Welcome to the Geek Beat, back this week with some very eventful happenings in relation to a couple of 2013’s most anticipated films. This week, we have an infinitely broader perspective on Star Trek Into Darkness, due to the release of the announcement teaser, we have a mysterious alien countdown that may have its origins linked to the planet Krypton, as well as an X-Men image for us to chew on.
Here are the top three geekiest stories of the week!
1) New 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Image Reveals the Villain's Name... or Does It?
2) Watch: Christopher Nolan Talks All About Heath Ledger's Joker, Plus Two-Face and Joker Concept Art
3) Bryan Singer Tweets First Image from 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'
Star Trek Into Darkness Overload: Announcement Teaser, and the Villain’s Identity
Okay, so in order to get us all on the same page, please first watch the North American version of the announcement teaser below.
Then, watch the Japanese version that’s largely the same, except for a bit of telling dialogue and interesting footage at the end.
Finally, freak out! It’s great that we’re finally given something in regards to the elusive sequel to 2009’s Star Trek, but in true J.J. Abrams fashion, the man has deftly created even more questions than we had perhaps already initially had. As kind of a die-hard Trek fan in my own right, several impressions were gleaned from this ever-so-slight minute of footage we’ve received. Things like:
The Enterprise can go under water now?!
How awesome is it that it looks like we’ll be seeing more of the Klingons?
Who the hell is Cumberbatch supposed to be?
What is the villain returning from?
Why does he need to be taking revenge?
What are the new uniforms about?
What planet are Kirk and McCoy running on?
What’s making the Enterprise crash?
WHO THE HELL IS CUMBERBATCH SUPPOSED TO BE?!
These are just a few thoughts raging in my head, making me anticipate the nine-minute IMAX prologue in front of The Hobbit that much more. (I’m personally staying away to avoid spoilers, but check out our roundup of reactions to the prologue from some of the outlets that were invited.) Beyond this, Paramount recently released a publicity photo featuring Captain Kirk, Spock and the film’s villain apparently gathered at what looks to be the Enterprise brig.
Accompanying the image is a caption that would seem to drop one hell of a bombshell: the identity of the film’s villain. It reads, “Zachary Quinto is Spock, Benedict Cumberbatch is John Harrison and Chris Pine is Kirk in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.”
As was speculated in a recent piece here at Movies.com by Mike Bracken, the rumor making the rounds is that the name released in the caption is nothing but a red herring, with the real name of Cumberbatch’s character still to come. I’m not really sure what I think yet. As I shared with you guys last week, my pick for the film’s villain was Gary Mitchell, the villain of the second Star Trek original series pilot episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” He still seems to be the top choice for many people, even after the release of the aforementioned photo and caption.
Even keeping that in mind, does the trailer give any further hint that Mitchell may be the character we see? Mitchell exhibited godlike powers in that second pilot, but Cumberbatch’s character, while very agile and definitely formidable, doesn’t seem to be doing anything on that level. There’s also, to my knowledge, been no guarantee that the character Cumberbatch will be playing would be someone from established Star Trek continuity. Could John Harrison be an original creation from Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman?
What do you think? Will the villain be a character we’ve seen before from either the original Star Trek series or the first six films featuring the original crew, or do you think the team making the film has opted for a brand new character?
Trailer for Oblivion Released
Tom Cruise’s 2013 sci-fi actioner Oblivion has released its first trailer, and it’s quite a doozy. The film, written and directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), deals with an evacuated planet Earth patrolled by mechanical drones in the wake of a devastating war, with Cruise’s character Jack serving as a drone repairman whose mission is nearly complete. This is until he finds a mysterious woman in a downed spacecraft who sets off a chain of events that makes Jack question all that he knows about what had befallen Earth.
Oblivion is actually a comics adaptation, coming from a book written by Kosinski and Arvin Nelson with art chores by Andree Wallin. As far as I know, after making quite a splash at the 2010 Comic-Con in San Diego, the Oblivion book has yet to be released, as it’s unavailable from both Diamond Comics Distributors and Amazon.com. The trailer seems to indicate the kind of high-concept sci-fi that I’ve come to love, though, and I’m certainly excited to see what’s in store when the film is released this coming April.
