Star Trek: 10 Secrets Of The USS Kelvin You Need To Know

The ship that kicked off the Kelvin Timeline by boldly blowing up.

Star Trek USS Kelvin
Paramount Pictures

Enjoying just ten minutes of screen time, the USS Kelvin is one of Star Trek's most influential and important starships. Opening 2009's Star Trek with a bang, the destruction of the USS Kelvin marks the creation of a new storytelling universe that also happens to share the ship's name.

Intended to be a much older vessel than the Enterprise, the Kelvin was intended to have been in service for decades and was designed to reflect the science fiction ages that preceded Star Trek: The Original Series. According to Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness production designer, Scott Chambliss:

The first part of the movie, our Kelvin spaceship sequence, refers to sci-fi of the late-30s, like the Buster Crabbe [Flash Gordon] stuff and also the early-50s things, like The Day the Earth Stood Still. That's all kind of mashed together to create this look that's 30 years before our main story.

With just those few minutes on screen, you may ask, how a can we fill an entire article and (presumably) a 20-minute YouTube video about this doomed starship?

Well, grab onto some bridge handlebars (yeah, she had those) and look out for any souped-up Romulan mining ships, here are ten secrets of the USS Kelvin that you need to know.

10. USS Landlubber

Star Trek USS Kelvin
Paramount Pictures

The USS Kelvin was initially conceived of by production designer Scott Chambliss and director JJ Abrams as akin to the USS Reliant; described by illustrator Ryan Church as "a foil to the Enterprise, it looks less majestic and sexy, and it's instantly distinguishable from the Enterprise."

Oh, and it's not the USS Kelvin, it's the USS Iowa.

During the development of Star Trek (2009), the ship whose destruction would begin the film was actually called the USS Iowa, NCC-1201.

According to screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the name Iowa was intended to be a "nod" to the line in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home which established James T. Kirk's birthplace as Iowa (he only worked in outer space).

Ultimately, though, the writers thought better of trying to bend Star Trek continuity to fit the new film's plot, calling the idea "too radical".

Still, in order to make this version of Kirk's birth work within established lore, Orci and Kurtzman reasoned that, had the Narada not attacked the USS Kelvin, the ship would have safely returned to Earth where Jim would've been born in Iowa as almighty canon intended.

In this post: 
Star Trek
 
Posted On: 
Contributor
Contributor

I played Shipyard Bar Patron (Uncredited) in Star Trek (2009).