I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness this week, and while I enjoyed the movie, what I loved most were the nods to the original franchise. I read somewhere that it ripped off Star Trek II, but I don’t think the author really understood what was going on.
A few references, some more obvious than others:
- Kirk and Spock’s reversed roles – Remember in Wrath of Khan when Spock saved the Enterprise, at his own demise? In his last moments, he and Kirk shared and intimate “live long and prosper” moment on opposite sides of a clear partition. In Into Darkness, we first saw this in the trailer. Of course, Trekkies were supposed to see the reference and wonder about Spock’s mortality. My first thought: Kirk is the one dying, not Spock. During Into Darkness, there is a moment when Spock shouts Kirk’s infamous (and cheesy) line, “KHHAAAANNN!!!!” — right then, I realized I was right. Spock’s use of Kirk’s line foreshadowed the later scene when Kirk “dies” of radiation poisoning, in eerily similar circumstances to Spock 1.0 in Wrath of Khan.
- The entire Eugenics storyline – The series of episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise dealing with some of Khan’s distant cousins (and explaining Dr. Seung’s interest in robotics, leading to the creation of Data) delved a bit bit more into the genetically-engineered super-human destruction machines of which Khan represents. In Into Darkness, there are some physical features explored that were introduced in those episodes, not just in Khan’s episodes in The Original Series. Even better, Khan’s discovery is explained (in the original timeline, Khan was not discovered for another 14 or 15 years) — a remark is made that, after the destruction of Vulcan, Star Fleet did some rapid exploration, motivated by self-preservation. One disappointing aspect left out: Khan’s wife. I’m a bit surprised Khan did not try to wake her up at some point, even if just to get her help. (An army of super-humans could accomplish his mission even more effectively…)
- The mother of Kirk’s son – In Wrath of Khan, Carol Marcus, creator of the Genesis Device, reveals that Kirk is the father of her son. In Into Darkness, we do not know she is Carol Marcus, though perhaps die-hard Trekkies should have expected it, since her name was Carol, and Kirk was obviously attracted to her. That leads to another interesting question… were those same die-hard Trekkies supposed to wonder if the mysterious torpedoes were actually part of the Genesis Project?
- Admiral Marcus’s big secret involved Section 31, a top-secret organization that doesn’t exist. This covert section of Star Fleet, often acting against the core values that so annoyingly add stupid plot devices (hello, Prime Directive), is mentioned in Enterprise, as well as a story arc in Deep Space Nine. Non-canon sources also attribute events of Undiscovered Country and Insurrection to the section.
Those were the only explicit reference I noticed. Did you notice any others?
(Also, on a side note, was anyone else annoyed that Spock 1.0 was unwilling to share more with Spock 2.0? The timeline was already contaminated… sharing his knowledge would cause absolutely zero timeline contamination, so why not share? And for that matter, why didn’t the Temporal Integrity Commission appear from the 29th century to stop Vulcan’s destruction?)
EDIT: As a friend pointed out, Khan’s wife came from aboard the enterprise. While my basic premise remains intact, that fine detail is rendered moot.