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This is where it begins, Lieutenant Uhura. This is where the frontier pushes back!
~ Krall to Uhura and his most famous line
Krall, originally known as Balthazar M. Edison, is the main antagonist of the 2016 sci-fi action film Star Trek Beyond, the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek film series.
He was a human senior officer at the MACO Organization who had been mutated into a reptilian form by alien life-extending technology after crashing upon a planet with his crew. Thus, Krall sets himself on destroying the Federation for abandoning him and his crew.
In the twenty-second 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 a 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 the 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 bioweapon, the Abronath, Krall began reassembling the components. About one hundred years after the Franklin crashed on Altamid, Krall learned the USS Enterprise had the final component. During the Enterprise to Altamid, Krall and his forces destroyed the starship and took many of the surviving crew prisoners. 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 disintegrated by the very bioweapon he planned to use on the inhabitants of Yorktown. Afterward, Kirk and Commodore Paris closed the file on Krall and the crew members of the USS Franklin.
Captain's log, I don't remember the stardate. All distress calls unanswered. Of the crew, only three remain. I WON'T ALLOW IT! 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 Federation do not care about us. You'll probably never see me again. But if you do... be ready.
~ Edison's final captain log before declaring war on the Federation.
Back when he served as a MACO officer in the 22nd century, Edison became an unemotional and 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.
However, Edison's resentment 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.
When he was still human, Edison is a dark-skinned, middle-aged British man with a beard until the usage of energy transference technology to expand his lifespan deformed him into a reptilian humanoid like his fellow surviving crews. Aside from his appearance, the alteration of his physiology also resulting his voice become deeper than usual and Edison's physical strength exceeded that of his original strength, as he easily overpowered Kirk in their first confrontation. However, after he drained the energy from several of Kirk's human crew, Edison's appearance becomes closer to his original self and his voice also restored to normal. However, his physical strength also reverted to the original, as when confronted Kirk once again, Kirk now able to fight toe on toe against him.
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 the 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 it's 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."
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 adapt 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 an 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.".
In backstory that was conceived for the movie but omitted from it, Krall's takeover of the alien society and technology on Altamid would have been portrayed as having been possible because the aliens were essentially mindless, weapon-less drones.
(Nyota Uhura: You have committed an act of war against the Federation.) Federation?! Federation is an act of war.
~ Nyota Uhura and Krall, on Krall's actions.
Your captain... Why did you sacrifice yourself for him? (Uhura: He would have done the same. And if he made it off that ship, he will come for us.) I am counting on it, Lieutenant Uhura.
~ Krall and Uhura, regarding James T. Kirk.
This is where the frontier pushes back.
~ Krall, to Uhura.
My old friend.
~ Krall, on seeing the Franklin.
(Kirk: What happened to you out there, Edison?) Edison? I have to say, Kirk, I've missed being me. We lost ourselves but gained a purpose! A means to bring the galaxy back to the struggle that made Humanity strong. (Kirk: I think you underestimate Humanity.) I fought for Humanity! Lost millions to the Xindi and Romulan wars. And for what? For the Federation to sit me in a captain's chair and break bread with the enemy! (We change. We have to. Or we spend the rest of our lives fighting the same battles.)
~ James T. Kirk and Krall, on Humanity
(Kirk: You lost. There's no way for you to make it back there! Give up!) What, like you did?! I read your ship's log, Captain James T. Kirk. At least I know what I am! I'm a soldier! (Kirk: You won the war, Edison. You gave us peace!) Peace... is not what I was born into.
~ James T. Kirk and Krall.
You... can't stop it. You will die. (Kirk: Better to die saving lives, than to live with taking them. That's what I was born into).