Ewan McGregor Willing to Resurrect Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode VII
In some news coming from Digital Spy, actor Ewan McGregor, who played Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, said that he’d be happy to return to a galaxy far, far away as the wise teacher if “they need him” in Star Wars: Episode VII.
While many hard-core Star Wars fans can be somewhat reluctant to name parts of the prequel trilogy they thought excelled, many fans agree that McGregor’s performance as the famed Jedi was definitely one of the high points of the series. For me as a fan of the saga, it’s nothing short of spectacular seeing McGregor go from the fresh-faced padawan learner at the side of Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode I to the hardened, wise war veteran of Episode III that’s little more than a heartbeat away from Alec Guinness’ legendary portrayal of that brazen old man from the original film.
If the new trilogy wants to have Obi-Wan’s inclusion at all, McGregor would be the obvious choice, since Sir Alec passed away back in August of 2000. Obi-Wan was one of the few Jedi shown to be able to preserve his form in the Force by transforming into a ghost, as seen in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. While it may take a little creative wizardry to explain why Obi-Wan’s ghost has gone from appearing as the old man of the original trilogy to the younger man of the prequels, Obi-Wan’s presence is something that would likely be a welcome inclusion in the new trilogy.
Man of Steel Marketing Campaign Begins
Under the guise of the “Deep Space Radio Wave Project,” a new viral website has emerged for Man of Steel with a countdown that's leading to the reveal of the next trailer. The initial website called upon the online community to decode certain glyphs of extraterrestrial origin. After this was completed, a new website, n77d58w76d19.com, emerged and began flashing these glyphs in an apparent countdown, likely to the online release of the film’s first full trailer. See the countdown below and click to see where it takes you! Special thanks to good friend and fellow MMM Gentleman Josh Costella for the heads up. UPDATE: You can watch the new trailer here.
Bryan Singer Starts the Speculation on Days of Future Past
As we reported here last week, Bryan Singer recently tweeted an image of him apparently holding the screenplay to the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The quote, an excerpt from Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, seems to be following the lead from Singer’s first two X-Men films that have sought to bring the question of evolutionary mutation to the forefront of the themes present in those films. Singer is no doubt getting ready to churn the speculation machine into overdrive as we get closer to the commencement of production on the film, which seems to apparently be a sequel to both X-Men: First Class and perhaps a sequel to the original X-Men film series started by Singer back in the summer of 2000. Taking its name from one of the most celebrated X-Men comics stories of all time, fans definitely have plenty to chew on about the forthcoming film that will unite both the past and present versions of Charles Xavier and Magneto, apparently with some Wolverine thrown in for good measure.
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop (Releasing 12/12)
The return of the Joker continues to reverberate throughout Gotham City as we roll into my pick for this week: the next chapter in the frightening and engaging “Death of the Family” story arc in Batman #15. After his return two months ago, the Joker’s body count has been piling up in an increasingly sadistic game of cat and mouse the Harlequin of Hate is playing with the entire Batman family. After his kidnapping of Alfred Pennyworth and a shocking revelation last month, it’s hard to tell how the crazed maniac will continue to plague Gotham as Batman races against time and his arch nemesis to save his closest friends and allies from a death where the last thing they’d hear is hate-filled laughter.
Writer Scott Snyder, penciler Greg Capullo, inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist FCO Plascencia continue to create a heart-pounding story that is the continued sales juggernaut it’s been since “The Court of Owls” kicked off the new ongoing Batman series in September of 2011. With the most fascinating and enduring conflict in comics at the forefront of an altogether shocking and engaging story, it’s not hard to wonder why Batman is one of the best stops in all of comics today.
That does it this week on the Geek Beat. We’ll see you next week where I’ll give you my impressions of new trailers for both Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness, as well as my impressions of the nine-minute IMAX prologue in addition to whatever awesome news we end up getting next week. Until then, have a great week, feel free to continue the conversation in the comments below, and stay geeky!
Chris Clow is a graduate of Western Washington University, in addition to having an obsession with film history and general geekdom. He is a comic book expert and retailer, contributor, and overall geek to Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic book reviews for various monthly titles and his participated podcasts at BOF and MMM, as well as his regular piece The Geek Beat right here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow!