J.J. Abrams Says the STAR TREK Video Game “Arguably Hurt” STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

     September 13, 2013


Despite raking in a worldwide gross of $465 million and nabbing an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, Star Trek Into Darkness has been facing some considerably loud negativity over the past few months.  Of course it doesn’t help when one of the writer/producers lambasts fans with a “fuck you” or when Paramount botches the Blu-ray release by spreading the special features out over various separate “exclusive” retail versions, but now director J.J. Abrams has spoken up about a different aspect of the film’s release that he felt personally affronted by: the loosely-related video game Star Trek.  Hit the jump for his surprising comments on why the game “hurt” Into Darkness.

jj-abrams-star-trek-into-darknessDigital Extremes released a third-person action-adventure video game called Star Trek this past April that used the likenesses of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto for Kirk and Spock, with the actors lending their voice talents to the roles themselves.  The game didn’t follow the same story of the film and instead focused on the Gorn, but it was released to universally negative reviews.

I had completely forgotten that this video game existed until today, when the following comments from Abrams at the STID Blu-ray release landed online courtesy of Polygon (via The Dissolve):

“To me the video game could have been something that actually really benefited the series and was an exciting, fun game with great gameplay and instead it was not and was something that I think, for me, emotionally it hurt, because we were working our asses off making the movie and then this game came out and it got, this isn’t even my opinion, it got universally panned and I think that it was something without question that didn’t help the movie and arguably hurt it.”

star-trek-into-darkness-jj-abrams-chris-pineNot only did Abrams feel personally hurt by the Star Trek video game that no one played, but he also thinks that its negative reviews somehow contributed to the negative perception of Star Trek Into Darkness.  It’s tough to see how Abrams made the connection between the two, but to my mind the video game came and went almost unnoticed.

The fact that Abrams and Co. were initially involved in the development of the game and subsequently backed out over creative differences may have colored the filmmaker’s perception of said game, but it’s still a curious bit of commentary.  Abrams will be too busy with Star Wars to direct the next Trek film, but he will still be involved as a producer and says he’d love to see the series go in a new direction with a different filmmaker.  Hopefully we hear word on that front soon, though keeping Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman on to write the screenplay for Trek 3 does not bode well for a “fresh” or improved take.

Watch the video in which Abrams discusses the Star Trek video game below.



    Into Darkness was a solid action movie, but a crappy Star Trek movie. If ‘Wrath of Khan’ never existed, STID would be hailed as one of the best Treks ever. But of course you can’t remake something without an original, and yes, STID was a clear remake. Just like a remake of Robocop feels unnecessary, or a reboot of Spider-Man telling the same origin story feels like a cash grab, the latest Trek chose to look backwards instead of forwards, and that is what I find ultimately disappointing. On another note, it’s pretty hilarious that a successful writer/producer/director like Bob Orci can be baited so easily by Internet fans. He comes across as a butthurt 13 year old who can’t take criticism. New writers for the next Trek, please!

    • GrimReaper07

      I don’t see how it being a remake is a bad thing. Not that I admit it’s a remake since the only thing the two have in common is that they share the same villain and the two interpretations barely have anything to do with one another. I’d say both Into Darkness and Wrath of Khan are decent, if unexceptional, popcorn films.

      • anthonybrown0917

        My Uncle David just got Cadillac CTS Wagon only from working parttime off a laptop… website link ►►►►►► PORT60.C­OM­

      • mbmarquis69

        “the two interpretations barely have anything to do with one another.”

        For anyone who knows The Wrath of Khan inside and out, the final act of Into Darkness lifts, not only scenes, but entire chunks of dialogue from TWOK. That qualifies as something other than “barely” having anything to do with one another.

        I get what they were trying for. I really do. I just think it was a colossal mistake to do it. If you’re going to create a new timeline, tell a kind of story that was never told before. Don’t lift entire portions of someone else’s film and put them in your script.

        I’m not a hater. I liked a lot of Into Darkness. But where they stumbled, they stumbled badly.

      • GrimReaper07


        No scene was “lifted” from Wrath of Khan, except maybe that scene when Kirk dies (and to be perfectly honest, it cheats the audience as much as Wrath of Khan did since those characters are revived pretty quickly), and lifting lines of dialogue doesn’t mean the plot or story is in any way similar to Wrath of Khan. It just means Abrams is trying to appeal to trekkies a little too much.

