Film / Star Trek Beyond

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"This is where the frontier pushes back."
"We got no ship, no crew. How are we gonna get out of this one?"
Captain James T. Kirk

Star Trek Beyond is the thirteenth film in the Star Trek film series. It is the sequel to Star Trek Into Darkness and the third film in the "Kelvin Timeline" that began with Star Trek (2009). Premiering at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, 2016 and worldwide on July 22, it coincided with the franchise's 50th anniversary. It is directed by Justin Lin with a script by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung.

After a brutal attack on the Enterprise by an enigmatic and malevolent alien warlord named Krall (Idris Elba), the bridge crew are left stranded on an unknown world. Now Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) must find a way to escape and put a stop to the warlord's sinister plans.

Beyond is the final Star Trek film to feature Anton Yelchin as Chekov due to his death a month before the film's premiere.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer #2

Star Trek Beyond provides examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: Kirk orders the crew to abandon ship after the Enterprise has been critically damaged and is unable to escape. The Enterprise itself has its warp engines and main engineering hull cut off in succession, while the saucer separates from the remains of engineering and crash-lands on a planet.
  • Aborted Arc: The first two movies had a plotline going on about the increasing militarization of Starfleet (thanks to Nero's incursion and Klingon border skirmishes) and a looming conflict with the Klingon Empire. Star Trek Into Darkness even had Starfleet wearing Nazi-ish uniforms and was full of The War on Terror parallels. Here, we get a bright, colourful standalone adventure where Scotty explicitly says "Starfleet is not a military organization," the opening scene is about diplomacy, and the main plot is a big-budget version of TOS's many "stranded on an unfamiliar planet" episodes. Furthermore, the technological advances from the last two movies (transwarp beaming, using augment blood to cure death) have been forgotten. None of this is a bad thing, though, because it brings this setting more in line with the parts of TOS that weren't about about Klingons, Romulans, or Khan (i.e. the majority of the show).
  • Action Girl:
    • Don't let the Red Skirt fool you, Uhura can hold her own. After Enterprise's neck is severed from the stardrive, she runs into a room to help Kirk manually separate the saucer, sees two of Krall's mooks, and kills both of them in seven seconds flat.
    • Jaylah, who is very handy in a fistfight or a gunfight.
  • Adult Fear: Sulu's husband and daughter are on Yorktown when Krall targets it.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Enterprise crew departs from Starbase Yorktown on the Enterprise-A to resume their 5-year mission, with the "Space, the final frontier" monologue recited by the entire main crew.
  • Anything That Moves:
  • Are We There Yet?: As Jaylah leads Scotty on an extended trek to the Franklin, he gripes this. She warns him to not keep saying it, but fortunately they are just about there.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Krall's drones are able to bypass the Enterprise's shielding, because Krall has its shield frequencies from hacking Federation technology.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Used to brutal effect by Krall: eliminating the deflector dish prevents the Enterprise from warping long distances, taking out the nacelle pylons stops her from warping at all, and finally slicing the ship in half by attacking her neck severs the impulse engines from the warp reactors, disabling the ship. It turns out Krall knows so much about how Starfleet vessels work and how to attack them effectively because he used to be a Starfleet captain himself. Kirk returns the favor later on, using the "Bees'" computer navigation patterns against them to disrupt and destroy their formation easily.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Weaponized. Due to Jaylah's penchant for "beats and shouting" music, the Enterprise crew use "Sabotage" to, well, sabotage the communications Krall's swarm uses to coordinate.
    Kirk: Let's make some noise.
  • Award-Bait Song: Rihanna's "Sledgehammer", which plays during the closing credits.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: For the third time in this movie series, Uhura shows what the job of communications officer entails besides being the radioman. Her keen ears and eidetic memory for sound is what tips her off to the fact that Krall is really the long-MIA Starfleet Captain Balthazar Edison, via the key phrase "pushing the frontier".
  • Belly-Scraping Flight: Happens toward the end as the crew tries to get the nearly century-old USS Franklin airborne, which involves dropping it off a cliff to terminal velocity to get enough momentum for lift up. They scrape the cliff side once or twice on the way down, the tops of some trees when they pull up and brush a few more peaks on their way to orbit.
  • Big Bad: Krall. He attacks and destroys the Enterprise, kidnaps the crew in order to drain their energy to extend his life, and has been keeping tabs on the Federation for decades, waiting for his opportunity to take revenge.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Kirk almost follows Krall being Thrown Out the Airlock when he fails to open an escape hatch in time, but Spock and McCoy reach him in their hijacked vehicle and rescue him.
  • Big Little Man: Kirk is surprised when the hostile alien ambassador roaring away at him charges down to kick his ass—and turns out to be the size of a small dog. Unfortunately all his friends pile onto Kirk as well, so he has to quickly beam out of there before they bite him to death.
  • Birthday Hater: Kirk, naturally. This particular birthday is worse than usual because now he's a year older than his dad ever got to be.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Starbase Yorktown, Starfleet's new deep space base/colony, is a series of interlocking ring worlds with their own gravities (their hollow centers contain tunnels and docking stations for starships), with a central hub that's straight out of Inception.
  • Bluff The Imposter: Kirk pulls this on Kalara, claiming the artifact Krall is after is still on the Enterprise; when she reveals her true colours, he and Chekov are able to get the drop on her.
  • Boarding Pod: Krall's swarm of small ramming ships serves as both weapons and boarding pods so the Enterprise can be boarded and torn apart simultaneously.
  • Body Horror: The victims of Krall's energy drain appear shriveled and mummified. McCoy has the opportunity to perform a medscan on one and discovers that even internal organs are savaged by the attack. Later, Krall is seen performing his technique on two live crew members of the Enterprise in front of Uhura, who looks absolutely horrified.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece:
    • With the Enterprise destroyed, the bridge crew is forced to use the NX-class Franklin, a 100-year-old starship by this point, as their new ride.
    • Kirk rides a vintage motorcycle that happened to be aboard the Franklin as part of the rescue mission.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Early on, McCoy steals a bottle of scotch from Chekov's locker so he can have a drink with Kirk (they both would have guessed him to be a vodka man), and toast Kirk's father. At the end of the film, Chekov is briefly heard telling a woman that "whiskey was actually invented in by a little old lady in Russia."
    • One of the aliens who attacks Kirk in the opening scene and ends up beamed onto the Enterprise by accident is at Kirk's birthday party in the final scene, hanging out with Keenser.
      Kirk: Hey, Kevin. Still not wearing pants, I see.
