Now that 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is in theaters, director J.J. Abrams' "mystery box" has been shattered and the once-mysterious film is available for anyone to see. All of its secrets have finally been exposed! Well...most of them. There may still be a handful of things you don't know.
Like with any major film, the road to bringing 'Star Trek Into Darkness' to life was lengthy and fascinating, creating enough trivia and cast/crew anecdotes to fill a book or two. In lieu of an entire book, here are 15 things you may not know about Abrams' latest!
J.J. Abrams Wasn't a Fan of 'Star Trek'
What happens when you put someone who has never been a 'Star Trek' fan in charge of the rebooted 'Star Trek' franchise? Well, we know the answer! Director J.J. Abrams admitted he wasn't a fan of the franchise before taking the gig and it shows, for better and for worse. If you're wondering why the new 'Trek' adventures feel distinctly different than their predecessors in many ways, you can thank/yell at Abrams, who used his own 'Star Wars'-infused sensibilities to revive the dormant series. To his credit, he claims that he become a fan of the series while making the films, but that certainly didn't stop him from jumping ship and heading off to direct 'Star Wars: Episode 7'!
Check out Abrams' interview with Jon Stewart below, in which he revealed these facts and more.
Cumberbatch Has Spielberg to Thank for His Part
Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't the first choice to play the main 'Star Trek Into Darkness' villain. The production originally sought Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro, who turned down the part. Abrams and company then pursued Edgar Ramirez, Demian Bichir and Jordi Molla, but had no luck. Eventually, the legendary Steven Spielberg (who produced Abrams' 'Super 8') suggested they take a look at Benedict Cumberbatch, who had appeared in Spielberg's 'War Horse.' So the 'Sherlock' star filmed an audition on his iPhone, nailed it and got the part!
Edgar Wright Directed a Shot
It's no secret that Simon Pegg (aka Scotty) is good friends with his 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz' director, Edgar Wright. That meant Mr. Wright paid a visit to the 'Star Trek Into Darkness' set...where he "guest directed" a shot of the film! We don't know which shot the 'Scott Pilgrim vs the World' filmmaker directed, but the photo he tweeted suggested that it's during a sequence on the Klingon home world of Kronos. For a geek like Wright, it must have been a heavenly moment.
Zachary Quinto's Eyebrow Adventures
People are always so focused on Spock's pointy Vulcan ears that they usually fail to notice his distinct pointed eyebrows. But do you know who didn't fail to notice? Zachary Quinto, who had to pluck and shave his eyebrows for months so the Vulcan brows could be added by the makeup team every day. In addition to going around without most of his eyebrows for the better part of a year, Quinto had to arrive on set at 2:30 every morning to have the fake brows put in hair by hair, a process that took 45 minutes. Never accuse this man of not suffering for his art!
Michael Giacchino Plays for the Fans
Composer Michael Giacchino's musical scores for both 'Star Trek' and 'Star Trek Into Darkness' are a wonderful mix of the old and new. Combining stirring renditions of the old themes with new music, his score has already set an exciting new tone for the franchise. However, he's not above playing to the old school fans. The Oscar winner revealed that, at a fan's request, he snuck in a few surprise music cues taken straight from the original series. He played coy about where they are in the film, but Trekkies are nothing if not obsessive. They'll be found!
If you think a certain transporter technician hanging around on the Enterprise resembles a certain Chief Engineer from days gone by...you'd be right! Chris Doohan, the son of original Scotty James Doohan, has appeared as an extra in both 'Star Trek' and 'Star Trek Into Darkness.' It's not just a piece of trivia: it's a lovely tribute to the original Montgomery Scott and the elder Doohan, who passed away in 2005. Asked if he'd be around for the next 'Star Trek' film, the younger Doohan joked, "Well, I am a red shirt."
What's Up With the Title?
One of the stranger things about 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is its title, which treats "trek" as a verb instead of a noun for the first time in the entire series. Before the film was officially titled, co-writer Damon Lindelof discussed the difficulties of naming the film, joking that "There have been more conversations about what we're going to call it than went into actually shooting it at this point." He also directly addressed the "colon" problem, saying "...everything that people are turned off about when it comes to 'Trek' is represented by the colon." So you can blame the title on everyone wanting it to sound different from films like 'Star Trek: First Contact' and 'Star Trek: Nemesis.' However, in certain countries, 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is titled 'Star Trek: Vengeance.'
