Sure, J.J. Abrams just signed on to direct the new Star Wars sequel, but before he heads to that “galaxy far, far away,” the most sought after director in Hollywood has another sci-fi blockbuster to finish working on: Star Trek Into Darkness, the follow up to his smash 2009 reboot Star Trek, which earned $386 million worldwide and introduced Captain Kirk, Uhura, and Spock to a brand new generation of Trekkies. Abrams sums up the current state of his career with just one word: “Madness.”

In this week’s EW we give you an exclusive first look at the space age sequel that has geekdom waiting with bated breath. Star Trek Into Darkness, due May 17, has sparked feverish online speculation since the day it was announced — most of it about whether or not the film’s resident baddie, John Harrison, played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, is actually the infamous super villain Khan.

Unsurprisingly, the ever secretive Abrams wouldn’t answer that question — star Chris Pine calls his director a “benevolent dictator” when it comes to spoiling plot lines — but the cast did spill some details about what we can expect from Darkness: namely, a lot more action. This time around, the fight is coming to Earth, where both London and San Francisco will face brutal attacks. And expect more fighting from Uhura (Zoe Saldana), who’s still navigating the waters of her relationship with Spock (Zachary Quinto), too. “I told them to make sure that Uhura kicks more ass,” Saldana says. “And she does!” Abrams promises that about 45 minutes of the footage will be presented in IMAX.

We also got the cast to weigh in on Abrams landing the Star Wars gig. Pine admits, “I’ll be disappointed [if he doesn’t direct our third film], but there are people in his circle that will carry on.” Of course, Pine does have a back-up plan to keep the director on board the Enterprise. “Kidnapping is always an option, right?”

For more on Star Trek Into Darkness, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands February 8.

Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Movie
  • 132 minutes