Assuming Captain Edison did indeed fight in the "Xindi War" i.e. Season 3 of Enterprise, it is entirely likely that he was one of the original MACOs assigned to the ship at the end of Season 2.
The way gravity shifts in odd ways in environments with artificial gravity was originally setup in the first episode of Enterprise, where Travis Mayweather is shown to have one place on the NX-01 that this specifically occurs. This sets up the how gravity goes haywire at the center of the Yorktown.
One element of aging is DNA replication errors which compound over time, so one function of the alien anti-aging technology probably repairs DNA. However, it was designed for use by an alien race, so it probably repairs the subject's DNA by splicing in healthy alien DNA. This explains why the remaining Franklin crew members are no longer human. Even at the end, after Krall/Edison absorbs the lifeforce/DNA of several humans, he is only mostly human.
Starfleet continues to learn and adapt from the USS Kelvin's battle with the Narada, as escape pods are more easily accessible and decentralized in case of evacuation. (The ones on The Bridge are even called "Kelvin pods", making for an obvious connection.)
How was Scotty able to get the Franklin to fly, if it was so damaged that the original crew couldn't fix it? Well, Edison says that only three of his crew remain, meaning they did not have a full engineering team, and they abandoned the Franklin soon after. Jayla later spent years repairing it by herself, then Scotty arrived with a mostly full engineering team who were able to basically superglue it together.
On top of that, Scotty only had to get the Franklin back to Yorktown, which was nearby and to which he knew the exact route. Edison and his crew would have had to get the Franklin all the way back to the Federation borders of their time, which would have taken months or even years.
The insane Scenery Porn of Starbase Yorktown appears to have several factors behind it. The advancements the Kelvin Timeline Federation has made from its knowledge of future technologies make it possible. And per Spock, its placement in space is political: the station is located on the Federation border among new member states to which the central government wanted to avoid the appearance of favoritism. It's likely the Federation deliberately pulled out all the stops with Yorktown's construction to impress neighboring cultures: "Join the Federation and you can be a part of this awesome thing!"
The commanding officer of Starbase Yorktown who sends Kirk and company to their assignment is Commodore Paris, who may be an ancestor to Tom Paris from Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager was about a Starfleet ship stranded on another side of the galaxy without many chances of help by Starfleet, just like Krall and the USS Franklin's crew.
Simon Pegg has confirmed that Commodore Paris should be regarded as Tom Paris's grandmother.
The opening: Kirk is trying to broker a peace treaty with some aliens, who wildly misinterpret everything he says as a threat, and who initially appear very large, but turn out to be about a foot tall when they're finally shown in the same frame as him. It's a funny gag, but it also might explain why they were being so paranoid in the first place: If your worst enemy were giving a peace offering, but they sent a giant who was over five times larger than you to do it, you'd probably be a bit suspicious. Given that they're the smallest intelligent beings we've seen in this continuity so far, they're probably usually this on edge around other races.
Krall's "old friend" is his old ship, the Franklin. It suddenly explains why he smiles without reservation when he sees it; at least one thing in this universe has never let him down.
Krall's ships tear through the Enterprise like tissue paper, but three hit the Franklin and are stopped dead in their tracks. Vessels of the Star Trek: Enterprise era were built with polarized hull plating, not shields, so of course it's going to be a lot tougher than a modern ship which eschews armor for shielding.note Case in point: watch Star Trek: Enterprise and note that even with the hull plating depolarized, a direct hit wouldn't necessarily breach the hull. Those old ships were tough indeed. This can also be inferred because it survived entry into the planet's atmosphere and crashing relatively unscathed (it needed repairs, but was salvageable), whereas the Enterprise took a much larger beating.
One of those things that's part of the Expanded Universe: In the Novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, there's an aside where Kirk is noting that most Federation citizens are "new men," rather hippie-ish, humble, and pacifistic, and that Starfleet attracts the "throwbacks"; those who are considered almost too aggressive for normal Federation society. Now, think of the whole Kirk and Edison argument in light of that. Of course, Starfleet attracts the throwbacks; many of its early crews were guys like Edison.
Kalara looks different from her former crewmates because when Krall attacks the Enterprise, they don't want Kirk to see so much resemblance that he works out she is lying.
When you put it together, Krall's "ultimate weapon" is obviously a nanotech assault swarm. The "ancients" who left him their tech were clearly all about small forms over large forms, with their drone swarms and robot hordes. And its effects on victims look entirely like a nanite attack, as well as its appearance in free air.
Kalara needs a UT because the Federation speaks Standard, and she now speaks a mix of English and a dozen or more of alien languages from the crews she's drained the life from.
