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What's with the name?

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Dammit Jim!

Abrams & Cumberbatch Talk Star Trek Into Darkness Villain Details & RoboCop’s Role Revealed!


Instead of using this space as an introduction, I’ll use it to say you won’t be getting Benedict Cumberbatch character spoilers here but you will find out who Peter Weller will be playing in the film. Got it? Good. Let’s go. 

J.J. Abrams and Cumberbatch spoke with Total Film recently about the villains in the current Star Trek films.

“[Nero] was just a raging, vengeful lunatic,” said Abrams. “All he wanted to do was destroy Vulcan, Earth and the Federation…He had backstory but was kind of irrational. The beauty of Benedict’s is that he’s completely rational. He’s someone that you can have conversations with. You couldn’t sit down and talk to Nero – he’d bite your head off!”

As far as his part in it, Cumberbatch had this to say, “I did a lot of close combat training. He’s a kick-ass warrior, as masterful with his hands and body as he is with weapons…You will have a great discovery during this film, which I think is great…[My costumes] look great. Some of them were (no pun intended) cumbersome and heavy, but some were very snug; you can almost see what religion I am…”

Well that’s…I…I’m sorry, was someone talking?

Although we’re still questioning Cumberbatch’s role, Weller, of RoboCop fame, has had this role undercover for a while as well. [Character name spoilers to follow] According to ComingSoon.net, the actor will be playing Admiral Marcus, presumably the father of Alice Eve’s Dr. Carol Marcus.

(via Blastr, Collider, Comic Book Movie)

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  • Betty Windsor

    The swooning will be too much to handle, me thinks.

  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    “…He had backstory but was kind of irrational.” – Yes. Everything about Nero was irrational. Frakking “supernova threatening to destroy the galaxy” nonsense. Clearly JJ Abrams doesn’t know what a supernova is…. calm down. I have high hopes for the second movie. Star Trek movies tend to be bad more than they are good… breathe… breathe… breathe….

  • Corbomite

    A rational villain seeking revenge trumps and irrational villain seeking revenge, but why have the last three star trek movies been about revenge? Why have 100% of Abram’s movies been about revenge? There are other character motivations!

  • Life Lessons

    I wondered if Cumberbatch beefed up.

  • http://twitter.com/o6untouchable Jason Atkins

    I would imagine it’s because of what movie audiences want. Star Trek television can be successful and versatile, but Star Trek movies only seem to succeed if they follow a narrow path.

    They often talk about how the odd numbered Star Trek movies are bad and the even numbered ones are good: it’s interesting to note that those sets have a lot of similarities.

    The Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country, and Nemesis featured strong villains whose motivations for what they were doing were fairly personal. For Khan, it was a matter of revenge against Kirk specifically. For General Chang is was broad revenge against the Federation, but also a matter of survival for his species and way of life. For Shinzon, it was the mix of the two: survival for the Remans, and also the “echo” wanting revenge against the “voice”.

    The Voyage Home and First Contact on the other hand had villains with slightly less personal motivations: the whale probe was completely automated, and while the Borg Queen did have a beef with Picard specifically, the Borg were there assimilating Earth because that’s what they do. Both featured the crew going on an adventurous journey (including time travel in both cases). On top of that, all of the even numbered / successful movies featured the Enterprise crew saving the day against a threat that was going to destroy the Earth at the very least, if not the entire Federation.

    The odd-numbered movies tell a very different story. The Motion Picture was an attempt at pretty heavy, thinky science fiction, and it tried to explore to some extent what it meant to be human. Similarly, The Search For Spock was a look at humanity and morality: how far will you go to help a friend, the needs of the few, and all that. Once again, The Final Frontier was a little more philosophical, looking at faith and it’s impact on humanity, as well as the whole introspective “I need my pain!” angle. Generations was a story about how far one man was willing to go for his personal happiness, and had the “What we leave behind isn’t as important as how we’ve lived,” theme running through. And lastly, Insurrection was another morality story about forced relocation, about what’s the right/human thing to do, about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, and so on.

    Looking at that, it’s noteworthy that all of the movies that are thought of as successful put the Earth/galaxy in very real danger, whereas with the exception of The Motion Picture, it was just one nameless/faceless planet that was at risk. Star Trek I did have an evil space cloud on a collision course for Earth, but it didn’t ever really convey the sense that the planet was in danger: not the way that the more successful movies did. It’s also worth noting that of those successful movies, the only one where the villain didn’t at least have a small degree of a personal stake in defeating the Enterprise crew – The Voyage Home – is regarded as one of the sillier / spoofier Star Trek movies.

    Looking at the new Abrams movies, it seems like they’ve distilled out the recipe for a successful Star Trek movie, and have been avoiding the flop pitfalls. In both movies, Earth is in very real danger: in the first it’s from a crazy guy who has already blown up one planet, and in the second we know it’s from a guy who actually is attacking the Earth. The villains both have close personal relationships with the heroes: with Nero he was the man who killed Kirk’s father, and Nero saw Spock as the man who killed his wife; whereas our new villain is “one of us”. And as a result of that, we’re in a situation where the Enterprise crew is going to have to save the day in quite spectacular fashion.

    Why have the last three Star Trek movies been about revenge? Because that’s what we (the audience) have demonstrated to the writers/producers that we want.

  • Corbomite

    Wrath of Khan is the only film that actually fits your thesis. Chang in Undiscovered Country is a strong villain, but he’s fighting to preserve his way of life. We don’t have a scene explaining how Kirk took his eye years back.

    You’re right that Nemesis is revenge based, but it was a disaster; besides fan complaints it made the least amount of money of any Trek film ever. The film that made the most amount of money pre-Abrams was the silly whale romp with an environmentalist message.

    The audience will watch and enjoy non-revenge themed films, but theres not a single formula for what they’ll be. But rather than try and figure out what the next great story is we’ve got a no risk formula where every Trek film going forward should be a retelling of Wrath of Khan. Thats a missed opportunity based on timidity.

  • http://twitter.com/vonhooligan liz vanharlingen

    I don’t think Benedict Cumberbatch’s character is Khan. I’m betting either Gary Mitchell, or-if anyone remembers the Original TV Series Episode “Whom Gods Destroy”-will remember Fleet Captain Garth of Izar.

    Of course, he could also be playing a character written especially for this movie too. But, while that’s a definite possibility, it’s still an outside chance compared to the above mentioned characters