Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer just got candid about the way Star Trek Into Darkness paid homage to his film.
Star Trek Into Darkness was released in 2013. It is the second film to take place in the Kelvin Timeline as part of Paramount Pictures’ rebooted Star Trek movie franchise. Director JJ Abrams kept details about the film under wraps leading up to its release, including the true identity of the character played Benedict Cumberbatch. Billed as John Harrison, Cumberbatch was eventually revealed to be playing the Kelvin timeline’s version of Khan Noonien Singh.
The film featured several references to The Wrath of Khan, including Zachary Quinto’s Spock reenacting the famous “KHAN” scream delivered by William Shatner’s James Kirk in Star Trek II. Spock delivers the scream after the death of Chris Pine’s Kelvin timeline Kirk in an inversion of the sacrifice of Leonard Nimoy’s original Spock in The Wrath of Khan.
Speaking to Midnight’s Edge, Meyer revealed that he is of two minds about Star Trek Into Darkness, on one hand, flattered by the attempt to pay tribute his work and on the other a bit disappointed by the execution.
“It is, on the one hand, nice to be so successful or beloved or however you want to describe it that somebody wants to do an homage to what you did and I was flattered and touched,” Meyer says. “But in my sort of artistic worldview, if you’re going to do an homage you have to add something. You have to put another layer on it, and they didn’t. Just by putting the same words in different characters’ mouths didn’t add up to anything, and if you have someone dying in one scene and sort of being resurrected immediately after there’s no real drama going on. It just becomes a gimmick or gimmicky, and that’s what I found it to be ultimately. This is just one person’s opinion, mine...but I found it more clever than satisfying."
Star Trek Into Darkness ended up being the last film in the series directed by JJ Abrams he moved on to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He remained a producer on the next Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond, which featured an entirely original story written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. Pegg has said that the script was written in response to the fan backlash to Star Trek Into Darkness, which was similar to Meyer’s own critique.
Meyer had a chance to return to the character of Khan in writing Ceti Alpha V, a new Star Trek mini-series. CBS' current plans for the series remain unclear.
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