‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: J.J. Abrams Talks Potential Trilogy & John Harrison

Published 2 years ago by

jj abrams star wars episode 7 Star Trek Into Darkness: J.J. Abrams Talks Potential Trilogy & John Harrison

Now that Iron Man 3 has officially kicked off the summer movie season, all eyes have turned to the next highly-anticipated blockbuster on the horizon, namely Star Trek Into Darkness.

The J.J. Abrams directed sequel has been on fans’ radar ever since the 2009 reboot introduced a new version of the Enterprise crew. Throughout its development, much of the talk has centered on the mysterious villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as how the dynamic with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew would evolve in the sequel.

Early Star Trek 2 reviews indicate that Into Darkness should appeal to both longtime Trek devotees as well as newer fans. Now, in a new interview with Star Trek Magazine, Abrams talks about his approach to making the film and how he aimed to achieve that balance. Here’s what he had to say:

“I think certainly [producers] Bob [Orci], Damon [Lindelof] and Alex [Kurtzman] are in tune with what the fans are saying and what they want. While I am as well, I feel like those guys are more wired, or wireless, than I am. I feel like anecdotally I hear what certain people are saying. I came to this [franchise] as more of an outsider. I entered this world really intrigued by it, but not really a pre-existing fan. … While people were [suggesting] things, none of that really mattered much to me, because I felt I was coming from the point of the moviegoer who just wants to be entertained, understand, and care about the world and the characters.  I will say nothing matters more to us than the fans, and making sure they are getting something they love. But having said that, we can’t make a movie for pre-existing Star Trek fans, we have to make a movie for moviegoers, and if you happen to be a Star Trek fan, you’ll benefit because we are looking out for you, and we respect what you are bringing to the film.”

May Movie Preview Star Trek Into Darkness Star Trek Into Darkness: J.J. Abrams Talks Potential Trilogy & John Harrison

Seeing how Abrams’ first Trek effort managed to expand the series’ fanbase, it’s difficult to argue with the director’s take on the franchise. Some hardcore fans may have balked at the narrative similarities between the 2009 Trek and the Star Wars saga (not a surprise considering Abrams’ acknowledged admiration of that series) as well as the broader, more action-packed style Abrams brought to the Trek world. However, writer/producer Lindelof has already gone on record as saying that Into Darkness honors the canon.

One example of this may be Cumberbatch’s John Harrison, whom may or may not represent a throwback to a classic Trek villain. Abrams explained that the main purpose of the Into Darkness villain is how he affects Kirk and his crew.

“We needed someone who would get under their skin, and challenge them in a way they could have never survived when they first came together. We always knew it was going to be more of an extreme story, pushing limits dramatically and emotionally. There would be more questions of who to trust, and of manipulation and difficulty, rather than just a raving, lunatic Romulan [as in the 2009 Trek]. We were going to have someone who could push the buttons of the crew, and test the mettle of their relationships. So we always knew we would go darker, deeper, and really see what it’s like for these people to experience that, and can they get through that gauntlet alive. … And ultimately, because of the story of Benedict’s character, Kirk ends up being challenged in a way that is very specific to his story. I think it ends up being something that does push Kirk to a place he’s never been before.”

Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer Still Harrison Attack Kirk Face 2 570x242 Star Trek Into Darkness: J.J. Abrams Talks Potential Trilogy & John Harrison

Pine has already talked about how Kirk would “earn” his command in the sequel, and while Abrams’ second Trek film has yet to be released, discussion has already turned to how this may play out in the inevitable follow-up. As of now, it’s undetermined if Abrams would return to the director’s chair for the third film (which may center on Klingons), especially considering his commitment to Star Wars: Episode VII.

“I wouldn’t say there has been a [Star Trek] trilogy planned. … We really are taking this journey one step at a time, and while there are a lot of ideas we have now for what might be a third movie, it’s really up to the audience to determine if that is something that comes to pass. … I would say I have put too much of myself – we all have – into this world and these characters, that my involvement in the next film is without question. I love this whole universe, and these people, too much. If I end up directing another movie, that remains to be seen. We’ll finish this one first then we can talk about the next one, if we get so lucky.”

Abrams’ producing partner Bryan Burk has already mentioned that a third film would likely be aiming for a 2016 release to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise. If Star Wars truly does stick to its targeted summer 2015 date, it’s unlikely that Abrams would be able to direct that film and a third Trek back to back, given the massive scope of both projects.

Do you think Into Darkness will satisfy both longtime Trek fans as well as newbies, and do you think Abrams can effectively balance a third film with Star Wars? Let us know in the comments.


Star Trek Into Darkness opens in select (U.S.) theaters in 3D/IMAX on May 15, 2013. It begins a regular theatrical release on May 17.

Source: Star Trek Magazine (via Collider)

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  1. really looking forward to this!

  2. If Abrams can successfully juggle both of these franchises at the same time, he is a magician.

    • If you had told SW fans and Trekkies back in 1983 that one day one director would be responsible for both franchises…

      • you would of been killed for heresy lol

        • Seperate issue, dunno if you’ve seen it Dr Mindbender but I’ve done you an apology over on the Iron Man threads.

