By Naomi Roper – 30 April 2013
Star Trek Into Darkness premieres in the UK on 9 May 2013. Directed by JJ Abrams and written by Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof Star Trek Into Darkness follows Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship enterprise as they battle against an unstoppable force of terror (Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison) who has declared war on Starfleet and everything it stands for.
Here at Cumberbatchweb we know that Benedict’s involvement in the film means that a lot of people brand new to the Star Trek franchise will be experiencing the exploits of Captain Kirk and his team for the very first time. So we thought a quick Trek 101 of the main characters was in order.
Now it’s completely impossible to do an introduction to Star Trek that covers everything. Created by Gene Roddenberry Star Trek has spawned 5 series (plus an animated series) along with 12 films (including Star Trek Into Darkness) countless novels and has millions of dedicated fans across the world. For all your Trek needs do check out the official site, Memory Alpha (a superb wiki of all things Trek) and for the Abrams films Trek Movie.
So we’ll be looking specifically at the JJ Abrams re-boot.If you haven’t seen JJ Abrams take on the franchise it is well worth you picking up a copy of Star Trek before watching Into Darkness. It is available relatively cheaply on both dvd and blu-ray. Abrams & his writing team very cleverly turned the franchise on its head in the first 5 minutes of the film establishing that events in this new take on Trek take place in a completely alternative timeline to what went before. This meant that the more dedicated fans couldn’t complain that events within the film were not in keeping with established canon and more importantly meant that fans completely new to the franchise could pick up what was going on without the need for decades worth of back story.
Star Trek is a fast paced, action sci-fi adventure filled with engaging characters. Chris Pine steps admirably into William Shatner’s shoes as James T Kirk. Handsome & charming he pulls off Kirk’s swagger and nifty one-liners effortlessly as Kirk changes from drunken bum to Starfleet captain across the course of the film. Zachary Quinto is a revelation as the cerebral Vulcan Spock with a very nice line in dry humour. Zoe Saldana takes no prisoners as Uhura -beautiful, brilliant and kick-ass it’s fantastic to see such a strong female character. Simon Pegg is hilarious as Scotty, Bruce Greenwood adds some needed gravitas as Captain Pike and Karl Urban does his best to steal every scene he’s in as the wonderfully laconic Bones.
The film isn’t perfect. Being an origin story it suffers from the fact that it takes three quarters of the running time to bring the crew together. Simon Pegg especially doesn’t appear until half of the film is over. Eric Bana’s Nero looks great and has a hugely impressive ship but is also sadly a slightly non-descript villain. But overall it’s rollicking good fun and a very easy watch which will prime you for Into Darkness.
So here’s a brief introduction to all the key players you’ll need to know about come 9 May (contains some plot spoilers for the first film):
Captain James T Kirk – Kirk is the captain of the Starship Enterprise. The opening 5 minutes of Star Trek memorably depict Kirk being born as the USS Kelvin is attacked by Nero and his crew. His father (played by Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers)) becomes Captain for the briefest of times saving the lives of hundreds on the Kelvin before going down with his ship. Kirk grows up brilliant but troubled – happier drinking than working. A drunken bar brawl with Starfleet officers (after he tries (badly) to pick up Uhura) brings him to the attention of Captain Pike who offers him a chance to sign up for Starfleet. Kirk accepts and the rest of the film shows him becoming the Captain he was destined to be. As Star Trek Into Darkness starts Kirk is captain of the Starship Enterprise and its crew. A charming, overly confident man of action with an eye for the ladies Kirk’s closest friend is Spock.
Played by: Chris Pine.
Best known for : Pine appeared in This Means War alongside Tom Hardy – a hugely entertaining spy film/rom-com. He also appeared in Unstoppable opposite Denzel Washington and will be playing Jack Ryan in a re-boot of the Tom Clancy novels directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Commander Spock – Spock is a Vulcan – a race known for their intellect and ability to master their emotions. They also have special skills such as the ability to mind meld and the Vulcan nerve pinch – a move which can take out even the strongest warrior. The son of a Vulcan father and human mother Spock is teased as a child for having a human side. Having completed his education Spock has the choice of either joining the Starfleet Academy or the Vulcan Science Academy. He chooses Starfleet after the Vulcan elders condescend to him pointing out how well he has done despite having the “disadvantage” of a human mother.
Spock comes into conflict with Kirk at Starfleet after Kirk passes the Kobayashi Maru test which Spock designed. The Kobayashi Maru test is a no-win scenario designed to teach Starfleet cadets about fear and how best to respond when facing certain death. Kirk hacks the programme enabling him to beat the scenario. Kirk and Spock are at loggerheads for much of Star Trek’s running time but when Nero causes tragedy for Spock he and Kirk must work together to defeat him. As Star Trek Into Darkness starts Commander Spock is Kirk’s first officer on the Enterprise. In the Abrams universe Spock is also dating Uhura.
Played by: Zachary Quinto
Best known for: Sylar in Heroes – the brain eating truly terrifying villain who was the best thing about the series. Quinto was also superb in American Horror Story series 1 and 2. He can also be seen in series 3 of 24 and the film Margin Call alongside Kevin Spacey.
You can follow him on twitter: @zacharyquinto
Doctor Leonard McCoy (Bones) – McCoy is the Enterprise’s Chief Medical Officer. He joined Starfleet (despite being afraid of flying in space) after an acrimonious divorce left him with “nothing but his bones”. Very laconic his level headedness in a crisis has made him a much valued member of Kirk’s team.
Played by: Karl Urban
Best known for: New Zealander Karl played Eomer in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most recently he played Judge Dredd in the very underrated violent action film Dredd. He can also be seen in The Bourne Supremacy, The Chronicles of Riddick, Doom and played Julius Caesar in Xena Warrior Princess.
Lieutenant Nyota Uhura – Uhura is communications officer aboard the Enterprise. She specialises in xenolinguistics (the study of alien languages). Intelligent, fiery and exemplary at her job she is more than capable of holding her own – spurning Kirk’s clumsy advances towards her. She is romantically involved with Commander Spock.
Played by: Zoë Saldana
You can follow Zoë on twitter @zoesaldana
Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott (Scotty) – Scotty is the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise. In Star Trek Kirk finds him on a desolate Starfleet outpost (Delta Vega) which Scotty had been banished too after a rather unfortunate accident with an Admiral’s prize beagle. Scotty is instrumental in getting Kirk back onto the Enterprise (via his theory of transwarp beaming) at a crucial point in the first film. He is known for his catch phrases “Im giving her all she’s got Captain” and “She cannae take any more.”
Played by: Simon Pegg
Best known for: The “Cornetto” trilogy of films with Edgar Wright and long time collaborator Nick Frost – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the upcoming The World’s End (which will also star Martin Freeman who has had cameos in the previous two films). Pegg also appears in the Mission Impossible franchise. He was also the co-creator of much loved sitcom Spaced.
You can follow Simon on twitter @simonpegg
Lieutenant Hikari Sulu – Sulu is helmsman of the Starship Enterprise (basically he’s the driver). Skilled in hand to hand combat (well fencing) Sulu more than proves his worth battling Nero’s men in Star Trek in a mission in which his life was in danger on numerous occasions.
Played by: John Cho
You can follow John on twitter :@johnthecho
Played by: Anton Yelchin
Best known for: Played the lead in Fright Night – the remake of the 1980’s vampire movie which also starred Colin Farrell and David Tennant.