Damon Lindelof Talks STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Spoilers

     May 20, 2013

In the lead-up to Star Trek Into Darkness, co-writer Damon Lindelof said that the reason for the secrecy was “the audience needs to have the same experience that the crew is having. You’re Kirk, you’re Spock, you’re McCoy, so if they don’t know who the bad guy is going to be in the movie, then you shouldn’t know.”  Lindelof added that if people knew who the villain was before the movie opened, then it would have been a let-down when it was revealed in the movie.  Now that audiences have seen Star Trek Into Darkness, and opened the “mystery box”, there’s some curiosity about the spoilers that were so closely guarded throughout the film’s production and marketing campaign.

Hit the jump for what Lindelof had to say about the villain and more [obviously, there are spoilers ahead for people who haven't seen Star Trek Into Darkness].

star-trek-into-darkness-benedict-cumberbatchSpeaking to MTV‘s Josh Horowitz, Lindelof explained that even though there was some discussion about whether or not to put Khan in the movie, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion.  Also, the character monologues in Wrath of Khan and therefore had to monologue in Into Darkness because monologing is cool when you have Benedict Cumberbatch do it:

As for our friend Mr. Harrison (I am still uncomfortable even typing his true identity, so conditioned I have become to not do so), yes — there was a fair amount of back and forth as to whether to take on such an iconic character. But it was never really a “Should we or shouldn’t we?” as much as it was “We really have to do this but if we don’t get it right people are going to kill us.”

I think that character is so iconic — he has such an intense gravity in the Trek universe, we likely would have expended more energy NOT putting him in this movie than the other way around. But more importantly, Josh?

He monologues. He monologues like no one else. Pop in the original Star Trek II and watch the scene where poor Chekov stumbles into the Botany Bay. Seriously. In this day and age, most bad guys just run and jump and do that cool neck-breaking move and get the hell on with it. Outside of a Bond movie, does ANYONE monologue like this guy?

No, Josh. They do not.

And when you can get that monologue to come out of Benedict Cumberbatch’s mouth, does the “writing” even matter? I mean, seriously, I made that guy say “Milk, milk lemonade, and this is where the fudge is made” and it scared the living sh*t out of me.

star-trek-into-darkness-chris-pineLindelof also addressed making sure the film was an homage rather than a rip-off (I believe he and co-writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman failed horrendously in this regard) and why they chose to bring Kirk back after twenty minutes of death:

We were ever wary of the line between “reimagined homage” and “direct ripoff” and erred on the side of the former. As a fun FYI, Bob, Alex and I code-named the script file “PLANT STUDY” as we sent it back and forth.

We never considered leaving Kirk dead at the end of this movie. No one would’ve believed we’d leave him that way and in this spoiler-centric culture, the inter webs would have known we were bringing him back and how long before the release of STAR TREK KIRK IS BACK WE PROMISE.

I’m purposely avoiding talking about the blood thing, but by writing a sentence in response about it, it will feel like I’m not avoiding it completely.

Okay, it has nothing to do with “spoiler-centric culture”.  It has to do with screenwriters being so scared to even attempt doing something original that there’s no way they would have the balls to actually kill off Kirk for good, and you may as well get his resurrection over with before ripping off (I’m sorry, “making a ‘reimagined homage’” of) The Search for Spock.

zachary-quinto-star-trek-into-darknessAs for why they chose to bring in Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) to explain Khan to the crew of the Enterprise, Lindelof says:

It would have been hubris for us to represent to the uninitiated that Khan was our idea and there was no one better to pop in briefly and say — “Hey, these guys are just doing their own spin on a bad guy that was around a long time before they came along.” The minute we stop honoring, acknowledging and representing the original Trek, we are bound to lose sight of the enormous gift we have been given in sustaining it.

It’s fascinating to see that this is what Lindelof believes.  He truly thinks Into Darkness is a honor to the original Trek simply because they had to lazily explain something, and they got Nimoy to do it.  What an honor.

As for less controversial changes, Lindelof says that hundreds of titles were considered including “Star Trek: Vengeance“, but that one was scrapped due to its similarity to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Even though Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) doesn’t have a British accent, his daughter Carol (Alice Eve) does because she grew up in London, but a scene explaining this was cut (I had a lot of problems with the film, but this wasn’t one of them).

And speaking of Alice Eve stripping down to her underwear and why that was necessary, I’ll let Mr. Lindelof have the last word:

Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God’s name she would undress in that circumstance? Well there’s a very good answer for that. But I’m not telling you what it is. Because… uh… MYSTERY?


  • John

    ‘Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God’s name she would undress in that circumstance? Well there’s a very good answer for that. But I’m not telling you what it is. Because… uh… MYSTERY?’

    This is Damon Lindelof laughing at your face from his Beverly Hills mansion. What an asshole…

    • tertiaryintervention

      I am ok with that scene.

    • bob lob law

      are people really complaining that they saw a half naked Alice Eve!?!?!

  • Chachi

    Seriously, Goldberg, sometimes you make it really difficult to read this site. You made your points in your review. Please don’t take the forum of another article to re-emphasize them. I clicked on this article to read Lindelof’s points on the script, not to get a re-hash of your issues with the film.

    • Jagdish

      Completely agree. Ridiculous to let his personal opinions get in the way of the story people clicked to read.

    • Samuel

      I was just thinking ths same thing. Even tho I dont agree with what he is saying, it doesnt make him wrong. What IS wrong is hammering his viewpoint home and ruining what could have been an article that led us to the same conclusions. He just comes across as a little angry bitter fanboy twat and makes me love the new Star Trek more. x

      • T

        That’s funny. I was just thinking how you come across as a little angry bitter fanboy twat, too.

      • Samuel

        Well laugh it up, Goldberg. More people agree with me than you. Majority wins. You lose. “T” ahahahahaha you door knob.

  • Jim

    I think Star Trek 2 would have been better if John Harrison wasn’t Khan. He could have been another guy from Khan’s crew so at the end with the cryogenic tubs they could have done GUY: “what they want us to do with all these tubes?” GUY 2: “keep them in storage till the big wigs have a plan.” Then we pan over and see one of the cryogenic tubes has the name Khan on it. Then later on you can have a movie where Khan AND John Harrison are the villain and don’t have to spend the second movie rehashing ideas from the one well known Star Trek film.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alex.sanchez.9256 Alex Sanchez

      That seems like a good idea but Benedict was amazing as the leader and villain(even though he wasn’t the main bad guy for half the movie)I can’t see his character taking orders from someone else

  • Marc

    When Lindelof asks ” does the “writing” even matter?”, it only makes me what Goldberg wrote in his review.

    • Marc

      *makes me believe

  • iconoclastimatic

    Goldberg, you have a real problem dude, if you are doing an interview, do the interview, stop tantruming about the film. Seriously, you’re acting like a child here. I’ve seen all of TOS, TNG, Enterprise, and 90% of DS9 and Voyager. I’ve seen all the movies multiple times. I’m a big Trek fan, and I loved the hell out of Into Darkness. It’s a great movie and all of the whining points you made in the review can all be refuted easily by someone who knows what they are talking about. I’m going to set an example for you and NOT REFUTE THEM HERE because this is not a review of the film but rather an interview. Since you seem so butthurt about the sneak preview, go watch Star Trek V and revel in that as only about 4 people have subjected themselves to that horror and you can be superior to all the people who haven’t seen it.

    • KilliK

      nope, you are not a star trek fan. you are a circus fan.

      • iconoclastimatic

        So I suppose since I liked WOK and TUC and FC and thought Insurrection and Brent Spiner (Sorry, Nemesis) were horrendous wastes of time and money that I also like circuses? I suppose since Chekov was never in Space Seed that you think WOK is a piece of shit because Chekov tells Terrell all about the good times he had with Khan in that episode. Right? RIGHT?? You don’t deserve to have Chang as your avatar.

      • KilliK

        no, actually i dont have any problem with the Chekov plothole in WOK. But i do have a problem with badly directed, badly written star trek movies which are devoid of the star trek spirit and vision.

        i also can appreciate the fact that ST5. although a bad movie, it has some of the best character scenes in the entire movie series. and one of the best scores too.

        you on the other hand missed that, because you are more interested on how hip that movie is than what it actually tried to achieve.

        for you, star trek is nothing more than a pop phenomenon that you want to be part of, and you measure that participation by how many episodes you have watched, how many memorabilia you have collected, how many conventions you have attended and how much you liked the new hip movie from JJ.

        but you never listened to what Roddenbery had to say with his Star Trek. and that’s what makes you a circus fan.

      • Grayden

        What exactly is this vision all of you, I’m assuming, super fans keep prattling on about? Star Trek is science fiction, specifically an amalgam of adventure and gadget fiction. Roddenberry took humanity into the future 200-some years and put present-day issues at the core of the shows stories. Racism, morality, etc.The biggest and most obvious modern issue we face that was in the film was: Rampant militarism over a “potential threat” from far away. Blind aggression and fear over what may happen, leading to a premature conflict under a false flag attack, resulting in open war that could have been otherwise averted. I dunno about you, but that’s what science fiction is all about. It’s an imaginative way to relate the plagues of society to readers, or viewers. To draw analogies and metaphors as cautionary tales or lessons. But it also can be used to show what humankind COULD be. Roddenberry saw the almost utopian future, by our standards anyways, in Star Trek, but it’s not perfect. Sure, no greed, no poverty, no war, little illness or disease, but there are still problems because of the human element. We aren’t so much exploring the galaxy as we are exploring our humanity. We grow the more we learn about our universe and ourselves. I don’t think ‘Into Darkness’ addressed it as well as it could have, but it certainly didn’t fail to do it either.

