Though the surprise was spoiled by this weekend’s rampant rumors, we finally have official word that J.J. Abrams’ second feature film based on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe will be called “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
That news comes courtesy of Deadline which simply states that Paramount Pictures has now officially confirmed the title. The movie, which should hit theaters on May 17, 2013, reunites the cast of Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek, including Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy.
As for this movie’s plot, we know very, very little. If you’ll recall, Karl Urban seemingly revealed that the film’s antagonist is Gary Mitchell, a character introduced in the second pilot of the original Star Trek series. In that iteration Mitchell was a good friend of William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, but when Mitchell develops immense telekinetic powers Kirk is forced to take his life. That seems like a meaty role and given that Benedict Cumberbatch has been tapped to play the villain in the film, we were understandably excited for the dramatic possibilities this idea might offer.
However, it’s since been revealed that Urban’s words are not necessarily unimpeachable. Neither Paramount nor J.J. Abrams has offered an official statement on the film’s villain one way or another, and there is still a strong contingent of Trek fans which believes that Cumberbatch will instead be playing the role of Khan Noonien Singh, a character most famously portrayed by Ricardo Montalban in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Think of Khan as the Trek universe’s iteration of Nietszche’s Übermensch, with all of the self-assured righteousness and corrupt ideals that might suggest.
Like the idea that Cumberbatch might be Gary Mitchell, the suggestion that he might instead be Khan brings with it an entirely new set of problems. Abrams has repeatedly stated that his Trek films are not meant to remake or reboot either the original Trek movies or any of the television series’. Instead, they occur in something of an alternate universe where the same rough conglomeration of characters, locations and items exists, but the interactions these elements have with one another are not necessarily the same interactions they may have had in prior Trek incarnations. Yes, that certainly sounds like a reboot, and given its success Paramount seems to be treating the 2009 Star Trek as a new jumping off point for the franchise as a whole, but Abrams assures us that his Trek is different and will not simply rehash Roddenberry’s classic storylines.
Sadly that means that we still know next to nothing about this movie. Its nice that we finally have an official name by which to call this thing but without any idea of what the film’s plot might look like there isn’t really much more to say of it. Hopefully Abrams will offer up some official nuggets of useful information sometime soon, but given the man’s penchant for cloaking his projects in total secrecy we aren’t going to hold our breath.