Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe made the concept of a shared universe the popular thing to copy in Hollywood, Star Trek was doing it. The syndicated television shows in the 90s, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and then Enterprise, all existed in the same universe established by the 1960’s Original Series. They had a shared canon, and it wasn’t unusual for characters from one show to appear in another, or even move to another show entirely.
Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige is a huge Trekkie, and has talked about his love for the franchise many times, so it’s no surprise that Marvel is trying to emulate Star Trek in many ways. And this influence may even go as far as giving us hints about how the ten-year saga could culminate in Avengers: Endgame.
The third movie in each Marvel trilogy involves destroying something, and Feige admitted to Crave back when Thor Ragnarok was released that it’s a trope they took from Star Trek:
“And I had never even thought out of this until right now, but maybe that is a trope that we… I had never thought of this before, but what do we do in Iron Man Three? Blow up Tony’s house, blow up all of his suits. 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.
In every part three, we can. And we’ve blown up Asgard in this! Oh my god, we’re one-trick ponies. Oh my god… Search what happens in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.”
For those of you who haven’t seen Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, it’s actually the second movie in what Trekkies consider the “Trilogy” that begins with The Wrath of Khan and ends in The Voyage Home. Kirk and crew are up against a wall with the Klingons on the Genesis Planet and he tricks them into beaming aboard the Enterprise with the ship rigged to self destruct. It’s one of the most memorable Star Trek moments ever, and it’s no surprise it stuck with Feige.
That’s not the only way the Star Trek Original Series has influenced the MCU. After The Search For Spock, the Enterprise crew found themselves in 1986 San Francisco trying to bring George and Gracie back to the 23rd century to repopulate the species of humpback whales. While on the bus, Kirk and Spock meet a punk who’s annoying everyone with his loud music, and Spock knocks him out:
Kevin Feige is such a big Star Trek fan, he gave that guy a cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming as the guy with the boom box when Spidey is doing his daily routine early in the movie. His name is Kirk Thatcher an he explained to StarTrek.com why Feige included him in the movie:
“Also, the reason this all happened is that Kevin is a big Star Trek IV fan and he has told me that he was a big fan of the punk scene,” Thatcher continued. “So, I guess it just tickled him to include that character, 30 years later! I’m hoping this turns into a long series of ‘Punk on the…’ cameos that can fund my early retirement.”
But it’s not just the Original Series that influenced Feige. Like many of us, he was a teenager during the years of The Next Generation, and that show obviously made a huge impression on him just like it did all of us. Last year he explained to Entertainment Weekly how its finale, All Good Things…, influenced his thinking of how to end things:
“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. That wasn’t about death. Picard went and played poker with the crew, something he should have done a long time ago, right?”
As we see, the man in charge of Marvel Studios is a big-ass Trekkie. But how could this love of Stark Trek influence how it all culminates in Avengers: Endgame? This next part is all speculation, but there could be clues in another Star Trek series and when put together with Avengers: Endgame leaks…there could be a big hint.
We know from leaked set photos for the fourth Avengers movie that there appears to be an older Tony Stark in the movie. He has much lighter hair and graying on his goatee. This look was actually captured in an officially-released Avengers: Infinity War “Family” featurette last year, where it looks like the RDJ interview footage was filmed while they were making Avengers: Endgame as that’s how he looks in he set photos:
How does this connect to Star Trek? We need to look at yet another series for that.
The series finale of Star Trek: Voyager was titled…”Endgame“.
The episode features an old Janeway in an imperfect future where it did take years for Voyager to return home, and the crew is in pretty bad shape as a result. Janeway travels through time to sacrifice herself and change history so the bad future she came from never exists. TNG’s finale “All Good Things…” also features Picard jumping between different time periods, giving a nostalgic look back at the show.
Both of those plots sound pretty similar to some of the rumors about what Avengers: Endgame could be about. Based on Kevin Feige’s past comments about how much he loves Star Trek; it wouldn’t be surprising at all if we see a big Trek influence in the culmination of his 22-movie cinematic universe.