The U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew return to theaters after a four-year absence in next month’s Star Trek Into Darkness, and today we get our first proper look at a scene in the film that does NOT include an appearance by Benedict Cumberbatch as the bravado antagonist “John Harrison.”

One of the images (or, rather, the only semi-official set photo) released from the Into Darkness production suggested a scenario where Spock (Zachary Quinto) takes a trip into the belly of a fiery beast (re: other-worldly volcano), before director J.J. Abrams (in)famously teased that sequence when he showed a split-second clip on Conan last year.

However, close to six months later – and just a few weeks before the Trek sequel opens in theaters – we can finally offer a proper excerpt from that particular turn of events. As for the context, well, that’s yet another unresolved mystery that you’ll just have to live with – until you actually sit down and watch the movie in theaters, of course (because even Abrams isn’t that much of a trickster).

Spock gets in a hot spot in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

There are two things I take away from this clip:

  1. The members of the rebooted Star Trek cast are more comfortable in their respective roles, balancing the need to respect Trek history with the desire to make each character their own.
  2. Kirk’s (Chris Pine) true mettle as the Enterprise’s captain is something that will be tested in an on-the-nose manner many times over, before the end credits start rolling.

Star Trek into Darkness stars Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, John Cho, Karl Urban, Alice Eve, Peter Weller and Simon Pegg. It is directed by J.J. Abrams, who drew from a script written by Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci.

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Look for Star Trek Into Darkness when it opens in select 3D/IMAX theaters on May 15th, 2013. It begins a regular theatrical release on May 17th.