The Star Trek sequel countdown returns with another spy shot from the movie along with some details on the time setting, a new look at the video game tie-in, plus more non-sequel Trek news including an unprecedented convention coming to London.
Spock vs. The Volcano
Production on J.J. Abrams Star Trek sequel continues with about a month left to go before it heads into a year-long post-production. Our last update reported on how Abrams actually built a wall around a location to prevent spy pics, however this week that apparently was not enough as another set shot was revealed, this time showing Zachary Quinto as Spock (appropriately not showing any emotion) wearing what is described as a "volcano suit" in what looks to be a perilous situation.
Quinto as Spock in his "Volcano Suit"
While somewhat reminiscent of the space jump suits seen in the 2009 film (and a bit like Robert Downey's Iron Man suit), this bit of Starfleet wardrobe is brand new kit for the sequel. The report from On Location News (via MTV) says that the shot had Quinto "dropped at a high rate of speed" and the crew "had a real fire burning off camera to catch the fire reflections on [Spock’s] “Volcano Suit”."
And the whole scene begs the question: why would anyone willingly go into a volcano? And what is in the box? Is he taking something in or bringing something out? This latest shot has Trekkies back in major speculation mode. Some note that the former planet Vulcan was known for its volcanoes and perhaps this scene could show Spock on a new Vulcan colony. For now we can only ponder these questions, because Abrams' team are quiet as a tomb, and likely not happy that another shot has emerged from the production.
Writer talks about crew's kinks - reveals bit about film-universe timing
One of the big questions about the Star Trek sequel concerns how much time has elapsed "in universe" between it and the 2009 film. As you may remember, the last film ended with Kirk officially promoted to captain and given command of the USS Enterprise, with the ship heading off to new adventures. There will be four years in real time between films (which is longer than the run of the entire original Star Trek series). Co-writer Roberto Orci has already revealed that the film's setting wont match those four years and new comments from Orci's writing partner Alex Kurtzman point to it being a relatively short time between films. Talking to MovieWeb, Kurtzman talked about the arc the characters are on in the sequel, saying:
"…the challenge is that you don’t want to jump too far ahead and assume that just because they got together they’re all comfortable with each other. They’re still all working out their kinks and still becoming the bridge crew that we remember from the series. That’s still very much alive and look, any good sequel is about the challenge that the group faces in order to become the unified team and I think that that challenge in this movie is going to be hopefully amazing."
Much of the 2009 film dealt with the readiness of Kirk for command (he was just a cadet after all), along with others in the crew getting to know each other (and in some cases getting into conflict with each other). The original Star Trek films of the '70s and '80s dealt with a veteran crew that were so close-knit they were finishing each other's sentences. But it sounds like the Abrams team want to keep the dynamic going of a crew who are still getting to know and trust each other. This could be a good move, as long as they do it in a way that doesn't feel like they are going over ground already covered in the 2009 film. One thing that will be watched closely will be the Kirk and Spock relationship. The 2009 film showed the two going from conflict to respect. Hopefully we see that evolve closer to the life-partner bond the two eventually should form.
The new crew of the USS Enterprise at the end of the 2009 "Star Trek" movie
- still working out their 'kinks' in the sequel
Alice Eve gets Trekkie respect
Speaking of a leader enlisting loyalty, British actress Alice Eve, one of the new members of the Star Trek ensemble, talked to Access Hollywood about how Abrams keeps his cast leak-free, saying "J.J., I guess, really wins your trust… and you don’t want to do anything that would like, rock his ship." She also referred to Abrams as a "general," but did offer "he a very efficient, generous filmmaker." Eve also revealed something which has got all the Trekkies on her side, which is that she has reviewed the entire original Star Trek series to prepare for her role, noting "there are some scenes with [William] Shatner that break my heart… It’s so sweet." Sweet indeed. Of course Eve's Maxim mag spread probably didn't hurt her standing with Trekkies either.
Officially, Eve's Trek character has not been reported, but it is expected to be a significant part. There has been one report that she is playing a role new to Trek's canon, but that hasn't been confirmed. And many Trekkies are still convinced she is playing a classic character with much speculation on her as Yeoman Janice Rand (originally played in the original series by Grace Lee Whitney), or possibly Carol Marcus, Kirk's most famous girlfriend and the mother of his son (played by Bibi Besch in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).
