You guys familiar with Schrodinger's cat? Basically, a cat is placed in a box with a device that has a 50% chance of poisoning and killing the cat. Until we open the box, the cat is both alive and dead.
The key part of the experiment is that the box is observation proof and blocks all forms of radiation. So it is literally unknowable whether the cat is alive or dead without opening the box and so, both outcomes are true until the box opens.
Conventional time travel in Trek involves altering a single timeline by moving through time within the universe.
That is to say, Kirk and crew aboard the HMS Bounty are going backwards in time. Key word there: IN time.
So while they're traveling between the 23rd century and 1985, they're going backwards IN time. At any point inbetween, with sophisticated enough observation methods, you could observe the HMS Bounty on its course backwards through time. (Technically, this means that for the bulk of the movie, they're in two places at once. In San Francisco and also aboard the HMS Bounty heading back towards the point they arrived at.)
So while Zefram Cochrane is testing his warp drive, the HMS Bounty is also present in the Sol system, difficult to track, but on its way back towards 1985.
Now... with Spock and Nero, I propose that they actually travelled back OUT OF time. They were outside the universe.Inobservable. Both alive and dead for all intents and purposes to everyone inside the universe.
In one eventuality, they're alive and arrive in the 23rd century, where they mess with history.In another eventuality, they're dead and the universe goes on without them. Both are true because they were in a Schrodinger's cat-like state inside the event horizon of the black hole when the Red Matter Capacitor went off.
However, if any third party could look into that black hole, they would be definitive alive or dead and one of the two universes would assert itself and the other would be wiped out. Meanwhile, if contact were made between the two universes, they would both cancel eachother out, like Schrodinger's cat observing its own corpse. (Technically, the live cat is the only one that would cancel itself out.)
So running with this, the reason they created an alternate timeline is because there's no way an outside party can confirm whether they survived entering the black hole. If they survived, the JJ-verse sequence of events happens. If they didn't survive, the Prime timeline continues on. Both can be simultaneously true so long as no one attempts to verify which one is true.
Ok I think I know what you mean by this, but could you for an old Treker get specific for me please?
It's the comic book fallacy. It's hard to get new fans to buy in on a story when there's a great deal of built up canon behind it. The larger and longer it gets, the harder it is to get new fans on board. It also makes it hard to regain old fans, who are then stuck playing catch up with anything they missed.
Star Trek has decades of built up storyline, and not all of it is easily accessible. Not as big as some fiction (it's called the comic book fallacy for a reason - even relatively recent comic heroes have hundreds or even thousands of issues, many of which are rare, out of print, not to mention crossovers and special events with other series so even trying to get caught up only creates more confusion as the storyline hops in and out of the linear series).
Of course, these things regularly takes the time to explain themselves when it matters, and it rarely does - even with the most long running comic series you can jump in mid-stream and know pretty much what's going on by the end of the issue and a couple quick trips to wikipedia.
But most people don't *like* doing things like that, and worse, they do like talking about their interests, and thanks to the internet trying to talk about these things as a newbie usually find themselves surrounded by people with encyclopedic knowledge of all the twists and turns and retcons of the series (half of whom don't have the wiki open in a second browser window to cheat off of), and pretty much unable to process it all without being told to "get caught up."
So, they hit the reset button and try to lure in a fresh batch of fans. DC's done this so often fans lost count around the time Superboy punched the universe(s), usually following it up by drip-feeding the new universe all the backstory that happened in the old one in condensed form.
I don't see how these things helped anything. I'm glad it's a short list, but yeesh.
On the plus side, I think Scotty and his little alien assistant were absolutely perfect.
As regards to the original topic, I don't think it's really fair to talk about time travel. We have no idea if it is even possible, much less how it would work if it was. As regards to the lack of an observer ... well, keep in mind that, in the past, the observer you're talking about doesn't even exist yet. So that'd be like Schrodinger's cat being dead or alive (not both) because someone is going to open the box later. Maybe? Neat idea, anyway.
I'm thinking it's more like we're viewing Trek in another dimension -- not the Normal Universe or the Mirror Universe, but a Third DImension. That's right. The next film will be in 3D. :p
it's a really simple solution Hort, no need to talk of dimensions etc. It's simple, hard to understand why people find it so hard to understand.
The mirror universe's divergence starts somewhere around the time the first colony was founded there (Star Trek: Dark Victory) [Even if we dissalow soft-cannon sources it really doesn't matter, the Mirror Universe is still an alternate timeline running parallel to our own.
The same goes for the new Abram's Universe, it's divergence point is the point at which Nero's ship comes through. It's an abnormal divergence caused by time-travel, as opposed to the natural divergence of time (Every event that occurs sprouts many new timelines), the matter of dumping advanced super technologies in this timeline cause it's populations to advance shockingly in response.
It's simple to get your head around too. It's another universe, just like the prime universe and the mirror universe, only difference is we get an entire movie from that universe's perspective.
The issues you've raised Hort are simply editorial/plot issues used to entice new fans to the franchise (Which it successfully achieved), and can be overlooked to a degree, as it's not the actual "universes" fault, and who's to say those events didn't happen... have you sat and watched his entire childhood?
A theory the jj-verse haters will automatically attack regardless of how well thought out it is.
Nicely thought out and explained. So effectively you are proposing two forms of time travel in Trek: The "Relative" (slingshot) method and the "Transdimensional/uncertainty" method? I suppose that would cover or at least narrow a plothole or two.