Star Trek Into Darkness Post-Production Completed Today – Film Now ‘Locked’

Today marks another big milestone for Star Trek Into Darkness. 11 months, 1 week and 2 days after wrapping principal photography, director JJ Abrams has finished the new Trek feature. See below for more details on the wrapping up of the movie along with looks back at the road to get here and the road ahead.     


Star Trek Into Done-ness

TrekMovie has confirmed that today (Wednesday April 17) producer/director J.J. Abrams "locked" Star Trek Into Darkness – his second Trek feature and fourth film as a director. Abrams actually hinted he was close on Monday with a tweet via the @bad_robot account.

Abrams hinted he was close on Monday

According to sources the final work on the film was dropping in all the sound effects and the sound mix. Once again some of the sounds designed for the movie were done by Oscar-winner Benn Burtt. ILM finished most of their visual effects work around two weeks ago but have been doing some "stereo fixes" for the 3D version of the film over the last week. Composer Michael Giacchino finished recording the score for the film earlier this month and dropping his "over 100 minutes" of music into the movie has also been one of the last things done for post-production.

Giacchino tweeted photo of final "piano addition" from April 5th just 12 days before the movie was finalized

One thing that wasn’t done during these last weeks of post-productions were any test screenings. While Abrams has been showing sequences to press and industry people, and there were some changes made to the opening of the movie after the IMAX previews in December, the team chose not to do actual test screenings which are often used to make final tweaks to films.

Next up: Global Promo Blitz

The next step for the movie is to get its official MPAA rating, which is expected to be PG-13 (like the 2009 Star Trek film). And course for prints of the film to be made and distributed.

The first public showing of Star Trek Into Darkness will be in Sydney Australia with a gala premiere on April 23rd. This will be followed by star-studded international premieres (and/or press conferences) in Moscow, Paris, Berlin, London, and Mexico City. The film opens to the general public first in some international markets (including Australia, UK, Germany and Mexico) on May 9th and 10th. The Hollywood gala premiere is on May 14th followed by US and Canada ‘fan sneaks’ on May 15th, with the main domestic release on May 17th.

And of course during that entire time there will be a flurry of activity from around the world. Expect Abrams and the Star Trek stars to be doing lots and lots interviews and television appearances. And of course Paramount is planning more marketing of the movie, with more TV commercials and clips to be revealed in the coming weeks.

The long road to Into Darkness

It has been almost four years since the release of the 2009 Star Trek film, but it wouldn’t be accurate to say it took four years to make the movie. Paramount first approached the Star Trek team of J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk about making a sequel almost a year before their 2009 film debuted. The team were all signed up for the sequel by March 2009 (the main cast had all signed options for three movies when they were first cast).

In March 2009 the Star Trek Court signed on for another Trek

Originally there was talk of the sequel targeting summer 2011, but in January 2010 Paramount set the release date for June 29, 2012. The three-year gap was due to the Star Trek "Supreme Court" focusing on other projects such as Cowboys & Aliens (for Lindelof, Orci and Kurtzman) and Super 8 and MI:4 (for Abrams and Burk), Prometheus (for Lindelof) along with other TV projects (especially finishing up on Lost for Lindelof).

Abrams on the set of "Super 8" – October 2010

While the team did have preliminary discussions about Star Trek in 2009 and early 2010 they didn’t really start developing the story until the summer of 2010, but by the spring of 2011 writers were still only working off of a 70-page outline. While there was "soft prep" going on, the film hadn’t yet gone into actual pre-production which was the original plan. The main issue was Abrams availability being more limited than expected during the post-production for Super 8. Actual scripting began in June 2011, and in July Paramount made official what all expected and announced the film was delayed.

Lindelof and Orci tweet pic of "planking" during Trek writing break in June 2011

The release date of May 17th 2013 was later announced in November, 2011, by which time the film was in full pre-production. The biggest news during that period was regarding the casting of the villain for the film – with Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro in talks for the role in November, but by early December he dropped out. This lead Abrams to scramble to find a new bad guy – looking at a number of other actors in December before
picking Benedict Cumberbatch right around New Year’s 2012 – less than two weeks before shooting started on January 12th.

