Yesterday’s Enterprise – An exploration of time travel in Star Trek


As I sat down to write the latest entry in the Search For Story series I had it in my mind that I would tackle the idea Quinton Tarantino had discussed of making a movie version of Yesterday’s Enterprise, when the thought occurred to me, does this movie involve one or two timelines?

We know the events from the Star Trek: The Net Generation episode Yesterdays Enterprise, which in brief was that during the battle of Narendra III, at which the Enterprise C had been considered lost and likely destroyed it had in fact traveled forward in time twenty two years and encountered the Enterprise D which was involved in a continuing war with the Klingon Empire.

If we were to see a film version of Yesterday’s Enterprise we would not need a simple re-counting of the events of the Star Trek The Next Generation episode, that would be redundant, instead it would have to take place aboard the Enterprise C its self.

The question then becomes, did these events ever happen in a reality not involving time travel?

Among the many questions we have surrounding time travel is did the events that occur during an incident of time travel always occur, or did the time travel affect the events?  In other words did the Enterprise C intervene and get destroyed defending the Klingon outpost without the assistance of Tasha Yar, or was she always aboard?

Judging by the previous incarnations of time travel in the Star Trek Universe, and there are many, I think we have to assume that these events always happened, Tasha was always aboard, Sela was always born and without the events of this episode the war would have continued.

Let’s look at a few specific examples:

  • It’s a part of our history that the Ferengi landed at Roswell, we can’t assume if they hadn’t another ship would have landed there at that time. (Little Green Men – Star Trek Deep Space Nine)
  • The Tox Uthat was always believed to have been destroyed by Picard on Risa, and it was. (Captain’s Holiday – Star Trek The Next Generation)
  • Data’s Head was found in a cavern in the United States, before travelling to the past to leave it there. (Time’s Arrow – Star Trek The Next Generation)

This leaves me with the conclusion that, except for specific explorations of alternate timelines (Read: The Kelvin Timeline) everything that will have happened has happened and will happen.

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So what would that mean for a movie?

To be honest, it doesn’t bode well. I have tried several approaches, and I see no way without diverging from the prime timeline to create a movie version of this story that isn’t completely derivative of the original source material. We know where they are going, how they get there and what ultimately becomes of them.

Is this even of any interest to explore? It may be, but you’ll have to wait for the next Search For Story to find out how…