|Rumbled: Kirk and McCoy flee alien tribespeople in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)|
Cinemagoers who have seen the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, can no doubt recall its colourful opening sequence in vivid detail. No sooner are our bums on seats than do we find ourselves thrust into the brilliant crimson forests of an alien world, watching breathlessly as Captain James T. Kirk and Doctor Leonard McCoy flee a primitive humanoid tribe.
The Starfleet officers are in disguise so as to prevent the tribespeople from seeing their human (i.e. alien) faces and shattering their embryonic philosophical and religious paradigm. Kirk and McCoy are, as any Trekkie will appreciate, seeking to uphold their prime directive: to avoid at all costs any overt interference with the internal development of an alien civilization – especially one that is “barely out of the stone age” and which views its own culture as the center of the universe.
|Alien culture shock: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)|
This idea of non-interference between alien cultures is one that is frequently discussed in the UFO and scientific communities. Many scientists consider it entirely plausible that any advanced extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy would likely seek to avoid drawing the attention of inhabitants of more primitive worlds for fear of sparking religious, economic and political chaos, or even civilizational collapse. And this, say many in the UFO community, is why ET has not yet landed on the White House lawn.
Over the years, numerous alleged contactees have claimed that benevolent space folk have actually saved humanity from destruction on several occasions throughout history by quietly preventing potentially catastrophic natural disasters. Certainly there have been a great many instances when UFOs have been sighted over areas of geophysical significance – particularly active volcanoes.
It is fitting, then, that Star Trek Into Darkness explores these UFOlogical ideas in its opening scenes. The reason Kirk and McCoy (and also Commander Spock) are on the alien planet in the first place is to attempt to covertly prevent the eruption of a super volcano that would wipe-out the fledgling civilization. The starship Enterprise is hidden from the aliens’ view beneath hundreds of feet of water off the coastline as Kirk and McCoy attempt to blend in with the natives.
Things don’t go according to plan, however, as not only are the two astronauts rumbled, but their starship is witnessed by the awe-struck tribespeople in all its splendour rising majestically from the ocean. We know in that moment that their civilizational path has been dramatically altered as, soon after, they begin drawing and worshipping a crude pictogram of the Enterprise. Ancient Astronaut theory, anyone?
As if these UFOlogical allusions weren’t sufficient, the fictional alien planet of our discussion is actually called ‘Nibiru.’ As anyone familiar with the work of Zecharia Sitchin will know, Nibiru is a theoretical planet that passes by Earth every 3,600 years, allowing its inhabitants – the Annunaki – to interact with humanity. According to Sitchin, these beings were the first gods worshipped by Man.
These filmic nods to UFOlogy should come as little surprise when we consider that the screenwriters for Star Trek Into Darkness are Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Damon Lindelof. Between them, these men have written and/or produced the likes of Transformers, Cowboys and Aliens, and Prometheus – all of which owe a heavy debt to UFO literature. Indeed, Orci, for one, has made no secret of his personal interest in the UFO subject. In July, 2011, the screenwriter was asked by The Wrap if he believed in aliens. He replied in the affirmative and added: “I think the evidence clearly indicates that the government's lying about what the hell’s going on.”
It’s unclear at this stage whether or not these same writers will be onboard for the next instalment of the Star Trek franchise, but, if they are, it’s a fair bet that their fascination with UFO lore will continue to serve as inspiration in their exploration of the Star Trek universe.