(Photo: Paramount)The teaser trailer for the "Star Trek" sequel has arrived... and with it more questions. How long must you toy with us, J.J. Abrams?
Let's look at Benedict Cumberbatch first (see trailer below). There's a shot of the "Sherlock" star wearing a Federation uniform, which provides more fuel to the recent theory that he's indeed playing Gary Mitchell, the Federation member who gained ESP powers and went villainous in the original series episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before."
Then again, there's evidence that Cumberbatch is playing some sort of variation on Khan, too, what with his declaration of "For I have returned... to have... my... vengeance." Could the "Star Trek Into Darkness" villain be some sort of Khan/Gary Mitchell hybrid? A character we've never seen in the "Star Trek" universe before but who incorporates a few familiar elements from villains of yesteryear? It would seem like an Abrams flourish.
Speaking of Khan -- or, more specifically, "The Wrath of Khan" -- there is extra footage at the end of the Japanese teaser that features a certain iconic shot that Trekkies will find familiar. The image of the hands -- one with fingers split in the Vulcan salute -- touching on opposite sides of a plate of glass looks just like the end of "Wrath" where the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy) suffered a fatal blast of radiation to save the Enterprise (see clip below), in what was arguably the most iconic and dramatic scene of the entire film series.
Is the new Spock (Zachary Quinto) destined to make a similar sacrifice in this film? "Into Darkness" is the second installment in the rebooted series, and "The Wrath of Khan" was the second installment in the original film series. And who is reaching out to touch him? The green-tinted sleeve looks a lot like the dress uniform that Kirk (Chris Pine) is wearing in the previous shot. You've got to wonder just which side of the glass is Spock on, anyway?
Watch the extended Japanese announcement teaser for 'Star Trek Into Darkness':
The final shot of the American teaser is rather striking as well -- as far as we know, the Enterprise isn't designed for aqua-travel, so it looks like there's a water crash in store for the Federation ship. There are also a few glimpses of blonde British actress Alice Eve as a new Enterprise crew member, dressed in what looks like a science/medical officer uniform... could she be playing Nurse Christine Chapel, portrayed by Majel Barrett in TOS and two of the original feature films? A "Nurse Chapel" is referred to in the 2009 "Trek," so it's highly likely.
Watch the American 'Star Trek Into Darkness' teaser:
One final question: Does every movie now have to be "Inception"? Enough of the stunning sci-fi imagery set to extended horn blasts, already.
[Related: First set photos from the 'Star Trek' sequel]
Anyway, the new teaser is apparently an "announcement video" of sorts, with a longer trailer set to be released on December 17. Stay tuned to see if that sheds more light on this latest "Trek"... or just raises even more questions.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" hits theaters on May 17, 2013, with the first nine minutes of the film scheduled to screen with IMAX prints of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," opening December 14.
Watch Spock's death scene from 'The Wrath of Khan':