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Star Trek Beyond: Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto on love, Starfleet being put to the test — exclusive

Plus, Zachary Quinto speaks to the crew’s fragmentation and Spock and Uhura’s relationship

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Zade Rosenthal

There are still weeks to go until the release of Star Trek Beyond (due July 22), but stars Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto, who play romantic interests and U.S.S. Enterprise crew members Uhura and Spock, spoke exclusively with EW, giving a tease about their characters in the new film, at the taping of the Lip Sync Battle special they’re featured in airing Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET.

Saldana says Uhura and the crew are worn out, but there’s no time for a break. “We’re tired, we need time off, we’ve been working non-stop, and it’s become like a machine where you kind of forget about yourself, but you need to go back home and nurture yourself and rest,” she explains. “Life has a different journey for us, and instead of us having to go out and aid another population, another planet that has been the target of violence, we are the target, so this is very different. We are tested at the craziest level and not just our lives are tested, but our characters and our relationships are tested.”

Quinto, meanwhile, got to the specific challenges facing Spock, who he says “is in this existential moment in his life and at a crossroads between his obligation to his Starfleet and his Vulcan roots. His planet was destroyed and they’re rebuilding, and he’s trying to figure out where his energy is best directed to help other people. He comes into a new awareness of his own mortality for a number of reasons, and there’s a lot of stuff that he’s trying to figure out in this film. By the end, I think he realizes the best path for himself moving forward.”

One thing he has to figure out is how to get back to his crew after they become separated. “We spend a lot of time with unusual compatriots, like Kirk [Chris Pine] and Chekov [Anton Yelchin], Sulu [John Cho] and Uhura, and Spock and Bones [Karl Urban],” he says of the aftermath of the fragmentation, adding that Spock and Bones are quite opposite of one another, with his character being logical and Urban’s irascible and witty. They develop, however, an appreciation for one another because of the circumstance they find themselves in. “All of us are working to find our way back to one another and to join forces in order to defeat our common adversary.” 

Another thing to figure out is his relationship with Uhura. “Part of Spock’s existential crisis is, does he need to be with a Vulcan? Uhura recognizes this, so they’re not necessarily at the height of relationship bliss in this film, but they love each other deeply and they want each other to be happy, to be fulfilled, to serve their purpose, and to realize their potential. It’s an ongoing relationship; I don’t think that it’s resolved necessarily in Star Trek Beyond. They’re learning about each other as well and figuring out the best way for each of them to move forward.”

So does that mean they are together, but sorting things out? Quinto says, “You’ll have to see where it goes.”

Directed by Justin Lin from a script by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, Star Trek Beyond also features Pegg, Sofia Boutella, and Idris Elba. For more on the film, read about a recent 50th anniversary fan event here and check out the trailer here.