TrekMovie Goes Inside The Star Trek Trailer – Shot By Shot [UPDATE: Abrams Gives His Analysis]

The arrival of the theatrical trailer has answered quite a few questions about the new Star Trek movie, and it has also created a number of new mysteries, especially with all those images going by so fast. No worries as TrekMovie goes shot by shot and explains, based on our research, what is going on in each shot. [SPOILERS]. 


Get to know the Star Trek trailer
Below are all the shots from the new trailer. They are presented in the same order as the trailer (which is not the same order as they are in the film).  The following scene description captions are based on an in-depth analysis from members of the TrekMovie staff based on previous TrekMovie reports, including the recent reports from JJ Abrams Europe Tour as well as other published reports and sources. However it should be noted that not everything below has been confirmed by Abrams and/or Paramount and so some is based on the best information available to the TrekMovie team at this time. Areas where things are least sure are noted accordingly.

Nitpicker’s guide
Trekkies are detail oriented. So we also have provided some DETAIL, NOTES and FACT CHECKS for interesting items, as well as some ‘CANON ALERTS’ for some things which (could) seem to violate canon, although they may also be explained.

…and here we go

Click images to enlarge

Kid Kirk in his Uncle’s Corvette

Cop in pursuit through Iowa farmland
(NOTE: Top is now down)

(DETAIL: Iowa license plate number 12213; other numbers on the plate include "1253" and "3753")

(CANON ALERT: Kirk can drive a stick, unlike in "Piece of the Action")

(FACT CHECK: Apparently there are quarries in Iowa)

Jimmy Bennett as young James Tiberius Kirk

Cop and his hoverbike (undetermined if robot or just guy with mask)

(DETAIL: Cop’s # is 924)

Young adult Kirk riding motorcycle in Iowa
(VOICE OVER: Bruce Greenwood as Pike addressing Kirk)

Kirk sees USS Enterprise NCC – 1701 being built (in Iowa)
(DETAIL: Federation flag on building in distance)
(CANON ALERT: Not being build in "San Francisco, CALIF.")

City on Planet Vulcan
(VOICE OVER: Ben Cross as Sarek addressing Spock)

Jacob Kogan as young Spock

Spock’s Parents: Amanda Grayson (Winona Ryder) and Sarek (Ben Cross), holding baby Spock
(NOTE: Vasquez rocks location shoot, same as "Arena")

Young adult Spock (Zachary Quinto) on Vulcan before he leaves for Starfleet
(NOTE: Sarek is on the dais)

Spock returning to Vulcan to save his parents during Nero attack
(NOTE: New transporter effect)

Starfleet Academy hanger as cadets get assigned to ships
(DETAIL: Shuttle on left from USS Enterprise with registry number on it)
(CAMEO SPOTTING: Stargate’s Paul McGillion appears to be the actor holding the clipboard)

Spock and Kirk on bridge of USS Enterprise
(NOTE: Kirk in black, because he is still technically a cadet)

USS Enterprise leaving Earth orbit

Enterprise with new ‘at warp’ effect

Shuttles leave USS Kelvin (George Kirk’s ship), during attack from Nero’s Romulan ship

Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and (probably) Crewman Jessica on right (Sufe Bradshaw)

USS Kelvin faces down Nero’s ship

Spock rescues his parents and other Vulcans during Nero’s attack on Vulcan
(DETAIL: Spock holding communicator, wearing belt with phaser and tricorder)

Kirk tries to piss off Spock

Nero on the bridge of his ship

Explosion (possibly USS Enterprise sickbay where chief medical officer is killed)

Kirk, Sulu and Chief Engineer Olsen ‘orbital sky dive’ to Romulan drilling rig/weapon which descends from Romulan ship trying to destroy Vulcan
(NOTE:  Olsen is wearing red)

USS Enterprise Viewscreen w/ new ‘at warp’ effect

USS Enterprise arrives at Vulcan  into debris of Starfleet ships during Nero attack

Kirk, McCoy and Uhura rush to bridge to warn Captain Pike that there are Romulans at Vulcan
(CANON ALERT: Encountering Romulans before "Balance of Terror")

