A day at Bad Robot gives us a better look at 'Star Trek Into Darkness'
The Bad Robot offices occupy a large building in Santa Monica that you would never notice just driving by. I missed it the first time around the block, and had to circle back before I was able to hand off my car to the waiting valet. I was afraid I'd missed the start of today's "Star Trek Into Darkness" event, but ended up making it in just enough time to get my green wristband, join my group, and start the tour of the building, designed to give us a look inside one of next year's most anticipated sequels.
To be clear, there was one point in the day where we saw something we had to promise not to disclose. I wouldn't say it radically changed anything I'm going to share with you, but instead simply served to amp up my own enthusiasm because it was really, really, yes, I'm going to say it three whole times, REALLY cool.
If you're curious about the identity of the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Paramount took care of that earlier today, and they're not lying to you. They released an image of Zachary Quinto as Spock, Cumberbatch in the cell that held Loki and Silva, and Chris Pine as Captain James T. Motherscratchin' Kirk, and in the caption, they named him as "John Harrison."
Yes, there was indeed a character named Harrison on the episode "Space Seed," the original series moment that introduced Khan Noonien Singh, played by Ricardo Montalban. Harrison had a fourteen episode run, evidently. And, no, I did not know that before today, and neither did most people. No, I don't think he's playing that character, nor do I think that is a confirmation of the character as Khan hiding under another name. I think Abrams likes to play the game, and I think this time out, there is an opportunity to really tweak those who have tried to crack the picture. Do I think it's possible it's Khan? Sure. In fact, I'd say probable, and this is most likely a bit of the ol' bob and weave. I'd also argue that there is only one villain that means anything to the general public as far as "Star Trek" is concerned, and that's Khan. Any other character name and most people aren't going to get it. There were people advancing the theory that it's Gary Mitchell, and I think the fact that an all-powerful godlike lunatic is named "Gary Mitchell" is one of the reasons "Star Trek" villains are hard for most casual fans to remember.
But, yeah, it's probably Khan. And I think they're not doing "Wrath Of Khan." They're doing an alternate "Space Seed." This is part one of whatever they'll do with him. I think they'll play Khan back and forth in terms of what audiences are supposed to think of him. The conversation doesn't end with "Is he Khan or isn't he?" The bigger question is "If you're going to bring back Khan, what are you going to do with him that's new and interesting?"
For example, not everyone was loving the news when Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker. But when you saw his Joker, it was instantly obvious that he was nothing like previous takes, and that was interesting. Just because I'd seen the 1989 "Batman" didn't mean I knew the way the script would unfold for "The Dark Knight." One is not a remake of the other. They're just two films that play with the Batman and Joker archetypes in different ways. That's what this seems like to me. That's what Abrams and company bought themselves when they reset the clock on everything.
For this entire article, keep in mind... I don't have all the answers and I'm not being coy by pretending I do. For the most part on this one, I am just looking at the same marketing materials that you guys either have seen or are about to see, and I'm reacting to that. The full-length trailer will have the footage that ran on the Japanese spot, and by "hiding" it, Abrams only made it more enticing
Our first stop was in the Bad Robot screening room, where JJ Abrams introduced the new trailer for the film that arrives on December 17th, and while it's not radically different than the announcement video that Paramount released last week, it did suggest some new things about the film. It starts with Bruce Greenwood (I believe, since we only hear the voice) as Pike, talking to Kirk. Considering he's the one who got Kirk to start taking his future seriously, it would make sense that Pike would be the one to talk about some hard truths to him again. "You have greatness in you… but no humility." He talks about how one day, Kirk is going to make a mistake, and he's going to be sure he's right, and by the time he realizes he's not, he's going to get his entire crew killed. We saw more quick shots from other sequences in the film, and those who are worried about an Earth-bound "Star Trek" probably shouldn't be. It looks like there are some major space sequences in the film, and I'm pretty sure I even saw a hint of the Klingons in there.
Then again, that could just be because I saw some Klingons later in the day.