Trek Into Darkness is a 2013 American science fiction action film.
It is the twelfth installment in the Star Trek film franchise and the
sequel to 2009's Star Trek. The film was directed by J. J. Abrams
from a screenplay by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof
based on the series of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry.
Lindelof, Orci, Kurtzman and Abrams are also producers, with Bryan
Burk. Chris Pine reprises his role as Captain James T. Kirk, with
Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg,
Leonard Nimoy, John Cho and Bruce Greenwood reprising their roles
from the previous film. Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller and Alice
Eve round out the film's principal cast.
The plot of Into Darkness
takes place one year after the previous installment, with Kirk and
the crew of the USS Enterprise sent to the Klingon homeworld seeking
former Starfleet member-turned-terrorist John Harrison. After the
release of Star Trek, Abrams, Burk, Lindelof, Kurtzman, and Orci
agreed to produce its sequel. Filming began in January 2012. Into
Darkness' visual effects were primarily created by Industrial Light
The film was converted to
3D in post-production. Star Trek Into Darkness premiered at Event
Cinemas in Sydney, Australia on April 23rd, 2013, and was released on
May 9th in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Europe, and
Peru, with other countries following. The film was released on May
16th in the United States and Canada, opening at IMAX cinemas a day
earlier. Star Trek Into Darkness was a critical and commercial
success, grossing more than $467 million worldwide making it its
international gross the highest of the Star Trek franchise to date.
June 2008, Paramount Pictures was interested in signing producers of
the 2009 Star Trek J. J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Alex
Kurtzman and Roberto Orci for a sequel. In March 2009, it was
reported that these five producers had agreed to produce the film,
with a script again written by Orci and Kurtzman (with the addition
of Lindelof). A preliminary script was said to be completed by
Christmas 2009 for a 2011 release. Kurtzman and Orci began writing
the script in June 2009, originally intending to split the film into
two parts. Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock who plays an older
version of the character in the 2009 film, said he would not appear
in the film. Abrams was reportedly considering William Shatner for
By 2010, a release date of
June 29, 2012 was set, with Lindelof announcing he had begun working
on the script with Kurtzman and Orci and compared the sequel to The
Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci
said that selecting a villain was difficult; according to Abrams,
"the universe Roddenberry created is so vast that it's hard to
say one particular thing stands out". They also discussed the
possibility of Khan Noonien Singh and Klingons. Kurtzman and Lindelof
said they had "broken" the story (created an outline);
instead of a sequel, it will be a stand-alone film. But as of
December 2010 Abrams admitted in that there was still no script.
In January 2011, Abrams
said he had not decided whether or not he would direct, since he had
not yet seen a script. Paramount Pictures asked for the sequel be
shot in 3D. Abrams would film in 2D and IMAX, and said, "IMAX is
my favorite format; Im a huge fan." In February, Orci
tweeted that he (with Lindelof and Kurtzman) planned to deliver the
script in March 2011. Although the script was not finished on
schedule, Paramount began financing pre-production; similar
circumstances on the next Jack Ryan film meant that Chris Pine would
film the Star Trek sequel first. By April, Orci said at WonderCon
that the script's first draft had been completed. Abrams told MTV
that when he finished his film, Super 8, he would turn his full
attention to the Trek sequel.
a script was completed, uncertainty regarding the extent of Abrams'
involvement led to the film's being pushed back six months from its
scheduled June 2012 release. In June Abrams confirmed that his next
project would be the sequel, noting that he would rather the film be
good than ready by its scheduled release date. Abrams stated he would
prioritize the film's story and characters over an early release
date. In September Abrams agreed to direct the film, with the cast
from the previous film reprising their respective roles for a winter
2012 or summer 2013 release. In October Orci said that location
scouting was underway, and a comic book series (of which Orci would
be creative director) would "foreshadow" the film. Into
Darkness was given a revised release date of 2013, and Michael
Giacchino confirmed that he would return to write the score.
Lindelof said that Khan was
considered a character they needed to use at some point, given that
"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." References to Star Trek II: The Wrath of
Khan were eventually added to the script, but Lindelof, Orci, and
Kurtzman "were ever wary of the line between 'reimagined homage'
and 'direct ripoff'." Orci and Kurtzman said they wanted a film
which would work on its own and as a sequel, not using ideas from
previous Star Trek works simply "because you think people are
going to love it". Orci noted that when trying to create the
"gigantic imagery" required by a summer blockbuster,
Kurtzman suggested a scene where the Enterprise rose from the ocean.
With that as a starting point they (and Lindelof) came up with the
cold open in Nibiru, which blended action and comedy and was isolated
from the main story in an homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Benicio del Toro had reportedly been sought as the villain, and had
met with Abrams to discuss the role; however, he later bowed out. In
2011, Alice Eve and Peter Weller agreed to roles. Doctor Who actor
Noel Clarke agreed to an unknown role, reported to be "a family
man with a wife and young daughter". Demián Bichir
auditioned for the villain role, but as reported by Variety on
January 4th, 2012, Benedict Cumberbatch was cast.
Into Darkness began
principal photography on January 12th, 2012, with a scheduled release
date of May 16th, 2013. Cinematographer Dan Mindel shot the film
using using a combination of anamorphic 35mm film and 15 perforation
IMAX cameras. About 30 minutes of the film is shot in the IMAX
format, while some other scenes were also shot on 8 perforation 65mm.
Into Darkness was also released in 3D with conversion being done in
post production. On February 24th, 2012, images from the set surfaced
of Benedict Cumberbatch's character in a fight with Spock. Edgar
Wright directed one shot in the film, which finished shooting in May 2012.
Filming was done on
location in Los Angeles, California, and around the area at the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore. Additional
locations included Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Sony Pictures
Studios in Culver City, the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove and the
Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Some shots were made in Iceland.
Okrand, the developer of the Klingon language, provided the Klingon
dialogues with on-set coaching from constructed language experts. The
dialogue did not make cohesive sense following editing and so new
dialogue was constructed and dubbed during post production.
On September 10th, 2012,
Paramount confirmed the film's title as Star Trek Into Darkness. J.
J. Abrams had indicated that unlike some of the earlier films in the
franchise, his second Star Trek would not include a number in its
title. This decision was made to avoid repeating the sequel numbering
which began with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, or making a
confusing jump from Star Trek to Star Trek 12. Lindelof addressed the
team's struggle to agree on a title: "There have been more
conversations about what we're going to call it than went into
actually shooting it ... Theres no word that comes after the
colon after Star Trek thats cool. Not that Star Trek:
Insurrection or First Contact aren't good titles, its just that
everything that people are turned off about when it comes to Trek is
represented by the colon". Of the titles proposed, he joked that
he preferred Star Trek: Transformers 4 best because the title is
Composer Michael Giacchino
composed the film's incidental music. Into Darkness was Giacchino's
fourth film collaboration with Abrams, which included 2009's Star
Trek. The film score was recorded at the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver
City, California from March 5th to April 3rd, 2013. Its soundtrack
album was released digitally on May 14th, 2013, and was made
available on May 28th through Varèse Sarabande. The score
contains the original Star Trek theme by Alexander Courage and Gene Roddenberry.
April 24th, 2013, it was announced that British singer Bo Bruce and
Irish songwriter Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol had collaborated on a
song for the film's soundtrack entitled "The Rage That's In Us
All". Australian songwriter and producer Robert Conley co-wrote
a track with Penelope Austin, "The Dark Collide".
On May 10th, 2013, Cho,
Pegg, and Eve were interviewed on The Bob Rivers Show to promote the
film. Rivers asked about the title: "The title Star Trek Into
Darkness indicates some sort of ominous turn, obviously". Eve
suggested that Pegg discuss the theme of terrorism, and Pegg obliged:
"I think it's a very current film, and it reflects certain
things that are going on in our own heads at the moment; this idea
that our enemy might be walking among us, not necessarily on the
other side of an ocean, you know. John Harrison, Benedict
Cumberbatch's character, is ambiguous, you know? We [the characters
in the film] don't know who to support. Sometimes, Kirk, he seems to
be acting in exactly the same way as him [Harrison]. They're both
motivated by revenge. And the Into Darkness in the title is less an
idea of this new trend of po-faced, kind of,
everything's-got-to-be-a-bit-dour treatments of essentially childish
stories. It's more about Kirk's indecision". Cho agreed about
the characterization of Captain Kirk: "It's his crisis of leadership".
