[Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for 'Star Trek Into Darkness']
Based on the action-packed trailers and featurettes for the film, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness is going to boldly go where no Star Trek film has gone before...in terms of all out spectacle, anyway. But will the movie deliver a story that both regular audiences and hardcore Trekkies can get behind?
The answer to that question depends largely on Benedict Cumberbatch's character, John Harrison. Harrison, who is described as a "one man weapon of mass destruction" is one of Star Trek's best kept secrets. Despite months of speculation around who the character is - from a reimagining of Khan to a character that goes even further back in the Star Trek mythos - the folks at Paramount have done a pretty good job of keeping his motivations under wraps.
That being said, Abrams and Cumberbatch have both taken time recently to talk about the character in broader terms. In a recent interview for the new issue of Total Film (via Comic Book Movie), Abrams explained how Harrison is a different villain than the first film's vengeful Romulan, Nero.
"[Nero] was just a raging, vengeful lunatic. All he wanted to do was destroy Vulcan, Earth and the Federation...He had backstory but was kind of irrational. The beauty of Benedict's [John Harrison] is that he's completely rational. He's someone that you can have conversations with. You couldn't sit down and talk to Nero - he'd bite your head off!"
In the same article, Cumberbatch also weighs in on his character, mostly to describe his fighting ability, saying "he's a kick-ass warrior, as masterful with his hands and body as he is with weapons" and that fans "will have a great discovery" about his character during the film.
While that "discovery" may still have to wait until the film hits theaters on May 17th, thanks to a recent press screening of the movie in Brazil, many other plot questions have now been answered.
A recent article at the Brazilian website Judao.com.br (which was spotted by TrekMovie.com) lays out many of the details of the beginning of the film. Needless to say, the rest of this article contains MAJOR SPOILERS about what happens to Captain Kirk and crew in the new movie.
Sprinkled among minor things like a description of a scene where Kirk is in bed with two "cat people" (meow, indeed), there are a number of important spoilers that came out of the press screening. One of the biggest reveals is the identity of Peter Weller's character. According to the report, Weller will play "Admiral Marcus" who, presumably, is the father of Alice Eve's character, Carol Marcus.
In the recently released prequel comic book series for the movie, former Enterprise captain Robert April says that his First Officer was named "Alex Marcus." Could the characters be one in the same? It seems likely, and, if so, could explain some of the plot.
Speaking of the comic book series, here's a little more information about Robert April. According to the comic book, Robert April decides to ignore the Prime Directive (which states that the federation cannot interfere with alien civilizations) in order to help the inhabitants of planet Phaedus IV, who are being slaughtered by the dominant race on the planet. Rather than turning him in, Alex Marcus allows April to stay and covers up for him with Starfleet. (Hat tip to ComicBook.com for the summary.)
As Hit Fix's Drew McWeeny speculated last year, there's another angle to the Robert April character that makes things even more interesting (and complicated). In his article, Drew references an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series called "The Counter-Clock Incident," in which Robert April saves the crew from a disease that causes them to age backwards.
I'll let Drew take it from here:
Meanwhile, in the books, April is revealed to be someone who came from Coventry in England. You know England, right? That's where London is. You remember why that matters right? Because of the one-sheet looking out on the London skyline.
And the opening of the film, which you'll see at the IMAX presentation, features a moment where Cumberbatch offers to help a family whose daughter is hospitalized in the London Children's Hospital. So it seems like England is important to this April character. Hmmmm. And why does the daughter need help? Because she appears to be prematurely aging.
[In some books], Pike is April's second-in-command. So what if something happened to April on a mission somewhere with Pike. It didn't have to be on the Enterprise as long as the two of them were serving together. And what if something terrible happened to April because of Pike and Pike came home and went on with his life? What if April is the one who comes to Earth, not for revenge on Kirk, but for revenge on Pike?
Now I'm the one speculating, but what if there's some plot twist that involves April, Marcus, and Pike? Perhaps Pike was in some way responsible for whatever happened to April and now, through some anti-aging process, he's come back younger and stronger and seeking revenge (meaning John Harrison is just a pseudonym). Meanwhile, his old friend Marcus is helping him get to Pike and the Enterprise.
Okay - my head hurts. Anyway, onto the next spoiler. You know how the crew is running around like crazy in the opening volcano sequence? Well, in order to get Spock out of a jam, it looks like Captain Kirk has to also violate the Prime Directive by revealing the Enterprise to the inhabitants of Nibiru. Because of this action, Kirk is demoted to First Officer and replaced by the returning Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Meanwhile, Spock is transferred to a different ship.
Why isn't Kirk sent all the way back to the Academy, like Pike wants? Because Admiral Marcus insists on merely demoting Kirk to First Officer. (There's Marcus again, mucking things up for Pike.) Okay, that's the end of the spoilers.
What do you think of this new information? Are you able to connect the pieces any better than I was? Are you still as excited to see Star Trek Into Darkness when it comes out in two months? Let us know in the comments.
Star Trek Into Darkness hits theaters May 17th, 2013.