Exclusive: Orci and Kurtzman Talk To TrekMovie About USS Kelvin (and Kirk’s shirt) + New Kelvin Image

After Paramount released all the new photos from the Star Trek movie, TrekMovie had a chance to speak exclusively to Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci about the USS Kelvin image (the exclusive image for TrekMovie). The pair give us a bit of background on this new ship, plus there is a new image of the ship just made available. Oh and they also also talk about that black shirt Kirk is always wearing!


Here is the pic sent in to TrekMovie

Exclusive effects shot from ‘Star Trek’
(click to enlarge)

Orci and Kurtzman talk Kelvin

TrekMovie: Any background to the name Kelvin?

Roberto Orci: It is JJ [Abrams] grandfather’s name

Alex Kurtzman: JJ’s grandfather had a company named Kelvin and Kelvin has appeared in everything he has done. It was in MI3, it was in Alias and Felicity.

Orci: Kelvin is also a big name in science with the temperature scale named after him, and there is certainly a believable reason that Starfleet would have a ship named after him.

TrekMovie: Would you describe the ship as a science vessel?

Orci: All ships — even the Enterprise is a vessel of science.

TrekMovie: True, but certain ships, like the Grissom, were specifically science ships.

Orci: Then, I don’t think I would describe it as a strict science ship.

TrekMovie: And is the registry number NCC 0514?

Kurtzman: yes

TrekMovie: What angle are we seeing the ship? Is that the leading edge of the saucer?

Kurtzman: Yes

Orci: That picture should be the first clue that saucer and nacelle technology are still quite prevalent in our Starfleet.

TrekMovie: Is this just part of a larger battle or is this particular ship significant?

Orci: Aren’t all of life’s battles part of a large battle?

Kurtzman: [laughs] This is a very significant ship.

TrekMovie: Is this a different type of ship that the USS Enterprise?

Orci: Yes, a different type of ship.

Kurtzman: They are similar ships, but not the same ship. They are different classes of ships.

TrekMovie: There is a red beam hitting the ship, can you say who is firing on them?

Orci: It is a Star Destroyer. [very funny Bob!]

Kurtzman: The answer to your question is in one of the other photographs. [NOTE: This could either mean the USS Enterprise or the villain Nero…TrekMovie is going to guess Nero…duh]

TrekMovie: Here is a nerdy Trek question. In the history of Trek shields have been shown both as a bubble around the ship and as a skin clinging to the hull. It is hard to see from this image if there are any shield effects, but in the new Star Trek which approach is used?

Kurtzman: We have always thought of them as more like skin, less like bubble.

Orci: The bubble represents energy fields — signature, but not necessarily the physical shape of the shield.

TrekMovie: The ship seems to have lots of striations and marks on it, is that all from the battle or has this ship been around the block before it gets into the battle?

Orci: When you meet the Kelvin it is pristine, it is a beautiful site.

image of the USS Kelvin from Entertainment Weekly

Click to bigify


Bonus Question on Kirk’s Shirt
TrekMovie: Regarding the other pictures, there has been a lot of questions about how Kirk is never seen in a gold shirt, will we see him in the gold?

Orci: That is a big question…we have given it a lot of thought.

Kurtzman: It is not a random thing. There is a reason his shirt is the color that it is.

What is with that black shirt?

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Interesting picture of the Kelvin, but I am not digging the thin saucer and the fact that the registry numbers are way out at the edge of it.

Just a case of me being very heavily indoctrinated into the existing visual ethos of TOS and the TOS Movie era.


Can’ wait for EW next week to see more!

Maybe it’s a commando shirt? I can’t believe Kirk’s still a cadet by that point, unless there’s more time travel trickery afoot.

Kirk’s black shirt almost looks like some sort of prison uniform. I wonder if Starfleet throws him into a correctional facility for cheating on the Kobeyashi Maru test?

#4: That’s a really good suggestion, John. We’ll probably learn more next month when the trailer comes out. :D

Kirk’s shirt does have a Starfleet delta shield embroidered into it (either in charcoal or black), and from the article in EW, it mentions something about that being a cadet uniform.

