I don't ever remember Chekov in the original series ever have anything to do with engineering. Is there an in-universe reason for him being there?

  • Wow, closed without exaplanation or the chances of question enhancement seems a bit harsh...
    – RMalke
    Jun 19, 2013 at 2:01
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    @RenanMalkeStigliani: The closing reason is just below. "It's difficult to tell what is being asked, vague, broad, etc..."
    – Saturn
    Jun 19, 2013 at 2:15
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    The question should be broken up, as there are two questions actually being asked here.
    – Xantec
    Jun 19, 2013 at 11:32
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    I'm going to vote to leave closed until the question is broken up
    – The Fallen
    Jun 19, 2013 at 13:12
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    @Teri - as others noted, please (1) Break this up into 2 questions. Also (2) For the first, one, explain why you feel that Chekov wasn't supposed to be in engineering in the rebooted universe aside from "well before reboot it was different". Jun 19, 2013 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


Chekov wasn't in the first series (of the original series) when the Enterprise encountered Khan and, so Khan shouldn't have recognised him in The Wrath of Khan. This is a well known meme among fans.

The idea behind putting Chekov in engineering was to provide an explanation as to why Khan may have recognised him. He was on the Enterprise, but was a junior ensign in engineering and not on the bridge, so Khan could well have seen him.

In short, it's one of those nods to fans of the original Trek that appear in the reboot (like comments about Admiral Archer's prize beagles).

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    But that's a completely different timeline. The Wrath of Khan is part of the same timeline as TOS, where the Enterprise crew first meet Khan through the Botany Bay encounter rather than the way they met in Into Darkness. Without Space Seed, Wrath of Khan wouldn't make sense. But there's no way you can shoehorn both Space Seed and Into Darkness into the same timeline. Jun 20, 2013 at 9:10
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    Making a nod to something or pay an homage to a previously existing work does not mean it makes rational sense. Sometimes writers may do this to give readers or viewers an inside joke or Easter Egg as a way of acknowledging their continued commitment or secret understanding of a particular series of work or ideas. We know there can be no relationship to the two events but if you are a fan, you might make the correlation anyway. Jun 20, 2013 at 11:10
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    I didn't say it made rational sense. That is, as I understand it, the reason why Chekov was stuck in Engineering in "Into Darkness". It was a plot device by the writers. The "Trivia" section on IMDB gives the back story that Kirk promoted Chekov in the original series because he "During the prime universe takeover, Chekov attempted to seal off engineering" which impressed Kirk and got him promoted to the bridge.
    – user15360
    Jun 20, 2013 at 11:24
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    @Lèsemajesté "That Mudd incident last month" was another such nod
    – Izkata
    Jun 21, 2013 at 0:46
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    @Lèsemajesté The point user15360 was making, as I understand it, is: Kirk is still a captain, Mudd is still Mudd, McCoy is still a doctor... They act as nods to TOS while at the same time implying that certain things won't change. So Chekov being in Engineering in both timelines isn't that far-fetched.
    – Izkata
    Jun 21, 2013 at 13:52

It is standard policy in most naval services for personnel to be cross trained in a variety of ship services. For example, if you read through the Wikipedia entry for the Submarine Warfare Insignia there is this comment about the US Navy version:

To earn the right to wear the pin, prospective submariners complete an extensive qualification process that lasts about one year (for both enlisted and officers, though the two programs differ significantly) and covers virtually all of the submarine's systems.

Where "virtually all systems" is the key phrase.

The reason for this is that, while deployed on a mission, the people the ship has are the only ones that it's going to have. It may go weeks, or even months without seeing a port where it can replace personnel.


Kirk asks him about his shadowing of Mr. Scott; it's clear he has been cross-training into engineering.

For navies, cross training is fairly common, at least to apprentice levels (Keeping in mind that apprentice is the lowest rating actually holdable). Many people in the USN are rated in 2-3 fields, albeit their best rating is their formally trained field; a significant minority take free-time to train in a more desirable field than the one they were trained in, and "strike" for a new rating in that field; not a few actually get reassigned into the alternate rating.

Further, on board ship, the potential for promotion by attrition is much better if you can fill multiple different people's jobs.

Further, Chekov shows some clear engineering talents in ST XI - his ability to do things that even a much more experienced specialist can't pull off - with the beaming of the falling targets.

So, Chekov has good career reasons to cross-train - promotability and survivability - and has been shown to have natural talent in engineering. Cross-training is a normal part of the inherited naval traditions. And it's confirmed by dialogue that he has been cross training. Kirk further knows that Chekov is second only to Scotty in raw natural talent.

Therefore, it's reasonable that Kirk would put him in charge of Engineering.


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