The first teaser for Star Trek Beyond is full of surprises — not the least of which is that Captain Kirk is a Beastie Boys fan. The new film, directed by The Fast and the Furious franchise veteran Justin Lin from a script co-written by Simon Pegg (Scotty), is engineered to be lighter in tone and heavier on action than its predecessors, Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
In the trailer (which you can watch above), the Starship Enterprise gets smashed to bits to the tune of the Beasties’ “Sabotage” (presumably the contribution of producer J.J. Abrams, a mega-fan who used the song to introduce a young James T. Kirk in the first Star Trek and also planted a Beastie Boys reference in Star Wars: The Force Awakens). “The Swarm is what we’re calling it,” Zoe Saldana (Uhura) told us during a visit to the top-secret Vancouver set over the summer. “It’s all these little ships moving in synchronicity like a school of fish in the ocean.” Except these fishies are doing some extreme damage to the iconic vessel.
The plot finds the Enterprise finally on its five-year journey exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new civilizations. That means we’re getting more than the usual Klingons, Romulans, Borg, or Tribbles. “We’re creating brand new worlds. New species,” says Lin, adding that this film will have five times as many new creatures than the previous two combined.
Along the way, the key crew members — including Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Scotty, and Uhura — find themselves marooned on a mysterious planet, where they face the threats of an alien race. Pegg says he wanted to create an urgency in the film, to make audiences feel like the fates of the characters were genuinely at stake: “This is a different reality, you know. Just because Kirk and those guys lived until they were in their 70s [in the original series and film franchise] doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in this universe. All bets are off. We’ve started again. It’s nice to have that element of unpredictability.”
As hinted at in the trailer, this film won’t rely on the usual Kirk-Spock dynamic to drive the plot. “There’s a lot of fragmentation,“ explains Quinto, who gets teamed with McCoy for what promises to call back some of the original series’ trademark banter between the two.
“Circumstances dictate that we’re not all in this together. We have to divide in order to conquer. We’re off in unconventional pairings,” says Quinto. “There’s a real sense of scrambling to defeat our common enemy.”
Speaking of their common enemy… That’s Idris Elba under all the makeup as the film’s big bad who wreaks all kinds of havoc on the Trek team.
Fortunately, they also find a new ally: An exotic alien warrior played by Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service), whose name Yahoo Movies can reveal is Jaylah. “I put Sofia through hell in her intro fight,” says Lin. “And we had to go take after take after take. It was four days of really pushing it. She was so pumped up and she just went for it. It looks great. I’m excited for that.”
What we do get, though, is plenty of spectacle. And that’s just what the powers that be wanted.
"The first film was about establishing the characters. The second film was about taking it into a darker place, which was the in-vogue thing circa the Batman/Dark Knight era. For us Beyond is re-establishing — especially in the 50th anniversary of the Enterprise — of the world of Star Trek, re-establishing why Star Trek is uniquely its own beast… It’s funny, it’s got a total sense of humor,” Pine tells us.
"This one, I can definitively say, has the most action out of any one we’ve done so far. People who like summer blockbusters and like s— blowing up will like this.”
Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters July 22.
Watch Yahoo’s SuperFan breakdown of the trailer:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story indicated that Idris Elba’s character did not appear in the trailer. The information has been corrected above.]