I've always found this interesting. IIRC the events of Star Trek V occurred in 2287, with VI coming in 2293. A pretty significant gap.
Might be longer still - ST5:TFF seems to occur mere weeks after the ending of ST4:TVH, and ST2 through ST4 appear to only cover a few months of action. The earliest plausible date for the ST2-ST4 thing is 2284... Although we could argue that there was a year or more between the main body of ST4 and the final scene of ST4.
Regarding the dating of The Final Frontier
, there's a definite canonical establishment of the events of film taking place in 2287 in the TNG episode "Evolution" -- Data mentions that the last major wide-scale computer-failure aboard a Federation starship occurred in this year, which was a clear reference to the NCC-1701-A's computer troubles (the fifth movie was released in theaters only a couple of months before the broadcast of this episode).
The dating of The Voyage Home
is locked in by dialogue from the episode "The Neutral Zone" -- Data establishes the year as being 2364; according to various TNG production documents, the series is set 78 years after the events of that film, which places TVH's opening scenes in March, 2286 at the absolute earliest.
You're correct about the apparent time lapse during the final sections of Star Trek IV
, although it's probably on a much lesser scale -- weeks or months almost certainly pass between the HMS Bounty
's reappearance with the whales and Captain Kirk taking command of the Enterprise
-A, possibly between that scene and the trial, or else between the verdict and the final Spacedock scene.
Starfleet would've needed weeks, at the very least, to repaint the outer hull of the new Enterprise
to reflect the new fleet service-registry number.
King Daniel Into Darkness wrote:
STVI makes it pretty clear the crew have been broken up for at least 3 years (McCoy didn't even know Sulu was a Captain - and the film opens with him returning from a 3-year mission!) and are reuniting for the peace mission.
Not really -- in fact, if anything, the movie suggests that the crew is still regularly involved in the operation of the starship.
The Spacedock launch-scene alone appears to confirm that the Gorkon peace-mission is simply one more recent routine mission for Kirk and his crew, suggested by how quickly and nonchalantly they take their stations, get the vessel prepped for departure, etc.
True, they've been serving together as a cohesive unit for years by that point, but the movie shows Kirk treating the whole thing with almost a lazy, detached air...a milk-run, at best.
C.E. Evans wrote:
I tend to think that relations between the Federation and the Klingons really went sour during that time, perhaps triggered by an event that caused even once moderates in Starfleet to have an extremely low opinion of Klingons.
It was a combination of a couple of factors -- as Timo mentions, there were a series of attacks perpetrated by the prototype Bird-of-Prey commanded by General Chang (the IKS Dakronh
) in the months leading up to Star Trek VI
, including the destruction of a Federation research-base where Carol Marcus is terribly wounded (from the ST VI novelization).
The other occurred in 2287, not long after the events of The Final Frontier
, where Kirk and Sulu witness the massacre of an entire Klingon penal colony under orders from the Imperial government merely to cover up the Empire's illegal detention of UFP civilians and captured Starfleet personnel. The incident so disgusts Captain Kirk that it sours his entire attitude towards the Klingons, leading into the sixth feature film (chronicled in the TOS novel In the Name of Honor