[article contains minor spoilers] Some have noticed and inquired why TrekMovie.com does not use character ranks when discussing the Original Series crew in the new Star Trek film. The reason is simple (and has been stated in the FAQ on the Star Trek 2008 cast page for a year). The characters in the film will be seen at various time frames and therefore at various ranks. This is to be expected in a film that is primarily a prequel and an origin story, but a new story at Screenrant expresses surprise that Pike is a ‘captain’ in the film and Kirk is not.
TrekMovie.com first reported that Captain Pike would be in the film last January, and more recently noted that Pike would have a substantial role in the film. Any Trekkie who knows his history (and certainly loyal readers of TrekMovie.com) know that when we see Spock in his time before TOS he is serving under Captain Pike. And of course during that period of time Kirk has not yet been promoted. So the Pike v Kirk as captains issue should not be surprising, however a trusted source tells TrekMovie.com that Kirk does end the film as a Captain. The Screenrant article also discussed the ‘Spock-centric’ nature of the film and states that Kirk does not show up until later in the film. J.J. Abrams himself stated that the film is ‘Spock-centric,’ and TrekMovie.com sources have stated that Spock does have a bigger role in the film. However, co-writer Roberto Orci also recently noted that both Kirk and McCoy are central to the film.
It has been stated by the makers of the film and the stars that Star Trek is about how the Original Series crew came together. Although “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was technically the TOS pilot, it really just thrust viewers into some point of the ‘5 year mission’ (and it wasn’t even aired first). TOS never had a pilot in the same way that Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise had ‘origin story’ pilots. So in a way, this film is like that pilot the show never had. And therefore the various characters will not all spend the whole film sitting in their usual spots with their ultimate TOS ranks.