The third installment of the rebooted Star Trek films, Star Trek Beyond, hits theaters this July, and we might as well address the elephant in the room. After the trailer dropped, fans were, to say the least, disappointed. This doesn’t look like your dad’s Star Trek, but whereas 2010’s Star Trek was a refreshing reintroduction to the main characters, fans are aching for a return to a more grounded version of the franchise at this point. In trying to be more inclusive and draw in a wider audience, who might otherwise eschew the more cerebral elements and themes of the franchise, Star Trek Beyond looks like your typical science fiction blockbuster, with more brawn than brains. And the most grievance offense? The use of the Beastie Boys song “Sabotage” to soundtrack it.
Nevertheless, we still think there’s a lot to be excited for in the new movie. After all, it’s not like we just stopped liking the cast that made the first rebooted Star Trek a hit. Here are 10 Reasons To Be Excited For Star Trek Beyond.
***Potential Spoilers Follow***
10. A NEW DIRECTOR
Presumably busy with The Force Awakens, and maybe a bit burnt out with all the space shenanigans, Abrams handed over the reins of this movie to Justin Lin, who has directed a slew of Fast & Furious films (the third, fourth, fifth and sixth, to be specific). With fans already twitchy that Beyond might be a bit more style-over-substance, Lin’s involvement might not seem like much of a selling point, but Lin is a director with some pedigree. His first film, Better Luck Tomorrow, was a favorite on the indie circuit, and Variety named him on of the “Top 10 Directors to Watch” in 2002.
Fans who weren’t thrilled with Into Darkness should welcome the infusion of new blood. Harry Potter changed hands four times (Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell and David Yates). Bryan Singer took a hiatus after the first two X-Men films, and Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has had multiple directors as well. With the exception of Potter, which had an expiration date anyway, the other franchises are still popular and profitable.
Yes, stuff is going to blow up, but it is possible to make a smart movie that also has a ton of action sequences. It’s not like those guys in Lord of the Rings sat on their asses eating bon-bons, and some could argue you need a degree in political science or international relations to follow a Jason Bourne move. Let’s not be snobs.
9. IDRIS ELBA AS KRALL
The only downside to Elba playing the villain is that he spent hours in the make-up chair, preventing us from seeing his gorgeous face. Sorry, ladies, a well-groomed Chris Pine will have to do. We could go on about how unfair it is that we spent two hours looking at Benedict Cumberbatch’s (Khan) mug as the primary antagonist in Into the Darkness but denied a glimpse of Elba’s more agreeable visage, but let’s not get sidetracked.
Elba, in a word, is a badass, and if you don’t know him from The Wire or The Office or Luther, than immediately stop reading this and go watch and bask in the wonderment. Elba’s other credits include: Thor, Pacific Rim, Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Krall is acknowledged in the Memory Gamma Wikia as “a Gorn assassin who later befriended Nox the Romulan commander of the USS Admonitor, and later became one of the founders of the Klingon Alliance.” A search for Krall in a pretty comprehensive Star Trek database yields nothing, and Lin denies any previous connection, meaning that Krall could be a whole new kind of alien. Perhaps everyone learned their lesson following the Khan blowback after Into Darkness.
8. A HOT CHICK WHO CAN FIGHT
Krall isn’t the only new alien on the block. Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) plays Jaylah, a warrior who, like Krall, doesn’t seem to belong to any existing race. This is good news. Two species for the price of one admission ticket. Word around Yahoo is Beyond features more new creatures than in the first two movies combined. The prime directive is to seek out NEW life, right? I could stand a break from Romulans and Klingons.
We don’t know much about Jaylah, other than she can kick some serious ass. She does look to be an ally, since we see Captain Kirk rescue her from certain death in the trailer. That little blonde piece of action, Carol, isn’t returning, so Jaylah could even be a potential love interest for Kirk. He does, and always will, have a thing for alien girls.
7. NEW WRITERS
Simon Pegg will not only reprise his role as Scotty, but he also co-wrote the script. Pegg has some street credit as a better-than-decent writer. Most of you know him as the scribe behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, arguably his best work. His third collaboration with Nick Frost, Paul, about two sci-fi geeks who meet an alien, rated a respectable 71% on Rotten Tomato’s “Tomatometer.”
Pegg’s resume should offer some comfort for those who worry Beyond is all style and no substance. This might not sound like a compliment, but Pegg writes small. You won’t be subjected to the banal banter of a Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer bonanza. Instead, expect the movie to have some levity, but also to be focused on its characters.
6. A CHARISMATIC CAST
All of the major players are returning, with Pine and Quinto already attached to a fourth film. Scotty fans will get to see more of him this time around. A benefit of co-writing the script, perhaps? And while we know a lot about Spock and Kirk pre-Academy, Beyond will delve more into Sulu’s (John Cho) backstory.
