Star Trek II, III, IV movie Timeline question...

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by DIrishB, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    So, I'm doing a major re-watch of the entire Star Trek universe in chronological order: all episodes of every series (including The Animated Series) and all the films.

    I've just finished Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home, and had a question about the placement of Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III - The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home.

    The official chronology placed STII and STIII in 2285, and STIV in 2286... but this makes little sense.

    First, Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan establishes its been 15 years since the episode Space Seed, which is definitively set in 2267. Normally one would assume STII-TWoK must occur in 2282, however McCoy gives Kirk a bottle of Romulan Ale, vintage 2283 for his birthday (which occurs on March 22). This means it must be at least 2283. Also, Kirk seems to not like the taste of the ale (he makes a face as if he's forcing it down). This makes me think Romulan Ale is best after its aged, and newer vintages can be unpalatable for humans.

    Also, if we presume Space Seed occurs in the middle or towards end of 2267, STII's setting of March, 2283 is 15 years and change later, which gives validity to the scripted mentions of "15 years" passing between the episode and film.

    Further, STIII-TSfS picks up almost immediately after STII, maybe a few weeks at most to allow for some minor repairs to the Enterprise (after the notable damage received in the space battle with Khan over the nebula) and enough time for David Marcus and Saavik to be assigned/join the science team investigating the Genesis Planet. Presumably that'd place STIII in April, 2283.

    Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home is said to occur 3 months after STIII, so presumably in July, 2283, not 2286.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but considering the official chronology has it occurring 18 years after Space Seed that doesn't really jive with the 15 years mentions in STII, and even if we presume they're rounding they'd likely be more apt to round up to 20 years instead of rounding down by 3 years to come to 15 years instead of 18.

    Any thoughts on this? Am I overthinking it or overlooking something? Just wondering.
     
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Most normal people don't quote "X years ago" accurately in real life, so why expect it from fictional characters?
     
  3. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    Like I said:

    "Maybe I'm wrong, but considering the official chronology has it occurring 18 years after Space Seed that doesn't really jive with the 15 years mentions in STII, and even if we presume they're rounding they'd likely be more apt to round up to 20 years instead of rounding down by 3 years to come to 15 years instead of 18."

    Its extremely odd to round down by 3 years instead of rounding up by 2 and instead claiming it'd been 20 years.

    Further, even if we accept STII and STIII must occur in 2285, so must STIV due to it occurring only 3 months after STIII, unless there's an illogical and unexplainable longer spanse of time between STII and STIII... if so, what were Kirk and the crew doing for months on end (it would have to be at least 6 months between STII and STIII for the three months later setting to place STIV in 2286.

    There's something that just doesn't add up. Like I said, maybe I'm overthinking it, but the official chronology has been disputed before, so... just saying maybe these placements should also be disputed, all respect to the Okuda's.
     
  4. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My point is, most people speaking off the cuff aren't always rounding up or down consciously, sometimes you just say a period of time that feels right. Saying 15 when it's really been 18 doesn't sound that odd to me.
     
  5. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    Yeah, I get that, but again, the rounding down by 3 years is an odd approach most people don't do. By rules, when rounding up or down you round to the closest number, meaning they should be rounding up to 20 years, not rounding down by 3 years to say "15 years". Thats... odd. I think its clear the original intent was for it to indeed be set 15 years after Space Seed.

    Further, as McCoy says in that scene where he's gifted Kirk the Romulan ale (vintage 2283) "Well it takes this stuff some time to ferment." That would indicate the vintage is relatively recent. Now, it could still be placed in 2285, though taking a couple years or more to ferment is also odd and unlikely.

    But what about STIV being placed in 2286? That definitively makes no sense.

    STII must occur in March, 2283 or 2285 (depending on how literal we take the 15 years reference).

    STIII picks up at most weeks later, due to damage of the Enterprise, them just returning home, and Sarek being informed of Spock's death.

    If we're to assume the official chronology is accurate, and STIV occurs in 2286, there must be a 6 month span between STII and STIII (putting STIII around October, 2285) for the comment in STIV that the previous film occurred 3 months before to make sense (placing STIV in January 2286).

    But again, such a span seems unlikely since Spock's death is still obviously recent in STIII, given Kirk's sorrow and McCoy's "madness" from carrying Spock's essence. I just don't see a six month span being likely in that case.

