For Doug Jung, the main story of Star Trek Beyond was questioning the validity of Federation.
Gene Roddenberry‘s concept of Star Trek included a utopian world, but Star Trek Beyond questioned that via Krall. “How do we look at those things now,” said Jung. “Can a utopian world exist? Should it exist? Is it even good for the greater thing? What does the Federation stand for and is that necessarily something that realistically everybody would want? Those questions, to me, were interesting thematic things to talk about first and try to ingrain into the characters and the story.”
Another focus of the movie was on character development. “I just wanted to spend time with these characters and see them and evolve them in a way that we hadn’t really seen in the last couple movies,” said Jung. “We’re introduced to them and a lot of the relationships were inferred and based upon collective history over the last fifty years. But on screen to see them paired up in certain ways, or just to really understand what their friendships and their relationships are about, that, to me, was really, really, really exciting to do.”
Jung does have a favorite scene in the movie; in fact he has three favorites. “I’ll go chronologically here,” said Jung. “One is Kirk’s conversation with Bones in the officers’ mess on the Enterprise. And it works the best for me because you get to see what their relationship is. You see it. You understand that Bones has grown into this real confidante for Kirk, not just the other side of the triumvirate. And you see that they have a really deep understanding of each other. It works on another level because it was harkening back to the conversation they had in Wrath of Khan. It’s nice to kind of show that. I also think it was a nice character set-up for Kirk and introducing his issues in the movie.
“The other one that I thought worked great was pretty much every Bones/Spock scene. I just loved those. I loved writing them. Bones/Spock, I just thought they were great. The two of them, Karl and Zachary, are just great in those characters and the way they played off each other was phenomenal.
“The [third scene that] worked really well. It’s funny, it’s a minor scene, when they’re reunited on the Franklin and Spock is talking about using the necklace to track their location and Bones is saying, ‘You have a radioactive piece of jewelry.’ To me, in that group dynamic, it was a moment where they’re doing everything that you expect the Enterprise crew to do, which is problem solve collectively. But it’s just injected with so much personality and humor that I just wanted to be with them.”