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J.J. Abrams expresses his frustrations about Star Trek Into Darkness

12.16.2015

With the release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS a mere two days away, J.J. Abrams is taking the opportunity to look back on his previous films. While speaking with Buzzfeed, Abrams spilled some details about MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, SUPER 8, and STAR TREK, but he was most forthcoming about STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, taking full responsibility for what many call the worst of the Star Trek franchise.

While J.J. Abrams considers the first film to have “very strong story” about “two orphans who are completely at odds, who then come to realize they need to work together to survive,” he unfortunately didn't have the same feelings for the second film's script when it came to Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto).

What was their issue? What was their dynamic? What was their problem? And it wasn’t really clear. It was a little bit lightweight, ultimately, that Kirk was disappointed that Spock didn’t feel that their friendship was as meaningful to him as it did to Kirk, which is sort of what we’re saying, and that Spock’s arc is coming to unabashedly love his friend Kirk.

Just last month J.J. Abrams admitted that there were too many nods to STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, but while talking with Buzzfeed he went one step further and took full responsibility for the flaws of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS.

I take full responsibility for this — I was encouraging the writers in certain directions, and we were working on the script and putting it together, but by the time we started shooting, and this was literally at the very beginning of the shoot, there were certain things I was unsure of. Any movie, any story has a fundamental conversation happening during it. There’s a fundamental argument; there’s a central question. And I didn’t have it.

One of the issues that fans had with the film was the secrecy surrounding just who Benedict Cumberbatch was playing; even after fans guessed who it would be, J.J. Abrams and crew tried to deny it. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS co-writer Damon Lindelof has already admitted that trying to keep fans in the dark was a mistake, and while J.J. Abrams agrees with him, he still says that he was just trying to preserve the fun for the audience.

At the end of the day, while I agree with Damon Lindelof that withholding the Khan thing ended up seeming like we were lying to people, I was trying to preserve the fun for the audience, and not just tell them something that the characters don’t learn for 45 minutes into the movie, so the audience wouldn’t be so ahead of it. But it was Simon Pegg who lied outright, and I adore him for doing so. I remember when I read that he basically said, ‘He doesn’t play Khan,’ and I thought, 'Oh my god, Simon Pegg!'

In the end, J.J. Abrams says that the issues with STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS were "not anyone’s fault but mine, or, frankly, anyone’s problem but mine." Abrams still considers STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS to be a "fun" film, but believes that it could have been, and should have been, much better.

I felt like, in a weird way, it was a little bit of a collection of scenes that were written by my friends — brilliantly talented writers — who I somehow misled in trying to do certain things. And yet, I found myself frustrated by my choices, and unable to hang my hat on an undeniable thread of the main story, so then I found myself on that movie basically tap-dancing as well as I could to try and make the sequences as entertaining as possible. Thank god I had the cast that we have, who are so unbelievably fun to watch. And an incredible new villain in Benedict Cumberbatch. I would never say that I don’t think that the movie ended up working, but I feel like it didn’t work as well as it could have had I made some better decisions before we started shooting.

STAR TREK BEYOND, the next film in the "nu-trek" saga, opens on July 22, 2016.

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Source: Buzzfeed

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4:07PM on 12/17/2015
Haters can hate, Into Darkness rocks! Long live JJ.
Haters can hate, Into Darkness rocks! Long live JJ.
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3:48PM on 12/17/2015
Don't get the hate for the film.really enjoyed this film.love the villain,gorgeous visuals,opening and climax action scenes
Don't get the hate for the film.really enjoyed this film.love the villain,gorgeous visuals,opening and climax action scenes
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+3
2:17PM on 12/17/2015

this movie was very entertaining...

