This was Leonard Nimoy's final acting role before his death on February 27, 2015 at age 83.
One of the conditions for Leonard Nimoy to make an appearance as Spock in this film was for J.J. Abrams to make sure coffee ice cream, which Nimoy loved, was available at all times on the set.
Benedict Cumberbatch's character was not revealed to the actor until a week after he was cast. A studio representative flew to London from Los Angeles with the script handcuffed to his wrist.
There is an inside joke with Chekov being asked to put on a red shirt by Kirk, and Chekov's less than enthusiastic reaction. In a famous interview, Walter Koenig stated that being a part of Star Trek all of these years was fantastic, as long as you didn't wear a red shirt, since most of those who wore the red shirts in the Original Series were almost always killed. This had led to the infamous theory of the "Red Shirt Curse", which was debunked somewhat, when a thorough investigation showed that only ten percent of red shirt crew members, seen in the Original Series, died (although they still comprised about seventy-three percent of all on-screen deaths). Sadly, Anton Yelchin, the actor who played Chekov, died in a car crash a month before the release of Star Trek Beyond (2016).
An "in joke" reference is made to Simon Pegg when he is trying to open the bay doors during Kirk and Khan's boarding attempt. The security guard asks Scotty to "show his other hand". It is common knowledge to Star Trek fans that James Doohan never intentionally revealed both hands in any of the original series because of the loss of one of his fingers (lost in combat during the D-Day invasion while storming the beach). Mr. Doohan's war wound is visible in several episodes: among them, "The Trouble with Tribbles", in which the scene required Scotty to carry the Tribbles with both arms.
There's mention of the starship U.S.S. Bradbury. This is in tribute to science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who passed away on June 5, 2012.
The torpedo that Dr. "Bones" McCoy and Dr. Carol Marcus attempt to disassemble bears several markings of "CVN-65". This is the registry of the decommissioned U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier.
Scotty refers to McCoy as "Bones". This is the only instance in the history of Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) where someone other than Kirk refers to him by this nickname. In Star Trek: The Original Series: The Tholian Web (1968), when McCoy gets angry, Spock tells him that Kirk would have said "Forget it, Bones."
Karl Urban pays homage to DeForest Kelley, as he wears a pinkie ring on his left hand, just as Kelley did in the original Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) series and six movies.
Benedict Cumberbatch recorded his screentest in his best friend's kitchen using an iPhone.
The seat belts that deploy from crew chairs on the bridge and at a warp core control station had originally been featured in a deleted final scene from Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
Paramount Pictures requested that J.J. Abrams make the film in 3-D. However, Abrams wanted to shoot it two-dimensionally on film using IMAX cameras. The two compromised, making this the first feature film to be shot in IMAX and converted to 3-D in post-production.
One of the shuttles in the shuttle bay is named "Takei", a nod to George Takei, the original Hikaru Sulu.
Benedict Cumberbatch was recommended to J.J. Abrams by his Super 8 (2011) co-producer Steven Spielberg, who directed the actor in the film War Horse (2011).
One of the key action setpieces, the space jump sequence, was largely achieved by pulling Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch along the floor on a hoist.
J.J. Abrams briefly considered casting William Shatner in a small, pivotal role, but ultimately changed his mind.
During the scene when Kirk wakes up in bed with two cat-like alien girls, the tails on them are not computer graphics. They are actually remote controlled animatronic tails attached to the costumes. Chris Pine stated that the tails creeped him out, as they reminded him of spider legs, and he hates spiders.
During filming, Simon Pegg pranked the cast into convincing them to wear neutron cream on their face when filming in the laser room because of neutron damage.
The warp core pictured in the film is actually Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world's largest and most energetic laser system. Real-life scientists are attempting to create nuclear fusion. In 2012, with the approval of the Department of Energy, NIF was utilized for the first time as a film set during a normal maintenance cycle for the facility. All additive costs were completely reimbursed by the film company so as to have no impact on NIF's experimental plan.
Chekov's temporary posting to Chief Engineer in this film is based on a long running backstory and fan joke. When he was recognized by Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), this was long considered to be a goof, since the two were never seen meeting on-screen in Star Trek: The Original Series: Space Seed (1967) (as Walter Koenig had not yet joined the cast). Fans conceived of an explanation to this inconsistency by speculating that Chekov was assigned in the security department during the Space Seed incident, and attempted to seal off engineering to stop Khan from taking over the ship. Kirk was so impressed by his bravery, that he subsequently moved Chekov to bridge navigation. This also explained why Chekov was a weapons and tactical officer on the bridge in the first three films.
