Spoilers for Star Trek Beyond below!
Star Trek is a franchise well-known for creating dynamic and ground-breaking characters. The show has always been a flagship for progressive thought, and Trek has often made sure that humans aren't the only creatures we fall in love with. With such favorites as Spock, Data and Worf, Star Trek reminds us that in the vastness of space, there are other beings as amazing as our own kind. Star Trek Beyond was no different. It proved itself worthy of raving reviews and incredible enjoyment due to its many positive attributes.
Among these attributes is the excellent character development found in the movie, including that of the alien Jaylah, a newcomer to the Star Trek Universe. Pictured prominently in promotional content, Jaylah is a character whose prominent role helped Beyond become the excellent movie it is.
Scotty is the first to encounter Jaylah when he, like the rest of the crew, is abandoned on a distant and unknown planet. Jaylah quickly shows that she is incredibly intelligent and quite capable of handling herself. The alien fends off some scavengers who attack Scotty with some nifty tech that allow her to appear in duplicate. She also has set up various traps to catch beings who stray too close to her home. Seeing the Star Fleet emblem on Scotty's shirt, Jaylah realizes he can help her, as her home for the past few years has been an abandoned Star Fleet vessel. She doesn't just use him, but offers an option mutually beneficially to the both of them.
Jaylah's backstory isn't completely brand new, but her response to it is, which helps make her believable. Her ship was taken down by Krall (much like the Enterprise), but unlike most unlucky beings whom Krall captures, she survived. The rest of her people have been killed, including her father (whom she watched die in front of her — he sacrificed himself so she may live). Jaylah's reaction to these events is fresh for us. Instead of the vengeful character that we are used to — someone who spent years alone concocting a plan to avenge her father's death — Jaylah just wants to get away from the doomed planet. And who can blame her? Krall is a monster, and if getting as far away from him as possible means survival, it makes sense. We can feel Jaylah's pain and reactions to her situations; we buy them.
Jaylah's uneasiness and original unwillingness to help Kirk save his crew makes sense. She has no obligation to them, but the fact that Scotty and Kirk are able to convince her to go along speak volumes about the nature of her character and good heart. Her independent nature doesn't get in the way of her newfound willingness to help her new friends. This is what moves her from a relatable character to lovable one. She is the type of character you connect with and root for. Plus, her unintentional little quirks create the comedic value of some of the scenes; and for that, we are grateful.
An independent, intelligent, and good-natured character, Jaylah is a fantastic new player in the Star Trek Universe. With the notion that Star Trek Beyond wasn't the last place we will see her, we can be excited for the inclusion of such a well-developed character in future Star Trek productions.
The inclusion of such a strong female character is just one of the ways that Star Trek has been breaking new ground ever since its inception in the 1960s:
What did you think of Star Trek Beyond's Jaylah?