If the marketing materials (and the title) are any indication, Star Trek Into Darkness is going to be a significantly bleaker ride than 2009's Star Trek. But how dark will it really be? First J.J. Abrams hinted at a happy ending, and now co-writer Damon Lindelof is weighing in.
In a lengthy interview with Collider covering everything from redshirt deaths to life in the 23rd century, Lindelof discussed the tone of the next installment of the Trek franchise he's crafted with Abrams and co-writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Though the trailers and the images are hinting at a very dark conflict that some members of the Enterprise crew might not survive, Lindelof notes that if the flick were all misery and no laughs, it wouldn't really be Star Trek.
"We've been talking about this a lot and I think that certainly the marketing materials and the title of the movie are selling this idea of a darker Trek, but hopefully especially for the people who have seen the first nine minutes- a totally dark Trek is not Trek," he said. "And I think that one of the things that the best iterations of Trek, whether it was episodes show or the movies that were highly successful, is that they were able to find a blend of those two things where the stakes were monumentally life or death but there were still moments of great humor."
But how much of that "great humor" will Into Darkness include? According to Lindelof, while comedy will be there, it certainly won't be as funny as one particular Trek flick.
"Did we want to do The Voyage Home? That is largely a comedic, fish out of water movie. No pun intended, a whale out of water movie. With strong comedy elements, but the stakes were saving the future, but the mechanics of the movies was that there was a lot of funny. No, we wanted to do a very serious movie. But when you look at the first movie you go, O.K. the opening of the movie is that Kirk's father dies and then the next sequence of events is basically a run up to Vulcan being destroyed and the fundamental aftermath of Vulcan being destroyed. All of that stuff seems pretty dark to me and so I don't feel like the first movie was necessarily light and frothy and I don't feel that this movie abberates significantly from the first movie in terms of its own level of self-importance. It's still Trek."
OK, so it's all about the balance between humor and drama, but how do you find that balance when Benedict Cumberbatch is running around beating everyone up? According to Lindelof, it's all about character.
"I think that the ways that the characters relate to each other, even in times of immense stress can be humorous because several of them, particularly Bones, use humor as a coping mechanism for dealing with those immense stresses. There were multiple times where we thought of something funny for someone to say and we were like that's just not going to play in this moment. And then the actor would say let me try it and see if I can sell it. And we're in the editing process now, so some of those jokes will live and some of them will die and some of them will be available on the Blu-ray and DVD. Finding the balance has been important for us. I don't think anybody wants to see a dour Star Trek movie."
So, when you head Into Darkness next year, expect at least a few laughs along with your space angst.