According to J.J. Abrams, the time travel-alternate reality concept used in the previous film was a deliberate ploy to enable a clean slate for new films: "The idea, now that we are in an independent timeline, allows us to use any of the ingredients from the past, or come up with brand-new ones, to make potential stories."
One of the two "Starfleet Memorial Admirals" was Gerald W. Abrams, J.J. Abrams' father.
Dermot Mulroney plays cello in the scoring orchestra for this movie. Mulroney, who is better known as an actor (Longtime Companion (1989), My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), et cetera), is also a classical cellist who occasionally plays in recording sessions for soundtracks.
J.J. Abrams pitched the villain to Benedict Cumberbatch as a combination of The Joker (The Dark Knight (2008)), Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs (1991)), and Jack Torrance (The Shining (1980)).
After the attack on the Kelvin Memorial Archive, all top brass is summoned to the Daystrom Conference Room at Starfleet Headquarters. The conference room name is in reference to Richard Daystrom who invented the duotronic processor, the basis for the Enterprise's computer. The character was also the inventor of the defective M-5 AI computer featured in Star Trek: The Original Series: The Ultimate Computer (1968).
In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Uhura (to Nichelle Nichols' objections) was unfamiliar with Klingonese during their covert mission into Klingon territory. However, the alternate reality-Uhura is fluent in the language, and able to use the skill while in Klingon space.
During the opening sequence, McCoy says "Shut up, Spock, we're trying to save you, damn it!". McCoy spoke a very similar line in the original series episode Star Trek: The Original Series: The Immunity Syndrome (1968), when he states, "Shut up, Spock! We're rescuing you!".
This marks the first time a Star Trek film has shot outside the United States, with shooting in Iceland for special effects sequences.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(J.J. Abrams): [lens flare]: Known for using lens flare to heighten the action, and has apologized for "overusing" lens flare in the Star Trek films.
In the scene where Bones and Carol are about to open one of the seventy-two missiles to prove Khan's claim that there's more than just a missile inside, Bones mentions that he once performed a emergency C-section on a pregnant Gorn, noting "those little bastards bite!" This is reference to an off-screen event in the video game tie-in Star Trek (2013), where Sulu stuns a pregnant Gorn and Bones performs said C-section.
When Kirk is in sick bay, the screen displaying information on Kirk's vital conditions includes a notation for "Dr. Boyce". Dr. Boyce was the name of the ship's doctor in the original series pilot Star Trek: The Original Series: The Cage (1966).
According to J.J. Abrams, the writers wanted a much more nuanced and complex villain for the sequel. They decided to bring back Khan for the sequel, due to the character's massive popularity.
When calling down to the shuttle bay, Sulu commands the crew to prepare the transport captured during the "Mudd incident last month", a reference to the same character who appeared in Star Trek: The Original Series: Mudd's Women (1966) and Star Trek: The Original Series: I, Mudd (1967) as a rogue trader. He also appeared in the comic prequel "Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness".
Chekov spends much of the film in engineering rather than the bridge, so that he does not interact with Khan. This is in keeping with Star Trek: The Original Series: Space Seed (1967), which aired before Chekov was added to the main cast. Ironically, Chekov is the only Enterprise crew member Khan interacted with directly in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) (every other contact was through a view-screen). Khan's face-to-face interaction with the rest of the crew on board the Enterprise is a first since "Space Seed".
Benicio Del Toro was in early talks for the role of John Harrison, but eventually declined due to monetary issues. Demián Bichir, Edgar Ramírez and Jordi Mollà were considered afterwards, before Benedict Cumberbatch was finally cast.
The computer of the USS Vengeance is voiced by Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live fame.
Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman explained that the dilemma for the sequel was whether to pit the crew against another villain like in Star Trek (2009), or to have an "exploration science fiction plot, where the unknown and nature itself is somehow an adversary", like on Star Trek: The Original Series (1966).
In the opening sequence on Nibiru, as Kirk and Bones are running, the ground looks artificially hexagonal, almost as though the ground were paved with hexagonal slabs. However, this pattern can happen in nature, as it has in the "Giants Causeway" in Northern Ireland.
Of all the titles proposed for the film, including many joke titles, Damon Lindelof preferred "Star Trek: Transformers 4" best: "It's technically available, we can go there!"
In the first draft of Star Trek: The Original Series: Space Seed (1967), the villain's name was Harold Ericsson. In reference to this, in the screenplay for this film, Khan's false identity was originally John Ericsson. This was changed to Harrison in post-production, as it sounds similar enough to Ericsson that this could easily match the actors' lip movements.