    • Scotty mentions an Urban Legend that the Franklin was grabbed by a giant green space hand. In the credit's sequence, we see just such a hand. (Also counts as a Mythology Gag, since that very thing happened to the Enterprise in the Prime timeline.)
  • Call-Back:
    • Kirk is still a fan of The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage", like he was as a child in Star Trek.
    • Kirk knows how to ride a motorcycle, as he did it a lot before joining Starfleet in the first movie.
    • The USS Franklin, the derelict vessel that the crew jury-rig to make it back to Starbase Yorktown, is very similar in design to Captain Archer's Enterprise NX-01 and has an NX-series registry number (NX-326) as well. It's indicated to be Earth's first Warp 4 vessel, which would make it older than the Enterprise, though it was evidently kept in service until the 22nd century.
    • The Enterprise is equipped with escape pods built right into the walls of the main bridge. They're called "Kelvin pods" in reference to the USS Kelvin, most of whose bridge crew including George Kirk died because they had no way to escape the ship.
    • Scotty escapes the destruction of the Enterprise by removing the warhead from a photon torpedo, stowing himself inside, and launching it, a trick he apparently picked up from Khan.
    • Scotty again finds himself having to hold on for his life (and with his Starfleet ring prominently in view on his hand both times). While he had serious trouble before, this time he is able to make it without help.
    • The Franklin's former captain, Balthazar Edison, is said to have been a MACO prior to the founding of the Federation. He also tells Kirk that he lost soldiers to the Xindi and Romulans.
    • Scotty mentions that the NX spaceships used to be built in space (so they're not meant to fly in atmosphere), unlike the current generation, a reference to how Kirk watched the Enterprise being built on the ground in the first movie.
    • Uhura's brilliance in linguistics comes into its most crucial play ever, when she discovers a critical secret about Krall just from catching a single word spoken on a scratchy video on the USS Franklin.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Sulu has a daughter.
    • The Starfleet commodore who gives Kirk the mission briefing early in the movie is later identified with the surname "Paris", suggesting she may be an ancestor of Star Trek: Voyager character Tom Paris (the son of an Admiral Owen Paris).
    • An In-Universe Call-Forward: Ambassador Spock is revealed to have passed away, and when Spock is looking through his belongings, he finds a picture of the original crew circa Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, 24 years in this crew's future.
  • The Cameo:
    • Frequent Abrams collaborator Greg Grunberg appears as a Starfleet officer (Commander Finnegan) aboard the Yorktown starbase. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he's the alternate-universe version of the Cadet Shaun Finnegan who was Kirk's Academy-days bully in the original series.
    • Danny Pudi of Community (for which Justin Lin directed an episode) appears under heavy makeup as one of the stranded aliens that accost Scottie when he lands on Altamid.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Kirk is under attack from a Teenaxi Zerg Rush and desperately calling for a beam-out. Scotty's response?
    Scotty: That was quick. There's quite a bit of surface interference, Captain.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Keenser is ill, and is coughing up some manner of acid that could corrode through a bulkhead, which McCoy is treating. This appears to be a one-off joke when McCoy mentions it, but later it comes in handy when the crew is captured, as he coughs on a wall with wiring to the cell door, enabling Sulu and Uhura to hotwire the door open for an escape attempt.
    [Keenser coughs up on the door]
    Uhura: Nice job, Keenser.
    Sulu: That is a one heck of a cold. [Keenser nods]
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The necklace Spock gave Uhura, which is emphasized during their spat earlier in the film, becomes significant when Spock remembers that it's made of Vokaya, which he can track to find Sulu, Uhura, and the rest of the crew's location.
    • The stereo Jayla scavenged from the wreck of the USS Franklin, which is used to broadcast music that disrupts the communications of Krall's swarm fleet.
    • The seemingly useless trinket Kirk collects from a failed diplomatic mission is actually the MacGuffin that powers an ancient alien superweapon.
    • The hologram generators that Jaylah uses to disguise the USS Franklin are later used to produce multiple images of Kirk riding a motorcycle around Krall's compound, providing Krall's mooks with multiple false targets to shoot at.
    • Kirk is informed that Yorktown is building a new ship that will supposedly be more advanced than the Enterprise. It reappears at the end, when it is completed and christened the Enterprise-A.
    • In the opening, Scotty tells Kirk he can't beam him up because of "geological interference"—that is, he's too far underground. This becomes an issue in rescuing the crew as well.
    • The Breaching Pods slamming into the Enterprise hull gets turned against the villains when the Franklin suddenly launches out of the water in front of them, and Krall's ships get stuck in the hull, as the Franklin was built back when Starfleet still used armor plating instead of shields.
    • Kirk uses the gunk that he and Chekov got trapped in to shield a group of Enterprise survivors during the rescue from Krall's compound.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Kirk runs into Ensign Syl during the Abandon Ship sequence. It's later revealed that he gave her the Abronath for safekeeping.
  • Chekhov's Skill: We get to see Kirk drive a motorcycle again to create a diversion to allow his crew to escape Krall.
  • Chekov's Gun: Yes, it has that, too. Chekov trains it on Kalara.
  • I Choose to Stay: Kirk and Spock are seriously considering leaving the Enterprise to pursue other interests at the start of the film, but they eventually change their minds.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Dr. Carol Marcus joined the crew of the Enterprise at the end of Into Darkness. She is not seen or even mentioned in this movie.
    • Likewise, Gaila (who appeared in the 2009 film, and joined the crew permanently in the IDW comic series leading up to this film) isn't present in the film.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: After crash-landing on Altamid, Kirk accuses Kalara of knowing that they would be ambushed and of having led them into a trap, to which she claims that she only did so to protect her crew whom Krall has imprisoned; it turns out she really was in league with Krall, but fortunately Kirk sees through it.
  • Continuity Nod: A number of them towards Star Trek: Enterprise, as that is the only series still officially canon to the reboot movies. On the planet, the crew find the Starfleet ship USS Franklin, which actually predates the NX-01 USS Enterprise and shares obvious design similarities. It's stated to be the first Warp 4 vessel, as the NX-01 was the first Warp 5 vessel. The transporter is mentioned as being rated only for cargo, not crewmen, as the NX-01 had the first official crewman transporter. The uniforms resemble the flight suit design. There are mentions of the Xindi conflict and Romulan War, and one character was a MACO, a pre-Federation Starfleet military corps that had a detachment on the NX-01 note .