i echo ken masters statement below. this movie wasn't perfect. there aren't many that are. i loved it in imax for the record. if this is abrams worst movie, then i think we're in good hands with him moving forward. i'll see anything he makes.
i echo ken masters statement below. this movie wasn't perfect. there aren't many that are. i loved it in imax for the record. if this is abrams worst movie, then i think we're in good hands with him moving forward. i'll see anything he makes.
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+0
12:39PM on 12/17/2015
Into Darkness has many flaws.
Good on him for admitting to it. Most directors have their heads up their butts to admit mistakes.
Into Darkness has many flaws.
Good on him for admitting to it. Most directors have their heads up their butts to admit mistakes.
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11:32AM on 12/17/2015
Into Darkness was a good film. It was far from perfect, but it was still good. Any nerd who hates this movie just for fanboy reasons is crazy.
Into Darkness was a good film. It was far from perfect, but it was still good. Any nerd who hates this movie just for fanboy reasons is crazy.
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8:39AM on 12/17/2015
JJ you have nothing to apologize over. Into Darkness has a special place in my heart because you showed Alice Eve as Carol Marcus in her green underwear and that is an epic Star Wars moment. Made up for any deficiencies the film might have had. Make sure you find a way to replicate that in Star Trek Beyond and we're all good.
JJ you have nothing to apologize over. Into Darkness has a special place in my heart because you showed Alice Eve as Carol Marcus in her green underwear and that is an epic Star Wars moment. Made up for any deficiencies the film might have had. Make sure you find a way to replicate that in Star Trek Beyond and we're all good.
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8:38AM on 12/17/2015
No way is Into Darkness the worst Trek movie (unless you're talking new Trek which is just two films) - gotta work pretty hard to be worse than The Final Frontier. Some people hate on Insurrection too, but that had more the feel of a remade feature-length episode of the TNG TV series. Into Darkness is cool apart from one or two scenes and even they weren't deal-breakers. I don't mind directors apologising when they're really screwed something up, but Into Darkness really doesn't warrant all
No way is Into Darkness the worst Trek movie (unless you're talking new Trek which is just two films) - gotta work pretty hard to be worse than The Final Frontier. Some people hate on Insurrection too, but that had more the feel of a remade feature-length episode of the TNG TV series. Into Darkness is cool apart from one or two scenes and even they weren't deal-breakers. I don't mind directors apologising when they're really screwed something up, but Into Darkness really doesn't warrant all this damage control.
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8:33AM on 12/17/2015
This is no where NEAR being the worst Star Trek film. It actually holds up incredibly well on multiple viewings. Does everybody conveniently forget Star Trek IV The Voyage Home with the Hump Back Whales? Or Star Trek V The Final Frontier (that has a rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes?) Star Trek Nemesis which has a rating of 37%?

Into Darkness has its issues, but ultimately it is a fun film and a visual feast. One of the better Star Trek films in my opinion. I might rank it 3rd best
This is no where NEAR being the worst Star Trek film. It actually holds up incredibly well on multiple viewings. Does everybody conveniently forget Star Trek IV The Voyage Home with the Hump Back Whales? Or Star Trek V The Final Frontier (that has a rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes?) Star Trek Nemesis which has a rating of 37%?

Into Darkness has its issues, but ultimately it is a fun film and a visual feast. One of the better Star Trek films in my opinion. I might rank it 3rd best behind Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan and Star Trek (2009).
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7:45AM on 12/17/2015
Into Darkness was a great follow up on my book. I think general the public consensus would say the same. It's the Trekies who had the big issues with the film. May give this another watch this weekend.
Into Darkness was a great follow up on my book. I think general the public consensus would say the same. It's the Trekies who had the big issues with the film. May give this another watch this weekend.
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5:30AM on 12/17/2015

No way...

...is this the worst movie of the franchise. That's crap.
...is this the worst movie of the franchise. That's crap.
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1:47AM on 12/17/2015
let it go, nerds. quit flogging that horse. and JJ, if you get asked about it again, just say i've said all i have to say on that subject. end of story.
let it go, nerds. quit flogging that horse. and JJ, if you get asked about it again, just say i've said all i have to say on that subject. end of story.
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1:10AM on 12/17/2015

Funny..

Just having seen Star Wars Ep7, it suffers from the same problems. Actually, everything this man has directed so far does. Maybe next time leave the writing to the writers.
Just having seen Star Wars Ep7, it suffers from the same problems. Actually, everything this man has directed so far does. Maybe next time leave the writing to the writers.
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4:59AM on 12/17/2015
That explains why he just had to scrap Michael Arndt's original script and rewrite it from scratch.
The same thing that jackass Colin Trevorrow did in JW by scraping off the script by Jaffa and Silver (which got Universal to start working on the sequel in the first place) in favour of a movie nostalgia ridden clusterfuck.
That explains why he just had to scrap Michael Arndt's original script and rewrite it from scratch.
The same thing that jackass Colin Trevorrow did in JW by scraping off the script by Jaffa and Silver (which got Universal to start working on the sequel in the first place) in favour of a movie nostalgia ridden clusterfuck.
12:20AM on 12/17/2015
Are we STILL talking about this?? We're people committing suicide over Khan's identity being withheld or a few lines of dialogue being lifted from Wrath of Khan? You would think JJ killed the friggin' Limburgh baby with the sheer amount of over the top shouting these idiots have been going on about.
Are we STILL talking about this?? We're people committing suicide over Khan's identity being withheld or a few lines of dialogue being lifted from Wrath of Khan? You would think JJ killed the friggin' Limburgh baby with the sheer amount of over the top shouting these idiots have been going on about.
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12:03AM on 12/17/2015
Glad he's finally admitting what was evident from the start. And yes, it is the worst of the movies. Worst than STVTFF. That movie is one of the worst, no doubt, but it at least had an underlying message. And the Yosemite scenes had some of the best character development in all of Star Trek for the Big 3 (Kirk, Spock, and McCoy).
Glad he's finally admitting what was evident from the start. And yes, it is the worst of the movies. Worst than STVTFF. That movie is one of the worst, no doubt, but it at least had an underlying message. And the Yosemite scenes had some of the best character development in all of Star Trek for the Big 3 (Kirk, Spock, and McCoy).
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11:38PM on 12/16/2015
He has (along with everyone else who worked on the film) nothing to apologize for. Absolutely loved both Star Trek films and thought Into Darkness was a worthy follow up to the reboot. Easily one of the most entertaining overall blockbuster films I have seen as of late.
He has (along with everyone else who worked on the film) nothing to apologize for. Absolutely loved both Star Trek films and thought Into Darkness was a worthy follow up to the reboot. Easily one of the most entertaining overall blockbuster films I have seen as of late.
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5:33AM on 12/17/2015
Agreed. It was far from perfect but I had a blast.
Agreed. It was far from perfect but I had a blast.
11:37PM on 12/16/2015

