Death! Destruction! Mayhem of the highest order! That was my morning until I’d had my doughnut and atomic coffee and saw the teaser trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness. Interest in the new film is building to chaotic levels amongst the fans, and when even the poster is being subjected to intense scrutiny, this teaser trailer is enough to push the levels of speculation and anticipation off the charts. I’m not even going to bother describing it and giving a scene-by-scene description, because like any Shakespeare play, reading it is pointless and you have to watch it to appreciate it. Besides, odds are you’ve seen it by now and if you haven’t then I’m sure you’ll find a link here.
So what have we got? Scenes of celebration giving way to scenes of destruction, with Benedict Cumberbatch ominously rambling on like Khan about returning for vengeance as any good villain should. We even see a couple of chases, a blonde crew member screaming, and what looks to be the Enterprise doing a belly-flop into the Thames. There’s even a Japanese trailer with a whopping 12 seconds of extra footage that appears to show Spock and Kirk recreating the scene from ST:TWOK where their hands meet against the glass after Spock has sacrificed himself to save the ship. Zachary Quinto has said he’s not coming back as Spock for a third film, so…
Wait a minute. This is ridiculous. We’re smarter than this. It’s a great teaser, there’s no doubt about it, but let’s look at this objectively for a moment. Knowing how Hollywood and JJ Abrams work, there could be some massive sleight-of-hand going on. Is what we saw and what we’ve been led to believe really true?
The first thing is the big K. Khan is the villain of choice, and returning to seek vengeance totally fits, but… are we focusing too much on Cumberbatch’s menacing words and actions to notice something else? There was a blonde crew member who looked curiously like Dr Elizabeth Dehner from Where No Man Has Gone Before. This movie’s going to clock in at 2 hours; it’s possible that they could show the Gary Mitchell build-up for at least an hour before he returns seeking vengeance. Sure, it could be a blonde Lt. McGivers, but it doesn’t quite fit right.
The Japanese extra scene… do we really believe that Abrams and Paramount would send this out without knowing it would be instantly sought out by rabid Trekaholics and become the most talked-about viral on the ‘net? If it gets pulled, then it’ll fuel speculation even more. Even the potential death of Spock sounds almost ridiculous, and Quinto’s comments just add even more wild rumours. Rumours mean interest, and interest results in box office. After all, in TWOK the idea of Spock’s death was leaked and then they played the double-bluff by having him “die” in the Kobayashi Maru simulation at the start. Despite Leonard Nimoy’s initial thoughts that he’d never return after that film, he clearly did.
Abrams is the master of media manipulation. On previous projects he’s used everything from Easter eggs to fake websites to generate fan interest. He knows that by being cryptic in his advertising he can whip the fans into a frenzy, and if he could do that with Lost with its smaller fan base then is it any wonder he can make billions of Trekaholics all over the globe go bananas just by showing them an image of the London Eye and The Gherkin in a poster? The trailer is a work of genius because it shows us everything we want to see without showing us what we think we need to see.
Now please excuse me while I get some more coffee and a doughnut, and settle down to watch that irritatingly cryptic, wonderfully beautiful teaser trailer yet again…