In 2016, genre fans were anticipating the return of a beloved franchise — brought to us by the heir to the Steven Spielberg throne — J.J. Abrams.
Of course that movie was Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens.
However, five months prior to that release, Abrams’ other sci-fi reboot had seen release. That movie was Star Trek Beyond.
After five television series (plus one animated series), and ten motion pictures, Star Trek had lost some steam.
Paramount wisely hired J.J. Abrams to breathe new life into the crown jewel, and in 2007, recreated Star Trek for a brand new audience.
Chris Pine, recently seen in Wonder Woman, was given the herculean task of replacing legend William Shatner as James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise.
Zachary Quinto had an easier job as the new Spock since he was essentially sharing the role with original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy.
Karl Urban, in inspired casting as Dr. McCoy, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov rounded out the cast of the original crew.
The result was a major hit. Star Trek was back!
Six years later,a sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness was released, also directed by Abrams. Though a bigger hit than the first, Into Darkness saw backlash from longtime Trekkers for lifting heavily from fan favorite Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
It also courted controversy by trying to fake out the identity of the chief villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Which brings us to Beyond, which is now playing on streaming services such as Amazon Prime.
The movie plays like a thrilling big budget episode of the original series. The entire crew are given lots to play with, breaking them up into teams of four to carry out the movie’s mission.
This time around, Abrams serves as Executive Producer — with Justin Lin directing.
Of the three, Beyond sits firmly in second place. The film featured a stellar cast, including Idris Elba as Krall. Though the decision to cover a sex symbol actor with alien make up may not have been the smartest,
Sadly, the marketing for the movie was somewhat scarce resulting in a weaker box office the the others.
Before it’s release, paramount and Abrams did announce a fourth in the new series. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that it happens.
There was also some bittersweet moments. Nimoy had passed away before filming of the new movie has begun, and Yelchin died tragically shortly after filming had been completed.
Catching up on Star Trek Beyond reminded me just how much I love the world of Star Trek. especially when it’s done right.
Some guys have all the luck. Actor Greg Grunberg, good friend to J.J. Abrams, appears in Star Trek Beyond. He also had a role in Star Wars The Force Awakens.
Grunberg was heard, but not seen on 2007’s Star Trek.
He was also a cast mate of Quinto’s on the series Heroes.
Zoe Saldana and Idris Elba both appeared in The Losers, based on a DC Comics/Vertigo comic book.
In the 2007 Star Trek, the tragic fate of George Kirk was portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, who has since gone on to fame as Thor in the movies of the same name, as well as The Avengers.
This fall, Hemsworh returns in Thor: Ragnarok featuring Karl Urban.
Before Cumberbatch played the role of Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, actor Benicio Del Toro was in the running.
Del Toro was also in Guardians of the Galaxy (with Saldana), and will next been seen in Star Wars Episode Eight: The Last Jedi.
Sofia Boutella, who played Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond is currently co-starring in the The Mummy.
And finally, though the current Star Trek movies take place in their own (Kelvin) Timeline, there is a connection to previous Star Trek.
Prime Spock notwithstanding, Star Trek Enterprise seems to still be canon.
In the 2007, Scotty referred to Admiral Archer and his dog. Jonathan Archer was the captain of the first starship to bear the name Enterprise. He was played by Scott Bacula of Quantum Leap fame.
His dog was named Porthos.
In Star Trek Beyond, Idris Elba’s Edison was a Maco (Military Assault Command Operations) major, who fought the Xindi.
Both are creations of Star Trek Enterprise.