    So, how do we make sense of STIV being placed in 2286? And if that is incorrect as it appears to be, again, why take the 2285 placement for STII and STIII as hard fact if we can't take the 2286 date as hard fact based on the dialogue and actions showing pretty specific passage of time between STII and STIV?

    I don't mean to be a pain in the behind, I'm genuinely just curious and wanted to get a conversation going on the topic. :)
     
  6. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    The official chronology also places ST-The Motion Picture in 2271, which is impossible since its established it occurs two and a half years after the end of the 5 year mission of the Enterprise under Kirk, which a Voyager episode established as ending in 2270 (the 5 year mission lasting from 2265-2270). This would mean the first film must occur in 2272 or 2273, depending on exactly when in the year 2270 the mission ended.

    Just saying, since that initial Okuda timeline was made some retconning seems to have been done requiring a re-examination of some of the Original Cast movie placements. If certain things are definitively suspect as ST-The Motion Picture's placement is, then shouldn't we also re-examine the other films placements (I-IV at least).

    There's simply no way STIV can occur in 2286 given the definitive span of months between STII and STIV (3-4 at most).
     
  7. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    Also, given The Animated Series has now apparently been reintegrated into Star Trek canon, I do think its time to revisit the Star Trek timeline in its entirety (especially TOS era) since Paramount seem to have re-canonized TAS (plus there are a few mentions/ties to it in DS9 if memory serves).

    I know Roddenberry didn't consider TAS canon, but the powers that be following him seem to.

    So, can we take everything in the Okuda timeline as definitive fact considering all these discrepancies?
     
  8. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    The main issue regarding the discrepancy between the Okuda chronology and the dialogue in the films regarding setting is, I'm not sure at the time the original Okuda chronology was written if they had established Kirk's birthday as March 22. Previously, it may have been assumed STII and STIII occurred late in 2285, thus making sense of STIV being set 3 months later placing it in early 2286...

    That retcon of establishing Kirk's birthday as March 22 may have thrown a monkey wrench into the original chronology.

    Anyone know when the decision was made to establish Kirk's birthday as March 22?
     
  9. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    Just finished re-watching Star Trek V - The Final Frontier, and it's said the shakedown has been going on for 3 weeks.

    Presumably the shakedown occurred before they undertook any other missions. Shakedowns by definition are done before maiden voyages of a ship to work out kinks/problems, so STV likely occurs around 3 weeks after STIV.

    Seriously, the official timeline placing ST IV and V a year apart makes no sense in that regard.
     
  10. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    He has almost the same reaction to the Michelob in the pizza joint.
     
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  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    My impression is the STIII picks up immediately after II, then IV is 3 months later. Get a load of how much weight Scotty puts on in such a short timeframe!!!

    There's always the DC comics timeline, where several months worth of missions occurred between movies (they stopped a Klingon/Federation war and then turned back a mirror universe invasion between II and III, and Kirk commanded the Excelsior and Spock the USS Surak between III and IV), although you have to ignore the dating references in the movies for that to work.
     
  12. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    Lol @ urbandefault. Maybe Kirk doesn't like alcohol anymore as he gets older? But then again, I can understand his distaste for Michelob. I'm not a big beer fan personally, but Michelob is one of the worst tasting in my opinion.

    @ King Daniel Beyond

    Exactly. Star Trek II occurs in late March, Star Trek III in April, and Star Trek IV in July. Also, Star Trek V picks up 3 weeks after IV during the shakedown of the Enterprise-A (that's always done before a maiden voyage) so is at most a month after IV.

    The real world aging/weight gain of the actors is a problem in that regard, but from a purely script/storytelling standpoint from what's presented in the films, those four films all seem to occur in the same year (I still think 2283 works best but understand why people would stick with 2285 based on the official chronology). But again, that official chronology has been retconned in part by Voyager confirming Kirk's original five year mission ended in 2270, not 2269, negating their placement of Star Trek - The Motion Picture in 2271 (it has to be 2272 or maybe even 2273 since its 2 and a half years after the end of their 5 year mission, just depends on if the mission ended early or late in 2270 to determine whether 2272 or 2273 works best for TMP... since we don't get any clues to actual month or period of year/season, we have to leave it ambiguous. On my personal timeline I place TMP in 2272 (presumably later in the year).

    Thanks for the responses. I love timeline discussions. :)
     
  13. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    @ King Daniel Beyond

    I never read the comics but from all the research I've done they're non-canon anyway so have no real bearing on the timeline. Course, Roddenberry's fluid nature regarding canon makes it difficult to nail down what is and isn't canon, but I'm glad Paramount/CBS have finally determined all the series and films are canon (even TAS apparently). I prefer that simple approach to the canon.