Capt. Pike (Bruce Greenwood) orders weapons to fire on Romulan ship
(CANON ALERT: Kirk and Pike meeting well before Pike’s promotion)

Elder Spock (Nimoy)’s Time Ship

Kirk fights Romulan on drilling rig

Kirk hides under Uhura’s bed

Uhura (Zoe Saldana) gets undressed

Scotty (Simon Pegg) shortly after arriving on the Enterprise from exile on the ‘frozen planet’

Sulu (w/ ‘folding’ katana sword) fights Romulan on drilling rig

USS Enterprise again

Kirk facing Nero henchman while hanging from drilling rig as it fires onto Vulcan below

Sulu looks concerned

Nero fights off Klingon guards at Rura Penthe prison
(NOTE: Not the same ‘frozen planet’ that Scotty is found on)

Unclear, possibly view of Nero’s ship from the bridge of the USS Kelvin

Dr. McCoy talks to Kirk on way up to Enterprise for the first time

Kirk faces monster on ‘frozen planet’ (where he later meets Scotty)

Kirk wearing gold uniform and captain’s stripes tells McCoy to "buckle up"
(DETAIL: Uhura in background at Comm station)

USS Kelvin rams Nero’s ship

Kirk effectively gets Spock to lose his cool (at the suggestion of elder Spock in order for Kirk to relieve him of command)
(NOTE: Image is reversed – see Spock’s badge)

Uhura looks concerned
(DETAIL: Uhura wearing earpiece + labels read "Engineering 01" and "Defense Shield")

Romulan ship travels through time

Kirk and Orion Cadet (Rachel Nichols)

Statue collapses on Vulcan during attack

Spock’s time ship again (possibly Spock in window)

Winona Kirk (Jennifer Morrison) giving birth to James T. Kirk, with Starfleet Med tech in background (Kelvin Yu)

Kirk on board Romulan bridge
(DETAIL: Not holding Federation Phaser, could be Romulan or Klingon)

Another shot of Nero’s Romulan ship firing missiles

USS Kelvin during attack from Romulan ship (missile headed for saucer)

 Nero (Eric Bana) says "the wait is over"

…and indeed it is


UPDATE: JJ Abrams gives his analysis
Star Trek director JJ Abrams gave his own personal version of a shot by shot analysis to Empire magazine. Nothing above was contradicted and he also confirms much of what is above and also add some interesting details (such as who the designer is of the monster). Go to Empire to check it out. Here are a couple of interesting quotes.

Abrams on locations

There are a couple of sequences that take place in Iowa and some in San Francisco and it was just important that the movie feel connected to familiar terrain before it became about things that you more might expect.

Abrams on Kirk and Spock:

I think you are Kirk in the movie. Spock is massively important in but in this film the audience is Kirk

The TV series always presumed this friendship between Kirk and Spock. What I love about what this movie does is that it shows they didn’t start out fast friends; they actually had a very rocky beginning and a lot of conflict. How they come to be the Kirk and Spock that we know is very dramatic and rife with tension.


Watch it again:
Now that you have a better idea of what is going on, watch it again.

CLICK TO SEE AT APPLE.COM (various resolutions, including HD)

And is now on YouTube at 480p





Special thanks to Joshua for the screencapping


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Fabuloso thanks!

Oh it’s exciting. Getting hard to avoid spoilers now.

Nice, I’d like to say that is probably the best prepared article I’ve ever read on TrekMovie. I am pleased I was right that Spock’s attack on Kirk is intentional, at the behest of older Spock.

Thanks for the break down!

Excelent imagens. The Enteprise is built in San Francisco not in Iowa

But the Enterprise built in Iowa? Meh, I have always liked in being built in San Francisco, practically in my backyard. (I know there’s the whole question of whether the San Francisco Shipyards are on Earth or in orbit; I’m leaving that alone for now, and in any case in *this* movie, the ship is built on Earth, so the orbital issue is moot).

Thanks guys. And good job.
Do you expect to get a confirmation on these details?

Kirk has a nice ass

^ “it” not “in”

Is it May yet?

maybe Mr. orci could address those “canon alerts” or maybe he could answer this question:
I am right in the assumption that this movie starts out in the original timeline but ends in an alternate timeline, erasing the old one?

