Major spoilers follow.

In Star Trek Beyond we learn that

Krall is actually Capt. Edison who commanded the USS Franklin as a Starfleet captain after serving in the MACOs during the Xindi and Romulan wars.


The military isn't needed anymore after the formation of the Federation.

So, we can infer he took command

of the Franklin after the major events of Star Trek: Enterprise

Yet the Franklin is

a warp four vessel. In fact, I think it was described as "the first warp four vessel".

Despite that fact, the NX-01 is a warp five vessel.

This creates a lot of unnecessary inconsistency. The events of Enterprise focus on NX-01 being the first long range vessel, heavily resisted by the Vulcans. Yet we have the Franklin now, that predates it.


But furthermore, this means that Edison was in command of the Franklin long after its initial voyages or at least after NX-01's commissioning because he fought in the Xindi and Romulan wars.


The registry of the USS Franklin is higher (NX-326) than Enterprise NX-01.


So did I miss something about this backstory that makes it make sense? Why is the Franklin a warp four vessel? It would have been a lot simpler to just have the Franklin be a warp five vessel, maybe even NX-class, which came after NX-01 Enterprise. Then the whole story would be much simpler.

To reiterate, the question is:

Did I miss something about the purported history which makes the complicated backstory necessary?

  • 3
    i already answered a similar question on movies, and from my understanding its a complete plot hole. In enterprise, the NX-01 is stated to be the first vessel baring the NX tags, while the Franklin is NX 200 something. so unless they re-tagged and old out of date vessel some 20 years later, that still have a piece of shit warp 4 engine in it, it doesnt really make sense.
    – Himarm
    Jul 25 '16 at 16:02
  • 2
    And your right if they would have just changed the line to say it was one of the first warp 5 vessels the entire thing would have worked.
    – Himarm
    Jul 25 '16 at 16:04
  • @ThePopMachine; I thought I was the only one that didn't get this, for supposed fans the writers, Pegg and Jung really dropped the ball on this one. All the nerds at Comic-Com didn't bring this up?
    – sfhq_sf
    Jul 25 '16 at 16:16
  • 2
    +1 for all the spoiler blocked text. It was like reading a madlibs paragraph! Jul 25 '16 at 19:03
  • 1
    Is it worth mentioning that the registry number was chosen to honour Leonard Nimoy?
    – Valorum
    Aug 26 '16 at 21:46

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.

The line "When the UFP Starfleet is formed, M.A.C.O. was disbanded and the ship was reclassified as a Starfleet ship" gives a basic answer to your question about why it would still be in service after 2161 despite predating Archer's Enterprise, though it doesn't address the question of why it wasn't consider the "first long-range vessel" instead of the Enterprise. Maybe just because it wasn't really intended for long-range exploration missions, even if it was capable of it? There may also be other issues that determine fitness for long-range exploration besides the cruising speed, like the efficiency of the matter/antimatter reaction needed to generate power to supply the warp nacelles, and how this relates to the distance it can travel before refueling (along with techniques for making the dilithium crystals last a long time before they need replacement, assuming the Franklin used dilithium at all).

You didn't ask this, but some fans have also wondered why it has a higher registry number, NX-326, then Archer's Enterprise, NX-01. If it was built as a M.A.C.O. ship rather than a Starfleet ship that could explain the seeming inconsistency, 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

  • so this quote basically confirms simon peggs previous quote that in the "new" universe even things before kelvin are different. So as far as we know our story of first contact could be different as well.
    – Himarm
    Jul 26 '16 at 18:09
  • 2
    @Himarm - I don't think anything in the quote is inconsistent with the idea that this was true in the Prime timeline too. And Pegg only seems to have come up with this idea of retroactive timeline shift in response to the controversy about Sulu, there's no reason to think that was his operating assumption when the script was written. And as I argued here, Pegg's statement was based on a misconception about Sulu's age anyway.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jul 26 '16 at 18:14
  • 1
    This is a very complete explanation in answer to my question. Jul 26 '16 at 18:17
  • 1
    You might want to share you insights on this related question.
    – TARS
    Jul 26 '16 at 18:29
  • 1
    @Hypnosifl: I don't think the German tank problem adds anything on this particular question given that it is pretty clear in this case that there's no reasonable way NX-326 (the number itself) would be before NX-01. And the quote shows the reclassification was later. Jul 26 '16 at 19:43

The Franklin does predate Archer's Enterprise.

