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Trailer Dissection: Star Trek Into Darkness

This has been a very Trek-heavy week. The plot synopsis and one-sheet poster for Star Trek Into Darkness hit early, followed by the Season 2 blu-ray for The Next Generation on Tuesday, then came Star Trek Online’s winter event, and now the first teaser trailer for Into Darkness up above. Kind of an overload.

Nevermind all that other fluff, though. The trailer is why we’re here, so let’s pull this thing apart and see how it ticks.

The first major consideration is that Benedict Cumberbatch’s lead villain remains unidentified. Earlier reports stated that he’s someone we’ve seen before, presumably from either the original series or the first six movies, with the word “iconic” attached. Khan is the obvious first suspect – too obvious, and too not-British. Gary Mitchell (an American character originally) is generally the second most common name floating around. Reimagining him to be from England in this timeline is less of a head-scratcher than reworking a Vader-class villain like Khan.

Our second consideration could be a clue in disguise: the blonde woman seen here being mentally undressed by Kirk. If she turns out to be a young Carol Marcus, then Cumberbatch could indeed be Khan. However, she also strongly resembles Elizabeth Dehner from the classic TOS episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, which was Gary Mitchell’s story. It’s also possible that either Marcus or Dehner could appear independent of whoever Cumberbatch is playing, which throws this avenue of speculation out the window.

One quick note: Cumberbatch’s character is seen wearing Starfleet duds a couple times in this trailer. Khan and his people only really did that in the same manner as hunters wearing the bones or skins of their prey. Mitchell however, was a Starfleet officer. That said, it was only flirting with the galactic barrier that drove Mitchell to the dark side, so to speak. The mere glimpses we’ve seen here are very different in tone from that old story. Less action-adventure, more thriller.

On the subject of story themes, most of this teaser takes place planetside with our only ship shots being sea-based for once. Who knows if the real deal will really be so down to Earth, of course; but it could be an early indicator of the subject matter we’re in store for. Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if one of those ships messing around underwater is the Reliant despite Khan having nothing to do with this movie?

A proper extended version of this trailer opens with The Hobbit on December 14th (pray not to get stuck with one of the 48FPS versions) and Star Trek Into Darkness is out May 17th, 2013.