We are mere days away from the release of STAR TREK BEYOND and Trekkies and non-Trekkies are bracing themselves to see if it will take them on a warp speed adventure or hot Klingon mess (read our review here). With new director Justin Lin manning the ship and a handful of new characters, the third installment brings us back to the final frontier with a crew that we have grown to love since the J.J. Abrams reboot in 2009. That said, there are a lot of interesting facts about the highly anticipated sequel that we learned from last week’s press conference. Here are 11 of them:
1.) Jennifer Lawrence makes a cameo in the movie…kind of.
When the crew crash lands and is separated from each other on the planet Altamid, Scotty (Simon Pegg) meets renegade badass scavenger Jaylah (Sofia Boutella). When creating the character in the writer’s room, Lin, Pegg, and co-writer Doug Jung didn ‘t have a name for her at first and referred to her as “Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone.” They soon shortened it to J.Law which eventually became Jaylah.
2.) Justin Lin’s son appears as a Star Wars character in the movie.
Lin’s 6-year-old son Oqwe isn’t a stranger to making a cameo in his movies. He can be seen in some of his Fast and Furious movies as a little boy looking in amazement as the cars zoom by and he can be seen in Beyond — as an alien. Oqwe knew what kind of alien he wanted to be: a green one with pointy ears. Lin thought it was amazing that Oqwe knew exactly what he wanted but then realized that his son, an avid Star Wars fan, wanted to look like Yoda. Even though Lin is a devoted Trekkie, he laughed it off and kept his son in the movie as a Yoda look-alike but said, “I’ll convert him one day.”
3.) Bones and Spock are best bros.
Move over Kirk, it looks like Spock has found a new BFF in Bones. In Beyond, Bones (Karl Urban) and Spock (Zahary Quinto) are paired off when the crew is separated, which is a nod to the original series. Quinto talked about the unlikely pair and how it was to be paired off with Urban as opposed to being with the entire crew.
“In a movie franchise where we’re all used to spend so much time together on the bridge of the enterprise, it was nice to have so many days where it was just Karl and me together,” said Quinto. “We got to know each other and appreciate each other more than we already did. I think from a character standpoint, these two characters historically approach things from an entirely different perspective and point of view. There’s nothing more fun for fans of the original show to see that dynamic unmitigated by Kirk who manages to get between them.”
4.) Zoe Saldana never wants to leave the Enterprise. Ever.
This is the first Star Trek movie from the reboot where the crew spends a considerable amount of time away from the Enterprise. When the cast was asked if they preferred to be in the Enterprise or in another location, Saldana immediately chimed it.
“We were in a quarry and there was dirt everywhere and helicopters flying really low — ugh,” laughed Saldana. “I don’t know. I like the Enterprise cause it’s clean.”
5.) Paying homage to Leonard Nimoy.
Nimoy, the original Spock, appeared in the first two films and would have probably been in the third if he didn’t pass. Still, Beyond honors him with the utmost respect with Quinto at the helm.
“If Leonard was well enough to be in this film, he would have been in it,” said Quinto. “There were early conversations about that possibility. I think it became an important all of us to figure honor his legacy. I think Simon and Doug did a beautiful job in incorporating him into the narrative of the film. We all carry him with us through this production. It was definitely a different feeling making this movie without him for me in particular. I think he was very much a part of it in spirit and anything we do moving forward.”
6.) Pegg revisits Tim from Spaced and his opinions on Star Trek.
Pegg’s character on the British sitcom, Tim had a lot of opinions about Star Trek. Pegg thought that now would be a better time than any to discuss those opinions.
“There is a line in Spaced where Tim says, ‘…sure as day follows night, sure as eggs is eggs, sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is shit…’ — I think I wrote that in 1998,” Pegg laughs. “And here we are in 2016 and I have written an odd-numbered Star Trek movie. I’m happy to say that Tim is wrong.”
7.) Remembering Anton.
It goes without saying that this movie comes with a heavy heart since the recent passing of Anton Yelchin. The cast and crew saw him as family and are still deeply affected by the loss of the talented actor, having worked with him since 2009, but continue to celebrate his life.”
“It’s devastating to lose a family member. We’re at a point where we should not just be celebrating this film but this beautiful talented man. For all of us, it’s incomprehensible to be talking about him in the past tense,” said Karl Urban. “The pain and loss is very raw. We spent time with Anton’s family and we know that they would be very proud of his contributions to this film — it was a special experience for all of us. It represents a golden period where our family was together for the last time. It was the best summer of our adult lives. We love him so much and miss him terribly.”
8.) 966 Days.
In the movie, the crew have been on their epic journey for 966 days — almost three years. This was Pegg’s subtle nod to the very first episode (discounting the two unaired pilots) of the original series, “The Man Trap” which aired on Sept. 8, 1966…a.k.a. 9/66.
9.) Pegg fought to keep the Enterprise in one piece.
In Beyond, things don’t work out well for the U.S.S. Enterprise. In other words, it gets destroyed. Demolished. Devastated. Blown to pieces. Lin insisted that this had to happen while Pegg needed some convincing because he was adamant on saving the beloved starship.
“Justin was very determined and as we spoke about it, I realized what he was doing — very brilliantly. He not only was taking out a main character, but he was removing the only connective tissue between the crew,” said Pegg. “If you take away that thing that necessitates their being, do they dissipate or do they come together. That was the genius. You take away it very violently and dramatically and then you wait and see if they come back together as a family.”
10.) Star Trek has always been progressive.
The Star Trek universe is embedded in being diverse, progressive and challenged social norms. The original series featured the first interracial kiss on a scripted American TV series and now, Beyond has introduced the first LGBT character in the franchise (which we will go into later).
John Cho, who plays Sulu, said, “Roddenberry set up a world that was progressive but it was tempered by the social morays of the era and I feel that we can go further in 2016. Our version is able to give to more to women and people of color more than Rodenberry was able to — not because he didn’t want to.”
In regards to his character being gay, Cho was in full support of it but did have some reservations. “I thought it was a beautiful idea but was concerned how it would be received by George,” he admits. “It was really the handling of it that was most important to me. Having seen the film, the nonchalant posture toward is the best thing about it. It’s kind of news now, but if you watch it in 10 years, you’ll think nothing of it. It will go right by you.”
Looking at it from a different angle, Saldana said, “We just didn’t reveal that Sulu is gay, but he’s a father. None of our characters have families we talk about. I feel puzzled in 2016 we’re throwing a bit of a ‘fit’ about who he fathered a baby with.”
In the movie, Sulu’s partner lives on Yorktown, a base for the enterprise that is being threatened. Pegg points out that they wanted to put somebody on Yorktown that we cared about so when Yorktown was under threat, that made the threat tangible. “It wasn’t just a bunch faceless Federation people,” adds Pegg. “We knew Sulu’s family was there and we care about Sulu.”
That said, the Internet has been filled with headlines that make it seem like George Takei (the original Sulu) and Pegg were at odds because of this decision — but don’t believe any of them. Pegg assures everyone that they have talked it out and are on great terms and that he is “still a huge fan of GT.”
11.) Will there be a Star Trek 4?
In the words of producer J.J. Abrams: “Yes there’s something we’re hopefully figuratively minutes away from talking about… but the answer is 100 percent yes.”
J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are set to write the screenplay and Abrams will produce with Lindsey Weber via Bad Robot Productions. David Ellison and Dana Goldberg of Skydance will executive produce. No word yet on whether or not Lin will direct, but the cast is set to return and it seems like Chris Hemsworth will be putting his Thor hammer down to reprise his role as Kirk’s dad as seen in the first Star Trek.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer