It’s been a big week for Star Trek Into Darkness news, and it’s still not over. We’ve rounded up a few more updates after the jump:

  • Benedict Cumberbatch continues to insist he’s not Khan
  • … but Zachary Quinto may have let that detail slip
  • Alex Kurtzman talks villains, Damon Lindelof discusses 3D
  • Over 40 minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness will be in IMAX
  • The stars discuss whether they’ll be back for Star Trek 4 and beyond

Since the very beginnings of the project, one of the biggest question marks hanging over Star Trek Into Darkness has been the identity of the villain. This month, it was revealed that his name was John Harrison — but that answer isn’t satisfying fans who still think he might be Khan.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been steadfastly denying the Khan rumors, but in recent interviews has gone one step further by explaining more about this John Harrison fellow:

[John Harrison is] someone who’s a fearsome warrior and he’s an expert in hand-to-hand combat and weaponry, as well as being a psychological terrorist — he’s a great manipulator of minds to perform his intentions and do his bidding. But he has a cause; however violent and destructive the effects of his actions are, the reasons and intentions behind them are pretty noble, so hopefully at some stage in the story you’ll have a sympathy for him, which should be unexpected but should be genuine. He’s fighting for something he believes in, as strong as those who are defending Starfleet and the Enterprise itself.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for evidence that Cumberbatch is lying his ass off, this video with his co-stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto may provide some fuel. At one point while the two are discussing the previous Star Trek movie, Quinto accidentally says “Khan” when he meant to say Nero. Check out the video below via TrekMovie — the slip-up occurs around the 1:00 mark.

Sure, it could be an innocent mistake. But it’s an odd one to make, isn’t it, considering that “Nero” and “Khan” sound nothing alike?

Whoever the villain is, it’s clear he’s very important here. Writer Alex Kurtzman spoke in non-specific terms about his opinion that second movies are “more about the villain,” and what they wanted from the new one:

Well I think the core of the idea of “it is all about the villain” is that your hero – and the challenges that your hero or heroes face – are only as good as your villain’s intelligence. Because whatever their plan is, it is forcing your heroes to define themselves and make choices that are super complicated. And that always makes a great story. That is the key. The key is designing a bad guy that puts your heroes to the test in a way that feels different than what came before.

In the same interview, Damon Lindelof discussed going with a grander scale for 3D:

I think that 3D was a part of it. Our original inclination was against it and then Paramount did conversions on a couple of scenes from the first movie for a test. The first they showed us was when the Enterprise drops out of warp into the wreckage around Vulcan and we were like “OK, that was pretty good.” And JJ was like “if I really committed to making it worthy of 3D and thinking about every shot in 3D, then I’ll do it.” And I think the result of that was to open up the epic jar as it were in terms of the scope and size of the movie, but it is also a very intimate movie in a lot of ways. Obviously the stuff you saw is in proportion to the rest. There are other action set pieces, but there are many more intimate moments.

Speaking of going bigger, one of the things we’re looking forward to in Star Trek Into Darkness is Abrams’ IMAX work. Producer Bryan Burk revealed during a London press day that “upwards of 40 minutes” of the film’s total runtime was shot in IMAX.

For comparison, The Dark Knight and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol each included about 30 minutes of IMAX footage, while The Dark Knight Rises featured over an hour. Head to TrekMovie for more coverage of the event.

With Star Trek Into Darkness yet to hit theaters, it may seem far too soon to think about Star Trek 3, let alone Star Trek 4. But devotees of Abrams’ vision can’t help but wonder what’ll come of the franchise after the stars’ three-film contracts run out, so TrekMovie tried to get some answers.

John Cho, who plays Sulu, probably sounded the most positive when asked if he’d come back beyond Trek 3:

I actually could yeah. It was fun. First of all I love the reunion aspect of it. It is a good gang. So I’m assuming everyone is back and I’m not the only one. But I would hope so. If everyone came back it would be really fun.

Karl Urban‘s eagerness was contingent on Abrams’ return:

Yeah I probably could for sure. For me the creative force behind this is JJ. If JJ is involved then yes. [TrekMovie asks, "What if he weren't directing?"] It would depend. I would hope he would still be involved. I do what I do to entertain. So as long as these movies entertain people and people want to see them, then I would more than happy to continue.

Quinto was more cautious, but admitted he’d come back if Abrams and his co-stars would:

I really don’t know. I’m committed to three films. We are really excited about this one. I tend to be more in the present. I want to do good work with good people. And if an opportunity to do more than just the third movie comes of course I would take that seriously. If JJ is behind it and this crew of actors is on board then yeah. I love my Star Trek life.

Pine answered in the affirmative as well:

I do love everybody involved. I would say I’m open to anything. If the story is good and just as much fun as the second. I don’t think any of us want to overstay our welcome. If the material isn’t as good – I don’t think anyone of us want to do that. I really can tell you I enjoy working with everyone and that is really to JJ’s credit to build this kind of community that is kind of a family. He has done a really good job at that.

At this point, it’s far too soon to be certain of anything about Trek 3, Trek 4, or beyond. And it’s not exactly as if the actors can admit to hating the series while on the press tour. But if you’ve got your fingers crossed they’ll be back for more, their tentative positivity can only be a good thing.

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