterprise, through its shields, when it had obviously traveled many light years? It is safe to say that Kirk was marooned on the planet at least an hour before teleporting off it (in reality it would have taken much longer to walk 14km in the snow, meet Scotty, figure out the equations, etc), so the Enterprise would have traveled an extreme distance at warp speeds in even one hour, as the ship can go much faster than the speed of light. Even if Scotty figured out how to teleport onto a ship moving at warp speeds, it doesn't explain how they managed to teleport such extreme distances.

Answer: Scotty mentions early in his first scene that he believes distance is not a factor in teleportation, contrary to popular belief. He uses an example of transporting a grapefruit from one planet to another (a pretty massive distance), and this is before Spock gives him the formula for mid-warp transport. After looking at it, Scotty says he never thought to consider that space is the thing that moves. If he's already certain he can transport between planets, and then he sees a formula that lets him bend space, distance shouldn't be a factor at all.

Question: What was Nero doing for the 25 years between his attack on the Kelvin and the one on Vulcan? Additionally, how did he know when and where Spock was to appear? Did he sit his ship in front of the black hole for 25 years? And why was his ship armed to the teeth? It's supposed to be a mining vessel.

Answer: There was a scene cut from the movie that shows Nero being held in Rura Penthe, the klingon prison planet that was attacked in the transmission that Uhura intercepted and translated. The attack was the Narada crew coming to free their commander. And if you were to read the Countdown comic book that is used to give back story to Nero and his relationship with Spock, you'd see that the Narada originally looked nothing like what we see in this film. It was more utilitarian. But after the destruction of Romulus, Nero and crew come across a Romulan space station that is taking in refugees from the doomed planet. They had been working on some technology reverse engineered from Borg technology. Nero offered his ship as a test candidate as they were looking to start field testing it on a ship at that time. And as far as waiting for Spock, it could have been a simple thing to calculate the time and place of Spock's arrival using temporal mechanics based on the size and intensity of the singularity that sent them there, and an educated guess of when Spock entered the anomaly based on the telemetry they had at the moment they entered in themselves. They've had 25 years to wait and calculate what they needed to know.

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Quotes

Leonard 'Bones' McCoy: We've got no Captain and no First Officer to replace him.
Kirk: Yeah, we do. [Sits in captain's chair.].

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Mistakes

At the end of the film when Kirk is being awarded his medal, behind the Federation Counsel you can see 3 flags in the background- the center flag is the California state flag. After Kirk shakes Pike's hand, and the camera pans up and back, the California flag is hanging significantly different so that it is no longer recognizable, seeming almost blank white. As the ceremony is indoors and all attending are standing motionless, this flag should not have moved.

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Trivia

Mr. Scott has a pet tribble, it can bee seen in his lab on Delta Vega in a cage by his desk. If you listen you can hear the signature sounds of a cooing tribble.

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