With the release of Star Trek into Darkness on Blu-ray, new interviews have emerged that explain or clarify choices made in the movie.
Some of the topics covered include the choice of Khan as a villain, the Alice Eve underwear scene, and the future of the Federation after the events of Star Trek into Darkness.
The choice of Khan as a villain was a controversial one, and Roberto Orci explained how it happened. “Khan was in our mind,” said Orci. “When we were doing the ’09 one, we can’t help but fantasize about a sequel, like W.O.K. — the Wrath of Kirk.”
Orci and Alex Kurtzman flirted with the idea of ending Star Trek (2009) with the discovery of the Botany Bay but decided against it.
The duo then considered a non-Khan villain and came up with a story, that this villain had been used by Starfleet and resorted to terrorism. “There is a cancer within Starfleet, and it’s a story you can pitch without saying anyone’s name prior,” said Orci. But then the duo came back to Khan again. “Once we had that story, then it became, ‘Now can it be Khan?'”
As for the Eve underwear sequence, it wasn’t Damon Lindelof who came up with the idea, but someone else, J.J. Abrams. And originally, the sequence would have been more meaningful had the story been not changed along the way. “Originally, they were going to open the torpedo in orbit, in space, so originally we had Kirk chasing her into a room where she was changing into a space suit,” said Orci. “So it seemed more purposeful when we originally conceived it.”
But production costs dictated that the torpedo be opened on land instead, and the changed seemed a bit less logical and more gratuitous. Kurtzman defended the scene, saying, “Well, it’s funny, we had tons of story conversations, and spent a whole lot of time talking about how we were going to justify that.
“And ultimately, I think it’s one of those things that you either accept is part of the scene dynamic – you know, she is bold, and certainly Carol Marcus as we knew her was bold from the first movie. That was part of what was fun about her relationship with Jim, and yet obviously it’s a different Carol Marcus than before. And we figured, how do we harness the spirit of that in this scene, and that’s ultimately where we came to it from.”
“I can’t claim to be an expert on feminism, but I can point out that you can see Kirk half-naked as well, in both movies,” said Orci. “He’s in his underwear, so is Uhura.”
When asked how the end of Star Trek into Darkness leaves the Federation, Kurtzman explained that it is definitely in a different and a worse place. “Well, I think that the title comes from the fact that Gene Roddenberry had this vision of the future where – it’s funny, my son was just asking me about this yesterday. He said, ‘Why is Star Trek Into Darkness called Star Trek Into Darkness?’ And I explained to him that Roddenberry had this beautiful and very optimistic vision of the future, where we would come to a time where different species, different alien races come together, and we would all operate together as one Federation to explore space and work together. And that vision is tested by Khan, and it is corrupted by Marcus, within itself. And so the question Kirk asks at the end of the movie, and I think the question we leave the movie on is, can Starfleet continue in its utopian vision given the kind of things that happen in the movie? And I think we know that they can happen now, so we know that they may happen again, and if these events provoke a war in the future, how will we deal with that response? This is the very definition of blowback. And so I think, hopefully we’ve set up a complicated moral dilemma, but you should definitely know that the compass of Roddenberry’s vision of an optimistic Federation, is where all of this came from.”
A fuller interview will be available on September 16 on a Mission Log podcast.