Since 2009, there have been two Star Trek worlds: the Prime timeline which encompasses the majority of the franchise, and the Kelvin timeline which covers all three “reboot” films from director JJ Abrams. At present, the division between these parallel realities seems quite clear. When Spock and Pike came back for Discovery In season 2, they weren’t played by reboot cast Zachary Quinto or Bruce Greenwood. If Kirk appears on Strange new worlds, it’s a safe bet he won’t be played by Chris Pine. The Kelvin timeline is its own thing.
But what if it is not? Recently, new details have emerged that Quentin Tarantino’s take on a possible Star Trek movie reverts to a wacky concept of Star Trek: The Original Series. This concept could actually unite the Prime and Kelvin guns. In case Tarantino (or Paramount) is listening, here’s how to use the gangster planet from “A Piece of the Action” to bridge the gap between the two timelines. Wild speculation to come.
The “ugly planet” in CGU, Explain – Season 2 Original series episode “A piece of the action “sees the USS Enterprise visit the planet Simga Iotia II. Previously, this planet had been visited by a much older Earth vessel, the USS Horizon, and left a variety of things to help Iotians develop their technology. However, the Horizon also left a historical book titled Chicago crowds of the twenties. Because the Iotians are a “highly imitative” society, they have taken the writings of this book as a kind of bible, building their entire society around the “rules” of a mafia. For the most part, this episode is played out like a comedy, but that doesn’t mean Kirk, Spock, and Bones aren’t taking the issue seriously. It’s just that the problem is forcing them to cosplay.
Kirk ultimately convinces the gangsters to become more peaceful by claiming that the Federation is an even bigger mob that sets in and takes over. The episode ends ominously because Bones realizes he’s left his communicator behind, which could lead to the Iotians learning to mimic Starfleet technology. Kirk jokes that at some point in the future the Iotians might “demand a share of our action!” So the idea was that in the future the gangster planet could become a DIY Starfleet planet.
Has there ever been a sequel to “A Piece of the Action”? Yes and no. While there is no sequel in this episode’s canon, Star Trek novels and comics have hinted at the idea that Iotians would transform from budding gangsters to budding Starfleet officers.
In the recent IDW comic book series “Star Trek Year 5”, the Business returns to Simga Iotia II and finds that half the planet has created some sort of miniature version of the Federation, including their own versions of the Starfleet uniforms. The 1989 reference book Federation Worlds asserts the same premise in his section on Iotians, describing the average citizen as someone who has gone from dressing like a gangster to dressing like someone from Kirk’s Business. This concept was so prevalent that in 1996 the authors of Deep Space New considered revisiting the Iotians for Star Trek’s 30th anniversary and basically describing them as a planet of Star Trek fans. In other words, the future of the ugly planet was very often some kind of Galaxy Quest premise. What if the aliens in the Star Trek universe tried to copy Starfleet?
How could that tie reboots to the Prime universe – There seem to be three ways Tarantino’s version of “A Piece of the Action” would have played out:
- It would have been a remake of the Ugly Planet premise, but simply set in the Kelvin timeline. (Kind of like what In darkness made with Khan.)
- This would have been the premise of the Ugly Planet, but from Prime Universe’s perspective after the CGU movies.
- That would have been the premise of the gangster planet BUT, in a way, it’s the gangster planet of CGU and it exists in the Kelvin timeline.
The last option is actually the most interesting. Here’s how it might work: Imagine the Chris pine Business crew investigating a strange Starfleet signal from Simga Iotia II. When they get there, they find a planet that is half populated by gangsters and half populated by aspiring Starfleet imitators. Fake-Starfleets Could Be Dressed Up CGU Sixties style uniforms, because these are the same people who were influenced by Kirk, Spock and Bones in CGU. Kelvin-Kirk and his crew should understand how the planet came into being and why all these people were wearing wacky Starfleet uniforms?
If the Ugly Planet were touted as a confluence of the Classic Cannon and Reboot Cannon, a quick explanation could be offered: Perhaps Sigma Iotia II exists near some kind of interdimensional rift. It turns out that this imitative society could be constantly exposed to other dimensions and realities. This means that they exist simultaneously in the Kelvin universe, the prime universe, and possibly in other dimensions as well. A bit like a Brigadoon of parallel dimensions.
Naturally, this concept is 100% fan fiction, and there’s no reason to think Tarantino actually thought about bringing the Ugly Planet back like this. But if there was anyone who could naturally connect a complicated canon by presenting two overlapping alternate universes, it’s Quentin Tarantino. Just look Once upon a time … in Hollywood Where Inglorious Basterds. Mcreating alternate universes is what Tarantino is all about.
The next Star Trek feature film is still in development.