Abrams Contrasts Nero With Harrison + Cumberbatch Talks ‘Great Discovery’ in Into Darkness | TrekMovie.com
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Abrams Contrasts Nero With Harrison + Cumberbatch Talks ‘Great Discovery’ in Into Darkness March 8, 2013

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Star Trek Into Darkness , trackback

In the summer movie preview from Total Film magazine, Star Trek Into Darkness director JJ Abrams contrasts Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain with Nero from his 2009 Star Trek film. And in the same mag, Cumberbatch talks about how there is something to "discover" about his character as well. Details below.  



Cumberbatch and Abrams Talk Into Darkness

Benedict Cumberbatch is quoted talking about Star Trek Into Darkness in the new Summer Preview edition of Total Film Magazine (via CBM). The actor talked about his training and his costumes, (perhaps treading into TMI territory)  and he says something intriguing about his character:…

"I did a lot of close combat training. He’s a kick-ass warrior, as masterful with his hands and body as he is with weapons…You will have a great discovery during this film, which I think is great…[My costumes] look great. Some of them were (no pun intended) cumbersome and heavy, but some were very snug; you can almost see what religion I am…"

That bit about "a great discovery" should fuel the notion that there is more to John Harrison than meets the eye.

Cumberbatch’s Star Trek Into Darkness villain featured in Total Film summer preview

One of the criticisms of the 2009 Star Trek film was that the motivations for the villain Nero didn’t seem fleshed out. Director JJ Abrams says that it is totally different this time around…  

"[Nero] was just a raging, vengeful lunatic. All he wanted to do was destroy Vulcan, Earth and the Federation…He had backstory but was kind of irrational. The beauty of Benedict’s [John Harrison] is that he’s completely rational. He’s someone that you can have conversations with. You couldn’t sit down and talk to Nero – he’d bite your head off!"

Abrams: Nero was "irrational" but you can have a nice chat with Harrison

You can get more in the latest issue of Total Film Magazine on sale now in the UK and online.




1. Jack Zymurgy - March 8, 2013

I think we’re in for a great antagonist. I’m excited.

2. I am not Herbert - March 8, 2013

“…[John Harrison] is that he’s completely rational.”

yeah, right! LOL!!

3. I am not Herbert - March 8, 2013

…well, it’s not TOO difficult to be better than Nero! LOL!!

4. Moputo Jones - March 8, 2013

A great discovery, indeed.

“From hell’s heart, I stab at thee…”

5. I am not Herbert - March 8, 2013

the WHOLE FRACKING MOVIE was “a little irrational”… LMFAO!!

6. I am not Herbert - March 8, 2013

I hope the “great discovery” is that this movie doesn’t suck as bad as the last one!

not holding my breath… ;-)

7. pilotfred - March 8, 2013

Nero,not fleshed out?well who fault was that jj?
the comics had time to do it!

8. Phil - March 8, 2013

Anyone posting odds on John Harrison living or dying at the end of the movie?

9. CJC - March 8, 2013

I wonder what the new Enterprise will look like. You guys KNOW it’s coming.

10. CJC - March 8, 2013

#8…I think Harrison lives.

11. CmdrR - March 8, 2013

Didn’t the very early blurbs from the studio dweebs say that Kirk had to go and get the one-man army, or however they phrased it? At some point, I think Kirk and Harrison have to work together, which does make for a more interesting dynamic.
I pray he’s not Khan and that Khan is not even alluded to in any of the JJ films.
It’s been done. Please, leave it be.

12. CJC - March 8, 2013

#8…or at least a piece of him will live on…

13. Trek Lover - March 8, 2013

Will there be a Darth Vader in the background?

14. CJC - March 8, 2013

Any thoughts of the Romulan Empire being in the next installment?

15. marty - March 8, 2013

klingon without the ridges. bet you a bar of gold latinum.

16. Moputo Jones - March 8, 2013

#9…From the latest SPOILERS, the new Enterprise is probably the old Enterprise – Capt. April’s Enterprise.

17. Josh C. - March 8, 2013

obviously khan


@CJC 14 – I know this is probably a lost hope, but I hope the 3rd one has the Borg

18. David - March 8, 2013

@ 9 : I too am looking forward to seeing whether they reveal a new Constitution Clas Enterprise at the end of this film.

