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Top Crew Moments that Defined the Kelvin Timeline

Revisit the Kelvin Timeline for the 15th anniversary of 'Star Trek.'

Collage of Kelvin Timeline characters (Chekov, Uhura, McCoy, Kirk, Jaylah, Scotty, Sulu, and Spock)

15 years ago, Star Trek (2009) created an alternate reality universe known as the Kelvin Timeline. In the parallel world of this film, and its sequels Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, a retaliatory attack by a Romulan miner named Nero sets off a chain of events that forever alters the destiny of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701.

In this timeline, James Kirk loses his father, George, and is a reluctant recruit to Starfleet Academy in 2255. The half-human Spock witnesses the destruction of his home planet Vulcan; Uhura, a xenolinguistics expert, is in her early days as a cadet; and engineer Montgomery Scott is an accidental addition to the crew. While the alterations in the Kelvin-verse range from minute to major, all have an impact on the time continuum that sets everyone down a familiar yet different path from their TOS counterparts.

In honor of the 15th anniversary of Star Trek, we’ve rounded up some of the key crew moments that define the Kelvin Timeline. While fan reception varies across all three films, they do expand the lives of the TOS crew from their maiden voyage, their first five-year mission, to their fall, and reunion at Yorktown.

Captain George Samuel Kirk: Sacrifice of the U.S.S. Kelvin

George Kirk sitting at the helm of the U.S.S. Kelvin mere moments before its sacrificial collision course with the Narada as he hears his son's cries for the first time in Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

The Kelvin Timeline starts with the death of George Kirk, since the alternate reality established in Star Trek is built on Kirk's sacrifice aboard the U.S.S. Kelvin.

Following an attack by Captain Nero, a 24th Century Romulan bent on revenge for the loss of his home world, George Kirk becomes acting command for Captain Richard Robau. With a passenger load of 800-plus on his shoulders, Kirk leads decisively to evacuate the Kelvin and destroy Nero's mining vessel Narada. His final moments are spent securing the life of his pregnant wife and child, just moments from birth. Captain George Kirk went down with the Kelvin, but not before naming his son. And not before saving the lives of nearly all its crewmembers in a legendary maneuver that involved manually piloting his ship into the Narada to give survivors more time. While his son, James, grew up without a father, George's influence was never out of reach. His DNA for steeliness was a blueprint, dad to son.

As Christopher Pike told James when recruiting him to Starfleet, George Kirk "didn’t believe in no-win scenarios."

Captain James T. Kirk: Going Down with the Enterprise

Kirk looks ahead at the viewscreen realizing the Enterprise is going down for real this time in Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

Yes, the captain's sacrifice to the warp core in Into Darkness could top the best of Kirk in the Kelvin Timeline. But even more real is the loss of the Enterprise in Star Trek Beyond.

Halfway through its first five-year mission, the ship's saucer section is destroyed by Krall, a former Federation officer who is now the mutated leader of the Swarm. Krall's advanced tech takeover is an eerie callback to the loss of the Kelvin and George Kirk in Star Trek's opening moments. Jim Kirk confronts the exact decisions his father faced in his final moments, and he faces the inevitable destruction of the Enterprise with the same head-on decisiveness. The crew comes first, always. That principle is also exemplified in Kirk's impassioned plea to Admiral Marcus in Into Darkness when the ship is threatened with extinction. No one else is responsible for Kirk's orders, and he's always made that clear.

Spock: (Alternate) Future Planning for the Past

Breaking temporal rules, Prime Spock meets with Kelvin Spock beside a shuttle in Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

Spock's best moments in the Kelvin Timeline are the conversations he has with himself. He is an (alternate) future planner, and Ambassador Spock is the Prime messenger. There are two "hinge" events that have caused this parallel, divergent timeline — the destruction of Romulus around 2387, and the destruction of the U.S.S. Kelvin in 2233.

Prime Spock sets up his younger, alternate reality self with critical information, but nothing can stop the death of Vulcan and its billions of inhabitants. Ambassador Spock also convinces Kirk, while marooned on Delta Vega, to elicit a strong emotional response from his younger self so that Captain Spock "realizes" he is unfit for command. The Ambassador knows that the survival of the Enterprise relies on Kirk in the captain's chair, with Spock's measured logic guiding the captain with computer-like precision.

In Into Darkness, Ambassador Spock also warns the Commander of what's ahead. Because of the Ambassador's uncharacteristically strong response, Spock understands the full threat of Khan. He warns Kirk, repeatedly, that Khan is not to be trusted, even as a temporary ally. If only Kirk took the note.

Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu: First Enterprise Mission

Close-up of Hikaru Sulu in the center seat of the Enterprise at the helm of his first command mission in Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

Lieutenant Sulu stands out on his first Enterprise mission. As the responders to the Vulcan distress signal in Star Trek, Sulu and a crew of fresh-faced cadets mobilize under Pike's command. While first day jitters cause Sulu to forget to disengage the Enterprise's equivalent of a parking brake, we'll cut him some slack. Three minutes into his maiden voyage, Sulu pilots the Enterprise straight into Nero's trap, and is forced to pull off an evasive maneuver in a space field littered with what's left of a Federation Starfleet. And he can't go to warp.

Sulu's first "away mission," if parachuting into the Vulcan atmosphere to board and overpower the Narada qualifies, is also memorable. We learn just how much hand-to-hand combat he's working with when Sulu saves Kirk from two Vulcans with expert fencing skill. A sophisticated addition to a Starfleet resume and, in Sulu's case, the saving grace for one of the rockiest first flights in Star Trek history. Don’t test Sulu. If you do, "you will fail."