Maybe Spock isn’t from the a time after Nemesis, but indeed from a time after Star Trek 6. So just the TOS timeline is erased and TNG and everything thereafter stays intact…

So, it’s confirmed the beaming effect is more “swirly”. Hmm, I’d like to see more of that. I think I prefer it straight down, like the “shower” effect of TOS, or the “outside-in” effect of ENT, but I can live with the “swirly” if it’s convincing.

Dumb question – how do we know that’s Iowa, where the ship is being built?

A few of my buddies and I did a podcast the other night talking about Star Trek (and actually doing a Star Trek gameshow!), and most of the folks were pretty darn stoked after seeing this trailer… and they weren’t all Trekkies. So I think this film is going to draw a much larger audience, and hopefully the uber-Trekkies who like to complain about every little thing won’t ruin it for the new fans.

Podcast is at by the way… the Star Trek game show starts about an hour into the show… just skip to that part if you’d like to check it out.

re:4. 4 8 15 16 23 42

“All right you mutinous, disloyal, computerized half-breed, we’ll see about you deserting my ship.”

“The term ‘half-breed’ is somewhat applicable, but ‘computerized’ is inaccurate. A machine can be computerized, not a man.”

“What makes you think you’re a man? You’re an overgrown jack rabbit, an elf with a hyperactive thyroid.”

“Jim, I don’t understand.”

“Of course you don’t understand. You don’t have the brains to understand. All you have are printed circuits.”

“Captain, if you’ll excuse me.”

“What can you expect from a simpering, devil-eared freak, whose father was a computer and whose mother was an encyclopedia?”

“My mother was a teacher, my father an ambassador.”

“Your father was a computer, like his son. An ambassador from a planet of traitors. The Vulcan never lived who had an ounce of integrity.”

“Captain, please don’t.”

“You’re a traitor from a race of traitors, disloyal to the core, rotten like the rest of your sub-human race – and you’ve got the gall to make love to that girl.”

“That’s enough.”

“Does she know what she’s getting, Spock? A carcass full of memory banks who should be squatting on a mushroom instead of passing himself off as a man. You belong in a circus, Spock, not a starship – right next to the dog-faced boy.”

Kirk: this side of paradise

What a great break down!!! Shot by Shot!! Your crew is the best. We the readers can not wait for you do to the same thing with JJ’s press tour videos. I’ll bet you guys have peaked at the notes for the second movie already!! You dogs.

… but nothing more

re: 14. Neil

” Dumb question – how do we know that’s Iowa, where the ship is being built?”

That’s what I was thinking. I’ve know a lot of people in my day who go on some pretty extensive bike rides.

Could Pike get Promoted BECAUSE of his work in the battle. therefore kirk did meet him when he was promoted?

im not completely sure of kirks exact line about Cap. Pike.


If I may be so bold.. This is Star Trek, the way I always wanted it to be. It’s just amazing. Great job!!

16 Tony Pieta — nice quote, though I’m not sure I understand what it has to do with my comment @ #4….

I’m not even saying Kirk rode the bike all the way from Iowa to San Francisco; he could just as easily have borrowed (or even stolen) the bike from somebody local. Mind you, if somebody decides to change their life, you’re right – a motorcycle ride across the country isn’t unheard of.

Is there anything in the shot that I’m missing, clearly saying “Iowa”?

The canon violations are not that big, i can live with’ em. But remains to be seen how big are they going to be in the movie. We’ve seen just 2 minutes here. We’ve got another 118 to go.
And Nero is wrong. The wait has just started. :) Buckle up guys. We are in one hell of a ride.

They’ve blown up the canon, but who cares? Just assume the whole story is a couple of alternate universes off TOS and enjoy it for what it is.

If that’s not a robot cop, then why would there be a visor over the eye-slit, which clearly would provide sufficient protection from dust. I assert it’s definitely a robot, which is equipped with an optical viewslit, that in turn needs to be protected from dust with the visor.

