In just a few days, Star Trek Beyond blasts its way into theaters everywhere, and to get Daily Dead readers primed for more adventures in space, we have highlights from the cast press conference held last week in Los Angeles.
During the panel, we heard from cast members Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, and John Cho about what fans can expect from their characters in Star Trek Beyond, honoring the legacy of both the original series as well as Leonard Nimoy, who was unable to be a part of this installment, mixing up the onscreen relationships and the loss of their co-star and Star Trek family member, Anton Yelchin.
Here are the highlights from the Star Trek Beyond cast press conference, and be sure to catch the film in theaters (screenings are even starting as early as Wednesday) this week!
Simon Pegg on creating a new Star Trek that honored the history of the franchise:
Yeah, that was very important to us—Doug, Justin, and I—going in. We wanted to create a hybrid of an episode of the original series with a spectacular cinematic event. These films, the Star Trek movies, have always been event films. With the TV series, you get time to spend with the characters—it's a longer game, but the film, you kind of have to hit it—it has to be very self-contained, it has to be memorable. That was the thing, was to try and make sure everybody that's been here for 50 years gets what they deserve in terms of a good Star Trek film. For the people who've never seen it before, who perhaps aren't as familiar with Star Trek, they don't know about Kirk fighting whatever you said, Scott. They're welcome to, as this is an inclusive universe in every way.
Karl Urban on what fans can expect from Bones in Star Trek Beyond:
Yeah, for me I feel like this is probably the most fun that I've ever had making a Star Trek film. What Simon and Doug were able to do was present probably the most defined, well-rounded version of the character to date. It certainly gave me a lot of material to work with. I had an amazing time working with Zach. I have a huge amount of respect for him and his approach. It was just great to have those two characters that are so diametrically opposed to each other, be forced into a situation where they had to depend on each other to survive, and through the process, come to a deepened understanding of who they both are.
It was obviously a great opportunity to explore a lot of comedy, but it also really deepened the relationship between the two, and by the end of it, they were able to go back to their respective corners with a bit of inside knowledge, and I think that it's, for a lot of fans, a rewarding direction.
Zachary Quinto on collaborating a lot with co-star Karl Urban:
Karl and I had a great time working together. In a movie franchise where we're used to spending so much time together, all of us, really, on the bridge of the Enterprise, in many of our adventures, it was actually really nice to have so many days where it was only Karl and me together, and we got to know each other and appreciate each other, already more than we already did, which was already a significant amount.
From a character standpoint, I really echo the idea that these two characters historically in this franchise come at things from entirely different perspectives and points of view, and there's nothing more fun for fans of the original show to see that dynamic unmitigated by Kirk, who usually manages to get between them. In the same way, Bones really saves Spock's life in this film. There's a deep appreciation for that, obviously. They end this film at a much better place as a duo, than I would say, they begin.
Chris Pine on the evolution of Captain Kirk for Star Trek Beyond:
Yeah, I always have the most fun in these films where I have a little more laughing, or talking, and then usually the ship blows up, and then we have to be serious. I talked a lot with Simon about how to nuance what particularly was Kirk's trip in this whole thing. Once we landed on the idea of him growing out of and moving out of underneath his father's shadow, that made a lot of sense to have some great fun and the other stuff and those key moments. Just these little itty-bitty things that make us get bold and have a good time, and hopefully people appreciate it. There are a lot of little nuanced beats with the references or whatnot in this movie that I think fans will love.
Zachary Quinto on honoring Leonard Nimoy’s legacy in Star Trek Beyond:
I think if Leonard [had been] well enough to be a part of this film, I'm sure he would have been. I know there were early conversations with him about that possibility, which through his incredible self, he knew himself well enough to know that that wouldn't be possible at a certain point. It became important to all of us to figure out a way to honor his legacy, and I thought Simon and Doug did a beautiful job of incorporating him into the narrative of the film. We all carried it with us through this production, for sure. It was definitely a different kind of feeling to make this movie without him, for me in particular. He was very much a part of it in spirit, and certainly in the film now, and it will be a part of anything we do onward for sure.
Simon Pegg on why he first resisted blowing up the USS Enterprise for Beyond:
I hated the idea. We had, like, rams [arguments] about it. I was shouting at Doug, "We can't do that! You can't destroy the Enterprise." My problem was that, if you think it's something new, then we see it before it happened in Search for Spock, [before] it happened in Generations. Justin was very, very determined, and as we spoke about it, I realized what he was doing, brilliantly, was he was not only taking out a main character, but he was removing the physical connective tissue between the crew, to see what happens when you take away the thing that physically bonds them together. If you take away that thing that necessitates their being a unit, do they dissipate, or do they come back together? That was the genius of that thing. You take it away very violently, and dramatically, and then you wait and see if they all come back together to be this frat, which is exactly what they are, and of course they do.
When I finally realized, I backed down immediately, and said, “Yeah, you're right.” I realized it was a brilliant idea.
Zoe Saldana on the relationship between Spock and Uhura and where her character is at in Star Trek Beyond:
She's tired. She's homesick, and I felt that that's the one thing I appreciated the most about what Simon and Doug did for this installment, is that they made us human and just homesick and sad. How being overly worked and being away from home and all the things that keep you grounded, can put a strain not just on the intimate relationships that you may have, but also the professional ones. I thought I would never see the day, I would walk into the Enterprise, and we're kind of not rolling our eyes at each other, but we're not that excited to see each other. I thought, "Okay, well this is a great place to start," because I can only imagine where we're going to end up. We literally end up in the opposite direction. We're dying to be close to each other, we're dying to save each other, and we get back together. I thought, “Okay, that's brilliant.”
That relationship with Spock and Uhura felt so normal and human to me, that it's the consequences that may occur when you decide to love your coworker in a lovey-dovey way. Sometimes the professionalism can get in the way of the spirituality, and I feel like that's what happened between both of them. I do have the feeling it was probably a hard decision to go, "Listen, you have a lot of stuff that's about to start brewing from your end, and I have to figure some stuff out."
John Cho on expanding the character of Sulu and revealing his sexual orientation:
The idea came up to address my family. I believe Simon pitched it, and then I was told a bit through Justin pretty early on, when he had set up at Paramount. We went in to have a chat and get reacquainted. I thought it was a beautiful idea. I had concerns about how it would be received by George [Takei], and I had some other concerns. It was really the handling of it that was most important to me, and having seen the film, I think its nonchalant posture toward it is the best thing about it, and the fact that it's normalized. It comes as kind of news now, but if you rewatch the movie in ten years, you won't think anything of it, it'll just go right by you. That's the best thing about it. There's no music cue, there's no close-up or anything. It’s just there.
Karl Urban on the loss of Anton Yelchin:
First of all, it's devastating to lose a family member, and we're at a point where we should be celebrating not only this film, but this beautiful man, this talented man. For all of us, it was incomprehensible to be at a point where we have to talk about him in the past. The pain of his loss is still very raw. We went and spent time with Anton's family, and we know that they will be very, very proud of his contribution to the film, and this film will forever be probably the most special experience for all of us. It represents the golden period where our family was together, fully together, for the last time, and it really was the best summer of our adult lives. We love him so much. We miss him terribly.
Chris Pine on how Anton influenced him as an actor:
He was a great guy, he was just totally fearless. I'm trying to grasp on something that's positive, but he was such a good guy. I think it's just being fearless creatively. He was always working on something. He had music projects, photography projects, he was going to direct his first film this summer. He was just spectacularly interested in life, in really a great way, so that’s what I remember most.
In case you missed it, check out our previous coverage of Star Trek Beyond: