Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by EJA, Dec 10, 2009.
"You coming back in time and changing history? That's cheating."
I get where you're coming from, but it actually doesn't, and this is obvious.
- Vulcan is destroyed in the new reality, whereas we see it clearly several times throughout TOS, the movies and TNG.
- Kirk went straight from the Academy to command of the Enterprise during the course of the new movie, whereas in TOS, it is well established that he served on a number of other vessels at different ranks and positions, including an encounter with a di-coronium cloud creature which returns in "Obsession".
No theory can ever change these established canon facts.
"A trick I learned from an old frield."
I think he means that the timeline is overwritten, rather than splitting.
The best theory for Star Trek time travel (and the only one that can explain most of it) is the Crosstime Theory. In the Crosstime Theory, there is no time travel as we understand it. All time travel is actually dimension travel. You cannot go forward or backward in time, only sideways. You can, however, go sideways at an angle, landing in earlier or later points of alternate timelines. (See the Star Trek Enterprise two-part episode Through A Mirror Darkly. ALL time travel works like that.) When a time traveller sees history change, this is an illusion. The time traveller is actually being shunted into a different timeline...
This has some disturbing implications. The concept of free will becomes a little weird. Predistination exists, but ALL possible outcomes are equally predestined. Therefore, free will is when you attempt to maneuver yourself into a predestined outcome that you prefer...
Also, the Temporal Prime Directive becomes largely pointless. Since everyone, everything and every event exists SOMEWHERE in the multiverse, Temporal Investigations can't actually change or prevent anything. They are essentially a border patrol, preventing people from the dimensions where they exist from crossing into Temporal Parts Unknown...
When you time travel, there is a distinct possibility you cannot get back to where you came from. Your original timeline continues as a timeline where you disappeared into another timeline and never came back. When you do get back, you are actually in another timeline which looks virtually identical to the timeline you left, with the main divergence being the fact that you came back...
The good news is there is no such thing as the Grandfather Paradox. Since you cannot go backward in you own timeline and kill your grandfather, you cannot erase your own existence. If you try it, you wind up killing your grandfather's twin brother from a parallel universe, and end up in an alternate timeline where you were never born. You still exist, but you are standing there as an unknown person with no proof of identity...
The best analogy I can come up with is that time is like a freeway, with infinite length and infinite width. Every time anyone makes any choice at all, that is a lane change. A time traveller is someone with a custom steering wheel capable of changing more than one lane at a time. When you see some jackass crossing from the left side of the freeway to the exit ramp on the right in one swift move, that is a time traveller. Unfortunately, everyone shares their section of the Infinite Freeway with billions of other drivers, and maybe three of them actually know how to drive...
For example, one morning you're in the Get Out Of Bed Lane. Perhaps you decide to skip past the Go To Work Lane and try to change over to the See A Movie Lane. However, your jackass of a boss honks angrily at you and cuts you off in traffic, and you move into the Go To Work Lane. Meanwhile, somewhere else on the Infinite Freeway, another version of you successfully outmaneuvers another version of your jackass boss and enters the See A Movie Lane, which often leads to the Got No Job Lane...
The original timeline still exists because an infinite number of them still exist, as does an infinite number of the new timeline. While there are an infinite number of new timelines which directly diverge from an infinite number of original timelines by the destruction of an infinite number of Kelvins, the new Star Trek movie seen in THIS universe is simply NOT one of them. The new Star Trek movie shows a timeline which diverges from the original timeline at a MUCH earlier point, much closer to the founding of the Federation in 2161, which is the latest known point that Star Trek Enterprise, Star Trek TOS and the new Star Trek movie have in common. The video and audio evidence in the new Star Trek movie suggest NO other possibility...
^My thoughts exactly. But you won't convince the die-hard time-travelling crowd. Trust me.
Time travel plus Trek equals plot convenience. Q.E.D.
I have another theory...
In the alternate timeline, a much more powerful version of warp drive was developed. In TOS, the Enterprise could travel from Earth to Vulcan at maximum warp in 1.8 days. In the new movie, the trip took 5 minutes and 25 seconds. That's almost five hundred times faster. Such a warp drive (and the power systems to run it) would logically be much more massive than previous versions, requiring much bigger ships to operate it...
