Burk: Anyone Can Jump In To ‘Into Darkness’ + Cumberbatch Talks Star Trek Anticipation

Star Trek Into Darkness producer Bryan Burk took his traveling international promotional tour to Australia over the weekend. Speaking at the event Burk talked about how the movie works for all audiences and he also contrasted the Star Trek and Star Wars universes (now that Bad Robot is involved with both). We also have some new comments from Benedict Cumberbatch.  


Burk: Anyone can ‘jump in’ to Into Darkness + Contrasts Star Trek & Wars

JJ Abrams Bad Robot production company partner Bryan Burk has been traveling the world showing off footage from Star Trek Into Darkness to press and industry insiders, trying to build up buzz for the film. His latest stop was Sydney, Australia over the weekend, where he talked about how this new Star Trek movie works with all audiences, saying (via Herald Sun)…

"I think with the first one we got a lot of people who had dipped in and out of the Star Trek universe over the last 40 years and got a lot of new people along the way but that allows us now to go a lot further and open it up to everyone else. People went to see the last film who weren’t expecting to like it and I feel for this film that if people have adamantly avoided Star Trek and thought it wasn’t for them, they will be pleasantly surprised. It was really important to make a film where if you hadn’t seen the last one, you could just jump in."

Burk also talked about how Bad Robot is jugging both the Star Trek and Star Wars film franchises, saying…

"It’s been very surreal. It’s very early in the process of Star Wars, but it feels like we are on the precipice of jumping into that world. The worlds couldn’t be more different. The only thing they have in common is the word ‘star’ and they take place in outer space. Star Trek doesn’t take place in a galaxy far, far away it’s not science fiction, it’s science fact, it’s 100 per cent our future. The guy who invented the cellphone said he was inspired by watching Star Trek."

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in "Star Trek Into Darkness"

Cumberbatch awaits final cut

And the Press Association has a quote from Into Darkness baddie Benedict Cumberbatch, talking about how he hasn’t seen the full movie yet…

"I’m really excited about seeing the film. I haven’t seen the whole film yet so I’m in the same situation as a lot of fans. Anticipation is where I’m at with that one."

Cumberbatch has been well trained by JJ Abrams to not reveal any spoilers, but he did offer this assessment of Into Darkness…

"It’s a rollicking summer film which has heart and soul, and a depth to detail that will keep you glued to your seat and caring about the thrills and spills on the IMAX 3D experience."

Cumberbatch (L) in "Star Trek Into Darkness" – Actor hasn’t seen the final cut but says it will keep you glued to your seat

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Apparently, we could get a huge spoiler in the next Countdown issue…

Burk is being a bit hyperbolic by saying Trek is ‘science fact’, but I appreciate what he’s saying. ST and SW are two very different animals, even if they happen to share a fanbase.

… and on several of the Australian commercial news sites today, the headline is (wait for it…):

“Star Trek Into Darkness exclusive preview shows alien threesome”

This issue has been done to death before, so I’m not trying to restart debate. But really – how many seconds out of the 40 minute preview did this scene supposedly occupy?

The actual article qualifies the threesome reference with an ‘apparently’, but by then the headline has done its job of drawing your attention – which was the whole point, I suppose.

Headlines are a wonderful thing..especially when something is missing…

Let’s eat out, Grandma!
Let’s eat out Grandma!

Punctuation prevents incest.

“Star Trek… it’s not science fiction.”

Uhh… that’s pretty much EXACTLY what it is! It’s in the Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure genre. Mr. Burk also seems to be implying that Star Wars, on the other hand, *is* science fiction. The truth of the matter is it’s actually more fantasy than anything. It’s all swords and sorcery and wizards and goblins. It’s Tolkien with spaceships.

There really isn’t all that much science to be found in Star Wars honestly — certainly not as much as in Star Trek. The advanced technology in Star Wars really isn’t much more than production design. There’s no real attempt at hewing to scientific accuracy.

this much is true…his name is Martin Cooper…the inventor of the cell phone

@6. Bro, did you actually read the rest of that paragraph. Burk’s isn’t saying Star Trek is fantasy (and he doesn’t really touch on SW after that), his saying that Star Trek has always been (or mean to be) a plausible look at our future as opposed to SW (pointing out how the Cell Phone was inspired by TOS).

