And Now Star Trek 2 Will Beam Aboard The Good Ship IMAX, Plus Benedict Cumberbatch Revealed! (Sorta!)
Yesterday we learned that the next James Bond film, Skyfall, will land in IMAX theaters upon its release this fall. At the time, I made mention of how the IMAX format hasn't really been utilized in the fight over your hard-earned entertainment dollars by movie studios in the same way they've abused the third dimension. Well, it's possible a tectonic shift has already taken place under the Hollywood sign, because it has now been confirmed that another mega-blockbuster sequel coming out this year will shoot some scenes in the IMAX-approved 70mm. This time it's Star Trek 2, which won't be digitally converting its images in post -- except, of course, to also make them 3D.
Neither the sequel's director J.J. Abrams nor its studio Paramount have issued a statement making this announcement, rather some intrepid photographer snagged a few images from the film's heavily green-screened set. One of those photos just happens to have tell-tale proof that Abrams' personal affinity for the format has transferred over to actually shooting some of Star Trek 2 with it. While the film stock is more expensive, Paramount isn't likely to lose any money by showing the movie in both 2D and 3D, with the IMAX theaters being the two dimensional bonus feature -- if you're willing to pay for it. That's basically how The Dark Knight worked, and how The Dark Knight Rises will work this summer, minus the 3D, so if that's what Abrams wants, there's no reason not to do it.
Naturally, that isn't what's giving the movie's cast and crew such a headache, most especially Abrams. After all, the IMAX scenes would have been announced well before the film's release next year, but there's been a clear and present attempt to safeguard Benedict Cumberbatch's role as Star Trek 2's big bad. I'm not really sure why, because like the dubious casting of Marion Cotillard as "Miranda Tata" in Rises, keeping it secret, keeping it safe will only make the Internet more desperate for some kind of answer. And a desperate Internet is not going to be good for anyone.
Anyway, here's the space proof in the space pudding that's got everyone space hot-and-bothered. You'll focus your attention on the letters "MAX" on the camera mag, obviously an obscured look of the name "IMAX" (you'll also note, or be unable to avoid, the obscured personhood of Benedict Cumberbatch, in order to avoid any undue SPOILERing):
If you're interested, here are a few more pictures from the Star Trek 2 set. They may or may not constitute SPOILERS, but considering there's no context here besides Benedict Cumberbatch Is The Bad Guy -- and we already knew that -- I'm not sure you're actually missing much.
Okay, for the rest of you, here's Zachary Quinto's Spock delivering his signature Vulcan neck pinch to Benedict Cumberbatch's unknown villain. You'll note that it's impossible not to type the actor's name every chance I get, as well as the roundness of his ears, the lack of turtle shell on his forehead, and his otherwise very human appearance. This pretty much rules out any known alien culture from the original "Star Trek" TV series, or any subsequent iteration:
That doesn't, however, preclude Khan Noonian Singh (originally portrayed by the iconic Ricardo Montalban) as the movie's main villain, in a possible sequential homage to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. You will also note his peculiar ability to withstand said Vulcan neck pinch, perhaps due to super human strength caused by genetic engineering?
Finally, here's Zoe Saldana as Lt. Uhura (who's first name I never actually did catch in Star Trek), apparently having a bit more luck with Benedict Cumberbatch than did her boytoy, Mr. Spock:
If you want to see a few more shots from this scene, and symbolically give the finger to the pre-Internet age of entertainment journalism, Trek Movie has a few more. Otherwise, feel free to unnecessarily speculate in the comments.
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you're into that sort of thing). He's pretty sure that Star Trek 3 will just be Zachary Quinto showing up at your house and giving you the Vulcan neck pinch.