‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: J.J. Abrams Reflects On Frustrations He Shared With Sci-Fi Fans
An interview with J.J. Abrams regarding Star Trek Into Darkness gave the filmmaker an opportunity to reflect on the frustrations he shared with his fans about the sequel to the 2009 reboot. Although he wasn’t upset with his screenwriters Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, Abrams considered himself “frustrated by my choices,” and he shared in such frustrations alongside Star Trek fans, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Also, the attempt to deceive fans/audiences were, in retrospect, something Abrams now admits was a “mistake.” His cohort Lindelof was in agreement.
“When we did Star Trek Into Darkness, for example, we decided that we weren’t going to tell people that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan. And that was a mistake, because the audience was like, ‘We know he’s playing Khan.'”
Abrams felt that they were lying to people by withholding this information. He thought he was “preserving the fun for the Star Trek audience.” In hindsight, it looks like Abrams realized that the audience knew better than to think Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan character wasn’t in the film.
Lindelof said that Abrams is tight-lipped about a lot of things Star Wars related, according to Slash Film.
“But J.J. [Abrams] is telling us nothing about the new Star Wars movie and we love it. I’ve not come across a single person who’s like, ‘I wish I knew a little bit more.’ We are like, ‘Thank God he’s protecting us from all the things that will be revealed in the movie theater.'”
Apparently, the “reveal” in Star Trek Into Darkness of John Harrison as Khan didn’t really get a response from fans as he’d expected. Back in 2013, in a video interview with Josh Horotwitz on MTV News and quoted by io9, Abrams admits in hindsight that they were just being coy by thinking they could pull the wool over the eyes of fans. However, J.J. also thought that since the characters in the Star Trek sequel didn’t know anything about Harrison, that would be enough to suffice and probably get some kind of audience response.
“That would have been limiting. I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it.”
The first Star Trek movie Abrams helmed presented the challenge of casting cactors that could be “spiritually on the same page as every character you knew.” There was also the attempt to alter the timeline in the reboot by utilizing the older Ambassador Spock in a fashion that would, according to Abrams, stem the characters to those analogous to that of the originals, according to BuzzFeed.
“The story of our film was that a new timeline arose out of an event where the character of Spock goes back in time, therefore the characters that were going to come together were literally the characters that people knew from the show. So we were 100% taking Gene Roddenberry’s lead.”
— io9 (@io9) December 17, 2015
BuzzFeed added that Star Trek Into Darkness’ attempt to keep Khan under the guise of John Harrison only angered Trekkers/Trekkies.
“At the end of the day, while I agree with Damon Lindelof that withholding the Khan thing ended up seeming like we were lying to people, I was trying to preserve the fun for the audience, and not just tell them something that the characters don’t learn for 45 minutes into the movie, so the audience wouldn’t be so ahead of it.”
Abrams iterated that he was “frustrated by his choices,” as he felt he misled his team and couldn’t help but not stick to the main plot of the Star Trek Into Darkness story. He even admitted to doing a few reshoots here and there to make up for it. He also admitted to “tap dancing” in order to make the project as entertaining as possible and cited the choice of actors being a major contributor to accomplishing just that. Abrams admittedly felt that Star Trek Into Darkness could have been better off if he had addressed his decision-making process prior to shooting, according to BuzzFeed.
Now that the Star Trek Beyond trailer has been released and scheduled for July 22, 2016, do you think it’ll fair better with Justin Lin at the helm? Will Star Trek fans be satiated?
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment]