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.
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) April 15, 2013
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.
Me adding a last minute piano addition to one of the cues for Star Trek Into Darkness… twitter.com/m_giacchino/st…
— Michael Giacchino (@m_giacchino) April 6, 2013
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.
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.