Beyond the warp 4 reference, there is Scotty's assertion that the transporters were only used for cargo, and that he had to upgrade them for human transport.

The registry number can be explained away a couple of ways. Possibly, Starfleet reset the registry numbers for the introduction of the NX Class; Franklin is listed as "Starship Class". Alternatively, Franklin may have been recommissioned into the Federation Starfleet, having originally served in Earth Starfleet, as an experimental platform, and assigned the higher registry number at that time.

  • 3
    In Broken Bow, I seem to recall the transporters being referred to as "the first rated for human transport".
    – Politank-Z
    Jul 25 '16 at 18:31
  • I think the phrasing was "safe for bio-transport" and there was some question about whether it would be safe for animate life....
    – Praxis
    Jul 25 '16 at 18:39
  • Unfortunately, the writers of these things will never pay as close attention to the small details as we do.
    – Praxis
    Jul 25 '16 at 18:41
  • 3
    @Praxis - a couple of lines after the "safe for bio-transport" line it's pretty clearly described as safe for human use. And, indeed, in later episodes its use for transporting humans has even become routine. The point is that the crew didn't trust it, not that it wasn't either safe or cleared for such use by those responsible for it.
    – Jules
    Jul 25 '16 at 20:14
  • 1
    @Jules : Fair enough, but I'm still not totally convinced. From Scotty's point of view, the Franklin's transporter must have lacked all kinds of safety features that 23rd Century starships take for granted, and he may concluded that what he saw must have been one of those pure-cargo, not-fit-for-your-dog transporters from the early days....
    – Praxis
    Jul 25 '16 at 22:02

UPDATE: The answer below was based upon reasoning prior to the statement by Highsmith. See Hypnosifl's excellent answer for the final word!

The Franklin does not predate Archer's Enterprise.

It is seen in Beyond that the registry for the Franklin is NX-abc where abc is a 3-digit number, and so it was constructed further down the line than the Enterprise.

In the film, it was stated that it was given to Edison as a reward for his heroism during the wars.

As for the Warp 4 discrepancy, a likely explanation is that the warp scale may have been readjusted, just as it was between the TOS and TNG eras. So Scotty's "Warp 4" may have been Archer and Edison's "Warp 7".

  • 4
    great point that the warp scale is most likely altered between enterprise and Tos,
    – Himarm
    Jul 25 '16 at 16:17
  • 3
    The Warp scale has been changed multiple times - Kirk's scale was all over the map - Picard and Janeway's was rather refined and logical but then Admiral Riker goes at Warp 13, so who knows at this point...
    – corsiKa
    Jul 25 '16 at 19:35
  • 1
    Definitely --- the point is, it's certainly not unusual for them to adjust the warp scale, and as the OP pointed out in the question and Himarm in the comments below it, the only real inconsistency is the Warp 4 business.
    – Praxis
    Jul 26 '16 at 0:09
  • I noticed another discrepancy, Scotty says the teleporter on the Franklin was not rated for living teleportation, just for supplies, but Enterprise makes a big deal about how its finally "safe" for humans. Edit -i notice that politank has already mentioned it
    – Himarm
    Jul 26 '16 at 13:43
  • @Himarm: Why must that be a discrepancy? It's not the same transporter... Jul 26 '16 at 17:45

The Franklins backstory is not perfect.

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. NX Prodject

StarFleet did not posses a warp 4 capable engine BEFORE the NX-01. According to the backstory explained in Enterprise. StarFleet had only working warp 1-2 vessels (mostly freighters) and an experimental warp 3 capable engine the NX-Delta. The Enterprise itself is only at first a warp 4.5 vessel.

So according to this it cannot be a pre-Enterprise ship, despite Scottys statement that

"its the first warp 4 vessel in starfleet"

As Politank-Z points out, the teleporter appears to be using pre-Enterprise technology, not being cleared for living lifeforms. This is a major plot point in Enterprise as their teleporters are the first cleared for human use.

Krall would have been given the Franklin sometime after the founding of the federation in 2161, so they would have had at least 10 years in which to update an older vessel to faster engines, and include newer teleporters, OR its a newer ship, with as Praxius states faster then warp 5 in enterprise warp scale, but now only warp 4 in Beyonds warp scale, with a 11+ year old teleporter.

