The upcoming Star Trek 3 may have had a tumultuous pre-production phase with a last-minute director switch (and a brand new script coming into fruition close to the start of production), but the sci-fi sequel seems to be running a little more smoothly nowadays. As everything starts to come together ahead of principal photography commencing in June, the discussion has now turned to which actors will be lending their talents to the project - in addition to the returning Enterprise crew from the previous installments, that is.
A couple weeks ago, it was rumored that fan-favorite Idris Elba was in early talks to portray the film's villain (possibly as a Klingon of some kind), but little's been heard of his involvement since. As we await his final decision, we do know of one thespian who will be participating in the movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service starlet Sofia Boutella.
Deadline broke the story, saying that the actress has signed on for "a lead role." It is unknown at this juncture whether Boutella will be playing an ally to Captain Kirk and his crew or one of their adversaries; given how well she handled the villainous role of Gazelle in Kingsman, it wouldn't be a shock for director Justin Lin to ask her to portray an evil character in that vein. After all, with the team of heroes firmly established, any new "leads" for the franchise would most likely be on the "bad" side of the spectrum.
Of course, Alice Eve's Carol Marcus could have qualified as one of Star Trek Into Darkness' female leads, and that character was not malicious in her intent. Perhaps Boutella is going to portray a new love interest for Kirk or some type of Starfleet officer. Since we know so little about what the team has in store, it's difficult to say how she fits in.
Solving this puzzle gets all the more tricky when we take the vague story "hints" we've heard into account. Co-writer and star Simon Pegg has only teased that he and Doug Jung are striving for something that is true to the sprit of the original television show, and that the new screenplay does not use any of Roberto Orci's ideas as inspiration. Clearly, the mystery box filmmaking style employed by J.J. Abrams has rubbed off on Pegg, one of Abrams' frequent collaborators. Whatever he has in mind for the narrative is locked deep in his vault.
And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Star Trek 3 is still 14 months out from its theatrical premiere, and fans would rather the creative talent not spill out all their secrets when they haven't even begun filming yet. As viewers speculate about what the plot will entail, hypothesizing over Boutella's role will just add another layer of interest and intrigue to the movie. Though, with Lin starting to roll his cameras in a couple of months, we'll hopefully find out details soon.
Regardless of the nature of Boutella's character, her casting gives Star Trek 3 another bit of some "geek cred" that will surely benefit the project in the early going. It's safe to say that after Into Darkness, enthusiasm over this new Trek series has cooled off a little - and this third entry will have to reclaim that goodwill in order for the series to continue in the future (arriving in time to commemorate the franchise's fiftieth anniversary, no less).
Having one of the standouts from Kingsman - one of the year's most-acclaimed genre pictures - in the fold is a nice asset for Lin's Star Trek 3 (official title TBD). If Elba signs on, then things will really be rolling along.
Star Trek 3 will be in theaters July 8, 2016.