With that, Star Trek fan and former MythBuster, Adam Savage took the stage to set the tone for the upcoming proceedings. He first invited producer J.J. Abrams on stage to talk about the film and its relation to the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Abrams once again admits that he came into Star Trek as an outsider, never having been a fan of the series prior and only discovering the richness and wonder of that universe while preparing to make his 2009 reboot. When it comes to giving a gift to fans for the 50th anniversary, though, Abrams agrees that it only makes sense to have someone at the helm who grew up on Trek, who knows it backwards and forwards because it was such a part of their life for so long. Justin Lin is that person.
Walking on stage in a pair of Marty McFly sneakers, Justin Lin talks about how much Star Trek meant to him as a kid and how doing this movie was something of a dream come true for him. Things like walking on set into the turbolift or the transporter room were surreal experiences, a validation of years of playing pretend. He says the thing that makes Star Trek so special is that it’s an ever expanding world where each new person who takes a crack at it brings something new to the table, and that was his goal for the film. He wanted to create a film that was diverse and personal, but also very much in the spirit of the original series – a grand space adventure anchored by the interpersonal dynamics of this crew in the midst of a five-year voyage in the far reaches of outer space.
J.J. Abrams also notes that Justin Lin was not happy with Paramount’s lawsuit against the Axanar fan film. He argued that for the studio to rain fire down upon the people who love this stuff the most sends the exact wrong message, and that they should be helping to provide an outlet for this creativity and passion, not stifling it. Because of this, Abrams was happy to announce that Paramount had agreed to drop the Axanar lawsuit.
Abrams also announced that Star Trek Beyond‘s world premiere will be held July 20 in San Diego featuring a live orchestra and the first ever outdoor IMAX presentation. Not only that, but everyone in attendance at the fan event would be given credentials to attend the premiere.
With that, Abrams and Lin left the stage and we were treated to a behind the scenes video that focused primarily on the extensive practical sets and effects work employed by the upcoming film. While it doesn’t give any indication of how the story and characters will be handled, all of this was exciting to see – an alien village nestled in the valley of a blue-tinted canyon and a wide variety of gonzo creature puppets and makeup effects. While the two previous Trek films had one foot firmly planted on Earth, it looks like Beyond really is going boldly where no man has gone before. This stuff looks weird in the best possible way, and I’m excited to see all of it realized in the finished film.