While I’m waiting to work on my newest Star Wars project, I figured I’d revisit my Star Trek collection. Like many people, I’m both excited – and apprehensive – about CBS’s newest project, Star Trek Discovery.
I could rant and rave all day about what I’ve seen thus far, but the bottom line is that what information I have is limited, so I’d best just wait until the official unveiling. I will say, however, that I’m disappointed that the series, which was promoted as not being a part of JJ Abrams’ Kelvin Timeline, seems to fit right into it. I’m sure that it’ll be “edgy” and “dark” (if the trailer is any clue, then you’ll need night vision goggles just to see what’s happening), but I was hoping for something that would bridge the gap between Enterprise and The Original Series.
I’m not a die-hard Abrams hater, despite some of the things I’ve said in the past. In fact, in a recent conversation with a friend, I admitted that there were two things Abrams could have done that would have left me firmly on his side of the line in the Great Star Trek Debate. Just two things: Demonstrated that this was a true alternate timeline, and not make James Kirk a cadet. The first is a minimal complaint. Actually, it’s nitpicky, and I can take it or leave it. But the second point is valid, and it’s the reason that I’ve never fully warmed up to this Kelvin mess.
Take a seat, because I’m going to explain my problem with this series.
Specifically, Kirk is presented as a ne’er-do-well, angry at the world for the troubled upbringing he’s had in the wake of his father’s death. There’s also the suggestion that his father’s sacrifice at the beginning of the film was so well-known, that young Kirk resents having to live up the legend, thus explaining his tendency to act out.
No problem thus far.
But he’s not in Starfleet. Every other member of the principal crew, however, is – whether as a cadet or as an officer. And despite this, their careers literally stop in time while his just breezes along. In fact, by the time Kirk goes through the Kobayashi Maru test – supposedly given as a part of one’s final year’s training – he’s taking the exam with everyone else by his side. You know, people who should have long graduated before him.
Then there’s the craziness that is his promotion to captain at the end of the film. Starfleet has been decimated with few capital ships surviving, yet we’re going to give command of one of our last major vessels to a guy who has not graduated from the Academy. Kirk has no experience on a ship – in fact, there’s no suggestion that he’s even been on a ship since his birth – and he has demonstrated no understanding of how Starfleet functions, yet let’s give him our biggest surviving ship!
A simpler – and more logical – path would have been to have Kirk as a “ne’er-do-well” Starfleet officer who was throwing his career down the tubes by acting out. That avoids everything in my previous paragraph, because Kirk would have had that training, and he would have graduated the Academy. He’d have been an officer with issues, not a spoiled brat. His redemption would have been earned, rather than conveniently given to him to satisfy another origins story.
Ah. I feel better now.
Having said all of that, there are some things about the Kelvin timeline that I do like. Certain props come to mind, and, as you can see, the various patches and badges that are now a part of the franchise’s canon.
This Kelvin set starts with the badge used, ironically, on the Kelvin, the first ship seen in the 2009 film. Mine is a resin cast that was given to me as a part of a grab-bag of items I’d collected a little more than a year ago. I cleaned it up, painted it copper, and that was that. The three metal badges are all from QMX Online. You can’t tell, but the last one is the colored version as shown in Star Trek Beyond (which I still haven’t seen, unfortunately). But the patches are all Anovos, and they’re fantastic. My regret with these patches is that I’ve only one of each. I may have to rectify that soon.
What I don’t get with the Kelvin line is the lack of available toys and props. When the 2009 film came out, Playmates flooded the market with Star Trek toys. They weren’t well-made, and were criticized as being too toy-like, but now they command a pretty penny. I’d hoped that there’d be a new line with Into Darkness, but nope – that didn’t happen, nor were any made for Beyond. It’s like CBS turned its nose up at collectors and enthusiasts. Their loss, I guess.
They must have realized that, given this week’s announcement that McFarlane Toys is going to handle future merchandizing. We shall see.