Many Star Trek veterans came out to sing the praises of “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” but one of them is not LeVar Burton, apparently.
Burton, who played Geordi LaForge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and four feature films, told a TMZ reporter outside of Mr. Chow’s in Los Angeles that he’s deeply conflicted about J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek movie — even though he has seen it twice.
“At the end of the movie, I really care about what happens to the characters, but I’m pretty much missing Gene Roddenberry in J.J.’s interpretation,” Burton said. “At the end of the day, that’s just not OK for me. Bring Gene back.”
That debate rages on for fans and critics alike. The film has been a commercial success, now earning more than $200 million in North American, and approaching $400 million worldwide. It also has an 87 percent approval rating from critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes, with the main consensus that it is “visually spectacular and suitably action-packed, a rock-sold installment in the venerable sci-fi franchise, even if it’s not as fresh as its predecessor.”
But the choice of Benedict Cumberbatch to play the main villain has been problematic, especially since the character he portrays was originally an Indian played by a Latino. Garrett Wang, who played Harry Kim in “Star Trek: Voyager,” tweeted that “the casting of Cumberbatch was a mistake on the part of the producers. I am not being critical of the actor or his talent, just the casting.”
However, writer Roberto Orci responded to that saying that as he and the producers went through the casting process, it became “uncomfortable” for him him to “support demonizing anyone of color, particularly anyone of Middle Eastern descent or anyone evoking that. One of the points of the movie is that we must be careful about the villain within [the United States], not some other race.”
Burton, however, wasn’t so against the movie closer to when it was released. On May 20, one of his followers on Twitter asked him what he thought of “Into Darkness,” and Burton said “Yep! Enjoyed it!” And before that, on May 15, Burton sent a public tweet to “Into Darkness” actor Simon Pegg and told him that not only did he see the film the night before, but “beautiful job done by all parties concerned.” He even followed it with the hashtag that abbreviated the famous saying from his PBS show “Reading Rainbow” of “You don’t have to take my word for it” implying that his followers should go see it.
Burton currently appears in the series “Perception” from ABC Studios, and made his second appearance last year on CBS’ “Big Bang Theory.” He is expected to return to “Perception” for its second season.