Production on the movie was mostly conducted at Sony Studios in Culver City, CA – the break in tradition from shooting on the Hollywood Paramount lot is said to have been mostly due to availability of the types (and sizes) of sets needed for the film. Additional filming was done at the Raleigh Studio in Playa Vista, including some done outdoors due to Abrams preferring natural light (and some of the sets were too big to do indoors). Unfortunately some of these outdoor shots got leaked, which later prompted Abrams to have a wall of containers erected next to where they were shooting.

Spy photo from production in February 2012

Being an Abrams production, there was also quite a lot of location shooting. While there was some discussion of taking the crew to Hawaii and even Iceland, in the end most of the locations were done in around the Los Angeles area, except for the final week of shooting which was done at the Lawrence Livermore Labs in Livermore, CA. While in the Bay area, members of the cast made news by sharing shots of themselves out on the town on Twitter (including visiting a Hooters restaurant). Filming on the Star Trek sequel wrapped on May 8, 2012. Four months later "Star Trek Into Darkness" was chosen as the title.

A lucky fan gets a pic with Cumberbatch, Quinto and Pine at Hooters on Cinco de Mayo 2012

The total post-production time at a little over 11 months. Even though this film had more effects shots, more music and the extra complication of an intricate 3D conversion – the total time spent finishing the movie was shorter than the post-production for the 2009 Star Trek movie – which was a bit over 13 months.

Abrams appearing on MTV during post-production on Trek in June 2012 (dropping a Klingons hint with image behind him)

Now onto the threquel

After the movie is released next month, fans will again starting looking more to the future. We have already done some reporting on the follow-up film to Star Trek Into Darkness. The entire cast is already signed up for a third film. Paramount has confirmed that Abrams, Burk and their Bad Robot production company is lined up to deliver the movie and writer/producers Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof are also expected to be on board again.

There are some indications that the film will be delivered in 2016 – which also happens to be the 50th anniversary of the franchise. While Abrams is set to produce the movie, it seems doubtful he could return as director as well due to his commitment to deliver Star Wars Episode VII to Disney by 2015. 

But there will be plenty of time to talk directors, actors, plot and more after Into Darkness hits theaters in May.


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Perhaps too early to think about the threequel, but I do hope 2016 is a special Star Trek year!

Sector 001

You mean first public showing April 23 right?

Anthony, I don’t mean to question your reporting, but is this confirmed that Benecio Del Toro was on board until December, and Abrams had to scramble to cast Cumberbatch with only two weeks to spare? Or is this simply when the announcements were made?

Because of all the overseas premieres, all the spoilers will be online weeks before the film opens in the US – bummer!

@4 Anthony,

So will TrekMovie be reporting the spoilers assuming other media outlets do so as well?

It’s about damn time!

“Australia, London, Germany and Mexico”…So London is a country now :-)

I’m thinking of flying to Sydney to get some pics even if I don’t win a ticket to the premier.

So soon now.

Now that we’ve seen the trailers, it’s a bit hard to picture Benecio as Harrison.

Did the script get a rewrite when it went to Cumberbatch? I’m sure speculation will coincide with the idea that Harrison was initially Khan, but with the mild backlash, TPTB could have tweaked the script before passing the torch to a replacement actor.

Nice to see those leaked shots turned into actual scenes in the movie.

50th anniversary = bring back Kirk Shatner style :)

Anthony, thanks for the story as it captures the production history and we don’t have to construct it ourselves. Hey, we may need to refer to this one piece when we write about the film.

Second, I know we can wait to guess about the third director but this is like judging your NFL team’s draft. Why wait for three years? Have fun and let’s put out some guesses for a director. Here’s my choice. I like to kid about it but it does have advantages.

Get Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino to direct the third film. First, he’s got some relation to Bad Robot. He was in Alias. Second, Star Trek 2009 was his film of the year. Third, he’s got a following that may not be Trek fans. More fans, more money, more Trek. And hopefully a TV series.

And what about a cast? QT could probably get Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Olivia Newton John. I keeeed. I keeeeeed about Olivia Newton John. But what about Christoph Waltz? Okay, QT would have to curb the cussing and I think his movies are a little violent. :-)

What do you say J.J.? Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek. As Captain Kirk would say, “Sounds like fun.”

So all of this secrecy was for naught….early release in some markets means the rest of us will know all of the plot points (If we chose) before we see the movie.


Nah, let’s keep QT far away. He’s great at his niche, but I think sci-fi is outside his wheelhouse.

