If Zachary Quinto’s recent tweet is to believed, shooting has now completed on JJ Abrams’s sequel to his 2009 Star Trek reboot. “Picture wrap. holy s**t,” tweeted Quinto – aka Enterprise first officer Spock – accompanied by a photo of his empty on-set chair.
So as Abrams and co start stitching the film together in time for its release on 17 May 2013, what do we know about the upcoming new movie – who’s in it, who they’re playing, what it’s about – and what can we speculate on? Here’s a quick round-up…
We knew early this year that Benedict Cumberbatch was our arch-nemesis this time around but speculation was immediately rife as to exactly who he’d be playing.
Some excellent Photoshop work was soon circulating, giving us an idea of how Cumberbatch might look as classic Trek aliens including a Klingon, a Romulan and Q, but leaked set photos and a video of Spock fighting Cumberbatch’s character scotched those ideas (as brilliantly executed as they were – honestly, have a look, you won’t be sorry).
The set pics showed the Sherlock star looking as human as he ever does, which left two serious contenders – an entirely new bad guy or original Star Trek II villain Khan Noonian Singh. Now, despite a lack of official confirmation from JJ Abrams himself, widely reported rumours are telling us that Cumberbatch is indeed playing the genetically-enhanced human, with even IMDb crediting him as Khan.
The Enterprise crew
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise… and these are the names of its crew… No major surprises here as the all the main characters and actors from the original reboot return: Chris Pine as Captain James Tiberius Kirk, Zachary Quinto as first officer Spock, Zoe Saldana as communications officer Uhura, Simon Pegg as ship’s engineer Scotty, Karl Urban as Doctor Leonard McCoy, John Cho as helmsman Hikaru Sulu and Anton Yelchin as navigator Pavel Chekov.
The other cast
RoboCop himself, Peter Weller, is involved in an as yet unspecified role, as are our own Noel Clarke (perhaps best known to sci-fi fans as Rose Tyler’s boyfriend Mickey in Doctor Who) and Alice Eve (daughter of Waking the Dead’s Trevor) who previously starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Starter for 10. Bruce Greenwood returns as former Enterpise captain Christopher Pike and Leonard Nimoy is also set to reappear as “Spock Prime”, the elderly original incarnation of the Enterprise first officer, who travelled back in time in the 2009 movie.
So this is “Star Trek 2” and Cumberbatch is Khan – does that means it’s just The Wrath of Khan again? Well, no. Abrams’s timeline begins too far back for it to be a reboot of William Shatner’s movie encounter with Ricardo Montalban. Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch are clearly playing a younger Kirk and Khan – so does that mean the new movie will concern Khan’s original exile by Kirk, as charted in the TV episode Space Seed? Apparently not.
Abrams and co will be going in a different direction. How come? Well Abrams says he deliberately used time travel to create an alternative Star Trek reality so that he wasn’t forced to re-hash old stories. “The idea, now that we are in an independent timeline, allows us to use any of the ingredients from the past – or come up with brand-new ones – to make potential stories,” says the director.