          Rhodey was seriously underused and not in anyway badass

  3. This time tomorrow I will be in the cinema waiting for it to start.

    I would like for him to direct the third installment but expect they would get a great director if he cannot make it.

    • seeing it tomorrow also!

  4. This is going to be awesome, so confident of that fact am I that I shall for the first time be splashing out on an IMAX veiwing.

    I can’t wait do see the John Harrision character in action and answer alot of the questions that have been floating around (is he Khan, is he Mitchel, is he a mix or something new etc.)

  5. I am seeing this movie for benedict cumberbatch

    • +1

    • All the evidence points to an iconic portrayal.
      Even if it may or may not be of an iconic villain.

      • If you don’t want to know who Cumberbatch is portraying don’t go to Imbd and search Star Trek into Darkness.

        • IMDb is frequently wrong. Sources are not always official.
          Information is often dated as well, a “guess” during production.

          Not that whatever is listed is false now for Cumberbatch
          on whoever he ultimately is just that IMDb is unreliable.

  6. “my involvement in the next film is without question. I love this whole universe, and these people, too much. If I end up directing another movie, that remains to be seen”

    I will be producing the next film. As much as I might like to, with everything Star Wars I have to do I will not have the time to direct the film.

    • I think you might be right in reading into what was said. Which is probably a good thing for the Star Wars franchise, and a bad thing for the Star Trek franchise.

  7. I’d like to see Benedict Cumberbatch cross over to Star Wars with JJ.

  8. I would love JJ to direct the 3rd film but I do not think it would be a huge problem if he didn’t. Provided all other producers remain (would be great if he could produce to) and the project has good screenwriters and talented actors for the roles, as has been done well so far, then the third film could benefit/or certainly not be harmed by some fresh blood (SW: Original Trilogy, 3 directors I think). He could then direct an other film at a later point as I see this star trek cast making at least 6 films as they are young and actors these days age far better.

    Just thought of this too, with Avatar 2 filming at some point (possibly back-to-back with 3) it may be difficult for Zoe Saldana to have a big role in the next Trek as she will have to film and possibly a role in Avengers 2, though we will have to wait and see about that.

  9. I highly doubt it at the begin it seemed logical but then he brought up facial skin problems lol

  10. I saw this movie yesterday in Australia advanced screening and it is one of the most enjoyable flicks I’ve seen. I enjoyed it more than iron man 3. I won’t spoil anything here but after seeing it I’m convinced now more than ever that star wars is in the safest hands it could be in.

    The best compliment I can give this movie is that it felt like I was watching star wars.

    • Well that last comment may make some people made lol but im glad you liked it

      • Watching star wars for the first time is always going to be one of my greatest movie going experiences and the standard by which all future movies will be held to. Saying trek was like watching star wars is not meant to be an insult to Trekkies.

  11. Looking forward to this. Can’t wait to see it. Hope it’s a good sequel.

  12. Awesome!! cannot wait for this movie to hit the theaters over here in the U.S.! JJ Abrams’ projects are usually interesting and intriguing with much action. I been a fan of star trek since Star Trek: Voyager and JJ really stepped it up in the 2009 Star Trek. This is certainly in the top 5 of my most anticipated movies of summer 2013

  13. Maybe not but the hardcore trekkies who don’t particulary like Trek ’09 because it wasn’t “Trek” enough are going to go up like an ejected warp core at the thought of this one being even more “wars-ified”

    Expect a backlash….

    Me, cool is cool and the universe is the universe and that interests me more than any ideised tone or pre-conception of what a Star Trek film should be.

    With the exception of Voyage Home which is a bit of light-hearted fun the best films have an abundance of action beats (Khan/Undiscovered Country/First Contact/Trek’09) but they’re also excellent dramas.

  14. Question for Trekkies as it’s just come to me while typing my previous post.

    Money… they don’t have it in the 23rd century according to Kirk and Picard (so Earth is effectively a communist state where noone owns anything and everything is provided by the government or just replicated).

    So how do they trade (if they do trade) with other races that do still use money… i.e the Ferengi

    And in Trek 3, how is McCoy gonna pay for the space charter to Genesis, “price you name, money I got” From WHERE, you don’t get paid fella.

    And currency, is Gold Pressed Latinum the galactic standard or just Ferengi currency with the best exchange rate (like the USD??)

    I’m not being obtuse, this is just something that’s popped into my head while remembering past Trek and now I’ve come to think about it I don’t know the answer.

    • I’m not one of those fans that can quote every episode (and I can’t speak at all for “Next Generation” as it only took a oouple of episodes for me to realize that show wasn’t for me). But it wasn’t my impression that the people in “Star Trek” didn’t have money; I thought they just didn’t use actual cash. I seem to remember references to “credits”. Kind of like ATMs now, I would think.

  15. Should we change the franchise name to “Star Trek: John Harrison”?