12/6/12

Analyzing the Star Trek Into Darkness Announcement Teaser

Let's dissect this teaser, shall we?

WARNING: Possible speculative spoilers after the jump

Ok, so, everyone has been on their knees begging for this movie not to include Khan Noonien Singh. There are some good reasons for this, and some terrible reasons. Among the terrible reasons are "there hasn't been a 'Space Seed' in this universe!" To which I roll my eyes and say "Ok, then let's do a 'Space Seed' movie." Among the better reasons is "it'll be too close to the original movie series" which I can almost get behind. In either case, I'm not against a Khan movie.

"You think your world is safe. It is an illusion. A comforting lie told to protect you."

I'm gonna be honest here: The fact that Star Trek's Earth is supposed to be a complete utopia has always kinda bugged me. I've always kind of thought maybe that's just Federation propaganda so that other planets will fall in line after their example. That's not to say Earth can't be somewhat idyllic, but there's always someone who disagrees with the way things are being run. There's always an element of rebellion. This is part of what bothered me about The Next Generation's season 1 episode, "Justice". I've always taken some small comfort in the fact that we rarely get any good glimpse into life on Earth. I feel like if we did, then we would have seen some sort of dissenting element.

"Enjoy these final moments of peace. For I have returned to have my vengeance."

In the sense that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was about Khan taking vengeance on Kirk for stranding him on a deserted wasteland, this is the first indication we have that Star Trek Into Darkness follows the same theme. I think, though, that vengeance is kind of a logical place to go for the second movie in a series no matter what franchise. But if Benedict was supposed to be Khan and this movie is about vengeance, then we have made our terrible reason into a perfectly valid reason: we don't have "Space Seed", so there can be no vengeance, right? Well, not exactly. If you know the history of Khan you know that he left Earth in 1996 after he and his Augment army were defeated by regular humans. He could very well be returning to Earth to avenge his defeat.

But there's something else about this trailer that's interesting... you'll have to follow me here. In the official synopsis, the villain is described as a one-man weapon of mass destruction. Keep that in the back of your mind while I show you a couple of lovely pictures.
This is Alice Eve's currently unnamed character from Star Trek Into Darkness
This is  Dr. Elizabeth Dehner from the TOS episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
They look pretty similar, right? I'd be willing to bet Alice Eve is, indeed, Dr. Dehner.

The villain in Star Trek Into Darkness is described as a one-man weapon of mass destruction. Well, Khan is certainly very powerful. But Augments aren't exactly known for being lone weapons. Augments overwhelm their enemies with the sheer force of their armies. They take over in groups and delegate tasks like an organized crime ring or a family. Khan is certainly a powerful man, but the villain in this movie seems more like...
...A GOD
I'm saying this right here and now without the aid of insider knowledge: I believe Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the role of Gary Mitchell. Now, right off the bat there are maybe a couple of problems with this, but nothing that can't be solved with a well-written story. First of all, I'm basing this opinion on the fact that Alice Eve looks a lot like Dr. Dehner while Benedict Cumberbatch doesn't really look a thing like Gary Mitchell. Secondly, I don't think Mitchell really had any sort of vendetta against the Federation or Earth or even Kirk until after he changed; in fact, he and Kirk were friends. And lastly, you'll remember that Kirk abandoned Mitchell on Delta Vega, the same planet that Spock marooned Kirk on in Star Trek (2009). The position of this planet is highly contested since in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" it was close to the edge of the galaxy while in Star Trek (2009) it was smack dab in the middle of the Vulcan system which (astronomically speaking) is quite close to Earth.

So how could a good story solve these problems? Well, nothing could fix his face... we'll just have to live with that. But if we go with the same story structure we had in Star Trek (2009), we could open with a fifteen minute segment that introduces the story. This segment could be a shortened version of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" except Mitchell, as a final act of godhood, actually transports Delta Vega out of the Vulcan system and onto the rim of the galaxy. This act would weaken him and allow Kirk to maroon him on that planet. The story could then skip forward a certain amount of time and Mitchell could escape Delta Vega and return to Earth for his vengeance. Of course, then we have Dr. Dehner to contend with. Mitchell killed her in the original story as she was becoming just as powerful as he was. I'm not going to speculate on her role in this movie, but there are ways to get around it.

So, there we have it; an almost fully formed plot line just from a little bit of a teaser. And this isn't even the main teaser! Apparently we'll be getting a real one in another week. And maybe they'll say who Benedict is and my theories will either be confirmed or dashed to pieces. We'll see! Until then, just bask in Benedict Cumberbatch's evil voice.