Analyzing The First ‘Star Trek 2′ Teaser Trailer – What Can We Learn?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2014 at 11:42 am,

Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer Logo Analyzing The First Star Trek 2 Teaser Trailer   What Can We Learn?

Ignoring the three-frame clip J.J. Abrams jokingly brought to Conan, the very first official footage from Star Trek Into Darkness was released by Paramount Pictures this morning in a one-minute teaser trailer.

Even with less than 60 seconds of actual footage, there is a lot to take in and dissect, beyond the special effects heavy visuals. So, let’s analyze what scenes and plot points were showcased in our first look at Star Trek 2.


Breaking down the trailer into the sequences, we can pull out the specific moments. Some are obvious, while others we’ll have to wait and see what they are and how they factor into the story.

  • Kirk giving a speech at a funeral – with a flyover aerial salute – after what we assume is an attack that resulted in his mother’s death since the plot synopsis specially states the crew of the Enterprise is his only family after the Starfleet was “detonated” and the Earth put into a “state of crisis.”
  • We see a red temple with McCoy and Kirk robed and running away from something, jumping off a cliff into the water. What is this place and why are they there?
  • First look at Alice Eve‘s new character in two separate uniforms, and a scene with her having an eye-to-eye moment with Kirk.
  • Cumberbatch makes a grand entrance with a flying leap, shooting an opponent while in the air and grabbing an overly large weapon to take out what looks to be a Gorn. Is this paying homage to the episode “Arena” from season one of the original Star Trek where Kirk fistfights a Gorn? Or is it a Klingon as some suggest, as the outfit resembles that of the Star Trek 1 deleted scene featuring Klingons?
  • Spock descends into a volcano with equipment. This is the same footage from the three-frame clip Abrams showed while on Conan and from previous set photos of Zachary Quinto suited up in front of a green screen. Where is this and why is Spock down there? Are they trying to quell a natural disaster? Are they looking for someone?
  • An unknown Starfleet vessel with familiar warp engines rises from the water, different hull than the Enterprise. The designation code following “NCC” is not visible.
  • Spock chases Cumberbatch on Earth, through the streets and into a building. When does this take place relative to the attack on Earth?
  • Kirk enters a bridge of a ship (not the Enterprise) to see Cumberbatch in the Captain’s chair in Starfleet apparel, reminiscent of the scene from Abrams’ first Star Trek with Kirk sporting a black shirt sitting in the chair.
  • In the Japanese version of the teaser, there’s a few seconds of extra footage which strongly hint at the major sacrifice teased in the official synopsis. It looks like Kirk and Spock’s hands on opposite sides of protective glass, potentially replicating the of the emotional conclusion to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan where Spock dies to save the Enterprise. Except this time, the roles could be reversed if the synopsis is of any indication. Quite the tease.

There’s no dialogue from any of the familiar cast members and the entire one-minute trailer is narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch’s character who swears vengeance. Who wronged him? Fans will no doubt draw comparisons to the infamous Khan Noonien Singh in terms of the confident, tyrannical voice vowing to serve vengeance. Not to mention the superhuman strength and intelligence. This may add more fuel to those previous rumors.

Gary Mitchell Benedict Cumberbatch 570x285 Analyzing The First Star Trek 2 Teaser Trailer   What Can We Learn?

The obvious difference is that whoever or whatever wronged Benedict Cumberbatch’s character wasn’t James T. Kirk as this will mark their first encounter. Clearly though, there’s an origin story that plays into the plot of how the character acquired superhuman strength and what his motivations are.

The more common theory, and strongly hinted at in the official plot synopsis, is that Cumberbatch is playing a variation of Starfleet officer Gary Mitchell (pictured above) who in the original canon was best pals with Kirk throughout Starfleet Academy and later served under him on the Enterprise. Mitchell, along with psychiatrist Elizabeth Dehner, were both significantly altered in a mission that saw the Enterprise breaching the galactic barrier. Mitchell became too dangerous after being granted psychic powers and Kirk was forced to kill him with the help of Dehner (who also gained ESP abilities). She also happens to look very similar to Alice Eve (see comparison image below).

