If fictional spaceships can be controversial, then the USS Enterprise of JJ Abrams' Kelvin Timeline is probably the most hotly debated starship in cinema. First appearing in the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Star Trek (2009), this USS Enterprise has some of Hollywood's best minds behind her construction – and yet she continues to be hated by a huge chunk of the fanbase.
Designed by Ryan Church and Scott Chambliss, and brought to life by Industrial Light & Magic, the Kelvin Timeline USS Enterprise was intended to be the "hotrod" starship the Star Trek Universe hadn't seen before. With her inflated scale, "ample" warp nacelles, and beautiful (if blindingly lit) interiors, the Kelvin Enterprise was poised to lead Star Trek to box office glory... only to have her service and her franchise cut short with 2016's Star Trek Beyond.
But what do we know about the Kelvin Timeline USS Enterprise? With a total of zero technical manuals and a film series less interested in the nitty-gritty details than its predecessors, there's surprisingly little information about this alternate reality Constitution-class starship.
We've delved deep into behind the scenes stories, expanded universe tales, and scoured the three films for those tiny details that shed some lens flare-light on the secrets of the Kelvin Timeline's USS Enterprise.
10. Ample Everything
The world got its first look at JJ Abrams' "reimagined" USS Enterprise when the first teaser trailer for Star Trek premiered in theaters on January 18, 2008 – over a year before the film was released.
This teaser was just that, a teaser, containing no footage from the movie itself but a sequence of visual effects shots of the new USS Enterprise under construction on Earth. These unique VFX shots were created specifically for the teaser and featured construction cranes and scaffolding surrounding the Enterprise, as well as workers walking on her hull.
Of course eagle eyed fans soon noted that by comparing the heights of the workers standing on the ship's hull, the evidence indicated that the new Enterprise was massive in scale compared to her predecessors.
According to the producers, the new Enterprise was 2,380 feet long, more than twice the size of Kirk's ship from Star Trek: The Original Series. The ship was even larger than the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation, a vessel supposedly built over 100 years later.
So why was the ship so big? Well, according to the VFX artists, it really just came down to grandeur. When early visual effects began to arrive featuring the ship at a size comparable to that of the TOS Enterprise, director JJ Abrams felt it lacked the big screen presence he was looking for and asked that it be scaled up... considerably.
Artifacts of the smaller Enterprise can be found sprinkled throughout the first Star Trek reboot film, notably during the escape pod ejection scene, but by the time of Star Trek Into Darkness, the digital model was fully retrofitted to reflect the larger scale.
That large scale, by the way, would go on to become the norm in the Star Trek franchise. In 2017, Star Trek: Discovery premiered and featured the USS Discovery clocking in at 2,462 feet (despite its pre-TOS era) and when that series introduced its own version of the Enterprise, that ship was inflated in size too.