  • Ugh. This rampant downvoting. I will use my upvote to correct a downvote. This is a reasonable answer, pre-Hypnosifl's, and that should be recognized.
    – Praxis
    Jul 26 '16 at 19:53
  • @Praxis haha thanks, shoulda seen the debate below this before the mods cleaned it up, this is apparently not a popular answer.
    – Himarm
    Jul 26 '16 at 19:54
  • If there was no warp 4 ship before NX-01, perhaps the Franklin was a former warp 2 or warp 1 ship that was later (after the construction of NX-01) refit with a faster engine and then renumbered at that time. Perhaps they had to settle for warp 4 due to technical issues with the refit (e.g. structure of the ship couldn't take anything more). Certainly, a project to refit older ships with faster engines could be understood as "expermental", leading to NX (as opposed to NCC) numbering. Aug 27 '16 at 16:38
  • @RobertColumbia that def explains a warp 4 engine on the ship, but then looses its "first warp 4 vessel" title, oh well.
    – Himarm
    Feb 9 '17 at 18:57

It is possible the Franklin was built before the launch of the NX-01. But after it was merged into the Federation Starfleet it was given the 'U.S.S' prefix and the registry number changed from NV-326 to NX-326.

  • 2
    Is there evidence of this?
    – Adamant
    Jul 26 '16 at 8:27

In 'These are the voyages...' It's stated that the nx-01 is cruising at a speed of warp 6, more than 100 years before TOS and at about the same time the Franklin is meant to be from as that episode is set 10 years after the previous one and after the romulan war. Now in TOS its stated that the cruising speed of the 'advanced' Constitution Class is Warp Factor 6. This screams to me that there was definitely a scale change following 2170 and before TOS. But then again, anything could have happened to the scale following 2233 and the timeline change given that the new enterprise is stated as having a max speed of warp 8 but the TOS ship managed to achieve far more than this on regular occasions. It looks like due to the exposure to the Narada and the advances in certain technologies in Warp drive they may have gone to using something similar to the TNG scale in this universe. In which case the Warp 4 statement makes perfect sense. If a ENT era ship pushed to that speed and the engines went into imbalance for some reason it leads me to believe that the Franklin would end up doing a TMP and entering an unstable wormhole, as hinted at in the movie as to how it ended up where it did.

As for the transporter, the lack of 23rd century safeguards may be one reason for Scotty's statement but also a tiny scout ship like the Franklin might not have had the same style of transporter fitted as the advanced tech cruisers of the time, ie. the nx-01 and 02. 10 years may have passed but there wasn't much development in transporter technology over 10 years in TNG, VOY and DS9. They were still getting it badly wrong in TMP to the point it killed 2 people so bio matter transporters not being standard issue and being limited to the most advanced ships of the time in ENT makes perfect sense as well.

  • "In 'These are the voyages...' It's stated that the nx-01 is cruising at a speed of warp 6" Is it? When's that, then? Jul 26 '16 at 17:52
  • During a conversation between Archer and Trip in the captains personal dining room I believe.
    – Gareth91
    Jul 26 '16 at 20:37
  • Are you maybe thinking of when Trip mused to Archer about the new "Warp 7 beauties" Starfleet was building? Jul 26 '16 at 20:39
  • "While drinking to the warp 7 engine with Tucker, Captain Archer toasts "Here's to the next generation", another reference to the episode's involvement with the TNG series." My mistake, it was warp 7 but I distinctly remember the line "and here we are cruising at warp 6". Either way, if it was warp 7 that still proves my point even more, warp 6/7 cruising in the mid 2100s, a century before the same quoted speeds in TOS. I'll rewatch the episode tomorrow to double check.
    – Gareth91
    Jul 26 '16 at 20:48
  • "and here we are cruising at warp 6". I cannot find that line in the transcript. Jul 26 '16 at 20:54

Don't forget that this is in the alternate timeline because of the reboot, therefore anything can change or be different between the original timeline (Archer's Enterprise) and the new one.

  • 3
    The point of change was after Archer's career as a captain. If they want to stick to the "alternate timeline" concept, his life and history cannot change.
    – T.J.L.
    Jul 26 '16 at 12:12
  • @T.J.L: That is not true. It has been repeatedly stated by the production staff that the incursion by Nero caused timeline changes that rippled backwards as well as forwards. Whether you or I find that plausible or not, it is effectively canon. Jul 26 '16 at 17:56

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