This latest sequel features a new adventure for Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew, one that forces them to leave the confines of their ship and find themselves stranded on an alien planet -- so think "The Martian" but with 100 percent more phasers.
Before you don your finest Federation attire and head to the theater, here are five things you need to know about the new crew's third adventure.
1. Director Justin Lin Is Changing Things Up
Paramount faced a bit of a crisis after director J.J. Abrams jumped ship from the "Star Trek" franchise to "Star Wars." After some further turnover, the studio settled on "Fast Five" helmer Justin Lin (right). Based on the trailers, it seems the studio is hoping that Lin's more action-packed, crowd-pleasing take will draw in general audiences. Luckily, early reviews suggest this approach worked.
And Lin, along with writers Simon Pegg (Scotty) and Doug Jung, have arguably made the funniest "Star Trek" film since 1986's "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." Trust us, we know -- we've seen it!
2. It's More Like the Classic TV Series
As "Beyond" opens, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew are three years through their five-year mission, and some mission drift is starting to settle in. The film involves an encounter with one of those new civilizations the Federation are always going on about. Basically, expect "Beyond" to play out like a longer, flashier and more expensive installment of the classic "Trek" TV series. That seems to be one of the main reasons behind the film's critical success.
3. You're Gonna Meet Some New Aliens
When Idris Elba was cast as "Beyond's" big bad, many assumed he'd be playing a Klingon. But the Klingons will continue to take a backseat in this rebooted universe. Instead, Elba is playing Krall, a ruthless commander of an army of Swarm ships who has little love for the Federation or Captain Kirk.
On the flip side, Sofia Boutella will appear as Jaylah, a warrior trapped on Krall's planet who ultimately sides with Kirk's stranded crew.
4. RIP, U.S.S. Enterprise (2009 - 2016)
"Beyond" looks to buck the trend of most "Star Trek" films by taking place mostly planet-side rather than in the depths of space. Much of the conflict revolves around the Enterprise crew forced to abandon ship and take refuge on Krall's deadly planet when Krall kills their ship.
The death of Enterprise occurs early in the film, and it's too bad the crew of this ship hasn't had a chance to really bond with the iconic vessel -- outside of it being the thing that gets them from A to B. But for real Trek fans, seeing their favorite ship get, as Krall says, its throat cut, is still a body blow -- especially since the last time Kirk and crew were in a Part III ("The Search for Spock") the Enterprise also met an explosive end.
5. There Will Be a New Enterprise
With the recent announcement of "Star Trek 4" bringing Kirk's dad, Chris Hemsworth, back to the Final Frontier, the crew of the Enterprise will obviously return. Which means they will have to get a new ship. Look for their new ride -- the Enterprise-A -- to make an appearance before the end credits roll.
Both Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are signed on for the fourth film, but the untimely death of Anton Yelchin makes the return of the character of Ensign Chekhov unlikely. Recent interviews with filmmakers indicate that the role will also not be recast.
While it will be sad to see a "Trek" without one of our favorite shipmates aboard, we can't help but be excited to see Kirk and company explore more strange new worlds on the big screen.
"Star Trek Beyond" beams into theaters Friday.
A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims. Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that's aboard the badly damaged starship. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet. Read More