EW could be shooting in the dark on that one, bu they also have some interesting bits in the article.

Can’t wait till the hard copy hits my mailbox!

Is that just one warp nacelle (bottom of ship) and secondary hull on top? Or is that two warp nacelles? First??

Kirk spilled mango juice on his gold overshirt early in tha’ film. Had ta’ send it ta’ be dry-cleaned. Mystery solved, mates. Years later, he didn’t mind a little blood on tha’ flap though…

Yer Kelvin be givin’ me tha’ eye- Gettin’ fresh, starry ship?!

That’s some rough science oot thar’ in space…


I’m gonna guess that the black shirt (which Damon said on MTV was a captain’s shirt) designates a provisional rank, or “acting captain” role, and we’ll see Kirk in the gold shirt just before the end credits roll.

Just a guess.

I thought the black shirt was just the “undershirt” like everyone else is wearing, without the yellow overshirt.

Someone mentioned on the other page to turn the image of the Kelvin upside down. It looks a little more recognizable to what we are used to.

I’m hoping that Nero didn’t steal the Kelvin and went after Kirk in revenge. Just a little too close to Wrath of Kahn. Also add in the fact that the Reliant was essentially the Enterprise design turned upside down (by accident when Harve Bennett looked at the early designs wrong).

I’ve had a night to sleep on all of this new information. At first I was disappointed, because my imagination is better than what they can come up with. But I think it’s good for them to get these pictures out, to get the hardcore fans softened up for when the movie comes out. Time to digest that Yes this is a change, but that all change is not always bad.

I just want a good Star Trek movie. I could do without the hostess station on the bridge, but that really isn’t a good reason to hate on a movie before seeing it.

(EW also mentions the phasers – they sound almost Cage-WNMHGB era, with an upgrade…)

11 – I don’t think the Kelvin gets hijacked by Nero. The ship’s number suggests to me that she’s pre-1701, pre-Constitution Class era.

Also, isn’t Kelvin the ship George Kirk is aboard, according to rumor? If other plot rumors are true, I think Nero attacks the Kelvin to kill George Kirk, then realizes he’s materialized too late to stop James Kirk’s conception/birth (big “D’OH” moment for Nero), and then proceeds a little further on to get Kirk somehow before he commands the Enterprise.

So in this telling of Trek, starships have both the copper-colored parabolic radar dish that gets a name only later… and the glowy blue deflector dish. Hmmm. Is the Kelvin a prototype? Or is Scotty on board, upgrading things as they go?

Must agree with 1, the ship takes a little getting use to, but it is starting to grow on me.

And the other images are fantastic, i am absolutely thrilled, but I still have to be greedy and beg Paramount for a full shot of the big E herself!


Isn’t the obvious answer to the shirt question that it is his black undershirt – his gold overshirt having already been ripped to shreds in a fistfight with the bad guys?

That’s very Kirk.

why would the deflector array be sticking out of the top of the saucer? It looks rather odd

Without reading anymore articles to avoid spoilers, how is it that a Romulan and human meet in this film if Kirk and crew doesn’t actually meet or see a Romulan till Balance of Terror?

Must be either part of the re-imaging, a false lead, takes place after Balance of Terror or they don’t actually meet.

Looks like the Kelvin has one warp engine below the saucer section, an homage to Franz Joseph?

Wow… The Kelvin looks… hmmm… not sure how to take it :D I was really hoping for the satellite dishes where the deflector is… but oh well! I think it looks like its been to h311 and back! I cannot wait to see a Star Trek space battle along the lines of ST:2 or ST:8.

After reading the EW article:

Kirk is a cadet in these photos AND

I am totally convinced the new movie is a reboot and the franchise going forward is going to be based in a totally new alternate reality timeline thing.

You can read the article for yourself at ew.com and let me know what conclusions you draw from it.

