This special FAQ serves to explain the EAS site policy on the controversial Abramsverse movies. As such, it does not only respond to actual questions but also to frequently uttered criticism of EAS with regard to Abramsverse issues.
Q: I enjoyed reading your reviews and your comments on "Star Trek (2009)", "Star Trek Into Darkness"
and "Star Trek Beyond". While I don't agree with all of it, I respect your
A: Well, this is not really a question or request, but most of the feedback I receive on my take on the Abramsverse begins like this. I'd just like to make clear that it should be possible to discuss the new movies in a civilized fashion.
A: I know that, and I use "Kelvin Timeline" where I deem a clear distinction useful. I refer to the entirety of the Abrams films as "Abramsverse", while the Kelvin Timeline, in my view, consists of everything after 2233 that we know for sure Nero has altered. The Abramsverse includes the Kelvin Timeline, but also establishes facts and events from, or with relevance to, the Prime Universe. It is debatable whether and how far the Kelvin Timeline possibly extends to the time before 2233 and to the 24th century. In other words, we can't tell if any things that are different in the Kelvin Timeline even before Nero appeared or in the 24th century that Spock comes from are the result of some weird time travel effect (that is never hinted at) or are just inconsistent.
Q: I noticed that on <any page> you forgot to include a reference from "Star Trek
A: Please bear in mind that I don't have a staff and that I am doing everything in my spare time. I haven't forgotten or disregarded anything, unless a page has recently been updated, and something from the movie is not yet included. Your suggestions are definitely welcome, but please have patience with me.
Q: I am truly disappointed. Site 1, Site 2 and Site 3 have more recent
and better information on the new Star Trek than EAS.
A: Yes. Because Site 1 has a huge staff, Site 2 is a blog in which a new entry can be appended with one click and Site 3 is entirely dedicated to those movies and part of the promotion campaign.
Q: I take it you hate the new movies?
A: Read my reviews, rather than listening to hearsay. Abrams produced three exciting movies, but they failed to become a worthy part of the franchise as we know it. I have numerous issues with the basic premise, with the plot logic, with the outcome, with the characterizations, with the many amendments to the technology and the set design, with general continuity, with miscarried homages, with an overdose of action, with superhero themes and with visual effects of the three movies.
Q: So what are you going to make of the Abramsverse? Is it fully canon?
A: Principally yes. At least as far as I have to accept the producers' stance that it is supposed to be canon Star Trek that takes place in the Kelvin Timeline for the most part, which is either a parallel universe or a new timeline replacing the old one - this is still open to interpretation. I have reservations though. Many events and other facts in the Abramsverse are inconsistent with established canon regardless of the parallel universe premise. Pretending that the Kelvin timeline extends to the past and was always different in some fashion is not an option either (unless it should be explicitly mentioned on screen). I may decide to give the old Trek (5 series, 10 movies) precedence over the rebooted Trek (Abramsverse movies + Discovery). For the time being, the Abramsverse will remain in confinement just like Discovery, meaning that facts from these movies will be accordingly tagged.
Q: Why isn't the Abramsverse fully canon in your view? You initially complained a lot about Star Trek Enterprise, and
now you have it on par with the other Trek series.
A: I have a huge problem to put up with the redefinition of basic technology, with the countless plot holes (that would make much more sense if the old Trek had never existed) and with the general look & feel of the new movies. Enterprise, in contrast, was true Trek and an affectionate prequel (with some issues) from the very first episode, and that is why I integrated this series rather quickly.
Q: You keep moaning that the Kelvin Timeline replaces the Prime Universe. But Roberto Orci made it clear that
the old continuity (including the planet Vulcan) still exists. No need to worry!
A: I disagree with Orci because if there used to be anything consistent about the effects of time travel in Star Trek so far, it was that a new timeline erased an old one and had to be fixed at any rate. We know the real-world reason why no one bothers to repair the extreme damage in "Star Trek (2009)", because it is required to enable a reboot of the franchise. However, parallel timeline or not, it is depressing how no one among the characters gives a shit about the planet Vulcan and simply carries on as if nothing has happened. This is a dramatic paradigm shift in Star Trek.
Q: I have a theory: What if "First Contact" changed the timeline in the first place, and everything that followed,
including the too advanced series Star Trek Enterprise is already in a parallel timeline?
A: Bob Orci, you have opened a can of worms. Damn you! ;-) I have never be a fan of time travel theories or similar far-flung conjecture to explain away discontinuities, because ultimately it reduces the principle of canon to a mere option, rather than an obligation. Which is how the Abramsverse works in practice. It loves to cite from Star Trek's canon, but does not feel bound to it (the hands on the glass pane in STID being the most drastic example of such "optional canonicity"). I would prefer not to extend this idea to the pre-Abrams continuity. In "Star Trek (2009)" we have explicit statements that many things are not as they are supposed to be. In classic Trek we have only decent changes like Sisko's picture labeled as "Gabriel Bell", so there is no reason to assume that history has been noticeably changed from "The Cage" to ENT: "These Are The Voyages".
Your idea doesn't get any better with the support of Simon Pegg, who too suggested that the Kelvin Timeline extends to the past and is somehow different even before Nero appears. If this were the case, it should have been shown or mentioned on screen in some fashion. But the only thing really shown or mentioned is that Nero changed the timeline. So I don't subscribe to conjecture, whether it comes from you or from Simon Pegg.
Q: You could at least give me some feedback on my explanation
attempts other than a
blunt "Nice theory. But I won't include it".
A: Sorry, but I don't feel like discussing personal conjecture. Fan conjecture that can have no bearing on how I deal with the movie.
Q: But EAS is already full of conjecture!
A: That's not true, unless you refer to the non-canon (fan fiction) sections. EAS is about the depiction and evaluation of canon facts. I may re-evaluate a few things, but I don't add conjecture.
Q: The Franklin, the Kelvin and the Narada predate the parallel timeline. You ought to move them to the "regular" section of your starship database.
A: I likely won't do that any time soon, because I have a problem accepting them as belonging to the Prime Universe. And if the Kelvin and the other Starfleet vessels are really in the same size range as the allegedly huge Enterprise, they are pretty much self-decanonizing from a viewpoint of "old Trek" anyway. With the new theory put forward by Pegg and the Okudas in 2016 that the past of the Kelvin Timeline is not the same as in the Prime Universe, I even follow the official policy by not listing these ships in the "regular" database, albeit for somewhat different reasons.
Q: The official CGI length of the Enterprise is 725m in spite of all the bullshit that you make up to discredit it. Live with it.
A: I wonder why it is such a big deal that I beg to disagree with official figures (note that there is a difference between "official" and "canon"). I have pointed out incidences of mis-scaling many times before, and I have arrived at different figures for the BoP and the Defiant, to name only two EAS articles that have become classics of their kind. But a certain brand of people treat me like a heretic for finding any fault with the Holy 725 Meters. The new ship has been designed at 366m in spite of the bullshit decision to scale it up retroactively, and there are various pieces of evidence plus common sense still pointing at a length of 366m.
Q: So you want us to believe the ship is 366m long because
you say so?
A: Come on. I neither worked on the movie itself, nor do I have any authority to lay down the specifications. But I take the right to question an authority that fails to get the scale of the design right. Also, in spite of all the venom directed especially at me, I am far from being the only one who criticizes this insufficiently considered fanboyish "Monsterprise". I am just the most vocal and consequential one. Actually, pretty much everyone who I have worked with and on whose judgment I rely agrees with me that the ship design looks like 366m, including various experienced 3D designers and some people who worked for Star Trek.
Q: Why do you accept the huge starships of Discovery but not the ones of the Abrams films?
A: The ship sizes are one of numerous issues of Discovery. I don't "accept" them but I simply want to save me the pain to criticize them and to be put on trial for it. Still you make a valid point. Although Discovery and the Abramsverse are two different reboot universes that are incompatible with each other, I may eventually come to the same conclusion regarding the Abramsverse ship scales, that it is better to put up with them. Not because my opponents, who want bigger ships instead of consistent ones, are right but because I'm tired of concerning myself with stupid design decisions in the reboots.
Q: Why get worked up about ship sizes? It was a great movie after all.
A: Yes, and I need to get a life and I should not be hanging around in my mom's basement. But seriously, this whole website is about the consistency (and sometimes lack thereof) of the Star Trek Universe, and has always been to a certain extent about starship sizes. Where else but at EAS would the size issue be scrutinized? Why should I remain silent about this one of all starships?
Q: Why do you hate the Vengeance from STID with such a passion?
A: Because it is huge beyond reason, because it is ugly as hell and because its back story is absolutely ludicrous.