I’m really crossing my fingers for Brad Bird. He’s already part of the Bad Robot family and has proven skills with genre pics. Depending on when he finishes up post on Tomorrowland, he might very well be free.

I’m Puerto Rican and I’ can’t believe that i—-t pro independence actor did not jump at the chance to play maybe the same roll that great MX actor once played, maybe afraid of people saying he was not as good and so on, I wish I’ could act and been offered that roll…maybe he does play Khan in the 3rd one, but he is still pro indep. and I’m pro statehood.

I’ will not come back to this site or yahoo or anywhere or read anything regarding ST after the 23rd of this month, it will take Homer Simpson to tell me it’s Khan’ so no Simpson episodes till the 16th of May also.

I hear George Lucas is available. :-)

please Paramount let JJ pick the next director, please, please!

let start a campaign people as of now, we want JJ to pick the director….

also no word yet as to how long in this installment?
please let it be as long as 2012

I’m assuming the next Star Wars will be out sometime Summer 2015, with JJ finished promotion by the latest end of that summer…and if you go by January 12th 2012 as the start date for filming Star Trek Into Darkness then it took about 16 months from shooting until release…if Star Trek III were to start filming July-August 2015 then couldn’t it conceivably make a holiday 2016 release with JJ able to direct it??? That way it would still make it’s anniversary

Awesome! Shall we begin?

Anybody know what happened to “The Drex Files” website? It’s no longer there.

It was a great site for behind the scenes Star Trek info.

Those of you saying that we will be seeing spoilers following the red carpet premieres, typically those who are in the audience at the premieres are not the people who go online and spoil info.

All media screenings and test screenings sure, but premiere audiences typically not.

Once the All media screenings begin though, thats when your going to start seeing the spoilers fly.

I’d much rather have Bad Robot & the Supreme Court produce a new TV series for 2016. That seems more fitting for the 50th anniversary of the TOS TV series. Then we can get in Abrams for another Trek flick. In 2017! With a full two seasons of the BR Trek TV show leading up to it!

#19 – Do Puerto Rican rolls have butter? Or are they made with honey like a tasty Mexican Bolillo?

As far as Del Toro not taking the *role* sometimes actor’s just don’t feel the part is right for them.

17) How would you know its outside his wheel house?
Just because he hasn’t made a sci fi movie before doesnt mean, he wouldn’t have the chops for it.

I will say this he is a huge Trek Fan, I Remember talking to him while he was waiting in the lobby on the opening night of the regular engagement of Star Trek Nemesis at the Chinese back in 02, and he knows his Trek.

Having said that Anthony is right, your not going to see someone as artisticly different from JJ as QT and GDT taking over for the next film I would wager.

Remember, when you pick the cans up for delivery this is the one where the bad guy has a big ship, Kirk does a space jump and Uhura and Spock suck face. Wouldn’t want you getting confused with the previous one. Hope that helps!!

For 2016, let’s get the cast and crew of Twilight to do the 3rd movie. That way we get a bare-chested captain again, aliens that twinkle and females that just pout and whine their lines.

Just curious is anyone else in SO Cal planning on going to the Star Trek 09 screening at the Graumans Egyptian theatre on May 6th as part of the EW Capetown film festival?

EW’s Geoff Boucher will be moderating a Q&A with Nimoy after the film.
great way to get ready for Into Darkness.

Personally, I’m hoping this site (and others) avoids spoilers until after the North Am release weekend. What’s the point of posting spoilers, anyway? Most reviewers — and the mainstream press — respect the idea that moviegoers should be able to discover these things for themselves.

Sorry, that sounded harsher than I intended. But I really don’t understand the news value, or even the entertainment value, in posting spoilers. Sites like AV Club post spoiler-free reviews (includes comments) of shows based on books, like Game of Thrones. And that info has been out for years. Even their spoiler reviews are filled with warnings and ask posters to keep things on the relative QT.

I am really begining to think its entirely possible that Khan is in the movie, but he is not cumberbatch and he is going to be introduced in the same manner the villian of another franchise movie coming out at the end of may is introducing its villian for its sequel coming out next july.

@30. Buzz Cagney

I don’t agree with your cynical sentiment. However, I found the way you expressed it absolutely hilarious ;-)

Two words for Director for 3rd Film: Joss. Whedon.

@25 LordoftheArchons

Drexler has closed the site. I read somewhere that he was getting hassle from other people involved in the projects that they didn’t like their works and contributions going online as though it was entirely his work – which I meet though he did. He always gave credit where it was due.