Nothing shown so far violates canon so I hope that the naysayers will be sated for now. The crew shot, minus Spock, is really terrific.

maybe for some reason he is resisting wearing the command tunic, so he is purposely running around in his undershirt.

#14, the glowy blue thing is the nacelle.

Bob Orci just wanted a nifty black tunic as he planned ta’ raid tha’ movie wardrobe right after it wrapped.

Blackshirts shoveled coal inta’ tha’ ships’ engine furnaces, right?

Kirk swaddled someone wit’ his gold overshirt earlier.

Captain cadets just look cooler in tha’ dark tunic.

Kirk is mournin’ his papa gettin’ killed aboard tha’ Kelvin.

Kirk is indeed on some probation…. or in disguise from Nero… or he’s Batsman.

Canna see enough o’ tha’ Kelvin ta’ compare it too much ta’ other ships. That big blue blender atop it would make some mighty fine and vastly large margaritas… aren’t tha’ old copper radar dishes supposed ta’ go in tha’ giant glass, like an umbrella then?


I think the Kelvin looks wonderful. Very similar to some other designs in the tech manuals that we never saw onscreen.

The Kelvin looks like a spaceship of the later 24. century

i think the deflector dish is under the saucer…. what we see above it may be a nacelle on steroids….

#23 – If you say so. Looks pretty TMP deflector dish to me. Plus, the two protruberances don’t match. (We’re going in circles, and at warp 10 we’re going nowhere mighty fast!) I’m no 100% sure the new ships will match up with canon or whatever you want to call it.

Also, the red and green navigation beacons are oddly placed, don’t you think? And one more nit to pick… WHY would anyone commission a registry number that begins with 0? Even if you’ve got big plans, that seems a pointless waste of paint.

I think the ship IS upside down. Its in space, so it doesn’t really matter at what angle it moves at. Its just become natural, because in everything we’ve seen in previous seasons/movies, all ships seam to be directed in the same way, like their ships in the sea.

I think the blue is the deflector dish.

So Neros mission is killing Kirks father… the caption under the EWs Kelvin images reads “Before Kirk is even born, a Romulan attack on a starship launches the plot for the new movie”
So Kirks mother is pregnant with Jim, Nero kills George with the whole crew of the Kelvin (who knows, maybe a young half-vulcan aboard survives?) and young Kirk has to live with his evil uncle in Iowa…


** Kirk’s shirt is black because he has been stripped of his rank and position temporarily as a disciplinary action because of his actions in the Koybiashi Maru simulator. **

For a full view of the big E – a quick google search finds it. Its been my screen background for a month.

I tried flipping the picture upside down and agree, it looks better to me — at least at this angle — but I don’t think that the picture was flipped. If it was, then the registration number is on upside-down!

I’ve never see any hull writing on any of the Star Trek ships that can be read from the vantage point of the ship. It’s always positioned for other ships to identify it, isn’t it?

32 – What did you use to search for it?

I think you see it as it is.. right side up with a single nacelle.

It’s possible that Kirk’s black shirt reflects the Kobyashi Maru test… We know time travel is a factor, with Old Spock and all, I doubt the entirety of the film’s events will end up having been one BIG Kobyashi Maru test for Kirk. But maybe we are seeing what he wears just prior to becoming captain? And then again, after his Maru stunt, perhaps Starfleet figures they’ll make an example out of Kirk, figuring he’ll never handle the real job, but he blows them all outta the water and gets a legit captaincy? By the way – when do we get to see capt. Pike?

Well maybe this might work, but I just dont know. I am sure Transformers 2 will be the hit next year, I just dont see this movie pulling in more than 120 million. After the first weekend, it will have to deal with the other big movies of summer 09, plus after you get the fanboys in the seats, after that I doubt you will pull in regular business, hopefully I am wrong but I think I feel a let down.

The saucer is in the right position, but the nacelle is below it, and the engineering hull above it…

#1 what are you talking about, the hull isn’t ‘thin’ its about the same as the Ent in the TMP and onwards..strange.

#39 — I’m probably not the first, but …. eeeeuuuuww.