If they do my bet is it will look like the 2009 Enterprise but with modifications that make it look a bit closer to the Enterprise from TMP.

19. David - March 8, 2013

17. Josh C

it won’t . They don’t even discover them until The Next Generation.

Even if it is a new timeline – it doesn’t affect how far away the Borg are.

If Starfleet is Alpha Quadrant and Voyager is Delta Quadrant then the Borg are probably in Theta Quadrant or something.

20. Nony - March 8, 2013

I actually liked the fact that Nero was just a regular guy who went nuts, even if the circumstances were cliched. His “Hi, Christopher, I’m Nero” was sort of refreshing when compared to mysterious bad guys with flourishing dramatic catchphrases and speeches. I wish there’d been, say, less ice monster chase or water tube chase, and more time spent on Nero’s character development.

21. Charlie - March 8, 2013

8: I’m hoping Harrison survives… not necessarily wanting to see him again (that’s TBD) or because I expect to feel he’s worthy of that, but because of all franchises, I think Star Trek is one that should least be locked into a routine of “villain emerges, crew fights villain, crew saves the day, villain dies in the end (whether by their own hand, the crew’s hand or some other “just” cause)”.

Of course, this is pretty much what happened in every Trek movie except ST: TMP and ST:IV TVH, but not so much in the TOS and its successors. Villains could be beat without dying in the end, and yet we were still mostly satisfied with the outcomes. However, the point may be made that with a bigger stakes and bigger villains on the big screen, the ultimate payoff must be bigger as well, but I’d like to think now and then we could escape that… even if they really deserve to die a slow and painful death.

(At least Kirk gave Nero the option… and Nero predictably spat it back in his face.)

22. Phil - March 8, 2013

No way in hell do I want to see the Borg in this universe…

23. NCC-73515 - March 8, 2013

David, the new first contact with the Borg was in ENT’s 2nd season ;)
The Borg are in the delta quadrant at that time, and there can only be four quadrants anyway :p …but if they already have transwarp tech they could certainly appear in the 23rd century. Imagining a JJA version of the Borg, I think I’d like it :D

24. YankeeWhite - March 8, 2013

16. Moputo Jones
Yeah, and I’m thinking it will have elements that reflect the look of the USS Kelvin.

Great discoveries and a rational villain give me hope that it won’t be all about runnin’ and gunnin’. And I hope the Prime Directive isn’t just used as a plot point to get Kirk in deepsh!t and then not addressed again. Lots of potential for greatness still.

25. Josh C. - March 8, 2013

@David 19 – as if that would stop them.

Per the Countdown comics for the first movie, Nero’s ship included some Borg technology. It’s conceivable that this could have somehow “contacted” the Borg during Kirk’s time, alerting them the Federation/Romulan/Klingon’s existence.

And the Borg are (mostly) in the Delta Quadrant

26. NCC-73515 - March 8, 2013

New spoilers from London screening: http://www.ign.com/videos/2013/03/08/star-trek-into-darkness-first-30-minutes

27. omegaman - March 8, 2013

Hi NCC-73515

Can’t get anyone at Paramount to fix the forums. Where are you guys hanging out these days?

28. AnthonyD - March 8, 2013

i think the entire point of Nero being such a simplistic and shallow villain was to show how star fleet had become so complacent and unprepared that it needed a wild risk taker like Kirk to defeat him.

So, in that sense, Nero simply served a literary purpose rather than being an important character. I am ok with that.

However, I have a suspicion that I would have preferred to wait a few years and have Joss Whedon (who cares more about character development) take over the Trek franchise and let JJ handle the Star Wars franchise. While I like both, Trek is cerebral, Star Wars is pure Western. Whedon does better with morality plays, JJ better with gimmicky shoot’em ups.

I hope JJ and his team proves me wrong in May!

29. Theatre Historian_Levi - March 8, 2013

Don’t forget the wreckage of the borg sphere from first contact, was discoverd in the Arctic in one of the episodes of Enterprise(which is still cannon in JJVerse, technically the events of first contact are also cannon in the JJVerse as well) So its concievable that another scientific expidition came across the borg reminants following those two events, so its possible the TOS crew at some point could have contact with the borg.

In fact had enterprise been renewed they were planning on having Alice Krige return as a scinetist who is assimilated at that wreckage, and would have introduced the Borg Queen

30. sean - March 8, 2013


You’re going to owe some latinum. We’ve already seen images of the new Klingons and they have ridges.