J.J. Abrams is the Man Behind the Tribble
There's a scene in 'Star Trek Into Darkness' that involves Karl Urban's Dr. McCoy and a Tribble, one of the most iconic creatures in all of 'Star Trek.' Like many of the aliens in the film, it's brought to life through practical effects instead of CGI...and the puppeteer for the little fuzzball was none other than director J.J. Abrams! In an interview with our own Jordan Hoffman, Urban described Abrams as a "kid in a candy store" as he crouched under the table and brought the Tribble to life himself. So behind every space alien is an enthusiastic film director!
'Trek' Vet Michael Dorn Almost Appeared
No actor has appeared in more episodes of 'Star Trek' than Michael Dorn, whose Commander Worf was a main character on both 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.' For a moment, it looked like everyone's favorite Klingon was going to make an appearance in 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' but plans ultimately fell through. Dorn says that he was considered for the role of "a soldier," (and there is a Klingon character in the film that fits that bill), but nothing came of it. Our guess? J.J. Abrams was worried that a cameo from a recognizable 'Star Trek' vet would undermine the scene.
Simon Pegg's On-Set Prank
It makes perfect sense that Simon Pegg's Scotty is the primary comic relief in 'Star Trek Into Darkness' since the man is a bit of a prankster in real life. His most epic joke was convincing other cast members that there were "ions" in the air around the set and that everyone had to apply a special cream to keep themselves safe. The joke quickly grew, with crew members playing along and the makeup team whipping up some fake cream to "protect" the actors. It all came to head with Benedict Cumberbatch, who was so convinced that the joke was real that he blamed a bad take on the fictitious ions! Of course, you have to hear the story from Pegg himself in the video below for the full effect.
Boldly Going Out of the USA
For a franchise that is all about boldly going where no one has gone before, 'Star Trek' sure has stuck close to its home turf for the past five decades. However, this changed with 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' which became the first film in the franchise to shoot outside of the United States. Although the majority of the film was still shot stateside (including scenes taking place in London!), certain scenes were shot in Iceland, making this first 'Trek' adventure to film a single frame overseas. About time!
Peter Weller Has Been in 'Star Trek' Before
In 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' the great Peter Weller plays Admiral Marcus, the Starfleet honcho who sends Captain Kirk after the mysterious terrorist, John Harrison (Cumberbatch). However, this isn't the first time Weller has appeared in the 'Star Trek' mythos. He previously appeared on 'Star Trek: Enterprise,' playing the character of John Frederick Paxton, the leader of the Terra Prime movement, whose members believe that only human beings should be allowed to live on Earth. Weller is in good company when it comes to double-dipping in the 'Trek' world -- James Cromwell played a major role in 'Star Trek: First Contact' and three different roles across 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.'
J.J. Abrams had no intention of making 'Star Trek Into Darkness' in 3D, but the decision was made for him by the studio, who delayed the film to have the conversion done. However, the director says that he ended up loving the results...especially since it makes 'Star Trek Into Darkness' the first film to be shot in the IMAX format and post-converted to 3D. Sure, there have been IMAX movies shot in 3D before, but shot in IMAX and transformed into 3D in post? That's new...and a little scary, considering how crummy post-conversion can look if not done properly. Thankfully, 'Star Trek Into Darkness' actually looks spectacular on an IMAX screen in 3D, proving that, when done right, this is a process that can be well worth it.
The Hilarious Connection Between 'Star Trek' and 'There Will Be Blood'
'Star Trek Into Darkness' has just hit theaters, but we already can't wait for the DVD. Why? Well, it seems that Simon Pegg and Deep Roy (who plays Scotty's buddy Keenser) realized that one of their scenes was being shot at the same location as the climax of Paul Thomas Andersn's 'There Will Be Blood.' Naturally, the two of them did what any actors worth their salt would've done: they re-enacted the infamous "I drink your milkshake!" scene, word-for-word, with the cameras rolling. Pegg promises that the scene will be on the home release, which means that we have to buy 'Star Trek Into Darkness' the moment it comes out.
'Star Trek: The Wrath of Inspiration'
Without spoiling too much, 'Star Trek Into Darkness' frequently pays homage to the iconic 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' in ways both obvious and subtle. Hardcore Trekkies will undoubtedly spot the moments, lines and characters immediately, but they'll probably slip right on by newbies. The character of Carol Marcus (played by Alice Eve)? She was first introduced in 'Star Trek II,' where she plays a very important role in the life of Captain Kirk. The line "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"? Memorably spoken by Mr. Spock twice in 'Star Trek II.' A mysterious set of coordinates given to Kirk that lead to the discovery of a major secret? First used in the 'Star Trek' episode "Space Seed"...which is a direct prequel to 'Star Trek II.' There are plenty more, but we'll let you discover the rest!