        I’m not saying Into Darkness or the previous Star Trek are amazing movies because I don’t think that at all. I don’t really love any Star Trek movies. In fact, I’m worried about Abrams directing Star Wars because I don’t think he’s good enough.

    • JBug

      I never saw Wrath of Khan, but I thought STID has little heart. I also did like how they destroyed huge buildings. When lot’s of citizens die like that, it just takes you out of the movie and it’s hard to care after that. Also, is resembled the huge robot fight scenes from Power Rangers. Didn’t buy it one bit.

    • Gojiro

      It wasn’t a remake. It was a brilliant re-imagining! #snark

    • MEY

      A clear remake? You live in other dimension?

      The fence of the zoo is too low-built…

    • Keh-Tai Culbreath

      TASM is in no way a “remake”, it happens to tread similar water as it’s predecessor because (surprise) it’s based on the same source material and (naturally) has similarities, it’s silly to use that as an argument against it. STID also doesn’t really qualify as a remake. STID has about as many changes as MOS does compared Superman, and the blatant similarities are meant to serve as homages.

      That said, I agree that they should have sought to do something new rather than rely on homages to try and illicit a sense of nostalgia and familiarity with Trek fans.

    • erika761

      my boyfriends mum just got a 12 month old Hyundai Accent Sedan just by working from a home pc… Visit This Link w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

    • Alexis Hall

      Probably the best explanation of how so many Star Trek fans feel.

  • Steve

    I agree with Adam, the game pretty much came and went… I forgot it was even a thing. I seriously doubt it had an impact on Trek’s success.

    As for the movie… I finally rented it last night. I didn’t know what to expect since it is pretty much the highest-rated blockbuster of the Summer, but at the same time just seems to be absolutely reviled on the internet. I enjoyed it, though as PANTS said I was more than a little disappointed to see it was pretty much just a remake. Would have much rather had an original story.

    • Ramone

      I wouldn’t even go so far as to call it a remake really. Though they share several characters, their storylines in the plot were all very different.

      That said, the fact that Abrams didn’t just come up with a totally new idea–especially when it had the carte blanche to start over given the events in the first film–was a sorely missed opportunity.

    • Jeff

      It was “highly rated” because people have low expectations and it was a pretty bad summer for movies. I think as people watch it again on video they’ll wonder what kool aid they were drinking.

      • Gojiro

        I rented it on DVD and thank the maker I didn’t spend $15 for a ticket to see it in the theaters. That $15 was well spent on seeing Pacific Rim for the second time.

      • Bob

        Saw it on Redbox again. Movie was still great. Not as good as the first, but imho Star Trek(09) is one of the best sci-fi films of the 2000s so it would be pretty hard to top in my books.

  • Joseph M

    So he makes a poor Star Trek movie then rips the public off (in association with Paramount) with the sleazy blu ray release, but feels the need to publicly announce his pain over the video game? Someone get him away from Star Wars!

    • Gojiro

      No his STAR WARS will be EPIC! He’s doing a reboot of Episode IV. #snark

    • Neven

      Bitc*ing about Abrams doing Star Wars is gettin old…

      • someone pass cheese

        no it ain’t, jj dumbass abrahms needs to stay away from star wars, plain and simple, proof is how he murdered star trek with his vile remakes. star wars is in deep trouble, I hate that jj turd.

      • nilesishere

        did you know that jj abrahms stands for ‘Juvenile Jew abrahms’?

        this interview shows that he is a juvenile, not to mention clearly delusional, he can’t see he churned out two craptastic, awful, dull star trek remakes

        go away abrahms, I do not want star wars ruined! just go away jj and commit…….suicide.

    • Keh-Tai Culbreath

      I don’t think you understand how distribution works, there is a 0.001% chance that Abbrams had anything to do with the Blu Ray release.


    I didn’t even know there was a game; I still thought the film was a mess.

    • Doug

      Agreed. Abrams is delusional if he thinks the game had any effect on the movie. Movies usually have awful games that most people ignore.

