Everyone's back, it seems. Keenser, Cupcake, Pike - I even spotted Madeline in one of the trailers.
About Kirk's promotion - I saw Battleship
recently and couldn't help but see a resemblence to Star Trek
, with the young lieutenant taking over in a crisis and saving the day. But at the end, they hand out the medals and tell him that if he plays his cards right, he may just become a captain for real in a few years time. He just saved the world from aliens, FFS! Proved himself under more extreme and dire circumstances than most navy captains will ever encounter! Perhaps more realistic, but not the most satisfying ending.