Last month, J.J. Abrams admitted that he felt there were some “fundamental story problems” with Star Trek Into Darkness, with screenwriter Damon Lindelof subsequently stating that he felt it was a mistake to keep Khan’s identity a secret. Now, with Abrams’ latest film Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominating multiplexes worldwide, the director has once again reflected on the 2013 sequel, elaborating on what he believes to be the film’s shortcomings.
“I take full responsibility for this — I was encouraging the writers in certain directions, and we were working on the script and putting it together.,” Abrams tells BuzzFeed. “But by the time we started shooting, and this was literally at the very beginning of the shoot, there were certain things I was unsure of. Any movie, any story has a fundamental conversation happening during it. There’s a fundamental argument; there’s a central question. And I didn’t have it.”
“[The first Star Trek] was a very strong story about two orphans [Kirk and Spock] who are completely at odds, who then come to realize they need to work together to survive,” he continues. “What was their issue [in Into Darkness]? What was their dynamic? What was their problem? And it wasn’t really clear. It was a little bit lightweight, ultimately, that Kirk was disappointed that Spock didn’t feel that their friendship was as meaningful to him as it did to Kirk, which is sort of what we’re saying. And that Spock’s arc is coming to unabashedly love his friend Kirk… I would never say that I don’t think that the movie ended up working. But I feel like it didn’t work as well as it could have had I made some better decisions before we started shooting.”
Asked about the decision to keep the true identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s John Harrison under wraps, Abrams responded that: “At the end of the day, while I agree with Damon Lindelof that withholding the Khan thing ended up seeming like we were lying to people, I was trying to preserve the fun for the audience, and not just tell them something that the characters don’t learn for 45 minutes into the movie, so the audience wouldn’t be so ahead of it.”
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The next Star Trek movie Star Trek Beyond is set for release on July 22nd 2016 and features returning cast members Chris Pine as James Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Zoë Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov alongside new additions Idris Elba (Luther), Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Joe Taslim (The Raid) and Lydia Wilson (About Time).