  • Contrived Coincidence: One would think this when an escape pod carrying a survivor from one of Krall's attacks just happens to arrive at Yorktown right after the Enterprise, which happens to be carrying the MacGuffin Krall wants, docks at the station. However, it's later revealed that the whole thing was planned from the start by Krall to lure the Enterprise to Altamid.
  • Creation Sequence: The movie ends with the time-lapse creation of the Enterprise-A.
  • Creator Cameo: Doug Jung, who co-wrote the film, appears as Sulu's husband Ben. He's seen carrying their daughter to safety when Yorktown is attacked.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Yet again, the Enterprise is on the receiving end of one of these, mainly because it's a Zerg Rush of enemy ships. Tragically, it's her last.
  • Damsel out of Distress: By the time Spock arrives at Krall's camp to save Uhura, she's not only saved herself, but ends up saving him from one of Krall's mooks.
    Uhura: What are you doing here?
    Spock: Clearly I am here to save you.
  • Dark Reprise: "Hitting the Saucer a Little Hard" is interspersed with one to "Enterprising Young Men" from the Star Trek '09 soundtrack. The latter plays during Enterprise's reveal in that movie while the former plays during its destruction in this movie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spock and McCoy spend much of the movie trading dry wisecracks.
  • Death by Irony: Enterprise gets her revenge on Kalara for luring her into Krall's trap, by way of Kirk firing all the ventral thrusters of the crashed saucer, flipping it over and crushing her under the saucer's bulk.
  • Death by Looking Up: Kalara getting squashed like a bug by the crashed saucer of Enterprise.
  • Death Notification: After arriving at Starbase Yorktown, Spock is approached by two Vulcan elders who inform him that Ambassador Spock has passed away.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Enterprise gets destroyed by a massive swarm of fighter-sized ships that, if encountered individually, would've been negligible threats.
  • Declining Promotion: Kirk in the end declines the promotion to admiralty he previously applied for. Like his prime universe counterpart, he now realizes he enjoys commanding a starship too much to give it up. Commodore Paris seems almost amused at this.
    Kirk: Vice Admirals don't fly, do they?
  • Deconstruction: The design of the Enterprise herself suffers this—literally. The nacelle pylons and the "neck" between the saucer and engineering hulls are obvious structural weaknesses, and Krall takes brutal advantage of that.
  • Determinator: After being wounded by shrapnel during their crash landing on Altamid, Spock spends the rest of the film making a valiant attempt to soldier on in spite of his injuries; once he is out of mortal danger, he insists on accompanying the away team to rescue Uhura and the rest of the crew, and volunteers to board one of the enemy vessels (with McCoy forced to tag along in both instances, much to his chagrin).
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: McCoy and Spock spend much of the movie together, doing their emotion/stoic classic banter. McCoy at one point says he thinks Spock hates him and Spock is taken aback, calling him Leonard and saying he thought it was clear he had the utmost respect for him.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: When McCoy questions why Spock would give Uhura a necklace made of radioactive material, he replies that the emissions are low enough to not cause damage but high enough that they are easy to detect on sensors.
    McCoy: You gave your girlfriend a tracking device?
    Spock: [beat] That was not my intention.
  • Disney Villain Death: Manas and Krall.
  • Distressed Dude: Spock suffers a nearly fatal injury in an escape pod crash. McCoy is there to help, but Spock is incapacitated until they get their hands on actual medical supplies.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Krall's Social Darwinist rhetoric bears a strong resemblance to that of the Nazis, no doubt on purpose. This may be ironic given that he turns out to be a black man. The good guys get this too, oddly, with Scotty illustrating Federation doctrine that strength comes from unity with the "fasces" symbol (a bundle of sticks is stronger than one) that was used by the Italian Fascists and inspired their name (of course, they are hardly the only ones who said this).note 
  • Do a Barrel Roll: The Enterprise-A pulls one off at the end of the film.
  • Dutch Angle: Extensively used in scenes set in the crippled and crashed Enterprise.
  • Emotions Versus Stoicism: A natural consequence of McCoy and Spock being paired together during the Party Scattering.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: When pouring a drink for himself and Kirk, McCoy also pours a glass in memory of Kirk's father.
  • Escape Pod: The surviving crew abandons the ship in escape pods, which are quickly grabbed by Krall's fighters and brought to his base.
  • Eureka Moment: When they argue the hive's Zerg Rush could be disrupted with a "loud and distracting" signal, Scotty suddenly recalls something he called that, and asks Jaylah to provide some music for their attack.
  • Evil Overlooker: The poster, although the colors cover most of Krall's face. The graffiti version makes it clearer.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Spock's reaction as he remembers Uhura's necklace and McCoy points out the implications of his explanation.
    McCoy: You gave your girlfriend a Tracking Device?
    Spock: [beat] That was not my intention.
  • Expy:
    • Krall's Mecha-Mooks are rather similar to the Geth; both are a group of alien-created robots led by an organic being who happens to be a fanatical rogue agent of the respective series' main peacekeeping organization.
    • After The Reveal, Krall is clearly one for Pinbacker in Sunshine, down to the video logs.
  • Failsafe Failure: The last failsafe lever on Yorktown's atmosphere processing system refuses to work like the others did, forcing Kirk to tug at it until it finally comes free at the proper dramatic moment. Plus, the system has all kinds of elaborate safeguards to prevent anyone from tampering with it via the network—but a person can simply take an elevator to the roof of the building it's on and release a bio-weapon with ease even as people in the command center struggle to overcome the security protocols to try to stop them.
  • Fatal Family Photo:
    • Averted with Sulu, who has a photo of his daughter on his console on the bridge, yet survives the adventure, though at one point Krall threatens to kill him. His daughter herself, his husband, and all other inhabitants of Starbase Yorktown, are at risk of being killed by the Abronath when Krall attacks.
    • And then there is the photo of the original TOS crew, his "family", that young Spock finds among the personal items he inherited from the recently deceased Spock Prime. He likely died of old age though, and may have already outlived most, if not all of them.
  • Flat "What.": Kirk's response to the Teenaxi Delegation's final logical descent to "They want to eat us!"
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Uhura, in the course of beating down one of Krall's mooks, uses his gun to blast another when she's on the way to help Kirk separate the Enterprise saucer from the remains of the engineering section.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The movie opens with tiny aliens trying to rip Kirk to pieces. Later, tiny swarm ships succeed in ripping the Enterprise to pieces.
    • When Kalara first approaches Yorktown, her incoming video feed glitches, causing her to briefly resemble Krall, as a hint that they're on the same side. She also briefly appears more humanoid in other glitched shots of the video, possibly hinting at her and Krall's true origins.