    I'm a huge continuity geek so I also loved how Enteprise explained the Klingon's without forehead ridges in TOS as being a result of the augment virus. I love logical solutions to continuity problems like that. :)
     
  14. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As far as ST5, the ship has been in spacedock for three weeks...that doesn't mean that it's three weeks after the end of ST4, it means it's three weeks after the end of their shakedown cruise. Does the movie ever say how long the shakedown was?
     
  15. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    @Tosk it doesn't say, but a shakedown occurs before a maiden voyage to work out kinks/problems beforehand.

    That indicates it can't be long after STIV, and is likely 3 weeks after STIV's ending based on Scotty's line he'd been working on it for 3 weeks. It's certainly not a year. I do think the 3 weeks comment was meant to imply it's been 3 weeks (or so) since they received command of the Enterprise-A and started the shakedown/testing/adjustments.

    Also, I'm totally going to explain Scotty's weight gain as being due to stress eating due to all the stressful events occurring during ST II-V. That scene where Uhura brings him that foil bagged dinner...? That was probably happening quite a bit. :)
     
  16. DIrishB

    DIrishB Lieutenant Junior Grade Newbie

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    My impression was that they'd taken the Enterprise-A for a spin to test the warp drive and other functions (shown a bit at end of ST IV) and then returned to space dock for the shakedown. I doubt a full year passed between getting the ship and finally beginning the shakedown. Especially given how little worked correctly (as illustrated at the beginning of ST V).
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As regards the variables here, we don't really know when "Space Seed" happened.

    I mean, we know it happened on SD 3142 or thereabouts. But when is that? We know Kirk's five-year mission came to end at some point during the year 2270, suggesting it started at some point during the year 2266 (although it could be late 2265 or early 2267 if we want to juggle it that way). We have zero reason to think that the three seasons of TOS depicted three years of the mission, though - say, there's a three-year interval between "Errand of Mercy" and "Day of the Dove" as per explicit dialogue, but OTOH only a season and a third between them.

    The lowest (TOS) stardates from the five-year mission are in the 1300 range, the highest in the 5900 range. That's rather conveniently five 1000-stardate years covered! That is, in TNG, DS9 and VOY, 1000 stardates equal one Earth year, and there aren't major showstoppers for thinking that this would be true of TOS as well. In that interpretation, "Space Seed" would be early third year, that is, early 2268 (or very late 2267 or very early 2269, if we really want to juggle and decide that it didn't take five years knife-sharp). Further keeping with the TNG analogy, a stardate year starts after the summer holidays, like a Paramount season, and this is how things like Thanksgiving fit best in TOS, too. (Of course, SD 8130 for Kirk's birthday would be nowhere near March in that interpretation...)

    The point of the above exercise isn't to show that "Space Seed" sits in a specific slot, say, August 2268 or whatnot. It's to show that the episode has no specific slot, and certainly isn't fixed as taking place in 2267.

    Could be anywhere between 2272 and 2282, really. And probably should be taken as being later than 2277, because only then would a probe from the Voyager series really have time to disappear "over" 300 years before the movie. But of course Trek could have had a different schedule for its Voyager series. And TMP doesn't affect anything much, being the "forgotten" movie that just floats there, still waiting for its first onscreen cross-reference.

    But getting the ship might have taken more than a year. That is, ST4 could be a movie that covers two or three years of action, most of it between Kirk's trial and his being given command of the E-A.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    It is all guesswork. There is nothing in canon (before the Abrams films) that places when Kirk was born. So much of this is backtrack work from TNG's 2364 mention in "The Neutral Zone". "2283" in The Wrath of Khan could mean anything, honestly. Since Kirk is likely reading Romulan script. That also works on the assumption that he is reading it correctly.

    So put it wherever it feels right for you. There is no "historical" accuracy involved.

    Yes. :p
     
  19. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A shakedown isn't done in dock. A shakedown is done "in the field". Then they returned to spacedock to effect repairs/refits.

    And as Timo says, for all we know the final scene/s of ST4 could be months after they released George and Gracie in the bay.
     
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  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Remarkably, he's reading it before he gets the glasses. ;)

    One wonders... Did the prop have actual text on it? In English or alienese? The label is intentionally very, very dark...

    Anyway, FWIW, BK613 explained it all, back in 2015:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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