Characters from Star Trek Beyond with more meaning than you realized

Star Trek Beyond is sort of a vacation from Star Trek. Incoming director Justin Lin has said it's supposed to be like an extended episode of the original series: a standalone story with little influence from or impact on the overarching canon. So while the characters introduced might not have longterm significance in future storylines, that doesn't make some a little more fascinating than others. Obviously, the following contains SPOILERS.

Jaylah

If you saw any of the trailers or posters, you couldn't miss the yellow eyes of Jaylah (Sofia Boutella). Based in part on Jennifer Lawrence, she's a scavenger living on Altamid when she rescues Scotty from a group of restless natives near her "house"—the wreckage of the long-lost USS Franklin. Not only does she prove pivotal in helping Kirk and the gang take on big Beyond baddie Krall and get back into space in one piece, she ends the movie as a new Starfleet recruit, which we're taking as a hint that we might soon see Jaylah on the deck of the Enterprise.

Ben

We only hear his first name and he's onscreen for less than a minute, but Ben is a hugely significant character in the new Star Trek universe. Played by co-writer Doug Jung, Ben is revealed as the husband of Hikaru Sulu (John Cho) and is raising a daughter with the Enterprise lieutenant, making Sulu the first openly gay main character in Star Trek history. Ben will no doubt be seen in future installments, but we're wondering whether it'll actually be their daughter who plays a bigger role down the road.

Krall

Krall (played by Idris Elba) is obviously central to the plot of Star Trek Beyond, but it's his true identity that elevates him from a typical baddie into a mythical figure in Trek lore. We learn the evil Swarm leader used to be Balthazar Edison, long-lost captain of the USS Franklin. A former military commander who had battled the Romulans and Klingons for years, he grew to resent Starfleet's mission of peace. When the Franklin became stranded on Altamid (and Starfleet didn't find them), Edison turned to alien technology to prolong his life, which transformed him into Krall. In his final Captain's log, Edison warns, "You'll probably never see me again. But if you do, be ready."

Kalara

When we first meet Kalara (played by Lydia Wilson), she's an alien in distress and taken aboard the Enterprise. But after Krall attacks, we find out she's a member of his crew who's tricking Kirk and Chekov to help him get his hands on an artifact. But even with all the deception, Kalara is only half what she seems: Like Krall, she was once a crew member on the USS Franklin. Previously known as Jessica Wolff, she was mutated with the same technology that turned Krall into a super-villain.

Manas

Like Krall and Kalara, Manas (played by Joe Taslim) was once a crew member on the USS Franklin—his name was Anderson Le. But once stranded on Altamid, he morphed into Manas and became Krall's go-to henchman. He was tasked with corralling all the survivors of crashed starships on Altamid and taking them to Krall, where they were used to extend the Franklin survivors' lives. But his own synthetically extended life was cut short when a fight with Jaylah (whose family he had kidnapped) sent Manas falling to his death.

Commodore Paris

Commodore Paris (played by Shoreh Aghdashloo) doesn't have a tremendous amount to do in Star Trek Beyond, but that's what makes her so significant. She's the commander of Yorktown—Starfleet's newest and most advanced starbase on the outskirts of the universe. In fact, aside from a few commanders, she's the only Starfleet officer in the movie. While the film is set during the storied "five-year mission" to go "where no man has gone before," there's a surprising lack of Starfleet involvement in Star Trek Beyond. Kirk is basically left to his own devices when the Enterprise crew single-handedly saves Yorktown, but Paris does eventually offer him a job, which could come into play again later.

One of the Starfleet officials

It's pretty difficult to claim that a character has meaning when they don't even have a name, but in this case, it's the actor that makes the character noteworthy. You might not recognize him even without the alien makeup, but that's Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as one of the Starfleet officials in Yorktown. A big Star Trek fan, he reportedly arrived on the set "with a big entourage," and filmed a a few quick scenes. He posted his transformation on Vine:

Fi'Ja and Zavanko

Bezos doesn't make the only unexpected cameo on Star Trek Beyond. Community's Danny Pudi and pro body builder Kim Kold play Fi'Ja and Zavanko, respectively. Although neither character has much significance beyond their small parts in Star Trek Beyond, the actors did their part to keep up with all the Stormtrooper cameos in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Kold also made an appearance in director Justin Lin's Fast & Furious 6, and Lin held an online contest to see if fans could guess the aliens' identities.

Commander Finnegan

Commander Finnegan only makes a few brief appearances in the movie, but they're memorable if you're really into Easter eggs. The Yorktown officer is played by Greg Grunberg, an actor whose face should instantly be familiar to anyone who's familiar with the work of Star Trek Beyond producer J.J. Abrams. Grunberg and Abrams grew up together and the director has included him in nearly everything he's done, all the way back to his WB drama Felicity. Grunberg later spent five years on Alias, played the doomed pilot on Lost and even made a cameo as an X-Wing pilot in Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ensign Syl

If you're wondering why you don't remember seeing actress Melissa Roxburgh in Star Trek Beyond, it's because she's all but unrecognizable beneath the intricate costume of Enterprise crewmember Ensign Syl (the one with the secret compartment in her head). Syl first falls into the action as the Enterprise is being ripped apart by Krall's forces and Kirk asks her for a favor. It's only later that we learn he's given her the precious artifact to hide where only she can.

Kirk Prime

The timelines of the original Star Trek and J.J. Abrams reboot series are loosely tied together by the inclusion of the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy), but the rules separating both the original storyline and Abrams "Kelvin timeline" aren't all that clearly defined. Nimoy's Spock exists in a completely separate universe from the younger version (played by Zachary Quinto)—they're the exact same person, but still able to have a nice chat. To pay tribute to Nimoy after his death in 2015, the young Spock learns that "Ambassador Spock" has died, and Quinto's character finds a snapshot of the other Enterprise crew. "Kirk Prime" is the name Trekkies use for William Shatner's character, and his appearance (even in a photo) is pretty intriguing. Although it hints that we could see another crossover, Shatner has also said it probably won't happen.