Kurtzman and Orci defined
the main theme of Into Darkness as "how far will we go to exact
vengeance and justice on an enemy that scares us. How far should we
go from our values?" They added that running from personal
values is a personal struggle, where "the enemys blood is
within us; we are the enemy. We must not succumb to it; we are the same".
part of a contest Abrams designed after the release of Super 8
(2011), the prize for answering a series of questions would be walk-on
roles for two people in Into Darkness. He debuted three frames of
the film on Conan on October 4th, 2012, showing what he described as
Spock "in a volcano, in this crazy suit". The official
poster for the film was released two months later on December 3rd,
2012, showing a mysterious figure (thought to be Benedict
Cumberbatch's villain) standing on a pile of burning rubble looking
over what appears to be a damaged London; he is standing in a hole in
the shape of the Starfleet insignia, blown out of the side of a building.
About nine minutes of the
opening sequence was shown before IMAX presentations of The Hobbit:
An Unexpected Journey, which was released in the United States on
December 14th, 2012. Alice Eve, Cumberbatch and Burk unveiled the
IMAX prologue in London, England on December 14th. A two-minute
teaser was released in iTunes Movie Trailers on December 17th. The
teaser marked the beginning of a viral marketing campaign, with a
hidden link directing fans to a movie-related website. A 30-second
teaser premiered February 3rd, 2013 during the stadium blackout of
Super Bowl XLVII. The same day, Paramount released apps for Android,
iPhone and Windows Phone which enabled users to unlock tickets for
showtimes two days before the film's release date.
CLUB FEATURETTE DEPARTMENT
When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. Add
Star Trek Into Darkness to your DVD collection.
An international trailer
was released on March 21st, 2013, with an embedded URL revealing an
online-only international poster. On April 8th, Paramount released
the final international one-sheet featuring solely Benedict
Cumberbatch's character. On March 24th, 2013, at 9:30 pm a swarm of
30 mini-quadrotors equipped with LED lights drew the Star Trek logo
over London. This choreography marked the beginning of the Paramount
UK marketing campaign for Star Trek Into Darkness. It was coordinated
with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour event and was performed
and developed by Ars Electronica Futurelab from Linz (Austria) in
cooperation with Ascending Technologies from Munich (Germany).
April 12th, 2013, iTunes Movie Trailers revealed the final domestic
one-sheet featuring the USS Enterprise, and announced that the final
US domestic trailer would be released on April 16th. In the days
leading up to the trailer release, character posters featuring Kirk,
Spock, Uhura, and Harrison were released on iTunes. Paramount
attempted to broaden the film's appeal to international audiences, an
area where Star Trek and other science-fiction films had generally
performed poorly. Into Darkness was dedicated to post-9/11 veterans.
J. J. Abrams is connected with The Mission Continues, and a section
of the film's website is dedicated to that organization.
The cast (except for Anton
Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, and Peter Weller) participated in May 2013
press junkets. On May 7th, Pegg appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. On
May 8th, Quinto was interviewed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He
was followed on May 10th by Cumberbatch (who told Fallon that his
fans are called "Cumberbitches"; Fallon countered that his
are called "FalPals") and on May 17th by Saldana. Saldana
said that she lobbied Abrams for four years: "If we make a
sequel, Uhura needs to kick ass". On May 9th, Cumberbatch
appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.
May 10th, Cho, Pegg, and Eve had a radio interview on The Bob Rivers
Show. They discussed approaching a body of work already mastered by
an earlier generation of actors, agreeing that they would remain with
the franchise as long as it lasted. That night, Chris Pine appeared
on the Late Show with David Letterman; Letterman showed a gag reel of
robots in a black-and-white film before showing a clip from Into
Darkness. Pine said that he had to gain weight for the part of
One story told by cast
members during the promotion concerned an on-set prank initially
devised by Pegg, which he later noted grew out of proportion. While
filming at the National Ignition Facility, Pegg and Pine (with the
crew's help) tricked the arriving actors into believing there was
"ambient radiation" at the location and they had to wear
"neutron cream" to avoid being burned by it. Cumberbatch
was tricked into signing a release (which was meant to give the joke
away, but he signed it without reading it), while Urban and Cho were
tricked into recording a public service announcement about the
necessity for neutron cream.
