Star Trek Into Darkness was a critical and financial success when it saw theatrical release in May 2013, though a vocal and sizable contingent of die-hard fans of the franchise saw to it that their more critical appraisal of director J.J. Abrams’ sequel to his 2009 series reboot was also heard. Many Trekkies consider the blockbuster hit the worst Star Trek movie of all time, citing Abrams’ attempts to mask actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s role in the film an egregious error – a point of view, moreover, that the director now shares.
As pre-production continues to get underway for the third film in the series, Abrams recently took the time to reflect on his part in the making of the new cycle of Gene Roddenberry-inspired motion pictures, and offered a further take on what went wrong in the making of Into Darkness.
In a lengthy interview with Wired in anticipation of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Abrams remarked in passing on a certain grudge held against him and the productions of Super 8, his 2011 love letter to Steven Spielberg, and 2013’s Star Trek film. According to the man himself, both films suffered from being severely underdeveloped ideas from the start, as Abrams remarked on taking on the task of filming Episode VII:
“I didn’t want to enter into making a movie where we didn’t really own our story. I feel like I’ve done that a couple of times in my career. That’s not to say I’m not proud of my work, but the fact is I remember starting to shoot Super 8 and Star Trek Into Darkness and feeling like I hadn’t really solved some fundamental story problems.”
Admitting that his last Roddenberry vehicle was less than a fully formed story from the get-go is not going to win Abrams any fans who already dislike his two prior Star Trek films. However, in taking what he has learned from his past filmmaking mistakes to heart, things do seem to bode well for a certain other science-fiction galaxy far, far away that the director will soon be revisiting in theaters.
Whether or not director Justin Lin of Fast & Furious fame will finally be able to do the Trekkie-faithful justice with his Star Trek Beyond, starring Idris Elba as the film’s central antagonist, is yet to be seen – though fans may rest assured that the whole “Cumberbatch is not Khan,” fiasco has been put to rest for now. Come December 2015, however, Abrams will either be under fire yet again from an entirely separate fan-camp, or else win the fawning approval of that other enclave of genre film enthusiasts to which he is a more unequivocal member.
Star Trek Into Darkness is available to own on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital Download; Star Trek Beyond will see theatrical release on July 22nd, 2016.