The first trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness finally has a trailer, which debuted this morning, and it promises plenty of action, but gives little explanation of who Benedict Cumberbatch's bad guy is or what his motivation will be.
J.J. Abrams' much-anticipated sequel to the 2009 reboot of the series promises an "unstoppable force of terror" and a "one man weapon of mass destruction", but gives little more than that in both the official synopsis, released last week, or in today's "announcement video" (neither a trailer nor a teaser, according to Paramount Pictures).
The Japanese version of the "video", though, clocks 12 seconds longer than the domestic version and may also hold a key to that information.
The film's synopsis has it that the USS Enterprise starship is called back to Earth, where the crew finds the world in "a state of crisis." A new (old?) bad guy has originated within and subsequently destroyed Starfleet; and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) sets out to hunt him down.
Speculation has it that Cumberbatch's baddie is either Khan Noonien Singh or Gary Mitchell, two characters introduced in the first season of the television series -- and the jury's fairly split on that one amongst fans.
The biggest clue that points to Into Darkness' villain being Khan comes from that Japanese version of the teaser, which shows just one extra shot: two Starfleet crew members' hands on opposide sides of a piece of glass. The shot it either a simple ode to the ending of The Wrath of Khan, when Spock (Leonard Nimoy) sacrifices himself to save the crew of the Enterprise, or something just as significant. Interesting...
But although Khan (played by Ricardo Montalban in the original series and in 1982's classic Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) seems the most likely, both Cumberbatch and co-star Simon Pegg denied those rumors earlier this year.
"It's not Khan. That's a myth," Pegg told the UK's Daily Telegraph. "Everyone's saying it is, but it's not. I think people just want to have a scoop. It annoys me - it's beyond the point to just ferret around for spoilers all the time to try to be the first to break them."
"I'll tell you this, it's iconic and it's exciting," Cumberbatch told Shortlist. "I'm bored of denying that it's Khan now, because people keep saying it."
Interesting choice of words -- "iconic"...
Khan's origin on the show began in the 23rd episode, "Space Seed", where Kirk & crew find a derelict space ship holding Khan and a crew of 70-plus in a cryogenically frozen state (there's actually over 80 but some are dead). The boarding crew revives Khan after he begins to awaken from his 300 year slumber, after which he tries to take over the Enterprise. Kirk exiles him on the planet Ceti Alpha V with the rest of his people, the end. His next appearance comes in The Wrath of Khan, when he aims to take out his revenge on Kirk.
Khan was a powerful leader who arose in the late 1990s (remember, he was introduced in the late 1960s) during the "Eugenics Wars" on Earth, in which genetically engineered supersoldiers were bred and rose to power, ultimately coming to dominate a third of the planet.
So could Into Darkness be about the origins of Khan's rise to power as one of these supersoldiers, long before he's cryogenically frozen and sent into deep space? (That's what we're betting on!)
But if Pegg and Cumberbatch are telling the truth and aren't just trying to throw fans off the trail, an equally popular theory into who this new bad guy might be is one Gary Mitchell, a character who was introduced in the second pilot (The show's first pilot was turned down by NBC, but creator Gene Roddenberry was given a second chance -- more on that here) of the original Star Trek series -- but whose name isn't quite as iconic as Khaaaaaaan!
Mitchell ended up gaining psionic powers during a deep space encounter with a strange energy barrier and quickly developed those new powers along with the ship's psychiatrist, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (possibly the woman played by Eve), who was also affected by the strange barrier.
While the onset of Dr. Dehner's abilities was much slower; Mitchell began to use his "godlike" powers and became hostile toward the crew. Kirk (William Shatner) planned to maroon him on a distant planet and took a landing crew to dump him off, where he killed a crew member and then Dr. Dehner before Kirk ultimately killed him.
Could the film start off with Mitchell being exposed to the barrier and being exiled without Kirk killing and then escaping back to Earth before the Enterprise and her crew are called back? The 2009 reboot of the series left the timeline of events in the Star Trek universe altered, meaning anything goes.
Either way, any bad guy other than Eric Bana's Nero would be a major upgrade.
But it's a good be we'll be getting a little more insight into the story in the nine-minute clip set to run before screenings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey once the film opens next week (Dec. 14).
Star Trek Into Darkness hits theaters May 17th, 2013, and also stars Zachary Quinto, Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho and Anton Yelchin
Official Site | Trailer not playing? Check it out on Apple.com.