Alice Eve Elizabeth Dehner 570x285 Analyzing The First Star Trek 2 Teaser Trailer   What Can We Learn?


The fact that we don’t know who Cumberbatch is playing and that there may be much more at work behind what we’re being shown only builds on the anticipation and excitement. For all we know, he may not be a villain at all, in the traditional sense.

The full two-minute trailer releases next week along with a full nine-minute sequence shot in IMAX for IMAX attendees of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Tell us your thoughts and theories on the trailer, the story, the scenes depicted and of course, the two new characters mentioned above.

J.J. Abrams returns to direct Star Trek Into Darkness off a screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci. It stars Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Simon Pegg.

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

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.


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  1. If Cumberbatch is indeed playing Gary Mitchell, or at least a variation I’m wondering if they’ll stick with him getting his abilities from the galactic barrier encounter or some other way.

  2. I think the temple sequence is going to open the film, showing a random exploration adventure with the crew like old times, since it’s something we haven’t seen this crew do together yet but it’s a pretty important thing that’s been missing thus far. Looks almost swashbuckly from the shots shown compared to the intensity of the rest, so that was my first reaction.

    Definitely a klingon, not a gorn.

    The rest about who Eve and Cumberbatch are I think is pretty spot on–def not Khan, even if the ending might parallel Spock’s death. Clearly, Kirk will nail Mitchell’s woman before and/or after double-hammer punching and karate chopping Mitchell repeatedly.

  3. Very tempted to see the Hobbit in IMAX for the 9 minute preview!

    • +1

  4. Seemed more like star trek: into the inception horns.

    Still looked entertaining though.

    • That hornblower is making a killing — he’s had to do this for every action movie trailer in the last three years.

    • That horn blower is making a killin — he’s had to do this for every action movie trailer in the last three years.

      • haha lol..good point!

  5. Rob I think you nailed it on this one. I was thinking the exact same thing as I was watching the trailer. Does anyone know if any of the other Hobbit screenings will show a trailer for this?

  6. Of course I couldn’t stop myself from watching the trailer.

    We can learn that Hollywood still isn’t done with that whole over-the-top Orange/Teal color grading scheme and that science-fiction trailers still rely heavily on the Transformers trailer style. They probably have a fully automated template for that and they just drag and drop their movie clips into little boxes between the “DWAAAAAANG!!!” sounds. :D

    Otherwise it looks good, though. Should be an epic ride!

  7. looks like a 9/11 movie. Interesting. And it looks like kirk will bite it in the end. Anyone catch the wrath of khan referrance at the end of the trailer. And who is the gorgeous babe in blue screaming ? Only thing missing from the teaser, was some space battles.

    • Yeah! I’d be seriously disappointed if there wasn’t at least a small skirmish in space.

    • Nope, cant kill kirk…Been done before. Plus what would be the point, we all know they will go out of their way to bring him back or prevent his death.

      No the scene could also indicate that Kirk closed the glass door between him and Spock, so he would do what he had to do..Alone.

      So, a Starship is built on earth to withstand greater forces. Ok you see two ships, one crashing into the water, and one rising up out of the water. Proving a point, it makes sense to build the components on earth, or the ship for this matter and launch it under its own power, the ship is stronger than it would be if built in Zero G.

    • The chick in blue is Alice Eve from “Shes out of my league” and “The Raven”..

    • Yes, everything is 9/11. It’s all anybody ever thinks about.

  8. Deleted scenes from the first film with Klingons wearing similar helmets and plain uniforms with a diagonal shoulder strap to the character Cumberbatch takes out:-

    • Good call – I added that in. Thanks!

      • Cheers, Rob!

  9. Should be called Star Trek: Transformers. Looks like the same stuff we see in all the other stupid summer blockbusters. I miss the old, real Star Trek. The kind that made you think, not the new kind designed to hold the attention spans of ADHD 12 year olds.

    Bring back Rick Berman. Well OK, don’t do that. But get rid of JJ and the two knucklehead writers of Transformers. They don’t belong near Star Trek. I hear the new Star Wars movie needs writers. Go try that.

