We truly have been blessed with great space-themed movie news this week, haven’t we? Even with the worry over Rogue One’s reshoots, we’ve heard the promising plans for the Han Solo spin-off and the leaked details about the plot of Thor: Ragnarok. And now, the director of Star Trek Beyond Justin Lin has divulged even more details about his treatment of Trek and his love of the franchise.
His comments follow the debut of the movie’s latest trailer, which garnered a more favourable response than its predecessor.
Haven’t seen it yet, or want to watch it again? Check it out below:
Speaking to Collider, Lin promised that Beyond will follow on from JJ Abram’s instalments, yet it will bound into territories new.
“I definitely want to approach it with respect... But, at the same time, I’ve been brought in to hopefully have a point of view. You know, this is a big universe, and in my turn I wanted to explore here and this is what I want to do. That’s something that I can’t speak more highly about this cast and crew.”
Lin also discussed how he wanted to push the characters to new heights in the movie, keeping the action from the previous films but returning to the familial bond of the crew in the Original Series.
Indeed, we get a sense of that in the conversation between Kirk and Bones in the trailer. As Scotty-portrayer and Beyond scriptwriter Simon Pegg said in an earlier interview, the filmmakers have taken a fresh look at the fundamental components that make the characters and the world of Star Trek work:
“It’s more that they’re dealing with what would inevitably be the psychological impact of doing it. [...] They’re going from adventure to adventure and it’s kind of tiring, and wondering what the end game of it all is.”
So, it’s going to be very interesting to see how these relationships develop throughout the movie, especially after the Enterprise is attacked and they are forced to fend for themselves on a strange planet.
Lin agrees, stating that “...I feel like it’s important to maybe try to deconstruct ...Federation [and] Starfleet...”
How to do this? Enter Idris Elba’s villain Krall, who has a mysteriously personal vendetta against the Federation and all that it stands for. And from the sound of things, he’s quite formidable.
“It definitely is not a character you’ve seen before.” Lin affirms.
“For me it was important because this film would not exist without this character [...] it really was hinged off, again, this antagonist’s philosophy. And [...] getting one of Idris’s caliber and talent has been amazing.”
Once again, the Star Trek filmmakers are playing things very close to their chests in terms of plot details (remember the Khan debacle over Into Darkness?) but the plot revolving around the villain's philosophy is a very interesting point.
We've seen this direct opposition to the Federation before in the various series, mainly because other species want to conquer or suppress it; the Romulans and the Borg are notable examples of this. Yet in the rebooted series, the villains' vendettas have a personal edge.
Eric Bana's Nero attacked Spock and the Enterprise in the 2009 movie because he perceived that they were responsible for his planet's destruction. To him, destroying Earth and the Federation in the past meant that the Romulan Empire would be free to enact its own will. Similarly, in Into Darkness Peter Weller's Admiral Marcus tries to manufacture a war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire because he disagrees with his organisations' benevolence.
Will something similar have happened to Krall? Is he merely out to conquer, or has he had a bad experience with the Federation previously? Did they make things personal? Have they deceived or manipulated him as they did with Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) of have their seemingly benign actions had a devastating effect upon his life?
Lin disclosed that the events of Beyond will occur two years into the Enterprise's original five year mission, where they will explore new cultures and worlds. However, the Federation's Prime Directive forbids their Starfleet from interfering in the progress of other species. In Star Trek's fifty years, other captains and commanders have erred from the Directive somewhat (like in the 1998 move Insurrection), but Kirk explicitly broke this rule in the opening minutes of Into Darkness when he saved a species from a planetary cataclysm. Has he done it again on their mission? Or have his actions on Nibiru caused the rise of Krall in some way, and its coming back to bite him now?
These possibilities are certainly fascinating to contemplate!
Either way, with the casting of Idris Elba, the filmmakers have the right man for the job. Elba's distinctive voice can either be warm or thunderous, and he certainly has the qualities to become a formidable foe for Kirk and his crew. You only need to glance at the Thor movies to see that he has a substantial on-screen presence. Plus the intimidating rages that he displays on the BBC series Luther are frightening to behold.
The villainous Krall has the potential to deliver the physical pain (Elba's a beast after all!) as well as pose a serious ideological threat to the Enterprise.
Judging from the interview, it seems like Lin is very conscious of the fervent fan base of the more dramatic, traditional series and the backlash to the flashier, action-packed instalments in 2009 and 2013. However, he was keen to find a middle ground in the argument.
“It’s not something that I do an action because people want to see action. It’s because this journey, whatever happens, whatever causes this to happen, whatever our characters do to try to counter it somehow organically creates that.”
He also discussed his working relationship with Abrams who seemingly gave Lin free reign with the franchise. Abrams is a producer now, since he chose not to direct Beyond after signing on for The Force Awakens.
“It came off the first conversation with J.J. and him just saying, “Look. Just take it over, and whatever you do, be bold.” I take that to heart. I think that’s been a great partnership...I love [...] what he did in ’09 in setting up this new canon. I love the old shows because of just them traveling and exploring new worlds. So that was one of the things I felt like was important to have.”
“I think the fans are going to have a really good time.”
Going off that latest trailer, I’m sure we will! Star Trek Beyond is out 22nd July...just over a month away!