I hate ships with a single nacelle. Looks ugly to me.

The blue thing definitely looks like a deflector to me.

There is a red thing under the saucer section – perhaps a bussard collector?

I thought Roddenberry only wanted ships with even-numbered nacelles, though – he was specifically opposed to ‘one-nacelled destroyers’. I know we’ve seen an alternate reality Enterprise-D with a third nacelle, but it always looked naff to me.

Am I starting to sound picky? Ah, well.

On the whole, the pictures look good! I actually like the iBridge, and I quite like the Kelvin as well – despite my pedantic comments about nacelles. So the Kelvin’s gonna get wasted? Tough break – it’s a nice ship!

After seeing the pictures and reading the EW article, I think I can glean a few things about the plot of the film.

1) James Kirk has been shamed somehow. He’s a lone wolf on the Enterprise, and he is not trusted. A black uniform is a (rather obvious) physical symbol of being a “black sheep.” We know Kirk is rebel of sorts as a basic character trait. We also see Spock attacking Kirk for some unknown reason. We ALSO have been led to believe (by the MTV blog and photo on the bridge) that Kirk and Sulu have gotten into a fight of some kind. Kirk is not the regular captain of the Enterprise. He has somehow taken command against the will of the crew or has been given command in a crisis. My best guess is that Kirk is on the Enterprise as either a prisoner or as a ward of the Enterprise. Kirk could have been kicked out of Starfleet for some indiscretion, but is being protected by the Enterprise because they believe his life is in danger (from Nero, obviously). Captain Pike’s injury takes place during the film, putting him out of action, giving Kirk a chance to step up and be in charge.

2) Kirk will be Captain Kirk in the gold tunic by the last shot of the film. Remember, this is an *origin* story. That means one of the grand climaxes to the film will be when all of our heroes are together, in the right places, ready to start their proper adventures. Casino Royale and Batman Begins are examples of this principle. It is not until the end of those 2 movies that we get all the dogmatic trappings of the characters that have been held back for the end. Bond finally gets his theme and says his catchphrase. Batman gets the Bat-Signal and a supervillain (The Joker’s card). The evasive, cryptic nature of Orci and Kurtzman’s responses on the topic bear out what the end result will be. By the film’s end, anything that isn’t in line with the basic mythos of Star Trek will be put into place. That includes Kirk in Command Gold, as Captain.

3) Nero’s time-travel scheme is definitely what we all expect: he seeks to kill James T. Kirk. I also assume there is something to the notion of Nero’s group being against Reunification. Damon makes it pretty clear in his interview that Nero’s aims are not “about money.” That means, it must be ideological. What else is there? Unless Jim Kirk stole his girlfriend in the 20 minutes he was in the 24th century, it must be ideological. It also makes more sense that they are rejecting traditional Romulan aesthetics.

Im just happy there will be some good ship fights..none of the movies since TWOK managed to ever have a decent battle that got me excited. Nemesis sucked.

Doesn’t the blue warp nacelle (or deflector dish, whatever it is) look like a giant cyclops eye? That’s all I can think of when I see it. Otherwise, looks cool

If Kirk got in trouble for the KM test, then why did he get a commendation for original thinking as per TWOK?


KIRK DIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

just kidding lolz

I REALLY don’t think that’s the engineering section. It looks quite a bit like the nacelles we saw in the teaser. Something about engineering being on top of the saucer seems…illogical.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we have teaser trailer proof that that old school deflector dish is on the Enterprise?


The black shirt is, no doubt, part of the the academy uniform.. If you remember, Kirk does NOT graduate with everyone else because he cheated on the Kobayashi Maru.

But, for whatever reason, he has to go out and mix it up with the Enterprise. He may be skipping through time as well for all we know. I think he doesn’t have a gold pull over because you only get those when you graduate and are assigned to a ship. At that point your unifom simply pulls over the Academy uniform creating the two piece look. And Kirk hasn’t successfully graduated yet….at least not in the time frame of these pics. That’s my theory.