Analyzing The First 'Star Trek 2' Teaser Trailer - What Can We Learn?

Does the first 'Star Trek Into Darkness' trailer reveal who Alice Eve and Benedict Cumberbatch's characters are?

Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer Logo

Ignoring the three-frame clip J.J. Abrams jokingly brought to Conan, the very first official footage from Star Trek Into Darkness was released by Paramount Pictures this morning in a one-minute teaser trailer.

Even with less than 60 seconds of actual footage, there is a lot to take in and dissect, beyond the special effects heavy visuals. So, let's analyze what scenes and plot points were showcased in our first look at Star Trek 2.


Breaking down the trailer into the sequences, we can pull out the specific moments. Some are obvious, while others we'll have to wait and see what they are and how they factor into the story.

  • Kirk giving a speech at a funeral - with a flyover aerial salute - after what we assume is an attack that resulted in his mother's death since the plot synopsis specially states the crew of the Enterprise is his only family after the Starfleet was "detonated" and the Earth put into a "state of crisis."
  • We see a red temple with McCoy and Kirk robed and running away from something, jumping off a cliff into the water. What is this place and why are they there?
  • First look at Alice Eve's new character in two separate uniforms, and a scene with her having an eye-to-eye moment with Kirk.
  • Cumberbatch makes a grand entrance with a flying leap, shooting an opponent while in the air and grabbing an overly large weapon to take out what looks to be a Gorn. Is this paying homage to the episode "Arena" from season one of the original Star Trek where Kirk fistfights a Gorn? Or is it a Klingon as some suggest, as the outfit resembles that of the Star Trek 1 deleted scene featuring Klingons?
  • Spock descends into a volcano with equipment. This is the same footage from the three-frame clip Abrams showed while on Conan and from previous set photos of Zachary Quinto suited up in front of a green screen. Where is this and why is Spock down there? Are they trying to quell a natural disaster? Are they looking for someone?
  • An unknown Starfleet vessel with familiar warp engines rises from the water, different hull than the Enterprise. The designation code following "NCC" is not visible.
  • Spock chases Cumberbatch on Earth, through the streets and into a building. When does this take place relative to the attack on Earth?
  • Kirk enters a bridge of a ship (not the Enterprise) to see Cumberbatch in the Captain's chair in Starfleet apparel, reminiscent of the scene from Abrams' first Star Trek with Kirk sporting a black shirt sitting in the chair.
  • In the Japanese version of the teaser, there's a few seconds of extra footage which strongly hint at the major sacrifice teased in the official synopsis. It looks like Kirk and Spock's hands on opposite sides of protective glass, potentially replicating the of the emotional conclusion to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan where Spock dies to save the Enterprise. Except this time, the roles could be reversed if the synopsis is of any indication. Quite the tease.

There's no dialogue from any of the familiar cast members and the entire one-minute trailer is narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch's character who swears vengeance. Who wronged him? Fans will no doubt draw comparisons to the infamous Khan Noonien Singh in terms of the confident, tyrannical voice vowing to serve vengeance. Not to mention the superhuman strength and intelligence. This may add more fuel to those previous rumors.

Gary Mitchell Benedict Cumberbatch

The obvious difference is that whoever or whatever wronged Benedict Cumberbatch's character wasn't James T. Kirk as this will mark their first encounter. Clearly though, there's an origin story that plays into the plot of how the character acquired superhuman strength and what his motivations are.

The more common theory, and strongly hinted at in the official plot synopsis, is that Cumberbatch is playing a variation of Starfleet officer Gary Mitchell (pictured above) who in the original canon was best pals with Kirk throughout Starfleet Academy and later served under him on the Enterprise. Mitchell, along with psychiatrist Elizabeth Dehner, were both significantly altered in a mission that saw the Enterprise breaching the galactic barrier. Mitchell became too dangerous after being granted psychic powers and Kirk was forced to kill him with the help of Dehner (who also gained ESP abilities). She also happens to look very similar to Alice Eve (see comparison image below).

Alice Eve Elizabeth Dehner


The fact that we don't know who Cumberbatch is playing and that there may be much more at work behind what we're being shown only builds on the anticipation and excitement. For all we know, he may not be a villain at all, in the traditional sense.

The full two-minute trailer releases next week along with a full nine-minute sequence shot in IMAX for IMAX attendees of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Tell us your thoughts and theories on the trailer, the story, the scenes depicted and of course, the two new characters mentioned above.

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.


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