JJ Abrams: why I rebooted Klingons for Star Trek Into Darkness (Exclusive)

No more Cornish pasties.

If you kept your eyes peeled while watching our exclusive ‘Disrupting Uhura’ clip for ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’, you’ll have noticed that some familiar - yet slightly different - adversaries from the ‘Trek’ universe were making a comeback: the Klingons.

However, the alien warriors have got a totally new look in the sci-fi sequel, and we asked director JJ Abrams why he rebooted them.

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“I thought the [new] design was incredibly cool,” he said. “We have a designer Neville Page who came up with a great design and we feel like [it was] in the realm of what people knew... but a distinct difference.”

You’ll see from our grainy before and after footage that the Klingons have updated masks and armour, more face-markings, no glorious hair (unlike Worf) and most shockingly, those iconic foreheads are no longer shaped like Cornish pasties.

Abrams, who has updated almost every other aspect of ‘Trek’ in his two reboot movies, justified the overhaul, saying: “It also shows that this ‘Star Trek’ was not trying to copy what was done nearly 50 years ago, but find its own rhythm, its own universe. It just felt like the right choice.”

Another inspired decision was casting Benedict Cumberbatch as the film’s villain, the mysterious John Harrison.

He didn’t agree with producer Bryan Burk’s comments - that Eric Bana’s Nero in the last movie was a weak villain - but he did admit that it was “critical to us that we had a great, really intense villain in his film, and someone who has more complexity than we had done before”.

“I think in the first ‘Star Trek’ we did had the perfect villain for what was necessary in that movie. Meaning this group was just coming together, so he didn’t need to be the most complex villain, he just had to be a true adversary and obstacle for our characters. 

“We tried to approach ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ in a different way, to make this a standalone movie. The villain in this film is a much more insidiously manipulative, terrifying presence, played I think brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch.”

Abrams also filled us in on his future ‘Star Trek’ plans.  Check out Yahoo! Movies later on today for his thoughts.

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is released in the UK on 9 May.