How Fans Helped Write "Star Trek Beyond"

Memory Alpha Saved Hollywood

Spock and Chevok in uniform
Spock and Chevok in uniform. Paramount Pictures/YouTube

The next movie in the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek Beyond, will premiere in July 2016, only a few months away. Fans are really excited to see what new adventures are in store for us. It seems from all indications that the movie is trying hard to honor the tradition of the original series. Co-writer Simon Pegg even recently revealed that Trek fans were involved in the writing of the screenplay.

Star Trek Beyond is the upcoming science fiction sequel to Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), the third movie in the rebooted franchise.

 Technically, Star Trek Beyond is the thirteenth Star Trek movie, but the whole series was restarted with  (2009). The new series focuses more on action and adventure than the movies and TV shows that came before it. In the movie, the crew will face Idris Elba as a mysterious villain Krall, and his henchwoman Sofia Boutella as Jaylah. The start of the movie seems to involve the USS Enterprise being destroyed, and the crew crash landing on an alien world. Without their ship, Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and the rest of the crew will have to survive and find a way off the planet.

In Star Trek Beyond, Simon Pegg plays Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the chief engineer of the USS Enterprise. The role was originally played by actor James Doohan in the Original Series. Pegg has played Scotty in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, but Pegg is taking on a new role for Star Trek Beyond, since he also co-wrote the script for the movie.

Robert Orci wrote the first draft of Star Trek Beyond, but Pegg says he was asked to re-write it because it was "too Star Trek-y." Simon Pegg and Doug Jung wrote later drafts of the screenplay, instead.

During the writing, Pegg explained to Comingsoon.net how he turned to a vast resource that prior Trek writers might not have taken advantage of: the Internet.

He said, “We had the entirety of ‘Star Trek’ history at our disposal and it’s always there online. There’s an amazing Wikipedia online called Memory Alpha. It became Doug [Jung] and my resource and the place that we’d turn to whenever we wanted to know, ‘What kind of weapons does an NX vessel carry?’ Memory Alpha has it. We actually wrote to the Memory Alpha guys and got them to name a certain device in the movie. I sent them a letter saying, ‘Can you come up with this for me?’ In two hours, they came back with an entire etymological history of what the thing was. It’s beautiful. It’s fantastic to have that support network.”

Memory Alpha describes itself as a "free Star Trek reference database written collaboratively by its readers. [It's] a collaborative project to create the most definitive, accurate, and accessible encyclopedia and reference for everything related to Star Trek." The English-language version of Memory Alpha started in November 2003, and currently consists of 40,430 articles as of this writing. 

Pegg's mention of the NX vessel has fans speculating on what role it might have in the movie. NX was a two-letter prefix first used by Starfleet for their starships in the mid-22nd century.

The prefix was later used for experimental and prototype starships. Most notably, the NX-01 was the Enterprise featured on the prequel TV series Star Trek: Enterprise. The NX-01 was Earth's first starship capable of warp five, which allowed Starfleet to carry out deep space exploration.

On January 2016, Trekcore reported that contest winners of concept art from Star Trek Beyond found a design for an NX-class starship. It's apparently going to be the previously unknown USS Franklin, an older ship which several characters in the trailer seem to be wearing uniforms from. Rumors indicate the Franklin might take the crew of the new Enterprise off their planet.

Regardless of what Pegg was using Memory Alpha for, it's awesome to know he turned to the people who know Star Trek the best. No, not Paramount or CBS, but the fans!

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Mitchell, Nigel. "How Fans Helped Write "Star Trek Beyond"." ThoughtCo, May. 8, 2016, thoughtco.com/fans-helped-write-star-trek-beyond-4044383. Mitchell, Nigel. (2016, May 8). How Fans Helped Write "Star Trek Beyond". Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/fans-helped-write-star-trek-beyond-4044383 Mitchell, Nigel. "How Fans Helped Write "Star Trek Beyond"." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/fans-helped-write-star-trek-beyond-4044383 (accessed November 18, 2017).