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Justin Lin's Star Trek Beyond is an important film for the Star Trek franchise, as its release date happens to coincide with the 50th birthday of Gene Roddenberry's epic creation. As a result, the movie is peppered with Easter eggs that reflect the special anniversary. Earlier this year it was revealed that the blockbuster features 50 new species because of the landmark, and writer/actor Simon Pegg recently revealed to us that even the setting is a specific reference: the story begins 966 days after the events of Star Trek Into Darkness, which is a play on the original Star Trek series debuting in September 1966.
Simon Pegg pointed to the fun bit of trivia when I recently had the chance to sit down with him during the Star Trek Beyond press day in Los Angeles. At the start of the interview, I was curious about the starting point that Pegg and co-writer Doug Jung used in the construction of the script, and part of that conversation turned into the story's distance in time from its predecessor. It was decided that the gap between J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness would work well between the second movie and Star Trek Beyond, and in figuring out the numbers they realized that they could hide an Easter Egg. Said Pegg,
In the end it ended up being 966 days, it was the September '66 thing.
To save you the effort of going for your calculators, that timing works out to a bit more than two and a half years.
The Easter egg happened to be a nice bonus, but the time difference between Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond was also incredibly important for the story that Simon Pegg and Doug Jung wanted to tell. As Pegg explained, they wanted to find Chris Pine's Captain Kirk questioning whether or not his destiny was really traveling into deep space, and 966 days happened to be a fitting amount of time. Said Pegg,
We wanted them to be, not only off on the five year mission, but have the audience infer that they've been involved in various adventures to the point of their being a little bit, it's been a little bit monotonous. We like the idea of what it would be like to be out in space for that amount of time, in one place, and how that would affect you and how that would affect various people's attitudes towards it. So that was one of our jumping off points.
The hat-tips and nods to the history of the franchise certainly doesn't end with this one Easter egg in Star Trek Beyond, as it's a film that Trekkies/Trekkers will surely find joy in rewatching -- allowing them to pick up all the special details. The good news is that the opportunity to do so is abundant, as the movie is now in theaters everywhere.