All Of The Times That Star Trek Inspired The MCU
There’s little doubt that, when it comes to science fiction, “Star Trek” has made its mark on the world. Like “Star Trek,” Marvel is known for its expansive interstellar universes, where ordinary men are often left to contend with the mind-bending mysteries that lie beyond the stars. Knowing all of this, it’s no surprise that many of the minds behind MCU films have been major “Star Trek” fans. Furthermore, there are numerous scenes throughout the comic book-based franchise that hearkens back to “Star Trek” in several ways.
Of course, there are smaller details out there, such as “Star Wars/Trek” being one of the many things in Steve Rogers’ 21st-century to-do list. However, there is also more than one instance of Marvel moviemakers taking story ideas from Gene Rodenberry’s iconic series. So, without further ado, here are all of the times that “Star Trek” inspired the MCU in a major way.
Endgame's plot is inspired by two Star Trek episodes
One great thing about Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is that he isn’t shy about sharing his inspirations. “I talk a lot, because I’m a big-ass nerd, about ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ ‘All Good Things.’ That to me is one of the best series finales ever,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly after the release of “Avengers: Endgame” in 2018. Why is this series finale so important? Because the episode resembles “Endgame” in more ways than one, as it features Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) traveling back and forth through time to save the universe from a spatial anomaly.
A more direct comparison, however, might be with the aptly-titled finale of “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Endgame.” As pointed out by Nerdist, aside from sharing a name with the aforementioned “Avengers” film, the “Voyager” episode also focuses on an aged Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) traveling to the past in order to undo the mistakes she made across the entire series. This sequence of events seems all-too-similar to how “Avengers: Endgame” follows the Avengers as they travel time to right the wrongs of their past. On a side note, Nerdist also points out how the credits of “Avengers: Endgame” features the cast members’ signatures, something which was also done in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”
Every third MCU film is one big Star Trek reference
So far, all of the MCU inspirations taken from “Star Trek” have been based on some convenient parallels between each franchises’ stories. When it comes to “Iron Man 3,” ‘Captain America: Civil War,” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” however, Kevin Feige has spoken directly about each film’s Trekkie influence. According to Feige, the losses sustained by each of these films’ protagonists are inspired by a certain “Star Trek” film.
“I had never thought of this before, but what do we do in ‘Iron Man 3?’ Blow up Tony’s house, blow up all of his suits,” Feige told Crave Online. “What did we do in ‘Captain America 3?’ Shatter the Avengers, shatter his relationships with Tony Stark and half of the characters that have become his present day foundation…And we’ve blown up Asgard in [‘Ragnarok’]! Oh my god, we’re one-trick ponies. Oh my god … Search what happens in ‘Star Trek III: The Search for Spock’ … They blow up the Enterprise. That’s where we got it.”
Indeed, all of the things Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor lose in their respective third films are similar to the things Captain Kirk (William Shatner) loses in “Star Trek III.” From suffering the death of his only son to seeing the starship he once commanded blown up and losing his esteemed military rank, Kirk goes through the veritable wringer in the same way that Marvel’s heroes lose what matters most to them.
Q has more to do with the MCU than you might think
One of the most compelling MCU reveals of late was the introduction of the Watcher, the mysterious and powerful cosmic being who kept a close eye on the events of the MCU animated series, “What If…?” Now, both the Marvel and “Star Trek” universes have their fair share of godlike entities from outer space. In the case of the Watcher, however, there is a direct influence coming from none other than Q (John de Lancie) from “Star Trek.”
“What If…?” director Bryan Andrews confirmed this fact himself during an interview with /Film. If you look closely at the two characters, the similarities are not hard to see. Much like the Watcher, Q is also a highly advanced cosmic being with godlike powers who takes a peculiar interest in the activities of humans even when the rest of his species looks down on such behavior. At times, both characters are even compelled to interfere in the affairs of lesser beings.
That’s about where the similarities end. While the Watcher tends to be a non-partial observer, Q is often a pompous and meddlesome trickster. Even so, their similarities still mean that Q makes a fitting model for this version of the Watcher (even if the original predates Q by two decades).