Star Trek teasers hint at Genesis Device plot

Today saw the release of two trailers for the upcoming Star Trek sequel, but what do they tell us?

We still don’t have all that much confirmed information about Star Trek Into Darkness. Writer/director J.J. Abrams has kept a pretty closed set, to the point that IMDB doesn’t even know what characters are being played by some of the actors, which is quite rare at this stage in a production.

We don’t have to rely on set espionage any-longer, however, as the official media promotions campaign has begun this week with the first poster, and escalated with the release of the first teaser. My analysis?

The teaser in itself is rather carefully formulated to reveal little other than lots of lens-flares. The voice-over is actor Benedict Cumberbatch vowing revenge in-character. There will be some impressive city destruction and more than a few fight scenes, but otherwise the plot is unrevealed. We’re still not even sure who Cumberbatch is supposed to be. Some think he may be Gary Mitchell, while others think it may be Khan Noonien Singh, the villain from the original Star Trek II, first played by Ricardo Montalbán.

Gary Mitchell makes sense in a way. In the original series, Mitchell was a member of the Enterprise crew. He was partial telepath – on his mother’s side – and recurred in several episodes as a valuable crewman, until his powers of telepathy overtook him, and he became dangerous.

The official synopsis points to a “threat from within”, and Mitchell is one of the few crewmembers to ever become a serious threat in the original stories, but personally, I don’t think it’s him, mostly because Mitchell was already used as a villain of sorts in the new IDW comics based on the new franchise. It would be strange to see him used again, and in a different way, after he so recently appeared there.

I think the evidence for Khan is stronger. Not only does he still fit the “threat from within” description – though within the federation, rather than within the ship itself – the costume seems right, and the attitude depicted here could easily be seen as that of Khan, the unapologetically righteous madman, who thinks he is doing the right thing by putting everyone in danger, and has a particular hate for Kirk.

The best evidence, however, comes in this nugget:

That’s the version of the trailer which is playing for Japanese audiences. Mostly, it’s very similar in terms of the scenes it draws clips from, but there is a very noticeable difference at the end. What looks like the hand of Spock pressed against the glass across from the hand of Kirk. This is very reminiscent of the Star Trek II scene in which Spock sacrifices himself for the good of the crew after Khan sets off the Genesis Device.

If that scene is in there, then likely the major plot of that film is being readapted as well. If the Genesis Device is involved, then Khan is involved, and the film is not just a sequel to the reboot, it’s actually a remake of the sequel to the original film.

Of course, as this is an alternate timeline, perhaps Spock will stay dead this time. I can imagine Zachary Quinto’s Spock running toward the engine room, and at the point when Leonard Nimoy’s Spock pushed his memories into Bones, Bones is nowhere to be found, and Spock goes into the engine room to truely die.

Perhaps in that interview he gave last month, in which I thought the interviewer was misinterpreting the actor’s words, he really did mean that this is the end of Star Trek for him.

Of course. That’s what Nimoy said also…

The new Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness stars, in addition to Quinto and Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Alice Eve, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Peg, Anton Yelchin, and John Cho. The film hits theaters on May 17, 2013. The full-length trailer will show next week in the theater with the first Hobbit film.