31. David Moon - March 8, 2013

Hopefully they won’t make him too complicated with a elaborate backstory, but play the character two-dimensional and predictable like Nero.

32. L4YERCAKE - March 8, 2013

#30 Yeah, I think the ridges got confirmed.

Also, I hope Harrison/Khan lives. I’ll bet his performance will be on par with Heath Ledger’s Joker, and we all selfishly would’ve wanted him to be around for as many movies as they could’ve convinced him to do. R.I.P

33. crazydaystrom - March 8, 2013

9. CJC –
“I wonder what the new Enterprise will look like. You guys KNOW it’s coming.”

Yep. Can’t wait.

18. David –
” I too am looking forward to seeing whether they reveal a new Constitution Clas Enterprise at the end of this film.”

As well David.

“If they do my bet is it will look like the 2009 Enterprise but with modifications that make it look a bit closer to the Enterprise from TMP.”

I’d like that but I’d be happy if they just modified the nacelles from curved to straight.

29. Theatre Historian_Levi –
“In fact had enterprise been renewed they were planning on having Alice Krige return as a scinetist who is assimilated at that wreckage, and would have introduced the Borg Queen”

Did not know this. Very cool. I still mourn the ‘Enterprise’ seasons that would have and should have been. Manny Coto was really making some great and interesting Trek at the end there.

34. NCC-73515 - March 8, 2013

Hey omegaman!
It seems they will leave it like they left us… marooned for all eternity…
I have had no further contact with any of our friends. Guess we’re all still hoping for a revival of the forum.

35. I am not Herbert - March 8, 2013

yes, ‘Enterprise’ ended too soon… =(

36. omegaman - March 8, 2013

Doubt we will see a NEW Enterprise. Sure the current one gets destroyed, but there’s plenty of old connies in mothballs and that’s where they’ll get their hands on the old Enterprise to go after Harrison.

37. Michael - March 8, 2013

Wow, Bill Putz is certainly out of control these days. Not that he’s ever been pleasant.

38. Jack - March 8, 2013

AnthonyD. Hmmm, interesting. So they need Kirk’s Mavericky Maverickidity?

Captain James T. Kirk: You’re a great one for logic. I’m a great one for rushing in where angels fear to tread. We are both extremists. Reality has brought us somewhere in-between.

BTW, to all: Have I mentioned yet, in the past 10 minutes, that I’m sad that I read those spoilers yesterday? I know, I know… I’m an adult, mostly. But I really wish that stuff like that press preview would be embargoed. I was looking forward into seeing this all unfold. Just goes to show that anything posted online (on a Brazilian Trek site) can be everywhere within minutes.

Last time, didn’t they have surprise sneak previews (attached to TWOK) and nobody squealed?

39. NuFan - March 8, 2013

Khan has to live for the animated series! We know Cumberbatch is willing to do voice work.

40. Spockchick - March 8, 2013

@39. NuFan. Oooh, imagine that, an animated series with Cumberbatch. Personally I would pour myself a large G&T, close my eyes, lie back and think of England. Mmmm… Erk! apologises for objectifying his dreamy voice :-)

41. sean - March 8, 2013


“In fact had enterprise been renewed they were planning on having Alice Krige return as a scinetist who is assimilated at that wreckage, and would have introduced the Borg Queen”

I have to say, I’m glad that did not happen. It would have made no sense. The Borg existed for thousands of years and then they assimilate a human and suddenly decide they need a queen?

42. The Last Vulcan - March 8, 2013


Absolutely astonished by the last 30 secs of the IGN spoilerama video. Kirk goes back to being Pike’s First Officer? That realigns canon, but then Pike doesn’t end up in the chair but DEAD. It’s his big funeral there in the trailer. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! This is proving my thesis that boborci & co are masters (and yes, I still don’t love JJTrek, but maybe STID might change my mind)

43. marty - March 8, 2013

30. 32.,

there still could be some klingons without ridges. the original series was full of them, this is taking place before TOS, so it’s logical.

44. CAPTAIN SCARLET - March 8, 2013

Hey guys, in the teaser during the attack in San Francisco, there is a close up of a chick in the crowd and i think it’s Rosario Dawson….Can anyone
confirm that? Because i know she’s a huge Trek fan and maybe JJ did her a favor by giving her a cameo or something.

