karl urban

Star Trek Beyond shows a new side of the enterprise crew. While J.J. Abrams‘ Trek films are very dedicated to Kirk and Spock’s relationship, Justin Lin‘s sequel breathes more life into the supporting characters. Thanks to screenwriters Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, they have more time to shine, especially “Bones” McCoy. The good doctor is played by Karl Urban, who almost passed on his third outing as the character.

Below, learn why we almost didn’t see Karl Urban in Star Trek Beyond.

Since the 2009 reboot, Urban has been a fan favorite amongst the new cast. His comedic timing is sharp, but the actor and character are capable of making more than wisecracks. Bones is mostly left on the sidelines in Star Trek Into Darkness, which didn’t sit right with Urban.

While speaking with StarTrek.com, Urban — who’s a genuine fan of Star Trek — told the outlet why he had second thoughts about playing Bones again:

I certainly was hesitant about reprising the role of McCoy. I felt that I was in agreement with a vast number of fans and audience members and critics who, after watching ‘Into Darkness,’ felt that the character had become marginalized. And I was not keen to repeat that experience. I was out of contract. Because of the Olivia de Havilland law in America, I was no longer under obligation to do a third picture, and was, actually, in fact, negotiating to do another film when we were contacted and asked about reprising the role of McCoy. So I was somewhat ambivalent about it. And I really liked this other piece of material.

Justin Lin helped put Urban’s concerns to rest. The director assured the actor Bones would have a meaningful role in Star Trek Beyond:

I raised my concerns and issues with him. And he outlined the story and the vision that he had for the character. And I was immediately intrigued and also somewhat reassured that he was a long-term fan of Star Trek, that he understood the weight and value of the character, and how the character interacts with Spock and Kirk. So that gave me a great deal of security, which enabled me to make the decision. And I’m so glad I did. I feel that the version of McCoy in Star Trek Beyond is the most well-defined version of the character that I’ve had the benefit to play. So it’s all turned out for the best.

Bones isn’t just comedic relief in the film; he’s now a real friend, to both Kirk and Spock. When the doctor has one-on-one conversations with them, those conversations make their friendships believable. They’re entertaining, informative character moments that flesh out relationships we haven’t seen much of in the past few years. It’s a good thing Urban voiced his concerns because those discussions led to, as he said, the most well-defined version of McCoy he’s played so far.

Star Trek Beyond is now in theaters.

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