Lessons we hope Star Trek: Beyond learned from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Although the upcoming Star Trek Beyond is the first post-reboot film in the franchise that JJ Abrams isn’t Directing, there’s a lot that the film could learn from the success of Abram’s recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Female agency

Star Trek’s post-reboot treatment of Uhura has been pretty well-received but in comparison to what The Force Awakens did with Rey, she falls a little short. A lot of her screentime in both the 2009 film and Into Darkness feels driven by her relationships with Spock and Kirk and it’d be cool to see her get a significant character arc of her own in Beyond.

Looking past Zoe Saldana‘s character, it’d also be great to see more female characters in the mix in general. Alice Eve‘s Carol Marcus was a pretty shallow and disappointing part of Into Darkness, hopefully Sofia Boutella‘s character delivers in this upcoming installment. 

The universe is a big place, explore more of it

Star Trek and Star Wars often get thrown together under the vague banner of science fiction but there’s a lot that seperates the two. Traditionally, Star Trek is a lot less interested in epic space warriors and more interested in exploring the unlimited possibilities presented by space travel itself.

We got a little taste of what an exploration-driven Star Trek might look like in the opening sequence of Into Darkness, hopefully these aspects are expanded upon in Beyond. Part of the reason audiences responded so well to The Force Awakens was that it wasn’t afraid to embrace what’s unique about Star Wars, Star Trek Beyond takes a similar approach.

Make consequences matter

One of the many issues that so irked fans with Star Trek Into Darkness was the way it played up Kirk’s (Chris Pine) “death” as a major moment, only to undo it with a cheap dues ex machina about twenty minutes later. The most memorable parts of both that first Abrams Star Trek and The Force Awakens are driven by a sense of consequence and hopefully Beyond tries to replicate this.

Perhaps they could even play off this, using major deaths as a doorway to introduce elements or characters from later eras of the Star Trek canon. Like The Force Awakens, Beyond shouldn’t be afraid to subvert what we know about the source material in meaningful ways.

Don’t give us all the answers

Given a fourth Star Trek film has already been greenlit, it would be great to see this film leave some room for speculation. One of the funnest parts of the discourse around The Force Awakens was the way that specific aspects of the plot were left ambigious enough to let fans come up with their own interpretations.

We already care about these characters. Star Trek Beyond should make the most of it and give us a hint at where they might go. Into Darkness wrapped things up far too neatly to leave us wanting more of this incarnation of Star Trek. Hopefully Beyond is a different case.

Star Trek Beyond hits cinemas on 21st of July. The film will premiere in Sydney next week.