    • @ Sybok….Name one good Star Trek Movie that Berman, Piller and Company did?

      Come on, I WILL GIVE YOU TIME.

    • I share your apprehensions, but I’m more worried about Lindelof…

      • Yep. Me too. Prometheus was abysmal.

  10. The Japanese version has a VERY interesting scene added to the end of it…

    THAT looks rather…familiar!

    • oops, I somehow missed that link in the article. Apologies!

    • right he posted that trailer in the previous article. looks very similar. I wonder though if it can have the same emotional aspect that Wrath of Khan had…. if it is indeed the same thing

      • I was watching that again (and again and again) and it’s obviously a Starfleet Science uniform so Spock or Bones, right? But the hand in foreground? Not a Starfleet uniform–it’s green.

        Nononono0nonononono…! I am NOT doing this! It’s 6 months away and I have work to do! Everyone! BACK TO WORK!

        • ha good point. as i sit doing my final financial management assignment

  11. Gary Mitchel makes sense since he was in the pilot of the show, and this is (basically) the pilot :D

  12. I think, the scene at end is, Between Spock and Gary Mitchel (If the character is Gary Mitchell). The connection could between those two, and on a personal level.

    There is a Scene of Spock being choked by Cumberbatch’s Character. And when you choke a person, you are indeed making it personal.

    The Ship Crashing into the water, not the Enteprise. But indicates someone wants to disable the fleet,more so than destroy it, as if the ship was pulled down over water and not land for a purpose.

  13. Ok lets go with this.

    Gary Mitchell and Spock along with Dr Elizabeth Dehner served on a ship…They along with the crew encountered the great barrier….. Mitchell is effect, Denher is effected, Spock is Effected, but due to being a vulcan, it effects him differently. Mitchell becomes obsesssed with power, Spock defeats him, reports him, stripped of command, due to crimes sent to a penal planet (Rura Pentha perhaps?). He is sedated around the clock to prevent him from using his powers…Something goes wrong…his powers are reactivated, he goes on a killing spree.

    Then starts his revenge, he lures a federation starship to the planet, they do not go down, so he brings the ship down to the planet, gets aboard the ship and then he brings the ship back up…plausible.

    Attacks Starfleet, Kills Kirk’s Mother, then sets out to make Starfleet Pay….

    • Very well could be.

      • If all of the above turns out to be correct, I will be seeking my refund from you, Jeff.

        • @ Ajeno.

          Ok, give me your take. :)

          • My friend, I wouldn’t even try to better your take. It’s the most informed, concise theory I’ve seen on the web since debate on this plot began :)

            • I just had to make the most logical. Had to fall back on my star trek knowledge.

              And still, my version can be improved on. I like ideas added to my own.

              I just cant buy Khan. So many things say it is not Khan.

              • This is where I concede to being a part time Trek fan. Reading all these comments only highlights how little I actually know other than Wesley Crusher annoyed the hell out of me, Voyager was pants and Scott Bakula should’ve Quantum Leaped until the end of time.

                Case in point. First time watching it, I was convinced it was JJ’s variation on Khan simply by the tone, the implication of a wrongdoing being personally revenged and the seemingly personal nature of that revenge towards Kirk. I even thought the ship crashing into the water was the Enterprise.

                I know my place, Sir. But as I mentioned before, I enjoy reading comments from those who are far more knowledgable about this lore than I am :)

    • @Jeff W, Totally makes sense. They can totally pull that Spock maneuver where he isn’t affected by that some.. thing like in the old days.

      Spock gets hit with a light that would blind a person.. “Oh I forgot I had a 2nd eyelid you humans don’t have…” Gotta love the old Spock.

  14. I’ve never watched anything “Star Trek” related. Is it any good?

    • Nah… it just spans 50 years, 5 TV shows and 11 movies, because it utter crap. ;)

      • Not everyone is a fan though so I’m just wondering if I were to start watching it, would it keep me interested or are there only certain places in time where it shines?

        • Perhaps you will, perhaps you wont.

