Photo: Paramount Pictures/YouTube
Well, at least we now have confirmation on at least one thing about the "Star Trek" sequel: Here there be Klingons, for sure.
Members of arguably the franchise's most popular alien race make fleeting appearances in the third and supposedly final "Distortion" viral video that features the villainous John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) offering a brief character study of a particular Enterprise crew member -- and an ominous foreshadowing of some life-altering decision they'll have to make in the film. This third video focuses on Uhura (Zoe Saldana), the "soul of the Enterprise" and the "force of compassion holding the entire crew together."
Harrison sees Uhura's love for Spock to be her weakness, a love that could complicate and perhaps sabotage her duty to the Enterprise's mission. We know that Uhura and Spock's relationship will be a key component of "Star Trek Into Darkness," and now we also know that Uhura's journey will put her in contact with the Klingons ... and, from what we can discern from the handful of frames, they're definitely in "enemy" mode.
The Klingons started taking center stage in all the "Star Trek Into Darkness" hype last week when a new clip featured Kirk out-manuevering what many fans had identified as a Klingon vessel. However, today's new "Distortion" video makes for our official first look at the actual Klingons as they exist in the "Star Trek" universe as lorded over by J.J. Abrams, and they appear to be even more war-like than usual with their grandiose bladed weapons and head ridges pierced with rings.
The Klingons are actually about four years late in making their debut in the Abrams "Trek"-verse. They were originally set to appear in the original 2009 film, which Abrams pointed out when talking with MTV about their newfangled re-introduction in "Star Trek Into Darkness."
"We shot some stuff that had some Klingons in it and we ended up cutting the scene ... it's a deleted scene on the DVD," said Abrams. "But they are back in this one ['Star Trek Into Darkness']."
And as the new "Star Trek" films revolve around the characters of the original television series, peace between the Federation and the Klingons is still a long ways off -- which means it's probably safe to say that Uhura might be in some trouble.
"Their role in [the 'Star Trek' sequel] is definitely that of adversary," said the ever-savvy Abrams, carefully choosing his words. "And you'll see how that plays out. But you don't have to know about any pre-existing stories to watch this film."
The Klingons have a long and intricate history in those "pre-existing stories." They were originally developed by screenwriter Gene L. Coon as darkly-colored humanoids that represented the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. With the considerable increase in budget for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), the Klingons were rebooted as hulking warriors with a strict honor code ... and rather distinct foreheads.
The Klingons also gained an entire original language, developed by Marc Okrand and based on babble-speak suggested by, of all people, actor James Doohan (who played Chief Engineer Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott). Parts of the Bible and the works of Shakespeare have been translated into Klingon, the latter of which was slyly meta-referenced in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991) when Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) says, "You haven't heard Shakespeare until you've heard it in the original Klingon."
So, there are mean Klingons in "Star Trek Into Darkness," and they look awesome. Now, once again back to the real question at hand: Do you think Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan?
Watch the trailer for 'Star Trek Into Darkness':