5 Ways 2009’s Star Trek Movie Prepared Us For Star Trek: Discovery

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Returning 2020

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek turns ten this month, not long after the second season of Star Trek: Discovery reached its end. In 2009, Abrams took us back to the Star Trek universe and its original set of characters with the tagline ‘The future begins.’ We jumped back in time to a period before the original series took place—though Abrams’ vision was definitely of the future (lens flares and all). Introducing us to younger versions of the Spock and Kirk we knew so well has, especially for newer fans, built a perfect bridge for us to walk backwards across to Star Trek: Discovery (and an even younger Spock, alternate timeline notwithstanding). Here’s how:


It reminded us how much we cared about the Trek characters

Remember Winona Ryder’s turn as Spock’s mother, Amanda? Amanda doesn’t fare well in the film, so it was exciting to see her in Discovery (this time played by Mia Kirshner). Sarek and Captain Christopher Pike also had roles in the film (played by Ben Cross and Bruce Greenwood respectively). And of course, there was Zachary Quinto’s Spock. Does anyone have a favourite character that isn’t Spock?

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It introduced Star Trek to a new generation of fans

Abrams’ movie pulled in $385.7 million at the box office worldwide—more than double its production budget. That’s a lot of new Trekkies.

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It prepared us for a familiar universe with a new look

With decades of film tech advancement and a production budget that dwarfed that of the original series, Discovery’s overall look might have been a lot more jarring if we hadn’t had the 2009 film to lay the groundwork. It primed us for a more modern, tech-forward appearance in terms of  everything from the ships’ interiors to the prosthetic makeup worn by the actors—for which Star Trek the film took home an Academy Award.

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It introduced us to a younger version of Spock

Before the sudden jolt all the way back to the Discovery-era Spock, fans got to meet another version of the iconic Vulcan in Abrams’ film. Zachary Quinto’s portrayal of the character showed us a version of Spock still struggling to bridge the gap between his human and Vulcan tendencies—much like the Spock we know from Discovery

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It readied us for the idea of time travel and alternate realities

Star Trek: Discovery threw time travel at us with its Red Angel storyline and made us contemplate alternate realities with the crew’s foray into Terran territory. Luckily, we were totally here for it, thanks to the education we got from Star Trek which (for clever continuity reasons) took place in an alternate timeline and featured a time-travelling Romulan villain called Nero (Eric Bana) and a time-travelling Spock (Leonard Nimoy himself!) chasing Nero through both time and space.


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