'The character that Benedict plays has an absolute sense of right and wrong, and he's on the right side,' director tells MTV News.
By Kara Warner, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
Benedict Cumberbatch in the "Star Trek 2" trailer
Photo: Paramount Pictures
As much as we've been delighted by the early teases of "Star Trek Into Darkness," particularly the brand-new trailer that was unveiled last week and the first nine minutes that will air before "The Hobbit" at IMAX theaters, there is still the J.J. Abrams-preferred special brand of secrecy and mystery surrounding the highly anticipated sequel.
The biggest mystery of all, of course, is confirming the specific identity of the much-speculated-about villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
MTV News was lucky enough to catch up with the man of mystery himself recently, director J.J. Abrams, to ask him about Cumberbatch's character John Harrison and whether he has anything to do with another Harrison who was a character on the TV show in an episode called "Space Seed."
"Rather than answer anything that would give away the fun of the movie, I would say that the character that Benedict plays, he brings such an incredible power to it. His voice alone, I actually as a joke should have had him read the lunch menu," Abrams said, deftly dodging the question with a laugh. "He makes anything sound great and brings such a force to it that hopefully when you see the movie, this character, all speculation aside, will be really compelling, not because of any connection to anything past, but because of who he is and what he brings to it."
Fair enough, but will the mystery of Cumberbatch's character and finding out who he really is be part of the story line or is he a set person with a set agenda from the get-go?
"The whole thing, not just his backstory, but his agenda, his plan, his secret, all that is what, for me at least, makes him such a frightening and cool villain," Abrams said. "Also, the real villains — when they're not just two-dimensional, angry vengeful types — don't see themselves as the bad guy. They are the good guy and have complete rationale and motivation. So true to form, the character that Benedict plays has an absolute sense of right and wrong, and he's on the right side."
Now that we know from Abrams that Cumberbatch plays a good bad guy, what about the other seemingly fan-specific teases that seem to be in the trailers, like the "Wrath of Khan"-esque shot of the two hands on either side of a pane of glass — is Abrams trying to tell us something?
"This movie was not made for 'Star Trek' fans; it was made for movie fans. But if you're a 'Star Trek' fan, I think you'll be really happy," Abrams said, once again avoiding answering the question directly. "There's a lot of stuff in here for you, but we couldn't just make the movie only for fans of 'Star Trek.' The thing about the movie that I love also is that we didn't even make it for fans of the first movie we did. A lot of sequels I've seen tend to assume you love the characters and know them really well and get things off to a fast start where you don't have any sense of investing in the characters in the beginning, so we tried to treat this as a movie that works on its own. Certainly it's a sequel, certainly if you saw the first movie, great. You don't have to have seen the first film. This movie is its own thing, and there are definitely nods to prior 'Trek' lore in the film."
Check out everything we've got on "Star Trek Into Darkness."
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