45. Keachick - March 8, 2013

Do you guys in Brazil have to give everything away? I think JJ and co. were, perhaps, doing you guys a favour by letting you see scenes that had not been seen before by anyone. This is because STID does not get released until June 2013, a month after the movie is released in much of the english speaking world and much of Europe.

Has anyone heard of the notion of “my lips are sealed”?

Honestly, is it any wonder that Bad Robot have been so secretive. Go on ya, JJ, Bob and co.

46. The Last Vulcan - March 8, 2013

44. CAPTAIN SCARLET – Yup, I’m pretty sure it’s been confirmed it’s Rosario.

47. Giez - March 8, 2013

Who is so pissed at Starfleet that all of this takes place? He’s not mad at Earth… Starfleet.

Who was cast out so that he needs to RETURN to have his VENGENCE??

That’s the question…

48. Total-Trekkie2 - March 8, 2013

47. You’re right. That is the question that needs to be answered.

@ Everyone complaining about spoilers. Maybe you shouldn’t read them in you don’t want to know? Some of us enjoy all the info. It gives us more to speculate about. So far everything I’ve looked at had spoiler warnings. If you don’t want to know, don’t read it. It’s pretty simple.

49. Total-Trekkie2 - March 8, 2013


50. Kea's are not superior - March 8, 2013

Keachick enough with the self rightess posts.
If you dont want to read the spoilers don’t read them.
Its not like you weren’t warned enough before seeing them.

I am sooo sick of your better than thou attitude.

please stick to postive remarks.

who are you to be complaining about another country, enough allready.
we get it you think Nowhere is better than New Zealand.

51. Aix - March 8, 2013

“You can almost see what religion I am”

Now, this is what I call too much information! Hahaha.

52. B.Braga - March 8, 2013

#50 beat me to it.

53. makes me wonder - March 8, 2013

Hmmm… I wonder if #50 is MJ and if #52 is Ryan.

I wouldn’t be surprised. MJ is always on Keachick”s case and Ryan is always following shortly after is agreement.

54. knoweyedhermit - March 8, 2013

Nero was the exact reason I found the 2009 Trek so dissapointing. He just didn’t interest me at all or scare me the way a villain should. If they’ve fixed this (fairly critical) problem, then I don’t see why Into Darkness can’t be a good film.

55. Ralph Pinheiro - March 8, 2013

Post 45

You can not claim the brazilians because IGN is revealing everything too.

56. Punkspocker - March 8, 2013

Resistance to the Cumberlord is futile.

57. Ralph Pinheiro - March 8, 2013

post 45

You can´t complain of brazillians because IGN is reveling everything too.

58. Anthony Thompson - March 8, 2013


59. Marja - March 8, 2013

I don’t want to see the end of NUEnterprise. I really like the design, curved nacelles and all. A beautiful lady.

Yeah, God, please no Borg. They have been done to death.

It’s tough to resist reading spoilers. I’m a little sorry I read them too, and yet, what was revealed was at least not showing the conclusion of the story, so there remains room for speculation.

What I really dread though is that spoilers about the WHOLE FILM will be out on 9 May. At that point I will try a lot harder to resist temptation.

60. Atlantians - March 8, 2013

What would be really funny is if this isn’t Khan but they make a passing reference to Old Spock ‘discovering’ the Botany Bay and imprisoning all the passengers on Ceti Alpha V.


61. B.Braga - March 8, 2013

I am me and nobody likes posts whining about things like spoilers.

62. Jonboc - March 8, 2013

#35 “yes, ‘Enterprise’ ended too soon… =(. ”

Okaaay…any degree of validity concerning your critiques of Trek 2009 was just jettisoned with the ion pod! lol

63. Red Dead Ryan - March 8, 2013


Well, for someone who clearly ripped off TrekMadeMeWonder’s name, you are no position to accuse either me or MJ of sockpuppeteering.

64. CDR Arch - March 9, 2013

Please let it be Gary Mitchell! He is rational just with a bit of a God complex!

65. RBanks - March 9, 2013

It’s always interesting to read people’s comments here. Lots of passionate opinions-nothing wrong with that.

As for me, hell, I’m just happy that there’s another Trek film coming out while I’m still on the green side of the grass!

66. John from Cincinnati - March 9, 2013

Why did Cumberbatch dye his hair black for the role?

67. NCC-73515 - March 9, 2013

New teaser

68. Colinar - March 9, 2013


69. The Last Vulcan - March 9, 2013

Great new sequences. The squeezing in too tight a vertical space seems a bit of a homage to the Millennium Falcon. Maybe JJ was prescient about his future role in SW!

And still no confirmation of who the heck Harrison is. I have to hand it to JJ. He can keep secrets better than all the spooks in Langley VA.

70. Marja - March 9, 2013

#66 John f Cincinnati – IDK why either. His red hair is quite nice. Maybe it’s to make him look more like previous depictions of some character?

71. Marja - March 9, 2013

#67 NCC-73515 – Holy feck that was great!

But yeah, Last Vulcan, I agree, the ship’s even shaped like the Falcon – WTF …

WOW I like the interaction b/t Kirk and Pike, Kirk and McCoy and Kirk and Spock. Lotsa character development for Kirk I think. Food for thought. And we get to see Uhura in action YAY!

72. LJ - March 9, 2013

@67 Thank you for that – it was fantastic!

The little ship the crew are on when the squeezed through the gap reminded me somewhat of the Defiant – maybe a precursor to the ‘tough little ship’ from DS9?

Love the scene flying through the debris. Any idea who is with Kirk when he leaves the ship?

73. Flake - March 9, 2013

I can’t remember the Millenium Falcon bit people are bringing up? Someone tell me

Infact it reminds me of the Enterprise D maneuvering out of the Dysonsphere doors :P Star Wars be damned!

74. LJ - March 9, 2013

@73 Maybe Return of the Jedi – the attack on the Death Star. As I recall it was pretty tight for the Falcon in there.

75. Flake - March 9, 2013

Thats the only bit I can think of as well but I doubt there was any banter leading up to it and afterward like in this Star Trek scene because it was Lando and that weird midget alien thing in the falcon cockpit. So this new scene in Star Trek will be superior ;0

76. Marja - March 9, 2013

#73 Flake, yes, it does remind me of that too, but #74, LJ, I seem to remember something about the Falcon being trapped in what they thought was a large opening like a cave, but it turned out to be a giant creature whose mouth was closing and Han had to fly the ship through a tight gap …?

77. Red Dead Ryan - March 9, 2013

During the asteroid chase in “The Empire Strikes Back”, the Millenium Falcon had to turn on its side to be able to fly in the space between the sides of the rock.

78. LJ - March 9, 2013

76 & 77 I remember that also. Think the old Falcon was in a squeeze a few times. Damn that little ship they’re on has got me curious: what is it?

79. Red Dead Ryan - March 9, 2013


It’s called the “Century Eagle” :-)

80. Flake - March 9, 2013

I dont think its possible to make a movie like this nowadays without someone saying that a certain scene is a ‘ripoff’ of x/y/z

81. Flake - March 9, 2013

Oh and lest we forget the Enterprise almost scraping its way through the spacedock doors in The Search for Spock !

82. Flake - March 9, 2013

Independence Day when Will Smith just about makes it out of the mothership and when he steers his F18 through a canyon

Ok we could go on all night..

83. LJ - March 9, 2013

#79 That is funny…however, I have to tell the truth and admit that I’ve had a few beers tonight and it took me a few seconds…

OTH If I recall correctly the little fighter craft (that seemed to vary somewhat in size from episode to episode) in DS9 were Peregrin class, so you may be on to something…I don’t know, there may be a ‘Decade Hawk’ out there somewhere.

84. Flake - March 9, 2013

I think Kirk will purchase or steal the small craft we see after he goes AWOL from Starfleet.

85. Red Dead Ryan - March 9, 2013

Let’s not forget the car chase scene from “Diamonds Are Forever” where James Bond had to drive his car on only the left side wheels to get through a narrow alley.


Hope you enjoyed the beers….. :-)

86. Jenna - March 9, 2013

40. At least you have Neverwhere coming up to do that with! (Everyone knows about the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Gaiman’s Neverwhere, right? Starts Sat)

87. msn1701 - March 9, 2013

Once you guys accept that it is Khan, the easier it will be IMO. Especially in the US, since we’ll more than likely get spoiled online because the film is coming out a week earlier in the UK and other European countries.

Harrison is Khan. God wills it! Wait… wrong fandom :P

88. Adolescent Nightmare - March 9, 2013


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