Justin Lin On “Star Trek Beyond” Risks, Villain

Earlier this week we got our first look at Justin Lin’s “Star Trek Beyond,” the third film in the long-running sci-fi franchise since the 2009 reboot. J.J. Abrams departed as director, serving only as a producer this time out as Lin took the helm.

In the wake of the trailer, which has led to a divided reaction online, Lin spoke with Slashfilm and was asked about the footage on offer and how he deliberately went with a trailer that subverts expectations about the franchise:

“There were other versions that were much more traditional and I can see where maybe the hardcore fans could probably see that as, ‘Oh.’ But with trailers you’re putting a two-hour movie into a minute and a half, and the one thing I wanted to make sure is that it hopefully represents that we are trying to be bold and take risks, whether we are successful or not, I don’t know. That was something I was excited to do and with collaborators like Simon (Pegg) and Doug (Jung), passion for the franchise will be there regardless.

So however it’s presented, yeah it’s a minute and a half, and my challenge to everyone making the trailer is about saying let’s not go off course, I’m not afraid to share – share it, I feel like we have the goods in a two-hour run and you really do get to know the characters and hopefully the journey is great. I love it and the cast did an amazing job and the crew… and the inside baseball version of the creation of this Trek was pretty condensed in how you usually make a movie of this size. And I wanted us to be bold, I wanted us to take chances and hopefully in a minute and a half we are able to convey that.”

The trailer offers a first look at Krall, the villain played by Idris Elba who comes from a new species not seen in the franchise before:

“When [Idris] came in, he had a lot of [prospective] projects and when I talked to him about this character, it wasn’t about this or that it was about building or having a philosophy or point of view. And I like his character because his character is really challenging the way of the Federation’s philosophy and there are a lot of things that when I was growing up I wanted to see.

It was just really embracing the idea that the Federation, what would happen if you were going on a five-year journey and you’re trying to also not only explore, but also maybe introduce other people to this way of thinking. What would that mean? What are the consequences to that? I mean, spreading a philosophy that you believe in that you think is great, are there gonna be any other points of views that’s gonna counter you? And I think that those are the things that I thought of as a kid. And also then as an adult when I watch Star Trek. And I think we got to kind of explore that a little bit.”

Lin says the story explores themes from the original “Star Trek” TV series, and deals with an enemy not really seen before in the show where it has usually been a case of “my ship is bigger than yours” syndrome:

“I grew up and Star Trek has a very 1960s sensibility of who has the bigger ship usually wins, right? And if you look at it, the attack, these ships are 40 feet long. And there’s like 4,000 of them. And so I think even in the way they’re being encountered and how people are coming is it’s you can’t help but, I mean, we live in a world that is ever evolving. And I think that that’s always made Star Trek sci-fi great is when you’re able to at least acknowledge what’s happening today.”

Asked about the title’s origins, Lin revealed that Simon Pegg came up with the title which was inspired by the director’s conversations with J.J. Abrams.

“He kind of tracked me down and we’re talking and I didn’t know what to expect. I thought maybe he was offering to go shoot a script that existed and he said, no, it’s yours. Go and be bold. And just take it. Be bold and make it what you think you would do to Star Trek. And the more we talked about it, the more we kept saying, well let’s keep pushing. Let’s keep pushing. And that’s when Simon kind of said, well it should be Star Trek Beyond. And it was his idea. And it was kind of came from all our conversations. And we looked at each other and like oh, that sounds like the title of this film.”

One huge point of contention was the use of the Beastie Boys song Sabotage which we saw in the 2009 reboot being played by the younger version of Kirk’s character:

“It’s in the DNA of this canon. It was in the ’09 Trek, and we went through different iterations of the teaser and I wanted to make sure whatever here is using all the elements from the film. It’s been a part of this Kirk’s journey and so I felt it was very organic, and it will ultimately be in the finished film.”

Paramount is all set to open the new film on July 22nd 2016.