Eve in Maxim (c) flanked by potential Trek characters Marcus (L) and Rand (R)
I must say that Eve appears to be one of those smart casting choices by Abrams, who seems to have a knack for nabbing talent right on the cusp of breaking out. Think of Zoe Saldana being cast as Uhura before Avatar and Chris Pine who was doing character parts before being tapped as the new James T. Kirk and is now set to be the next Jack Ryan. Eve (best known for her role in She's Out Of Your League) will be seen this Spring/Summer starring opposite John Cusack in The Raven and also appears in Men In Black III. Eve's fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch also falls into this category of star on the rise. Already big back home in the UK, the talented young actor is sure to have a bright future in Hollywood and playing the bad guy in the Trek sequel will surely help push him into the big time.
Alice Eve in "The Raven" (opening April 27) - will be seen in Star Trek sequel next summer
New teaser for Star Trek movie universe console game
One thing I haven't talked much about in this column yet is the new "Star Trek" console game in development for the XBox 360 and Playstation 3. Due in Q1 of 2013, this new game is set in the new movie universe some time between the 2009 film and the 2013 sequel. The "Star Trek" co-op game features a brand new story from Marianne Krawczyk (God of War) who is being overseen by sequel co-writer Roberto Orci. The new co-cop game lets you play as either Kirk or Spock (each of whom has different skills, weapons and equipment). Being a co-op game, Kirk and Spock work together on their mission, so you can play with a friend (live or over the net).
The game is being developed by Digital Extremes (Bioshock 2, The Darkness II) and is being published and distributed by Namco/Bandai, who just released a brand new trailer.
Along with the movie and the upcoming Star Trek: TNG Blu-rays, this game is in my top 3 list of exciting Trek projects. While there has been a revival of Star Trek lately in terms of merchandise, books and comics, the world of Trek gaming continues to languish, especially console games. With the exception of the MMORPG Star Trek Online (which recently went free-to-play) The last decade has really been mostly devoid of anything noteworthy in Trek gaming. However, after seeing a demo of this game at last year's E3, I was convinced this title can herald a new era of Trek gaming. Paramount, Digital Extreme's and JJ Abrams' Bad Robot are going out of their way to make sure this game is not just another throw-away licensed title. While it was disappointing that there was not gaming tie-in for the 2009 film, the fact that they chose not to rush out a crappy game is welcome.
More info on this exciting game will be revealed at E3 in June, so stay tuned.
New "Star Trek" game concept art - click to embiggen
Cool Trek Stuff of the Week: Star Trek Transporter App + Calgary Bus Shelters
As noted previously as part of the celebration of 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the entire class is set to beam down to Canada for the Calgary Expo on April 27th. And to help promote this event, the Expo has turned many of Calgary's bus shelters into transporter rooms (see below).
Calgary transporter room bus shelter
And these bus shelters are more than just cool looking, they actually work as transporters...well kind of. CBS and Calgary Expo have released a free app for iPhone and iPad called the "Calgary Expo – Transporter," which creates a cool transporter effect when you aim your camera at the transporter background. You can also print off your own mini transporter background (from e-axis.com/startrek) and make your own mini transporter videos. Download the app from iTunes to get started, the video below shows how it works.
Here are some rapid-fire news bits for you from the world of Star Trek:
All five Star Trek TV Captains (William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula) will appear for the first time ever at a big Trek con in London in October. Details and tickets at www.startreklondon.com.
A limited edition Complete Score for Star Trek: First Contact has been released by GNP, available as CD only ($19.98 at gnpcrescendo.com). [TrekMovie review]
The popular fan production Star Trek: Phase II released their sevent episode ("The Child") which can be viewed on YouTube (or downloaded at startreknewvoyages.com) [TrekMovie review]
Morgan Gendel, the writer for the fan-favorite TNG episode "The Inner Light" has released the first part of his online comic sequel "The Outer Light," which can be read at TrekMovie.com
Details have been released for a planned full scale USS Enterprise attraction for Las Vegas back in 1992
Artist’s rendering of Starship Enterprise and downtown Las Vegas Skyline facing directly down Fremont Street
Photo of the week: Obama and Uhura
Earlier this year Star Trek's original Uhura visited the White House, where she met up with the Trekkie-in-Chief and they posed for a photo. Nichols has now published this nerdy, yet official White House photo on the Twitter. Nichols also tweeted that President Obama admitted he had a crush on her when he was growing up.
The Star Trek Sequel Warps Into Theaters In 385 Days
Anthony Pascale is the owner/editor-in-chief of the number one independent Star Trek site: TrekMovie.com. You can find his Star Trek Sequel column here at Movies.com every other Monday. Follow Anthony on Twitter @TrekMovie.