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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old September 13 2010, 09:40 AM   #1
Cadet49
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Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

I personally think that the whole idea that the new Trek film happens in a sort of "parallel dimension", and that the original Trek timeline still exists (within the fictional universe) to be more an attempt to appease Trek fans angered by the loss of the original chronology, and doesn't make sense when you look at the actual plot. Were the writer's talking about that parallel universe idea before the film was produced, or did it only come out after reactions from fans?

When I saw the film originally, I took the mention of an "alternate timeline" to mean that the past has been altered by Nero, but that this was still the same universe the other series happened in. But now, that future had been potentially erased by Nero's interference. Indeed, Spock says, "Whatever our destiny's might have been, that has been changed."

What is so shocking about the destruction of Vulcan and the death of Spock's mother is that Nero has travelled back in time and destroyed the things that Spock held most dear, and forced Spock to sit back and watch. He also robbed Kirk of the chance of ever knowing his father... both of our principal characters suffer a great loss that affects their lives. Yet, if this is all just a parallel universe of some sort, then Nero's actions as the antagonist are not as emotionally powerful, as Nimoy's Spock would be aware that Vulcan was still well in the "universe" he comes from - there is less of an emotional stake for the audience, in my opinion.

So, if this is indeed the past of the same universe, why didn't elder Spock's memories change when Nero changed the past - why does he still seem to remember events of a timeline that no longer exists? The same question could be asked of why, when Marty McFly travels back to the revised 1985 in the end of Back to the Future, he still remembers how his parents were in the original timeline, when he changed the past back in 1955. Some might argue that this is because he is in an alternate universe that split off from the original one, but I prefer to think of Spock and McFly having their memories as just one of the necessities of a time travel story, for the plot.

i understand how fans of the TOS films, TNG, DS9, and Voy feel about a time travel story altering the Trek they love, but from a storytelling sense, I think the intention was that Nero had made major changes in the lives of young Kirk and Spock, yet despite a shattered timeline, destiny somehow found a way to bring the crew of the Enteprise together, against all odds.

How do others feel?

(...PS, people will argue - if this is the past of the regular universe, why doesn't Spock just go back in time and fix it, like Picard did in First Contact? My feelings are that the space-time continuum has been fundamentally altered in some way, by all the time travelling since the temporal cold war, that time travel is no longer possible ... there is no reset button anymore...)
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Old September 13 2010, 10:48 AM   #2
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

I agree the "alternate universe" thing is just a device to appease fans (and continue to sell books and games based on "old Trek"), and I think it was intentionally left vague in the movie so fans could ultimately decide for themselves. The writers say that no timelines can be destroyed, only new ones created. It's a retcon that messes up every prior time-travel story, but I don't have a problem with it. I personally like the idea that all the other timelines we thought erased are still "out there"

I don't think the AU cheapens the new film at all - if anything, this new point-of-view bumps the entirety of old Trek down to the level of the random universes in "Parallels", or the one Old Janeway left at the start of "Endgame". Spock Prime is essentially a ghost from a future that, from the nuTrekker's perspective, won't happen - just like Old Janeway, or Agent Daniels from Enterprise (whose history diverged from Archer's at "Shockwave", and changed more and more as the series progressed) were to old Trek.
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Old September 13 2010, 02:56 PM   #3
C.E. Evans
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

IMO, the idea of the movies now being in an alternate universe will only matter to those who hate the idea. For everyone else, it either won't matter or it has been accepted and they've now moved on to follow what comes next with this new take on Kirk and the gang.

I actually would think it would be fun to see how much further things in the alternate universe will diverge from that in the prime. I mean, it really doesn't effect anything in the prime universe as far as I'm concerned, so the alternate universe can go buck-wild in that regard and do things that never happened originally.
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Old September 13 2010, 03:08 PM   #4
Pauln6
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

I don't object to the AU idea as a method of storytelling. The fact that anybody could in theory be fair game is appealing - if somewhat scary. My concern is overwriting too much of the flavour of the original. I don't want to see young Kirk be the charicature he became in the later TOS movies. I don't want to see the tech become more advanced than TNG (long distance transporting grrr) and I don't want the liberalism of the Federation give way to right wing violence (killing Nero's crew). We'll see if the sequel takes us further down this route.
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Old September 13 2010, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

IMO the AU is better because it forces tptb to be more careful with time travel stories, they cannot simply push the reset button from now on. The bar is raised, imo.

