Simon Pegg Talks Trek Tech, Kirk v. Picard, Meeting James Doohan, And More

Interviewing Simon Pegg looks like an awful lot of fun.

Pegg sat down with Popular Science Magazine in May and gave them an earful about everything from warp drive to on-ship pizza delivery. He talks about his favorite piece of technology, explains warp drive, and answers the classic question about who’d win a fight, Kirk or Picard.

Here are my five favorite things I learned from reading the article and watching the accompanying video.

5. All the controls on the Enterprise are touch sensitive. They all do something, they all respond. He says that as an actor, it’s a huge help, because you feel like you’re in a real environment.

“One calls for pizza, but we’re not sure which one it is. Occasionally pizzas just turn up and we know that someone’s pressed it, but it isn’t clear. They actually all work. If you press things, they light up. But nothing causes the spaceship to fly.”

4. We’re used to seeing musicians in Star Trek—Mick Fleetwood on TNG, Iggy Pop on DS9, Tom Morello on Voyager and Insurrection—but Pegg is a Star Trek star who joins musicians. He’s played the harmonica with Coldplay, multiple times. (And he’s good!) He’s been friends with Chris Martin for years and has played with them at a few shows and festivals. 

“And every now and then I’ll go to see them, and Chris will be like, ‘Come on up and play!’ and I’ll go, ‘I don’t want to; I just want to enjoy the show and not feel nervous!’ But he says, ’You gotta!’ So I end up sh*tting myself for the entire show until I do my bit, and then I feel like a rock star for the rest of the night.”

3. The bridge was built on a gimbal this time around, a first for the Kelvin Timeline crew,  so the days of shaking the camera while the actors fling themselves to one side and then the other are over. (Okay, that one made me a little sad.)

“. . . we didn’t have to pretend the ship was being rocked around, which is one of the most beloved Star Trek traditions: The camera shakes and the actors go LEFT! and RIGHT! There was a faint ennui about it: ‘Oh, we don’t have to pretend anymore?’”

2. Scotty gets around, thanks to his raw sex appeal. 

“A lot of people go on about Kirk, and you know how he is with the ladies, but Scotty is the dark horse. He’s probably worked his way around the ship twice. I’m talking everybody. All species.”

1. When Pegg’s mother is in a situation she doesn’t like, she texts her son, “Beam me up, Scotty!” 

“I’m the only person in the world who can’t say ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’ I have to say ‘Beam me up, me.’”

He also tells a sweet story about meeting James Doohan. Don’t skip the video! It’s worth it not just for the interview, but also for the harmonica playing,

Popular Science Interviews Simon Pegg by PopSci

Read the full  interview here.

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In case anyone missed it, ‘THE KELVIN TIMELINE’ mentioned above is now the ‘official’ name being given to J.J.’s alternate trek movie universe. Personally, I prefer to look on it as ‘J.J.s’s CRACKED MIRROR UNIVERSE’, but I digress. Head over to and scroll down a few articles for all the details on this little development.

You certainly like to spam, don’cha?

Cervantes, you really need to move on, buddy. Dswynne is right–you are spamming us at this point. But more than that, IT IS NOT A BIG STORY. You’re posting around here like it’s some massive expose into something that changes Star Trek forever, but all that happened is an official designation of “Kelvin Timeline” replacing the unofficial terms we have been using. THAT IS IT. There is no other story to share, no need to go to io9 and read more about it.

I agree that it’s not a big story, yet. But I do think that there is more to it than just making an official designation to replace our unofficial terms. It’s quite possible that this term will be used in the new All Access show to distinguish one universe from another in story.

Sounds interesting anyway!

DaiMonRon, I guess it’s possible the new Trek show might use the phrase “Kelvin Timeline” in-story, but I can’t imagine how or why. Who would call it that? Nobody in the Prime Timeline knows that such a timeline exists, unless I missed something in the two Kelvin-Timeline movies so far. So, I don’t see how it could be used in-story unless they do a multi-timeline, multi-universe, ridiculously viewer-unfriendly TV show…

Occasionally pizzas just turn up and we know that someone’s pressed it, but it isn’t clear.

What? ls /etc | grep pizza …

Roddy, what the heck does “What? ls /etc | grep pizza …” mean?

I assume the Enterprise is running Unix.

Ah, now I see. I just didn’t get it because I’m ignorant about Unix. lol :)

Nice try, but that presupposes you can get to a terminal interface somewhere, the bridge looks pretty heavily UI driven, very iOS

With these pizza deliveries at the press of…, clearly it is the captain played by Chris Pine who has got the last word on the menu…:) I recall a few references to Pine saying that pizza is his favourite food.

Like it!

5. – I’ve written this before, but touch sensitive buttons don’t make a lot of sense for me everywhere on control surfaces of a starship bridge, or any control center really. Far too easy to accidentally hit the wrong thing. And in the case of the bridge during tense space battles, any kind of software protection system would cause delays in firing phasers, etc. Sometimes a real switch, the status of which can be determined by feel is far more practical.

3. – I’m pretty sure the Enterprise bridge on the NX-1 was built on gimbal. I could be wrong, but this doesn’t seem like the first bridge set to have that feature.

2. – Evidently there’s a lot of hooking up … and breaking up going on in this movie.

The one for Nemesis was on a gimbal. Not sure about the NX-01

Re: But touch sensitive pads make it easier to reconfigure a station, especially from a design perspective. And, you’re assuming that there wouldn’t be any safety protocols that would prevent accidents, or that the people on those consoles aren’t trained to run a board.

And that’s a problem also from a tactical perspective. Yes non-essential functions can be customized, but essential functions should always be located in the same spot. I’m absolutely taking into consideration that there are safety protocols. But whatever they are, they’re going to take time to bypass in a critical moment, regardless if a person is trained to do them or not.

TNG’s Parallels actually highlighted the problem pretty effectively. When Worf hopped into another universe where the Enterprise was under attack, he was unable to fire the phasers because his alternate universe counterpart he replaced, had the board configured differently. Now apply that to a situation where the person at the weapons console is killed or injured, and someone else, maybe even someone who’s never run that console outside of training, has to learn the custom configuration, or activate their own, and then override the safety protocols to fire the phasers — all precious time in which the ship could sustain damage.

Just a thought.. Maybe the console can tell who is operating it, i.e. Fingerprint, Dna, facial recognition or something similar

That’s what I always figured. Plus in Parallels I assumed it was just a different panel layout cause it was a different timeline, not that the guy before changed things.

“Far too easy to accidentally hit the wrong thing.”

Tactile controls are no panacea, please see “Balance of Terror”.

Where is the “meeting Doohan” story?


Re:Where’s Doohan?

In the full interview:

Like Ulster said in the article.

The full interview also has probably the most detailed description of what the story is about:

In this one, we tried to slightly question the strengths of Roddenberry’s original vision. If the villain is opposed to what the Federation is all about, we wanted to make the audience wonder if the villain is right and the crew is just assimilating the universe, rather than their Federalist ideal to go out, make alliances, and build a huge community. We wanted to take stock of that and ask: “Is that the right thing to do? Or are you just colonizing the galaxy?”