Are you planning to check out J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot this weekend? How much do you know about “Trek” mythology?
With 10 movies, a handful of television shows and countless books, comics and games already behind us, there’s a lot to remember. How can you get up to speed before hitting the theater? MTV News has come to your rescue, providing you with 10 essential things you need to know to impress everyone.
1. United Federation of Planets
James T. Kirk ([movieperson id="343087"]Chris Pine[/movieperson]), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew belong to the Federation, an interplanetary republic that has a humanitarian and peacekeeping mission. Based in San Francisco, the Federation often comes into conflict with enemy alien races in the galaxy, including the Klingons and the Romulans (see below).
Starfleet is the Federation’s version of the military, diplomatic, exploration and intelligence-gathering services all rolled into one. There’s also a judicial branch, engineering and medical teams, and a convoy of high-tech starships. The organization maintains the Starfleet Academy, a school where new recruits are brought to be trained. In the new “Trek,” Kirk ends up enlisting in the Academy.
3. USS Enterprise
The Enterprise is the starship on which Kirk and the gang engage in their adventures. When the new “Trek” begins, Kirk is still a brash youth rebelling from his true calling. But once he becomes an Academy cadet, it’s only a matter of time before he assumes command of the Enterprise.
4. Kobayashi Maru
This is a famous Starfleet training simulation that provides a no-win-situation test to assess the moral fiber of a cadet. For example, as commander of a starship, do you rescue another ship’s crew headed to certain death if that mission will endanger your own crew? James T. Kirk doesn’t like to lose and famously found a novel way around the no-win scenario according to “Trek” lore. The film honors that legacy.
5. Warp Speed
How does the Enterprise skip around the galaxy with such ease? Thanks to the technology of faster-than-light-speed travel. How it works is part science, part fantastical mumbo-jumbo. What’s important is that it does work, allowing the various galactic peoples to interact and, more often than not, fight.
The new villain in “Trek” is Nero (Eric Bana), a tattooed Romulan baddie. In “Trek” mythology, the Federation is not supposed to meet the Romulans face-to-face at this point in the timeline, but thanks to a nifty time-travel plotline in the new movie, presto — the two meet and brawl!
Phasers are the weapon of choice in the “Trek” world. There are all sorts of settings, from “disable” to “disintegrate,” which is why “Trek” folks are always saying stuff like, “Set phasers on stun!”
Who needs to land a starship when you can just have engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg) beam you wherever you need to go? Step aboard the teleportation chamber, and be prepared to dematerialize into an atomic-energy pattern and rematerialize intact at your destination. Never wait in another airport-security line again!
9. WTF? Is that Winona Ryder?
Yes, yes it is. Miss Ryder plays Amanda Grayson in the new “Trek.” Grayson is the human mother of the half-man/ half-Vulcan Spock. One piece of six-degrees-of-”Trek” separation trivia: Christian Slater, Ryder’s co-star in “Heathers,” appeared in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” as a communications officer.
10. Kirk’s Opening Monologue
This one is the most essential. You need to memorize Kirk’s famous opening lines in the original 1960s TV series. It’s practically the Trekker Pledge of Allegiance, and every true fan can — and probably has — recited these words in his or her sleep, and now you must too: “Space … the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” And, fear not, we’ll bet you a bottle of Romulan Ale you’ll hear these words before the credits roll. What’s Romulan Ale? We’ll bring you up to speed when the sequel rolls around.
Will the vampires grab more trophies than the slumdog? What was the year’s ultimate onscreen WTF moment? It’s up to you to decide the winners of the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Vote now, and tune in on May 31 at 9 p.m. ET, when the big show airs live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Star Trek.”
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