Lieutenant Nyota Uhura: Taking Down Khan

On the roof of a moving train, Uhura fires her phaser at Khan as he brawled with Spock in Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

Lieutenant Uhura delivers the final blow to Khan in Into Darkness. When Bones discovers that Khan's blood is needed to save an irradiated Kirk, the Lieutenant beams down with seconds to spare to relieve Spock from a losing battle. Uhura's fight with Khan is also a resolution to her turmoil at the start of Into Darkness.

Following Spock’s near-sacrifice on Class M planet Nibiru, Uhura struggled to understand how the person she loved could end it all so easily. While fighting Khan, Uhura is the one who is prepared to die, demonstrating just how deep her bond with Spock runs.

Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer: Standing on Principle

Montgomery Scott and Mr. Keenser surprised by the arrival of Prime Spock and Kirk as they've been exiled on Delta Vega for several months in Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

Montgomery "Scotty" Scott gets a lot of play in the Kelvin Timeline as the inventor of transwarp beaming and as the Enterprise's Chief Engineer. Kirk and Ambassador Spock first encounter Scotty in the Federation outpost on Delta Vega. His assignment is bleak, cold, and lonely, so he's only too happy to beam aboard the Enterprise while it's mid-warp even at risk of death. (Good thing too, 'cause he almost dies.)

To Scotty, the Enterprise represents limitless engineering possibilities. He is a veteran man of science, equally fascinated by the dated technology of the U.S.S. Franklin in Beyond. There is no challenge that Scotty doesn't match with grit. The rare exception is when he says "no" to Kirk in Into Darkness for all the right reasons. Scotty refused to support Starfleet's military operation against "John Harrison," telling Kirk that he considered himself an explorer. A man with a mission and a conscience.

Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy: Saving Jim Kirk's Life

In Sickbay, a distressed Leonard McCoy looks up close-up at a Tribble in front of him in Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

Bones gets two "Best in Crew" moments as the Enterprise's Chief Medical Officer. The first — inoculating and dragging Jim Kirk aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek. The second — saving Kirk's life in Into Darkness.

In order to cripple the U.S.S. Vengeance that was overtaken by Khan, James Kirk needed to stabilize the Enterprise by reactivating the ship's engines and weapons. So, he enters the warp core, sans containment suit, flooding himself with a deadly dose of radiation. The Enterprise is now down a captain, but at least it's no longer hurtling towards a fiery reentry on Earth. Enter Bones with a bit of Tribble inspiration.

After the successful capture of Khan on Qo'noS, Kirk requested that Bones test the blood of the madman to unlock the secrets of his superhuman healing and strength. Bones delivered, injecting a sample of Khan's blood into a Tribble. When Bones notices that Khan's super-blood reanimates that same Tribble from death, Kirk is taken off the cryotube, Khan is beamed back to the Enterprise, and an 11th hour blood transfusion brings Kirk back from the land of death.

Ensign Pavel Chekov: Manual Override Award

Ensign Chekov leans over the railing to pull Kirk up as the Enterprise is in freefall in Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

Ensign Pavel Chekov deserves a pip for dealing with multiple, catastrophic tech failures in the span of Into Darkness. When Chief Engineer Mr. Scott fails to persuade Kirk to disarm the Enterprise's torpedoes, or else, the ship experiences a warp core coolant leak that removes their ability to evade Khan or counterattack. And, since Scotty handed in his resignation to avoid this preventable disaster, Chekov patches up the pieces. Throughout Into Darkness, the MVP Ensign scurries, dodges, and races against the ticking bomb of Khan to get the Enterprise back in semi-decent shape.

In the film's final showdown, the Enterprise and the U.S.S. Vengeance are both inoperable. They are trapped in Earth's gravitational field above San Francisco, plummeting towards certain death. Enter Chekov with his "right time, right place" talent. Making one of the most impressive plays in the Kelvin-verse, Chekov catches Kirk and Scotty from freefall in their race to get the warp core online.

Jaylah: A Warrior Survives Altamid

Jaylah sits sprawled in the captain's chair with her leg over the arm in Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond is a survivor movie, and Jaylah is the ultimate survivor.

A crewmember that started as an ally, Jaylah is a member of an unknown humanoid species. She becomes a friend to Starfleet by sharing a common enemy in Krall, who also destroyed her people. For a handful of years, she was marooned on the planet Altamid, surviving and building a home out of a 2160s Federation starship. Jaylah's mastery over the legendarily lost U.S.S. Franklin makes her a best in (honorary) crew. By engineering defunct, century-old alien tech, she uncovers the secrets of an ancient vessel. Jaylah survives by camouflaging the ship with holograms, alarming it with traps, and listening to music on VHF.

At a celebration for the christening at Enterprise-A, the crew all gazed up in wonder in Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

By the end of Beyond, the reconstruction of Enterprise-A is already underway. The captain has refused an appointment to Vice Admiral so he can still fly, and Ambassador Spock is dead, leaving Commander Spock on a singular timeline journey. Uhura recommits to Starfleet, Jaylah gets a bid to join the Academy, and Bones all but says that he'll go wherever Kirk goes. As for the rest of the crew? The five-year mission remains uncharted, but all have their eyes on Enterprise-A.

To revisit the entire Kelvin Timeline, watch Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond. Bring it home today.