      • Supersaiyan2112

        Yeah, Killik is just a prick. He comes from the aintitcool talkbacks, where all whiny fanboy pricks choose to hang their hat.

  • Andrew

    Yeah Matt, normally I tend to think people overreact in their criticism of your writing when reading some of your articles…but this is not one of those times. Sometimes you just have to let the information and words of these people speak for themselves, and not put all of yourself into something so you ruin it for your readers. Your review is your opinion and your entitled to it, but doing so in an article such as this is ridiculous.

  • The Blue Elephant

    I wasnt that surprised, i’ve been saying for months now on Collider that he was Khan all along. It was so obvious. I enjoyed the movie, it wasnt great, but I was entertained. While I agree with some of Goldbergs issues, I think he was too picky. I personally would have given it a B. Everyone has their own critiques, I thought Ironman 3 was a turd. That one deserved a D.

  • http://thenonessentials.blogspot.com/ Sean Chandler

    This is excepts from an interview not a review or a platform for you snark. I clicked on the article because I was interested in what Lindelof had to say. I know your opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorena.sanzvallas Lorena Sanz Vallas

    So at least the Mistery Box TM is open… And has an egotistical idiot named Lindelof inside.

  • Nredgasm

    I love how people spend all this time Complaining about Matt the same way Matt complains about movies. You guys are no different. AND if you want fact to fact then go to Corporate Sites like MTVMovies, Entertainment Weekly or your local News papers. Place like RottenTomatoes, Collider, Jo-Blo and others are BLOGS that are made and done as BLOGS so they don’t care to just give facts. The point of a blog is to express what you thought about everything in the same time giving facts. So Matt is doing what he is suppose to be doing. You all are stupid ignorant self righteous idiots that just think they are entitled to something they aren’t, coming to this site.

    • Alan Burnett

      There is a difference between Goldberg and the commentators. Some of these commentators seem to know how to write.

  • J

    Fuck you Goldturd

  • FilmFan001

    Liked this movie a lot but they did not handle the wrap up well at all. A little sloppy compared to the weight of Wrath of Khan. That movie set up a reasonable and cool way to bring Spock back that was built into the main plot-this movie just made something up at end. But I did have a fun time, a little more effort on story would be great next time.

  • David

    Why in the world did Matt Goldberg write this article? Collide, you have plenty of great writers who could have done a piece like this without trashing a movie they’ve already trashed previously. Come on now.

  • Solgazer

    Goldberg is totally right. With even the slightest tug at any one of the many, many loose threads in this movie the whole thing falls apart. In retrospect, despite being kind of impressed at first (what with all the surface spectacle), I had some mental itches that wouldn’t go away and after scratching for a while I realised the awful truth, Star Trek: Into Darkness is a terrible film. Sure it’s not some cheesy B-grade slop but they managed to not only spit in the face of Star Trek canon, force feed crappy emotional beats that were telegraphed a mile away as if written by a high school student and wreck the franchise going forward (now that it’s become a weak reboot) but they single handedly completely decimated the (what seemed) amazing work that was set up with the first film! The only person to so completely and monumentally destroy something like that previous to this was George Lucas with the prequels!
    By the way Mr Lindelof you well and truly did not get it right. But it’s staggering how much work you seem to have put into getting it wrong. I mean really, you had to have worked very hard at dropping the ball this efficiently. As for whether it kills you? I think time will take care of that. Time will not be kind to this film.

  • Danny

    The simple fact that Goldberg can’t write an article about a movie he didn’t enjoy and NOT post his stupid little comments shows he’s just childish and unproffesional. People clicked on this to read what Damon had to say, not to reread your nitpicky, uptight opinion. Someone needs to fire Goldberg.

  • jk

    Lindelof is a no-talent a$$-clown. First Prometheus, now Star Trek into Darkness. I will no longer watch movies he is involved in because he does not understand the properties he is writing for.

  • Damocles

    That was one of the most misplaced attacks on Lindehof and Abrams that I have ever encountered. In the context of a review, critical analysis is crucial. Yet in the thin guise of an “interview,” which is supposed to be information-based, no one cares what you think, Mr. Goldberg. Actually, an article as skewed and mean-spirited as this one will bring to question the legitimacy of this website, which I had previously thought to be fairly professional.

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  • DjangoBro

    Goldberg… suck it up and grow up. There is nothing more you can do, get over it.

