Idris Elba's 'Star Trek Beyond' Character Krall Revealed, Justin Lin Gives Us The Details

The Star Trek Beyond teaser trailer leaked online on Monday right before I was set to have lunch with director Justin Lin. The new Trek filmmaker confirmed that Idris Elba's character is indeed in the teaser trailer, even though most of you probably didn't notice him. In the film Elba plays the new villain, a character that Lin says is named Krall. Find out more details about the Idris Elba Star Trek character after the jump.

Idris Elba

Who Is Krall?

Idris Elba's Star Trek character is name Krall, which almost sounds Klingon in origin– but the character is not a Klingon.

When [Idris] came in, he had a lot of [prospective] projects and when I talked to him about this character, it wasn't about this or that it was about building or having a philosophy or point of view. And I like his character because his character is really challenging the way of the Federation's philosophy and there are a lot of things that when I was growing up I wanted to see.

In the trailer, Elba's character Krall is seen and heard saying the line:

This is where it begins, Captain. This is where the frontier pushes back!

His slight reptilian look and dialogue calls back to the premise of the original series Arena episode, which has led some longtime Trek fans to believe he is playing a Gorn. Even the name Krall is registered in the Star Trek databank as "a Gorn assassin who later befriended Nox the Romulan commander of the USS Admonitor, and later became one of the founders of the Klingon Alliance."

But Lin dismisses any previous canon, insisting that Krall is of a "new species that we discover in this chapter."

Idris Elba star trek character krall

The Federation and Krall's Motivations

Back to the character's motivations, Lin says that "he's a character that has a very distinct philosophy that's very different." He gives us a bit more insight into what might be at play:

I think it's great to be a fan and I watch utopian San Francisco and go, oh wow, when you're building this movie you think, they don't have money, how do they live? How do they compete? And those are things that his character, in a way, has a very distinct and valid point of view.

Later in our discussion, he revealed more of the inspiration of the film's plot, which gives us some clues about Krall:

It was just really embracing the idea that the Federation, what would happen if you were going on a five-year journey and you're trying to also not only explore, but also maybe introduce other people to this way of thinking. What would that mean? What are the consequences to that? I mean, spreading a philosophy that you believe in that you think is great, are there gonna be any other points of views that's gonna counter you? And I think that those are the things that I thought of as a kid. And also then as an adult when I watch Star Trek. And I think we got to kind of explore that a little bit.

Hit the jump to learn more about Idris Elba's Star Trek character, including how the attack on the Enterprise mirrors our modern world, how much time it took to apply the Krall makeup, and more.


The Attack on the USS Enterprise

As for the attack that brings down the USS Enterprise, Lin reveals that it isn't a typical huge ship vs. big ship encounter and instead about what we're dealing with today, small cells in great numbers:

I grew up and Star Trek has a very 1960s sensibility of who has the bigger ship usually wins, right? And if you look at it, the attack, these ships are 40 feet long. And but there's like 4,000 of them. And so I think even in the way they're being encountered and how people are coming is it's you can't help but, I mean, we live in a world that is ever evolving. And I think that that's always made Star Trek sci-fi great is when you're able to at least acknowledge what's happening today.

When asked if he was referring to attacks like the recent Paris attacks, Lin takes a step back and painted a more broad picture:

Well I'm just saying anything that comes, even in the way we are as a country and how people engage in conflict. That's something that I felt like in this Star Trek, you see that it's different. I feel like when I do think about Star Trek, a lot of times it is about the size, it has a very different sensibility. But at the same time, I think it's also, that's also part of moving it and taking risks and saying there's a lot of different ways people engage in the universe.

Idris Elba - star trek beyond villain

Four Hours in Makeup

As for Idris himself, the filmmaker praised the actor:

I've worked with some really great people and Idris immerses himself and I really enjoyed working with him because he's all about the character and what's best about the character's journey in the film. The only thing that sucked is it took four hours every time we needed to get him on set.

And judging from the brief appearance of Krall in the teaser trailer, that four hours in the makeup chair every morning was well worth it.