    • When Spock mentions to McCoy about his plan to return to New Vulcan after Ambassador Spock's death, he also says that he hasn't told Kirk about it as he hasn't had the time. McCoy mentions his belief that Kirk would not like it, saying, "he wouldn't know what to do without you" to Spock. In the climax, McCoy and Spock rescue Kirk from falling through the hatch into space. Promptly, Kirk thanks Spock with, "What would I do without you, Spock?"
    • When Kirk volunteers the Enterprise to go on the rescue mission as it has the best sensors, Commodore Paris mentions that the only other ship with better sensors is not fully built yet, foreshadowing the Enterprise-A.
    • Immediately after Spock stores the MacGuffin in the Enterprise archives, the archive computer readout momentarily blurs; revealed later that Krall was searching for the artifact by hacking into the Federation's computers.
    • Krall's origin as a human is repeatedly hinted at:
      • He refuses to say where he learned to speak English. Nor does he ever name his people, or homeworld.
      • He's familiar enough with Federation tech to hijack one of their probes' signal.
      • His calling the USS Franklin "Old Friend" has the viewer assuming he's referring to Kirk. He's actually referring to his old ship.
      • Upon seeing Starbase Yorktown, he exclaims, "Look how far they've come," hinting that he was around when the Federation started.
      • His sucking the life of captives and how it changes his appearance to one more smooth-skinned and human-appearing hints that he's not what he appears.
      • His wardrobe has a similar pattern to NX-01 Enterprise-era uniforms.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Transwarp beaming and using augment blood to cure death aren't even mentioned. However, three years have passed since the end of Star Trek Into Darkness, so it's possible the technology has been somehow lost in the interim. Transwarp beaming in particular would be a Story-Breaker Power in Beyond. If the crew could use it to return to Starbase Yorktown without a ship, then there would be no need for Jaylah or the Franklin to play any role in the story.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: As detailed below on Party Scattering, once the Enterprise crashes there are four groups: Kirk and Chekov; Spock and McCoy; Scotty (who meets Jaylah); and Sulu, Uhura, and the rest of the surviving crew (who are captured by Krall). Then it's reduced by Kirk reuniting with Scotty, the latter managing to beam up McCoy and Spock, and ultimately the captive crew being rescued.
  • From Bad to Worse: The crew escape the wrecked Enterprise, only to end up as prisoners on an alien planet where Everything Is Trying to Kill You.
  • Future Music: The Beastie Boys are now considered "classical," and Scotty doesn't like Public Enemy. "Too old-fashioned."
  • Gale-Force Sound: Taken to the Logical Extreme: both the Franklin and Starbase Yorktown, using "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys. While not 100% accurate, as they use the music broadcasted over VHF frequencies, the editing makes it look like this (provided you forget about Sound In Space). Works exceptionally well in case of Yorktown, the activation of its powerful transmitters being synced to the Metal Scream in the song.
  • Going Down with the Ship: Kirk is the last person to leave the Enterprise, though he doesn't crash with it.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Krall is actually a Starfleet captain who crashed on the planet a hundred years ago. He and two others ended up as the only surviving crew. After waiting most of his life to be rescued, he grew resentful of the Federation, and after finding advanced mining drones on the planet to be a formidable fleet, in his last official Captain's Log he swore revenge.
  • Got Volunteered: When Spock volunteers to commandeer one of the swarm ships, Kirk shoots him down because Spock is still injured. Spock compromises by suggesting someone also familiar with the swarm ship and his injuries join him. Cut to Bones giving Spock hell for the idea.
  • Gravity Screw: Because of the design of Starbase Yorktown, the Artificial Gravity fields create areas where one can fly on gravity slipstreams, such as during the Interesting Situation Duel between Kirk and Edison.
  • Guile Hero: How Kirk figures out who The Mole is.
  • Gunship Rescue: Sulu and Uhura attempt this when stranded on Krall's base by attempting to send a distress beacon to Starfleet. Krall expected this, and actually skewed their location coordinates so any attempts at this trope would end up in the nebula, making them easy targets for Krall's fleet.
  • Happily Married: Hikaru Sulu. He has a husband and young daughter.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: The survival uniforms worn by Kirk and Chekov—which sensibly lack rank insignia (given that they're survival gear, who wears them is a matter of who happens to get in that escape pod, and picking out senior officers in a situation where they may be evading and escaping from enemy territory would only tell the enemy who their high-value captives are)—have, as standard issue, a leather jacket (it's grey and dark blue, however, not black).
  • The Hero's Birthday: The film opens three days before Kirk's birthday, and he's a little morose, because this year he'll be older than his father ever was.
  • History Repeats: Just like his father, Jim Kirk is helpless to save his ship from an overwhelming enemy force, managing only to buy time for the survivors to evacuate. The Enterprise even closely resembles the USS Kelvin after her nacelles are blown off by the swarm. He does manage to escape before his ship's final destruction, however.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Krall is killed by the superweapon he's spent all this time seeking.
  • Hope Spot: In the final battle between Krall and Kirk, Krall sees his mostly human reflection in a shard of glass. After briefly pondering helping Kirk stop the bioweapon, he grabs the shard and tries to kill Kirk. Kirk kills him about 30 seconds later.
  • I Can Still Fight!: In spite of his various injuries, Spock keeps going on and surviving various away missions.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: During the battle at Yorktown, Spock and McCoy are beamed onto one of Krall's ships to gather intelligence. What McCoy isn't this time is a Riddle for the Agesnote :
    McCoy: Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a f[is beamed out]
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Justified. Krall's troops are actually re-purposed mining robots left behind by the former occupants of Altamid.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The Enterprise is wrecked over an alien planet, much like in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. And like in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the crew later take command of the Enterprise-A.
  • Inappropriately Close Comrades: As well as the ongoing Spock/Uhura, Kirk's "Captain's Log" section at the beginning describes the open formation and breaking up of sexual relationships among crew members as just something that happens on a long space mission.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: Like Kirk and Sulu in the '09 film, Kirk and Jaylah are beamed out while in midair, and land hard.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: A battle with Mecha Mooks inside the Enterprise while it's being torn apart by the Swarm, Kirk exchanging phaser fire with pursuers while sliding down the saucer section, and Kirk's final battle with Krall in the variable-gravity centre of Yorktown.
  • Invisibility Flicker: The holo-camouflage hiding the Franklin.
  • It Has Been an Honor: When Spock sees Krall's mooks converge upon them, he delivers a typically Vulcan variation on this trope to McCoy, right after McCoy quips, "And here I was thinking you cared."