The video evidence shows Kelvin was one of these bigger ships, on the same size scale as the new Enterprise...
I consider the new Star Trek movie to be a worthy successor to the original series, mainly because it is every bit as flawed and imperfect as the original series in a lot of the same ways. While Star Trek is always fun and entertaining to watch, consistency and coherency are too much to ask from it, and have been since the beginning. The fan base needs to get it through their collective skulls that this is NEVER going to change. The fact that the new Star Trek movie is not consistent with the original series is exactly what MAKES it consistent with the original series...
Actually, no. OneBuck understood me correctly.
And, yes, that sounds crazy at first, but think about it. Use your imagination. Remember the insane contradictions Trekkies have overcome before (e.g. Klingon foreheads), then find a similarly plausible explanation for how Vulcan can be both destroyed and not-destroyed, in 40 Eridani and in the Vega system. Several present themselves easily. One in particular makes very, very good sense given what we've seen of Vulcan in ENT, TOS, TNG, and now ST09.
You can do it with one timeline, unified and consistent, without overwriting anything. In fact, when you start thinking about it, it actually makes more sense temporally and even helps explain away some things that never quite made sense about the traditional Primeverse canon. I regard Star Trek 2009 as the official prequel to TOS.
I am now definite. I will post my more extended thoughts on this (with my reflections on Vulcan's destruction, Kirk's career, and many other apparent contradictions between movieverse and Primeverse) as soon as I can get them organized -- soon after Christmas.
Not that I expect more than ten people will be interested in those thoughts, but I do think it's worth making the case to those who do find canon discussion intriguing.
EDIT: Way to finish the quote, OneBuck. Three points.
I've been trying to tell people that for years! Crosstime Theory is so cool. It dispenses with Grandfather Paradoxes. You can't kill your own grandfather because you can't travel within your own timeline - see how that solves a huge problem right away?
Whenever Our Heroes bop out of their timeline and think their timeline has been messed up, they're fretting over nothing. Their timeline can't be messed up. They are in someone else's timeline and think their own is messed up. Then they "reset" it so it's correct. All that they do is to catapault themselves back into their own timeline, which was never messed up, so of course it looks okay. Problem "solved." That's government work for ya.
Another favorite theory of mind is that every time travel incident that occurs overwrites the last one. But nobody is "outside" the timeline - they can't be (where would they be?) - so they can't realize what is happening. Every time the overwriting happens, they think that's the way things always were. The timeline could be overwritten a hundred billion times per second, and nobody would ever be the wiser. It could be happening to us right now.
I like a couple of possible ways to keep the original timeline around.
1) "In a Mirror Darkly" established that at least some forms of time travel can cause something to both go back in time and slip into an alternate universe. The form of time travel used by Nero and Spock could be one like that, putting them in a different universe whose future they alter while leaving the original timeline unchanged, while other time travel methods, such as in "Yesterday's Enterprise", alter the original timeline.
2) "Parallels" established that very similar alternate universes can exist. So even if Nero and Spock altered one universe which is basically the original Trek timeline, another universe can exist which is also basically the original Trek timeline. Everything we've seen in TOS, TNG, etc. originally happened in both; the difference is one universe then got altered by Nero, while in the other perhaps Nero got killed by the black hole instead.
...although, when speaking of time travel, "a hundred billion times a second" is a phrase of questionable value.
Not criticizing, just nitpickin'! :P I'm actually a bit of a fan of Crosstime Theory myself, though I think I would avoid it as a writer because it junks so many good drama opportunities.
All possibilites exists within the tenth dimension.
This means that every action you could possibly take has been taken causing multiple realities to be created.
With Star Trek 09 we got to see the reality where Spock arrived late to save Romulus. There is also a reality we didn't see where Spock arrived in time. One where he arrived early, one where he had eggs for breakfest. One where he was banging a Vulcan chick at 4:30 in the morning and just said screw it.
The fact is all realities exists in the tenth dimension, our storytellers just dropped us in the one that they wanted us to see and participate in.
It junks so many good drama opportunities? I don't think so...