I'm sick of the nerd rage over INTO DARKNESS

Anyone who claims it's "the worst STAR TREK film ever!" needs to go watch STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER. Once you've finished puking your guts out, then we'll talk.

For all its faults, INTO DARKNESS had some solid action sequences and moved fast enough that you almost forgave its weaknesses. I wouldn't watch it again, but I enjoyed it at the time. That's more than I can say for STAR TREK I or even NEMESIS.
Anyone who claims it's "the worst STAR TREK film ever!" needs to go watch STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER. Once you've finished puking your guts out, then we'll talk.

For all its faults, INTO DARKNESS had some solid action sequences and moved fast enough that you almost forgave its weaknesses. I wouldn't watch it again, but I enjoyed it at the time. That's more than I can say for STAR TREK I or even NEMESIS.
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11:15PM on 12/16/2015

Into darkness was a blast

I thought into darkness was great. Just because it's not quite as good as the first doesn't make it aweful. I feel like that's the "mob mentalitly" of the industry now. If its not better than expectations, then its trash.

There is an early negative critic review for force awakens that literally read, at some point Abrams delievers what were expecting but doesn't excede it.

Shit like that makes me loose confidence in critics.
I thought into darkness was great. Just because it's not quite as good as the first doesn't make it aweful. I feel like that's the "mob mentalitly" of the industry now. If its not better than expectations, then its trash.

There is an early negative critic review for force awakens that literally read, at some point Abrams delievers what were expecting but doesn't excede it.

Shit like that makes me loose confidence in critics.
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11:22PM on 12/16/2015
Agreed. and I find it sorta hypocritical because I remember when the new timeline was created in star trek 2009, the fanboys were theorizing. "Oh boy the Probe is out there....V'Ger is out there....Khan is out there....I wonder what kind of new stories we can get with those established characters or things etc."

we get Star Trek Into Darkness and they blast him for reusing a character. Then t hey start talking about how they wish it went back to the old school exploration, let's visit a
Agreed. and I find it sorta hypocritical because I remember when the new timeline was created in star trek 2009, the fanboys were theorizing. "Oh boy the Probe is out there....V'Ger is out there....Khan is out there....I wonder what kind of new stories we can get with those established characters or things etc."

we get Star Trek Into Darkness and they blast him for reusing a character. Then t hey start talking about how they wish it went back to the old school exploration, let's visit a planet of the week type star trek.

Star Trek Beyond trailer is released and thats exactly what they get and they go "booo this movie is ruined bla bla bla etc"

lmao
2:50PM on 12/17/2015
They didn't blast him for reusing Khan. They blasted him for how he was used. First he was a villain who killed Kirk's mentor, then he was a temporary ally against the Klingon squad and later Admiral Marcus and then they flipped the switch and made him the villain again.
They didn't blast him for reusing Khan. They blasted him for how he was used. First he was a villain who killed Kirk's mentor, then he was a temporary ally against the Klingon squad and later Admiral Marcus and then they flipped the switch and made him the villain again.
10:55PM on 12/16/2015
Anyone who says this is the worst of the Franchise clearly hasn't seen Star Trek V or Nemesis :-P

Also Into Darkness was quite fun. Hated them denying the Khan thing though. That John Harrison shit was trying to give the fans a fun reveal, but once we all guessed it about a year before it came out, they should've just dropped the idea
Anyone who says this is the worst of the Franchise clearly hasn't seen Star Trek V or Nemesis :-P

Also Into Darkness was quite fun. Hated them denying the Khan thing though. That John Harrison shit was trying to give the fans a fun reveal, but once we all guessed it about a year before it came out, they should've just dropped the idea
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+3
10:40PM on 12/16/2015

