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Today marked the beginning of CinemaCon, the annual convention for theater owners where studios bring footage from all of their major upcoming releases. Tonight the event was kicked off by a presentation from Paramount Pictures – which of course meant the reveal of some brand new scenes from the highly-anticipated J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek Into Darkness.

Introduced by Damon Lindelof, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho and Alice Eve, the first footage they showed was actually an extended version of the footage that was brought to theaters attached to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey back in December. For those that don’t remember (you can revisit it HERE), that scene ended with Spock (Zachary Quinto) staring up at a huge wave of lava about to come crashing down on him, urging his fellow crew members on the USS Enterprise not to expose the ship to the native people and break the prime directive: the guiding rule of the federation that states that there can be no meddling with internal development of alien civilizations.

Naturally, however, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the rest of the crew decides to save Spock any way. As the ship surfaces out of the water, the technology-lacking aliens look on in amazement. We see the countdown clock on Spock’s volcano disruption device tick down to nine seconds, but suddenly the teleportation process begins. As Spock is brought back to the Enterprise, his device goes off and literally freezes the volcano, saving the planet. Kirk and Bones rush to the teleportation where they are elated to see their Vulcan friend, but Spock is instead angry with them for breaking the prime directive. As Kirk shrugs it off, the camera returns to the surface of the planet where the aliens have drawn an outline of the Enterprise in the sand.

In the next scene, we watch as Kirk angrily walks into a lab where John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) is sitting peacefully. After the captain scolds the villain and tells him that he will pay for what he has done, he makes an admission: the crew needs Harrison’s help. The Enterprise is parked near an unknown ship that Harrison seems to know quite a bit about, and Kirk needs his help getting over to it. Kirk says that he will guarantee the safety of Harrison’s crew, to which Harrison retorts that Kirk can’t even protect his own crew.

We then cut to Scotty (Simon Pegg) who is somehow aboard the mystery ship, and he is instructed to open an airlock so that Kirk and Harrison can fly over from the Enterprise (as a fun joke for fans, Scotty even calls Harrison "whoever you are," showing that he is just as in the dark as the rest of us about the character’s real identity). The captain and the villain suit up on the Enterprise, but then Scotty discovers a problem: the airlock he is opening is only four feet wide. While some are worried about this, Kirk remains confident, explaining to Harrison that he once had to jump from the ship to a platform similar in size – a reference to the scene in the 2009 film where Kirk, Sulu and a red shirt had to do a space jump down to a drill digging into the planet Vulcan.

Kirk and Harrison are then shot out of the Enterprise towards the mystery ship, and must navigate their way through a field of debris that stands between them and their goal. As they fly around, Scotty works to strap himself in and open the airlock – but is forced to stop when a giant dude comes from behind him and holds a phaser to the back of his head. After making a few comments about the extreme size of the man, Scotty claims to be from maintenance, but the giant guy is having none of it. The scene then returns to Kirk, who is now in serious trouble due to a piece of debris cracking his helmet. This problem is made only worse when it appears that Harrison has struck a piece of debris and gone offline. As the crack slowly spreads it shuts off Kirk’s navigation, which leads to Spock commenting that there is zero probability of reaching the other ship safely – to which Kirk remarks that Spock needs to work on his bedside manner. Fortunately, Harrison then comes back on line and lines up so that Kirk can follow him to the ship.

The Enterprise crew is unable to reach Scotty, but continues to call through his communicator, counting down to Kirk and Harrison’s arrival at the door. When the call gets down to one, Scotty apologizes to the armed gunman and hits the airlock and holds on for dear life as his opponent is sucked to the other end of the hull and Kirk and Harrison successfully land. As the duo recovers, Scotty jokingly says, "Welcome aboard!"

Given the movie’s title, the second sequence was actually pretty light and funny, which means that all of the real "darkness" is being kept for the theatrical release. But all told, the footage really created more questions than it answered. What is the alien race from the beginning going to do now that they’ve been exposed to advanced technology for the first time? Why was Scotty so impressed with the size of the man who was pointing a gun at him? And WHO THE HELL IS JOHN HARRISON?!

We’ll just have to wait and find out on May 17th.

For more of our CinemaCon 2013 coverage head over HERE!
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