If the recurring theme of Star Trek Into Darkness‘ marketing isn’t clear just yet, allow us to sum it up: things are going to go very badly. The most recent trailer showed the devastation that John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) will unleash on the brash Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the USS Enterprise. The attack on Earth will be hitting close to home, and will leave Kirk with nothing left but the men and women under his command.

New comments from Star Trek 2 stars Cumberbatch and Alice Eve reiterate the fact that the time has come for Kirk to grow up and take charge, with their insights implying that Kirk’s guilt may be based on more than an inability to protect those closest to him.

Much has been made of the events of Into Darkness turning Captain Kirk from Star Trek‘s gunslinger with guts (and son of a father who paid the ultimate sacrifice) into a bona fide leader who may finally understand the lesson of the Kobayashi Maru test. Pine himself promised that the sequel’s story is one that will see Kirk ‘earning’ his rank, and our behind-the-scenes look at the film backed up those claims with a more mature version of the character.

In an interview with Yahoo UK, Alice Eve expressed Kirk’s need for change even further, hinting at how her character of Dr. Carol Marcus may or may not act as a foil to his unchecked aloofness.

Unfortunately, Eve doesn’t dish on whether her role as a scientific genius will be too integral to the larger plot to allow for much romance, but her description of Kirk’s story arc adds even more fuel to the speculative fire:

“What happens in the first film is that Kirk is given his captaincy, but by the second film he maybe is wielding that power thoughtlessly. Spock and Bones are satellites of his ego and they represent a morality and a logic that he is lacking. My character is bossy and knows things and he is maybe not wanting to hear the truth. His journey is a journey of humbling oneself. A journey of pathos.”

Benedict Cumberbatch reiterated the progression of his soon-to-be nemesis, referring to the escalating stakes as requiring Pine to turn in a “grown up” performance this time around:

“In the first film you see Kirk as a teenager becoming a young man, earning the chair and the respect of his peers, but this is about something beyond that; caring for his whole crew and becoming a father to them.”

Kirk as a father figure is an interesting choice of words, since to this point the upstart commander has been anything but. He certainly showed off a killer instinct, courage, and willingness to do what’s necessary in the previous film – but for Cumberbatch’s appraisal of him as a father to ring even remotely true, we’re in for some serious character development (look to Anton Yelchin’s Chekhov for particular importance, given his role as the youngest of the crew).

In addition to adding more dimension to the kind of growth Kirk will undergo, Eve’s hint of Kirk acting somewhat irresponsibly at the beginning of the film could speak volumes – his mother is presumed to be killed during the attack on Earth could Kirk be somehow to blame? That might be exaggerating, but Eve’s poignant description of Kirk’s relationship to Spock and Bones (sure to make any Trekkie nod along with agreement) proves she knows what she’s talking about. We’ll have to wait and see the exact nature of Kirk’s personal guilt, but our interest in how far J.J. Abrams will go with that theme is certainly piqued.

Hidden among the trailer’s images of destruction, chaos (and people jumping off of very tall things), was a lengthy shot from within the Enterprise, immediately surrounding the containment area imprisoning Cumberbatch’s John Harrison. The fans over at TrekMovie noticed one string of text on a computer display that seemed less at home then the rest, pointing to a mysterious viral marketing URL: ‘AreYouthe1701.com.’ There’s nothing on the site yet, except a repeating of the same question and a form to subscribe to future updates.

Given the reference to the USS Enterprise’s designation and the question posed by Harrison in the first Into Darkness teaser there is clearly some significance to the question. Whatever it is, we’ll have to wait and see.

If you think you’ve got answers concerning what’s been shown in the latest teaser, be sure to sound off on our 10 Questions From The Star Trek 2 Trailers. For now, what do you think of these descriptions of Kirk’s character arc? Will the need for him to become a stronger leader for the crew mean less of his winning charm and sense of humor, or can fans expect to see a balance between the two?

Star Trek Into Darkness opens in theaters (regular and IMAX 3D) on May 17th, 2013.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Yahoo, TrekMovie