In Star Trek Beyond, we are introduced to the USS Franklin (NX-326). Where does this NX registry, Starship class ship fall in the pre-Kelvin timeline, as compared to the pre-reboot continuity?
The Franklin (out of universe, named after the director's father, Frank Lin) is the first Warp 4 ship. Essentially a precursor to the NX-class. Aesthetics aside, it does at least share the same general design and looks purposefully retro. It makes sense that during the war, it was refitted with at least newer weapons (still only spatial torpedoes, but does have the newer pulsed phase cannons which were first equipped on the NX-02). Upon re-commission as a UFP Starfleet ship, it was likely decided that the NX prefix would be used to denote a prototype, and the Franklin was apparently the first of it's class and given that designation. For all we know it could have originally been Franklin NW-01. Then when the UFP comes around the ships from the UESPA, Earth Starfleet, UESN, and other member races get re-registered as Federation Starfleet ships, and by the time they get to the Franklin, it's NX-326. It gets re-launched as an explorer and gets stranded. Pretty easy to work it in there. And this makes more sense than the next theory because this wouldn't conflict with the fact that there was a model of the NX-01 in Admiral Marcus's office...
Beyond Writer Simon Pegg mentioned Nero's incursion could have rippled farther back on that alternate timeline. http://io9.gizmodo.com/simon-pegg-has-a-canonical-explanation-for-why-sulu-is-1783511576 Which makes some sense given that there was such a vast difference in time between the Narada going through and the Jellyfish. Problem with this is, if that were the case and there was some extreme time dilation, then given the size of the Narada, it would have existed for quite some time as it merely passed through the temporal rift. This would mean it would have appeared longer ago and would have appeared to move very slowly. It would have been known for a lot longer and wouldn't have been a sudden phenomenon. So if it's not that time dilation effect, then it would have to be some 'retroactive continuity ripple effect' backwards through time. There's no way to tell how that might affect things, but apparently it could cause enough of a change that the warp program was set back and instead of a warp 5 ship, Starfleet ended up with a warp 4 ship, which was smaller and aesthetically different but retained the same general configuration as the NX-class, like maybe a competing design won out. However I believe this is a much poorer excuse and doesn't really resolve things as well. It's very gimmicky and as bad a device as the infamous reset button that Voyager liked to abuse.
There is a third explanation... The Franklin could have been a successor to the NX-class, but the warp scale could have changed yet again. Scotty could have been saying 'warp 4' on their warp factor scale. I read this elsewhere and it does make some sense.
It's been officially confirmed that the Franklin predates Archer's Enterprise, see this article:
And if you think this is just our speculation, worry not: we got a note from Dylan Highsmith, one of the lead picture editors on STAR TREK BEYOND, about this very issue.
If you want the official explanation on the Franklin and it’s warp factor: it was a M.A.C.O. ship (or a United Earth Starfleet ship that housed M.A.C.O. personnel at times) that predates the NX-01.
When the UFP Starfleet is formed, M.A.C.O. was disbanded and the ship was reclassified as a Starfleet ship [with the USS identifier]. The ship is then “lost” in the early 2160’s.
It was important to everyone that the ship, like Edison, predate the Federation; that thematically, the ship mirrored an earlier time in history and served as a bridge in design between then and the NX-01.
Doug [Jung] and Simon [Pegg] may have worked up something [on an official launch date], but if they did it never made it to script or screen.
Either way it predates the NX-01, and was reclassified after the UFP is formed.
If it was built as a M.A.C.O. ship rather than a Starfleet ship that could explain the seeming inconsistency in registry order, though Dylan Highsmith also speculates it could have been a "United Earth Starfleet ship that housed M.A.C.O. personnel at times," which would still leave us with the same problem. But in that case, this reddit thread gives a good argument involving the German tank problem for why Starfleet might choose to assign registry numbers non-sequentially--basically, if vehicles (or components inside vehicles) are numbered sequentially, then a random sample can allow an enemy to estimate total numbers, and the "countermeasures" section of the article notes one solution is non-sequential registries:
serial numbers that resist cryptanalysis can be used, most effectively by randomly choosing numbers without replacement from a list that is much larger than the number of objects produced
The answer by @Ashley Darkstone also notes in option #2 that the timeline may have been retroactively changed, so maybe in this timeline Archer's Enterprise wasn't the NX-01. This is definitely a possibility, but one caution I would note about this idea is that Pegg seemingly only proposed this idea to defuse controversy about making Sulu gay, so my guess was this wasn't the operating conception of the writers when the movie was actually written. Furthermore, Pegg's proposal seems to be based on a misconception--he thought Sulu was born before 2233 when Nero arrived and the Kelvin incident occurred, but actually the best available info suggests Sulu was born after 2233 (probably in 2237), and Pegg probably got this idea from some badly-sourced info in an older edit of Sulu's wikipedia article, see my comment here for details.
