There are many mysteries surrounding J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness. Is John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) really just a codename for some better-known Trek villain? Could you really park the Enterprise underwater? Will the sequel repair and/or improve upon the narrative problems that plagued the first film? And perhaps more important than all of those: why the hell couldn’t they put a damn colon between “Trek” and “Into,” thus rendering the title at least 95% less annoying?
Sadly, we don’t have answers to those questions for you today, but we do have some new insights on the Trek sequel from screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. During an interview with Star Trek Magazine, Orci provided a few more details about John Harrison’s backstory, which really just adds some shading to things we already knew, primarily that he has a connection to Starfleet.
He understands Starfleet because he was enlisted in a similar way. Some might see part of the title coming from the fact that he’s kind of a dark shadow of members of our crew.
He too has gone through the process… that some of our crew have gone though, and clearly for some reason it’s failed to bring him over, so I think he represents that part of our heroes.
One of the best Star Trek films ever hinges primarily on a battle of wills between two characters: Kirk and Khan in The Wrath of Khan. While that setup is rich with potential if done well, it doesn’t always work (see Star Trek: Nemesis). And unfortunately, the place where Star Trek Into Darkness may live or die is in the script itself, because once again Orci and Kurtzman are behind the keyboard for this one, along with Damon Lindelof.
Orci and Kurtzman have a, let’s just say “storied” history, having worked on projects ranging from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys up through Alias and Fringe. On the big screen, they wrote Mission: Impossible III, which was pretty good. They also wrote the first two Transformers movies, which were…not. Hopefully they were channeling more of their MI selves and less of the Transformers side when it came time to write Star Trek Into Darkness (In Search of a Colon). As for Lindelof, well, he wrote the script for Prometheus. Make of that you will. I’m just hoping Into Darkness lives up to its trailers.
In the same interview, Kurtzman says that, in spite of the inherently darker tone of the Trek sequel, it still contains a core the hopefulness and optimism of Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.
Despite the fact that we are literally going into darkness, I think we all worked very hard to make sure the theme of hope, what hope costs, and what it’s really about, was always alive in how we were designing our story. So we’re pretty consistent with the last movie in terms of dark things happening,but holding on to the light that Roddenberry set up as a basic tenet of the Star Trek universe.
Star Trek Into Darkness opens in theaters on May 17th.