Star Trek Into Darkness
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Star Trek Into Darkness can be found here.

After violating the prime directive on the class-M planet Nibiru and demoted as captain of the Enterprise, James Kirk (Chris Pine) is returned to the helm by Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller) with new orders to hunt down Starfleet commander-turned-terrorist John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) who, after bombing a Starfleet installation in London, has fled to the Klingon homeworld of Kronos. Along with his loyal crew members -- First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto), Chief Medical Officer Dr Leonard 'Bones' McCoy (Karl Urban), helmsman Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), Chief Technician Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott (Simon Pegg), Ensign Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and Lt Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) -- Kirk discovers that Harrison is more than just a traitor manipulating the two sides into a possible war...he is none other than the genetically augmented superhuman...Khan Noonien Singh.

Because Kirk, in attempting to rescue Spock from the volcano, allowed the Enterprise to rise from the Nibiran ocean in full view of the planet's primitive inhabitants. Kirk's actions are a direct violation of Starfleet's Prime Directive. In general, Starfleet will not attempt to make First Contact with any species until the point where they are likely to meet other civilizations, which is usually when they develop the ability of deep space flight (i.e. warp technology). Basically, Starfleet can explore new worlds and their inhabitants before that time, but cannot interfere in their natural development as indigenous beings, which includes making them aware of alien civilizations. Allowing the tribe to see the Enterprise, an advanced form of technology they're obviously not familiar with, qualifies as a violation of the latter: as the Enterprise rockets away, we see that the Nibirans will worship the ship as a deity or similar. The Prime Directive even goes as far as prohibiting any Starfleet officer from saving an entire civilization from their natural fate, including mass extinction events. They may assist other civilizations (to certain extents) in their efforts to prevent their own extinction, but only if help is specifically requested by those civilizations. Kirk's actions in preventing the destruction of the unknowing people and their civilization of the Nibiru planet by the volcano therefore constitutes another violation of the Prime Directive, in addition to the Enterprise being seen by the natives. Kirk also submitted a fraudulent logbook or incident report, which should have meant an automatic dismissal. Starfleet cadets are drilled with that ethos from day one. Admiral Pike finally points out that in his rash decision and personal desire for adventure, Kirk has endangered the entire ship and crew, and has not shown the sense of responsibility befitting a commanding officer.

In The Original Series 'Space Seed' and later in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982) movie, we meet Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically augmented warlord from 1990s Earth who conquered a significant territory by 1993. When several of his fellow warlords started to turn on each other and his conquests began to reverse three years later, he escaped Earth aboard the stolen SS Botany Bay with 72 of his elite followers. Khan and his followers were bred for intellect, strength and speed...eugenic super-humans. In this movie, Khan and his followers have been in cryosleep for nearly 300 years, drifting though the universe in the Botany Bay until Admiral Marcus searched him out and revived him, because he needed Khan's superior intellect to come up with new weapons and ships to battle the increasing aggression of the Klingons. Khan and his followers have an urge to dominate all those deemed inferior to themselves. More about eugenics from the Star Trek universe itself can be read here. More about the Eugenics Wars that Khan and his rivals were a part of can be read here

Yes and no. It has many elements and scene homages to The Wrath of Khan but, due to differences in this alternate universe, the story has some different characters and situations.

2259, a year after the events of the previous movie.

Admiral Marcus sent Kirk and his crew out on a mission to kill the escaped John Harrison/Khan; however, Kirk spared Harrison's life, who revealed in the second half of the movie that Marcus himself has a hidden agenda. So the specific question is: why didn't Marcus go after Khan himself? After Khan's attack on the Starfleet council, Marcus had to publicly respond to the threat, but why take the risk of exposing his conspiracy by sending Kirk, who was not part of it? Marcus had the USS Vengeance at his disposal, which was more than up to the task of going to Kronos and firing the torpedoes; and, if not himself, Marcus could have ordered one of his trusted crew members to do the job, so there would be no risk that his secret plan came to light.

There are several considerations. First of all, Khan's attack demanded an immediate retaliation, and an admiral cannot lead such a mission himself (as they generally do not have command of a ship -- Marcus commands the entire fleet). So Marcus had to send someone else, and an experienced captain with a state-of-the-art ship would be the obvious choice. There was probably no captain among his henchmen who could command a ship, just lower level crew. He could not use the U.S.S. Vengeance for it either, as the ship was still a highly secretive military project, and revealing it would evoke too many questions on how he obtained it (and especially which regulations he had to break to get the ship built). Kirk and his crew just happened to be around to do the mission (which is frequently the case within the Star Trek universe), and giving Kirk the assignment would be most logical, as he has identified Khan during the attack, has been fully briefed on the situation, and saved most of the admirals during the attack. Marcus probably hoped that Kirk's desire for revenge would cause him not to ask questions, and simply carry out the mission by killing Khan. He had not foreseen that Kirk would disobey his orders -- realizing at Spock's suggestion that they were unjust -- and discover the 72 people inside the torpedoes.

But perhaps more important is that Marcus is convinced the growing tensions between Starfleet and Klingons will inevitably lead to war. It is the reason why he sought out Khan and forced him to create a more powerful ship and weapons. Now that he has them, all that he wants is the war to begin. With Khan having escaped to Kronos, he can kill two birds with one stone by eliminating Khan there, and at the same time causing an incident with the Klingons that will lead to war. As Khan mentions to Kirk: "He sent you to use those weapons, to fire my torpedoes on an unsuspecting planet, and then he purposely crippled your ship in enemy space, leading to one inevitable outcome: the Klingons would come searching for whoever was responsible, and you would have no chance of escape. Marcus would finally have the war he talked about, the war he always wanted." So sending Kirk was not an issue, as Marcus did not expect him and the Enterprise to survive the mission anyway. In fact, when he noticed that the Enterprise was stranded near Kronos, Marcus intercepted them with the U.S.S. Vengeance to find out what Kirk had learned. He then decided to destroy the Enterprise himself and blame the Klingons, as a justification for his war. He simply had not counted on Kirk's commanding skills, Scotty having discovered & stowing away on & sabotaging the Vengeance and Khan's superior intellect and strategic skill.

Believing his comrades to be dead, Khan crashes the Vengeance into downtown San Francisco, leaps out of the bridge, and attempts to escape on foot, but Spock beams down to pursue him. Meanwhile on the Enterprise, McCoy has noticed that the dead tribble has been regenerated by an injection of Khan's blood and assumes that it might do the same for Kirk. Uhura beams down to prevent Spock from killing Khan and, after some of Khan's superblood is transfused into Kirk, he revives. Khan is then sealed into his cryotube and stored away with the rest of his crew. One year later, as Kirk addresses a commemoration service, the Enterprise is re-christened and departs for a 5-year mission of deep space exploration. In the final scene, as the Enterprise heads out to space, Kirk asks Spock where they should go, but Spock defers to Kirk's 'good judgment.'

Several possible reasons: (1) His blood has the power to heal nearly anyone of nearly any condition, making him a valuable asset. (2) He still has a right to a fair trial, as Spock pointed out numerous times in the film. (3) The United Federation of Planets has a no death penalty policy under ANY circumstances. There's a big difference in killing someone in self-defense and killing him when he is in your custody.

Khan's crew members were in cryogenic sleep, and at one point McCoy says that he doesn't have the technology to safely remove anyone from cryosleep, so he couldn't risk killing a member of Khan's crew. In addition, although he knows that Khan's blood can revive, he has no idea if the blood of others of Khan's crew has the same property.

It's true that Khan seemed to eventually die of his injuries from an explosion on the USS Reliant's bridge back in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (and the film's script actually specifies that he did). However, he was also able to rapidly recover from seemingly being dead (or close to death) in the TOS episode "Space Seed", so the idea of him having regenerative capabilities isn't completely at odds with the original timeline. There are three possible explanations as to why Khan seemed to die in TWOK. The first is that Khan didn't actually die and just slipped into a coma, and would have eventually recovered if not for him and the ship being vaporized by the exploding Genesis Device. The second is that since Khan was much older in that film than this one or "Space Seed", his regenerative abilities weakened over the years (possibly in combination with the harsh conditions on Ceti Alpha V), and what might have been a survivable injury for the younger Khan turned out to be fatal. The third explanation could be that Khan's blood can only heal cellular damage, and not traumatic injuries. James Kirk died from acute radiation poisoning, which causes large-scale cellular damage but no trauma on the organ level. Khan's blood may have been able to repair this cellular damage within a short time after Kirk's death; however, if the damage gets too extensive (such as internal ruptures and bleedings), the regenerative capacity of Khan's blood may not be adequate.

The reason could be: (1) As Spock is half human, it is okay for him to lie from his human part as mentioned by Kirk earlier in the film, (2) he now knows that he lied in the future, so it is not any use saying the truth at that time (Spock Prime told Spock about how to defeat Khan), or (3) he didn't lie. He said the *torpedoes* were Khan's, which was accurate.

It is not addressed in the movie, so it could simply be an artistic decision by the creators to make the character British, since Alice Eve, who portrays Carol, is British as well. It may therefore be somewhat surprising that her father in the movie, Admiral Marcus, is American. For an in-universe explanation, the temporal changes made by Nero in Star Trek may account for many of the discrepancies seen between the alternate universe (Star Trek and this movie) and the prime universe (all the previous series and movies). In Star Trek Into Darkness, Admiral Marcus mentions that he was the one who convinced captain Pike to join the Academy. This, combined with his rank, suggests a long history within Starfleet, most likely joining before the two universes started to diverge. In the prime universe, Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch) was an American physicist, but there was no mention of her father being a Starfleet admiral in any of the movies. A possibility, therefore, is that Carol's father in the prime universe never rose to prominence within Starfleet or even left, and raised Carol in the USA; in the alternate universe, he may have had a successful career following the changes introduced by Nero, which included being stationed in the UK with his family; his wife may be British, choosing to live in the UK while her husband was on missions; or Carol was sent off to a British boarding school and university, to get the highest education befitting the daughter of a Starfleet officer.

