In the Star Trek universe, there's a Mirror Universe where the Federation and our familiar Trek characters are basically the opposite of what it is in the main universe. Instead of a force for good, they're a force for evil. In the original Star Trek timeline, they could access this Mirror Universe via transporter.

In the 2009 film Star Trek, a new timeline is established when Nero and Spock travel back in time. Were the people in the new timeline to attempt to go to the Mirror Universe, would they end up in the same one as the original timeline, or would they end up in a new Mirror Universe that parallels the new timeline?

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    There a couple things to consider... Nero, instead of simply destroying Vulcan and trying to destroy Earth out of a specific vengeance against the Federation, simply, finding himself back in time decides to go on a killing rampage and tries to destroy ALL worlds. M Class- kaboom. This requires someone in the mirror(null)-universe to actually invent and use red matter so that Nero can rampage in the mirror(divergent) universe. Which would make the mirror(null) universe just an even more horrific place since people would weaponize red matter (singularity) weapons. Space littered with black holes
    – erdiede
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 15:58
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    Life may not even exist in the galaxy in the mirror universe about 130 years after the events of the new Star Trek. Spock said that a supernova "threatened the entire galaxy". Unless the mirror Spock had succeeded in the same red matter gimmick.
    – HNL
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 15:52
  • Once Vulcan was destroyed, the Federation has no back up, no help in future technologies, none of it. Would you say the new Kirk is more aggressive enough to be the man that gets the Federation destroyed? Which is the end game of the mirror universe. They can only ruin the story not going that path.
    – user65912
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 14:20

6 Answers 6


In a Mirror, Darkly is an episode (in two parts) from Enterprise that features the Mirror Universe.

Enterprise is canon with regards to Star Trek (2009).

Ergo, the Mirror Universe DOES exist in Star Trek (2009) and the new timeline it spawned. As to whether it will be visited? Only time will tell.

I think that it is probable that the Mirror Universe will change to be consistent with the altered timeline - it maintains things to the point where there are duplicates of each person (at least of the main cast) in both universes, despite the odds being against it.

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    Interestingly, "In a Mirror, Darkly" revolves around the finding of the starship lost in the TOS episode "The Tholian Web". Did that event still take place? Was it altered so that the ship they found was from the new timeline? Commented May 10, 2016 at 16:07

While not canon, IDW, the publishers of the Star Trek comics based on the recent film, will be publishing a Mirror Universe issue soon. The preview of it makes it clear there is a new Mirror Universe that corresponds with Star Trek's new timeline. So there are now 4 universes.


Well, both the Mirror Universe and the new 2009 timeline can both be thought of as simply different alternates in the multiverse of infinite alternates. Therefore I would say that both remained in-tact, and that there always were alternates even of the Mirror universe.

Based on probably the most well-known multiverse theory, that new universes are spawned with every decision by every individual, there is no guarantee even that the Mirror in DS9 was actually the same Mirror as in the original show, ... just one of a ZILLION children of that one - given all the individual choices made between TOS and DS9 by every sentient being in the galaxy.

Heck, the DS9 one might not even be a descendent of the TOS one at all, but could have branched off BEFORE the TOS one, and been a very close sibling or cousin timeline, as opposed to a descendent one.

So in short, I'd say yes, the original Mirror was still out there, along with all the zillion others. Stargate did a really good episode - a couple actually - dealing with the multiverse concept.

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    In DS9 they established early on that the Mirror Universe they were visiting was the same one Kirk and friends were in.
    – user1027
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 16:40
  • Thing is, projecting forward from the TOS one, there were an AWFUL lot of decisions happened in the century or so between Kirk and Sisko. So there would've been a LOT of branches from the "known state" of that universe as it was known to Kirk and Co. So the question becomes which of those branches they fell into. Not that it really matters I guess, as this establishment just means then they were in a child branch as opposed to a cousin/sibling branch. But there are still plenty of children to choose from too.
    – eidylon
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 16:45
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    @Keen if you subscribe to the infinite alternates theory how would the characters have been able to tell? There would only have to be one different choice made by one person half way across the galaxy to spawn a new universe. Or did they perform non-televised quantum signature scans in both the TOS and DSN episodes (similar to the episode where Worf jumps universes in TNG).
    – Xantec
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 16:45
  • @Xantec See eidylon's comment above yours. Also, we probably saw pieces of a whole bunch of them in TNG 7x11 Parallels ;)
    – Izkata
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 23:55

I've never been much of a fan of "mirror" universes, as they're more a literary novelty than anything that might logically exist. In the real world, a small difference in the past will inevitably have huge effects on the present and even greater on the future—the further back that an alternate universe/timeline branches away from your reference universe/timeline, the greater the differences in the present will be.

Something like a mirror universe as portrayed in fiction is pretty much impossible, since these mirror universes are generally caused by some huge historic event playing out differently in the distant past. So you wouldn't have an "evil Archer" or an "evil Whorf", as their parents/grandparents, or even great-great grandparents, etc. would unlikely have ever met or married, as events that originally brought them together wouldn't have occured.

I mean, if being 5 minutes late or 5 minutes early can cause you to never meet your best friend/wife/boss/etc., then what would be the repercussions of sweeping cultural and sociopolitical changes like Earth being an expansionist empire with a militaristic government or Vulcan being conquered by the Terran empire? Surely by the 23rd century the ripple of changes would have become so widespread that it's unlikely the entire Enterprise crew would still exist in the mirror universe, much less all be stationed together like in the prime universe.

So whether the new timeline would have its own mirror universe really just depends on the writers, since the dynamics of mirror universes are completely arbitrary and irrational.

And I'm sure some people will argue that the infinite alternate universe/realities theory means anything is possible, but I personally don't subscribe to that notion. Having infinite realities doesn't mean that all realities must necessarily exist, just as an infinite set doesn't have to include all numbers. (Though it's a perfect way to excuse all plotholes and bad writing. Plus I'd love to be able to imagine that there's a reality out there where Jadzia Dax is my wife.)

  • Just out of curiosity, since the beginning of the answer refers to sci-fi in general, how do you feel about the way parallel universes were portrayed in Sliders?
    – Izkata
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 0:09
  • I'll have to check Sliders out before giving you a definitive answer, as I've never actually watched the show. But based on what I can glean from the wikipedia entry, it seems like the first 2 seasons might be the type of alternate timelines I prefer. Whereas the 3rd season that has alternate versions of the main characters is again as unbeliavable as the mirror universe in Trek. There's plenty of dramatic material for a TV show in exploring the social/cultural consequences of alternate histories without falling on the novelty of "alternate universe twins" IMO. Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 0:26
  • What about the idea that alternative realities which initially diverge might converge again (at least in part)? I remember reading a short story years ago about a group of inter-dimensional travellers from the year 4500 of "our" reality stumbling across a similar group of travellers from a reality that was 2,500 years after the Germans winning World War 2, but discovering that the only noticeable differences were that everyone spoke German instead of English, and the space suits were a different colour.
    – Wallnut
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 15:51

I don't think the new timeline has a separate mirror universe form the old timeline. The alternate timeline was created when Spock went on a mission of mercy to save Romulus from a supernova. Mirror Spock became the leader of the Terran Empire, which was eventually conquered by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Even if Spock survived his defeat, I don't know that he would have ended up trying to save the Romulans from the supernova. Thus, the alternate universe's mirror is probably the same one as the original universe.


Out of universe answer: A mirror universe is a trick that is more suited to a TV series than a movie or sequence of movies.

In the televised series, all the main characters are very well established over the course of dozens of hours, and in this context it is interesting to present a radically different version of these familiar characters in a mirror universe.

It doesn't seem likely that the current cast is ever going to appear in a Star Trek tv series, and given the long time between the last movie and the upcoming one (4 years!) I don't think they'll last more than 3, 4 movies at most. That gives a total screen time of around 10 hours; slightly more than half a season's worth of 40 minute episodes. That time is sorely needed to establish and develop the 'real' version of the characters; every minute spent on mirror characters goes at the expense of the actual heroes of the movie.

Maybe it could be considered for the final movie with the current actors. The older Trek fans might love it, but I doubt J.J. Abrams would dig it. Speaking of Abrams, all the mirror universe episodes seem to contain a lot of social commentary and morals. That's an aspect of 'old', Roddenberry Trek that was pretty much ignored entirely in the 2009 movie in favor of more action.

  • ~poke~ A full season is around 15 hours of 40-minute episodes (14 hours for 21 episodes, 16 hours for 24 episodes)
    – Izkata
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 2:28
  • @Izkata: I was thinking of 26 episodes per season (as in TNG, VOY and DS9) and they're actually slightly over 40 minutes. ~poke back~ But alright, maybe less than half a season isn't entirely accurate.
    – Junuxx
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 2:34

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