  • Andrew Hegele

    Avatar would have made more without its crappy game… just saying /sarcasm

  • Marissa Evans

    I was quite surprised by the high rating it had on Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe around the range of the Iron Man movies I would have understood, but for it to score nearly as high as the 2009 Star Trek was a bit of a shocker.
    But yeah, I’m basically in agreement with everybody else. I didn’t like it as a Star Trek movie at all, but as a summer blockbuster, it wasn’t terrible. I’ve definitely seen worse. But I’m not into these comic book movies or big-budget action movies (i.e. The Avengers was just okay to me), so I have a bias.
    I do miss the intelligence of the original series and borderline sophistication of some of the better Star Trek movies. They were fun and exciting, sure, but there was also this underlying maturity to it. There was no reliance on the effects, they were just there to tell the story. I wish we could return to that one day.

    • Kruzher

      Marissa, you are a smoking hot Trekkie with a brain to boot!
      You are a nerds fantasy come true. ;)

  • Jon

    I guess I get why people say it’s a remake, but I don’t feel like it is or was meant to be. I got the impression it was meant to explore the idea that even if you change the past, your destinies are irrevocably intertwined. If you are making a movie and want to explore that by tapping into Trek lore, then taking another look at Kahn is by far the best route to go. As old Spock says “Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced. He is brilliant, ruthless and he will not hesitate to kill every single one of you.”

    I’d argue that Into Darkness was more another look at “Space Seed” than “Wrath of Khan.” There are lots of nods to both, but there’s lots of nods to other episodes as well, e.g. “The Mudd incident” is mentioned and the tribble. Although I’d concede it really does play off “Wrath” in the third act, i.e. Kirk’s sacrifice and the infamous “Khaannnn” line. (If I’m being dead honest, I think they could have left that last bit out)

    People say this isn’t Star Trek, but I watched it and really paid attention and the entire cast nails the personalities, with one exception and that is that Scotty is played more comedically. Quinto is perfect again and Karl Urban is spot on.There’s definitely a lot more action, but people forget there was almost always a fight in the original series. They are just lame by today’s standards. I mean, is the sentiment “This action is too good for Star Trek” ?

    More than anything though, “Into Darkness” really built up the dynamic and friendship between Spock and Kirk. Events earlier in the movie (opening sequence and the Spock and Uhura relationship) make it all the more compelling when Spock gets angry and pursues Khan. The last time he was that angry was when his home world was destroyed. That’s compelling.

    As far as Abrams on the game, I think that’s what he was talking about: the game features Kirk and Spock and their relationship. He probably meant that their dynamic in the game did nothing to service the relationship they were trying to show in the movie.

    If you walked away from “Into Darkness” and just “Pfft, lazy Kahn remake…” that’s a bit too bad because there was a lot more to it.

    • Btbcc12859

      This is what happens when Hollywood listen to a few loud Star Trek zealots. Was the move bad no, but it was an impossible movie to make. People lept screaming this needed to have Khan, but as you said, there is space seed. This is why ST2 works, years of character development and a back story. There is about 20yrs between Space Seed and Khan, how do you make that movie when they haven’t started the 5 yr mission?

    • mbmarquis69

      You’ll find me often saying why I was disappointed with Into Darkness, but I’ll agree with you that where they succeeded was in the characters. Watching the crew interact was the highlight of the movie for me.

  • Bruno Silva

    What is it with people saying “Oh, I liked the movie but not as a Star Trek movie”. I get it but at the end of the day you simply liked the movie but had problems with it.

    • JBug

      They are just being more specific.

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    Sorry but I loved the new Star Trek and thought it was a very fun film that had a great balance of action, emotion and story. Not sure why the “fans” of Star Trek claim it was the worse? The original 10 had maybe only half that were actually any good (# 2,3,4,6,8 were the only decent ones and the rest were shit). I was glad Abrams got the gig for the new Star Wars as he is one of the few blockbuster directors who actually makes quality films (M:I 3, Super 8, and both Stark Treks). I feel it’s like the new hip trend to trash on people’s work, especially if it’s good and makes money. People do it to Nolan all the time and it comes off as a cheap way to peoples grab attention.

    • Bob

      This dude is correct. The new hip thing for some reason is to hate on all the quality filmmakers that consistently turn in good to great films. JJ and Nolan get most of the hate, and there two of the best filmmakers right now, and years from now they will be cherished and remembered as so.

