OMG: Analyzing The “Star Trek Into Darkness” Teaser Trailer

Christmas has come early! The teaser trailer for JJ Abrams second “Star Trek” movie reboot, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” has been released and it is full of clues — but still no definitive answers — as to which villain Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing. Check out the U.S. teaser above and, after the jump, watch the Japanese version, which has a few seconds of additional footage.

Alright, first thing’s first: there’s very little space shown in the teaser trailer, but, again, this isn’t the full trailer, which will be released December 17th. According to the teaser, much of the movie will take place on at least one planet, including Earth. “You think your world is safe? It is an illusion,” Cumberbatch says, as scenes of destruction flash across the screen. “A comforting lie told to protect you. Enjoy these final moments of peace, for I have returned to have my vengeance.” Most “Star Trek” fans have been convinced the villain in the film is either Khan — a character first seen on “Star Trek: The Original Series” and then the subject of the second original “Star Trek” film, “The Wrath of Khan” — or Gary Mitchell, a character that appeared on TOS.

Khan, as he’s been written, was certainly motivated by vengeance, but his back story is complicated and, oh yeah, hasn’t happened yet. Abrams’ reboots are prequels and Khan doesn’t get all, like, wrath-y until after when these films take place. I’m all for rebooting, but Abrams, I don’t think, would be allowed to get away with rewriting the history of one of the series’ most beloved villains. While there are plenty of hints on the surface that Cumberbatch is playing Khan — including the blatant rip-off of Spock’s death in “Wrath of Khan” shown at the end of the Japanese trailer — I just don’t believe it. It’s both too obvious and implausible. Still, plenty of hardcore “Star Trek” fans remain convinced.

It’s far more likely, in my mind, that the villain is someone who was a foe during TOS but who hasn’t yet been explored in great depth, giving the filmmakers more freedom. One popular theory is a character named Gary Mitchell, a Starfleet officer who discovers he has superhuman powers. In the “Star Trek Into Darkness” trailer, Cumberbatch is seen flying through the air and has been described as “a one man weapon of mass destruction.” I’m not sure why Mitchell would be hellbent on destroying the Earth, but there’s more room to play with his story since it hasn’t been exhausted in previous “Star Trek” incarnations.

Lastly, actress Alice Eve plays an as yet unidentified pretty blonde in the film, but there are two options that would support either the Khan or Mitchell theories. Could she be Kirk’s baby mama, Carol Marcus, who was introduced in “Wrath of Khan”? Eve does give Kirk sexy eyes in the teaser trailer. But she looks more like Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, who appeared in the same episode as Gary Mitchell in “TOS.” Or, you know, maybe she’s Yeoman Rand. I lovvvvved Yeoman Rand.

Anyway, point being, we still don’t really know who the villain in “Star Trek Into Darkness” is, but isn’t it fun to think about? Well, it’s fun for me, anyway. I can’t wait for May 17, 2013!