[WARNING: Potential ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Spoilers Below.]

Star Trek Into Darkness may be less than two months from release, but J.J. Abram’s second adventure with the crew of the USS Enterprise – and one of our most anticipated films of 2013 – has maintained the same level of mystery and intrigue as previous Abrams productions Super 8 and Cloverfield.

Considering the widespread critical and financial success of the 2009 reboot, fans both new and old have been rabidly analyzing every bit of information regarding the intricacies of the film’s plot, especially surrounding Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain.

Now, a few new stills from an upcoming Empire cover story on Star Trek Into Darkness have made their way online and may reveal additional details from the film’s plot. Click below to view the gallery:

The first couple of shots appear to take place during some sort of battle scene (perhaps one of the attacks by Cumberbatch’s character?). However, the final shot – which features several characters, including Alice Eve’s Carol Marcus – looking up at something off-camera is perhaps the most intriguing one. This particular image, available from Empire via Coming Soon, was discovered by fans who scanned the Empire cover using the film’s official app.

The big question, of course, is what the mysterious item – dubbed MC-9321 – actually is. Possibilities include anything from an unmanned space vessel to some form of missile. But the most intriguing possibility is that this object is some variation on the Genesis device featured in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

In that 1982 film, the Genesis device is a planet-destroying (or creating?) weapon wielded by Khan, the very character that Cumberbatch has long been rumored to be playing. Add to that the fact that Dr. Carol Marcus (portrayed by Eve in Into Darkness) is the one who developed Genesis in Wrath of Khan, and it’s once again starting to look like Abrams’ Star Trek 2 shares at least some story elements with that film. After all, we know Into Darkness will honor the franchise’s history.

Of course, this is just speculation, but considering that this image required a bit more digging on the part of the fans lends a bit more credence to the theory that it hints at a critical plot point – unless it’s a red herring. At this point, we’ll likely have to wait until the film’s release to be sure about how all this fits together.

Do you think MC-9321 indicates the involvement of the Genesis device? Let us know your theories in the comments section below.

Star Trek Into Darkness opens in theaters (regular and IMAX 3D) on May 17th, 2013. Select IMAX 3D theaters will open May 15th.

Sources: Empire [via Coming Soon]