That drama would still exist, even if the reasons for it aren't really justified. This is because, even in Star Trek's Twenty-Ninth Century, very FEW people understand or accept Crosstime Theory, outside of the people in the Time Police who deal with it every day. (And part of their job would be to explain it to NO ONE...)
This is how it works, folks !!!!
That's probably the simplest and best I have seen it illustrated.
Quote the timeline at 2387 : ...Nero and Spock enter singularity..."
In Universe, THAT'S the difference in this TT event from all that came before - they went through a singularity.
True. Just trying to get my point across via some sort of concrete mental image. This stuff is really frustrating to talk about!
Time travel is the biggest drama killer imaginable! I respect sci fi writers who forge ahead with it, even knowing how tough it's gonna be (not all of them realize the dangers and many fall right into the obvious traps, which can just flat out destroy shows - ENT and Heroes being two more recent victims).
The main "successful" ways I've seen time travel done are:
1. Predestination, dammit! Twelve Monkeys, Lost. You can't change a single frakkin' thing, so there are no logic problems. If the story is short enough and/or the characters compelling enough, the fact that the story is a foregone conclusion doesn't cripple anyone's interest. You lean on the action, angst and concern about favorite characters to keep everyone interested.
2. Play it for laughs. If it's a comedy, it doesn't have to make sense.
Exactamundo. If everything that could happen does happen in some reality, then the only reason to focus on a certain reality is if it's an exceptionally interesting and entertaining reality. Trek has given us one; now it's added another one. Two out of infinity is still being extraordinarily selective.
This is almost always the correct way to do time travel, I think. It makes the most logical sense, it creates no internal inconsistencies (every other form of time travel seems to), and you can still do really good drama even though the end is often, in vague terms, known. (You can also make a great drama out of the futility of trying to change anything -- i.e. Doctor Who's "The Fires of Pompeii" / "The Waters of Mars" duology.) You see it more often in sci-fi lit, so when Lost decided to do it I squee'd very very hard. I just hope they stick to it in the wake of The Incident.
I guess I could have made my entire post much shorter by simply saying, "QFT," but there you have it. Exactly so.
My love of predestination-based time travel loops is one more reason I've tried to interpret Trek XI as taking place within a single, consistent, unified timeline instead of relying on the alternate universe "fork theory" everyone else is using. But I'm not quite done tidying that idea up for posting.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
There's another way to do time-travel that like predestination, is kinda plotline-killing so really depends on having compelling characters - make time travel useless, or nearly so, but play it for drama, not for laughs.
Heroes for instance could have used this idea. Just because you travel in time doesn't mean you know what to change to get the timeline to come out the way you want it to, or how to avoid doing things that have unexpected negative consequences. The Star Trek trope that the timeline is reset-able exactly to how it used to be makes no sense anyway - that's like unscrambling an egg.
The timeline should be like a force of nature that resists puny human attempts to manipulate it. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature, but the timeline is an even bigger bitch.
Peter and Hiro should have tried to use time travel to make things go their way, and kept frakking it up worse. Heroes did play around with this idea - didn't saving NYC at the end of S1 actually set up conditions by which the planet would be destroyed? Peter needing to obtain Sylar's "seeing" ability in order to know what to do, as a precondition to using time travel effectively, is another good limitation on time travel, since it also would drive him insane and cause him not to follow through on whatever plan for repairing the timeline he originally had. But that was just one of many plotlines the Heroes writers started and then dropped when they got bored with it or distracted by a shinier toy.
But assuming the writers actually will follow through with this plotline, you have the pathetic spectacle of people with the power to time-travel but not the wisdom to realize that particular power is useless to them. The story then becomes waiting for them to wise up and stop trying to time travel at all.
One good example of predestination I remember was in Andromeda. The first season episode Angel Dark Demon Bright had Trance mess up her first lesson at navigating through Slipsteram and land the Andromeda centuries in the past, just before the final battle of the Commonwealth collapse. Harper comes up with a plan to screw over the Nietzscheans, which Captain Hunt dismisses as too dangerous to history. They later find out from Tyr that Harper's reckless plan is exactly what history recorded...
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