It's idiotic....

for anyone to claim Into Darkness was the worst Star Trek film. Seriously, three of the first six were utter crap (and I thought the sixth was equally bad), the Next Gen movies were ALL bad, and the whale movie was fun, but had all the science of a Bill & Ted movie.
for anyone to claim Into Darkness was the worst Star Trek film. Seriously, three of the first six were utter crap (and I thought the sixth was equally bad), the Next Gen movies were ALL bad, and the whale movie was fun, but had all the science of a Bill & Ted movie.
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+5
10:07PM on 12/16/2015
I loved the first one, and I loved "Into Darkness." Whether or not someone in the production company said something about a character in the movie, that doesn't affect the actual TEXT. Maybe people are butthurt about the Khan deception, but the movie itself is good. JJ and company have nothing to apologize for.
I loved the first one, and I loved "Into Darkness." Whether or not someone in the production company said something about a character in the movie, that doesn't affect the actual TEXT. Maybe people are butthurt about the Khan deception, but the movie itself is good. JJ and company have nothing to apologize for.
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10:04PM on 12/16/2015

Reruns.

So JJ remakes The Wrath of Kahn for Star Trek, and remakes A New Hope for Star Wars.

So JJ remakes The Wrath of Kahn for Star Trek, and remakes A New Hope for Star Wars.

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11:27PM on 12/16/2015
Wrath of Khan-After being marooned on a planet with his fellow superhumans...Khan takes over a federation starship to escape his banishment and seek revenge against Capt Kirk in a game of cat and mouse reminiscent of run silent run deep. Spock dies.

Into Darkness-Kirk is sent to kill or apprehend John Harrison (Khan) for the murder of hundreds of starfleet personel in a terrorist attack. Kirk finds out what Section 31 is up to and teams up with Khan to overtake the USS Vengeance. We find out
Wrath of Khan-After being marooned on a planet with his fellow superhumans...Khan takes over a federation starship to escape his banishment and seek revenge against Capt Kirk in a game of cat and mouse reminiscent of run silent run deep. Spock dies.

Into Darkness-Kirk is sent to kill or apprehend John Harrison (Khan) for the murder of hundreds of starfleet personel in a terrorist attack. Kirk finds out what Section 31 is up to and teams up with Khan to overtake the USS Vengeance. We find out that Khans crew/family were kidnapped and basically held for ransom from him in exchange for cooperation to build weapons of mass destruction. Khan attempts to attack and destroy the Federation with the newly acquired federation vessel USS Vengeance and strike at the Heart of Starfleet. Kirk dies. (there is no vendeta here against kirk)

sooooo other than a mirror death scene to show that events can happen parallel to timelines. There is NOTHING in STID in common with WOK other than some characters.
8:36AM on 12/17/2015
Uh huh.

And Avatar isn't Dances With Wolves.
Uh huh.

And Avatar isn't Dances With Wolves.
+6
9:30PM on 12/16/2015

Just stop!

I really enjoyed Into Darkness and I'm starting to feel like everyone involved won't be happy until we all hate this movie.
I really enjoyed Into Darkness and I'm starting to feel like everyone involved won't be happy until we all hate this movie.
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9:30PM on 12/16/2015

to JJ's credit, he never lied about Khan

he skirted around it, but he never lied.
he skirted around it, but he never lied.
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9:29PM on 12/16/2015

awful film

it's the shit we get when the studio puts someone in charge who doesn't respect, or even particularly like, the franchise...
Star Trek is dead... long live Star Trek...
it's the shit we get when the studio puts someone in charge who doesn't respect, or even particularly like, the franchise...
Star Trek is dead... long live Star Trek...
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1:54AM on 12/17/2015
You sound like a Psycho.
You sound like a Psycho.
9:22PM on 12/16/2015
This movie gets slammed so much for no reason. Too many nods to WOK? What you mean the death scene which was showing that despite a changed timeline, some th ings happen the same with slight variations? Other than that, the character of Khan and Carol Marcus...NOTHING about this movie was similiar to WOK let alone Space Seed. People just love to bitch
This movie gets slammed so much for no reason. Too many nods to WOK? What you mean the death scene which was showing that despite a changed timeline, some th ings happen the same with slight variations? Other than that, the character of Khan and Carol Marcus...NOTHING about this movie was similiar to WOK let alone Space Seed. People just love to bitch
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9:26PM on 12/16/2015
How about the fact that unlike ST09 which felt like one fleshed out story, STID feels like a few rushed stories slapped together into one movie, with plot conveniences to tie up everything?
How about the fact that unlike ST09 which felt like one fleshed out story, STID feels like a few rushed stories slapped together into one movie, with plot conveniences to tie up everything?
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