Karl Urban Loves Star Trek — And Here’s Why

Karl Urban is an admitted fan of the Star Trek franchise and returns to the role of Leonard “Bones” McCoy in this summer’s STAR TREK BEYOND. Urban recently discussed his love of Star Trek, his favorite TOS episodes, the relationship between McCoy, Kirk and Spock, the upcoming film and more, during a recent chat with IGN.

Talking about the connection between his character and Kirk displayed during a scene shown to fans and members of the media during the Star Trek Beyond fan event at Paramount on May 20th, Urban said “Firstly, I was thrilled that the relationship between McCoy and Kirk was represented, because I felt that in Into Darkness it was completely inferred. So it was nice to have that material, and it was fun to play. Obviously, a lot has occurred two, two-and-a-half years into the mission, and it’s nice to see those characters really morph into their traditional archetypes.”

On the relationship between McCoy and Spock:

“The dynamic is complex. There is a great deal of humor, but it’s contextualized by the framework of jeopardy and danger of the situation that they’re in. I believe that their relationship really evolves, and you get to see them both kind of drop their guard and be who they really are around each other — just get a little glimpse of that, which is fantastic and rewarding, especially for long-term Star Trek fans. It’s something that I believe you haven’t really seen before. To me, that was really the challenge of the film, to not only honor the 50 years of Star Trek, pay homage to what had come before, but also mine new territory and take these characters into uncharted waters — and that’s what we’ve done with Star Trek Beyond.”

Urban with Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto at the Star Trek Beyond fan event on the Paramount lot
Urban with Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto at the Star Trek Beyond fan event on the Paramount lot
(photo: Anna Yeutter/TrekNews.net)

Urban has appeared at several conventions, since the release of Star Trek reboot in 2009. Discussing the convention scene, Urban said:

“Well, it’s a tradition that was established by the original cast, and I feel like it’s important to acknowledge the fanbase, because if it wasn’t for the fanbase, there would be no Star Trek. Star Trek would have been canceled after Season 2, but it was their fervent passion and dedication and love for Star Trek that really has been instrumental in making Star Trek what it is today.”

He went on to talk about his favorite TOS episodes.

“My favorite episodes would probably be “The Corbomite Maneuver,” “Amok Time” — I don’t know the name of it, but the episode where Kirk fights the Gorn.”

Reminded the episode title is “Arena”, Urban continued:

“”Arena,” thank you. And “The City on the Edge of Forever” — I love “The City on the Edge of Forever.” That’s great, that’s particularly brilliant. Then there’s another one which I loved, which is essentially a submarine episode, where there’s a Romulan captain battling Kirk, and they’re at it the whole time, and there’s this cloak-and-dagger kind of vibe.”

On Star Trek: The Motion Picture:

“It is, and for the longest time I felt that it was too slow, but with age I’ve come to a great appreciation of it. I really love it. It’s still, you know, the essence of exploring the unknown. There’s great character dynamics, with Kirk being a little rusty, being out of the chair, feeling threatened by Decker, and McCoy really calling Kirk on his insecurity. You know, Spock returning from Vulcan not having achieved the Kolinahr and coming back to his calling and his friends, and also having an agenda that’s outside of the mission, his own personal agenda. I mean, there was a lot of interesting stuff in there. And then V’ger itself, the concept of something, an Earth probe, that was sent out and has become self-aware. I just think it was a really fantastic Star Trek story.”

Karl Urban and Chris Pine
Karl Urban and Chris Pine

Urban went on to talk about the series that followed TOS.

“I really enjoyed Next Generation. I also caught a little bit of Voyager, which I also liked, but I haven’t really seen anything beyond that.”

He went on to talk about adding director Justin Lin to the mix.

“It was fantastic. It was a breath of fresh air, and I really appreciated Justin’s intimate knowledge and understanding of the character dynamics. In fact, I was on the fence about doing the movie until I spoke with Justin.”

“Because I had a conflicting schedule, and I had a decision to make about which film to do, and I was no longer under contract to do a third picture. So I had a decision to make, and it was talking with Justin that enabled me to commit to it.” Urban said.

Directed by Justin Lin, written by Simon Pegg, Doug Jung, Roberto Orci, John D. Payne and Patrick McCay, Star Trek Beyond stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella. The film is scheduled to hit theaters on July 22 after premiering during San Diego Comic-Con on July 20.

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10 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • Eric

    I’m excited for this movie. Really. Like we see in some of the stills Spock doing some science! Being a Science Officer, awesome. So to hear Karl Urban talk about how these relationships are developing makes so much sense.

  • James Cannon

    I just like the fact that people who love Trek is behind this this time, and that Karl Urban has joined us Trekkies. I hope he can watch some DS9 and more Voyager so that he can see the direction Trek went. Also, watching a little Enterprise couldn’t hurt, as it would give his character some insight on some of the references used, such as beaming Archer’s prized beagle (poor Porthos) onto some strange planet with a theoretical transporter design….

  • DistantEarlyWarning611

    Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait……….can’t wait.

  • milojthatch

    He loves it so much, especially the big fat checks the studio gives him for selling ticket to fans to go see this piece of crap that dares call itself “Star Trek.” Yes, he loves it a lot. 0_o

    • There’s the Roddenberry spirit of adventure I’ve come to know and love from True Trekkies. Don’t stop here, though, you must go out amongst the unwashed and spread the message! Depose the harlot who proclaims herself Star Trek! Do not stay here, do not linger, go round up the faithful! Truly your skill and talent are wasted here. Tarry no more! Be off, and save the casuals from their fate!

      • I am not Herbert

        milojthatch speaks truth – if he loved it so much, he wouldn’t have needed to be “convinced” to return (to crappy nu-trek)

        Your sarcastic response is empty baseless buster… =(

        • Empty, baseless bluster? It’s sarcasm. Also, keep in mind that Leonard Nimoy wanted to quit Star Trek at the end of Wrath of Khan. If he loved it so much, he wouldn’t have needed to be convinced to return.

          Christ, guys, do any of you actually watch the show? Do you know anything about it? Or do you simply have a blind spot where you piss yourselves with impotent rage when you don’t get what you want? You behave like such spoiled children.

          • I am not Herbert

            your comparison does not stand up (so you also hit me with some stupid straw-men) hypocritical much?

          • What strawman? You complained about Karl Urban not really loving Star Trek because he had to be convinced to come back. I mentioned that Leonard Nimoy also had to be convinced to come back, which is why he got to direct Star Trek III and Star Trek IV.

            There’s no hypocrisy here, save for what comes from you and supposed fans like you who have to tear down the people who make a Star Trek of which you don’t seem to approve. Don’t like it, that’s fine, and PLEASE don’t show up in the theater, and whatever you do, don’t talk about it ever again. Millions of Star Trek fans who will enjoy the film will thank you for it.

  • Shanahan

    Urban’s perfect as McCoy, his portrayal is one of my favorite parts of the new films