At this point, the destruction of the Enterprise just seems like a standard Star Trek event, and when Star Trek Beyond was released last summer it joined the pantheon of Enterprises destroyed before it. But the destruction of the Enterprise isn’t the only thing on Star Trek Beyond’s agenda according to director Justin Lin. He told Collider, “I feel like it’s important to maybe try to deconstruct why Federation, Starfleet, and why Star Trek is special,” and in a separate interview for Wired he explained he wanted to “make the characters as raw as possible … and build them back up.” So for Lin, it appears that destroying the Enterprise is a vehicle for a series renewal for a show that is celebrating its 50-year anniversary.
However, this still begs the question: Just how many times has the Enterprise been destroyed during the Star Trek series? A lot, it turns out — and the frequency of the iconic ship’s destruction has been growing over the years. So in order to celebrate yet another lost Enterprise, here’s a list of all the times the ship has blown up.
1. Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)
The first time the USS Enterprise was destroyed was in the 1984 film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. When the undermanned Enterprise is captured by Klingons, Kirk makes the tough decision to surrender as a ruse before activating the ship’s self-destruct sequence and safely transporting to the surface of nearby planet Genesis. It is there that they watch the Enterprise self-destruct, killing the Klingons in the process and causing the burning ship to streak across the sky as the crew watches pensively. The powerful moment goes to show you that sometimes the first remains the best.
2. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990 and 1992)
Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for seven seasons from 1987 to 1994 and in that time the Enterprise was destroyed not once, but twice. The first time came in the 1990 time-traveling episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” when the Enterprise was destroyed in a Romulan attack of Klingon outpost Nerendra III. However, it happens both offscreen and in the past making this example much less immediate than in Star Trek III.
The Enterprise then found itself destroyed multiple times in the 1992 episode “Cause and Effect” when the ship and its crew got caught in a time loop. At the end of each cycle, the ship would be destroyed before moving backwards to play out the same scenario. The Enterprise would ultimately end up being destroyed 18 times before the crew was able to navigate out of it, although we only get to see it destroyed four times in the episode.
3. Star Trek: Generations (1994)
The first Star Trek: The Next Generation movie was 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, and it was finally decided that the Enterprise should go down for real — no time loops, no alternate dimensions, nothing. Following an attack by a renegade Klingon Bird-of-Prey, the Enterprise’s damage led to a warp core breach that initially led the crew to safely separate the saucer section of the ship from the damaged portions. But the shockwave caused by the engineering hull’s explosion would lead to its crash-landing on Veridian III where it was deemed unfixable.
4. Star Trek: Enterprise (2003)
In the episode entitled “Twilight” from Star Trek: Enterprise, Captain Archer is infected with a parasite that leaves him with anterograde amnesia leading to his dismissal as captain. Unfortunately, his replacement soon after fails in a mission leading to the near extinction of the human species. When he later discovers that subspace radiation treatments not only kill the parasites, but somehow reverse its existence in the path, it’s decided that the Enterprise will be used as subspace radiation bomb of sorts in order to reverse the events that got them there.
5. Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Yes, in the latest Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, we again witnessed the Enterprise’s destruction. However, this time around the Enterprise’s destruction happens within the first part of the film. This means that rather than have the Enterprise’s destruction as a climax of the film’s story, here it was used as a jumping off point for the crew to maneuver around a powerful new enemy. But you definitely haven’t seen the last of the Enterprise, whether in its normal form or in pieces.
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