    Spock: Of course I care, Leonard. I always assumed my respect for you was clear.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Uhura's reason for breaking things off with Spock early in the movie. Lampshaded by McCoy:
    McCoy: When an Earth girl says, "It's not you, it's me," it's definitely you.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Spock says this to McCoy when he carries him away from their escape pod:
    Spock: Leaving me behind will significantly increase your chances of survival.
    McCoy: That's damn chivalrous of you, Spock, but completely out of the question.
    Spock: It is imperative that you locate any surviving crew.
    McCoy: And here I was thinking you cared.
  • Keystone Army: Krall's lethally swift and highly coordinated swarm of hive-minded drones are easily disrupted and defeated by jamming their control signal with "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys.
  • Kirk Summation: Given by (who else?) Kirk to Krall in the final act, trying to appeal to his former loyalty to Starfleet and humanity and his better nature. Krall responds with Shut Up, Kirk!, leading to the final fight.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: Jaylah quite enjoys the "beats and shouting" of 'classical' human rock music. Scotty, not so much. Likewise Spock has no problem quoting Shakespeare, to McCoy's annoyance.
  • Layman's Terms: While the crew attempt to figure out a way to stop Krall's attack on Yorktown, Spock comes up with an idea and starts going into a Technobabble-laden explanation, which annoys Kirk and he tells Spock to cut to the chase, which still confuses him. Uhura helpfully translates.
    Uhura: What's he saying is if we can disorient the swarm, we can kick its ass!
    Spock: Precisely.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kirk's log mentions that the last three years seem to have been of "episodic" nature.
  • Legacy Vessel Naming: The more advanced ship being constructed by the Federation is christened the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A) at the end, after the Enterprise is destroyed in the film.
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite its heavy action content, the film is much lighter in tone than the two earlier Reboot films. Kirk is less abrasive and arrogant and closer to his purely heroic original-universe persona, the depiction of the Federation and Starfleet is much closer to Roddenberry-esque utopianism, and in contrast to the Inferred Holocaust of the climaxes of the earlier films, Krall's attack on Starbase Yorktown is foiled before it becomes a mass civilian casualty incident.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The "bees." The swarm is made of thousands of incredibly fast ships that simply dodge any attacks they come across, and they're sturdy enough to go through the Enterprise without being damaged, but they have no offensive weapons like phasers or torpedoes and are reliant on their communications network to coordinate attacks.
  • Limited Wardrobe: While recording his Captain's Log, Kirk opens his wardrobe and looks at the identical uniform shirts.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Scotty's torpedo topples into a ravine as he makes a futile leap for the ledge... then we see he's managed to grab on lower down.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Sort of. The model of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) is made more slender and delicate both to emphasize its vulnerability to Krall's swarm and to make it look more like the classic USS Enterprise.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Idris Elba's Big Bad character Krall has pointy ears, sharp teeth, and angular features.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The footsoldiers and pilots of the Swarm are revealed to be this, with Krall's only living henchmen being Manas and Kalara.
  • Mildly Military: Kirk puts in for a promotion from Captain to Vice Admiral. In most navies, the rank of Rear Admiral is between Captain and Vice Admiral. (And promotions are awarded, not applied for.) Of course, Starfleet isn't a military organization.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment:
    Jaylah: You take my house... and you make it fly.
  • Model Planning: Kirk and his officers plan their attack on Krall's base and the rescue of their crew using parts from the spaceship they're trying to repair.
  • Mythology Gag: Considering the size of the franchise—more than enough for a separate page.
  • Near Villain Victory: Even after his swarm fleet is destroyed, Krall manages to sneak his way to the top of the central building inside Starbase Yorktown and almost succeeds in distributing his bioweapon throughout the station's ventilation system, which would kill everyone on board. Kirk barely manages to prevent it by ejecting both Krall and the weapon out the airlock just in time—and almost goes with them.
  • Neglectful Precursors: The original inhabitants of Krall's planet. They departed long ago and left behind all kinds of dangerous technology including a fleet of swarm ships that can tear a starship to pieces, Bio-Augmentation technology that can extend life and enhance the body, and half of a Phlebotinum Bomb that kills life on a potentially massive scale.
  • Not So Above It All: Spock can be seen bobbing his head slightly to the Beastie Boys.
  • Off with His Head!: The Enterprise's saucer section is sliced away from the stardrive section.
    Krall: Cut its throat.
  • Older Is Better: The Franklin is inferior in virtually every way to a modern starship, but its outdated hull plating makes it more resistant to Krall's fighters than newer ships which rely on shielding that Krall's fighters can ignore.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Spock is injured, and McCoy does emergency surgery on him, following it with an attempt to make things lighter with a joke. Spock starts laughing in response. McCoy correctly deduces that Spock's lost a significant amount of blood due to the injury, and is delirious.
    • While previously shown to be gregarious and forceful, the movie opens with Captain Kirk feeling isolated and lacking purpose.
  • Outdated Hero vs. Improved Society: Krall, aka Captain Balthazar Edison, was a former hero of the Romulan and Xindi Wars. When Starfleet was formed and the Federation preferred peace and cooperation between alien species rather than waging wars, Edison found out the hard way that he could not adapt to the new society. That, coupled with being abandoned in uncharted territories by the society he once proudly served, was the final straw that drove him mad and caused him to swear vengeance.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Krall's fleet of swarm ships. They're too numerous for phasers to destroy many of them, they're too small and nimble for torpedoes to lock onto them, and they have tech that lets them pass straight through shields. They behave in much the same way as piranhas in movies do, and can destroy a starship in minutes.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Done by Kirk and Chekov once the captain shoots at the crashed Enterprise's fuel compartment.
  • Party Scattering: The crew of the Enterprise are split up once they land on Altamid. Scotty's escape pod lands him near Jaylah; McCoy and Spock (who were piloting an enemy ship) crash land in a mountainous river region; Sulu, Uhura, and the rest of the crew end up in Krall's base; and Kirk and Chekov (who left the Enterprise last) end up in a forest region near the Enterprise.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Played For Laughs during Kirk's opening log by Scotty and Keenser trying to fix a device. Keenser whacks it as the scene closes with unknown results.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Spock receives Ambassador Spock's possessions, which include a portrait of the TOS Prime crew.
  • Planet Spaceship: Starbase Yorktown is less a conventional starbase and more a small artificial planet that just happens to double as one. It's big enough to hold millions of inhabitants in rings along the edges.
