A recurring theme among the big blockbusters of this year has been the underwhelming villain. We saw it in Deadpool, in Batman v Superman (not that Lex Luthor didn't get shit done, but the why remains a mystery), even (arguably) in Captain America: Civil War — and, of course, the titular bad guy of X-Men: Apocalypse was the worst thing about an otherwise-entertaining movie.
Can a movie about a bunch of heroes truly be great if their enemy is more quickly forgotten than Taylor Swift's last boyfriend? While that's a discussion for another day, the fact remains that Star Trek Beyond could really use a memorable villain after the disappointment and the whitewashing madness of Into Darkness.
In Idris Elba's Krall, the team behind Beyond will be hoping they have a villain deserving of a mention in the same breath as the legendary Khan (Ricardo Montalbán) of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. A couple of months back, Elba teased the nature of Krall's villainy, revealing a part of his ultimate motivation:
"Krall’s a character who’s deeply steeped in hatred — in my opinion, a well-earned hatred — for the Federation. It felt quite political."
A new Beyond TV spot which dropped over the weekend goes further in probing the source of that resentment, revealing a majority of Krall's backstory for the first time. Don't click play if you plan to go into Beyond spoiler-free.
Prior to now we'd only seen Elba hidden behind prosthetics, but the TV spot gives us our first real understanding of the events that turned Krall into a galactic terrorist.
Watching a video recording made by the seemingly-human Krall before or during the attack, the crew of the USS Enterprise discover that the epic grudge he's harboring against the Federation seems to be rooted in an attack on his home planet which left its people for dead.
Speaking into camera, unaware of whose hands the video may fall into, Krall makes an ominous threat: "You'll probably never see me again, but if you do — be ready...".
The sight of Krall as a human prior to the attack raises the immediate question of how he transformed into his alien form, whether the Federation was responsible for altering his state, or if he perhaps transferred his consciousness into an alien host body.
Perhaps more interestingly, the fact that he's out for revenge against the Federation, ostensibly a force for good, raises direct comparisons with many of this year's big, aforementioned superhero movies, further perpetuating the currently popular notion that a considerable grey area exists between heroics and villainy, and that the so-called "good" guys of yesterday must now be held to account.
Of course, the threat of Krall will be dealt with before the credits of Beyond roll, but the journey looks likely to be a pretty wild ride. Star Trek Beyond hits theaters in the US on July 22. That's this Friday, fact fans. Check out the final trailer above, and tell me...