The secrets of Star Trek Into Darkness

Posted by David Konow

We’re almost two months away from Star Trek Into Darkness, and while some secrets will shake loose here and there, would you really want the whole thing spoiled before you saw it?

True, some fans don’t care, but the large majority of movie-goers still remember what it was like to walk into a film not knowing a heck of a lot about it, and enjoying it as a pure experience.

As we’ve previously reported on TG, there is still some confusion as to who the villain really is, even though we thought it was all settled months ago now. Some people out there just don’t want to let go of the idea that it could be Khan, when reportedly it’s a guy named John Harrison. Still, it’s definitely fun to get the little bits and pieces before the movie hits theatere, and screenwriter Damon Lindelof recently discussed this with Collider and the L.A. Times Hero Complex column. 
“The audience needs to have the same experience the crew is having,” Lindelof said. “You’re Kirk, you’re Spock, you’re McCoy, so if they don’t know who the bad guy is going to be in the movie, then you shouldn’t know. It’s not just keeping the secret for secrecy’s sake. It’s not giving the audience information that the characters have.”
In storytelling, this is often what’s known as “jumping the wall,” where the audience is given information the main characters don’t have. A great touch in Se7en is that it doesn’t jump the wall, and we know as much as Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman know. We don’t know who the killer is until they stumble upon his identity themselves. There’s also fun ways to play with this for audiences knowing something the characters don’t. Like Hitchcock said, great suspense is when there’s a bomb under the table, and you know it going to go off in ten minutes, but the people sitting there don’t know.
Lindelof teased, “[If I tell people who Cumberbatch plays, they know that they] would have a five-second rush of exhilaration followed by four months of being completely and totally bummed out that they can’t tell anybody else and that when it gets revelaed in the movie, it will have been spoiled for them. That’s why they’re called ‘spoilers,’ they’re not called ‘awesomes.’"
Great last line there. So who knows who this John Harrison guy could ultimately be. Or maybe he’s just John Harrison and they’ve been teasing us the whole time. Lindelof joked to the Times that Benedict Cumberbatch “doesn’t even know who he’s playing.” With so many movies being treated like matters of national security, that actually wouldn’t surprise me.