  • The Power of Friendship: Krall spends the entire film sneering that the Federation's objective of peace and cooperation makes them weak.
  • The Power of Rock: Spock comes up with the idea of using radio jamming to disorient Krall's fleet, but they need a signal to broadcast. Cue the Beastie Boys. Judging from the reactions of the characters, the music itself is broadcast on the ship and Yorktown as well. (The trope's best shown as the biggest explosion occurs right at a Metal Scream.)
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Krall has managed to stay alive for "many lifetimes" thanks to technology that harvests the energy of the people he captures, to make himself younger. This technology has mutated his human form so that he resembles those he's feeding off.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Just before unleashing The Power of Rock, Kirk can't quite resist the temptation.
    Kirk: Let's make some noise.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The USS Franklin seemingly crashed on the planet about 80 years ago and is expressly said not to be built for atmospheric travel. But with some hand-built repairs, the crew is able to get it back into decent condition and, with aid from a freefall, use it to escape the planet. It's not the first time in the franchise the Federation has made use of an 80+ year-old starship.
  • Ramming Always Works:
    • The antagonistic aliens assault the Enterprise by swarming the ship with thousands of smaller craft that cause hull breaches wherever possible. When flying in formation, they're able to slice the nacelles right off, and separate the saucer from the engineering section a few minutes later.
    • This backfires on Krall at the end. In order to intercept his remaining swarm fighters in Yorktown, Kirk has the Franklin burst from a pool that the ships are travelling over, causing all three to embed themselves in the Franklin's armored saucer (it's an older model which doesn't have shields).
  • Red Shirt:
    • The original red shirts are given the traditional treatment when Krall boards the Enterprise. In this case it's fully justified; their shipboard function is to repel hostile boarders, and they are intentionally putting themselves in harm's way to protect the rest of the crew. They also manage to put up a decent fight, but it's a one-sided battle from the get-go.
    • In a somewhat meta twist, blue-shirted individuals play the traditional role more frequently:
      • The two who accompany Kirk during his first tussle with Krall are never named and don't last five seconds, although they do aid in taking down Krall's own Red Shirts in turn.
      • When the boarders storm the bridge, a handful of blue-shirts soak up the fire, leaving the main cast unscathed.
      • Poor Ensign Syl is slaughtered for no other reason than to showcase Krall's ultimate weapon.
  • The Reveal: Looking at some video logs (while doing some Rewind, Replay, Repeat), Uhura finally figures out that Krall Was Once a Man, and even more, a Starfleet captain. Notably, she spots or rather hears the resemblance due to the way Krall and Captain Edison pronounce the word "frontier."
  • Rule of Three:
    • Franchise-wide, played with. After two previous films where Kirk gets his butt kicked by aliens/enhanced humans, he finally wins a fight against one of them.
    • Kelvin Universe-wise, this movie showcases the third time a starship has 'breached' something it's typically not supposed to. The first movie had the Enterprise breach the clouds of Titan as a signature scene, Into Darkness had it breaching high-rise clouds on Earth after a narrowly avoided burn-up, and here we have the Franklin breaching the water of a large pool, just in time to blockade all remaining enemy craft, including the Big Bad's.
  • Russian Reversal: Actually a plot point: Uhura's Cunning Linguist ears are able to recognize the similarity in Krall's line to a recording of USS Franklin's missing CO, Captain Balthazar Edison, cluing her in that they're the same person.
    Krall: The Federation has pushed the frontier for centuries. But no longer. This is where it begins, Lieutenant [Uhura]. This is where the frontier pushes back.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Enterprise is again turned into an impressively detailed burning wreck of broken metal.
  • Scenery Porn: The Enterprise entering Yorktown, which is absolutely stunning in its scope. A snowglobe in space, as McCoy describes it, containing cities in rings around the edges.
  • Sequel Escalation: The amount of damage done to the Enterprise goes up once again.
    • In the first film, the ship, albeit damaged, remained operative through the end.
    • In the second, the ship almost crashed after taking severe damage and had to be repaired so she could fly again at the end.
    • In this one, the ship finally gets completely wrecked beyond repair.
  • Shining City: Yorktown, even filmed in one of the few cities on Earth that look futuristic, Dubai.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The central MacGuffin is a bioweapon, over which its creators could not maintain control. It looks exactly like a Guyver unit.
    • The backstory of Krall's time on the planet Altamid is one to Forbidden Planet.
    • The plan at the end involves stealing an enemy ship and using it to introduce a disrupting signal that will help eliminate the alien fleet. Perhaps Kirk had just rewatched Independence Day.
    • The plan at the end can also be seen as an allusion to The Lost Boys or Mars Attacks! "Death by stereo."
    • The armor Krall's soldiers wear strongly resembles the Covenant Elites' armor in Halo.
    • Yorktown's design brings to mind the space station/cityscape of Elysium, on a more massive scale.
    • Ensign Syl's cranium strongly resembles the facehuggers from the Alien films, and she shares the name of the Species femalien ("Sil")—both similar typed aliens with H.R. Giger designs.
    • The name of the Franklin suggests that somebody at Starfleet made a very fate-tempting choice, as it refers to the English explorer Sir John Franklin, whose last expedition also went too far out and did some very dubious things in a vain attempt to survive.
    • One of Jaylah's traps (the one Kirk and Chekov get caught in) is essentially the Amber gas from Fringe.
    • You can tell Simon Pegg co-wrote this film, with his classic "Skip to the End" line lurking in the script.
    • The motorcycle ridden by Kirk is a Hilts PX 70—the manufacturer being the name of Steve McQueen's character in The Great Escape, who famously tries to evade Nazis using a bike (while ironically, the one in this movie is used to enter a prison).
  • Single-Biome Planet: Averted. Altamid has a wide variety of environments ranging from dense forests to arid wastes to craggy mountains.
  • Sink The Life Boats: Subverted when the Swarm snatch the lifepods as they eject, as Kraal needs them to maintain his youth.
  • Smug Snake: Kalara, for thinking that Kirk wasn't onto her after leading the Enterprise into a trap that saw it destroyed.
  • The Social Darwinist: Krall believes that struggle makes you strong, and loathes the Federation's ideal that strength comes from unity, though his people seem pretty united themselves.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Spock of all people pulls one as McCoy attempts to cauterize his wounds and suggests that the pain would be less severe if Spock did not expect it:
    Spock: To use a parlance with which you would be familiar, Doctor, I have just confirmed that theory to be horse-shit.