  • kemo

    Time for new director indeed. And 4 year gap was too long– 3 years is about right. Get a fresher take– maybe Duncan Jones or Katheryn Bigelow

    • Ruprect

      Star Trek Near Dark

  • doctor_robot

    i was not a fan of the khan story line… lazy writing if you ask me. but… i did enjoy the movie for the most part. oh, and spock screaming “khan!!!!” was one of the worst things ever.


    Not sure why the hate for JJ. Or Trek ID. It was like an origin film of who Kahn actually was. And as for people calling it the worst Trek film and Wrath of Kahn the best? Well, i tried to watch Wrath of Kahn a day later to see how the story tied together, but found that film had aged so badly it was unwatchable. (Loved it as a kid, but now? Sorry folks, Trek was rebooted for a good reason!

    That said, there are elements of the older films that i still miss, and it has changed a lot, but, there aint no goin back!

    • mbmarquis69

      “It was like an origin film of who Kahn actually was.”

      Except it wasn’t. Had they actually shown Khan and his followers leaving Earth in the Botany Bay during a prologue, and not played coy with who Cumberbatch was playing… had they shown Khan interact with his crew, shown why the augmented humans from late 20th century were such a threat… THEN it would have been an origin story.

  • http://illusion0flife.wordpress.com/ IllusionOfLife

    The video game that nobody played didn’t hurt INTO DARKNESS. The fact that the film was the vehicle for a messy story that replaced Rodenberry ideals with Truther subtext and then devolved into an embarassing remake of WRATH OF KHAN hurt INTO DARKNESS.

  • Bammajamma Nondeplumeron

    What unmitigated gall this dick has. He craps out a terrible movie and tries blaming it on a video game? Since when have licensed video games ever been good anyway, all gamers know this that’s why no one played it and if no one played it how did it ruin anything? I wonder who he’ll blame when he makes people miss the Lucas prequels in comparison to the train wreck he wreaks on Star Wars? I’ve really grown to hate this guy what an asswipe.

  • pinkincide

    I’m sending Abrams a dictionary so he can look up “trek”. Earth seems just hours away in both these films. Can we go back to the timeline where the Federation had some balls?

    • Jon

      Yes, this is how Into Darkness ends: with them setting out on their “five year mission to explore strange new worlds…”

  • eternalozzie

    It was a very well put together action flick … so the 10 trekkies left from a dead franchise didn’t like the remake and what JJ has done to Star Trek… the rest of the planet liked the movies … the fact is there would be no star trek without JJ … it was laid to rest with the death of Enterprise. Abrams breathed life back into it and delivered 2 very fun to watch movies.

  • Richmond

    Into Darkness puttered in the end much like Iron Man 3. Both had arch-villains building to a climax then all of the sudden they changed to lesser antagonists as the primary threat.

  • Scurvy

    The problem is STID and the critic reviews is the critics only get to see the movie once and have to give their initial reactions.

    This helped this turd of a movie because it was bright and shiny and distracted people from the serious issues.

    I have never seen a movie where the initial reactive is positive and the more people think about it and talk about it, the more negative the perception gets.

    Every one of the people I know who saw it that liked it initially have reversed course.

    It’s the exact opposite of Shawshank Redemption which was almost universally panned when it came out and is now beloved.

    • Reality Into Darkness

      Don’t forget the Dark Knight Rises, which was well-received do to an unprecedented hype campaign but has since been ridiculed by intelligent filmgoers.

      • Reality Into Darkness

        Intelligent Filmgoers who REALLY like Golden Showers! By the way, anybody know whatever happened to that Trayvon martin Criminal? Man, that coon really had it coming! Speaking of which:

        Also, does anybody know if there is a Chris Nolan impersonator that i can hire to come to my house, gather my family in the living room, drop his pants and start pissing in my open mouth while yelling “ACTION”? I’d really like that, in fact, i’m pretty sure that it’ll be the best birthday ever! I’m willing to pay $300 cash. $350 if he can make it taste like CORN. ;-) Lulz!

      • mandyfan


  • Liderc

    I honestly didn’t know there was a video game and I grew up playing loads of games. I doubt it hurt the movie, movie was great, gets too much criticism honestly.

