THE NEXT FRONTIER... Nick Setchfield beams up everything we know about Trek's 50th anniversary blockbuster
peeking at the next movie.
The man engaging thrusters on the 50th anniversary Star Trek adventure is Justin Lin, best known for helming the billion dollar, car-shredding mayhem of the Fast & Furious franchise. “Invariably there’s going to be a different vibe when you remove someone as gregarious and outgoing and talented as JJ [Abrams],” says star Zachary Quinto. “But Justin has come in with this really interesting and confident energy that’s a little bit more reserved and a little bit quieter, but also very powerful and really sure-handed.” While JJ Abrams freely confessed his heart belonged to the Force, Lin is a lifelong Trekkie. “All my friends were Star
Wars kids but I didn’t go to the movies so I was the Star Trek kid.” Accepting the director’s chair was, he says, “a very personal and emotional decision.”
Simon Pegg earned a promotion from the engine room to pen the screenplay with writer Doug Jung, whose credits include TV shows Banshee and Dark Blue. The pair were drafted for screenwriting duties after Paramount rejected a previous screenplay co-written by Roberto Orci, originally signed to direct. “I think the studio were worried that it might have been a little too
Star Trek-y,” says Pegg. Paramount is chasing a more accessible, mainstream-friendly take, one that can potentially emulate Marvel-style box office. “People don’t see it being a fun, brightly coloured, Saturday night entertainment like
The Avengers,” says Pegg, who promises “optimism and fun”, a tonal shift after the frequently grim-tinged Into Darkness.
Pegg may have bona fide geek credentials but don’t expect too many Trekkie-tickling callbacks. “I have to abide by certain rules and do right by the original series, and not be too postmodern with it and not be too aware of itself,” he tells Collider. “I have to try and take on the spirit of the show, rather than fill it with stuff that people will just go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s from episode something or other.’ It’s more than that.” As its title implies, Star Trek Beyond returns to Gene Roddenberry’s original five-year mission statement, emphasising the final frontier spirit of the classic series. While the last two films struggled to escape the gravitational pull of planet Earth, this one promises to truly chart strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilisations. “It’s all new and fresh,” says Lin. “The Klingons, Romulans and other species are great but it’s time to go further. It has been fun to focus on creating whole new worlds and species.” It’s been a transwarp scramble to get this instalment of Trek cinema to the screen in time. Pegg and Jung started work on their replacement screenplay only six months before filming was set to begin, when the movie was already close to a stage of pre-production that demanded finalised design work and locked-down setpieces. “Making a movie of this size with the time that was available to us is kinda insane but you can either fight it or just embrace it,” says Lin of the last minute preparation needed. “I come from the indie world and I feel like we’re making the biggest budget indie film of all time.”
The Spock/Bones banter quota will increase. Zachary Quinto reveals that he shares the majority of his screentime with Karl Urban’s Doctor McCoy. “Those characters are so diametrically opposed that it’ll be nice to see them
interacting,” he tells The Telegraph. What are the odds on a “goddamned green-blooded hobgoblin” or two?
Quinto is mindful of the fact that this is his first time playing Spock since the passing of Leonard Nimoy. “For me there is another undercurrent in this film which is to truly honour my dear friend and carry on the legacy that he worked so hard to create.”
Joining the returning cast is Idris Elba – not playing a Klingon, despite rumours that the Luther main man was all set to rock a bat’leth. “I think Star Trek has prided themselves on being quite classic when it comes to villains,” he tells MTV, “like ‘he’s a guy who wants to end the world,’… But in this version of the film there’s a slightly different twist to that. It’s quite an interesting journey, which I think is groundbreaking for the franchise. But it still keeps with the ‘classic bad guy is a classic bad guy’ tone.” The new trailer hints that Elba will be buried beneath blue prosthetics in the movie. Also onboard is Sofia Boutella, best known for her scene-stealing turn as the lethal, blade-footed assassin in
Kingsman: The Secret Service. She’s playing a chalk-white alien from a race we’ve never encountered before. She’s joined by actor and martial artist Joe Taslim, who worked with Justin Lin on Fast & Furious 6. Principal photography kicked off on 25 June in Vancouver. The crew filmed exteriors among the trees and boulders of Squamish, a popular outdoor adventure destination just outside the city – shades of Kirk’s rock-climbing antics in Star Trek V:
The Final Frontier? – before moving to the Pitt River Quarries.
In October the production decamped to Dubai for an intensive 13-day shoot that made use of the Middle East metropolis’s unearthly hi-tech skyline. Dubai looks like “whatever tomorrow would be,” enthuses Chris Pine. “We came looking for the future and we found it,” agrees producer Jeffrey Chernov, who dangled Tom Cruise from the city’s tallest tower in Mission:
Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The Dubai shoot involved the crashed hull of a Constitution Class starship. Could the Enterprise be in line for another almighty insurance claim? She’s certainly suffering some serious damage in the trailer… Serious enough for the crew to eject in escape pods by the look of it. Is the franchise’s flagship set to replay the same fate that befell her in the original third Trek movie,
The Search For Spock?
One set picture revealed a memorial plaque for the crew of sister starship the USS Yorktown, seen in classic series episode “Obsession” and Star Trek IV: The
Voyage Home. It was also Roddenberry’s original choice of name for the Enterprise.
Starfleet’s tweaked its wardrobe for this adventure. Gone is the fish-scale effect on the crew tunics – actually hundreds of tiny Starfleet insignia – replaced by a smoother fabric closer to the one used in the ’60s show. The new tops come with a high-collared black undershirt, recalling Spock’s look in Star Trek:
The Motion Picture, and there are darker panels of fabric either side of the chest. Female officers now have long sleeves, finally allowing their rank to be displayed. Kirk and Chekov have also been glimpsed in dashing new togs, wearing ribbed jackets that look like streamlined versions of the Excursion gear from Star
Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Low-slung, thigh-strapped phaser holsters add a touch of swashbuckling Han Solo cool.
Michael Giacchino returns to score his third consecutive Star Trek movie.
Star Trek Beyond will be released 22 July 2016, two months before the franchise’s official golden anniversary on 8 September, 50 years since “The Man Trap” first took viewers to the final frontier. It’s up against Guy Ritchie’s
King Arthur and Ice Age: Collision Course and positioned in the week between the
Ghostbusters reboot and Matt Damon’s return to Bourne. Set box office to stun!
Everyone was getting excited for the Galactic Trampolining Finals. An older, wiser Kirk? Probably not.
He cannae change the laws of physics – but he can write the script. New life, new civilisations, and new alien species, it seems. Looking snug in a stylish new uniform.
“Damn it, Jim!”
Still brings a tear to our eyes…
“But I just spent three years learning Klingon!”
Natural skin markings, or just some dodgy tattoos she woke up with after a heavy night out?
He’s never having a good time, is he?
How much trouble does the helmsman get in if the ship crashes? “Who’re you looking at?”