As with all movies directed or produced by J.J. Abrams, the as-yet untitled Star Trek sequel (simply being referred to as Star Trek 2 for now) has been an intensely secretive movie. So secretive, in fact, that nobody outside of the production has a clue as to the identity of the villain terrorizing the crew of the USS Enterprise this time out. Years of speculation jumped into incessant rumors when the sequel cast Benedict Cumberbatch as the bad guy in January, with frequent invocations of classic nemesis Khan Noonien Singh, played in the original series episode "Space Seed" and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan by Ricardo Montalban.
Earlier this week, Urban himself squeezed some lighter fluid on the rumor fire when he matter-of-factly stated that Cumberbatch is portraying Gary Mitchell. In the original series episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" Mitchell, played by Gary Lockwood, was Captain Kirk's best friend from Starfleet Academy, causing trouble for Kirk when the Enterprise plowed through a galactic barrier and Mitchell gained godlike psychic powers. The rumors surrounding Cumberbatch's character have been so nonstop that Urban's assertion has been widely considered an intentional misdirect by Abrams and company.
At a Comic-Con roundtable promoting Dredd, Urban was asked directly about the hubbub over his Mitchell comment, to which he responded, "I’m not at liberty to discuss that."
Since Abrams has publicly reacted to even minor leaks on the sequel, it's only natural to assume that Urban took some heat for his slip, provided it was a slip. Answering inquiries about possible calls from Abrams, Urban revealed that we can expect some sequel goodies very soon, saying, "There might have been a call or two. I will say this, speaking of Star Trek; there will be some exclusive footage from the new Star Trek that will drop on the net at the end of today."
Fans of the 2009 alternate timeline reboot Star Trek have long been eager to return to the Enterprise, but the deliberative approach taken by Abrams and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Damon Lindelof meant a longer wait than most expect for a big franchise these days. The gap between movies made for a simultaneously familiar and novel experience, according to Urban.
"It was surreal," he said. "It was four years since we made the last Star Trek and I remember coming to work the first day and I thought I had been transported in a time warp and Obama was about to be elected again. I walked on set and there was the same cast, same crew, same extras, and it was so trippy, so weird, but so wonderful to start that again. This time everyone was a lot more relaxed with each other and when you develop a short hand with colleagues that you have been through the wars with, that’s how it felt. It was really interesting to see the evolution in everybody’s process."
The twelfth entry in the theatrical Star Trek franchise is scheduled to arrive in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on May 17, 2013.