At the time of writing this, pretty much everyone’s talking about Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – but now they’ve also started talking about another “Star” franchise movie, in Star Trek Beyond. Paramount Pictures launched the first trailer for the upcoming Star Trek film online ahead of its debut in theaters with select prints of The Force Awakens, providing Trekkies with their first sneak peek at what director Justn Lin, along with screenwriters Doug Jung and Simon Pegg, has done with this installment in the space exploration franchise.
The Star Trek Beyond teaser trailer is light on specific narrative details, but was clearly packaged to not just appeal to fans of the rebooted Star Trek films (see the return of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” from the 2009 Star Trek reboot movie), but those who may be more interested in a Fast & Furious-style Star Trek movie – complete with elaborate motorcycle stunts, at that. Lin, for his part, has indicated that the teaser trailer’s tone and style is only partly reflective of what the U.S.S. Enterprise’s upcoming big screen adventure has to offer.
Lin, speaking to the press during a roundtable event, indicated that while he doesn’t feel that Star Trek Beyond amounts to “Star Trek meets Fast & Furious,” he understand why that trailer left many fans with that impression. Per /Film:
Yeah, and I don’t know if that’s the case here. When I saw the teaser, I’m like ‘Aw, s**t. You really have to put the motorcycle in there?’ So I get it, I get it, I get it.
Furthermore, Lin indicated that were “much more traditional” cuts of the Star Trek Beyond trailer, with regard to what most filmgoers’ expectations are for a new Star Trek movie trailer. He hesitated to shed some light on exactly what the film will be like, but did say that he and his collaborators are very much attempting to do something creative with the Star Trek franchise here – in order to commemorate the property’s 50th anniversary when the film arrives in 2016:
[With] trailers you’re putting a two hour movie into a minute and a half, and the one thing I wanted to make sure is that it hopefully represents that we are trying to be bold and take risks; whether we are successful or not, I don’t know. That was something I was excited to do and with collaborators like Simon and Doug, passion for the franchise will be there regardless. So however it’s presented, yeah its’ a minute and a half, and my challenge to everyone making the trailer is about saying “Lets not go off course.” I’m not afraid to… share it. I feel like we have the goods in a two hour run and you really do get to know the characters and hopefully the journey is great. I love it and the cast did an amazing job and the crew… and the inside baseball version of the creation of this Trek was pretty condensed in how you usually make a movie of this size. And I wanted us to be bold, I wanted us to take chances and hopefully in a minute and a half we are able to convey that.
One thing the Star Trek Beyond teaser trailer does reveal is Idris Elba’s character in the film – an alien named Krall, who is pictured above. Lin informed the press that Krall is both new addition to Star Trek lore and that he belongs to a “new species that we discover in this chapter” – one that takes issue with the very core principles of the Federation, it would seem. Lin explained that the idea for Krall stemmed from questions that he and his screenwriters raised about the Enterprise’s famous five-year mission to explore new worlds and the unforeseen consequences it could have. Again, per /Film:
It was just really embracing the idea that the Federation, what would happen if you were going on a five-year journey and you’re trying to also not only explore, but also maybe introduce other people to this way of thinking. What would that mean? What are the consequences to that? I mean, spreading a philosophy that you believe in that you think is great, are there gonna be any other points of views that’s gonna counter you? And I think that those are the things that I thought of as a kid. And also then as an adult when I watch Star Trek. And I think we got to kind of explore that a little bit.
Lin also suggested that Krall and his forces are able to take down the Enterprise (as seen in the Star Trek Beyond trailer) and pose a threat to the Federation through their numbers, rather than their size or sheer might:
I grew up and Star Trek has a very 1960s sensibility of who has the bigger ship usually wins, right? And if you look at it, the attack, these ships are 40 feet long. And but there’s like 4,000 of them. And so I think even in the way they’re being encountered and how people are coming is it’s you can’t help but, I mean, we live in a world that is ever evolving. And I think that that’s always made Star Trek sci-fi great is when you’re able to at least acknowledge what’s happening today.
Star Trek is but the latest long-running popular movie/TV property to reach the fifty-year milestone in recent years, following on the heels of franchises like James Bond and Doctor Who. The filmmakers and showrunners behind the latter two properties used their 50th anniversary as an excuse to not only re-examine and deconstruct their own tried-and-true tropes, but also consider their enduring relevance – and at the same time, push them to keep on evolving and stay as timely as ever. All things considered, it sounds as though Lin and his collaborators have a similarly worthwhile goal in mind for the Star Trek franchise with Star Trek Beyond, based on the director’s latest comments.
That being said, there’s no guarantee that Star Trek Beyond will achieve what it (and its creators) have set out to do. Lin, Jung, and Pegg did have to completely overhaul the project in a comparatively short amount of time for a big-budget feature of this magnitude – after Roberto Orci’s idea for the movie was dropped – so the final movie result could be rough around the edges, in turn. For those reasons, it shall be interesting to see how the general outlook towards Star Trek Beyond changes over these remaining eight months before its theatrical release, as more footage is unveiled.
Justin Lin is directing Star Trek Beyond from a screenplay by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg. The cast includes Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Deep Roy, and Joseph Gatt.
Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 22nd, 2016.