Don’t read this unless you want to know what happens in the first 28 mins of Star Trek Into Darkness

The opening half-hour of JJ Abrams' sequel sets the movie up perfectly, says Paul Jones - but if you want to avoid absolutely any spoilers, you won't read on...


When was invited to a screening of previously unseen footage from JJ Abrams’ Star Trek sequel Into Darkness we were, of course, incredibly excited. What we didn’t expect was to be shown the first full 28 minutes of the film (not to mention two other scenes from further on).


What we saw set things up perfectly for the rest of the movie, asking as many questions as it answered. Of course, those wishing to avoid any and all spoilers will not read any further. But for those who decide to take the plunge, here, as I remember it, is what happens in the first 28 minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness

Dressed in robes, Kirk (Chris Pine) and McCoy (Karl Urban) are being pursued through an extra-terrestrial forest by white-skinned, spear-wielding aliens. Kirk stops to unfurl the sacred scroll he is carrying and hang it from a tree, causing the natives to thrown themselves to the ground and worship it.

A huge creature suddenly rears up in front of Kirk, who whips out his phaser and shoots it. “That was our ride!” shouts an angry McCoy. “You just stunned our ride!”

Reaching the edge of cliff, the pair are forced to make the leap into the sea far below. Disappearing beneath the waves, they are propelled by special sub-aqua boots towards the bottom of the ocean where the USS Enterprise lies waiting. Inside, Scotty (Simon Pegg) makes it clear he’s none-too-happy that his ship is being exposed to the threat of rust.

Spock, Sulu and Uhura are in a scout ship hovering above a volcano, which is about to erupt. McCoy and Kirk’s stunt has ensured the natives are a safe distance away from the eruption which would otherwise have wiped them out. The next part of the plan is to detonate a device inside the volcano which will freeze it and prevent it from erupting.

Spock dons a heat-resistant suit and is lowered into the volcano but turbulence causes the ship to flounder and the pylon attached to Spock snaps. He lands on a rock inside the mouth of the volcano, alive but surrounded by molten lava. 

The only way to save Spock is to transport him out of the volcano but in the current conditions that would mean taking the Enterprise close enough to get a “line of sight” on Spock, which could see the ship destroyed when the device was detonated.

Despite Spock’s protestations (“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”) Kirk decides to risk it. The Enterprise emerges from beneath the ocean.

Having armed the device, Spock prepares to die but as it activates and begins to freeze the volcano, he is transported safely back onboard the ship (much to Uhura’s relief). The Enterprise leaves the planet behind – but not before the alien race has seen it. A tribe elder uses a stick to sketch the outline of the ship into the soil.

A London hospital, stardate 2259.55: A tearful husband (Noel Clarke) and wife watch over their terminally ill daughter.

Outside on a balcony, the father is approached by a stranger (Benedict Cumberbatch): “I can save her,” he tells him. “I can save your daughter.” “Who are you?” asks the father.

Back in the girl’s hospital room, her father inserts a phial of liquid into the machine she is attached to. A diagram on a monitor screen shows the solution coursing around her body.

Kirk is in bed with a pair of female aliens when an alert comes in.

Kirk and Spock arrive at Star Fleet HQ for a meeting with Rear Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood). It seems that while Kirk’s report on the volcano mission failed to mention contact with the alien race, Spock’s did not. By allowing them to see the Enterprise, Kirk has flouted Starfleet’s prime directive not to interfere with the internal development of extra-terrestrial civilisations. He has therefore been relieved of the captaincy of the Enterprise. “I see you haven’t got an ounce of humility,” says a furious Pike. “You don’t respect the chair and you’re not ready for it.

Dressed in a Starfleet uniform – and watched from across the road by the stranger from the hospital (Benedict Cumberbatch) – the young girl’s father enters a Starfleet building, passing all the security checks. He logs into a computer and transmits some data. The building explodes.

When Spock and Kirk next meet, Kirk makes it clear how angry he is with Spock for submitting his report. The Vulcan is puzzled but apologetic. We learn that Spock has been transferred to the USS Bradbury.

Pike tracks Kirk down to a drinking dive. Pike has been given captaincy of the Enterprise – and has convinced Starfleet to make Kirk his first officer.

Pike and Kirk attend an emergency meeting of a Starfleet committee headed up by Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller). They have identified the man responsible for the London attack as Starfleet commander John Harrison. Marcus says Harrison has begun “a one-man war” against Starfleet for “reasons unknown”. “You will run this bastard down,” says Marcus. “This is a manhunt, plain and simple.”

Kirk wonders what’s in the bag Harrison is seen with immediately after the attack and questions why he chose an archive building as his target. Just as the answer dawns on him – Harrison wanted the most senior members of Starfleet gathered together in one place – a small flying craft appears outside the window and opens fire. Chaos and bloodshed ensue and Pike is badly injured.


Kirk escapes from the room, finds a gun and opens fire on the craft, but to no effect. Kirk ties the gun to a firehose and launches it through the window at the machine. The gun gets caught on the craft causing the hose to unravel and pulling its fittings from the wall. The debris is sucked into the craft’s exhaust port. As the engine falters, we see Harrison inside the craft fixing Kirk with a look of interest. Just as the craft is about to crash, Harrison is inveloped in a transporter beam and disappears to safety…