Star Trek: Beyond just took a major step back to Gene Roddenberry's mandate in creating the franchise, and we couldn't be more excited. Although the new Paramount movies are known to have moved away from the traditional Trekkiness of the TV shows, Beyond writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin seem determined to bring back the core values of Roddenberry's vision.
So, remember that starbase from the Star Trek: Beyond trailer? It's known as Starbase Yorktown, and it features heavily in the film.
Recently, Pegg sat down with IGN and gave some details on this starbase, and why it's crucial to the plot of Beyond. And if you're familiar with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this should get you sufficiently hyped for the movie.
An Interstellar Rendezvous Point
One of the best elements of Star Trek is how it embraces the idea of "infinite diversity in infinite combinations", with its optimistic vision of how humanity can foster good relations with a myriad of alien species. This was part of Roddenberry's vision for the show, as he believed acceptance and celebration of the diversity of life was crucial to the development of humanity. And as Deep Space Nine proved, a starbase is the perfect setting to explore this idea.
Rather than bookending the action of the movie on Earth, as in the previous two movies in this continuity, Beyond sees the crew of the Enterprise set up camp on Starbase Yorktown. This base is on the very edge of Federation space, giving it the perfect vantage point for diplomatic outreach. Pegg explained how Yorktown will paint a picture of how the Federation truly intermingles with other cultures.
"You can imagine -- me and Jung joked that there were various aliens with leaflets, handing them out to other aliens like, ‘Come and see our world!’ But it's basically a place where they can go, where they can better understand what being part of the Federation means. It's an important kind of tactical establishment for the Federation."
And we can see what Pegg means in this new still released by Paramount, in which Chekov seems to be getting well acquainted with one of the alien visitors to Yorktown.
Now that's what I call diversity. But as fantastic as Yorktown is, the plethora of species coming and going from the starbase seem to have turned it into a target for Beyond's villain.
Taking Out The Outpost
We already know that Idris Elba's Krall has a big problem with Starfleet's vaguely colonial mandate, to boldly seek out new life and civilizations (etc, etc). Pegg and Elba have both spoken about how Krall's arguments cause the crew of the Enterprise to question Starfleet's mission, which is an interesting twist to the tale.
"There’s definitely an opposing argument to the good that the Federation think they do. There are purists that believe in independence, and believe that we’re all made differently for a reason, and will fight tooth and nail to defend that. There’s massive relatability to modern world politics in that sense."
But although he might have some decent arguments, Krall definitely isn't a sympathetic villain. We can deduce from the trailer that Krall's forces end up attacking Starbase Yorktown. At first it seemed like this was just a strike at the Federation, but by using Yorktown to show the diversity and diplomacy of the Federation, Pegg and Lin have ensured that we know Krall's strike isn't just about protecting his own kind from Starfleet's interference — he vehemently and violently objects to the intermingling of different cultures.
"Unity is not your strength, it is a weakness"
This line from the trailer seems a lot more pertinent now, doesn't it?
We haven't really seen a major villain like this in Star Trek yet — one who despises the fundamental principles of diversity within the Federation — and this is really a perfect choice for the latest Trek film. Now more than ever, we need to get back to the core values of Roddenberry's vision, to see an optimistic vision of a future in which diversity is celebrated. And it looks like Beyond is ready to boldly go back to what made Star Trek great.