        • Star Trek has it’s ups and downs like any other show or film series. But even the lows are still pretty high quality compared to other stuff. I say just give it a shot. Depending on where you start you have to be open minded, though, because especially the Original Series and the earlier seasons of The Next Generation can seem a bit silly for modern viewing habits. But once you get into it you will get accustomed to the respective narrative and acting styles and really enjoy it.

        • @ACW 007 Give the original series a go. As TheLostWinchester says, it can seem dated now, but it was groundbreaking television for its time and you’ll see the debt so many SF shows have owed it ever since. The ideas are the important thing, and many of the storylines are classics.

        • start with the 2009 so you know the players and head into the theaters with the rest of us 007

      • @ The Lonewinchester.

        Fatal Error

        6 TV SHOWS!

        Ye forgot Star Trek The Animated Series.

        Back to class.

        Quiz next friday! :)

        • Ah yes… I erased it from my memory, that’s how terrible that animated show was. The rest is pretty good, though. Even Enterprise.

          • I just put deep in the back of my mind, but I had to kid you on its omission.


            • I concur. Start with the original series. I liken the episodes to the movie ‘Planet of the Apes’ (the original). Not in terms of content, but in terms of how deceptively smart and literate the scripts actually are. Cancels out whatever your eyes may be wanting to find amusement in regarding the obviously now dated effects.

              • Ajeno sums it up perfectly

                TOS to Voyager is not the problem

                Its Star Trek : Enterprise, that is the Culprit. It is a matter of a Mirror Darkly that totally screws it up for me.

                Here you have the Adavanced looking NX-01 Enterprise and here you have the USS Defiant , from a 150 years into the future that looks like…its from the 60s!

      • Best. Reply. Ever.

    • Never heard of it.

  15. Instead of Alice Eve playing Sally Kellerman’s old role, maybe she’s Carol Marcus. Kirk has to hook up with his baby mama at some point, doesn’t he?

  16. OOPS

    The Scene between Spock and “The Hand” it is not kirk. I do believe it is what sets Spock off.

    Its Admiral Pike.

  17. I think the additional Japanese scene with the two hands is at the beginning of the film, with Kirk & crew being forced to sacrifice Cumbersnatch. The funeral is for Cumbersnatch. The ship crashing and rising out of the water is highjacked by Cumbersnatch and he attacks earth/star fleet.

    Just theories

    • I will go with the theory, but I am replacing Cumberbatch with Admiral Pike, only he would warrant a fly over.

      • Unless Cumbersnatch’s sacrifice saved the whole fleet…which would explain why he’d seek vengeance on all of Star Fleet.
        I don’t believed Pike dying would provide any emotional pull for us as the audience. It’d only work if he’s forced to die due to an attack by cubersnatch, who then uses Pike’s funeral as the perfect opportunity to attack star fleet with their pants down.

        • He is the atagonist, it would not be smart to give that much respect to someone that cause so much grief.

          • He wouldn’t be the antagonist at the BEGINNING of the film, which is when I believe the funeral takes place

            • But it still serves one question.

              Had he scarficed himself, then he would not need to extract his vengance.

              • I didn’t say he sacrificed himself, I said the crew was forced to sacrifice him

                • Nope, that does not vibe with Kirks Crew. They would not scarafice one person for the greater goal.

                  “Either they are going down, or we are.” Kirk after assuming command of the Enterprise.

                  To Scarafice one crew memember for the greater good, is not an option by any Commanding Officer. Wether it be in movies or real life. No one would never give the order to give up one to save thousands.

                  It would take extreme conditions of a Ships Captain to order his ship away from a rescue mission or a mission in general where memembers of his crew are still out there. So I cant see Kirk and Company going through all of that for one crew memember.

                  • Kirk has to “earn” that captain’s chair…maybe finally facing that no win situation

                    • I feel like I’m facing one now.

  18. If it is Gary Mitchell, am I the only one who’s wondering why Spock Prime didn’t mention to Starfleet that allowing Mitchell to go along to a mission to the edge of the galaxy ends poorly?

