Early on in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), after the scene where Khan shoots up the council, Kirk and Spock are making their way to the Enterprise. They are on a shuttle which takes them off-world. My question is, why did they take a shuttle instead of teleporting or beaming on the ship?

  • 2
    Out of universe, it's so they could have a conversation.
    – user7812
    Mar 22, 2016 at 17:46
  • @Richard that's what I was thinking, but that dialog could have happened anywhere. Mar 22, 2016 at 18:00
  • I've addressed that. It couldn't happen on the surface because then they'd just be sitting around in a room for five minutes and it couldn't happen on the ship because why aren't they going to help their departments get ready? Normally this sort of exposition happens in the "ready room", but there's really no good place to have the conversation until much later, after they've set off, by which point we all want to see some action.
    – user7812
    Mar 22, 2016 at 18:11
  • 2
    I've just realised that this also led into the ship-porn scene; where we get to see the Enterprise from every conceivable angle.
    – user7812
    Mar 22, 2016 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


In-universe, this is (sorta) covered in the film's official novelisation. The ship is being supplied with a wide range of consumables at far shorter notice than was expected. Presumably the transporters are otherwise occupied moving cargo that's too heavy (or large) to fit onto the shuttles, leaving the shuttles to physically carry the crew from the surface.

The source of those responsibilities appeared not long after the shuttle cleared the ionosphere: the immense orbiting facility that was Starfleet dock. As the shuttlecraft slowed on approach, Kirk was able to pick out his ship waiting in place. Like worker ants attending a queen, a swarm of small support craft darted silently around her, preparing and supplying her for imminent departure. A small smile creased his face. There were other ships in dock, but like anyone thoroughly smitten, he had eyes only for his beloved.

Out of universe, the scene was almost certainly written as a 'walk-n-talk' so that Spock, Bones and Kirk could have a expository conversation about the mission (and then be interrupted by Carol Marcus) without having to explain why they're all sitting around on the ship having a conversation instead of working with their respective departments, getting ready to set off.

It also serves as a "ship porn" shot, allowing adoring fans to gain a well-lit view of the exterior of the ship from multiple angles. This is something which is common to most trek films and almost certainly drew its inspiration from the infamous drydock scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture


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