As a franchise, Star Trek is full of strange, unique, and terrifying villains. Next year, Idris Elba is going to bring his own brand of antagonist to the big screen in Star Trek Beyond, the third installment in the rebooted films. While we don’t know much about his character, the British actor recently opened up on the matter, promising something "groundbreaking."
At a press day for his upcoming Beasts of No Nation, which is garnering a great deal of hype leading up to it’s release next month, MTV caught up with the handsome 43-year-old actor, and he opened up a bit about his shadowy role. Without digging into specifics, Elba talked about the nature of his big bad and how he fits into the franchise, saying:
I think ‘Star Trek’ has prided themselves as being quite classic when it comes to villains, like ‘he’s a guy who wants to end the world,’ there’s no doubt about that. But in this version of the film, there’s a slightly different twist to that. It’s quite an interesting journey, which I think is groundbreaking for the franchise. But, it still keeps with the ‘classic bad guy is a classic bad guy’ tone.
One of the early rumors going around about Star Trek Beyond was that the villains were the Klingons, the fan favorite Trek characters who, up to this point, have been almost entirely absent from the revamped franchise. That led people to speculate that Elba was playing a Klingon. Simon Pegg, who, in addition to co-starring in the film as Scotty, was brought in to retool the script late in the game, squashed that rumor with little fanfare.
While this doesn’t bring us any closer to knowing the particulars about Elba’s baddie, he presents some interesting things to think about. For instance, what makes him groundbreaking? Since he apparently wants to destroy the world, you have to wonder about his motivation. Why does he want to destroy this, and does this mean Earth, the United Federation of Planets, some other planet somewhere? Theoretically, Star Trek Beyond jumps a head in time a bit and finds the crew of the Enterprise in the middle of their five-year mission, and if that’s true, it’s hard to see how Earth figures into the plan.
Despite all kinds of speculation to the contrary, this is going to be a completely original character (okay, we all remember the "it’s not Khan" fiasco last time), and though there will apparently be key differences, he’ll fit into the larger aesthetic and family of Star Trek villains.
Elba also references his character’s journey a couple of times, and notes that:
You’ve never seen me play a character like this.
These are going to be interesting elements to see play out on screen. Does Elba mean his journey within the narrative of the film itself; his larger story, including his history that may have led him down this villainous path; or something else? And along those same lines, what makes this character different than other roles he has played? He often plays a badass, so does this mean he’s a wuss? That would certainly be a change.
As with most things surrounding Star Trek Beyond, this just leaves us with more questions than answers, though they are intriguing questions to be sure. We’ll find out the answer to these and many more questions when the film opens on July 22, 2016.