Star Trek Beyond has a fair amount to live up to: the third installment of the rebooted Trek film series (which was originally helmed by J.J. Abrams before he was scooped up by Disney to handle a little film called Star Wars: The Force Awakens), this one not only needs to find its own identity under new franchise director Justin Lin (of Fast & Furious fame), it also must attempt to reconnect with audiences – both the casual and hardcore Trek fans alike – and commemorate Star Trek's 50th anniversary on a high note, following after the controversial previous installment, Star Trek Into Darkness.
Paramount has already moved to do just that this past week, first introducing a brand-new Star Trek Beyond trailer meant to address all the perceived wrongs of the movie's first teaser, and then unleashing a wave of posters that drew upon Star Trek’s long-lived big-screen history. This was meant to placate Trekkies that have complained about how far the new movies have strayed from the 50-year-old source material.
Now it’s the general audience’s turn to be courted. Today, the studio has unveiled two more posters that are obviously meant to highlight the film’s action quotient and its (new) cast of characters – two elements that have appealed to summer blockbuster fans over the series’ seven-year run thus far, and which Paramount clearly is banking on happening yet again. Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard McCoy is featured in one of the posters, while series newcomer Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service, the currently-in-production Mummy) as the mysterious Jaylah takes center stage in the other (see below).
It was already obvious that Boutella’s new alien character was a main component of this latest Trek outing, and her prominence in nearly every single piece of the pre-release marketing only cements this fact. Jaylah seems to fit two very big parts of Beyond’s narrative: a kick-ass player capable of carrying large action sequences on her own, while also bringing an irreverent, carefree attitude to the more formal or hierarchy-driven Federation types (her casual sitting in the captain’s chair in the most recent trailer, including draping her foot over the side, stands testament to this). And the fact that both she and Bones have their posters festooned with the telltale swarm of ships that seem to be aligned with the movie’s new baddie (Idris Elba’s Krall, who remains even more of a mystery than Jaylah) is meant to provide a striking visual design and reminder of the action and danger that the Enterprise crew finds itself in both.
While fans can’t draw any type of relationship between Jaylah and Bones from the simultaneous release of these posters – being two big members of the roster of characters, their being focused upon is more likely more a means of spreading the marketing wealth and not necessarily establishing a correlation between the two – they can rest assured that both characters will nonetheless have their turn in the narrative’s spotlight. Dr. McCoy’s legendary status in Trek mythology all but guarantees a meaty character arc for him in this film.
Will this be enough to soothe viewers’ concerns that classic Star Trek elements are being pushed back and Fast & Furious-esque action set-pieces are being pushed forward with Star Trek Beyond? And given how the rebooted Star Trek films has treated previous new additions to its cast – Alice Even’s Dr. Carol Marcus from Into Darkness comes to mind – can fans rest assured that they’ll be getting a complete character (in Jaylah) with a sufficient amount of screen time, at least as compared to their prominence in pre-release materials? Time, of course, will only tell on this front, but, in the meantime, at least Paramount, Lin, and all the rest appear to be moving in a promising direction in these respects.
Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 22nd, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures