Justin Lin Reacts to Criticism of Star Trek Beyond Trailer

Paramount released the first trailer for next summer’s Star Trek Beyond earlier this week. Fans of the franchise quickly let their displeasure of the “action-heavy” sneak-peek be known on social media, in online forums and blogs — even the Washington Post likened it to “Fast and the Furious in space.” That is due in part to director Justin Lin’s relationship with the adrenaline-fueled action series.

Following the trailer’s release, Lin sat down with a group of journalists, including Peter Sciretta from /Film at the Paramount lot to discuss the negative reaction.

Well, its a minute and a half, you know… And again, there were other versions that were much more traditional and I can see where maybe the hardcore fans could probably see that as “Oh.” But with trailers you’re putting a two hour movie into a minute and a half, and the one thing I wanted to make sure is that it hopefully represents that we are trying to be bold and take risks, wether we are successful or not, I don’t know. That was something I was excited to do and with collaborators like Simon and Doug, passion for the franchise will be there regardless. So however its presented, yeah its a minute and a half, and my challenge to everyone making the trailer is about saying “lets not go off course, I’m not afraid to share — share it, I feel like we have the goods in a two hour run and you really do get to know the characters and hopefully the journey is great. I love it and the cast did an amazing job and the crew… and the inside baseball version of the creation of this Trek was pretty condensed in how you usually make a movie of this size. And I wanted us to be bold, I wanted us to take chances and hopefully in a minute and a half we are able to convey that.

There’s been an overwhelming response to the amount of action crammed into the trailer and the use of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” being played throughout. Lin understands where the displeasure is coming from.

Yeah, and I don’t know if that’s the case here. When I saw the teaser, I’m like, aw shit. You really have to put the motorcycle in there? So I get it, I get it, I get it.

Of course the song was also used in Abrams’ 2009 film. According to Lin, the song won’t only be heard on the trailer but also the completed film.

Its in the DNA of this canon. It was in the ’09 Trek, and we went through different iterations of the teaser and I wanted to make sure whatever here is using all the elements from the film. Its been a part of this Kirk’s journey and so I felt it was very organic, and it will ultimately be in the finished film.

RELATED: Full Breakdown of the STAR TREK BEYOND Trailer

Lin may not have realized just how passionate fans are about the franchise, admitting he was never much of a Star Trek fan.

The one thing that was when I came on this [film project], I didn’t even realize how emotional my level of engagement with Trek was until the first day of preproduction when I walked into the hallway of the Enterprise and it hit me. It’s part of me but my level of engagement with Trek was really from 8 to 18, when I would watch Trek at 11 PM on channel 13 with my dad. He worked all day, closed shop at 9 PM and dinner at 10 and watched Trek. And so a lot of that is trying to create something that embraces the essence of Trek for me. Simon has a very different level of engagement, and Doug also has a very different… so it’s awesome to get in there and have those collaborators and have that discourse about how we were going to craft this movie. ‘Cause Simon, he knows EVERYTHING about Trek and it’s great to have those guys with me the whole way.

Discussing the title of the film, Star Trek Beyond, Lin said it grew out of conversations between producer J.J. Abrams and co-writer/star Simon Pegg.

He [Abrams] kind of tracked me down and we’re talking and I didn’t know what to expect. I thought maybe he was offering to go shoot a script that existed or and he said, no, it’s yours. Go and be bold. And just take it. Be bold and make it what you think you would do to Star Trek. And the more we talked about it, the more we kept saying well let’s keep pushing. Let’s keep pushing. And that’s when Simon kind of said, well it should be Star Trek Beyond. And it was his idea. And it was kind of came from all our conversations. And we looked at each other and like oh, that sounds like the title of this film.

On his approach to making the film and how he “deconstructed” the Star Trek franchise, Lin said:

Its fifty years… It was around before I was born so for me at its core I felt like on this chapter if we can kind of deconstruct Trek on different levels and hopefully reconfirm that its great we can send it off and it can have a long run after this. And for me that was on a more cerebral level, that was the mission here on this one.

But its also about going on that journey that JJ did with putting all these people together, but I wanted to hopefully create an opportunity or a situation where we can really see how they react to things and to each other. Those are things in all the years of watching Trek, we had hundreds of hours with the movies and stuff, in this timeline, I wanted to hopefully create something where we can be on the five year mission, we can hopefully explore and introduce new species and put them in situations where it hopefully then mirrors back on the exploration of humanity — I think thats important.

Lin discussed how this film fits into the overall reboot of the franchise.

We pick [the crew] up about two and a half years after the end of Into Darkness. But there was many iterations where we did go and explore. At the end of the day, I just felt like we’re two and a half years in. What we shot and what’s gonna be in theaters, quantity wise it’s quite a bit. But then to be honest, I actually had even more beyond that. So that’s something that we definitely talked about and worked on. In the presentation of this film, it didn’t quite fit in.

After directing his first Star Trek film, Lin says he’s unsure if he would return to do a second.

I’ll never say never, but I’ve had a great time. I’m also getting older and there’s a lot of stuff I wanna do. I didn’t plan on doing this. But I also feel like that’s the right way to enter something, is to not be strategic and like oh this’ll be good for me or this or it was just because I love it. … So I’ve been very lucky to kind of have that journey. And I’m not looking for anything else. I feel fortunate to be part of this. But I am itching, I have a lot of things I wanna do. And I’m not getting any younger, so…

Directed by Justin Lin and starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella, Star Trek Beyond hits theaters on July 22nd, 2016.

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16 Comments Join the Conversation →

  • Nothing Lin states gives me any hope that this movie will be any different from and exactly what is depicted in the trailer. Another action-packed Fast and Furious movie with plenty of kick-boxing and things blowing-up. This is not the Trek I know and love. Some of us have been around long enough to remember when Trek was on NBC and how fandom after the cancellation brought the franchise back. To see it lowered to the “kick butt” level that Lin is showing is extremely disappointing. And you just had to destroy the Enterprise, again. No thanks.

    • Lin’s attitude is more reassuring if you read some of his other interviews. Try this one, where he says a lot of good things.

      • Scott

        With the trailer, it’s just a trailer: there is no real ground to make a full judgement on it. But, by the same property, the things the actors and staff say are equally only partially judgeable. This is especially true after the actors and staff -blatantly- and bold faced lied to us about Kahn. that blowing up in their face, it’s less likely they are lying. however, it doesnt set a good case of trust.

        • Milo

          Well, I’d say the trailers to the last two adequately showed people what to expect, which wasn’t much. So far, things are playing out the same way they did the last two times. How many more times do we need to play this game? I think like the reboot or not, we all know what to expect from new installments.

          • Scott

            not to mention that CBS/Paramount -wants- a seal team6/GotG Trek. So everything kinda has to veer that way. And Kurtzman being the exec on Trek ’17 (who’s more known for pop corn entertainment than hard hitt’n scifi) kinda hits that further home.

  • That is the problem with Lin, HE DOESN’T GET STARTREK

  • jackson roy kirk

    Dang… I originally thought this movie would be a return to Star Trek. But just like the title says… it’s beyond Star Trek.

  • John H Harris

    And they keep making the same mistake with this one: The directors aren’t Trek fans! Just put Simon Pegg in total control, and we’ll get something watchable, because he’s the only actual fan in the whole mix.

  • Mike Nassour

    Easy sum up: It’s not Trek…wait for the next one.

    • Milo

      I’d say give up on the next one. Star Trek as it was in it’s first 40 years is dead. Welcome to the “event film” era.

  • Milo

    How many times do we have to play this game? I get that there are many fans who desperately want “new” Trek and keep holding out for hope that the next installment might feel more like Trek of old. Guys, it’s time to wake up, it’s not going to come. We live in an era where films have to be big “events” and bring in a billion dollars globally to be considered a hit. The only way to do that is make sequel after sequel from established franchises and make them as bland and generic as possible in order to attack the largest audience that is possible.

    Paramount has deemed Star Trek part of their tent poll strategy. That means it has to keep up financially with Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, DC, Jurassic Park, The Fast and the Furious,and so on. Traditional Star Trek could never ever do that. It’s too specific to it’s audience, too niche. Hence these generic action films with the “Star Trek” named slapped on to them. I hate to admit it, but Star Trek is too old fashioned for the 21st Century. People don’t want hope, they want instant gratification. They want their senses blown out for two hours before they go back to their mundane lives. They don’t want to think about or discuss complex ideas like what it means to be human or why are we here. They just want to be entertained.

    You look at the top films at the box office this year. Sequels and remakes. THAT is what Star Trek is expected to be now. They don’t really want us fans of the first 40 years as we are all too old for the studio. They want teenagers with tons of tons of their parent’s money to blow.

    It’s time to wake up to reality. The sooner we do, the sooner we might be able to take our franchise back! That is, if that is even possible.

    • Da Han

      One more reason PAR should be making alternate versions for the niche. Think of it as a car company and the way they offer several levels of car quality for different demographics…to use the title on one film every few years is a waste IMHO. PAR…needs to wake up.

  • (Roc) Wayne Alford

    Hey losers you need to post a correction, He said he was a fan not he wasnt a fan you are thinking of JJ post the corection please

    • John H Harris

      No I won’t because they can say they’re fans, but until they DEMONSTRATE that fandom by bringing Trek back to what it should be, I won’t believe them. Star Trek is about PEOPLE, not explosions!

  • Herp Derp

    I thought this was Star Trek III: The Search for Kirk? And in the next one they’ll go back in time in a Romulan ship to save the dolphins. Because the plots have been so original so far…. Maybe the working title was Star Trek: Beyond Belief.

  • James Cannon

    Well, I doubt the issue was Lin or Pegg. My understanding is that Paramount didn’t agree with the original script, so it went through a rewrite half way through production. This is never a good sign. Also, the alien fighter chick, makes me think more of Fast and Furious than Star Trek. Still, I gotta keep an open mind. I hope this is a good movie. Thankfully, no trailer can be as bad as the current Ghostbusters trailer.