In regards to Canon, I think Neros Trip to the past alters the time line pushing up the Federations first contact with the Romulans. That is the beautiful thing about time travel. I think he is attempting to wipe out the Kirk family. Some obvious vendetta. I think that Neros time incursion creates a ‘new’ continuity for the original series with minimal damge to the TNG era. It’s a comic book device that works quite well when it’s done the right way. This is all my theory. I was always an advocate for brining these characters back with younger actors. There are plenty of things you can play around with in the original series continuity. I like the new direction. I think it’s pretty cool. I wish TNG would have gone out on a better note.

Thanks for that, I’d missed some details, most notably – not realising that was McCoy in the shuttle warning about the dangers of space! doh

There’s no exposed skin anywhere on the cop.
Could it be some kind of body armor?

I’ve often wondered why the bad guys in today’s crime dramas don’t just try to shoot the cop in the head or neck, where they have no protection.

Re: 14, 19

How do we even know that that’s the Enterprise in that shot? I don’t see a registry number on it anywhere. According to Memory Alpha, the NCC 1701 was commissioned in 2245, which would make Kirk 12 years old at the time. He certainly doesn’t look 12 on that bike. Anthony, can you confirm or refute that this is a different Constitution-class ship?

Very interesting, thanks!

On picture “Kirk tries to piss off Spock”: it looks like Chris Pine wears contact lenses. I recognize the pale blue circle around the iris…

I think the TNG Canon stays in tact. It is hard to erase 40 years of continuity in a tv series as opposed to a comic book. Paramount would piss off a lot of TNG fans if that continuity was wiped away. Oric and Kurtzman have stated that Spock returns from a post Nemisis Continuity and they said that having Nimoy as Spock gives the film continuity which goes back to my original theory that Nero disrupts the timeline when he goes into the past. Given the way Kirk died in Star Trek Generations, I am all for a new interpretation of the character. Remember Orci and Kurtzman acknowledged that Kirk was dead in the future. It’s obvious they are aware of the mindfield they walk in when it comes to continuity. This is not like Battlestar Galactica which wasn’t that long and had plenty of misses the first time out. Trek had a lot of homeruns and its share of strike outs. I appreciate this new approach. I think it will work and it’s long overdue. That is why I loved Deep Space Nine. They took risks and turned Trek on it’s ear. It needs a shakeup.

I personally love the transporter effect. To me if I really think about how I could imagine my molecules breaking apart and being reassembled it is swirl like… falling down like rain or snow.. not so much…

In the sixteenth pic with the shuttles…is that Paul McGillion speaking to the crowd?! =D

The questions people are asking are answered in the first two paragraphs of this article. This analysis is not based on guesswork. Senator Vreenak was very hands on for this article.

And my computer’s bulging wallpaper file thanks you.

it could be body armor on the cop, or protection since he’s in an open air vehicle. The mask could be equipped with a scanning device to check for weapons, internal screen much like the MDTs cops have today in their cars.

I don’t think (could be wrong) that they would insinuate that artificial life forms are present on Earth when they make such a big deal about Data being an artificial life form in TNG. Perhaps though it’s an acknowledgment that in reality we could be advancing faster than our Trek creators predicted years ago and it’s just an update to reflect the times.

This was great, a nice service. Great info.

Has anyone else gone frame by frame of the E at warp? Nice lines, a very flattering view. Especially impressive are the engines, much bigger and more powerful looking.

14. For that matter, how do we know it’s Iowa where we see the car chase? He could have been on a road trip, for all we know.

I think its on EW that JJ explains the trailer scene by scene, he left out some details that you guys put in, but also told us some interesting details for e.g. The Klingons are from the future where Nero is breaking out of prison.

2) In the scene with Kirk under Uhuras bed, Kirk is actually trying to sneak a peak, which results in an “hilarious” scene.

3) The drill is drilling into Vulcan to attempt to create a black hole.

4) All canon changes are explained.

5) There was an interesting Klingon subplot which may appear on the DVD version.

6) Just a suggestion by me: Who says that the Enterprise is being built in Iowa?? – Kirk is seen on his bike travelling, and we know that he meets cadet Uhura and co in a bar, surely that would be in SF, he might pop over to see the Ent whilst he’s there??