During Spock's fight with Khan, a six-note musical cue can be heard which is strongly reminiscent of the score from an episode of the original series, "Amok Time", during a scene where Kirk and Spock are fighting to the death. This can be heard on the score in the track called "The San Fran Hustle" at approximately 1:58.
Michael Dorn, who had played the Klingon Starfleet Lieutenant Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), was contacted for a role during the start of filming, and was asked to play an officer. Eventually, the filmmakers decided that "they didn't want to mix the old with the new", and cut him out. The exception was the inclusion of Section 31 (referenced throughout Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and Star Trek: Enterprise (2001)) as part of the film's plot, which Admiral Marcus is a leading member.
In one of the exchanges between McCoy and Kirk, McCoy says, "Are you out of your cornfed mind?" This is a reference to the fact that Kirk is from Iowa.
The San Francisco memorial monument in the film's ending is strongly inspired by the U.S.S. Arizona memorial in Hawaii, the most significant change being the building is a dark color, instead of white.
As Spock witnesses Kirk's supposed death, he is overcome by rage. This is only the second time in the character's screen history where unprovoked emotion has ever overcome his logic. The first time was in the original series episode "Amok Time," when Spock was momentarily overcome with happiness at seeing Kirk was alive. (While Spock HAS displayed emotion at other times, it was due to outside effects causing it.)
Only the second time in the history of the franchise where Scotty calls Kirk "Jim" (during the loading of the seventy-two torpedoes on board the Enterprise). The other being the original series episode Star Trek: The Original Series: Mirror, Mirror (1967), when James Doohan offers to stay behind and operate the transporter.
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for playing the title character on Sherlock (2010). Leonard Nimoy played Sherlock Holmes on stage in the 1970s, and even makes reference to this fact in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), citing Holmes' logic that "when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Star Trek VI cast member Christopher Plummer also played Holmes, and also speaks a trademark line, "The game's afoot." Nimoy also recorded a song in the 1970s, "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins", inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Cumberbatch voices the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), in which his Sherlock castmate Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins.
Edgar Wright, a friend of Simon Pegg, has said that he directed a one single shot during the scene featuring the Klingons on Kronos, while being uncredited for that shot.
When Kirk gets his first look inside the torpedo, Bones is wearing the lighter blue doctor's smock version of the Starfleet uniform (wide collar, short sleeves), a nod to the one DeForest Kelley wore regularly on the original series. While Kelley's version of the smock featured his normal Starfleet insignia, the Starfleet insignia on this updated uniform is uniquely white with a Red Cross. It is the first time we see Karl Urban's version wear this variation of the uniform.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(J.J. Abrams): [mission]: The film is dedicated to post-9/11 veterans. This is due to Abrams' connection to The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that serves as a framework for U.S. military veterans to do community service work when they return home from overseas. The organization's founder and CEO Eric Greitens makes a cameo appearance alongside other veterans in the film's ending as one of the flag folders. A section of the film's official website is dedicated to The Mission Continues.
(At around ten minutes) A view of the London skyline in 2259, the cluttered view of skyscrapers is not at all unrealistic. At the time of writing (2016), there are seventy new skyscrapers being built in London, with another two hundred at the planning and proposal stages.
Heather Langenkamp, Nancy Thompson of the original horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), has an unrecognizable, yet small role as an alien crew member of the Enterprise.
The screenwriters studied science fiction novels by Arthur C. Clarke and Larry Niven for inspiration.
Like the previous movie, this one also contains a reference to Nurse Chapel of the original series (played by Majel Barrett). Interestingly, this callback breaks continuity with Star Trek (2009), as in that movie, McCoy is heard addressing a "Nurse Chapel" (who replies from off-screen), whereas in this one, we get the impression that Christine Chapel became a nurse following an encounter with Kirk in the interim between the two movies (since Kirk and Uhura did not know each other before Star Trek (2009), the reference to a common acquaintance is unlikely to refer to someone from before that point in time).
This movie is the second time Chris Pine plays a character whose rival/nemesis is named John Harrison. In Star Trek: Into Darkness, Benedict Cumberbatch's character's alias is John Harrison before his true identity as Khan is revealed, and in This Means War (2012), Pine's character is competing with Tom Hardy's character Tuck (whose real name is also John Harrison) for the affections of Reese Witherspoon's character.
In an episode of Sherlock (2010), Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) jokingly calls Holmes "Spock", after Sherlock goes on a rant about divorcing himself from his emotions. Benedict Cumberbatch appears alongside Spock (Zachary Quinto) in this film.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Alice Eve have worked together twice before, in Hawking (2004) and Starter for 10 (2006).
