Orci On Canon And TimelinesBy T'Bonz
December 13, 2008 - 4:43 AM
In spite of seeming differences from traditional Star Trek, Star Trek XI remains within canon with modern-day science able to explain away the time-travel.
As reported by TrekMovie.com, Star Trek XI co-writer Roberto Orci explained how quantum mechanics allows for different timelines. "If you look at quantum mechanics and you learn about the fact that our most successful theory of science is quantum mechanics, and the fact that it deals with probabilities of events happening. And that the most probable events tend to happen more often and that one of the subsets of that theory is the 'many universe' theory. Data said this [in 'Parallels'], he summed up quantum mechanics as the theory that "all possibilities that can happen do happen" in a parallel universe. According to theory, there are going to be a much larger number of universes in which events are very closely related, because those are the most probable configurations of things. Inherent in quantum mechanics there is sort of reverse entropy, which is what you were trying to say, in which the universe does tend to want to order itself in a certain way. This is not something we are making up; this is something we researched, in terms of the physical theory. So yes, there is an element of the universe trying to hold itself together."
The destruction of the USS Kelvin creates an alternate timeline, but does not erase the original timeline. "The original timeline remains after Nero leaves it," explained Orci. "According to the most successful, most tested scientific theory ever, quantum mechanics, it continues." The "many-universes interpretation" of quantum mechanics says that there is a very large, perhaps infinite, number of universes and that everything that could possibly happen in our universe, but doesn't, does happen in some other universe(s).
This type of time-travel is different than is usually presented in movies. "Quantum mechanics avoids the grandfather paradox that 'Back to the Future' relies on, which is: you can go back in 'Back to the Future' and screw with your own birth and potentially invalidate your own birth," said Orci. "In quantum mechanics that is not the case. In quantum mechanics, if you go back and kill your own father, then you just live on as the guy who came in from another universe who lives in a universe where you killed some guy, but you don’t erase your existence doing that."
So it would appear by the above that the timeline from the original series through Star Trek: Nemesis will continue to exist. However, Nero's time-travel will set up an alternative timeline. Any changes will be chalked up to the timeline being the alternative timeline. As Janeway said in Future's End, "I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these Godforsaken paradoxes. The past is the future, the future is the past, it all gives me a headache."
To read more, head to the article located here.