Thoughts on a new timeline with a reimagined "modern" history?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by SG-17, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. SG-17

    SG-17 Commodore Commodore

    Nov 28, 2008
    I've been thinking about how the majority of Earth's history in Star Trek (both Prime and Kelvin) is influenced by the fact that the original show was made in the 1960s. Due to a (in my opinion, rightful) predilection towards maintaining a consistent canon there has been reluctance to alter or retcon Earth's history to match the ensuing 50+ years.

    While I appreciate this, it does cause some oddities. Weird choices for the look and function of future tech (looking at you PADDs!), inconsistencies that require big stretches to reconcile (or are outright ignored), and a sort of disconnect with the viewer. Star Trek is no longer the future that could be, rather the future that wasn't to be.

    So, while I love the Prime timeline and want it to continue in TV I think it would be an interesting exercise to see how the future would develop from a modern present, whether thats in the form of a book, comic, limited mini-series, what have you. I also don't think that Prime events and characters need to be juryrigged into this new quantum reality, so unlike the books which tried to squeeze the Eugenics Wars into being a shadow conflict which presented itself to the public as the First Gulf War, unrest in the Balkans, the collapse of the USSR, etc if Khan and the Eugenics Wars don't make sense they don't need to exist.

    So if the goal is to create stories around a group of human and alien explorers belonging to an egalitarian, post-scarcity and post-labor society centered around an Earth that "got better" how would that go? How could Star Trek be birthed from our current world?

    Most science fiction outside of Trek with our Earth as its historical backdrop present gloomy futures, the one great enduring part of Trek is the idea that humans have the ability to be better as a whole.
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    We could always do the simplest possible delaying act, in which WWIII and Cochrane's garage project happen in 2073. Or, when the world again fails to catch up with Trek, in 2083. Or 2113. Or 2163.

    Trek's visions of dystopia-turned-utopia were based on the classic 1950s-2000s threat scenario of mankind actively blowing itself up. Today, we're more scared of our stupidity accidentally making this planet uninhabitable; what we do to each other is sorta trivial in comparison. The scifi way would be to exaggerate climate change somehow so that it indeed risks killing Earth for good, and for Cochrane to fly and the Vulcans to arrive after this cataclysm.

    What mankind does isn't particularly relevant to the story. We didn't get better: we just had Cochrane invite the Vulcans in to sort out our mess while we stopped doing certain things for a while. In the current model, this wasn't a long while, and a century later we're back to nuking folks to smithereens (it's just different folks, from outer space). In the updated model, we find new planets to ruin with industry or farming or other exploitation.

    Timo Saloniemi
  3. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 7, 2001
    On the run.
    It's all window-dressing. Starting over just to fit the last fifty years of real history into it is fruitless, in my opinion. It doesn't change the stories in any real way.
  4. Butters

    Butters Commodore Commodore

    Nov 18, 2008
    The Northwest
    I love a good chronology of future history, but I agree with this.

    I think it’s better to just stay away from the contradictions and just tell new stories. One of Trek’s biggest mistakes, in my view, was giving us a Gregorian date. The star dates gave us a timeline for the episodes, and keeping it ‘centuries’ in the future should have been enough.
  5. SG-17

    SG-17 Commodore Commodore

    Nov 28, 2008
    Right, but I am asking what would Trek look like if it did?
  6. 1001001

    1001001 Pull Up a Groove and Get Fabulous! Moderator

    Nov 3, 2001
    The Great Wide Open
    In a Mirror, Darkly
    Henoch and PT109 like this.
  7. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    A type 13 planet in its final stage
    Remember the Lost in Space reboot on Netflix? Do something like that, with Trek. Utterly fresh start.
    Tim Thomason likes this.
  8. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    jippers on a beach somewhere
    I like that current trek still has things like DY-100's launched in the 90's etc. Trek is alternate history as well as a tale of the future.

    But if it were ever complately rebooted, and doesnt look like it's going to happen any time soon, I'd say push it much further into the future to avoid that kind of mess again. For now, no need to retcon much. Just treat it as-is.
    Freman likes this.
  9. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

    Jan 27, 2009
    Part of me really wants to see an episode where they travel to a parallel universe where Star Trek is just a television show.

    But I thing this discussion can kind of bleed over into the realism discussion. After all that's basically what the question is, what would the Star Trek franchise look like if its depiction of history was more real. Well how real do you want to make it? That question would ultimately determine how you approach other series.

