J.J. Abrams Talks about Making STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS for the Average Moviegoer, the Villain, a Potential Trilogy, and More

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As fans await Star Trek Into Darkness with both excitement and apprehension (early reviews have been mixed), all eyes are on what J.J. Abrams has brought to the latest installment of the rebooted Trek franchise.  To be fair, he has attempted to step up and take the reigns of a major franchise and he also now has Star Wars on the horizon, but it remains to be seen if 2009′s Star Trek was lightning in a bottle, or if the sequel will falter despite the presence of a strong cast and a tremendous-looking performance from Benedict Cumberbatch as the antagonist.

In a recent interview with Star Trek Magazine, Abrams talked about trying to make a Trek film for both the average moviegoer and the die-hard fans, stepping up the villain, if a third film is planned, how he’ll balance directing duties for Star Trek with Star Wars, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say, and be sure to pick up the latest issue of Star Trek Magazine for much more on the film.  Star Trek Into Darkness opens in IMAX 3D on May 15th and 3D and 2D on May 17th.

Via Star Trek Magazine (Available at all good magazine retailers from May 7, 2013).

star-trek-magazineSince the first film came out, fans and entertainment outlets have been relentlessly suggesting and speculating about where the sequel could go. Couple all of that chatter with 40-plus ears of actual Trek canon to consider and you could easily become fetal in the corner with indecision. Abrams says he and his writing team bypassed that by leaning on their trusted internal instincts:

“I think certainly Bob [Orci], Damon [Lindelof] and Alex [Kurtzman] are in tune with what the fans are saying and what they want. While I am as well, I feel like those guys are more wired, or wireless, than I am. I feel like anecdotally I hear what certain people are saying. I came to this [franchise] as more of an outsider. I entered this world really intrigued by it, but not really a pre-existing fan. However, Bob is obsessed,” he laughs. “I feel like the great thing about that was that we were able to be aware of the chatter, just like in the first movie, hearing what people might want, or not want, or expect or resent, or have to be concerned about. At the same time, Bryan (who had never seen an episode) and I were able to approach this with a spectrum of points of view. While people were [suggesting] things, none of that really mattered much to me, because I felt I was coming from the point of the moviegoer who just wants to be entertained, understand, and care about the world and the characters.  I will say nothing matters more to us than the fans, and making sure they are getting something they love. But having said that, we can’t make a movie for pre-existing Star Trek fans, we have to make a movie for moviegoers, and if you happen to be a Star Trek fan, you’ll benefit because we are looking out for you, and we respect what  you are bringing to the film.”

Abrams also touches on Benedict Cumberbatche’s John Harrison, who will have a very deep story that will work for new fans and old.

“Nero was a wonderfully worthy adversary for a newly-forged team, but [here] we needed someone who would get under their skin, and challenge them in a way they could have never survived when they first came together. We always knew it was going to be more of an extreme story, pushing limits dramatically and emotionally. There would be more questions of who to trust, and of manipulation and difficulty, rather than just a raving, lunatic Romulan. We were going to have someone who could push the buttons of the crew, and test the mettle of their relationships. So we always knew we would go darker, deeper, and really see what it’s like for these people to experience that, and can they get through that gauntlet alive.”

star-trek-into-darkness-poster-benedict-cumberbatchThe director says that Cumberbatch rises to the challenge of being all that and more in the film.

“Damon suggested I watch Sherlock, which I had not seen. And like everyone who has seen it, I was gripped by his brilliance, his speeches, his sense of humor, and his voice is unparalleled. You cannot deny that he brings a crazy power to whatever he does. And ultimately, because of the story of Benedict’s character, Kirk ends up being challenged in a way that is very specific to his story. I think it ends up being something that does push Kirk to a place he’s never been before.”

Fans already wan to know if there will be a Trek 13, and if the films were conceptualized to tell a story in three parts…

“I wouldn’t say there has been a trilogy planned. I would say there are a number of storylines that get us excited. We really are taking this journey one step at a time, and while there are a lot of ideas we have now for what might be a third movie, it’s really up to the audience to determine if that is something that comes to pass.”

However, the big question is: will Abrams be able to helm the next instalment, considering his job as the director of the new Star Wars film? Abrams chuckles,

“In the category of one step at a time, we’re finishing this movie. I would say I have put too much of myself – we all have – into this world and these characters, that my involvement in the next film is without question. I love this whole universe, and these people, too much. If I end up directing another movie, that remains to be seen. We’ll finish this one first then we can talk about the next one, if we get so lucky.”

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  • Nate H

    Talk about a Sci-Fi monopoly! If Abrams does continue directing Trek while staying attached to Wars, we’re going to get some awesome stuff in the next few years.

  • Guy Smiley

    “… stepping up the villain…”

    So that’s what we’re calling rehashing a villain from a 30+ year old movie, because Abrams & Co, have no better ideas, and then lying to everyone about it for the past two years, now?

  • Guy Smiley

    “I think certainly Bob [Orci], Damon [Lindelof] and Alex [Kurtzman] are in tune with what the fans are saying and what they want.”

    So the fans want TWOK rehashed, and enjoyed being lied to?

    Maybe some of them… But I think most of the people who are going to enjoy this movie are people who have never seen the original. Everyone else should be insulted.

    • Johnny B.

      And readers of this site should be insulted by the obvious shilling for a movie written by a trio of proven hacks. However, Star Wars VII is coming up and they have to keep those relationships sweet. Can’t let that access dry up for the sake of mere honesty and objectivity.

      • Cody

        Yeah. Those hacks are doing what they love and get paid to do it. Why so bitter? Tell you what; send my your script and let’s see if its any good.

  • 2 Cent

    I have a strange like/dislike relationship with Abram’s films so far. MI:III was better than it get’s credit for. His Star Trek was a film I enjoyed when I first saw it in the theater but less so upon second viewing at home. And Super 8 was too much of a mishmash homage/knock off of early Spielberg with many a groan worthy moment for me to care for. Despite all that I feel he has a great film in him just waiting to come out… who knows, maybe it’ll be Ep. VII. As an old school Star Trek fan I would love to see a filmmaker take it on that loves it as much as Abrams loves Star Wars… or at the very least someone who can come up with an original science fiction story and not just another in an endless line of vengeance themed action movies set in a sci-fi universe.

  • chen

    no abrahms, you turned me off for star trek with your shit remake and remake shit sequel, and I am no longer a star wars fan because you are associated with it now, you dumb shit hack!

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