J.J. Abrams has a number of regrets when it comes to Star Trek Into Darkness. In the past, the director pointed to his borderline obsessive use of lens flares and how he wished he wasn’t so secretive about the true identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s John Harris. During his Celebrity Nerd-Off with Stephen Colbert in Newark, New Jersey, this weekend, he further bemoaned overdoing it on the Wrath of Khan nods.
“We got in trouble on the second Star Trek film with some of the fans,” he admitted (as quoted by Rolling Stone). “There were too many nods to The Wrath of Khan. I’ll cop to that.”
The biggest nod, of course, is the fact that John Harris is really Khan, and the simple act of using the name brings forth numerous comparisons. Examples include Spock’s “needs of the many” line, the Khan scream, the inclusion of Carol Marcus (played by Alice Eve in Into Darkness), and the reversal of fortune with Kirk’s sacrifice. The blogosphere went to town further solidifying these comparisons with features like BuzzFeed’s “10 Classic Star Trek References in Star Trek Into Darkness.”
This route didn’t work in the film’s favor and instead flew too close to one of the franchise’s greatest installments and looked worse by comparison. Fans at a Las Vegas Star Trek convention voted it the worst film in the entire canon. Abrams, however, is working to remedy his ways. He spoke to Wired earlier this year about using his past work as a guideline to making Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I didn’t want to enter into making a movie where we didn’t really own our story. I feel like I’ve done that a couple of times in my career. That’s not to say I’m not proud of my work, but the fact is I remember starting to shoot Super 8 and Star Trek Into Darkness and feeling like I hadn’t really solved some fundamental story problems.
At the very least, we can rest assured that the galaxy far, far away will remain lens flare free.