    Personally I see no reason why we would should reboot to accommodate modern history. Should we reboot every fifty years just to keep things up to date? Or should we just enjoy the entertainment legacy that we have. Constant reboots just seem like a dog chasing it's tail. The Star Trek Universe will never be 100% accurate to real history and that's ok.

    But it is an interesting thought exercise.
    XCV330 likes this.
  10. -Brett-

    -Brett- Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2001
    Better yet, do something like that with a totally new property. Utterly fresh start.
    uniderth likes this.
  11. dswynne1

    dswynne1 Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 5, 2013
    If nothing else, see the "World of Star Trek" as an alternate timeline, which was the result of the "Temporal Cold War" (thanks to Multiverse Theory). So, in OUR timeline, we're still far behind than our counter-parts of the alternate timeline. Come to think of it, where would any of us be in that alternate timeline?

    Well, depending upon which "source material", the United States would be under a "right-wing" leadership, but not necessarily a conservative, Republican leadership. Given the Eugenics War, I think both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party would veer more "right", with both parties embracing a traditional "cold war" stance for the foreseeable future. I think the previous conflict would force breakthroughs in science and technology. Maybe, it's the Eugenics War that is the key divergent point?
  12. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 7, 2014
    The thing is, Star Trek was originally never designed to still be on television when any of the events mentioned or hinted at would happen! It's only because of the success of the feature films and later the spin off TV series that has brought this into discussion! If the series had ended in 69 and might have continued in 79 with one feature film I doubt we'd be talking about it today! :bolian:
  13. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

    Dec 11, 2015
    This whole discussion is based on a false premise. The false premise is that Star Trek history is the same as our history up until the 1964-1969 production and broadcasting of TOS, and then begins to diverge from ours. No doubt that is what the creators of various Star Trek productions imagine.

    But because various writers had bad memories or inadequate historical knowledge or were careless, and because the staff didn't notice and correct all of their errors, Earth history in Star Trek before the 1960s is also different from real history just like Earth history in the fifty years from 1969 to 2019 in Star Trek is different from real history.

    So when did the alternate universe of Star Trek diverge from our universe? This is where it gets interesting.

    There are many inaccurate historical statements in various Star Trek productions, some of which are so wrong they can only be explained by Star Trek happening in an alternate universe. But there are many other historical statements in various Star Trek productions which seem to be correct and indicate that Star Trek had not yet diverged from ours when those historical events happened. And there is no period of time that all of the accurate historical statements are before, and all of the inaccurate statements are after, as you would expect if the alternate universes of Star Trek and our history diverged at one point in time.

    Instead the accurate and the inaccurate historical statements are both scattered across centuries and millennia of Earth history. One or more accurate historical statements are followed by one or more inaccurate historical statements which are followed by one or more accurate historical statements which are followed by one or more inaccurate historical statements which are followed by one or more accurate historical statements and so on and so on through the ages of Earth history.

    So the universe of Star Trek seems to get different from ours and then become the same as ours and then become different, over and over.

    And it seems like it is extremely improbable for two alternate universe to ever become the same again, once they have started to diverge. Let alone the same two alternate universes doing it over and over.

    The odds against two universes, once separated, becoming the same again should be many times higher than the odds against getting a royal fizzbin according to Kirk in "A Piece of the Action".

    Therefore there must be some, probably conscious, force that makes our universe and that of Star Trek become similar again once they start to drift apart. Possibly that force acts to make many universes become more like ours, or possibly it acts to make many universes more like that of Star Trek, which might indicate that God is a Star Trek fan.

    And it should be noted that some Star Trek events considered to be past events might still be future events.

    In "Space Seed":

    The Eugenics Wars in roughly 1993.33 SS to 1996.66 SS (Space Seed calendar) will be the last of Earth's world wars.


    In Star Trek: First Contact Picard and his crew travel back in time to Earth on the day before First Contact.

    So the Third World War was approximately 10 years before 2063 in the First Contact calendar, or about 2053 FC.

    And apparently the Third World War abut 2053 FC will be the last world war on Earth:

    Therefore both the Eugenics Wars in roughly 1993.33 SS to 1996.66 SS (Space Seed calendar) and the Third World war in about 2053 FC (First Contact calendar) must be the last of Earth's world wars, meaning that they are the same conflict. And that means that roughly 1993.33 SS to 1996.66 SS is the same era as about 2053 FC (First Contact calendar), making year one in the Space Seed calendar about 58 to 65 years after year one in the First Contact calendar, and making 2018 SS, when space travel becomes much faster, about 2076 to 2083 FC, which may be approximately when Earth's first warp drive ships are launched.

    And of course it is uncertain what dates the Eugenics Wars and First Contact have in Anno Domini dating.

    Therefore, not only do the Eugenics wars happen in an alternate universe to ours, but they could happen in a date which might still be sometime in the future in AD 2019.
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  14. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

    Dec 27, 2018
    Back on the Shelf
    We could retcon that there was a WWIII in the mid-21st century which most probably involved nuclear weapons. Such a war would wipe out most historic records that are computer stored, especially everything since the computer age. When Earth picked up the pieces and started to rebuild the history files (when? late-21 century?), most of the data was in old books and in people memories like tribal knowledge which can get exaggerated like 20 years ago was turned in centuries ago. Kahless the Unforgettable kills thousands by himself in battle with a sword. Political organizations rewrote history to support their current views like the Soviet Union did during its height. Some of it is accurate and a lot is wrong. Dates are wrong. People are wrong. Big events are likely to be more correct, but detailed info is less accurate. Kirk and Spock's history taught in school would be only as good as the data that survived and that was recreated. The Enterprise data banks may contain a lot of historic garbage. Maybe there was an Eugenics War, but it really happen in the 2040's and not the 1990's, etc. Mars missions may have occurred but with smaller scope. Sketches of space probes are only recreated guesses from people memories. The cream of the crop may have not survived (I couldn't live without electricity, water, food for years let along days in a city.) A lot of survival nuts more likely influenced a recreated history. Chekov was taught that everything was invented in Russia. I could go on and on.
  15. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 3, 2008
    West of the Moon, East of the Sun
    Eventually, there will be a clean restart of the chronology; as it is, Trek is approaching an anachronism level that will match the 1980 Flash Gordon film.
    Henoch likes this.
  16. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

    Dec 11, 2015
    How often does Star Trek give Gregorian dates? And what exactly do you mean by "a Gregorian date?

    I suspect that you are confusing a calendar with the year count that it uses, counting the years from a specific event.

    I suspect that by "a Gregorian date" you mean an Anno Domini date, counting the years from the era or epoch of January 1, AD 1.

    And very few productions that give dates in years specify that they are Anno Domini dates.

    In the second part of my post # 173 on page nine of the thread:

    I listed all the examples of dates specified as AD, BC, CE, or BCE that I could find using the search star trek scripts function on the Star Trek Transcripts site.

    TNG "The Big Goodbye":

    "The Royalle":


    TOS "Requiem for Methuselah":

    VOY "11:59":

    These are all the Earth dates given in any series from TOS to Enterprise or movie up to Nemesis by date of production which have the year count specified. Every other date in every other Star Trek movie or episode produced between 1964 and 2005 left the year count unspecified.

    There are tens or hundreds of other Earth dates given in other Star Trek productions without any specifications of the year count. And it is unknown whether 50 percent, or 25 percent, or 1 percent, or 100 percent, or 85 percent, or 14 percent, or any other percentage of those dates, are given as Anno Domini dates. But because of many contradictions, it seems obvious to me that different dates are given according to different year counts, and thus that it is impossible for all Earth dates to be given in the Anno Domini dating system.

    My post number 13 above gives an example of contradictory dating.
  17. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Premium Member

    Nov 4, 2001
    House of Kang
    It would look like ST'09 and DISCO,
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    The Trek reality of course diverges from ours before Big Bang already. In theirs, unlike supposedly in ours, Q and Janeway were there.

    Timo Saloniemi
  19. sumbuddyx

    sumbuddyx Captain Captain

    Nov 14, 2014
    I love how Transformers cartoons reboot every few years or how they had Marvel and then Ultimate Marvel. Ultra Magnus was Optimus Prime's superior once and Rodimus was his contemporary. So them rebooting Star Trek completely over and over again, keeping core concepts and ideas, doesn't bother me but I can see it might upset people. I would start by sticking the bridge in the middle of the ship.
  20. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    jippers on a beach somewhere
    The Expanse
    -Brett- likes this.