Most would assume Star Trek: Beyond‘s USS Franklin was named after a Founding Father, but the name actually comes from a dad of a different kind. The plot-heavy Star Trek Into Darkness lived up to its name, steering J.J. Abrams’ Kelvin timeline into more serious territory, that left some fans very unhappy indeed. Looking to reinstate the fun of the original series with Star Trek: Beyond, Justin Lin was a natural choice to direct, known primarily for his work in the Fast & Furious franchise. With Idris Elba as the villainous and vengeful Krall, Star Trek: Beyond takes Kirk and the gang on a swashbuckling adventure on an exotic alien world – just like the good old days.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Despite the lighter tone, Star Trek: Beyond does sort of destroy the Enterprise, and this means another Starfleet vessel takes center stage in the third act. The USS Franklin hails from the dawn of the Federation, but mysteriously vanished and hasn’t been heard of for over a century. The Enterprise crew discover the Franklin‘s crashed remains on Altamid, learning how the ship got lost in a wormhole, and its crew turned into angry anti-Federation rabble-rousers. With the Enterprise out of commission, Kirk and his stranded companions turn the Franklin on and off again, perform some makeshift repairs, and fly her into battle against Krall.
When it comes to naming ships, Starfleet honors the long-held maritime traditions of old. This means plenty of exploratory words such as “Enterprise,” “Voyager” and “Discovery,” as well as tributes to key figures from Earth’s past, including John F. Kennedy (The Next Generation), Neil Armstrong (Star Trek 2009), and Davey Crockett (DS9). As such, Star Trek: Beyond‘s USS Franklin fits neatly into canon, masquerading as a tribute to United States president Benjamin Franklin. Behind-the-scenes, however, the ship’s name is a nod to Frank Lin, father to Star Trek: Beyond‘s director, Justin.
Initial drafts of Star Trek: Beyond referred to the downed vessel on Altamid as the Pioneer (going back to those exploratory terms again), but this was later changed to the USS Franklin in honor of Justin Lin’s father – a key source of inspiration in the director’s career. In a 2016 interview with Deadline, Justin Lin described watching episodes of the original Star Trek together with his dad after evening dinner, and recalls how these formative memories contributed to him accepting the Star Trek: Beyond gig. The adventures of Kirk, Spock, and especially George Takei’s Sulu, who was an all-too-rare example of Asian-American representation at the time, obviously hold great significance between Justin and his father, and the subtle tribute in Star Trek: Beyond is a touching way of acknowledging that influence.
Star Trek: Beyond‘s USS Franklin Easter egg goes beyond just the ship’s name too. In dedication of the lost Franklin, Starfleet commissions a commemorative plaque for the fallen vessel and its crew. The eagle-eyed will notice slightly uneven spacing between the letters of “Franklin,” and not just because Starfleet refused to pay out for decent lettering. An extra space has been inserted between the K and L, emphasizing “FRANK LIN” as two separate words. For a bonus heartfelt Easter egg, the plaque lists the Franklin‘s registry number as 326, which is a nod to Leonard Nimoy’s birthday on March 26, 1931. The legendary actor passed away shortly prior to Star Trek: Beyond‘s release.
More: The Rock’s Forgotten Star Trek Cameo Explained
Is The Woman In The Window Based On A True Story? Inspirations Explained
About The Author