Warning: This article contains spoilers that some readers may prefer to avoid.
In a spoiler-filled exchange with MTV, Lindelof opened up about the John Harrison villain reveal, linking back to Wrath of Khan and an alternate title for the film.
Lindelof claimed that he and the production team engaged in “a fair amount of back and forth” regarding Benedict Cumberbatch’s character revealing himself to be classic Trek villain Khan.
“It was never really a ‘Should we or shouldn’t we?’ as much as it was ‘We really have to do this but if we don’t get it right people are going to kill us’,” Lindelof said.
“I think that character is so iconic – he has such an intense gravity in the Trek universe, we likely would have expended more energy NOT putting him in this movie than the other way around.”
On the film’s reversal of the Khan’s climactic death scene, Lindelof said: “We were ever wary of the line between ‘reimagined homage’ and ‘direct ripoff’ and erred on the side of the former…”
“We never considered leaving Kirk dead at the end of this movie.”
The writer explained that he and fellow writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and director JJ Abrams chose to include Leonard Nimoy’s Spock Prime as a way to link their Star Trek back to the original ’60s series and movies.
“We continue to feel blessed that we get to carry the Trek torch and the best way of expressing that in story is to acknowledge the parallel world we are deviating from – a world whose sole ambassador just happens to be Mr Spock,” he said.
“It would have been hubris for us to represent to the uninitiated that Khan was our idea and there was no-one better to pop in briefly and say – ‘Hey, these guys are just doing their own spin on a bad guy that was around a long time before they came along’.”
“The minute we stop honouring, acknowledging and representing the original Trek, we are bound to lose sight of the enormous gift we have been given in sustaining it.”
Lindelof confirmed that Star Trek Vengeance was an early working title for the film, but Abrams dismissed the idea because of its similarity to the recent Ghost Rider sequel.
He also discussed the inclusion of a scene showing Alice Eve’s Starfleet weapons expert Carol Marcus stripping in front of Kirk.
“Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God’s name she would undress in that circumstance?” he replied. “Well there’s a very good answer for that. But I’m not telling you what it is. Because… uh… MYSTERY?”
He explains why Carol Marcus spoke with a British accent.
“Well, she explains that at length. But we cut it out because the story wanted to explain the torpedoes… not the fact that Marcus was stationed in London when Carol was a little girl. We did shoot this and I’m sure it will be available on the BluRay for all interested in the under-discussed area of British accents and why they are awesome because British people are cooler than we are.”