When Star Trek: Enterprise was pulled off the air in 2005, it marked a sad conclusion to 18 consecutive years of the franchise being on TV in one form or another. It didn't take long though, for Paramount to greenlight a new film, one that could take up the space sci-fi mantle in the absence of Star Wars.
It's been three and a half years since J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (inspired by Star Wars) hit theaters and successfully revitalized the brand, bringing back the original crew led by Captain James T. Kirk, and we finally have our first real look at their next adventure in Star Trek Into Darkness... and it's an epic one.
While story details have remained under the tightest of security compared to most film productions, we do know thanks to the official Star Trek Into Darkness plot synopsis that the crew of the Enterprise will be pitted against Benedict Cumberbatch's "one man weapon of mass destruction" after Starfleet suffers a major blow. Kirk will have to earn his Captain's chair as he balances his emotions with duty.
The teaser above is headlined by Cumberbatch and his intimidating presence, bolstered with his powerful voiceover accompanying imagery of destruction, fear, and the iconic Enterprise (or a similarly shaped vessel) crashing into the surface of Earth. Whether he represents a new take on Khan, Gary Mitchell or some other character from Star Trek history, Cumberbatch is playing a man of superhuman power.
[Update 1: The Japanese version of the trailer includes 10 seconds of additional footage, teasing a potentially important moment between what could be Kirk and Spock, conveniently similar to the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.]
[Update 3: 40 stills from the trailer]
[gallery order="DESC" columns="2" exclude="239756"]
In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes ‘Star Trek Into Darkness.’ When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.
With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
Stay tuned for more Star Trek 2 footage as the full trailer releases next week with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Moviegoers who check out The Hobbit in IMAX will get to see a 9 minute preview.
Into Darkness is directed by J.J. Abrams 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.