  • lowest 1q

    It just goes to show how hard it is to make a sequel better than the original (doesn’t apply when first film is crap). While I personally enjoyed STID, I still prefer the 2009 film. How people still hate on Christopher Nolan( who is also a cowriter) is beyond me, considering he may have made the best sequel of alltime. Yeah I went there, I’d pay to watch a Nolan Star Wars before a JJ one( I like Abrams btw).now give him the keys to the Bond franchise so I don’t have to sit through another boring Bond movie.

  • bob lob law

    so Lindelof gets all the hate while the two other writers (who wrote the first two awful Transformers movies) get away scott free. seems fair. but i like the new trek movies, so go ahead and tell me how dumb i am for it.

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  • Dan The Man

    “…we likely would have expended more energy NOT putting him in this movie than the other way around…” thats precisely the problem right there. They’re being lazy bums! Hopefully with JJ moving on, we will get new writers!

  • The Exploiter

    I hate to beat a dead horse, but my goodness is Matt Goldberg obnoxious. Clear example of someone who does not care one bit about what the majority of his readers and people who make his job possible think. That said, I keep coming here for news so I guess I can’t really say anything. Just sad, really.

    • Alan Burnett

      I sent Goldberg an email in which I criticized his jokes, and he responded, “I’m going to keep doing what I want whether you like it or not because I write for my enjoyment. Read the site, don’t read the site–I honestly don’t care. But if you truly think that you, a total stranger to me, could get me to change by sending me a shitty e-mail, then you’re delusional”. He’s not only a horrible ambassador for the site, but – on a personal level – he’s also a raging, deluded narcissist incapable of change or growth.

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  • Zarles

    So sorry that Damon stole your prom date, Matt, but it’s more than a little shitty to criticize the man’s words in between snippets of an interview from another source. A review is the place to cast an opinion, not a report. Grow up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fray.fordeiv Fray Forde IV

    Jesus. We get it. You don’t like the movie. But that’s just it: It’s a movie. Nothing more. And this is coming from someone in film school with about 1000 movies in his collection. I take it as seriously as the next guy. But tearing apart a writer, mind you, one you’ve interviewed and spoken with, for something as simple as a few gripes with his movies is just unprofessional. This is disheartening to read from my favorite movie site. Not trying to be a whiney-”you need to die for writing a bad review on the movie I like”-low-life-commenter but I would like to address that this is purely poor reporting. Oh and I may be weird but… I like Lindeolf. A lot. And I like this movie… and Prometheus… and Lost… and even Cowboys and Aliens. So sue me.

  • Matt

    it was a uninspired limp ripoff of WRATH OF KHAN. it took those involved like 4 yrs to write it. inexcusable. its like they each got a case of beer and watch WRATH OF KHAN on repeat all weekend. they each wrote a draft, correcting or rearranging ideas around. to be “more original” hahahahaha WORSE STAR TREK SINCE INSURRECTION but its worse because its not original

  • Matt

    it was a uninspired limp ripoff of WRATH OF KHAN. it took those involved
    like 4 yrs to write it. inexcusable. its like they each got a case of
    beer and watched WRATH OF KHAN on repeat all weekend. they each wrote a
    draft, correcting or rearranging ideas around. to be “more original”
    hahahahaha WORSE STAR TREK SINCE INSURRECTION but its worse; because its
    not original!

  • Matt

    go back and watch SPACE SEED the crew of KHAN’s came from, quoting SCOTTY; “They’re from the west, mid-european, indian and the orient.” not BRITAIN. NEVER BRITAIN. and yes you could argue the english having colonies there b/c they owned INDIA or whatever historically. but its aweful uninspired writing. he is still KHAN even though he looks nothing like any of these nationalities. STID insulted my intelligence by even claiming KHAN could have the same lineage and backround even tho his ethnicity is changed? this movuie had so many plot holes. like…OLD SPOCK “whatever should we do?” hahahaha true TREK would never do that!

  • Matt

    they cant even argue it was “rushed” they had sufficient time, honestly, more than suffient. this was the best they could do though? i am not impressed and WILL not see the next one.

  • Matt

    very very predictable. i could tell from the sparse previews KIRK would die reminiscent of WRATH OF KHAN + SPOCK. seriously…these yokels got paid to “create/write” this drivel?!?

  • Matt

    this was the worst TREK ever; the most uninspired and lazily written out of the bunch. so while you find my rant extraneous i will spout it from the mountain tops if need be everyone needs to KNOW how horrendous this film truly was. so true fans know to stay away, not promote it or placate it. so the studio (and the higher ups that be) realize how horrible this actually was and how it needs to be addressed and fixed. long time fans dont like it. sorry idk about you in cyber world but everyone i physically talked to hated it! so this is my distress beacon hahaha deal with it!