For Karl Urban, having a new director for Star Trek Beyond may have been the difference between him appearing in the film or passing it by for another project.
The new director was “a breath of fresh air,” said Urban. “I really appreciated Justin’s intimate knowledge and understanding of the character dynamics. In fact, I was on the fence about doing the movie until I spoke with Justin.
“I had a conflicting schedule, and I had a decision to make about which film to do, and I was no longer under contract to do a third picture. So I had a decision to make, and it was talking with Justin that enabled me to commit to it.”
“He gets it,” added Urban. “There’s a lot of material in this film that long-term fans are going to be very happy with.”
Some of what fans will like is more McCoy, including both McCoy/Kirk interaction and McCoy/Spock interaction. One scene shown to the attendees at the fan event last month showed a birthday drink between the characters. “I was thrilled that the relationship between McCoy and Kirk was represented, because I felt that in Into Darkness it was completely inferred,” said Urban. “So it was nice to have that material, and it was fun to play. Obviously, a lot has occurred two, two-and-a-half years into the mission, and it’s nice to see those characters really morph into their traditional archetypes.
One of the best parts of the original series was the interaction between McCoy and Spock. In Star Trek Beyond, fans can enjoy this too, but “the dynamic is complex,” explained Urban. “There is a great deal of humor, but it’s contextualized by the framework of jeopardy and danger of the situation that they’re in. I believe that their relationship really evolves, and you get to see them both kind of drop their guard and be who they really are around each other — just get a little glimpse of that, which is fantastic and rewarding, especially for long-term Star Trek fans. It’s something that I believe you haven’t really seen before. To me, that was really the challenge of the film, to not only honor the fifty years of Star Trek, pay homage to what had come before, but also mine new territory and take these characters into uncharted waters — and that’s what we’ve done with Star Trek Beyond.”
There is a challenge for the franchise, said Urban. “The challenge for Star Trek going forward is to keep it fresh, to keep it new, to constantly explore new ideas and new territories, and that’s the whole challenge.”
Urban couldn’t resist a nod back to his favorite Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and the scene where McCoy first appears in the movie. “I love when he reappears, and he’s got this huge beard and this big medallion around his chest, and his chest hair,” said Urban. “I love that! I actually put a nod to that in Star Trek Beyond. You’ll see at the end of the film, I’m wearing an open shirt, and I’ve got a medallion on. Like, not a big one, but it’s there, and it’s a direct nod to DeForest [Kelley].”