J.J. Abrams may want to reveal as little as possible about next summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness, the follow up to his massively successful Star Trek reboot, but that hasn’t stopped fans from obsessively mining every frame of new footage for fresh details about the direction of the sequel. I can’t recall a more fevered “is-he-or-isn’t-he” discussion than the ones swirling around Benedict Cumberbatch’s identity in the summer blockbuster, which – need we remind you – isn’t coming out in theaters for several more months.

This will either help tide you over, or push your further into the brink of insanity. Empire has Trek on its most recent cover, and posted two new images inside its latest magazine, which will be on newsstands on Dec. 27. But we have a sneak peek for you here, an early Christmas gift for Trek fans around the globe.

That first one shows Spock (Zachary Quinto) in a tough spot. I’m already loving the steely-blue color hue. But where is he? Is that supposed to imply a frigid atmosphere? What do you think about that hand-cannon Spock’s wielding? More effective than a simple phaser set to stun. The second image gives us yet another look at what we’re assuming will be a pivotal confrontation between Chris Pine’s Capt. Kirk and Cumberbatch’s “John Harrison.” Hinting as similar face-offs in The Dark Knight, The Avengers and Skyfall, this scene suggests that Cumberbatch’s villain is detained … but possibly on purpose, with a greater goal in mind.

Empire has four covers dedicated to Star Trek Into Darkness, while ComingSoon scanned additional images from the pages of the mag. Surf them, scan them for clues, and keep the Into Darkness train rolling along.

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