So on May 7th I came home from work, and my wife surprised be with tickets to the 7pm showing of the new J.J. Abrams version of Star Trek (she rocks, I know).
Now like most people I thought this movie was great! It had it all, a fun story, great characters, cool special effects, and most important it was true to the source material. All this you can find in the reviews out there, and I guess I’ll leave it to the experts to discuss it’s merits as a movie. I want to touch on something I found of particular interest in the story.
So to recap, the gist of the movie is forking the Star Trek universe at the time of James T Kirks birth. In the “history” we know and love, Kirk was born to a career officer and eventually followed in his footsteps to become one of the greatest captains in the history of the Federation. In this “reboot” a Romulan from the future show up at the moment of his birth which results in the death of Kirks father. This change in the timeline leads Kirk through a rebellious and troubled childhood which turns into a rebellious and meandering adulthood. Kirk ends up enrolling in Starfleet in spite of, better yet, as a result of his rebellion. Despite his hardened and reckless attitude, he succeeds in breezing through the curriculum (passing the Kobayashi Maru in the same manner as the original timeline) and rising to the occasion; showing himself to be the capable Captain Kirk that we know from the original timeline.
What do I find so interesting? Well when we consider what makes a person, we normally look at genes and environment. The Kirk in this movie has an environment that is nearly 100% different from that of the Kirk from the original timeline. I find it hard to say that all Kirk is, his aptitude for being a hero, is in his located solely in his genes. This leaves room for two possible explanations. First, a third factor could be at work; a destiny, a fate, or maybe (divine?) providence. Second, that in all the infinite number of possible universes it just so happens that multiple environmental scenarios result in producing a person of the same stature.
Frankly, I find the second take to be very boring, basically roll the dice enough times and you’ll win big. I think it is much more interesting to look at James T Kirk as the character that would have to rise to the occasion no matter the circumstance, because that is the way the universe is supposed to be.
So internet, any thoughts? Do you believe that Kirk is always destined to be the hero, or that we now simply have the two possible universes in which he is the hero?