  • Space Clothes: Played with. Aboard ship, the crew all wear the regular Starfleet uniform, but after they're stranded dirtside following the Enterprise's destruction, Kirk and Chekov change into uniforms more practical for field duty, featuring knee pads, boots, and a heavy coat. (Spock, McCoy, and Scotty leave the ship by means other than the escape pods and so don't have field uniforms on hand, and the rest of the crew is captured without the chance to change clothes.)
  • Space Madness: A downplayed version; after three years in deep space, Kirk is losing his sense of purpose. A more straight version would be Krall, whose sociopathy is borne out of being marooned on a desolate planet and feeling that the Federation has abandoned him.
    Commodore Paris: There's no relative direction in the vastness of space. There's only yourself, your ship, your crew. It's easier than you think to get lost.
  • Space Station: Starbase Yorktown, which is a large globe containing the equivalent of several cities floating in space.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Upon seeing Starbase Yorktown for the first time, McCoy suggests that it would've made far better sense to just rent out space on a planet instead. Spock says the decision was political: the Federation government apparently didn't want to show favoritism to any particular member planet, so they put it in deep space.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • Spock gets unexpectedly beamed up while he and McCoy are both surrounded by hostile alien gunships.
    • When Kirk rides into Krall's base, Krall tries to shoot him down, allowing Uhura to slip away from captivity.
      Krall: [to Manas] Where is she?
  • Stealth Pun: The signal used to disrupt Krall's swarm ships? "Sabotage"!
  • Stock Scream: There's a Wilhelm scream when a Red Shirt suffers a Railing Kill in the initial battle.
  • Straight Gay: Hikaru Sulu is gay, in honor of his original actor George Takei, and he and his husband have a young child.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Krall, born Captain Balthazar Edison. A MACO and a combat veteran of the Xindi and Romulan conflicts, Edison helped win the war for Earth, only for Earth to disband his entire organization during the formation of the Federation and merge its personnel with the only Mildly Military Starfleet. They gave him a ship and turned him into an explorer. Even before his obvious madness and belief that he was abandoned, it's not hard to imagine he harbored some resentment over it.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Of all things, the USS Enterprise. She's attacked and ripped apart by a Zerg Rush about a quarter of the way into the film.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Krall's swarm of starship-killing drones were apparently originally built as mining robots.
  • Surprise Party: Early in the film, Kirk and McCoy celebrate Kirk's birthday in a low-key manner a few days early because he doesn't really like to celebrate on his birthday, what with it being the day his father died. At the end of the film, however, McCoy ends up hosting a large surprise party on Yorktown with the surviving Enterprise crew.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: While it's also a Call-Back to the first Star Trek movie, "Sabotage" is an entirely appropriate track to play while trying to sabotage hostile alien communications with The Power of Rock.
  • Take Back Your Gift: Uhura attempts to return a necklace Spock had previously given her (as it's a family heirloom). He refuses, saying that it is not the Vulcan custom. Good thing he didn't take it back.
  • Take My Hand: Kirk reaches out to grab Jaylah's hand as he's being transported while she's falling to her death. He manages to reach her just in time to take her with him, saving them both.
  • Team Spirit: After Scotty meets and befriends Jaylah, she begins helping out him and the other members of the Enterprise crew, but he has to teach her some of the Starfleet values of working together to support everyone.
    Scotty: You're part of something bigger now, lassie. Right? Dinnae give up on that. 'Cause we'll sure as hell never give up on you. That is what being part of a crew is all about.
  • Teleportation Sickness: McCoy complains after being beamed up that his innards "feel like they went to a barn dance." Scotty replies that it's because the Franklin's transporter was only rated for cargo, and he had to make some modifications.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • As Kirk and Chekov are traveling, the younger officer queries Kirk about how he knew that their recent passenger was a mole, and Kirk replies that he has a "nose for danger". As soon as they drop down into a gulley, a strange noxious fume wafts out, and Kirk sighs upon seeing it, knowing he just did this trope. It ended up being a good thing in the end, because they got ensnared in one of Jaylah's traps, and it leads to a reunion with Scotty.
    • As McCoy and Spock find themselves surrounded by hostiles, McCoy notes that at least he won't die alone. Spock is promptly beamed away.
    • After being beamed onto and hijacking one of the drone ships, McCoy reminds Spock that the last time they attempted to pilot one of the ships it crashed—mere moments later, they narrowly avoid crashing into one of the other drones; McCoy does, however, manage to pull off some impressive piloting.
  • That's No Moon!: Upon first encountering Krall's swarm ships, the Enterprise reads them as one large vessel. Then Kirk orders a zoom and realizes their true nature.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Kirk kills Kalara in repayment for destroying the Enterprise by squashing her like a bug with the wreckage of the saucer.
  • There Was a Door: Kraal and his mooks are shown blasting through a door on Enterprise. It's the vault, though, so odds are it was locked.
  • Think Nothing of It: When Commodore Paris thanks Kirk for saving Yorktown.
    Kirk: It wasn't just me. It never is.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • Twice McCoy and Spock hijack an alien fighter and twice its pilot goes out the airlock.
    • Krall/Edison, along with the bio-weapon he tried to use on Starbase Yorktown. Kirk is saved from the same fate.
  • To Absent Friends:
    • Said word-for-word by Kirk during his birthday toast, to the Starfleet personnel who died during the film (and to Leonard Nimoy). Also, an unintended meta-example, when Kirk says his line, the camera turns to the crowd, and center in the shot is Chekov, played by Anton Yelchin, who died a few weeks prior to the film's release.
    • An unsaid version in the early scene where McCoy pours himself and Kirk shots, and a third, representing Kirk's lost father. They tap their shot glasses to the extra glass, then to each other's.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Later TV spots reveal the big third act surprise (the Was Once a Man twist concerning Krall), much to the fury of fans and Simon Pegg. Several also show the big final space battle (although not the very end) with the USS Franklin taking out the swarm.
  • Translator Microbes: Kalara uses a more realistic variation where you hear her speak an alien language, and a computer voice speaking English at the same time.
  • True Companions: Exploited by Krall, who drags Sulu into the prison area where the surviving Enterprise crews are held and attempts to drain his life to coerce the crew into surrendering the MacGuffin, knowing that they value each other's lives more than it. Ensign Syl finally relents and surrenders the MacGuffin to Krall because she doesn't want Sulu to die. Krall later brutally kills her to demonstrate the MacGuffin's power.
  • Tuckerization: The director's father Frank Lin inspires a starship, while planet Altamid is an anagram of Simon Pegg's daughter Matilda.