For most of their history, Klingons have had ridged foreheads. (This is confirmed in the episode Star Trek: The Next Generation: Rightful Heir (#6.23)) According to the episodes Enterprise: Affliction (#4.15) and Enterprise: Divergence (#4.16) for roughly 200 years some Klingons and their descendents were infected with a virus which removed the cranial ridges, giving the Klingons a human-like appearance. This was offered as a possible "in-universe" explanation for why, in Trek's early years, the Klingons look like humans, but as makeup became more advanced in recent years, they took on their more familiar look. There are a few different ways to look at this:

1) It could simply be that the Klingons we see in "Star Trek Into Darkness" weren't descended from infected Klingons, and thus never lost their ridges. This is very well possible, since these Klingons seem to live in a very secluded area on Qo'noS (Kronos), and may have never gotten into direct contact with their infected brethren. While ridge-less Klingons ascended to many high-profile positions--none of the Klingons we see on the original series have the ridges--many of Klingons with the traditional look may have remained. In one of the movie's behind-the-scenes documentaries, the design team comments that the uninhabited area of Qo'nos depicted in the movie was intended to be devastated by years of nuclear wars, implying that the Klingons are at constant war with each other. This makes it plausible that this group of Klingons never contracted the disease from their afflicted rivals. It may also mean that Khan's and Starfleet's altercation was regarded as a local incident, explaining why it did not lead to the full-scale war with all Klingons that Marcus had predicted.

2) It's possible that, due to the events of Star Trek which created an alternate timeline, the Klingon Empire developed a cure for the augment virus earlier than they otherwise would have. The divergence has already had big consequences. For example, both the Klingons and Starfleet lost a substantial number of ships due to Nero's attacks, causing both parties to more aggressively look for new ways to regain their strength. Also, the Klingons had captured Nero, and had several decades to study his ship from the future, the Narada, which may have given them several technical advantages. It can be seen in the movie that a moon (possibly Praxis) of the Klingon homeworld has already been destroyed in 2259, something that didn't happen in the prime universe until the year 2293. Admiral Marcus also mentions how the Klingons have aggressively expanded their territory in response to the temporal change. Perhaps this caused them to already find the cure for their ridged foreheads, years before the same event happened in the prime universe.

3) It's possible that these Klingons surgically added facial ridges as a way to preserve the look of the past. This was suggested by the Klingon Antaak in "Divergence."

4) One explanation that is not in-universe is that, as special effects technology and makeup evolved over the years, the creators have the right to update the looks of ships and aliens without any "in-universe" explanation. Many fans disregard the augment virus as an explanation for the human-like Klingon appearance in Star Trek, stating that adding ridges was simply a continuity error derived from an artistic choice by Gene Roddenberry, and not a narrative choice. However, for better or worse, the discrepancy had already been addressed in-universe, in the 'Deep Space Nine' episode Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Trials and Tribble-ations (#5.6): during a time travel, the crew notices some smooth-headed Klingons and ask Worf about the reason; Worf acknowledges the difference, but implies it is a Klingon matter not discussed with outsiders. The timing and tenor of this line is interpreted by some to be a joke, but it's still canon.

Gene Roddenberry didn't include any type of explanation when the updated Klingon look was debuted in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but he was known to be a revisionist who retrospectively considered some parts of 'The Original Series' and the feature films as not part of the Star Trek canon. This does not account for elements introduced by other writers and producers, which often clashed with previously established canon, or Roddenberry's ideas. Nevertheless, the "Enterprise" writers have indicated that, if one takes the view that Klingons have always had ridges, the episodes "Affliction" and "Divergence" don't necessarily refute it. It's possible that the changes in those episodes were quickly rectified later, leaving no long-lasting physical changes in Klingon society.

The early announcement that Peter Weller was cast in an unknown role in [Into Darkness] brought up speculation about a possible connection with the Star Trek episodes 'Enterprise: Demons (#4.20)' and 'Enterprise: Terra Prime (#4.21)', in which Weller played John Frederick Paxton, the leader of a xenophobic organization intent on purging all alien inhabitants from Earth. However, his Into Darkness character is called Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus, and is a completely different person. No statements were made whether the casting of Weller in both roles signifies any familial relation between the characters (as was the case with Brent Spiner who played both Dr. Arik Soong and Dr. Noonien Soong in separate series). However, Star Trek has a long-standing history of actors playing different parts in different series/movies, perhaps most famously David Warner, who in a span of 4 years played a human in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a Klingon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and a Cardassian in Star Trek: The Next Generation. What Paxton and Marcus have in common is a belligerent persona and ruthless demeanor, and Weller is known for playing malicious characters in recent years, which may have been the reason for his casting.

r73731


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