    • MEY

      I love you…

  • szadkowski

    Video games based on movies are never any good. They are never given enough development time to make them great. Gamer’s as well as consumers know that. I don’t see how a small budget game with a small marketing budget could have any negative effects on Abrams entertainment juggernaut. The movie had stiff competition this summer and Abrams should be extremely satisfied with the box office results.

  • DharmaPhil

    “…though keeping Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman on to write the screenplay for Trek 3 does not bode well for a “fresh” or improved take.”
    Thank you! Couldn’t agree more! These guys, along with Abrams, are just churning out cookie cutter action films that happen to be set in the ST universe. And I mean it when I say cookie cutter movies; look at all the ways Into Darkness’ narrative structure mimicks that of the first reboot. This is film making by the numbers and should not be encouraged!!!

  • SV7

    I still can’t believe they thought going with Khan was a good decision. I can’t believe that they thought this would please fans and that there wouldn’t be a massive backlash. But even fans aside, I can’t believe they thought this story was good. Yeah, I get the post 9/11 social commentary, it still doesn’t mean the script is good.

  • prof.Banzai

    tribbles save the day?Spock gets to shout”khaaaaaaaaaaahn” that movie was fucking clownshoes.

  • charles

    jj is such a delusional dick head hack! His star trek remake movies are crap, plain and simple.

    Disney fucked up when they hired jj the hack for an unwanted star wars film! unwanted because I do not want star wars ruined by the hack jj.

  • Marlboroliteman

    In related news JJ Abram and his hacks..oopps I mean writing staff..announced they’ve cracked the story for Star Trek 3. The main antagonist will be G’ni a mysterious space ship on a course for Earth. G’ni destroys any ship it comes into contact with and practically destroys the Federation fleet, so it’s up to the Enterprise and her crew to stop G’ni. Abrams and co are adamite that G’ni is not V’ger and no G’ni does not have magical oil that can rebuild destroyed ships. Abrams also added that Anton Yelchin will definatly be back as Chekov.

  • Guy Smiley

    Oh… So a video game few people bought hurt “Into Suckness,” but being a lousy ripoff of Wrath of Khan didn’t?

    Put down the bottle, J.J… You’ve had enough.

  • Alboone

    These people really live in friggin lala land bubble. This is in my top ten of one of the most idiotic excuses I have ever heard in my life. The Avatar video game was bottom of the barrel crap and that movie ended with close to 3 billion in the bank. What is he gonna do if SW doesn’t meet expectations, blame it on the toys?

  • Pingback: For you Star Trek nerds - Page 16

  • cineast4

    Obviously the video game reasoning is a load of nonsense but
    love how some of the ‘fans’ here or whatever you call them,
    say that the movie ‘failed’ with its 465 million because it rehashed some characters and plot from an 82′ movie (a nerd zenith that figures into the public conciousness in no way) as if the general audience gives a fuck…

  • Person

    Into Darkness is about as much of a remake of Wrath of Khan as The Dark Knight is a remake of Batman. Maybe a little moreso cuz of the warp drive scene at the end, but otherwise, it’s just a new movie using an old villain in a different way. Not a Trekker by any means, but I really like STiD, whereas I find WoK fine but dated. To each his own.

  • Fabdex

    The terrible script is what hurt “Into Darkness”. Abrams was hot when “Lost” started but now he keeps getting worse with every new project. I’m not happy he’s in charge of the new Star Wars movie. Let’s hope the producers keep him on the right track.

  • DeadInHell

    As long as Damen Lindelof isn’t brought back to write for the next one, I’ll be happy. That guy brings down everything he touches.

  • Mochlum

    I freaking loved ST:ID but I don’t see what the video game has to do with it’s success….

  • trollhunter

    hahaha no! the film did very well sucking on its own. Stupid hack

  • kilar

    87%? Jesus, just shows what a joke that site is. Into Darkness just wasn’t very good. And a crappy tie in game has never really hurt a decent film at the BO.

    • FuckingPissedGuy

      Fuck all you STID haters!!!! Fucking miserable bastards!!!!

  • Pingback: Star Trek 2 Into Darkness 2013 Movie Review