JJ Abrams Gives Star Trek Sequel Production/3D Update + Talks Cumberbatch Casting

The Star Trek sequel is very close to start of production. In a new interview director/producer JJ Abrams has given some more details on the production logistics and on the decision to covert the film to 3D. He also talked about the recent casting of Benedict Cumberbatch. See below for details.


Abrams gives production update, talks 3D and Cumberbatch

While promoting his upcoming Fox show Alcatraz at the TCA event this week, JJ Abrams took questions from Collider on his Star Trek sequel which starts shooting in the next week.

Firstly Abrams gave some details on the nuts and bolts of the production:

  • Shooting starts Thursday (actually 3 days earlier than TrekMovie’s previous reporting), and will last four months
  • Will shoot on film with anamorphic lenses, with 3D version using a conversion
  • Studio pushed for 3D version, 2D version will also be shown

Director JJ Abrams on location from his last movie "Super 8"
– now getting ready to shoot Star Trek sequel , again using film

Regarding the recently announced casting of Benedict Cumberbatch, Abrams would not confirm he was playing the villain, but did have this to say about the actor:

He’s a genius. Honestly, he’s just an incredible actor. If you’ve seen his work in Sherlock, he’s just got incredible skills. He’s an amazing stage actor. He did amazing work (on stage) in Frankenstein. He’s brilliant. You try to cast people who are great. We got lucky.

Abrams also appears to confirm previous reports that there will be no returning original series stars for the sequel.

It is worth reading the whole interview at Collider.com.

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2D converted to 3D is always crap!!!! That’s NOT the way to do 3D. Thanks for the info. I’ll now be sticking with 2D on this one.

I’m guessin is backround filming and location backround shots…no way the script is in all the actors hands


at flaming last!

Will also be sticking with 2D, since one of my eyes is so weak that 3D doesn’t work anyway. I’m hoping 2D doesn’t go the way of HDDVD and betamax. Unlikely, I know.

It’s nice that there’s not a COMPLETE cone of silence on this movie though. Although I do appreciate Abrams’ efforts to maintain secrecy around his movies. It makes for a more enjoyable experience once I do finally park my posterior on the cinema seat and let it all wash over me. Especially in a day where most of the plot is given away in trailers.

Don’t forget the lensflare!!

So glad he is not shooting in 3D. Completely agree with No. 1, but I prefer the top level version of the film being good old-fashion 2D, rather than the reverse.

I figure I will see the 3D version upon my third or fourth viewing in the theatres as another way to enjoy the movie (just like I did with the quote-unquote “IMAX” version of the 2009 film).

I have complete faith in JJ. Shooting in film will make this a better film. (And I have no issue with JJ’s lens flares either, and I hope they return. I do not understand the haters on that. They accomplish exactly what they are supposed to: they make each shot feel bigger and grander, like it keeps going outside the frame and all around you. Love it.)

Que le spectacle cOmmence!!!

I knew he wasn’t the villain. He’s just not villainous.

I think we’re getting the best compromise here. We didn’t want 3D and the film is not being shot that way. Previous articles suggested that 3D is still big overseas, so the 3D conversion can satisfy that demand.

What if Weller is the Villain?

no imax cameras ?!?!?!?!?! Coman guys !

Or maybe Nazneen Contractor is the villain?

JJ confirmend nothing – as allways – and kept his secrets. So, Cumberbatch could be the villain or not. If he is the villain, I hope Bob & Alex have taken a look on Grand Admiral Thrawn (as Star Wars fans they should do). That is a villain worthy of Spock and Kirk. Ok, it’s the wrong universe but a villain of that magnitute would be something great, in my opinion.

I hope there’ll be some spypics of the cast in costume again when they start shooting :D
Those were actually nice teasers back then for the first one.
Will there be as much secrecy, will they have to cover it all with black curtain outside? XD

Weller can’t be the villain in my mind. He is a fine actor, but doesn’t have the gravitas to pull off a great film villain.

It has to be Benedict.

Unless they pull another casting announcement in a few months,—having kept it secret,—and say Edgar Ramirez has been cast. Then we know who the real villain will be.

