‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Casts Light On Klingons

The forehead-heavy aliens are back, and director J.J. Abrams explains why in an interview with MTV News.

Cast aside your wrathful Khan-spiracy theories for a few moments, if you’re able. There are other corners of “Star Trek Into Darkness” worth exploring beyond the secret identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s enigmatic John Harrison , after all — indeed, other villains, too.

In an interview with MTV News, “Star Trek” helmer J.J. Abrams dove head first into two of the newest components to his take on the fan-revered sci-fi universe. But “new” is actually “old” in this case, as Abrams recontextualizes some familiar foes for the “Trek” sequel: the Klingons.

As far as recognizable aliens in “Trek” lore are concerned, Klingons are second only to Vulcans, standing in the way of Starfleet cadets time and time again. That will certainly be the case in “Into Darkness,” according to Abrams. “Their role in this is definitely adversarial,” he teased, “and you’ll see how that plays out.”

But the warrior race isn’t always in opposition to our heroes, as evidenced by the tremendously popular character Worf on the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and, later, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” Still, that kind of knowledge won’t be essential for any “Into Darkness” viewer stepping into the world of “Star Trek” for the first time. Said Abrams, “You don’t need to know any preexisting stories to enjoy this film.”

Even as the Klingons are making a comeback, it should be noted that the forehead-heavy aliens almost returned to the big-screen in Abrams’ original “Star Trek” movie. “We had shot some stuff that had Klingons in [our first 'Star Trek' film], and we cut the scene,” said the filmmaker. “It’s a deleted scene on the DVD. But they’re back in this one.”

Completely new to Abrams’ vision — but not new at all to die-hard “Trek” fans — is Carol Marcus, the Starfleet scientist played by British actress Alice Eve in “Into Darkness.” Marcus first appeared in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” where she was presented as a former flame of Captain James T. Kirk’s and the mother of his son, David. Whether or not Marcus’ inclusion in “Into Darkness” solidifies the Cumberbatch-is-Khan theory remains a matter of heavy debate. What isn’t debatable, according to Abrams, is the crucial role that Marcus plays in the coming story. Rather than simply providing a pretty face to bat her eyelashes at Chris Pine’s Kirk, Eve’s character is an active participant in “Into Darkness,” the director promises.

“[She's] someone who is part of the adventure,” he teased. “Her role is important. She wouldn’t be in the movie otherwise.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward