The theatrical adventures of the Starship Enterprise finally continue this week. Speaking at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, director J.J. Abrams confirmed Star Trek 2 will begin shooting on film January 12, with a 3D post-conversion planned for post-production. But that’s not all.

Abrams also talked about the film’s relation to the original series, and two new cast members – Thor actor Joseph Gatt and 24 actress Nazneen Contractor – were announced. Another new addition, Benedict Cumberbatch, spoke about his excitement level joining the highly anticipated May 17, 2013 sequel. Read all the quotes, roles and more after the jump.

Much of this news comes from an interview over on Collider. That’s where he spoke about the start date and explained the 3D post-conversion:

We’re shooting on film [as opposed to digital 3D], and the reason for that is I wanted to shoot with anamorphic, and you can’t shoot 3D in anamorphic.

The bigger news is that Abram gave the reason why he decided to convert the film into 3D:

I did not fight for the 3D. It was something that the studio wanted to do, and I didn’t want to do it. And then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought that it actually looked really cool. So, I was okay with their doing it, as long as I could shoot the movie the way I wanted to, in anamorphic film, and then let them convert it. So, those who want to see it in 3D, which looked pretty cool, can do it, and those that want to see it in 2D can do that too.

Finally, Abrams once again confirmed that no original actors will appear (or, at least, that’s what he says) and that this film will be totally set in the new universe created by the first movie:

I think the job of the first movie was just to establish [the universe]. I don’t want to give anything away, but I would say that the burden we had in the first movie was just existing at all. With this movie, instead of having to stand on the shoulders of the original series, we built a little bit of a platform for us, with the last movie, to tell this story.

Head to Collider to read more from the interview.

Next up, two actors have joined the film (which makes sense since filming starts this week.) Entertainment Weekly reports that Nazneen Contractor, who was seen in the 8th season of 24, has been cast as the wife of the character Noel Clarke will be playing.  He’s a lucky man. Also joining the cast, according to Screen Rant, is Joseph Gatt. His role is unknown, but from his previous work on Chuck and as a Frost Giant in Thor, he’s obviously very physical.

Finally, Cumberbatch (who Abrams wouldn’t confirm is the villain) also spoke about joining the film and said the following to Collider:

There’s a lawyer standing here saying that I can’t say anything. I’m hugely, hugely excited and I’m very, very flattered. I’m very, very excited, but obviously I’m not here to talk about that. I will, in the future, I’m sure. I’m just getting my head around the fact that it’s happened. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll pass on that. But my headline is that I’m over the moon.

It’s all happening. Star Trek 2 will shoot for the next four months and hit theaters May 17, 2013. I’d imagine we see our first trailer this summer.

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