So yeah. Context mate.

@4 I saw that and groaned.

It’s much like the headline ‘Police Taser naked man in cavity’ about a guy who got high an climbed into his neighbors roof cavity.

@ 8 Ada:

Respectfully, I never accused Mr. Burk of saying that “Star Trek is fantasy” because what he actually said was the opposite — that Star Trek wasn’t science fiction but rather, science fact… which is simply not true. It is, in fact, science fiction. The thing he said it wasn’t.

Star WARS is fantasy. In my opinion. :)

VERY interesting …

But where is Khan? lol

> 2. cpelc – March 18, 2013

Preview up!

“So yeah. Context mate.

Well, I read the entire paragraph, and while I appreciate the attempt by Burk to draw a distinction between space fantasy and traditional hard science fiction I have to agree with @ 6 that it’s pretty clumsy and overhyped. Much as I love Trek, at its best it’s well-done space opera with little attempt at the sort of deep extrapolation that’s characteristic of leading works of the genre, the literature in particular, irregardless that some of its hardware has ultimately been reflected by designs in the real world. The same could also be said of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers, and few would claim that makes them “science fact.”.

Not that I mean to bust up on Burk in particular. With the exception of Stanley Kubrick (and possibly Ridley Scott), few filmmakers who have dabbled in SF have had much in the way of interest to say about it, even as they produce works that will continue to delight general audiences and hardcore fans alike for generations. In the end that’s what counts, and I sincerely hope the same will prove true for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS.

All one needs to do is look at the posts here, where people express what they want out of the next movie – epic space battles, or something to tht effect, is usually at or toward the top of the list. Trek is as much space fantasy (or opera) as Star Wars is now. Not that both are not enjoyable, but at their core they really are not that different now…

#5. Thanks Phil! I cant stop laughing! Awesome

@ 12 Michael Hall:

Agreed. And I too apologize if my criticism of Mr. Burk came across as overly pedantic and harsh. I simply think he didn’t perhaps use the right terminology to get his point across. He may have not literally meant that Star Trek wasn’t science fiction. But I do think he was a bit too overzealous (or hyperbolic as sean said) in his appraisal of Star Trek as 100% our future and science fact.

There is an unfortunate tendency to give Star Trek too much credit as being prophetic technologically, especially by those who work on Star Trek. They aggrandize it. It may have inspired people to make cool technology… but in reality, the writers were mostly trying to solve story problems and make their deadline and get paid! :)

I wonder where BC is standing with that phaser in the picture above…

Care to tell us @boborci ??

Are there other sites that has the preview in large images not the tiny one on Startrek.com ?

Trek needs to be more like SW. I think the general movie going audience thought Trek was too science, physiology technobabble and boring and not enough action. Trek changed that with ST: IV by kind of making it a comedy and audiences loved that movie.

Sorry their should be a comma after physiology.

@17. Ahmed
I temporarily changed my browser to 200% zoom and then could read it easily.

@20. ObsessiveStarTrekFan, thanks for the tip.
I tried it but the image get fuzzy when I increased the zoom. ah well, I will wait for one of the sites to upload the preview in higher resolution

“Trek is as much space fantasy (or opera) as Star Wars is now. Not that both are not enjoyable, but at their core they really are not that different now…”

Maybe so, though I think that also overstates it some. But when I think of the seriousness of purpose that so distinguished TOS from its competitors, and the sometimes genuinely innovative stories and concepts that resulted (particularly in the first season), no one will ever convince me that the franchise or its audience are better off for the way things ultimately turned out.

And what of all the fans that you’ve alienated from Star Trek Mr. Burk? Please don’t kid yourselves sir that you’ve done some great service to the Star Trek fan base. Most of the so called “fans” that started watching the stuff before the 2009 film either would have sooner or later anyway or already had and had just taken break from it. Any good Star Trek film or show after the break between Enterprise and the 2009 film would have done the same. The bulk of the fans for JJ-Trek don’t care about anything that came before, they just like the dumb summer action movies with the hot actors.

Further, look how it already starts with the further talk and comparisons of Star Trek to Star Wars. JJ does not care about Star Trek and never has! What a pompous jerk how he calls Star Wars superior to Star Trek! And THIS is the guy the “fans” are happy with running all things Trek? At least Rick Berman liked Star Trek….in fact, he loved it!

#23 “The bulk of the fans for JJ-Trek don’t care about anything that came before, they just like the dumb summer action movies with the hot actors.”

Baloney. Star Trek, as in TOS, came way before, and it’s my favorite televisions series. The Next Generation and it’s spin-offs came before as well, but are so radically different from Star Trek that they are among my least favorite series. JJ just returned to the formula that made me a fan to begin with and steered clear of the formula that sank the franchise. I couldn’t be more delighted.

As far as Star Wars goes, it’s apples and oranges. Fortunately, I like apples AND oranges.


What exactly is the TOS “formula” Abrams brought back? I watched several of my favorite second season episodes awhile back, and the resemblance between new and old seems awfully superficial to me. Then again, there’s only one movie to make the comparison, but what I’ve seen of Into Darkness so far makes it look more of the same and formulaic. The Abrams popcorn formula, that is.

Despite the fact that “Star Trek” is owned by CBS and that “Star Wars” is own by Disney, both companies’ respective television production arms–CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios–co-produce the hit CBS crime drama “Criminal Minds” and its short-lived spin-off “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.”

I love TOS, don’t mind TNG, like DS9, could take or leave most of VOY & ENT. I also like/love the movies 1,2,3,4,6,8 and STAR TREK(2009). I’ve been a trekkie since 1966, and in no way feel alienated by what Abrahms and company have done with Star Trek. We are all different, and it is possible for some of us to like both the original and the reboot. The movies will never have the depth of the series, but that is because they are movies. There is not enough time in a movie to do things you can with a TV series.

Instead of bemoaning the ‘fact’ that these movies aren’t true Star Trek, and that the movies are being promoted as being for people who don’t like Star Trek; how about we consider the possibility that a larger fan base (if STID in fact generates one) may lead to the development of a new series.

#25 “What exactly is the TOS “formula” Abrams brought back? ”

Fun futuristic action/adventure, laced with a healthy dose of humor, human conflict, heartfelt drama and a touch of romance. A subtle analogy is ok, but subtle is the key word there. And it’s not required. Contrary to popular belief, the original trek did not hit us over the head with these analogies week after week. Obviously, you’re not going to get the same impression in a 2 hour summer blockbuster that you may in 79 hours with of episodic television, but as far as I’m concerned, the sense of fun was absolutely recognizable.

Cumberbatch is a superb actor.

Let’s just hope the script gave him something good to work with!


Okay, I agree with you for the most part. Anyway, it’s probably best to compare these new movies with the TOS film series. And I’d argue there were messages in each of those, some more subtle than others. Not so much in Trek ’09, I felt.

Into Darkness? Who knows? I’m hopeful there will be more TOS spirit in there… somewhere.

@6: Actually, Star Wars IS Science Fiction. Starships flying around in space, interstellar battles, aliens.. that is Science Fiction. Also: the metaphysical stuff like the lightsabers, The Force, etc. is also science fiction. Without going too Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory here, the sciences behind those lie in quantum physics and subatomic sciences. Like the kinds of stuff Kes was tinkering with with her abilities in the first 3 seasons of Voyager. If you were to classify Star Wars as Fantasy then DS9 is fantasy due to the Prophets/Pah-Wraiths story arcs.

“Obviously, you’re not going to get the same impression in a 2 hour summer blockbuster that you may in 79 hours with of episodic television, but as far as I’m concerned, the sense of fun was absolutely recognizable.”

Yes, I’ll agree with you there–that sense of swashbuckling fun, too long absent from the franchise, was indeed there in Trek 2009, and recognizable. Unfortunately, for this fan, it was the only thing that was recognizable.

I’m sure i’ll be glued to my seat too, Cumby. Its most likely the only way they’ll keep me in the cinema. :-p

“People went to see the last film who weren’t expecting to like it and I feel for this film that if people have adamantly avoided Star Trek and thought it wasn’t for them, they will be pleasantly surprised. It was really important to make a film where if you hadn’t seen the last one, you could just jump in.”

I like when you talk like that.
You must deliver, now.


…”See” you in a few weeks, for an original story.
You know…something unique, and, different….

