This story may contain spoilers for “Star Trek: Beyond.
Paramount Pictures desperately wanted a film in theaters in time to celebrate Star Trek’s golden anniversary. But after rejecting a script — and ultimately the director — of what had been tentatively called “Star Trek 3,” the studio had to find a way to pull it together, with producer J.J. Abrams hand-picking Justin Lin to do the job.
Although Lin has acknowledged his work on “Beyond” as a “rescue mission,” he actually wasn’t the first to bill it that way. Abrams was.
“It was like, ‘Hey, this is a rescue mission,'” Lin told Wired reporter Logan Hill about his conversation with the director of both 2009’s “Star Trek” and 2013’s “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” In fact, Lin was chosen because of his “command of a large cast, a great sense of action, a sense of human” and his “ability to tell stories that would speak to cultures all over the world.”
When Abrams asked Lin what he would do in a third outing of Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the so-called AbramsVerse, the director already knew what he wanted to do: destroy the USS Enterprise. By doing so, he’d be able to “make the characters as raw as possible,” and then “build them back up.”
While the thought of destroying the Enterprise in a movie is not old (in fact, the Enterprise was destroyed in 1984’s “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” and a decade later in “Star Trek: Generations”), Lin decided to focus on one weak point of Matt Jefferies’ design: The “neck” of the Enterprise that connects the saucer section to the rest of the ship’s frame.
In essence, he was decapitating the ship — a bit similar to what happened in “Generations,” but not because of an emergency saucer separation like the Enterprise-D was able to do in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
Instead, the weapons that ultimately brings down the Enterprise focuses squarely on that neck, and makes quick work of that one fatal design flaw.
Some other fans feel a potential design flaw in “Beyond” could be what some perceive to be a focus on Fast & Furious-like action rather than a true Star Trek series, especially after a teaser trailer released last December received mixed reviews. Lin and Paramount’s marketing department have a chance to make up for it with the release of an official full trailer Friday — one even co-writer and co-star Simon Pegg feels is far more along the lines of what Star Trek fans have been waiting for.
— Pegg News (@simonpegg) May 19, 2016
Keenser, of course, is the non-human engineering assistant of Pegg’s Scotty in the reboot films played by Deep Roy.
One person Lin hopes will relax and enjoy the new trailer is original “Star Trek” actor George Takei.
“It looks like a terrific action-adventure movie,” Takei told Tech Insider last December. “It should be a very successful Star Trek movie. I didn’t, in the preview, note anything of the substance of what made Gene Roddenberry’s ‘Star Trek’ so engaging.”
Lin was hurt by those words. Especially since the director is a Trekkie himself.
“George has always handled things with class,” Lin told Wired. “He was a huge part of my life, so for him to swing a sucker punch … that hurt.”
It’s one thing to attack Lin on the Fast & Furious franchise, because he admits to not being a car guy. But for “Beyond,” Lin said he “guess it hurt more because this is something that is part of me.”
“Star Trek: Beyond” hits theaters July 22.
To read more of Logan Hill’s interview with Justin Lin, which covers a wide range of topics outside of Star Trek, read the full Wired story by clicking here.
Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/WIRED