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During the events of Star Trek Beyond (2016), an Abramsverse/Kelvin Timeline film, the crashed USS Franklin is found and salvaged.

Looking at the actual timeline of events, the USS Franklin is reported lost in 2164, while the split of the Prime/Kelvin timelines occurrs in 2233. This means that the USS Franklin has been sitting there on Altamid for almost 70 years before the timelines split, and so the Franklin would be considered lost in the prime timeline as well.

Do we have any information on the fate of the Franklin in the Prime timeline? I'm imagining that while Picard is literally burying Kirk on Veridian III in 2371, the Franklin is still literally gathering dust on Altamid and guarded by an elderly Jaylah, but have there been any official hints that this is or is not the case?

From an out-of-universe perspective, the ship was most likely invented for the film Star Trek Beyond and so wouldn't have gotten screen time on any previous episode or film, but if this is not the case (e.g. "If you squint, you can see 'USS Franklin NX-326' on a manifest of ships docked at Deep Space Nine in 2372...."), then that would be an answer.

  • Is the ship still lost, gathering dust on Altamid?
  • Do the incidents with the ship and the Swarm happen "off-screen" from the perspective of the Prime timeline? That is, more or less the same things happen, but Kirk may or may not be involved, etc., and/or it might cover some "lost years" content.
  • Do the ship and associated characters have a completely different fate? E.g. "According to the 2019 novel Jaylah v. Picard, Prime Krall gives up his experiments on the Swarm and restores the Franklin with Jaylah, and they fly off to become pirates, attacking dozens of dilithium cargo ships and miners over the years and building a criminal empire. Many decades later, they are hunted down and blown up by a young Picard in command of the USS Stargazer."

A fully canonical answer is of course preferred, but if this has only been addressed in material of lower canonicity such as novels, that would be an answer.

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One thing you ought to bear in mind is that according to Simon Pegg -- the co-writer of Star Trek Beyond -- the Kelvin incident didn't merely alter the existing timeline from that point forward; it "created an entirely new reality in all directions":

With the Kelvin timeline, we are not entirely beholden to existing canon, this is an alternate reality and, as such is full of new and alternate possibilities. “BUT WAIT!” I hear you brilliant and beautiful super Trekkies cry, “Canon tells us, Hikaru Sulu was born before the Kelvin incident, so how could his fundamental humanity be altered? Well, the explanation comes down to something very Star Treky; theoretical, quantum physics and the less than simple fact that time is not linear. Sure, we experience time as a contiguous series of cascading events but perception and reality aren’t always the same thing. Spock’s incursion from the Prime Universe created a multidimensional reality shift. The rift in space/time created an entirely new reality in all directions, top to bottom, from the Big Bang to the end of everything. As such this reality was, is and always will be subtly different from the Prime Universe. I don’t believe for one second that Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t have loved the idea of an alternate reality (Mirror, Mirror anyone?). This means, and this is absolutely key, the Kelvin universe can evolve and change in ways that don’t necessarily have to follow the Prime Universe at any point in history, before or after the events of Star Trek ‘09, it can mutate and subvert, it is a playground for the new and the progressive and I know in my heart, that Gene Roddenberry would be proud of us for keeping his ideals alive. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, this was his dream, that is our dream, it should be everybody’s.

Taking this into account, there's no guarantee that the Franklin actually existed in the Prime universe, or that it suffered the same fate as the one in the alternate (Kelvin timeline) universe, even if it did exist in both.

As for whether the Franklin ever appeared in any Star Trek canon prior to Star Trek Beyond, it did not. It was designed specifically for that movie by Sean Hargreaves (Senior Concept Designer on the film), who explained the design process in interviews such as this and this.

As such, there's no evidence that it ever existed outside of the alternate universe, or of what happened to it if it did.

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    I had a look at that article before I posted my answer, and while it offers a backstory for the Franklin, I didn't see any indication that this backstory is canon to both the Kelvin timeline and the Prime timeline. Did I overlook something? Feb 21 at 16:30
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    It pre-dates the Kelvin incident. Hence is likely to exist in both timelines.
    – Valorum
    Feb 21 at 16:35
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    @Valorum the main thrust of this answer would seem to be that the pre-kelvin history of the Kelvin timeline does not have to match that of the Prime timeline.
    – Jontia
    Feb 21 at 17:26
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    @Jontia - Sure. It doesn't have to, but by and large it does
    – Valorum
    Feb 21 at 18:05
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    This is very true in the sense any alteration to the past of a time traveler will affect time in all directions. Data may not meet Mark Twain if Edith Keeler has a different day. That said im personally looking forward to everything JJ and Kurtzman have done being decanonized and a return to the classic universe. Prime exists only in their works. Feb 21 at 20:05

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