There have been many Star Trek movies as well as TV series and I didn't watch any of them. So, do I have to watch complete or any Star Trek TV and movie series to watch Star Trek Beyond or just the last two movies (Star Trek and Star Trek into Darkness) in order to understand plot points?

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    If you want to watch all the TV series, that's close to 600 hours. If you watch 10 hours / day, that's around 2 months.
    – rjmunro
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 9:18
  • It can also be completed before 1 year, watching 2 hrs a day. However, I just wanted to know if I have to watch complete series. If it was yes, I would have skipped this new movie.
    – A J
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 9:30
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    @rjmunro challenge accepted... :-)
    – Fogmeister
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 10:30
  • @rjmunro 10 hours a day? Slacker.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 17:50
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    J.J. Abrams, the creator of the new movies (starting with Star Trek) is on record as not liking the rest of Star Trek. You might actually be better off not watching them, as far as he's concerned--though I'm sure there are many Star Trek fans who'd say you're better off skipping Abrams' work and watching "real" Star Trek! Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


In the end it is really up to you. To understand and enjoy the story, all you need are the recent two movies (I'd say).

If you want to understand and notice parallels, nods to the original series, etc. you'd have to watch that as well (including the movies).

But besides that, they did a pretty good job to establish characters, setting etc. without forcing the audience to know everything from past installments.

The only direct canonical reference to the old series is essentially the overall setting (reintroduced) and old Spock in the first Star Trek reboot movie from 2009, but that's it. The Original Series, The Next Generation etc. they all didn't happen in this timeline (except Enterprise).

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    Don't forget First Contact!
    – Aron
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 14:50
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    @Aron, First Contact still happened, but Star Trek:First Contact didn't. Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 22:41

Just watch Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek into Darkness.

Star Trek (2009) is kind of a reboot. It takes place in an alternate reality to the previous films and TV series. There are nods to previous films; like old Spock etc. but they are self explained in the film.

You can still watch the old stuff but they are not compulsory to watch for understanding Star Trek Beyond.

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    The 2009 movie (haven't seen the others) draws part of its fun from the tension when things at first don't go the expected way for the main characters and their relations as we know them so well from the series. I'd recommend to just watch a few episodes to become familiar with the original setting. Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 17:21
  • @PeterA.Schneider - good point. Plus "Into Darkness" directly references a couple of earlier stories (the TV episode "Space Seed" and the movie "The Wrath of Khan") in such a way that I think it's better to have seen the originals before watching it.
    – Jules
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 23:50
  • It only "references" them if you mean "uses the same names for entirely new and different characters". There are no plot connections; the events of Vspace Seed" and "Wrath of Khan" never happen in nuTrek.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 13:02
  • What if you have seen Star Trek (2009) but NOT Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)? Does this film require having seen Into Darkness?
    – T. Rutter
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 3:07

The movies tend to be fairly self contained, so it is not necessary to "catch up" with the entire Star Trek Universe. The new movies are a reboot of the original Star Trek storyline anyway, so what happened in the original series may not be relevant to the new movie.

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