  • Turbine Blender: Narrowly avoided by Kirk. When trying to vent the atmospheric processor before the bioweapon is cycled into the atmosphere, Scotty warns him that failure to trigger the venting sequence will cause him to be sucked into the fan along with the bioweapon. Kirk manages to throw the switch just before he's sucked toward the fan.
  • Universal Driver's License:
    • Despite not being a starship pilot, McCoy knows how to pilot the alien starfighter when he ends up in one. Though if this timeline is anything like the prime one, Starfleet Academy gives basic courses on shuttle piloting (which would help).
    • Sulu scoffs at the idea that he might not know how to pilot a 100-year-old starship. note 
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Kirk and Chekov attempt to use the Enterprise's sensors to locate the crew. The actual plan was to get Kalara to think she's found the MacGuffin and thus contact Krall, allowing Chekov to trace the signal rather than look for bio-signs.
  • Victory Is Boring:
    • Or in Kirk's case, adventure is now boring. Three years into their five-year mission, Kirk is slowly starting to feel this way. He muses in his Captain's Log that if space is truly infinite, then they will never truly reach whatever it is they're striving for. He's ready to retire and become an admiral with a cushy desk job until the events of the film change his mind.
    • Krall also seems somewhat dissatisfied with what his victories have given him. He is convinced that humanity has doomed itself by becoming a peaceful species, instead of a Proud Warrior Race.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Spock and McCoy, having been separated from the crew during the crash landing, spend most of the film snarking at each other whilst McCoy tries to treat injuries Spock sustained in the crash with minimal supplies; nevertheless, Spock later confides in him the reasons for his strained relationship with Uhura, the death of Spock Prime, and his conflict over whether to remain at Starfleet or continue Spock Prime's work on New Vulcan, leading to the two of them seemingly growing warmer to one another. However, Spock later volunteers himself and McCoy to be beamed onto an enemy drone ship, much to McCoy's chagrin.
  • Was Once a Man: Krall isn't an alien, but a mutated human, and an ex-Starfleet officer at that.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Krall's drone swarms are terrifying, but it turns out they can easily be defeated by broadcasting powerful VHF signals such as music, which disrupts their communications. However, this is justified in that the drones are actually mining units, and not intended to be weapons.
  • We Need a Distraction:
    • As Spock states. Fortunately, Kirk is entirely willing to provide one, seeing as it involves riding a motorbike.
    • When McCoy has to yank out the metal embedded in Spock's torso, he asks Spock what his favorite color is, knowing that Spock will be distracted by such an illogical question.
  • Wham Line:
    • Two in fairly close succession.
      Scotty: Sir, the nacelles, they're gone!

      Kirk: Mister Sulu, abandon ship.
    • And then another one during the climax:
      Kirk: I don't know how, but Edison is Krall!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Despite the fact that she seemingly joined the Enterprise crew for their five-year mission at the end of Into Darkness, Carol Marcus is never seen nor mentioned at all in this movie. According to Simon Pegg, there was originally a cut piece of dialogue which explained that at some point she parted ways with the Enterprise to begin work on Project Genesis.
    • Of a broader sort, Krall and the Franklin crew were first stranded decades before Nero's temporal incursion. What happened to them in the prime reality?
  • When She Smiles: Subverted. McCoy's reaction to Spock breaking into a smile?
    McCoy: [fairly shocked] You really are delirious!
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The background for Krall is essentially a simplified and militarized version of Morbius in Forbidden Planet: one of the last survivors of a mission of exploration is driven mad—or at least madder—by the technology of Neglectful Precursors, which he then uses for his own ends. Perhaps not coincidentally, the name of the planet is Altamid, which is close enough to "Altair IV" for one to suggest it wasn't a coincidence. Krall's name is also very similar to that of Forbidden Planet's precursors, the Krell.
    • The idea of combating a hostile alien race by using the power of music is a plot ripped straight out of Macross, though in practice it has more in common with Mars Attacks!
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: For all of Krall's crimes and insanity, it's hard to not pity the man. Even Kirk seems to feel kinda bad for him in the end.
  • The Worf Effect: The Enterprise is one of the most advanced, well-armed ships in a major galactic power's military fleet... yet it gets torn to pieces in short order by the new villain's swarm ships. Later in the film though, it's established the villain is intimately familiar with the workings of Starfleet, including specifications of ships like Enterprise via information/communication interceptions, so he knew exactly where and how to hit them hard prior to the attack. On top of that, there's a strong element of Outside-Context Problem at work: the Enterprise wasn't designed to fight large numbers of small craft, because nobody uses that kind of tactic in this setting.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech:
    • Kirk admits in the opening sequences that he is feeling detached because of extended exploration, and that his birthday is not a happy occasion because it reminds him of his dad. Krall is revealed as a Federation captain who was stranded on the planet years ago, and blames the Federation for not rescuing him and his crew. His Revenge Before Reason is built on the belief that peace and exploration makes you weak, and war is the only way to stay strong.
    • Of all people, Scotty gets one when Jaylah is about to give up.
      Scott: My wee granny used to say, ye cannae break a stick in a bundle. You're part of something bigger now, lass. Don't you give up on that, because we'll sure as hell never give up on you. That's what being part of a crew is all about.
  • Worst Aid: Lampshaded by McCoy when he says that pulling out the chunk of metal in Spock's gut could make him bleed to death. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the luxury of proper medical equipment to safely treat Spock, nor can he leave the object in Spock in their current situation. Instead, he decides to Take a Third Option by heating another piece of metal with his phaser and using it to cauterize Spock's wound, once the object is removed—it works well enough as a temporary measure until he finds better equipment.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Kalara claims to be the sole survivor of a catastrophe to lure the Enterprise into Krall's trap. She later tells Kirk that Krall is holding her family hostage to ensure her cooperation, hoping to gain the Captain's sympathy so she can steal the artifact from him. The second time, Kirk is onto her.
  • Wrench Wench: Jaylah, in addition to being a handy fighter, is a natural engineer. She gets many of the Franklin's systems operational, despite a lack of formal training and not understanding English. Kirk is so impressed that he arranges for her to be admitted to Starfleet Academy.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Scotty's reaction to his communicator falling apart.
  • You Killed My Father: Jaylah gets her revenge on The Dragon Manas, who was the one who killed her father when she escaped.
  • Zerg Rush: This is how Krall's fleet of drones operates, forming massive swarms of ships that are way too many for anything to individually destroy. And given they fly very close, they're foiled once their communication is jammed, leading the ships to crash into one another, causing Impressive Pyrotechnics.

"We will find hope... in the impossible."
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