Must’ve been some amount of hassle from people though, to make him close down the site! :-(

Hey Anthony, now that the movie is locked down, any idea how long the running time is? if I remember correctly ST2009 is around 206 minutes. Will the movie be that long as well?

can’t wait to see this movie! less than a month to go! :)

God, I hope you’re right!

BTW: I hate those Klingon helmets in the bottom picture!

From Benicio to Benedict… Ha! Very nice.

I wonder how much Benicio wanted. I mean, hell. I know he’s an Oscar-winner but he’s not necessarily buzz-worthy these days. And it’s more like he needed Trek rather than Trek needing him. His career needed a revival after “The Wolfman”.

sorry that’s 2hours 6 minutes. :)

Awww… too late to throw in a cameo from Scott Bakula as Admiral Archer now, I suppose?


So true!

I rather see Captain Janeway or Picard as newborns or children as cameos but Archer would be ok too, plus maybe my years between this federation officers are off, have not done the math.


For the threequel 50th anniversary movie (ST’s Skyfall) maybe they should do something that will tie JJ Trek in to the original timeline like the new XMen thats being made – a ‘Star Trek Days of Futures Past’ – maybe working in some of the original cast (obviously Nimoy again, and maybe even Shatner finally), perhaps it could be something about having to return old Spock to the Prime timeline for some reason (maybe something to do with the Borg?). So it would be like part 1 (2009) breaking from the original Star Trek timeline to create the new timeline with the aid of a major original series actor (like the way Generations kicked off the TNG movies with the help of Shatner to pass the flame)….part 2 (2013) an original tale involving the nuCrew (as STID looks to be – like First Contact was the first solo movie adventure for TNG)….part 3 (2016) going back to part 1 (and ‘Countdown’) tying everything up (like TDKR sort of went back to Batman Begins and tied it all up)….mending/converging the timelines – without wiping out the JJ timeline of course

itd be kind of left field – no would would see it coming espeically after the Timeline wasnt reset to normal at the end of the first movie thus making out that its a complete reboot from now on – only to sort of do it at the end of the 3rd one. (plus itd prevent any further films/tv shows ‘screwing’ with what could be a perfect standalone trilogy as itd be a universe unto itself – like Nolans Bat trilogy)

also set a good few years after ST09/STID to work in some Trek II-VI era ships, Trek III mushroom spacedock, TWOK style uniforms/phasers etc for the nuCrew (i.e. Starfleet would be moving more toward those type of designs as the years go on as in the original timeline)and maybe even a nod to TNG (Patrick Stewart cameo for the end scene set in the 24th century?) – perhaps even going so far as converging the JJ crew with the TNG crew somehow (either Prime or nuFuture TNG) sort of like how XM DOFP is doing with merging the First Class and X1-3 casts and like the way everyone kind of thought Generations would do a Yesterdays Enterprise. It will have been over 25 years since Yesterdays Ent by 2016 and the YE two crews thing hasn’t been done on the big screen yet (like the way elements of certain episodes have been redone as movies – TMP with Changeling/Doomsday Machine/Immunity Syndrome, TVH – Tomorrow is Yesterday/Assignment Earth/City on the Edge, TFF – Way to Eden/Who Mourns Adonis, & even FC – BOBW ). And if the film featured Kirk and Co dealing with the borg (building on the hint of borg in ST09) then even more reason to involve TNG in some way as a kind of all encompassing Trek film for the anniversary…(funnily enough 2016 will be FCs 20th anniversary)

just thinking out loud anyway – whatever happens it will have to be a special event thing for the 50th – like Skyfall/Dr Who anniversary episode

Thanks for the retrospective, Anthony. When you read it like that it all seems to have gone by so quickly. Funny, it didn’t feel that way at the time! LOL

Run time:

IMDb says 129 minutes. –

Swedish theater company SF says 132 minutes (, as does the distributor, United International Pictures Sweden (

I don’t know if they’re counting minutes differently, or if the content may actually vary slightly from region to region (which is not too unusual in cinema). Would be interesting to hear what theaters in other countries are saying.

I think either Neill Blomkamp or Drew Goddard would make an excellent director for the third BR Star Trek film.

and as for director it has to be SINGER (he would be ideal for an anniversary picture that harks back to the originals – i.e. Superman)