The ending of Star Trek Beyond explained

Star Trek Beyond has landed in theaters, and the crew of the USS Enterprise have endured another ordeal in space while averting yet another world-ending disaster. There aren't too many loose ends left to tie up after Beyond's final act, but there are certainly some things that seem like they might carry over into the next Trek movie. Let's take a look at what the ending of Beyond mean for the future for Kirk and the crew—and as always, be warned that there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

The crew will pilot the new Enterprise into unknown territory

Early in the film, the USS Enterprise is torn to shreds by a swarm of alien ships led by Idris Elba's villainous Krall. The attack sends our heroes crashing onto the planet Altamid, where the crew gets separated. Half of them are imprisoned by Krall; Spock and Leonard "Bones" McCoy are injured and get lost; Kirk and Chekov try to hide an artifact from Krall's forces; and Scotty befriends a young female alien named Jaylah. Eventually they escape the planet and stop Krall from unleashing a powerful bioweapon on the starbase Yorktown. In order to do so, they commandeer an ancient Federation vessel called the USS Franklin, but it gets more or less scrapped in the final battle.

Thankfully, the Federation works quickly and gets started on building the USS Enterprise-A at the end of the film, while Kirk and the crew look on. They still have two more years in their five-year mission, so you can bet they'll get some mileage out of the new ship. And since Chris Hemsworth is set to return as Kirk's late father George, we might see some time travel or wormhole action to allow for a reunion between father and son.

Jaylah might join the crew after her Academy training

Newcomer Jaylah quickly becomes one of the more interesting characters in Beyond. Her friendship with Scotty is entertaining, and their back-and-forth interplay is fun to watch. Thanks to this friendship, Jaylah gets accepted to Starfleet Academy on Scotty's recommendation; we're not sure how long she'll train, but it's not entirely out of the question that we might ultimately see her join the crew of the Enterprise. She's a skilled fighter, which is always useful, and she kept the USS Franklin running for a while, so she can be handy with repairs. We'd say she probably has a bright future in the Federation.

Kirk and Spock will return, but the crew might change

Early in the film, Kirk and Spock both play with the idea of leaving the USS Enterprise and doing something new. Kirk applies to become a Vice Admiral in Starfleet, meaning he'd be grounded and unable to fly. Spock gets the news that Admiral Spock, a.k.a. Spock Prime, has passed away. This news, and perhaps the fact that he and Uhura separated, prompts him to want to continue Spock Prime's legacy and teach on New Vulcan. Through the events of Beyond, both Kirk and Spock have a change of heart. Kirk realizes that he really does love being captain and leading his crew, and Spock realizes that his place is beside Kirk and the rest of his shipmates.

In the real world, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have signed contracts to return for a fourth movie, so we can count on seeing these two again. Whether or not they'll be joined by Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, and John Cho remains to be seen, but we're glad we're getting at least another movie out of Trek's rebooted odd couple.

Chekov will not return

Anton Yelchin's character, Pavel Chekov, will not return in the fourth film. Yelchin tragically passed away just a month before Star Trek Beyond's release, and it has been reported that his character, who serves as the ship's main navigator, will not be recast. The film is dedicated to both Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy, with a message for these actors during the credits. We might see Sofia Boutella's Jaylah return and take over as the Enterprise-A's main navigator, but we certainly won't see a different actor as Chekov.

Krall's weapon is still floating in space

It's easy to forget in all the action of the final act, but after the credits, you might want to stop and consider that Krall was jettisoned into space with his bioweapon, which tears biological material apart. The starbase Yorktown might have been spared, but shouldn't we be worried about the floating clouds of doom that are now hurtling through space? Sure, it's probably a long shot that the bioweapon will hit a populated planet, but the possibility isn't nil. They'll just have to hope that this particular baddie doesn't come back (although we're always happy to see Elba on screen).

Spock and Uhura will rekindle their romance

It might not seem like anything major, but being imprisoned on Altimad and almost dying helped Spock and Uhura get their groove back. We're going to gloss over the fact that the necklace Spock gave Uhura is a radioactive tracking device, and just say we're relieved they're back together. The warp-speed turbulence the characters have endured over the span of three movies has probably solidified their relationship, so we don't think it's out of the question for them to take it to the next step in the fourth film. Might we see Kirk officiating a wedding on the bridge of the Enterprise-A?