I trust JJ to give us a heartfelt movie despite the pure action sequences the latest trailer is selling us. That’s what he is good at. He may not be the most pioneering director but he can make the audience care about the characters in his film.

So, based on that comic preview, and based on the “family” sentence in the trailer, is someone saying that Cumberbatch is….Harry Mudd????

So the blonde woman is what? His daughter?


Hope I’m wrong. I’m sure I am.

This is a great article! Of COURSE we want more noobs to come see the movie and realize how amazing this fandom is.

I so can’t wait for this movie!!! Wheeeee

Star Trek is science fiction.
Star Wars is fantasy.

Star Wars IS fantasy!

…but so is JJ-verse. =(

John Harrisson is Robert April. The hints are there

Although I prefer prime universe Trek over the Abrams style, I will still be there on opening night.

I expect a good big budget blockbuster, I will be even happier if we get a Trek movie

Burk’s quote and the corresponding discussion regarding science fiction versus science fact reminds me again of those letters between science fiction giant (as well as science fact giant, he possessed a PhD in biochemistry) Isaac Asminov and Gene Roddenberry, where Asminov wrote an article complaining about the scientific inaccuracies in Star Trek, and Roddenberry responded with a rather indignant letter. ;)

Wonder what Asminov and Roddenberry would think of this thread?

(The cool thing about these letters is while they started out as mildly antagonistic, as the letters continued, Asminov and Roddenberry became friends and Asminov a consultant for Star Trek).

Excerpt from Roddenberry’s first letter:

Wanted to comment on your TV Guide article, “What Are A Few Galaxies Among Friends?”

Enjoyed it as I enjoy all your writing. And it will serve as a handy reference to those of our Star Trek writers who do not have a SF background. Although, to be perfectly honest, those with SF background and experience tend to make the same mistakes. I’ve found that the best SF writing is no guarantee of science accuracy.

A person should get his facts straight when writing anything. So, as much as I enjoyed your article, I am haunted by this need to write you with the suggestion that some of your facts were not straight. And, just as a writer writing about science should know what a galaxy is, a writer writing about television has an obligation to acquaint himself with pertinent aspects of that field. In all friendliness, and with sincere thanks for the hundreds of wonderful hours of reading you have given me, it does seem to me that your article overlooked entirely the practical, factual and scientific problems involved in getting a television show on the air and keeping it there. Television deserved much criticism, not just SF alone but all of it, but that criticism should be aimed, not shot-gunned. For example, Star Trek almost did not get on the air because it refused to do a juvenile science fiction, because it refused to put a “Lassie” aboard the space ship, and because it insisted on hiring Dick Matheson, Harlan Ellison, A.E. Van Vogt, Phil Farmer, and so on. (Not all of these came through since TV scripting is a highly difficult specialty, but many of them did.)

In the specific comment you made about Star Trek, the mysterious cloud being “one-half light-year outside the Galaxy,” I agree certainly that this was stated badly, but on the other hand, it got past a Rand Corporation physicist who is hired by us to review all of our stories and scripts, and further, got past Kellum deForest Research who is also hired to do the same job.

And, needless to say, it got past me.

… and the link to the entirety of this letter as well as several others by both Roddenberry and Asminov that followed it, to anyone interested:


For those unfamiliar with these, it’s great stuff. :)

*It’s late, and I’m suffering insomnia and have had maybe a combined total of eight hours of sleep in three days. It’s ‘Asimov’ (Asminov is the surname of someone I know) *sigh* Am going to have to break down and try NyQuil tonight.

Transporters, warp drive, force fields and mind-reading aliens with eternal souls aren’t quite science fact at this point… and late 20th-century Trek used theoretical particles like tachyons as a magic device to do whatever the plot requires…

Still, the power of possibility is what has always driven Trek for me.

Star Trek future is FACT!!!!

… I knew it!!!

On second thought, after checking my Trek rss feed this morning, perhaps Burk is not too far off the mark afterall…


Trekkiegal63: Thanks for the links! =)

LL&P <3

#48 I am not Herbert:

No problem! :)

Gah! Bryan Burk says sumin. I dunt no wat. I dunt reed so goods. sentences too long. he says sumin bout that Star Wars shit tho and he wants Star Trek to b cool not lame. i thnks ill be mad now.