AS YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD from various news outlets and nerds across the Internet, J. J. Abrams will be directing the first of a whole slew of new Star Wars movies. The move was a surprise to everyone except those who thought Abrams’ Star Trek was a better Star Wars film than all three of the prequels put together.
One major plus going for it: It had none of this.
Yes, Star Trek shared so many similarities with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope that it wouldn’t surprise us one bit if this was the main reason Abrams was chosen to direct Star Wars VII. Does this mean we should expect Star Trek Into Darkness to be as awesome as The Empire Strikes Back? It’s tough to say since Abrams already used that whole ice planet thing in the previous movie.
Oh, don’t look so surprised.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of other Empire hallmarks that Abrams could and probably already borrowed for Star Trek Into Darkness. Among them…
5. The film is already a whole lot darker
Pretty much everyone saw this coming, and not just because of J. J. Abrams’ overuse of lens flare in Star Trek.
However, it probably surprised some people that the next Star Trek would be so dark that Abrams flat out titled it Into Darkness. That is… unless you consider how The Empire Strikes Back was a pretty straightforward title. Ditto for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which came out two years after Empire more or less rewrote the book on how sequels are made.
Rule #1: More acting lessons!
In short, Abrams didn’t have a choice: This film had to be really, really dark because it’s the only way the audience will be interested enough to stick around for another sequel.
Unless, of course, Uhura spends the first half-hour of Star Trek 3 in this.
4. Home will not be safe
This one should not be too surprising based on what we’ve already seen in the trailers. Hell, in some cases, the writing is on the wall.
Translation: “Earth gets fucked.”
So, Earth takes one for the team in Star Trek into Darkness. What does this have to do with Empire? Quite a lot, actually. For starters, Luke Skywalker could not have been any more out of his element than when he was on Hoth. The dude grew up on a desert. So, how does he fare against an ice planet? In short, not well.
Also, since the Rebels are forced to flee Echo Base after it is epically smashed by AT-ATs, our heroes didn’t really have any safe spots where they could relax and catch their breath. Be it a swamp, an asteroid, or a floating casino, danger was lurking around every corner. And why? Because it makes for good storytelling. It keeps our heroes on the run in unfriendly territory with danger lurking around every corner, be it in a swamp, an asteroid field, or onboard a floating casino.
In short, Earth is fucked. As are our heroes.
RT if you can totally picture Spock saying “approximately 3720 to 1” in this scene.
3. A persuasive villain steals the show
We knew this was happening the moment they cast Sherlock as… whoever he’s supposed to be in this movie.
However, the truth is Star Trek Into Darkness required a charismatic villain because Eric Bana’s Nero was about as one-dimensional as villains get in science-fiction. If they tried the same things twice, it would have been a major strike against the sequel. Don’t believe us? Imagine how The Empire Strikes Back would have fared if Vader spent the entire movie standing behind some bad guy in a uniform.
The Empire strikes back… while Vader watches.
Star Trek Into Darkness has shown us every sign of following the same path. As such, the big question is not “if” but how Benedict Cumberbatch will own every inch of this movie…
Especially while wearing a rain poncho.
So, who is he playing? What is his secret? How interesting of you to ask…
2. There will be a major twist
J. J. Abrams is too big a Star Wars nerd to pass this up. There will be a major twist in Star Trek Into Darkness. There has to be.
“I am your father.”
So, how will it happen? What will the big twist be? We imagine a quick trip to Google will provide you with whatever spoilers you’re looking for. That is, unless Star Trek Into Darkness is plagued with the same predicament that forced Han Solo to get frozen in carbonite. Specifically…
A gambling debt?
1. Nobody knows what to expect from the sequel
Han Solo’s carbonite vacation may be one of the most iconic moments in motion picture history, but the truth is the main reason he was put on ice was because nobody knew if Harrison Ford would be sticking around for Return of the Jedi. As a result, not only could The Empire Strikes Back have become a completely different movie retroactively—say, through Han dying in hibernation in Jedi—but this may explain the rather odd choice of costume Lando wore at the end of Empire.
What if he’s not really wearing Han’s clothes, but clothes Han found on the Falcon after he won it from Lando???
As such, if J. J. Abrams ends Star Trek Into Darkness with a cliffhanger, odds are he will not be the person to iron out the details in Star Trek 3. Abrams is not expected to direct the next Star Trek, which could completely transform Star Trek Into Darkness in retrospect. Don’t believe us? Imagine how different X-Men: The Last Stand would have been if Bryan Singer did not quit to direct Superman Returns. Or how much more satisfying the ending of Aliens would be if we didn’t know how many survivors were going to die in the first few minutes of Alien 3. Or how disappointing the Joker’s last words to Batman are in The Dark Knight due to Heath Ledger’s death demolishing whatever Christopher Nolan originally had in store for the character.
Or how much better the world would be if this movie never existed.
In short, no matter how good Star Trek Into Darkness turns out to be, all we need is someone to reveal in Star Trek 3 that Spock and Uhura are siblings for us to never look at the first two films the same again.
Hey, it has happened.
Follow Jacopo della Quercia on Twitter!