Last week on Star Trek Discovery we saw Admiral Cornwell telling Captain Pike and Leland that the mysterious Red Signals we’ve been seeing since the beginning of the season left a tachyon signature, this has lead to much speculation that the Red Angel may be a time traveling Spock. But it’s not.
First the theory, and on the surface it’s a strong one. We know Spock drew a map of the Red signals and their exact locations months before they first appeared, and that their appearance has left him in the throws of some possible form of mental breakdown, which suggests he’s intimately involved with them or their creator(s) in some way.
The next part of the theory involves Star Trek (2009) where Spock attempts to stop the destruction of the Romulan star with a substance called Red Matter, but he is too late and gets confronted by the grieving and angry Captain Nero, and through their battle the two are cast back in time creating the alternate Kelvin Timeline in which they both travel back in time, with Nero arriving years earlier and destroying the USS Kelvin. Spock follows and watches the destruction of his planet.
The theory is that in part the reason Spock took longer to arrive in the past is that his now Red Matter infused self was visiting his own timeline to correct certain perceived issues with his life, including the relationship with his adopted sister Michael Burnham.
Or in short Red Matter + Spock + Tachyons = Red Angel
But the math here is a little off, for several reasons.
LOS ANGELES – AUGUST 9: Actor Leonard Nimoy promotes the “Star Trek” 40th Anniversary on the TV Land network at the Four Seasons hotel August 9, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Episodes of the show will air September 8. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Longer to arrive, doesn’t mean longer in transit
The first problem with this particular version of the theory is that Spock took longer to emerge in the past, however since his journey into the Kelvin Timeline was backwards through time technically that would make his journey shorter, not longer. Spock created the black hole with Red Matter in 2387, Nero emerged in 2233, a journey of 154 years, while Spock emerged in 2258, a journey of 129 years. Making Spock’s trip a quarter century shorter than Nero’s.
Since Time Travel isn’t necessarily always a straight line, this math isn’t in it’s self a guarantee that Spock didn’t make a few more stops along the way than Nero did, but assuming he had the capability to make multiple time jumps we could assume he would have also tried to stop the destruction of the USS Kelvin, after all it’s no violation of the Temporal Prime Directive to prevent the timeline from being changed, but it would be for him to interact with his own history.
The theory would require a stand-in for or recreation of Leonard Nimoy
Assuming the theory were correct and the angel is Spock from the future, we would then need another Spock cast, after all how could the aging Leonard Nimoy be played by Ethan Peck? It’s been pointed out that since Adam Nimoy signed off on Peck as Spock and allowed Star Trek Beyond to give him a bit of a send off with the use of his image that it would also be acceptable to the family to allow him to be digitally recreated in Star Trek Discovery.
I can’t see this being the case, yes digital age manipulation technology and CG have come a long way in recent years, we’re even about to get a Marvel movie with Samuel L. Jackson looking like he did in the 1990’s, but fan backlash, with or without the Nimoy family’s blessing, would be massive to digitally recreating one of the most beloved actors in franchise history.
It’s not happening.
Star Trek The Menagerie Spock’s Court Martial
Last but not least, there’s a pretty big legal hurdle
Viacom and CBS spit back in 2005, making them separate entities, Paramount is a part of Viacom. Back before the split all rights to Star Trek were wholly owned by Viacom, but with the split the franchise was also fractured, Paramount and Viacom retained the rights to make movie versions of Star Trek while CBS gained control over the television properties and most of the history. This is in large part why Paramount was forced to create their own timeline when relaunching the USS Enterprise in 2009, they simply weren’t allowed to play in the same sandbox as the rest of the kids.
It’s actually smart on CBS’s part to acknowledge the events that have lead to the creation of the movie universe, even though they can’t acknowledge the events that occur within that timeline. It’s much like the loose connection between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the separate (though still Disney owned) Marvel Television Universe, TV acknowledges movies, but movies do not reciprocate because each cannot affect the other’s own canon.
Paramount needed to provide a stated and demonstrable difference between the two universes, something that made them the same, but different. They succeeded. CBS is able to play in a much larger sandbox, and can afford to say ‘Sure, the things they say happened are right over here” but they’re not allowed to look inside since it would violate Paramount’s right to have their own thing.
Furthermore we know that Disney has been in the process of purchasing Twentieth Century Fox for some time now which would give Marvel the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four, but even with these merger talks ongoing, deals agreed in principle and approved by many federal regulators worldwide we haven’t seen Wolverine and company planned or even hinted in the greater MCU, this is because of anti-trust legislation, specifically that it would be considered jumping the gun as the merger process is still ongoing.
We know talks of a similar merger between CBS and Viacom are ongoing, and though they may not be that far along it would seem unlikely that the two sides would engage in any side deals that may cost them this ultimate merger as it seems to be a foregone inevitability for both sides.
Far more legally friendly possibilities exist
Our own KC Finch released his own healthy speculation about who the Red Angel could be recently, in which he covered the Iconian’s, Preserver’s and his own fully believable home spun theory, that I’ll let you read in his own words rather than mine, we had also speculated back before the season premiered that it could be the Romulan’s, which seems far less likely now.
The next possibility that I have yet to see online is that the timeline seems to be pretty near the time Pike had encountered the Talosian’s, masters of illusion. Is it possible this is all some sort of fallout from Star Trek The Original Series’ original pilot, The Cage?
Anything is possible in the world of Star Trek, but it seems highly unlikely that this particular fan theory has any merit.