That explains how Kirk figured out she was working with Krall, because he was the only member of the crew to speak English as well as Standard.
Scotty says that Jaylah's Beastie Boys recording is "a little old-fashioned" for his tastes, and McCoy and Spock refer to it as "classical music". It seems of the Enterprise crew only Kirk is a Fan of the Past. Given his stepfather's love of antique cars, gaining an appreciation for older music and other antiques (such as the 1970's clock radio seen in Kirk's quarters in the previous movie) isn't that far of a leap. This sets the alternate timeline apart from the original timeline, wherein nearly every Starfleet officer seemed to prefer music, literature, and art made in the era in which the series was first filmed.
Seeing as the Franklin's logs will be mostly or all intact and now available, in the Kelvin timeline it's conceivable that once they've gotten to the new version of Picard's era, the fate of the USS Franklin and its crew will be public knowledge and the reason why Starfleet made every ship have a counsellor like Deanna Troi, to stop people like Edison getting to the stage that they become disillusioned and go mad.
Krall's trap is based on the Kobayashi Maru. He gets Kalara to act as a distress call for a ship that is stuck in a dangerous place. The Federation ship arrives only to be swarmed and, no matter what they try, they are doomed. Krall based his trap on standard Starfleet training!
Not possible. In Star Trek, it's revealed that the Kobayashi Maru Simulation was conceived by Spock. Who wasn't even born yet during Edisons's time.
However, Krall had been hacking into the Federation computer network for some time before that, so it is entirely possible that he learned about the scenario, and wanted to see how a Federation Captain would react to a real-life version.
Also, if you read the novels, there WAS an original Kobayashi Maru, encountered by Archer's Enterprise shortly before the Romulan War began. So Edison would know all about the no-win scenario and how Starfleet responded to this happening, calling it a valuable lesson for its cadets.
A lot of what happened with Edison is a case of Kicked Upstairs and Mis-blamed. It is a historical reality that wars do eventually end, and soldiers have to reintegrate into civilian society, becoming non-combatants whether they like it or not. After the wars, Starfleet tried to do something for him, namely giving him a place of honor doing what was Starfleet's highest post-war priority — space exploration. But, in Edison's view, Starfleet was sweeping him under the rug; for being an inconvenient reminder of a time long gone. Edison expected a hero's reward, not being thrown out with the garbage (in his view). However, it seemed that Edison accepted this fact, given he did not resist being demilitarized and given a Captain's chair. Edison probably lacked the skills necessary for command of a top-of-the-line starship; a military commander and an explorer require different skillsets. If Edison's Fantastic Racism was present at this time, this would have also made him unsuitable to command a ship with a multi-species crew; this is most likely why he was given the Franklin, a United Earth built ship. Kirk observed as soon as they went on this mission that communications with Starfleet would be blocked by the nebula, even though the Enterprise was more than a century newer than the Franklin. It was probably assumed that the Franklin was destroyed; this is why search parties or salvage crews were never sent to look for them. Due to this fact, Edison began to think he had been "abandoned" and that resentment, combined with the isolation and (possible) guilt over the death of his crew, made him become psychologically unstable. As Krall, he begins murdering people to preserve his own youth and vigor, and applies himself entirely to building up to starting a war. Whilst his sense of victimization is self-imposed, it's not hard to imagine how it came about.
Jaylah's English isn't perfect, having had no native speakers to converse with before the film's events, but her description of the swarm ships as "Bees" is actually pretty appropriate. Not only does it describe small attackers that use swarming attacks, but what is the English term for an unmanned vehicle? A drone, which is also the name for a type of bee.
Much has been made of how improbable it is that Uhura could identify Krall as Edison from a few seconds of video, but it's not Edison's image that attracts Uhura's attention, it's his voice on the video. Being able to accurately identify a voice as someone you have heard before from a few seconds of audio is a trait that a top communications officer like Uhura should have.
This adorable little image from the official Star Trek Beyond weibo account showing Spock and Uhura as the lovers Zhinü (the Weaver Girl) and Niulang (the Cowherd). They are China/Japan/Vietnam/Korea's version of Star-Crossed Lovers, driven apart but reunited once every year over a bridge of magpies and crows (birds known for their intelligence). Bridge.Like one on a starship? What they're usually both on? This is the origin story of the Milky Way (referred to as the Silver River, which parts the lovers) - the final frontier. The Gigantic Moon behind a smiling Uhura might be a Call-Back to the "Vulcan has no moon" line as well.
Zhinü represents the star Vega. Niulang represents the star Altair. Both names have appeared in Trek before.
The story of Cowherd and Weavergirl is typically used in China as an analogy for space rendezvous, an important aspect of lunar (and thus space) exploration. Fittingly Altair is also the name of the lunar lander of the cancelled Constellation project.
