After yesterday’s whirlwind release of the first STAR TREK BEYOND trailer, director Justin Lin took time to speak with several media reports in a roundtable interview covering everything from fan reaction to the new preview, the lack of Carol Marcus, and the first real insight into Idris Elba‘s ferocious new alien character.
We saw plenty of vocal fans reacting strongly to yesterday’s trailer, from the music to the showcase sequences, and not all were positive (as we’re sure you guessed even before reading comments on social media or around the web!), and Lin tackled that head on.
There were versions that were much more traditional…
But with trailers you’re putting a two-hour movie into a minute and a half, and the one thing I wanted to make sure is that it hopefully represents that we are trying to be bold and take risks, whether we are successful or not, I don’t know. […] I’m not afraid to share it, I feel like we have the goods in a two-hour run and you really do get to know the characters and hopefully the journey is great.
[The Beastie Boys song “Sabotage” is] in the DNA of this canon. It was in the ’09 Trek, and we went through different iterations of the teaser and I wanted to make sure whatever here is using all the elements from the film.
It’s been a part of this Kirk’s journey and so I felt it was very organic, and it will ultimately be in the finished film.
And even though he’s the director, even Lin can’t always win out when it comes to marketing — and when it came to the now-infamous motorcycle jump, he feels your pain:
When I saw the teaser, I’m like, aw shit. You really have to put the motorcycle in there? So [for ‘Fast and Furious’ comments], I get it, I get it, I get it.
Be prepared for a more in-depth 3D experience this time around, as well — Lin’s built the 3D presentation into his filmmaking process.
I felt like, especially with space and the depth, I think you get a different experience going 3D, so it’s definitely been kind of designed into it, and I feel like in the nature in how some of these shots are constructed, I would want to see it in 3D, you know?
But it will definitely be a bit of a different experience in watching this movie 2D. So that was definitely taken into account. I don’t think I would have agreed to 3D if it was just, again, to like milk people for more money. I just don’t think that’s right.
Moving on to the content of BEYOND itself, Lin also addressed questions about some of the lingering criticisms from Star Trek Into Darkness, like the “magic blood” cure-all and Section 31’s intergalactic transport, capable of jumping Khan from Earth to the Klingon homeworld.
I don’t know if we’re leaving it behind. And Simon [Pegg] and Doug [Jung] and I definitely have had some, spent some time on that. But at the same time I feel like this, Star Trek’s been around 50 years. And I’m excited to be a part of it, but I’m also excited to be a participant, but hopefully to see where it’s gonna go. And I think every filmmaker comes on has a different point of view.
[It] definitely now exists. I think the people that really care, you can’t ignore that. But at the same time, do we address that? I don’t discount it. Like, we don’t sit there and say it doesn’t exist. It’s part of this universe now.
Basically, it seems as if the BEYOND team decided that it was safer just to kind of leave those troublesome elements of the previous film alone, concentrating instead on building the best film they could. That’s probably for the best.
As for Alice Eve’s Carol Marcus, or Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan? Don’t count on seeing them in this sequel.
We pick up about two and a half years after the end of ‘Into Darkness.’ […] What we shot and what’s gonna be in theaters, quantity wise it’s quite a bit. But then to be honest, I actually had even more beyond that. So that’s something that we definitely talked about and worked on, [but in ‘Beyond’ they] didn’t quite fit in.
And the Spock / Uhura romance? That may be on the back burner as well this time around.
What we’re doing is appropriate to the two and a half years. It’s a continuation in a way, and I don’t want to ignore things and act as if they don’t exist, so there’s an acknowledgement and I think their relationship is consistent to the way it was before.
The visual effects work is far from complete, as is to be expected this far out from the release date. That shot of Kirk’s reflection looks like some kind of wax figure now, but don’t worry too much about it:
Six weeks ago I was in Dubai. So these shots usually take six, seven months just to do it. So, again, there are a lot of people in dark rooms around the clock and I’m in there and we’re talking and were building. Around the world everybody’s trying to get this.
Action, action, action! From crashing saucers to close-up combat, the BEYOND trailer was packed with one fast-moving sequence after another — but according to Lin’s comments, it’s not just a mindless blur, but a parallel to today’s world.
Star Trek has a very 1960s sensibility – who has the bigger ships wins. But if you look at the [orbital] attack, these ships are 40 feet long but there are 40,000 of them. I think even in the way they’re being encountered…
I feel like when I do think about Star Trek, a lot of times it is about the size, it has a very different sensibility. But at the same time, I think it’s also, that’s also part of moving it and taking risks and saying there’s a lot of different ways people engage in the universe.
What would happen if you go on a five year journey and you’re trying to not only explore but also maybe introduce other people to your way of thinking?
What would that mean? What are the consequences of that? You’re spreading a philosophy that you think is great – are there going to be any philosophies that counter you? That was something I thought about since I was a kid, and we got to explore that.
Oh, and just because you saw the former writing trio of Roberto Orci, JD Payne, and Patrick McKay credited at the end of the teaser, don’t worry — it’s all about the Writers’ Guild and their rules, as Lin clarified:
The [Writers’ Guild of America] has to figure it out, because I don’t know who [Payne and McKay] are, I never met them. I came on, I had an idea and then Simon and Doug came on. I had one conversation with Orci after I came on, and that was it.
Nothing was refurbished [from that first story] because I don’t know what was done before I came on.
We did attempt to get in touch with Payne and McKay when the director/writer changes were announced earlier this year — after their big, two-part interview with us from last summer — but the declined to comment. Seems they’re still connected to the feature, however tenuously.
Jim Kirk’s character arc, from the 2009 film through STAR TREK BEYOND, is also a critical element in this new film’s throughline.
It’s a big part — if you think of how in this timeline how Kirk engaged and joined Starfleet, and then you’re going in on a five-year journey, you’re two-and-a-half years into it, I think some existential issues are gonna, it’s gonna very obviously gonna pop up.
I think, if I was in his shoes, I would have those and I think we do try to kind of answer, and I think that was one of the challenges. […] It is about why is Kirk doing what he’s doing. We assume, when we watch it on the TV show, that that’s just something he did, but I wanna know why, and are you going to continue? Are you going to…what’s the reason? Why do you do what you do?
Great, you can go out and talk about how great The Federation is and be a part…whatever. But why are you part of it?
Finally, we finally learned something concrete about the alien warrior Krall — that’s Idris Elba, pictured in full makeup — after months of silence and speculation.
It’s about building him and having a philosophy and a point of view. I really like [Krall] because he’s challenging the Federation’s philosophy, and it’s something growing up I wanted to see. He’s a character that has a distinct philosophy. Sometimes I watch Trek and I see utopia in San Francisco, and you think “They don’t have money, so how do they live, how do they compete?” Those are things that his character, in a way, has a very distinct and valid point of view about.
When someone is really challenging a way of life, how the Federation should act, I can see – right or wrong – that this is a valid point of view, and that’s a point of entry.
I’ve worked with some really great people and Idris immerses himself and I really enjoyed working with him because he’s all about the character and what’s best about the character’s journey in the film. The only thing that sucked is it took four hours every time we needed to get him on set.
Despite comparisons to Remans (from Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise), Jem’Hadar (from Deep Space Nine), or any other Trek staples, Lin specified that Elba’s character is definitely a new alien creation for STAR TREK BEYOND.
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So there’s a lot to digest here: and from what we’re reading, Justin Lin —“the Star Trek kid” — seems to have a firm handle on what Trek is supposed to be, even while it’s being given a bit of an upgrade for today’s audiences.
Do you agree, or are we totally wrong? Sound off in the comments below!
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