It has been a while since I saw it so please forgive me for asking.

In Star Trek 2009 Kirk is thrown off the Enterprise, his escape capsule crashes on a Moon.

Is it coincidence that his crash-location is within walking distance to 'Spock's cave' (and that he walked in the direction of the cave)?

A time-traveling Spock could know where Kirk was crashing&running so he could have waited at that cave. But aside from Spock's time-travel being accidental (and thus probably not having the location-info) he is very surprised to see Kirk run into his cave. So is it just coincidence?

  • 15
    The answer is "plot hole".
    – Valorum
    May 15, 2014 at 21:06
  • 9
    That film is more hole than plot! May 16, 2014 at 1:15
  • 10
    That's no moon; it's a plot hole.
    – Ben Miller
    May 16, 2014 at 14:23
  • 4
    @BenMiller - That's too big to be a plot hole.
    – user8719
    May 17, 2014 at 12:10
  • 7
    Who needs plot when you have the "red matter"?
    – Praxis
    Feb 6, 2015 at 5:23

4 Answers 4



Old Spock was on Delta Vega because he'd been essentially exiled (or, more appropriately, cast aside) by Nero on that planet1, specifically because (miraculously) it was close enough to Vulcan to see it being destroyed, but not close enough for it to be pulled in or otherwise affected by the black hole Nero created to destroy it.

It was certainly not deliberate: Old Spock had no say in the matter, and it's extraordinarily doubtful that Nero would have put him where Kirk would find him (to say nothing of the fact that, given how drastically they've already altered the timeline, neither of them could have had any relevant prescient knowledge of these events anyway).

Kirk arrived there by sheer accident, it simply being the most convenient place for Young Spock to drop him off when he exiled him.

So, yes, Young Spock just happened to drop Kirk off on the same planet Old Spock was on, and Kirk just happened to land close enough, and just happened to walk in the right direction, for the two to meet. So, yes, one big cosmic coincidence.

1 Not a moon! Vulcan has (had) no moon. Well, I guess it could have been a moon around a neighboring planet in the system, but could just as easily (and arguably more likely) have been said planet.

  • 1
    For a related question and details about Delta Vega: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/11758/1973
    – Plutor
    May 15, 2014 at 21:24
  • @Plutor Thanks, I'd forgotten the name of the planet!
    – Kromey
    May 15, 2014 at 21:40
  • Given that 40 Eridani is about 0.46 Sols luminousity, yeah, it could very well be a planet of it's own.
    – aramis
    May 18, 2014 at 4:43
  • 3
    big cosmic coincidence? No, it's like the anthropic principle. Of all the universes where similar things happened, this is the one where the story was worthy of having a movie made about it. So it just seems unlikely. Sep 4, 2015 at 14:34
  • 1
    Abrams just doesn't give a damn about distances and visibility in space. You could perfectly see Vulcan from Delta Vega, and you could see The First Order blowing up New Republic's capital system from across the galaxy, which , judging from the spread and distances shown on screen, appereantly is a little farther from Maz Kanata's castle than Mars is from Earth.
    – Petersaber
    Jan 21, 2017 at 21:02

Its a bit of a coincidence but not as big as it seems. Spock was there because his captors were attacking Vulcan and that moon was a good place to leave him to watch. Kirk was there because his ship had been deployed to stop that same attack, Kirk's rebellion occurred while in orbit and again it was a convenient place to drop him that wasn't Vulcan itself. Since Kirk would also be dropped onto the side of the moon facing Vulcan given the circumstances, that puts Kirk and Spock on the same side of the same moon.

From there, they were both headed to the same base. The chances of their paths eventually converging are a bit small but not infinitesimal. Especially if beasts and elements were forcing them both to seek shelter along the way. But given that all the original Star Trek crew managed to end up on the same ship regardless of differences in the timeline, it could be one of those "timeline trying to fix itself" things.

Basically, coincidence yes, cosmic coincidence, no.

  • 4
    The same side of the moon? Yes, because moons are usually tiny
    – Valorum
    May 15, 2014 at 21:06
  • 2
    @Richard Yes, but Delta Vega wasn't a moon. en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Delta_Vega_(Vulcan_system)
    – Kromey
    May 15, 2014 at 21:37
  • 2
    ...cosmically (comically?) insanely implausible coincidence...
    – Kromey
    May 15, 2014 at 21:43
  • 1
    It doesn't fall within the realm of strict logic I agree but it does work well enough for purposes of narrative convenience and narrative causality. In particular, they keep the plot going fast enough to keep it from being a problem during viewing. Does it make sense? Not really but OMG its young Kirk and Old Spock. May 16, 2014 at 17:46
  • 2
    How long were they at high warp, from Vulcan? They should have been well out of the system. Also, why was Scotty supposedly abandoned so, if within a shuttle ride from a founding planet?
    – user001
    Sep 4, 2015 at 10:14

Speculation follows.

In the TOS episode "The City on the Edge of Forever", Spock suggests that there are eddies and currents in time that could make it more likely that he and Kirk could have been brought somewhere close to where McCoy had appeared. (They're in New York City; Kirk had just speculated that McCoy could have landed in Boise, San Diego, or Outer Mongolia.)

These "eddies and currents" seem to be attributes of time itself, not of the Guardian of Forever that had brought them to 1930 Earth. Perhaps the same phenomenon could have handwavingly brought Kirk within walking distance of Spock. Or rather, since it was Spock who had traveled through time, it could have brought Spock to the place where Kirk was going to show up. (Oh, and Scotty is within walking distance of both of them.)

The same "eddies and currents" could explain why the counterparts of the crew are all together on the ISS Enterprise in "Mirror, Mirror", even though they're the product of a vastly different history.

Here's the relevant dialog from "The City on the Edge of Forever", copied from IMDB:

Capt. Kirk: Time we faced the unpleasant facts.
Spock: First, I believe we have about a week before McCoy arrives, but we can't be certain.
Capt. Kirk: Arrives where? Honolulu, Boise, San Diego? Why not Outer Mongolia, for that matter?
Spock: There is a theory. There could be some logic to the belief that time is fluid, like a river, with currents, eddies, backwash.
Capt. Kirk: And the same currents that swept McCoy to a certain time and place might sweep us there, too.
Spock: Unless that is true, Captain, we have no hope.


I'd like to think that fate draws them to each other, like they were meant to be together. It brings something mystical to all the science fiction.

  • 1
    Welcome to Sci Fi and Fantasy SE, we like to see answers with a bit more evidence and a bit less opinion. Although a very interesting point of view, is there anything said or in the screenplay that may suggest it was fate? A quote or something?
    – Edlothiad
    Jan 21, 2017 at 20:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.