Damon Lindelof Talks ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Spoilers & Honoring Canon

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 14th, 2013 at 9:16 am,

Star Trek Into Darkness Enterprise Water Damon Lindelof Talks Star Trek Into Darkness Spoilers & Honoring Canon

Is he Khan? Is he Robert April? Gary Mitchell? Who is John Harrison? If anything, the mystery surrounding the primary antagonist (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) of Star Trek Into Darkness has created a wave of buzz based on the just the unknown. And that’s exactly how director J.J. Abrams and his writing team wanted it to be.

Despite a series of contradictory rumors and reports along with multiple official trailers to go by, Trek fans still do not know for certain who Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the Enterprise are up against, and that’s all by design in crafting a specific experience for moviegoers, one that emulates the feelings and discoveries the crew makes throughout the film.

In an interview with Hero Complex, Damon Lindelof – who produced 2009’s Star Trek and joins Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci on the writing team for the sequel – spoke to the secrecy that surrounds the story and most intriguing character of Into Darkness, joking that “Benedict doesn’t even know who he’s playing.”

“The audience needs to have the same experience that the crew is having. You’re Kirk, you’re Spock, you’re McCoy, so if they don’t know who the bad guy is going to be in the movie, then you shouldn’t know. It’s not just keeping the secret for secrecy’s sake. It’s not giving the audience information that the characters don’t have.”

As for the title of the film, it’s based on the character relationships, and the twists and turns that come with them:

“If the first movie was about meeting and introductions, this movie is about becoming a family. The title of the movie is not just about the mission that the Enterprise is going on but what happens when you get to know each other a little better and the hurdles you must jump over in order to truly become family.”

Star Trek Into Darkness Fan Poster 570x844 Damon Lindelof Talks Star Trek Into Darkness Spoilers & Honoring Canon

Fan-Made ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Poster

Not giving anything away on Cumberbatch’s John Harrison character and his background, Lindelof does say that Abrams and co. knew very early who they wanted the film’s villain to be and they decided then that – in Lost fashion – they’d keep it a big secret. He does admit that for the story of Star Trek Into Darkness, they’ve opted to honor Gene Roddenberry’s vision of Star Trek and his stories as opposed to crafting something entirely original.

“If anything, we’ve become more terrified. We kind of got it right the first time, [we thought], ‘Let’s really not screw it up this time.’ You really have to honor the 40-plus years of canon and legacy that this amazing franchise had before we put pen to paper.”

If you’re dying for more details on Star Trek Into Darkness a recent screening in Brazil may have unveiled several spoilers, but be warned, Damon Lindelof doesn’t think spoilers are a good thing:

“I’m working on a bunch of different projects, and I even have to keep secrets about one project from the people I’m working with on the other project. They’ll say, ‘So, seriously, who’s Benedict playing?’ I’ll say, ‘Do you really want to know?’ Then they go, ‘No, no, no, I don’t.’ They know that if I said it to them they would have a five-second rush of exhilaration followed by four months of being completely and totally bummed out that they can’t tell anybody else and that when it gets revealed in the movie, it will have been spoiled for them. That’s why they’re called ‘spoilers,’ they’re not called ‘awesomes.'”

And that may be one of the most wise statements about spoilers we’ve heard in a very long time. It won’t be long until the mystery unravels and then J.J. Abrams is off to a galaxy far, far away as he directs Star Wars: Episode VII while doubling as as producer on Star Trek 3 which is planned to release in 2016, the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise.

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

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes and let me know if you prefer there being no spoilers!

Source: Hero Complex, The Film Stage

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
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  1. So the Enterprise takes heavy damage, and some magical water sprites rebuild her under water.

    Consider the damage of the Enterprise in orbit, and dropping like a brick and this poster of her rising out of the water like fresh out of spacedock.

    • It’s a fan-made poster :p

      • Or is it a Official Paramount Poster made to look like a Fan Made Poster?


      • I love that poster.

    • Those are 2 completely different scenes. The E rising out of the water is from early on in the movie. The damaged E is apparently later on. This has been stated multiple times.

    • That’s the quickest way to put out the fires, and it must the Ocean of Youth which made her young again!

  2. Benedict Cumberbatch as unknown villain and Michael Shannon as General Zod maybe just the best performances of the year. For blockbusters anyway. And possibly Ben Kinglsey as the Mandarin.

  3. “That’s why they’re called ‘spoilers,’ they’re not called ‘awesomes'”

    That is seriously one of the greatest quotes I’ve read in a long time.

    • yes! I thought so too!

      • Indeed, especially after a Trek site revealed precise, shot by shot details of close to 40 minutes of the movie after an apparently non-embargoed preview in Brazil. Then it appeared in comments on sites like this, Not awesome indeed. Sure, it’s from the start, but 40 minutes is pretty much an entire TV episode. Bob Orci’s online response: “nobody’s making you read spoilers.”

        In other words, “we’re trying to boost the overseas take anyway we can and this no spoilers stuff is really just marketing”

  4. I think this movie will be awesome this and Iron Man 3 are the two films of 2013’s summer that i am most excited fo, can’t wait. I actually love how they are keeping a lot of secrets about the film, because being suprissed by everything when i walk into a movie is the best part and sadly i spoil myself with all the internet stuff and i find out who does what and what happens in the movie, this is a great break i guess.

  5. How is 2016 the 50th anniversary?

    • Star Trek premiered in 1966.

  6. “That’s why they’re called ‘spoilers,’ they’re not called ‘awesomes.’”
    epic. that is all

  7. BC is playing Garth of Izar!!!! Its the only character that fits everything and here is why. Iconic character from canon and is part of starfleet, can shapshift – so can be John Harrison or anybody for that matter, can heal himself – which is how he saves the little girl, in TOS he made an explosive he said was strongest in the universe – blows up London, I believe he is immune to vulcan neck pinch – which is seen in set photo from fight with spock, plot synopsis talks of chess game – in TOS he didn’t know Kirk’s chess response to Scotty, with altered timeline he could have escaped from the prison planet or not even of been arrested and sent there in the first place. I for one would love for it to be him!!!

    • Garth of Izar does seem to be a close fit. To add to the coincidences, in the latest trailer Kirk says,”He’s a fugitive. I want to bring him in.”

      In TOS Capt Garth exploits where “required reading” and he was somewhat of a hero to the young Kirk. Perhaps, after his crew mutinied, Garth escaped, or, as has been suggested elsewhere, a less wary starship fell into Garth’s plan to escape from the penal colony, and Garth escaped that way.

      Garth of Izar, returned to Earth to exact his revenge? Kirk forced to go “mano a mano” against his personal hero? Yeah, that sounds like a good story. I just hope they don’t screw it up!

  8. Hopefully we don’t have another Prometheus on our hands here, LOL

  9. The bad guy is Charlie X

    • I don’t think the people currently in charge of the Star Trek franchise have either the sophistication, or intellect to pull that one off!

    • Exactly. Although Bob Orci was on Trek movie telling people, worried about exactly this, that nobody’s making us read spoilers…

    • Good point!
      I’m reminded of that Simpsons episode where Homer is coming out of the theater after seeing The Empire Strikes Back, and says, “Can you believe it? Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father!”. To which the crowd standing in line moans and says,”Thanks for the spoiler, jerk!”

  10. In other words, ‘he’s Khan.’