Q: It is a parallel universe. Things are not inconsistent if they
were changed because of Nero's time travel. The ships could be huge in this
A: The Enterprise still looks like 366m long in spite of the half-hearted attempts to make it look bigger in the shuttlebay scene. And I don't see the reason why such a monster should exist in the parallel universe and why the engine room looks like a brewery, only because of a phantom ship that destroyed the (already too big?) Kelvin 25 years ago. These and more constants of the Trek Universe have been changed without a good justification, and under the pretext that in the parallel universe everything is allowed to be different. This is careless, and as such not something I am willing to put up with. Ultimately the "parallel universe" approach is just a genre-specific and slightly more intelligent variant of the "Bobby-in-the-shower" trick to abandon an established continuity.
Q: Why do you still care about continuity with the old Trek? It is a
fucking reboot. The ship sizes and the way the technology worked in old Trek
have no bearing at all on the Abramsverse.
A: I wish it were so easy. But the setting of "Star Trek (2009)" with Orci's multiverse concept makes it clear that it is not intended to be taken as a total reboot, even if it is effectively one. As much as I would favor the idea that the old Trek and the Abramsverse are two completely separate science fiction universes, it is not up to me to make this decision. And even in a total reboot the ship still wouldn't look like 725m long, because then exactly every second deck would be "coincidentally" without windows.
A: Even if you go with Simon Pegg's explanation of 2016 and don't nail down an exact point of divergence, you re-interpret the movie to some extent. The most important point about "Star Trek (2009)" is that the appearance of the Narada triggers a new timeline. If you pretend that there was an even earlier point of divergence, the movie would become pointless, because the lives of Kirk and everyone else wouldn't have been anyway as we used to know them! Just like in a total reboot. Also, you couldn't justify why ships still have the same proportions and details as in the Prime Universe but are suddenly 16 times as big and have windows on exactly every second deck, to mention only one obvious example why your interpretation "it could be different" is lackadaisical. And as already mentioned, if it were possible with "Star Trek (2009)", you could just as well re-interpret any inconsistency of Star Trek as being the result of a time travel.
Q: You misuse your well-established website to spread inaccurate information about
Abrams and his movies, as part of your pathetic
crusade against him.
A: Firstly, you may find flaws in my arguments that I will gladly correct wherever I am actually wrong or inconsequential about something. Secondly, it is only natural that prior to the release of a complete transcript and without many screen caps, some information was and perhaps still is inaccurate, and not only at EAS. It is very unfair that you label my effort to keep everything updated at any time as a deliberate attempt to twist facts. Thirdly, I admit that I am not the biggest fan of Abrams's Trek. So what? I have been equally biased about various other Trek films, about several VOY episodes and basically about the whole idea of Star Trek Enterprise. I have been criticized especially for the latter as well, but people have been nowhere near as defamatory as in the case of the new Trek movies. You have to chill out. It is no sacrilege to have issues with the Abramsverse. Finally, I have a damn right to write anything I want to on my personal website as long as it is not illegal. And criticizing a movie is hardly illegal, even if everyone else loves it. You are invited to create your own blog where you can worship Roberto Orci and explain how everything in the Abrams movies makes perfect sense.
Q: You keep complaining about the inconsistencies of
the Abrams movies, although there is the Countdown graphic
novel, although there are cut scenes and although Orci
and Kurtzman have explained pretty much all of them away. Ultimately the theory
put forward by Simon Pegg invalidates all of you complaints!
A: I assume you refer to Abramsverse Inconsistencies. I don't know how much more clearly I can still explain it as in the preface of that list. If only someone would bother to read this short paragraph before starting to whine! As always at EAS, I only comment on what is in the movie, and the Countdown comic is not part of the movie. It is non-canon, as even explicitly stated by Orci and Kurtzman in the very interview that you refer to! Otherwise the interview contains reasons for a few of the issues I listed, but if you're honest they say nothing that could really explain away the inconsistencies. And Simon Pegg essentially says, "It's not a bug, it's a feature", by suggesting that the Kelvin Timeline is changed at a time even before Nero's arrival in the 23rd century. This may allow you to interpret some continuity issues as a change in the timeline. But it doesn't forbid me to list these issues in the first place! Finally, I don't complain about "Star Trek (2009)", STID and STB on that page, I simply point out what is and what could be inconsistent, as I always do with every episode or movie.