There is no way to reconcile the Franklin's timeline with the timeline given in Enterprise.
- Inaccurate numbering.
- Inaccurate speed.
- Inaccurate transporter.
The design (physical aesthetics) of the Franklin fits with the original Enterprise timeline, the major issue I noticed was that they stated it was the First warp 4 class ship. In Enterprise the NX-01 aka the "Enterprise" was the first warp 5 vessel. Now the Franklin is the NX-326, so unless Starfleet re-tagged a ship that was built before the Enterprise and introduction of warp 5 this naming makes no sense. On top of that we see Scotty say in Beyond that the transporter wasn't used for people, just supplies, but in the first season of Enterprise over and over again, they discuss how the transporter was certified for people (for the first time).
Over the next thirty-two years, warp engine development continued until Humanity's first warp 5 engine was created. This engine was capable of speeds that finally made interstellar travel in more survivable periods possible – that is, in days, weeks or months, instead of years. Consequently, Humanity was able to construct its first warp 5 capable starship, Enterprise, completed in 2151. Initially, Enterprise had a theoretical maximum speed of warp 4.5.
The Enterprise was built in 2151 with a working transporter, Krall receives the Franklin some time after the creation of the Federation in 2161, yet his transporter still isn't classed for living organisms.
Further note, there was no warp 4 capable vessels before the Enterprise according to this except from Memory Alpha:
A final test flight, made by Duvall in the NX-Delta, would break the warp 3 barrier eight months after the Vulcan program of simulations concluded. Construction began five years thereafter on Enterprise NX-01, and it was launched in April of 2151.
The first warp 3 capable engine created by StarFleet was in 2145-6. 5 years later the NX-01 was created, as the first warp 5 capable vessel, with actual speeds starting out around warp 4.5.
The only way to reconcile some of this, is that the Franklin is a post NX-01 ship, like its serial number suggests, but Scotty is using updated warp speeds to discuss an older vessel. We see between Enterprise, TOS, and TNG that the warp factors do not line up, so warp factors "speeds" change over time. So the Franklin could have been the first warp 6 or 7 in Enterprise speeds, but in Scotty's time it could only be the speed equivalent to a warp 4 vessel. This however does not address why the Franklin is using at least 10 years out of date transporters.
In my opinion, The Franklin is most likely post-Enterprise NX-01. Say they were using a warp scale of warp^2 on "Enterprise" (and that the display on "First Flight" showing warp^3 was wishful thinking on the engineers' part). So, "old warp" 8 = 64 x light speed = "new warp" 4. As far as the transporters only being rated for cargo; maybe the Enterprise was just using it for humans/lifeforms the same way Scotty was - by the seat of his britches.
It just doesn't make sense that they would go to NX-326, then to NX-01 (unless they were trying to confuse the Romulans!).
Apparently, it is pre-Federation/pre-Enterprise NX-01. At least according to Memory Alpha (based on a quote from Dylan Highsmith). https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/USS_Franklin
Here's my opinion. It was an older ship than the NX-01. After the end of the Romulan war, and after the creation of the Federation, all of the remaining Earth Starfleet ships were recommissioned as Federation ships. NX-365 is a Federation registry. NX-01 was an Earth Starfleet registry. NX-01 was also decomissioned at the same time due to battle damage, and turned into a museum ship.
On the last Enterprise Episode , the Enterprise NX-01 is being decommissioned after 10 years in space and it's the beginning of the Federation. The crew is talking about serving on one of the new warp 7 ships. The NX ship in the movie only goes warp 4, and the plate with the name of the ship & the old ship's uniforms have the Federation symbol on them. Meanwhile the warp 5 NX ships on the show Enterprise was from before the Federation and didn't have that symbol. So it just doesn't make sense. Plus the NX Captain at the end of Star Trek Beyond mentioned the Xindi. In the show Enterprise only the crew of the NX-01 Enterprise fought the Xindi, there was no war with the Xindi and humanity in general.