The first reviews of Star Trek Into Darkness are starting to come in, and if you liked the first film then you’ll be relieved to hear that it it doesn’t look like the quality has dropped in the next chapter. The second film in the potential trilogy sees Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise chasing down a terrorist from within their own organization after he launches a devastating attack on London.

With the advance IMAX screenings and general release of Star Trek Into Darkness only days away, Paramount has released four new character featurettes, combining clips from the movie and interviews with Alice Eve and John Cho, who play Dr Carol Marcus and Hikaru Sulu, respectively, along with Simon Pegg on Scotty and Chris Pine on Kirk.

Star Trek Into Darkness sees Alice Eve join the Enterprise crew in opposition to Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain John Harrison, quite a change from their Starter for Ten roles as University Challenge teammates. As the first of these featurettes demonstrates, however, Eve has also put her slightly airheaded drama student persona behind her and is now playing a whip-smart science officer who has a noticeable rivalry with Spock, infringing not only on his hierarchical rung within the Enterprise, but also on his bromance with Kirk.

Notice how Carol deliberately sits down directly between Kirk and Spock after being welcomed aboard. There’s nothing like a little friction to warm things up during a manhunt, though for Spock things are probably hot enough already. Fans of the original series will likely already be asking questions about just how far the potential romance between Kirk and Carol will go, and what it might mean for future sequels.

As well as the new recruits to the rebooted franchise, a lot of old crewmembers (though they’re only “old” in a figurative sense) are also returning for Star Trek Into Darkness. One of these familiar faces is John Cho as helmsman and fencing expert Hikaru Sulu. Though Cho doesn’t go into much detail about his character beyond describing the “muscle memory” of sitting down in the pilot’s chair once again, he does elaborate a little on the tone and scope of the film, describing it as “Star Trek at its best.”

From the science officer to the pilot and on to the engineer: next up is Simon Pegg as Scotty, seen in his own featurette sporting a rather interesting example of futuristic fashion and socialising with an unidentified alien at a club. Pegg describes the uniqueness of the formal-cut-honest relationship that Scotty has with Kirk and gushes about how action-packed the film is, summing it up as, “everything I would want to see in a Star Trek film, as a Star Trek fan.”

Finally, Chris Pine and director J.J. Abrams drop in to comment on Kirk, the film’s central protagonist and leader of the charge against John Harrison. This featurette is interesting, because Pine admits that Kirk’s character arc in Star Strek Into Darkness is not only a continuation but also a partial reiteration of his journey in 2009’s Star Trek. Once again, Kirk finds himself struggling with his desire to go his own way rather than adhere to protocol and higher authorities, and is trying to fully earn his Captain title after being granted it at the end of the last film.

One of the pitfalls is simply retreading old ground with the character, but since Kirk is now in a very different position to the one that he held in Star Trek, it could be interesting seeing him try to adapt his cowboy style when tasked with official leadership of the Enterprise crew.

The players are assembled, and now it’s time for the game. The trailers that have been released so far, and the hints dropped by the cast and creative team, all suggest that the stakes are going to be very high for this latest outing, and with a villain so hell-bent on the destruction of Starfleet there may be a lot of pieces to pick up by the time it’s all over.

Star Trek Into Darkness opens in select 3D/IMAX cinemas on May 15th, 2013, followed by a wider release on May 17th.

Source: Paramount Pictures (via Coming Soon)