Into Darkness earned $13.5
million on its opening day in the United States and Canada, lower
than Star Trek's $30.9 million. The film earned $22 million the
following Friday, also lower than its predecessor's earnings four
years earlier ($26 million). It earned $70.6 million during its
opening weekend, finishing in the US box-office top spot (above The
Great Gatsby and Iron Man 3). Total weekend earnings were $84.1
million, including the early-showing grosses. Although these were
lower than Paramount's projected box-office earnings, studio
vice-chairman Rob Moore said he was "extremely pleased"
with the sequel's performance.
Several weeks after
release, the film grossed $147 million at the foreign box office,
surpassing the lifetime international earnings of its predecessor.
Into Darkness reached the top spot of China's box office with a $25.8
million gross, tripling the overall earnings of the previous film
during its opening weekend. Star Trek Into Darkness ended its North
American theatrical run on September 12th, 2013, as the 11th
highest-grossing film for 2013. Worldwide, it ranked in 14th place
for 2013, making it the highest-grossing film of the franchise to date.
The film has received
positive reviews, with critics calling it a "rousing
adventure" and "a riveting action-adventure in space".
Cumberbatch's performance attracted praise from critics, with Peter
Travers of Rolling Stone calling it a "tour de force to reckon
with" and his character "a villain for the ages". Joe
Neumaier of the New York Daily News wrote that Cumberbatch delivered
"one of the best blockbuster villains in recent memory".
Jonathan Romney of The Independent noted Cumberbatch's voice, saying
it was "so sepulchrally resonant that it could have been
synthesised from the combined timbres of Ian McKellen, Patrick
Stewart and Alan Rickman holding an elocution contest down a
well". The New York Times praised his screen presence: "He
fuses Byronic charisma with an impatient, imperious intelligence that
seems to raise the ambient I.Q. whenever hes on screen".
Not all of reviews were
positive, however; The Independent said the film would
"underwhelm even the Trekkies". Lou Lumenick of the New
York Post gave the film one-and-a-half stars (out of four), saying it
had a "limp plot" and the "special effects are
surprisingly cheesy for a big-budget event movie".
The film was criticized for
a scene with actress Alice Eve's character Carol in her underwear,
which was called "wholly unnecessary" and
"gratuitous". Screenwriter and producer Damon Lindelof
apologized on Twitter for the scene: "I take responsibility and
will be more mindful in the future". On Conan, Abrams addressed
the matter by debuting a deleted scene of actor Benedict
Cumberbatch's character Khan taking a shower. Eve addressed the
underwear controversy at a 2013 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention and
said, "I didnt know it would cause such a ruckus. I
didnt feel exploited." Criticism of the scene is
overblown. It's actually very amusing showing Kirk's somewhat
"adolescent" attitude towards woman (he just can't help but
peek) combined with the inside information the audience has about the
Carol Marcus character and the role she will play in Kirk's future.
Despite an acclaimed
performance from Cumberbatch, Christian Blauvelt of Hollywood.com
criticized the casting of the actor as Khan Noonien Singh,
considering that the character had been "whitewashed into
oblivion", since Khan is of Indian descent in the Star Trek
canon (although played by a Mexican born American actor, Ricardo
Montalbán). There have been similar accusations of
whitewashing by fans and American Sikhs. George Takei, the original
Hikaru Sulu, was also disappointed with Cumberbatch's casting as was
Star Trek: Voyager actor Garrett Wang who tweeted "The casting
of Cumberbatch was a mistake on the part of the producers. I am not
being critical of the actor or his talent, just the casting". On
Trekmovie.com, co-producer and co-screenwriter Bob Orci addressed
Khan's casting: "Basically, as we went through the casting
process and we began honing in on the themes of the movie, it became
uncomfortable for me to support demonizing anyone of color,
particularly any one of Middle Eastern descent or anyone evoking
that. One of the points of the movie is that we must be careful about
the villain within US, not some other race". Looking at it from
Orci's perspective Cumberbatch's casting makes sense despite the
variation from Star Trek canon.
It's been suggested around
the Hall of Fame AV Club that all this "controversy" could
have simply been avoided by making Cumberbatch's character the, son
on Kahn. It would have fit nicely into the plot. The backstory would
have Peter Weller's character trying to "thaw out" the
father first, killing him in the process. He then "thaws
out" the son but lies to him about the cause of his fathers
death. When the son learns the truth he sets out to get his revenge
and free his people. This would dovetail into the Kirk storyline.
When Pike is killed by Kahn, Kirk seeks his own revenge as well for a
man who was a surrogate father figure to the young Captain.