But I doubt that. I think Abrams is playing coy. It’s Benedict.

And if you’ve evr seen everything this actor has done, you’ll know that only Benedict can pull of a great screan villain, as opposed to Wellar.

No lens flare please! :)

Yeah, I’m kind of disappointed that they’re making the decision to convert to 3D rather than film in 3D before they’ve shot any footage whatsoever. If the studio actually cared rather than wanting to just cash in, they’d do it right.

Talking of Benedict Cumberbatch, the second ‘Sherlock’ episode was on BBC1 tonight ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’. BC was as usual, exceptional and by an amazing coincidence at one point watson actually compares him to SPOCK! What are the chances?

:D!! This makes me happy!! I’ll watch the 2D and the 3D! Note to JJ:Give me all the lens flares you can muster! Lens Flares+3D=me leaving this movie half blind;but it’ll be worth it!! :)

Hi Paramount (if youre reading)….

I will not spend a single dime on anything 3D. I urge you to get over this fad asap. If i cant walk around it – it aint 3D.


@ 21

Agreed. They should invest in IMAX instead of stupid 3d !!

Post Conversion 3-D = Star Trek: The Motion View-Master Picture. FAIL. EPIC FAIL!

Let the mayhem begin! Go! Go! Go!

Yay – Filmed in 2D, I have no interest in 3D
1 – It gives me a headache
2 – I can’t focus on the action when it gets fast
3 – Adds nothing to the plot – I’d ask will the the 3D version of Star Wars have a different ending but we’re talking about Georgie boy here so that could happen ;)
4 – Just an excuse to charge more to see the film
5 – I already wear glasses and to have to wear two pairs is just stupid.

Seriously filmakers save yourself the time and money and spend it on the set or costumes or pay for the crew to have a massage even.

So J.J. thought some ‘conversion’ tests of his 2009 reboot looked cool eh? A pity he hadn’t also done some actual ‘true-3D’ tests of his own for the sequel…as they might just have blown him away!

Oh, and I hope they at least ‘convert’ the REST of the 2009 reboot for 3D Blu-ray release one day too.

But it was an nice little moment when ‘Watson’ referred to Cumberbatch’s ‘Sherlock’ as SPOCK tonight during the second series tonight, here in the U.K.

I’m hoping for a more epic story this go around. Something perhaps bold that parallels our times. The good thing about the 3d is it really doesn’t matter so much for the space battles since they really aren’t filmed anymore(so to speak) they are created .. so they can really be more interchangeable I would imagine between 3d/Imax and standard hiD depending on the theater etc. NOT filming in 3d also seems to lend itself to the movie not needing a gimmick…hopefully. I really don’t think JJ would have directed (a second one) if he didn’t feel real good about it…again.. hopefully :)

Thursday… So excited, will be checking twitter for latest!!!

Even CGI needs to be rendered in 3-D, tho. I read that while Transformers was shot in 3-D, the cgi wasn’t fully rendered that way.

I’ll check out the 3-D once, but stick to 2-D for any repeat viewings 3-D conversions are a money grab. If you really want to do it in 3-D it should be filmed in 3-D. I think both brad bird and Christopher nolan going with IMAX for their films should be commended for to giving into pressure to do 3-D

Ah, 3D…

The “special sauce” of cinema.

While I definitely think that shooting in 3D is better, 3D conversions CAN be good too. My parents go a 3D TV for themselves for Christmas and we recently watched Captain America in 3D and that was in that one is probably one of the most impressive 3D films I’ve seen outside of Avatar and Tron – both of which were I believe shot in native 3D.

Still, for a film as high profile as Trek I would think that Abrams would want to shoot it in 3D. I know Peter Jackson is shooting The Hobbit in 3D but Jackson seems to be a much bigger proponent for the technology than Abrams is.

I’ll be sticking to 2D until REAL 3d comes out, not this scam Hollywood is trying to push on people.

#30 I thought I read that Nolan only filmed certain sequences in Imax format due to the expense? As was the case with MI-4 .. I may be mistaken.

I thought the Dive sequence in 2009 Trek was phenomenal looking at the IMAX, even though it wasn’t filmed in IMAX… However it was largely an effects shot … AKA green screen. I just wanna see a killer Trek movie :)

2D all the way for me. 3D was cool for Avatar but for other films bad conversions have done nothing for me.

I was okay with 3D when it was going to be shot in 3D. But… not if it’s going to be converted.

I don’t know if this has been posted on other threads, but people here will want to read this; a great deconstruction of why Wrath of Khan was a great movie and why all subsequent movies that have tried to duplicate the formula haven’t measured up.


Since Paramount has made up its mind to convert its franchise movie into 3D, we must encourage everyone involved in the production to do the best job they can, either when filming in anamorphic or later when it gets converted to 3D.

JJ Abrams – please – not too much that is visually night/dark like film shots. Also I doubt the inside of any starship is that glarey/lens flarey. Use lens flares more sparingly but where they are used, they are appropriate and have a splendid visual impact.

“What was it that made him *(BC) your villain?
ABRAMS: Who said he’s our villain?”

So filming proper is to start on Thursday, 11 January. Bob – I hope those Pinto puffles are where they need to be…:)

Wow. Shooting starts this Thursday? That’s my birthday! Now, there’s a good omen.

He won’t be the Romulan Commander from “Balance of Terror”. That’s Ben Cross’s job obviously! ;-)

I bet he’s going to be the subordinate Romulan. The one with powerful friends the Centurion warned about. Different universe now, so in an early scene he kills his Commander (played by Sarek actor, as an in-joke for the fans) and then takes the Empire to war with the Federation.

Probably over a Vulcan colony, or the same issues Romulans had before. They have an old score to settle with Earth and the same conflict from over a century ago. They’ll be a nice little reference to Admiral Archer having had a lot to do with that. Maybe even a Scott Bakula cameo in some old computer file Kirk is playing in the briefing room, which depicts the Earth-Romulan War at its height.


Thanks for that link, Thomas.

The author of the article was dead-on in his analysis of TWOK (and Trek ’09).

^^ He = Benedict Cumberbatch.

Well. At least in 3d we can see how the Lens flares are supposed to look. Lol. looking good so far.

Also not a 3D fan. Hoped he’d say ‘fewer’ lens flares, but JJ answers questions (or not) as if he’s running for office.

In the photo on the collider.com piece, Cumberbatch resembles Charlie X; but I think the new story will endeavor to be very relevant to the times in which we live–no Trelane, Charlie, Mudd, or Tribbles.

39. Keachick – Thursday will be the 12th. I should know! :))

RE: The character I think BC will be playing… in the Original Series, the same actor who did that, went to be Stonn in “Amok Time”.

Imagine BC in a TOS-era Romulan helmet and he’s a good fit.

So glad JJ is shooting in anamorphic again, it’s absoloutely the best film format and Trek movie tradition (bar VI). I’m sure the 3D conversion will be fine and good enough. The conversions for Thor and Captain America seemed acceptable to me.

May 17, 2013
The much anticipated Star Trek sequel due to be released today has been withheld out of concerns that too much of the plot would be revealed.

Agree with all – NO 3 D 4 ME, ever. IMAX all the way.

it really sounds to me like 3D will be an afterthought on this movie and that is both disappointing and worrisome. The vast majority of screens showing it will probably be 3D screens – the better for Paramount to wring every penny out of its filmgoers – and fans and critics will waste no time in harping on a bad conversion. And that could really hurt the franchise.

I’m a 3D fan, but only when it fits the material and the filmmakers take the time to do it right. Trek seems like a natural for 3D but Abrams’ comments really give me the impression that he’s going to shoot without any consideration for the medium and that could be disastrous. Even if the post-conversion is meticulously done, the composition of scenes could negate any sense of depth and thus render the 3D aspect meaningless.

If Abrams was so dead set against 3D he should have stood by his guns (as Nolan did with Batman) or stepped aside and let someone else direct the movie who knew how to work in the medium. Sounds to me like he wants to have his cake and eat it too and I just hope it doesn’t backfire.