It’s been a good few days to be a geek as two storied franchises finally finally finally released some decent trailers and lifted the veil of secrecy just a bit.
We start with Star Trek Into Darkness, the long-awaited follow-up to the J.J. Abrams-helmed reboot. This being a J.J. Abrams thing, the lid has been kept tight around this one. But after showing a three-frame teaser on Conan that showed Spock in a spacesuit walking out of a volcano, Abrams apparently eased up on his iron fist of mystery. Last week, the first teaser trailer for the film appeared on the internet. The overwhelming theme is that of destruction and terror as Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain brings some very explosive chickens home to roost. In addition to what I assume is San Francisco getting a good chunk blown out of it, it almost looks like the USS Enterprise takes an ill-advised swim. I guess I don’t know how things work in the rebooted universe, but generally ships built for space travel don’t fare well under water. Though another shot from the trailer seems to show the Enterprise rising from the ocean…so…hmm. I really can’t imagine the new Enterprise getting ‘sploded in just its second movie, though. Here’s the trailer, in case you haven’t seen it yet:
And while the trailer’s voiceover by Cumberbatch and his frequent — and pretty badass — appearances in the one-minute trailer certainly paint the picture of one very angry dude, we’re still not entirely sure who that dude is. The rumor that’s been going around the internet even before filming started was that he would be this universe’s version of Khan. As in Wrath of. I’ve always rejected that notion. Granted, much of Star Trek’s movie history has been spent trying to recapture the magic of Star Trek II. Nearly all of the Next Generation movies were spent on villains hellbent on vengeance. Even Abrams’ first Trek featured a time-displaced Romulan who hated Spock so much he destroyed Vulcan just to get back at him. So then turning around and actually bringing back Khan seems…desperate?
But Cumberbatch’s character’s name has been revealed to be John Harrison. John Harrison was a mere bit player in The Original Series, appearing in the background of a few episodes and getting a scant number of lines. The Internets are quick to point out that J.J. Abrams is quite keen on disinformation, and that “John Harrison” may just be a smokescreen. Or it may be his alias in the movie. Either way, the prevailing opinion is that he’s still Khan.
Giving credence to that line of thinking was yet another reveal this week. Alice Eve, the screaming blonde in the blue medical uniform, was revealed to be none other than Dr. Carol Marcus. Marcus played a prominent role in Wrath of Khan, as not only the inventor of the Genesis technology that Khan coveted, but was also the mother of Kirk’s bastard son, David. But there are a few problems with immediately linking the two things. The first, of course, being time. The timeline may be altered, but it seems unlikely that Carol has had time to birth a 20-year-old or develop a device that can make the moon habitable in a few minutes. A less-obvious reason is that the Carol Marcus in the trailer is obviously a part of Starfleet, while the original was very much a civilian. Of course, neither of these discrepancies really rule out the Khan link, but it’s not as much of an “Aha!” moment as some would think.
We’ll know even more this weekend, as an entire nine minutes of footage from Star Trek Into Darkness will be aired in front of The Hobbit‘s IMAX screenings. Leaks are already coming out about the footage, and it is apparently Pro-Khan in nature, but I’m gonna withhold judgement until I see it. Or perhaps even later than that.
Elsewhere in geekdom, Tuesday saw the release of a real trailer for Man of Steel, the Superman reboot helmed by Zach Snyder and backed by Christopher Nolan. And while the teaser released a few months ago was much-maligned for not showing very much “flights in tights,” the full-length version isn’t exactly overflowing with red and blue spandex, either. The somber tone and “Dark Knight”-style realism are on full display, and we see all of a cast that includes Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russel Crowe, Laurence Fishburne, Amy Adams, and pretty much every other character actor in Hollywood. Henry Cavill, the Man of Steel himself, is easily the least famous person on the list, but still has more credits to his name than Reeve or Routh did when they put on the cape.
We see glimpses of destruction, we get a split-second to KNEEL BEFORE ZOD, and we see an awful lot of a bearded Clark underwater. We even see Pa Kent suggest that his superpowered son should let his classmates die rather than risk revealing his true nature…which I certainly hope is out of context. What we don’t see is Clark Kent: Mild-Mannered and Bespectacled Reporter, or Superman punching anyone or smashing anything. And we don’t see any of Zach Snyder’s fast-slowwwww-fast trickery used so prominently in his other films. Which is probably for the best.
But it does seem very Nolan-esque in tone, which could be a good thing. It could also be a horrible thing, because Superman is not now, nor shall ever be Batman. Superman cannot exist in the cloud of tragedy that Batman feeds off of. Superman experiences tragedy, for sure, but he does not cloak himself in it. He is the hero that the world needs AND deserves. He is the White Knight. A movie that portrays him as anything else is missing the point.