When ‘Star Trek’ Was Like ‘The Matrix’

Do ‘Star Trek’ and ’The Matrix’ share a universe?

Paramount / Warner Bros. Do ‘Star Trek’ and ’The Matrix’ share a universe?

The vastness of stories told within the realm of ‘science fiction is huge. And thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sometimes even “magic” falls into the category of sci-fi. Even as what is considered science fiction has broadened in the past few years, the one bellwether franchise that stands out among all is “Star Trek.” Since its inception, Trek has attempted to stay grounded in reality, or what scientists believe might happen in our future.

As with all things, there are exceptions to this rule. For “Star Trek,” a few might be “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” — when the Enterprise journeyed to the center of the Milky Way to meet God. Scientists are pretty sure that the center of the galaxy is occupied by a massive black hole, not a bearded deity. 

Not Very ‘Scientific’

Janeway and Paris Turn Into Slugs | Star Trek VoyagerClips from the bad episodes. Janeway and Paris have evolved into slugs and had children! This is a clip from arguably the worst Star Trek episode ever aired. Episode Name: Threshold Aired: January 29 19962018-04-01T20:29:04Z

Another funny example of Trek not following science is the episode of “Star Trek: Voyager” when Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) turned into amphibians after breaking the Warp 10 barrier. More recently, in the final episode of the third season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) battled members of the evil Emerald Chain in a nifty turbolift scene, which must have spanned the length of a hundred football fields — well beyond what the inside of the Discovery could house.  

Either way, thanks to “Star Trek,” so many other sci-fi shows, series, and films thrive, according to Ridley Scott. The “Alien” and “Blade Runner” director told Den of Geek that “you can thank, God bless them, ‘Star Trek.’”

Those who are swimming in Trek’s wake are “Star Wars,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and hundreds of novels written since 1967. All modern sci-fi owes a debt to Trek — even “The Matrix.” While some may argue that “The Matrix” and the films and animations which followed may owe more to “The Terminator,” as Scott said and we summarize: There would be no modern science fiction without “Star Trek” paving the way.

Trek & ‘The Matrix’

THE MATRIX—NEO LEARNS THE HORRIBLE AND SAD TRUTH ABOUT THE MATRIX FROM MORPHEUS—FULL HDA clip from the 1999 movie The Matrix— Thanks for watching and please like and subscribe for more epic tv clips.2019-08-24T13:00:40Z

Many fans know that “The Matrix” is a story about technology gone wrong. Thanks to humanity’s success at making full-conscious machines, things get out of hand when the machines strike back. Inevitably, the machines beat the humans and make nearly all humanity into living batteries to power the vast mechanical empire.

In a way, that could be the untold story of the Borg and how they came to be. In fact, a scene from the first “Matrix” shows a baby connected to all kinds of technology, which is eerily similar to the Borg. 

Much of the story involves how humans infiltrate the computer system of the machines, a holodeck-style reality called the Matrix. On December 22, a new episode of the “Matrix” story begins, called “The Matrix Resurrections.” To mark that, here are some of the most Matrix-y stories in “Star Trek” history.

Please note: Thanks to the holodeck, holosuites, holo-doctors, and other holo-emitter technologies, some might argue that any of those episodes could be considered to be like ”The Matrix.” We have not included those in this list.

The Original Series’ Spectre of the Gun

Star Trek Dialog-Spectre of the GunOne of my favorite Spock explanations. From "Spectre of the Gun." Spock eloquently explains why nothing they are seeing and feeling is real. This is an example of well-written dialog, which was delivered by Leonard Nimoy most expertly. The choice of words together with stunning voice inflections calls back a time when television acting was…2010-10-27T06:01:02Z

Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), and Chekov (Walter Koenig) find themselves in a simulation of the famous O.K. Corral gunfight. Chekov is “killed” by a gunshot, but Spock surmises that Chekov is injured because he believes he was shot and was not shot in reality. 

This is almost precisely what Morphius (Laurence Fishburne) explains to Neo (Keanu Reeves) in the “Matrix” trilogy. Much like in “Spectre of the Gun,” nothing is real, and reality is merely an enormous simulation.

The Original Series’ Return of the Archons

Star Trek The Original Series Ruminations S1E22: The Return Of The ArchonsWebsite: lorerunner.com Help Support Lorerunner: patreon.com/Lorerunner Twitch: twitch.tv/thelorerunner Stream Uploads: youtube.com/channel/UCOcYPN7aEsrcywD_uuSHXRw All original works are the property of respective owners.2021-09-06T09:00:00Z

This story is similar to the premise of “The Matrix” as well, as Kirk and Spock encounter a planet of people controlled by a machine. The computer in “Return of the Archons” was not acting quite right. Eventually, Kirk asked it a series of questions which caused it to malfunction. Too bad Neo can’t just question Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) instead of all that fighting. 

The Next Generation’s Frame of Mind

Star Trek TNG – What Is Real? (Season 6 Ep. 21)Clip from the episode "Frame Of Mind" Description from IMDb – imdb.com/title/tt0708718/2019-12-08T02:00:10Z

This one takes the cake — one of the most ‘Matrix-y’ episodes of Trek has got to be “Frame of Mind.” Riker (Jonathan Frakes) was on an undercover mission for Starfleet. While on Tilonus IV, Riker was captured and plugged into a computer that simulated scenarios directly into his mind. Eventually, Riker figured out that everything was fake and was able to ‘wake’ from the simulation.

When Riker breaks free from the simulation, he rejoins Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise. In “The Matrix,” when Neo wakes from his simulation, he is ejected from a pod and flushed into a sewer. 

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