McCoy and Spock in this film are something of a flip from their TOS dynamic (which modern audiences might interpret as McCoy being something of a racist bully). In TOS, Spock usually took McCoy's friendly barbs in the spirit they were intended (and as something of an intellectual challenge, verbal fencing), but sometimes, McCoy unintentionally crossed the line and genuinely hurt Spock's feelings. Of course, Spock was too Vulcan to say so. . . except in "All Our Yesterdays," where he Neck Lifts McCoy and basically tells him to knock it the hell off. In this film, when McCoy states, apparently in complete seriousness, that he thinks Spock doesn't like him, Spock is genuinely upset to think that he unintentionally hurt McCoy's feelings.
The crew of the Franklin crashed not long after the birth of the Federation. The new timeline these movies are set in diverges long after this fact, and their main timeline equivalents never show up in the original series. In other words, Krall and his crew existed in the original timeline, continued attacking and enslaving people in a fruitless search for their weapon, and most likely eventually died long after abducting and killing hundreds if not thousands of people for no reason without ever being stopped. While they may never have come close to committing mass murder against the Federation, they still would have continued causing untold damage before dying off tragically and pathetically. Or worse, they're still out there.
The sheer psychological toll upon Krall, Manas, and Kalara's minds become clear once the audience learns of their back stories. Over the years, they've lost all connection with their original humanity and the only thing driving them to stay alive is their mutual hatred of the Federation and desire to destroy it. They've been separated from the Federation for so long that Manas and Kalara have forgotten how to speak English. Krall can still converse in the language, but it is a struggle for him and he now speaks it in an alien accent.
Krall and Manas' appearances at the beginning of the film. Manas resembles one of the alien scavengers who threatens Scotty. This implies they fed on enough members of both species—probably whole crews' worth—to take on their appearance.
Paying close attention to the creditsnote Lydia Wilson plays both Kalara and Jessica Wolff, a member of the Franklin crew confirms that Kalara was the third surviving crew member Krall mentioned, which means that her story is a half truth. Her ship DID crash land on Altamid, stranding the crew, except her crew is now causing the trouble instead of suffering it. In addition, the fact that she's still alive means that like Krall and Manas, she had no qualms feeding off other stranded crews to extend her life.
Think about Captain Edison'sMotive Rant about how the Federation is too peaceful and soft compared to how they had to struggle to survive on the alien planet, grew stronger through conflict, and now want to bring war and struggle to the Federation, with the addition of "The frontier pushes back!" Now, think of the Prime timeline. It was a running theme on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and (to a lesser extent) Star Trek: Voyager that Federation ideals are all well and good in the Core Worlds, or when you're flying a Galaxy-class flagship with the resources and support you need—but not so much when you're on the ass end of the galaxy and the Federation gives you little more than lip service. Sisko even ranted, "it's easy to be a saint in paradise," and both he and Janeway made a lot of morally dubious calls. The same fate, and reversion to barbarity could have very easily happened to the crew of the Voyager or the Defiant, and did happen to the crew of the Equinox.
A war hero is "shaped by conflict" and develops contempt for unity, diversity, peace, and any kind of "weakness," goes out in the unknown and vanishes, goes completely insane complete with a life extension that hasn't done his sanity any favors, only to return with a massive fleet set on galactic conquest to "save" his former faction by uniting it in war. Anyone else getting a Darth Revan vibe?
More horrifying is that the audience is completely able to see where Krall is coming from. When it is revealed he served in the Xindi wars, it puts him on the NX-01, as it was the only Earth ship capable of going into the Expanse, meaning he saw the ship attacked numerous times and various Starfleet and MACO members killed or seriously wounded. And as if that wasn't enough, the founding of the Federation meant he was forced to forgive the Xindi and Romulans for it, then have his entire career destroyed as the MACOs are disbanded, and put in charge of an obsolete ship to go and make nice with alien species. Being abandoned on Altamid wouldn't have helped the resentment he was feeling. Also consider that, as captain, he had pick of his crew and more than likely chose many of the same people he served with, and then watched all but two of them die because the Federation never rescued them. AND he'd probably feel responsible for their deaths as he picked them for his crew. Dissolving into madness isn't a long jump.
Looking closely, you can see that Jaylah's facial structure (i.e. the bones round her eyes) is also seen on Kalara, hinting at how other members of Jaylah's family/species were absorbed and killed before and after she escaped Krall's camp.
Whilst Uhura is watching Ensign Syl die, behind her you can see Manas looking at Uhura with CONFUSION. It's been so long since he and Krall were human that they've forgotten why seeing someone die is so horrifying to Uhura.