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26 Jun 2016

A Universe by Any Other Name

Fans and critics used to refer to the timeline created by Nero's incursion in "Star Trek (2009)" as "Reboot Timeline", "NuTrek", "JJVerse" or "Abramsverse". It has now been confirmed that Denise and Michael Okuda came up with "Kelvin Timeline" as an official name to be used in the new edition of the Star Trek Encyclopedia.

I appreciate the new name, and I have already begun to use "Kelvin Timeline" in my articles. But you will still find many instances of "Abramsverse" at EAS. This is because I see a difference between the new timeline established in "Star Trek (2009)" on one hand, and the general philosophy, look and feel of the Abrams movies on the other hand. The latter is what I still call "Abramsverse". The Abramsverse, in my view, includes more than just the Kelvin Timeline. It also stands for a fatalistic view of time-traveling villains, or for huge ships even before that particular timeline change, to name only two examples. The Kelvin design is part of the Abramsverse, yet (somewhat ironically) not of the Kelvin Timeline.

I like "Kelvin Timeline" as a real-life designation for the new timeline. But it troubles me that the name corroborates the fixation on the Kelvin that already exists in-universe in the Abrams movies. There's the Kelvin salt shaker in ST09, the Kelvin Memorial Archive in STID and the Kelvin pod in STB. I wouldn't be too much surprised if someone in "Star Trek Beyond" casually mentioned "We're living in the Kelvin Timeline" (which could be called, less politically correctly, "the timeline created by that Romulan madman"). In a "normal" universe the Kelvin would be just one of many ships that Starfleet lost and George Kirk just one of many casualties. But this particular universe is aware of its nature as a spin-off, it seems to need unsurpassed heroes or martyrs in its creation myth. Star Trek has always been and should be about people deciding about their own destinies, which is hampered by the idea that the Kelvin Timeline is something that shouldn't have happened, something that doesn't get fixed and something that is apparently celebrated in several ways.

Bernd Schneider


Recent EAS Updates
  • 24 Jul 2016
    New Poll: How do you rate "Star Trek Beyond"?
  • 23 Jul 2016
    On today's Star Trek panel at Comic-Con Bryan Fuller unveiled the name of the new series - it's Star Trek Discovery! The teaser trailer shows us the lead ship, the USS Discovery NCC-1031, leaving an asteroid base. The ship design is clearly based on the Enterprise design by Ralph McQuarrie for the never produced film "Planet of the Titans".
  • 23 Jul 2016
    Updates the first articles with Information from "Star Trek Beyond": Homosexuality in Star Trek, The New Enterprise Design, Kirk's Ripped or Removed Shirts.
  • 21 Jul 2016
    Full spoilers ahead. Here is my review of "Star Trek Beyond". Did I mention full spoilers? Feel free to submit your own review of the latest movie. I will gradually include information from "Star Trek Beyond" to all sections of the site. If you don't find at EAS something you noticed in the movie, please only contact me if it is something not yet discussed in the various forums and social media.
  • 18 Jul 2016
    Many images in the galleries are shown in higher resolution now, such as the alien weapons and other photos from The Art of Star Trek. I scanned them as long as 15(!) years ago, using a professional scanner that did a better job than anything available today, but had to reduce them in size because of bandwidth concerns. Since this is no longer an issue, I sifted through the archive of the original scans. This is a work in progress and may not encompass all scans but only those with considerable potential for improvement.
  • 09 Jul 2016
    I have reviewed two more Voyager season 2 episodes: "The Thaw" and "Tuvix".
  • 04 Jul 2016
    The premiere of "Star Trek Beyond" is less than three weeks away and the advertising campaign has finally gained pace. What are you more excited about, the movie or rather the new series (January 2017)?
  • 04 Jul 2016
    Marten van Wier reviews the four issues of Star Trek Voyager Splashdown by Marvel Comics.
  • 26 Jun 2016
    The new timeline from the Abrams movies is officially called "Kelvin Timeline" from now. Definitely a good decision, but before you expect me to drop the name "Abramsverse" and rework the whole site, here are a few comments on the policy at EAS and on the new name.
  • 23 Jun 2016
    Bryan Fuller reveals more details on the new series - good as well as worrying ones.
Latest Comments on EAS Articles
  • 27 Jul 2016

    I saw the film in standard non-3d and the action sequences weren't any more tolerable. It seems to be standard procedure now for fight scenes to be filmed in close ups with a shaky cam. I was surprised at how many stuntmen and women were credited since no whole person was visible in any of those sequences. As for the naming of Starbase Yorktown, the only possible explanation I have to dismiss the ameri-centrism is that perhaps Yorktown was someone's name, like with Starbase Earhart.

  • 26 Jul 2016

    Great review, totally agree. Thanks.

  • 26 Jul 2016

    They said that each episode would be on netflix 24 hours after it was available in America, so i took that to mean it was going to be one per week like Better Call Saul rather than a full season at once like Daredevil or OITNB.

    Makes sense. CBS don't want people to take their service for a one month trial, binge the show and then cancel. If they release one a week it guarantees that folks have to stick around to see it. That is of course assuming that it is not going to be like a cable or Satellite subscription which normally come with a one year minimum contract. At least they do where i am from.

  • 26 Jul 2016

    What?! The series has a subtitle in the same vein as Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, is going to be available on Netflix (which is in turn now available on Linux), and is not set in the alternative universe?! I didn't expect the show producers to have that much sense! My outlook towards the series has just risen from "this is probably going to be terrible" to "take my money!".
    I don't have any issues with the episodic format; quite the contrary, story arcs have always been the best to me. I get that it may be a problem for people watching it on TV if they miss something, but with CBS/Netflix that's not a problem any more. Continuity is great.
    It seems like it will be set as a three-way bridge between Enterprise and TOS/Abrasmsverse; that's fine, since it does have continuity, although I would have preferred for it to be after Voyager (and it will have the same ENT issue of how does one make the graphics fit the transition to TOS; will it be like In A Mirror, Darkly, or will it assume that TOS looked like Abramsverse and TOS looks are not canon...).
    Also, looks like the trailer has been taken down somehow. Hmm.

  • 25 Jul 2016

    Thanks for the hint. I may clarify that in a future article.

  • 25 Jul 2016

    Ralph McQuarrie did not design the Planet Of The Titans ship upon which the Discovery is based. Ken Adam did. McQuarrie merely drew some of the concept art. This has been confirmed by the McQuarrie Archives on Twitter: "...correction—while this is Ralph's art from Planet of the Titans, the starship design was Ken Adam's concept."

  • 25 Jul 2016

    He may have meant the Xindi, rather than Kzinti.

  • 24 Jul 2016

    Close to the end, Krall/Edison mentioned fighting the Romulans and...the Kzinti? I know previously the kzinti were only mentioned in TAS. Does this have an effect on their canon status, at least regarding the Kelvin timeline?

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