There are several bar code scanners incorporated into design of various stations manned by the Enterprise crew. All scanners have the red reflective glass in the upper section. Most noticeable are two white-beige scanners between Sulu's and Chekov's stations on the bridge, two black ones in the middle of Science Officer 0718's station, that is to the right of the Captain's chair, and one small scanner that looks like a beige pyramid with a sphere on top, which is located on Chekov's station near the warp drive.
Bruce Greenwood and Peter Weller have voiced the role of DC Comics hero Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman: Greenwood in Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010) and Young Justice (2010), and Weller in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012) and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (2013).
Noel Clarke (Thomas Harewood) is best known for playing Mickey Smith on Doctor Who (2005).
The second of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek films wherein two female characters are seen in their underwear. In this film: one of the women in bed with Kirk, and Carol Marcus. In the previous film Star Trek (2009): Uhura and Gaila.
There are a few actors and actresses from comic book movies in this film: Zoe Saldana played Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)), Karl Urban played Judge Dredd (Dredd (2012)), as well as Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Benedict Cumberbatch played Dr. Stephen Strange (Doctor Strange (2016)), and Chris Pine played Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman (2017).
This is Scott Lawrence's second "Star Trek" appearance; he previously guest starred in Star Trek: Voyager: The Void (2001) as Captain Garon of the Nygeans.
Peter Weller previously starred in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), along with former Trek villain Christopher Lloyd; and in RoboCop (1987) alongside fellow Trek veterans Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Ray Wise and Miguel Ferrer.
Peter Weller played Terra Prime leader John Frederick Paxton in the Star Trek: Enterprise episodes Star Trek: Enterprise: Demons (2005) and Star Trek: Enterprise: Terra Prime (2005). He also played Admiral Alexander Marcus in this movie. The 2013 virtual collectible card battle game "Star Trek: Rivals" uses pictures of him for card #81 "Admiral A. Marcus" and card #106 "Rogue Admiral A. Marcus".
Karl Urban and Benedict Cumberbatch have both appeared in Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth films. Urban played Eomer in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), while Cumberbatch voiced both Smaug and the Necromancer in the Hobbit trilogy. Both trilogies also featured Cate Blanchett, who went on to play Lucille Ball, whose company Desilu produced the original television series.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Zoe Saldana also co-starred together in "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018).
The scene in which Batman interrogates the Joker in the Gotham Police Department interview room in The Dark Knight (2008) is considered a strong influence behind the scenes which Kirk and Spock interrogates Harrison a.k.a. Khan.
This movie stars several actors/actresses who play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Bendedict Cumberbatch (Khan) - Dr. Strange Karl Urban (McCoy) - Skurge the Executioner Zoe Zaldana (Uhuru) - Gamora In the first Star Trek movie Chris Hemsworth (Captain Kirk's father) has a brief role and plays Thor in the MCU. In the 3rd (and as of now final) Star Trek movie Star Trek Beyond, Idris Elba (Krall) - plays Heimdall in the MCU.
When Spock is chasing Khan through the streets of San Francisco, J. J. Abrams has the camera follow them the same way that it follows Ethan Hunt through the streets of Shanghai in Mission Impossible III.
Peter Weller and Bruce Greenwood have both voiced Batman in multiple animated films for the WB animation studios.
Two stars of the television series Spartacus (2010) have small roles in the film. Cynthia Addai-Robinson as a woman witnessing the Vengeance crashing in San Francisco, and Nick E. Tarabay, as the Klingon who speaks to Uhura.
Sophia Myles, who was considered for Carol Marcus, for which Alice Eve was cast, bears a physical resemblance to actress Bibi Besch who played Carol Marcus in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).
This is the third "Star Trek" film not to receive a Hugo Award nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation.
It is not made clear why Kirk violated the Prime Directive to save the Nibiru inhabitants from the active volcano. It is a standard practice for naturalists not to interfere when animals lives are in danger; an example being the death of a baby elephant from dehydration in David Attenborough's series Africa (2013). In contrast, while filming a series in Antarctica in 2019 Attenborough's cameraman dug a ramp in the snow to enable a large number of penguins to escape from a hole in which they had fallen.
This is the only instance in all of the Star Trek films or in the original series in which James Kirk is portrayed as being dishonest, untrustworthy, and vindictive. Kirk's other self, as portrayed in a parallel universe in Star Trek: The Original Series: Mirror, Mirror (1967) was portrayed as having those flaws, but never the Kirk of our universe.