I may be drinking the Kool-Aid but I believe the OU is alive and well. I am a fan of it, why would I want it not to be? Because "Canon" says it cannot? I have more of a life than that.
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Old September 13 2010, 08:13 PM   #6
Sharr Khan
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

I like the notion of an alternate universe, its lets us take a fresh look at things, we think we already know.
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Old September 13 2010, 11:57 PM   #7
SheliakBob
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

The whole Alternate Universe thing is based on one line of dialog, which was just speculation at best, and the squirming of the people responsible, trying to have their cake and clog it down the trash chute at the same time.
It's gutless pandering that mostly serves to piss off people on both sides of the reboot fence (and not bother at all the vast majority of fans who don't care about such things--I know, I know.)
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Old September 14 2010, 12:33 AM   #8
kkozoriz1
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

I'd like to know how Spock knows that the trip through time created a new universe. He's seen examples of the present being altered in the past, i.e. The Guardian of Forever. Since he's in the altered universe, how can he be sure that the prime universe is still there?
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Old September 14 2010, 05:43 PM   #9
Jeyl
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

kkozoriz1 wrote: View Post
I'd like to know how Spock knows that the trip through time created a new universe. He's seen examples of the present being altered in the past, i.e. The Guardian of Forever. Since he's in the altered universe, how can he be sure that the prime universe is still there?
Uh, because it's written by the brilliant writers of Transformers 1 and 2? They don't have reason, they don't seek any reason, they don't even know what reason is. After all, they wrote this brilliant piece of dialogue.

Kirk: You went back in time. Changed all our lives.

Yeah, Spock totally went back in time, attacked the USS Kelvin, killing your father, destroyed several klingon ships, destroyed seven federation ships and sucked Vulcan into a plot device. Yep, that was all him.

Kirk: Going back in time? Changing things? That's cheating.
Spock: A trick I learned from a friend.

Makes perfect sense because, things are different anyways? On that fact, wouldn't helping to stop Nero be more in line with preserving the time line than destroying it? Why does this come off as cheating?
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Old September 14 2010, 05:54 PM   #10
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

I thought he meant "you" as in Spock and Nero, the stars of the mind meld we'd just seen. Without Spock's black hole, and the Spock/Nero feud, none of it would have happened.

Ever watched Fringe? Same writers. ADHD special effects-showcase Transformers films aren't all they're capable of.
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Old September 14 2010, 06:03 PM   #11
ST-One
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

kkozoriz1 wrote: View Post
I'd like to know how Spock knows that the trip through time created a new universe. He's seen examples of the present being altered in the past, i.e. The Guardian of Forever. Since he's in the altered universe, how can he be sure that the prime universe is still there?
Is that a serious question?

The Guardian obviously kept everyone in the same timeline (the one McCoy changed).

Of course there is always that one TNG episode 'Parallels'
First Contact, where the Enterprise is caught in the Borg Sphere's temporal wake - at the same time in the 'original' timeline and the one the Borg changed (here the 'Enterprise' timeline begins, btw).
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Old September 14 2010, 06:05 PM   #12
ST-One
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
I thought he meant "you" as in Spock and Nero, the stars of the mind meld we'd just seen. Without Spock's black hole, and the Spock/Nero feud, none of it would have happened.
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Old September 14 2010, 06:42 PM   #13
Pauln6
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

Jeyl wrote: View Post
kkozoriz1 wrote: View Post
I'd like to know how Spock knows that the trip through time created a new universe. He's seen examples of the present being altered in the past, i.e. The Guardian of Forever. Since he's in the altered universe, how can he be sure that the prime universe is still there?
Uh, because it's written by the brilliant writers of Transformers 1 and 2? They don't have reason, they don't seek any reason, they don't even know what reason is. After all, they wrote this brilliant piece of dialogue.

Kirk: You went back in time. Changed all our lives.

Yeah, Spock totally went back in time, attacked the USS Kelvin, killing your father, destroyed several klingon ships, destroyed seven federation ships and sucked Vulcan into a plot device. Yep, that was all him.

Kirk: Going back in time? Changing things? That's cheating.
Spock: A trick I learned from a friend.

Makes perfect sense because, things are different anyways? On that fact, wouldn't helping to stop Nero be more in line with preserving the time line than destroying it? Why does this come off as cheating?
Except that it doesn't make perfect sense because that's not the many worlds theory. You don't change anything you jump tracks to the timeline where you travel back and go forward from there. The Guardian or temporal wake or whatever just drags people nearby into the new timeline. Nothing ever changes and the original timeline carries on.

It lacks the drama of 'oh no the lives of people we love have been changed', which is why the characters moan, and try to get back (or change back) their timeline but it's nonsense. In infinite timelines those people's live would always be like that in more than one circumstance. The only lives that change are the 'time' travellers.
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Old September 14 2010, 06:44 PM   #14
Jeyl
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
I thought he meant "you" as in Spock and Nero, the stars of the mind meld we'd just seen. Without Spock's black hole, and the Spock/Nero feud, none of it would have happened.
But Spock didn't know the black hole he would create would cause him or Nero to travel back in time, as the mind meld demonstrated. Telling Spock directly that he went back in time and changed all their lives isn't really appropriate. I would say that something along the lines of "So the other you was right about him. You and Nero are from the future, and everything is now different." Or something to that affect.

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Ever watched Fringe? Same writers. ADHD special effects-showcase Transformers films aren't all they're capable of.
So why put them in areas where they're certainly not very capable, i.e. action summer movies based off of old material? I have no doubt in my mind that these writers can write a good story, but Transformers and Star Trek are not good examples.

Last edited by Jeyl; September 14 2010 at 06:55 PM.
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Old September 14 2010, 07:03 PM   #15
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Re: Alternate universe idea dilutes the drama of film?

Dramatically unsatisfying.

There was nothing at stake that I actually cared about.
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