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‘Star Trek’ Khan ‘secret’ a mistake: J.J. Abrams

- December 3rd, 2013

In the months leading up to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness, speculation was rampant that the villain squaring off against Kirk, Spock et al. would be none other than Khan Noonien Singh.

Famously played by Ricardo Montalban in the 1967 episode Space Seed and again in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Benicio Del Toro was tipped for the bad guy role when pre-production on the sequel got underway in 2011.

After Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as the baddie in 2012, director J.J. Abrams and writers Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman went into lockdown mode, refusing to confirm or deny Khan would be the villain in the sequel.

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Well, by now we all know how that turned out. The identity of Cumberbatch’s character stayed hidden, and the ‘secret’ was safe until about 20 minutes after the first screening of Into Darkness. Some fans cried foul, while others cheered for joy. And there’s a new comic out that delves further into Khan’s backstory if you’re hungering for more.

But in a recent interview with MTV’s Josh Horowitz, Abrams now admits that keeping Khan’s identity a secret may have been a mistake.

Turns out Paramount Pictures was worried that emphasizing Khan in early ads was too much ‘inside baseball’ for casual movie fans not familiar with Star Trek lore.

“The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront ‘This is who it is.’ It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that’s what the thing was,” Abrams told MTV. “The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you’ve really got to know what ‘Star Trek’ is about to see this movie. That would have been limiting. I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it.”

I for one didn’t feel overly deceived since I had already assumed Cumberbatch was playing Khan. In fact, I probably would have been more irritated if he ended up being someone else (although Gary Mitchell might have been cool).

In the same MTV interview, Abrams also shared his thoughts on who should direct the next Star Trek. Right now Joe Cornish, who Abrams favours, is rumoured to be the font-runner for the job, with a summer 2014 start date being eyed.

“I don’t know if Joe Cornish is the guy,” Abrams said. “My guess is that’s up in the air. I adore him and love him and can’t wait to see what he does next,” Abrams said. “Hopefully it will be ‘Star Trek.’ Whatever it is, he’s brilliant. ‘Attack the Block’ was one of my favorite movies of the year when it came out.”

What do you think? Were you cheesed that Abrams tried to keep Khan a secret? Sound off in the comments.

R2-D2 joins ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

- November 15th, 2013

“Beep boop beep beep boop beep beep beep.”

It appears that R2-D2 is joining J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII.

On Wednesday, Abrams’ Bad Robot Twitter account posted a picture of the director standing with R2-D2.

R2-D2 has appeared in every Star Wars film since the 1977 original, so I think he was a lock for the seventh instalment, but still, it’s a nice foreshadowing of things to come.

The droid previously worked with Abrams on 2009′s Star Trek and this year’s sequel – Star Trek: Into Darkness [hat tip to io9.com for snapping the latter cameo].

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R2 has also appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Raiders of the Lost Ark [as a hieroglyph], and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

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Hopefully, we’ll get more concrete casting news soon.

Star Wars: Episode VII opens Dec. 18, 2015.

LucasFilm denies J.J. Abrams quitting ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

- July 23rd, 2013
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J.J. Abrams is seen at the premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness in this May 2012 file photo. Brian To/WENN.com

 

After rumours surfaced over the weekend that J.J. Abrams was exiting Star Wars: Episode VII, LucasFilm has issued a statement saying the director is still committed to the film.

“There is no truth to the rumour (that he has quit),” reports IGN. “J.J. is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year.”

If Star Wars isn’t your thing, and you’re more of a Trekkie, we’re getting word that Star Trek 3 will be written by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (Fringe, X-Men: First Class). Apparently, Paramount wants the third instalment ready for the 50th anniversary of Trek in 2016.

Abrams has previously said that he’s open to doing both Star Wars and Star Trek, but that timeline, and Star Wars’ 2015 release date, makes that proposition seem unlikely.

Last week, Abrams’ production company Bad Robot tweeted a photo of what many speculated was Michael Arndt’s screenplay for Episode VII.

During an interview with MTV at Comic-Con last weekend, Harrison Ford, who is expected to return as Han Solo, called Abrams a “great storyteller.”

“He’s developed an enormous filmmaking skill. I think it’s a daunting project, and he’s the kind of guy that can take on huge challenges and deliver.”

J.J. Abrams says he can still do ‘Star Trek 3′

- April 25th, 2013

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Before J.J. Abrams starts working on Star Wars Episode VII full time, the director will have to walk the promo gauntlet for Star Trek Into Darkness where he will be asked endlessly how he plans on juggling two franchises.

Up to now, fanboys have just assumed he’ll ditch Trek entirely now that Disney has handed him the keys to a new trilogy of Star Wars films.

But in an interview with Playboy, Abrams says doing Episode VII doesn’t mean he can’t make another Star Trek.

“I would say it’s a possibility,” he tells the magazine. “We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story.”

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Abrams also addressed some of the backlash he experienced when it was announced that he was helming the new Star Wars film.

“I mean, I get it. The worlds are vastly different. Honestly, that was why I passed on Star Wars to begin with. I couldn’t imagine doing both. But when I said that my loyalty was to Star Trek I was literally working on finishing this cut. I couldn’t even entertain another thought. It was like being on the most beautiful beach in the world and someone saying, ‘There’s this amazing mountain over here. Come take a look.’ I couldn’t balance the two, so I passed on Star Wars… In the end it was my wife, Katie, who said if it was something that really interested me, I had to consider it.”

The wide-ranging interview also touches on Fringe (I skipped that bit since I haven’t finished the series), the possibility of an Alias movie (“We discuss it. In the right circumstance and situation I would definitely be open to it”), Cloverfield II (“Part of me just wants to let it go”) and his un-produced Superman Flyby screenplay.

Check out the latest trailer below and let us know whether you think Abrams should be allowed to direct both Star Trek and Star Wars.

New images from ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ released

- April 11th, 2013

We’re a little more than a month away from the release of Star Trek Into Darkness and the fine folks over at Paramount have released a new batch of images.

The stills give us an up close look at the characters in action. There’s also a new, mayhem-filled trailer to feast your eyes on.

Check ‘em out Trekkies and let us know what you think in the comments.

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