Pine embodies the role of Kirk well, tempering arrogance with confidence and ability, and we may receive death threats for this, but unlike Shatner, Pine can actually act. Our only concern this outing is the toupée-esque quality of Pine’s hair.
5. THERE IS A PLOT IN THERE SOMEWHERE
We join the crew of the Enterprise two years into their five-year mission. They manage to piss somebody off and get their ship blown up. This leaves the survivors stranded on a hostile planet, and it’s up to the principal players to figure out how to get the hell out of Dodge.This feels like a safe and spoiler-proof assessment, give or take a few sub-plots.
Besties and brothers from another mother, Kirk and Spock, won’t share as much screen time as in earlier films. The core group is split into various sub-sects, and it will be McCoy and Spock who will be spending quality time together and trading barbs in a way that is reminiscent to the characters’ dynamic in the original series.
You want deep? We can delve deeper. We can prattle on about the dangers of colonialism and colonization. As intelligent moviegoers, you can draw your own conclusions on what it means to an alien race when a group of strangers, who call themselves the Federation, park their big old ship on your home planet, plop their feet up and plan to stay a while. As Krall says to Kirk in the now-infamous trailer, “This is when the frontier pushes back.”
4. THE RELEASE DATE HAS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE
Beyond’s release coincides with the 50th anniversary of the series, igniting rumors the film will include more aspects of the show than the previous J.J. Abrams Trek films. Some homages promise to be more subtle than others. There’s an indicator of one in the trailer, but blink and you’ll miss it.
In the first few seconds, you can spot a patch on the shoulder of Spock’s jacket with an insignia for the U.S.S. Franklin. The ship has appeared before in different incarnations of the Star Trek universe, including one in which the Jefferson was a constitution-class cruiser. Common sense would dictate that the crew has stumbled upon the ship and plan to use it to escape. The Jefferson is in rough shape, suggesting it either previously landed or crashed on the very planet the crew is trying to escape in Beyond.
Pegg has promised the film will “embrace the spirit” of TOS.
3. THE CREW WILL BE CLAD IN NEW UNIFORMS
OK, this one is a bit of a stretch, but die-hard fans are probably really into the idea. This will liven things up at Comic-Con. Let’s just hope it doesn’t result in an interstellar civil war between old school and new.
Set photos show Captain Kirk in a military-inspired get up, complete with a snazzy jacket. He also sports a utility belt and a holster for his updated phaser rifle. When you land on a new planet full of unfriendlies, you want to make a good first impression.
It won’t be business casual as usual on the bridge either. The standard-issue uniform has also gotten an upgrade too, including a shout out to the retro frocks from TOS in the form of the classic Starfleet insignia.
2. IT’S A GIRL!
Sulu’s daughter, Demora, makes an appearance in Beyond. In what capacity other than a picture on dad’s console has yet to be revealed. Cho promises there’s a big “revelation” when it comes to his onscreen offspring.
Demura, first seen in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, attended the Starfleet Academy and specialized in flight operations. She eventually became the helm officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B. She appears in several Star Trek comics and novels.
Given that Sulu is still a young gun in Beyond, Demura is just a child in this outing. Originally, Demura spent the first six years of her life living with her mother and had zero contact with Sulu, making him somewhat of a deadbeat dad. Given the new timeline, it looks like Sulu is a more hands-on parent in Beyond, or as hands on as you can be when you take off for deep space, leaving your family behind for years at a time.
1. WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT TO DO ON A FRIDAY NIGHT?
It’s been almost three years since the last Star Trek movie, and Hollywood deity Abrams has been on a hot streak creatively. He’s produced seven TV series (Roadies, 11.22.63, Westworld, Person of Interest, Believe, Almost Human and Revolution) as well as the films 10 Cloverfield Lane, Star Wars: Episode VII, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and, of course, Beyond. Abrams also directed one of the most highly anticipated movies in decades, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He has the Midas touch, and if people can get excited about a sequel to Cloverfield, they should be able to get on board with Beyond.
We challenge you to ignore whatever your instincts might be telling you after viewing the trailer, unless you had zero issues with it like me, and check out Star Trek Beyond. The point of a reboot or reimagining is to bring something new to the party. Why regurgitate the same source material in a predictable way? Anyone remember that shot-for-shot remake of Psycho?
It’s not possible to exactly recreate the magic of the original series and its theatrical counterparts, so all Lin can do, in the words of Spock is “find hope in the impossible.”
Any other reasons to be excited for New Trek? Are you a Beastie Boys fan? Let us know in the comments!
Star Trek Beyond opens on July 22, 2016.