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Krall (Star Trek)

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This is where it begins, Lieutenant Uhura. This is where the frontier pushes back!
~ Krall, to Uhura, his most famous line

Krall, originally known as Balthazar M. Edison, is the main antagonist of the 2016 sci-fi action movie Star Trek Beyond. He was a human who had been mutated into a reptilian form by alien life-extending technology.

He was portrayed by Idris Elba, who previously portrayed Colin Evans in No Good Deed, Russell "Stringer" Bell in the HBO series The Wire, and voiced Shere Khan in the 2016 Jungle Book movie.



Captain Edison in the 22nd century.

In the 22nd century, Edison joined United Earth's Military Assault Command Organization (MACO), rising to the rank of Major, and fought against the Xindi and then the Romulans in the Earth-Romulan War. After the founding of the Federation, MACO was absorbed into Starfleet and Edison was given the Starfleet rank of Captain. In 2163, he was appointed commanding officer of the USS Franklin, the first Earth ship to have reached warp four.

A year later, the Franklin disappeared. Popular speculation ranged from the ship being captured by the Romulans to the ship being caught by a giant green hand. Having crashed on the M-class planet Altamid, Edison and the other Franklin survivors felt abandoned by the Federation. Sinking into madness, the survivors came to despise the Federation for its ideals of peaceful cooperation. Transformed, Edison began calling himself "Krall" during this time. Finding a cache of weapons, ships, and technology on Altamid, Krall and his forces began plotting their revenge against the Federation for their embrace of diplomacy and tolerance that he never agreed in the first place. Their equipment included humanoid drones and swarm ships, as well as technology that prolonged life by absorbing the life from other beings, transferring energy from the victim to the user, resulting in said user being physically morphed and mutated into having at least some of their victim's physical characteristics. It was this technology that mutated Edison into Krall, at the cost of his already-damaged mental health, causing him to lose some of his human personality, have somewhat slurred speech and usually speaking in an alien language.

Learning of an ancient bio-weapon, Krall began reassembling the components. About 100 years after the Franklin crashed on Altamid, Krall learned the USS Enterprise had the final component. Luring the Enterprise to Altamid, Krall and his forces destroyed the starship and took many of the surviving crew prisoner. Once Krall obtained the final component, he left to destroy the nearby Yorktown with the bioweapon, with Captain James T. Kirk and the remainder of the surviving Enterprise crew following in pursuit.

Krall's forces were destroyed, and Krall himself was defeated by Kirk when Kirk opened an airlock on the station. Sucked out into space, Krall was enveloped and killed by the very bioweapon he planned to use on the inhabitants of Yorktown. Afterwards, Kirk and Commodore Paris closed the file on Krall and the crew members of the USS Franklin.


Back when he served as a MACO officer in the 22nd century, Edison became a hardened man who witnessed millions of Humans perish by alien hands during Xindi and Romulan conflicts. Battles that Edison endured had deteriorated his better qualities as a person in some ways, given that he deeply resented what he saw as being put out to pasture: His calling as a soldier rendered obsolete by the Federation's embrace of diplomacy and tolerance by the time of its foundation.

Captain's log, I don't remember the stardate. All distress calls unanswered. Of the crew, only three remain. I'M LEFT BEHIND! The indigenous race abandoned this planet long ago. They left behind sophisticated mining equipment and a drone workforce. They have some sort of technology that prolongs life. I will do whatever it takes for me and my crew... The Fed-Federation do not care about us. You'll probably never see me again. But if you ready.
~ Edison's final captain log before declaring war on the Federation.

Edison's resentment, however, twisted into hatred after he and his ship crash-landed on Altamid, with Edison himself, Anderson Le, and Jessica Wolff as the only survivors and never getting any response from the Federation when he sent out a distress call. Believing that he had been abandoned by the Federation, his resentment festered into violent hatred, and he resolved to destroy the Federation and prove that peaceful coexistence led only to weakness as in his final captain log, he declared war on the United Federation Of Planets.

Creation and Conception

The thing that we didn't want him to be was just out for revenge [....] We wanted his motivation to be more complex, and more mysterious.
~ Simon Pegg's explanation on how Krall's motives supposedly looked like in Star Trek Magazine issue 184, p. 14

When the role of Krall was being devised as main antagonist, the writers of the movie wanted to differentiate him from the main antagonists in the previous two reboot films, the Romulan Nero and Khan Noonien Singh, both of whom were driven by revenge. Regarding Krall, Simon Pegg explained that his motives would be more complex and mysterious than previous main antagonists that appeared so far. Similarly, Star Trek Beyond Director Justin Lin wanted the character to have a legitimate reason for hating the Federation, which the filmmakers had decided they wanted to examine in the movie.

The costume designed for Krall was intended to seem unique and merge with the alien's body. "Justin wanted you to look at Krall and not be sure whether its him or an armor, where the man within starts and stops," reflected Costume Designer Sanja Hays, "and he wanted you to not be sure how he changed, and what really happened with him. Justin wanted us to create something you hadn't seen in previous Star Trek movies, or previous sci-fi movies."

Idris Elba and Justin about Krall

Idris Elba on set for his role as Krall, discussing how his role would worked out to Justin Lin

As Justin Lin saw it, there was only one real contender for the role of Krall. "Idris was my top choice by far," the director said. "Because a lot of times antagonists don't really have a lot of screen time. So you need someone who can command a presence and be able to fully commit and carry that through very surgically. We had a great first conversation." During that initial discussion, Elba and Lin conversed for about an hour. "But at the very end he paused," continued Lin. "I was like, 'Aw, shit.' He goes, 'It's gonna be four hours of make-up every morning, right?' I said, 'Yup…' It was four hours every morning, and he was awesome. He's delivering a 100% every time." Commented Simon Pegg, "Our villain is a very interesting force [....] We worked with Idris [Elba] on the fine details, which was a really productive process [....] He was really good at pitching little character details, which we were able to adopt and put in." Doug Jung said about the character, "He's got the classic Star Trek villain qualities to him." Kirk actor Chris Pine noted about Elba's performance as Krall, "He was very alive and present, and changing stuff from one take to the next." In Pine's opinion, Elba thereby "came up with this really rather extraordinary character." Uhura actress Zoë Saldana offered, "I really liked this character, Krall. I like what he's about. He also represents a lot of individuals in the past 10 to 15 years [....] [He's] a very lethal Big Bad – and, the make-up is astounding!" Sulu actor John Cho remarked, "The composite [character design] I saw was incredibly frightening." Cho also called Krall "an interesting bad guy." McCoy actor Karl Urban agreed, "He's a worthy adversary because, like all good villains, he forces the protagonists to question themselves and to question their direction."

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