I'd be curious to know if anyone at the time considered saying it was a new and different starship Enterprise.
Well, Decker says to Kirk in TMP
, "This is almost an entirely new Enterprise," doesn't he? Thus setting up Kirk's screw-up with the wormhole, etc.
[Of course, I've now committed myself in other recent threads to the idea that, whereas the TMP
ship was a refit/rebuilt/essentially new ship with the same name and general layout, the Enterprise of TWoK
et seq. was the same ship as in the old TV series but shown at higher resolution for the cinema. This simply has to be the case if the "20 years old" line in TSFS
is to make any sense. Assuming for the moment that any continuity exists between TMP
and the later movies, an "almost entirely new Enterprise" (as described by its own up-until-then captain, Decker) with a few years on it would never be spoken of as 20 years old - or older, for that matter, as alleged to be the case in earlier versions of the TSFS
script. This is just one reason why I say that NO continuity exists and that the filmmakers wanted not to imply any.]
See the Wikipedia entry "Ship of Theseus" (which I just came across while looking for the "grandfather's axe" way of putting this) for further explorations of the topic.