Today saw the debut of the first significant footage from JJ Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness (we’re not counting the single-digit number of frames he brought to US TV) and it’s promising big action and big peril for the crew of the Enterprise. Here’s what we noticed on display.
Teaser trailers are dead. “Announcement” trailers are all the rage these days. Didn’t you know? Didn’t you get the space memo?
This Star Trek film seems to be focused on Earth in a way no Star Trek movie has since First Contact. After the glimpse of Future London on the poster comes visits to Future San Francisco in the opening shot, and Future LA (look, Ma, it’s Nakatomi Plaza!). Of course, it could just a nod to Die Hard from a Visual Effects wag, but it does raise the tantalising possibility of a scene where Kirk and Spock relax by watching Bruce Willis movies.
This footage seems to make sense of the idea in the official synopsis that “an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet”. That unstoppable force of terror seems to be played, as we all knew, by Benedict Cumberbatch, but we did wonder how one man would detonate Starfleet. The teaser seems to suggest that, somehow, he controls and crashes Starfleet starships into major Earth cities. “You think your world is safe?” taunts Cumberbatch. Clearly it isn't.
The name of Cumberbatch’s character is still under wraps. There’s been speculation from the off that he’s Khan or relatively little-known TV show villain Gary Mitchell. The trailer, in which Cumberbatch declares that, “I have returned to have my vengeance” seems to hint at Khan, who Star Trek lore tells us is mightily narked with Kirk for stranding him on a barren planet. But can that be the case in this version of the timeline? We’re still no wiser on the back story. And he is seen wearing a Starfleet uniform later in the trailer, which tends to support the Mitchell interpretation (he was a member of Starfleet who developed immensely increased psychic powers after encountering the "galactic barrier").
Kirk and Bones at one point run and leap off a cliff on an alien world dominated by red plants. Could this be the world on which Cumberbatch’s character is stranded? If, indeed, he is stranded on an alien world.
The Enterprise had better be waterproof. And able to function with seaweed in its deflector dish.
The crew of the Enterprise visit Mustafar! Just kidding, but they will be hanging about in dangerous lava fields where explosions are likely at any moment. Starfleet Health And Safety must have been off the ball that day. Probably not pictured: bloke in a red shirt, having just fallen into the lava.
Alice Eve – who is now confirmed as Carol Marcus, aka the character introduced in The Wrath Of Khan as the scientist mother of Kirk's son – gives good scream. She also seems to be a love interest for Kirk, judging by the earlier shot of the pair staring at each other. Love interests for Kirk don’t tend to have a hugely long shelf life. Or indeed life. Either way, let's hope she gets more screentime here than she did in Men In Black III.
The title alone, and Cumberbatch’s menacing voiceover, suggests that this Star Trek won’t be as comedic or playful as the first movie. Then we have various glimpses here of returning characters, including John Cho’s Sulu, looking worried, explosions ripping through a ship that looks like the Enterprise, and Simon Pegg’s Scotty holding/comforting a distressed-looking Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Why would Uhura be distressed? Well, she is Spock’s girlfriend and…
From the off, Abrams and his writers – Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci – have denied that this is a reboot of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. But then the Japanese trailer – 15 seconds longer than the US/UK version – has this shot, while Cumberbatch teases Kirk, “Is there anything you would not do for your family?” Kirk and Spock touching hands against glass: we’ve seen that before. Is this a farewell gesture? Is someone about to sacrifice himself? Is Spock, once again, saying that he has been, and always will be, Kirk’s friend? Or is Kirk the one saying goodbye this time?
All will be revealed when Star Trek Into Darkness hits screens on May 17.