The Boy Kirk pod race,er, Corvette ride, fills me with horror.
“What’s your name, boy?”
“I’m Anakin T. Skywalker!”

I really hope that in the context of the film that it works and does not take up too much screen time. Now, the rest of the trailer works for me. But the opening sequence freaks me out a little.

#35 & #40

What might be helpful on the “ship being built in Iowa” question is if somebody could post a link to wherever the slam-dunk confirmation is that the scene does, in fact, take place in Iowa.

42…did you read the article?

41) Agreed, thats the only part of the trailer that really bugs me, the Robocop is lame, Kirk driving a car is just… grrr and the little kid is bloody annoying.


How do you know Krik’is hiding under UHURA’S bed?

Looks morel ike the Orian cadet’s bunk to me.

An Enterprise bed made out of wood? No way.

the good:

the cast looks great

plenty of action

the space station looks very franz joseph

transporter effect is very cool

the iffy:

their voices caught me off guard, for some reason i expected their voices to be the same as the tos cast… irrational i know

that wishbone configuration of the nacelle struts is odd

is nero flying around in v’ger? his ship seems to be ridiculously big… is it populated with administrators and accountants?

the bad:

kirk did not know how to handle a standard shift internal combustion vehicle.

the enterprise was built in san francisco

what about kirk’s service as lt. cmdr on the farragut?

the rocket exhaust glow from the warp nacelles is ridiculous…

the cliche’d printed circuits on clear acrylic on the bridge is another old sci-fi saw that went out of fashion 30 years ago for cheap b-movies.

anyway, i still cant wait to see the picture in theatre.

its cool how that hangar looks like the airdock here in akron:

i always imagine it is the engineering hull of the 1701 every time i drive past it:

it looks and operates so much like the old 1701 shuttlebay, i have to wonder if jefferies designed that feature after it, he was an aviation buff after all.

We are about to see if the writers (bob & alex) can do magic.

We clearly see violations of the canon. For example, like the one meeting Romulans before Balance Of Terror.

Now there can be few explanations.

1. Nero goes back in time and changes the Humans meet Romulans part of history, forever. In which you can now ditch the Balance of Terror episode because it never happened.

2. At the end of the movie, something happens and all of the timeline is restored in which Balance of Terror will happen again, but then again this movie never happened. So we will see a movie that when it finishes will be removed from the memory of everyone that participated in this incident with Nero. Which is going to be all of Vulcan, all of Earth, and propably all of the Federation. That move will be stupid. Making a movie that at in the end it never happened and everyone returns normally where they should be is the most cheap storytelling ever.

3. This will be the most dificult task to grasp. Making this movie part of canon or part of the real timeline and still possible to Balance of Terror to happen.

If the writers pulled No.3 than they’ve done a miracle and could hope for the best Star Trek movie. Everything besides that will be a sword with two ends. I have faith in Bob’s and Alex’s story writing so I think that they pulled it of. At least I hope so.

In post #4 I gloat about having been right with respect to Spock’s attack on Kirk as an intentional suggestion by older Spock.

In this post, I eat humble pie about the Kirk / Uhura antics. I had previously contended that, trailers being what they are, the Kirk-under-the-bed shot and the Uhura-taking-her-top-off shot could be from different scenes. Unfortunately, I was wrong about that. I’m not keen on Kirk spying on Uhura, but I won’t get all outraged about it unless, in the movie, there are some objectionable shenanigans in this regard. (Ultimately I won’t care much even then, but it would be kind of cheap if Kirk crosses the line with Uhura.)

Yes, Anthony, I did. I saw a JJ reference saying that some scenes are shot in SF, some are in Iowa. Didn’t see a specific reference to the scene where Kirk pulls up to a ship being built in Iowa.

And also saw this:

“not everything below has been confirmed by Abrams and/or Paramount”

Great write up on the trailer. Thanks!! Right now I don’t want a lot of explainations on canon in regards to the movie. I’ve read one too many spoilers already. The trailer does it’s job. May’s a big month for us here. Two graduations, wedding anniversary and Trek. I need to get the priorities straight.