    We have to assume that Spock Prime was debriefed to some degree after the events of the last movie, and he must have provided information on some of the major events that the Enterprise would encounter. For example, it would be illogical to risk the life of everyone on Earth by assuming that the Enterprise crew would survive long enough to ward of V’Ger and the Cetacean probe in the nick of time, as always, and do so successfully.

    So, I’m inclined to think that Spock would warn at least Kirk to avoid going to the edge of the Galaxy and allowing Gary to become transformed.

    However, this does present an opportunity: The warning is given, and Gary is grounded (or imprisoned, or anything of the sort) due to it. He’s, of course, understandably upset, since he hasn’t done anything wrong yet. Some investigating leads him to discover what the reasoning behind his punishment is. He then hijacks/stows away on a ship, makes it to the barrier, gets his super powers, and then comes back for his vengeance thing.

    • That could be really cool although it always seems the best ideas are never the ones that make it as the official storyline.

    • @ ChrisV

      Here is your out.

      Because Spock Prime said it hiself ” I could not relive you of the revelation of all that you will accomplish together, of a friendship that will define you both.”

      Spock Prime telling Kirk and Spock and all of Starfleet of what will happen, negates the friendship that must be forged and the trust that must be earned. Because without it, there is no Kirk Stealing the Enterprise to save his friend, there is no Spock giving his life to save his ship and his friends, there is none of that. If you know the outcome, there is nothing there to test the binds of both friendship and loyalty to duty.

      • But if Spock Prime is alive, he couldn’t have sacrificed himself to save the enterprise… On another note, the more obvious out for this is the following: It’s an alternate universe, Spock Prime cannot be certain of anything happening the same way again.

      • Your scenario, of Kirk stealing the Enterprise and Spock sacrificing himself, only works if their destiny is to repeat all the same situations, which is inherently not going to happen, due to the myriad of differences in their lives. Its not their destiny to repeat the entire course of their original lives with shiny new graphics. The last movie explicitly said so, for the audience’s benefit. Further, all that happens 27 years after the events of the last movie; it strains credulity to think that it’ll all happen the same way.

        Further, the idea that those specific situations are necessary to forge their friendship actually cheapens the bond itself, in that it suggests that it could only arise in those specific circumstances. Far more likely that their friendship will grow, be tested, and be strengthened by whatever challenges they face together.

        Which means that Spock Prime is free to provide guidance on matters of great importance. He doesn’t have to give them a play by play of everything that happens, but inform them of the dangers of various events. IE, “The Great Barrier will drive Gary Mitchell mad,” “Earth will be attacked by an ancient but augmented probe in 2272″ “Figure out how to imitate humpback whale songs by 2285″ etc. and so on.

        • No, Spock Prime is not free to provide guidance. It is a learning Process that Kirk,Spock,McCoy and the rest must go through.

          You can promote a total jerk off to the rank of captain, and his crew will have to obey his orders.

          A Captain with the respect of his crew, will not only obey his orders, but will stand beside their Captain.

          The Great Barrier did not drive Gary Mitchell Mad, it gave him an omniponent arrogance. He knew what he was, and he was a “God” among men. There is a difference.

          • No, Spock Prime is not free to provide guidance.

            Sure he is. He already has given guidance. Not to mention Nero and Spock’s ships’ technology has already accelerated the technology curve in this reality. Based on what has already occurred (and with the destruction of Vulcan), it makes perfect sense for Spock Prime to serve as a clandestine advisor to the Federation.

        • Does not work. Never about Stealing the Enteprise, or Kirk saving Spock saving Kirk.

          The time line has changed, but the seeds of trust where there in the first movie.

          Where Spock called Kirk “Jim” that was the begining. These two need to find out what will push them together, and Spock Prime would never reveal to Starfleet all it will face, or Fear.

          It goes against…THE PRIME DIRECTIVE….Spock Prime would never under any circumstance betrayed that which he was ordered to protect.

        • As proven in The Voyage Home.

          You can duplicate the Humpback Whale Song, but the probe would interpet it has jibberish.

      • deprive…not relive

  19. To quote Spock….

    There are two possibilities:

    1. Cumberbatch is Gary Mitchell and Alice Eve is Elizabeth Dehner. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    2. Cumberbatch is Khan and Alice Eve is…. Dr. Carol Marcus.

