You've see the first Star Trek Into Darkness teaser trailer. We've seen the nine-minute prologue. Now it's time to share a few bits of information that Paramount Pictures gave us the go-ahead on.
If you don't mind learning a little more about the plot, characters and some sequences for Star Trek Into Darkness, read on, because we're going to tell you all about Alice Eve's character and how it could be the biggest hint yet at who Benedict Cumberbatch's villain is.
When Alice Eve was cast into J.J. Abrams' Star Trek sequel, no information was given about her role. Unofficial set photos revealed her wearing starfleet uniforms, but all we had was our theories and the speculation that came with it. The one-minute Star Trek Into Darkness teaser trailer provided the official first look at Eve's character, but with no dialogue outside of Cumberbatch's intimidating voiceover, there was nothing to go on outside of the visuals. We can now confirm that Alice Eve is playing Dr. Carol Marcus.
*Spoiler Warning: The discussion ahead shares a few details from the Star Trek Into Darkness prologue and additional revelations from the film's story*
What we saw in the trailer was Eve in two different sets of Starfleet attire, sharing a moment with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and another where she's reacting with a frightful scream to some horrifying event or situation. Based on the visuals alone, we noted that her hairstyle and uniform match that of a character named Elizabeth Dehner (side-by-side image below).
Dehner is a psychiatrist who in the original Star Trek series episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" came aboard the Enterprise to study the long-term effects space travel may have on its crew. On that particular mission to the galactic barrier, Dehner and Kirk's friend, ship's helmsman Gary Mitchell, gained godlike psychic powers after being struck by an unknown energy. Mitchell of course is one of the rumored possibilities for who Benedict Cumberbatch may be playing in Star Trek Into Darkness, and with the visual similarity between Alice Eve and Sally Kellerman (who played Dehner), this was one working theory for the pairing of characters. Or it could be intentional (and fitting) misdirection on the part of the Star Trek 2 creative time.
We now know however, that Alice Eve is actually playing another scientist, Dr. Carol Marcus (originally played by Bibi Besch - see clip up top), a molecular biologist for Starfleet. In the original timeline, Marcus and Kirk fell in love and had a son named David. From the one-minute Into Darkness teaser depicting a smile between Alice Eve's Marcus and Chris Pine's Kirk, it's very likely that we will see the beginnings of their relationship.
The more interesting ideas we can draw from this revelation however, are in what this means for Benedict Cumberbatch's character and the plot of the film. Carol Marcus was introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when Khan raids her Project Genesis research station. We also learn here that Marcus and Kirk had a falling out many years prior. She (and their son, David) work together on Project Genesis - a key story point for the original Star Trek 2 & 3. In the third film, David dies at the hands of Klingons on the Genesis planet, who were there to acquire the Project Genesis device to use as a weapon just as Khan tried to.
Why is this important?
In the nine-minute IMAX prologue, we meet a couple played by Nazneen Contractor and Noel Clarke. Their daughter is very sick, aging too fast in a London-based hospital on Earth, and the outlook isn't positive. While stepping outside to catch some air, Benedict Cumberbatch's character approaches Clarke and simply says he can help save his daughter. How? Could it be through Abrams' version of the origins of Project Genesis or some special ability he has?
From what we've learned at Paramount's Star Trek Into Darkness press event, the film will include scenes on the Klingon homeworld Qo'noS and viewers will see Klingons shown without their helmets. Combine that with the fact Alice Eve is playing Dr. Carol Marcus, and there are a growing number of connections between Into Darkness and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock).
How does Benedict Cumberbatch fit into all of this? We learned from the first official Star Trek 2 still released today that his character is named John Harrison, at least as an alias. With Bob Orci telling TrekMovie.com that Cumberbatch is not playing Gary Mitchell (his story was told in the in-canon Abrams universe IDW Star Trek comics) but is definitely a character from Trek canon, and with Alice Eve playing Carol Marcus, there's more evidence piling for the Khan camp, especially if Cumberbatch's solution to save the dying girl is through some process related Project Genesis... or genetic engineering (recall: Marcus is a molecular biologist). But that's just speculation.
We don't yet know and from the footage we cannot conclusively determine who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing. If not Mitchell or Khan, what other character from the original series or films do you believe would fit?
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.