Q: I am a huge Trek fan and a regular poster at a major Trek message board. You give fellow fans like me a bad name if you
nitpick those great movies to death. I didn't even bother to read the preface of your
so-called "inconsistencies" list. It's a total waste. Get a life!
A: Wow. This has to be the most preposterous charge ever against me. Firstly, you call yourself a fan, you frequent a Trek message board, so don't tell me you have never discussed the shortcomings or errors of Star Trek. When you, as a nerd, think you have to bash other nerds, you may want to check whether you're in an identity crisis or whether you're only envious of a big Trek site whose approach is much more systematic than your random musings. Secondly, I have a page about the Movie Inconsistencies of the first ten Trek movies with exactly the same format, the same tone and the same level of detail. I happened to find quantitatively much more fault with the Abramsverse movies. Heck, I have a whole section about Trek inconsistencies, the by far biggest of its kind in the whole internet. No one in fandom thought that I gave Trek a bad name because of that - well, until I targeted a holy cow. You can call my takes on "Star Trek (2009)", STID and STB biased, but even if you're right about that I don't fabricate inconsistencies because of that. I don't need to prove anything. Thirdly, you're creating a no-win scenario for me. Because if I didn't list the inconsistencies of the new movies, you or someone else would accuse me of ignoring them. I suggest you chill out and come back when you are open to a reasonable discussion. Because while you may currently think you're a cool kid, I know you are a nerd too.
Q: Everything you say about the new movies is biased. You smugly comment on
them, rather than sticking to the facts. I will boycott
your site, and rather peruse Memory Alpha.
A: Firstly, as you have correctly recognized, EAS is not Memory Alpha. MA has thousands of contributors, EAS needs to be maintained by a single person. MA is an encyclopedic database, EAS is a collection of data, analyses and comments. MA usually leaves inconsistencies uncommented, EAS further elaborates on them. MA does contain many interpretations and may contain opinions despite all its policies and the matter-of-factly format, EAS freely admits that it does more than just list facts and hence is not bias-free. MA appears to be a democratic platform and is mostly anonymous, while EAS is a personal website where you have someone to attack personally.
Yes, I dislike many aspects of the reboot movies, but that doesn't mean that I don't stick to the facts. See my answers about the inconsistencies in the movie and the length of the Enterprise. Secondly, I realize that I don't always strike the right chord. I have already revised the Abramsverse Federation Ship Classes page in a way not to comment on the ship designs more openly than I do on any other pages of the database. There is nothing more that I can do and nothing more that I will do, only to avoid offending ardent fans of the Abramsverse.Q: This used to be a great site until you started to post your monthly rants about the Abrams movies instead of thorough analysis.
A: EAS hasn't changed since the announcement of the new movies. But I understand that the controversial nature of everything pertaining to "Star Trek (2009)", STID and STB may create the impression that I am just seeking reasons not to like it. I was never fond of the idea of the reboot, and perhaps I have not given it a fair chance. But the decisive reason for my critical distance is that the reboot introduces elements that I can't deal with in the usual fashion here at EAS. Actually, Star Trek has radically changed, whereas my firm intention is to keep EAS the same. The difference between a "normal" Trek fan and me is that I have to make sense of what is shown on screen, and this without resorting to speculation or even supplementing it with fanwank or with dumb excuses along the lines of "let's pretend that everything inconsistent is just another timeline". You may expect me to fully integrate the Abramsverse, add a good deal of conjecture and pretend it blends in perfectly. But then I would betray my own principles. Years of research would be watered down. Alternatively, I could ignore it, and you would keep nagging me forever. Whatever I decide means trouble. The critical articles, just like this FAQ, may not provide much in terms of knowledge but they help me create standards and define boundaries. Sorry, but EAS is more than your simple collection of bloopers. And it is neither an imaginative fan fiction site, nor a plain Memory Alpha style database. It is a personal compendium that strives to make sense on a certain higher in-universe level.
You're such a loser. Pretty much everyone else agrees that, besides "The
Wrath of Khan", ST09 is the greatest Trek movie ever.
A: I will leave that uncommented. Just so much: I am far from being the only once who criticizes aspects of the new movies. In fact, hundreds of other fans have already contributed their own concerns. And the response to my articles on the Abramsverse has been predominantly positive, although this FAQ may create a contrary impression (and although in these days message boards are dominated by bullies who put down anyone who has issues with the new movies).