    I can see either one of these working out based on the trailer and what we know of the original series. I don’t recall Mitchell having the super human strength but we all know who has the ego and strength to do those things. If that is not the Enterprise coming out of the water, then it could be a ship that Khan has had built due to his intellect and specialty in engineering.

    It’s a teaser for a reason and there are two films that have me excited for next year and Star Trek Into Darkness is one of them. Six months is entirely too long to wait.

  20. Perhaps Cumbersnatch is playing Kirks brother. We saw him briefly in pt1.

    • Do you have a problem with Cumberbatch or something? You’re constantly calling him “Cumbersnatch”, and it really is quite juvenile.

      • Sorry, my I must’ve misspelled it and that’s what my phone remembered; hadn’t noticed until now.
        Thank you soooooo much for pointing this out; how could I ever repay you!?

        • Hm, can’t tell if sarcasm or genuine…
          Assuming genuine, no problem

          • I call him Benny Cucumber. In my regards, it’s an attempt at wit. I never once suggested the wit would be worth the admission price.

          • YOU ASSUME WAY TOO MUCHZ THEN always go for sarcasm first ppl are not that stupid!!!! OK SOME ARE, sorry

            • The majority I’ve met are stupid, or at least apathetically unobservant; and I didn’t want to start something so best to err on the side of caution.

          • lmao

  21. I don’t believe it’s Gary Mitchell. Mitchel was essentially godlike. Cumberbatch lends a certain physicality to the role, which I presume would ultimately disqualify him as an omnipotent being. Khan, though played with devilish gusto by Montalban, was a non-Caucasian character. Cumberbatch is decidedly white and nowhere near Khan Noonien Singh.
    I’m trying to go through all the Star Trek villains I can remember and one comes to mind. Do any of you guys remember a character by the name Garth of Izar. An insane ex Star fleet captain

    • You forget, Mitchells power for ifinite, and he would go in and out of it. He was vunlerable to attack in human form.

      Perhaps his powers leave him the more he expends them and hence the reason Spock can have an advantage over him.

    • Yeah Garth was mentioned a few times.

  22. Look him up. He was this brilliant Star Fleet Officer but he went nuts and was put away in an asylum.

    • But he was a shapeshifter…

    • Is he Space Lincoln?

  23. Since history has been altered, maybe in this timeline, he isn’t.

    • Or he IS a shapeshifter; it was only a 1min teaser, after all

  24. The family death may be Kirk’s older brother George and not his mother. Sorry if this has already been mentioned.

    • I was actually thinking that Cumbersnatch IS Kirk’s older brother. Kills his mother, becomes the villian, leaves Kirk without any family, has a personal connection with Kirk…eh? Eh?

      • Nah. Cumberbatch character and Spock share a connection. Cumberbatch character and Spock get into it a few times, with Spock being choked, so it is someone who can go with the physical abilities of a Vulcan, but that rules out Khan, because even Khan could match Spocks Strength.

  25. Maybe this is a new character, though I would like Alice Eve being Carol Marcus though

  26. Though I just read on Memory Alpha that Carol Marcus could’ve been the blonde lab technician Gary Mitchell had introduced to Kirk

  27. I feel that it is a Gary Mitchell reboot plotline as well. The Alice Eve as Dehner complete with homage hairstyle is moe convincing. A Gary Mtichell storyline would work well.

  28. Looks like J.J. knocked it outta the park…again!! Can not wait for may to arrive!!

  29. The only reason I never believed it was Khan.

    Unlike the 60s. You can find a person of Indian-Skih decent to portray Khan Nooenin Singh.

    The reason back then for Ricardo Montalban was because it was one of the accepted races on TV Back then.

    There were sadly few shows that portrayed Asian/Indian/Middle Eastern people without being sterotypical.

    Now, you could find a person of Indian decent to play a convincing Khan.

    • Oh man, when I think stereotypes in the 50s/60s I always have to think of the John Wayne movie “The High and the Mighty”. The portrayal of the Korean woman in this movie is one of the most terrible and insulting ones I’ve ever seen.