Paramount released the teaser trailer for the teaser trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness. This minute look into next years sequel reveals little, except a lot of explosions and actor Benedict Cumberbatch spouting in a voice over about how everyone thinks they’re safe. Or not. Maybe we should also ponder on why the marketing people made this thing look like the Iron Man 3 trailer, but then that would be snarky.
Here’s the thing. J,J. Abrams is smart. He knows how to manipulate audiences. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your feeling for him. He’s a pop culture director brought up on the films all us older people loved in the 1970′s and 80′s. And with this teaser, he gives us very little to go on story wise, and we clearly still don’t know which character British hunk Benedict Cumberbatch is playing.
Well, I’m convinced he’s not playing Khan. And the reason that is because his role, all this press on him, is a misdirection; he’s the MacGuffin of Into Darkness. One striking omission from the trailer is Peter Weller. The actors role in the film -he also did two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise- remains shrouded in secret. I have a few theories, though:
We know the timeline has been altered. That the PRIME universe we’ve seen in the TV series and movies before the reboot can no longer be counted on. But, they can still happen. The temporal mechanic idea of alternate realities is this: events in one universe are same in the other universe, but they unwind differently. So we can see events that were recorded in the PRIME universe happen in this B universe, but happen in a completely different way. So, theoretically, in this new Abrams created Star Trek universe, Kirk could actually battle the Borg if Paramount was in desperate need of a story and cash.
So what if this movie is combining two of PRIME’s storylines? One is the Gary Mitchell and the other is Khan. This makes some sort of rational sense, insomuch that a lot of superhero movies of late have had more than one villain. So why not here as well?
Until the full teaser trailer is released on December 17, what I’ve gleamed from this one minute one is this:
We know from what Abrams and the writers have said, this movie opens only months after the events of the reboot film and that Kirk and crew are still newbies, learning stuff. Gary Mitchell is part of the crew (so maybe is the blond woman see as well, played by Alice Eve. Her role too is wrapped in mystery, but she could be Elizabeth Dehner -played by Sally Kellerman- from the TOS Where No Man Has Gone Before) and is lost on a mission and presumed dead. The trailer does show some sort of ceremony being held, which could be a memorial to those lost. Flash forward a few months -maybe a year, maybe more?- and the Federation and Kirk face a vengeful Gary Mitchell.Now how Khan -if it is Khan and Weller is playing him- fits in could be this way: after being left for dead -be it in space or on a planet by Kirk- Khan stumbles upon Mitchell. Again, we can assume, just like in the TOS, the Eugenics War did happen and that Khan was exiled into space. This Khan, looking for vengeance of his own, convinces Mitchell to help him attack the Federation.
One other potential character Weller could be playing is Captain Garth from the TOS episode Whom God’s Destroy, a character, that in the episode, Kirk mentions as one his personal heroes. Garth mentions in that episode about his incredible career as a Starship captain, bragging that he has charted more planets and cataloged more star systems than any other man in history. But the Garth character is also insane and wants to take over the Federation.
In the end, what really matters -I think- is not who Cumberbatch is playing, but who Weller is. That is the key to everything.