J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot brought the beloved franchise back to critical and commercial acclaim, but his follow-up, Star Trek Into Darkness, didn’t quite match the heights of its predecessor. Reflecting on both films in an interview with BuzzFeed, Abrams said he shared in fans’ frustrations.
“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,” Abrams said about Star Trek Into Darkness.
Abrams believes the film’s issues stemmed from the plot, which lacked an overall “central question” needed to drive the movie forward. The director told BuzzFeed that this issue “was not anyone’s fault but mine, or, frankly, anyone’s problem but mine.” Rather than be upset with screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Damon Lindelof, he was “frustrated by my choices” and not the work of his “brilliant writers.”
The reveal that Benedict Cumberbatch’s character was actually famed Star Trek villain Khan was one Abrams admitted in hindsight was bungled. It’s an opinion shared by Lindelof, who recently said the subterfuge was a “mistake.”
“When we did Star Trek Into Darkness, for example, we decided that we weren’t going to tell people that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan. And that was a mistake, because the audience was like, ‘We know he’s playing Khan,'” Lindelof said.
“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,” Abrams told BuzzFeed.