What does the "Darkness" refer to in the Star Trek Into Darkness title, and why is it all Kirk's fault? In our exclusive interview, Simon Pegg reveals why Starfleet should never become a military organization, along with what the hell he's wearing (and drinking) when he's off ship. Spoilers ahead...
When you were off the Enterprise (in this clip in the bar) what exactly were you wearing?
Simon Pegg: I was wearing a fantastic ensemble that Michael Kaplan (our costume designer) had me wear. Which was this appalling shirt, but this rather cool jacket. It's difficult when you're dealing with fashion when it comes to the future. Because you don't really want to anchor anything too much in the present, you have to kind of be a little be out there. To give it some future modernity. But yeah, it was a disgusting shirt.
I guess it was. It was casual wear, it was drinking, drinking… frock.
You were drinking a brown liquid, I assume that was whisky? Was that deliberate, and did you ever try and make a "it's green" joke or yell WHISKY?
In the first film I was drinking Romulan Ale, I think, because I had some in Delta Vega, where I was. I probably smuggled a couple of bottles. But I think when he's out and about on Earth he just drinks good scotch?
You didn't slip in a classic Scotty line?
The trouble is that scene, the film moves at such a pace that any kind of digression sometimes slows things down. You kind of have to hit the ground running. There's plenty of room for little call backs. I love that the ship the guys take down to Kronos belonged to Harry Mudd, which is a really nice little callback to the series. But we've still got some films to make, so you might hear me complaining about the Galactic Whisky in another one.
Scotty is the only character who has a problem with the mission and protests his orders. Why do you think that's in Scotty? He really believes in Starfleet, and yet he was the only character who protests.
Because I don't think he expects Kirk to follow up with his threat [to let Scotty go]. Scotty and Kirk have an understanding they respect each other enormously. Scotty is totally in the right there, and what he stands up for he totally believes in. And Kirk is so blinded by his sense of vengeance, that Scotty calls his bluff and Kirk calls it back. Scotty has no choice but to leave the ship because he's a man of principles and honor. But I'm sure that the reason he goes off and gets drunk with Keenser is because he's completely lost. But thank goodness that he does. It was a really fun thing to play that because it was a great example of a Captain in his infancy, and Kirk making the wrong decision. Kirk was awarded the Enterprise very young, and I think this film is all about the fact that he's not ready for it.
So you think Kirk got promoted too fast?
I think he did, yeah, I think absolutely he did. I think the "Darkness" in the film's title is all to do with Kirk's uncertainty. I think it's confusion, because there's a point where no one knows what to do. The Darkness in the movie is his lack of experience. It's not the type of Dark Knight sense of darkness, or even in Benedict [Cumberbatch's] character, it's more like, "What the fuck do I do now?" It's a real life Kobayashi Maru and he fails it. If it wasn't for the intervention of someone on the outside, then everybody on that ship would be dead. It's sheer dumb luck that he gets through, I think he learns a valuable lesson.
You have a lot of important lines that speak loudly about the Trek world, specifically when you ask, "I thought we were explorers?" How important is exploring to Scotty?
I think that Scotty feels that everything that is happening is so besides the point, so besides what they're supposed to be for. Kirk really gets caught up in the attempt to sort of militarize Starfleet. To turn it into gigantic militia, rather than this sort of force of goodness and discovery. It's almost, in a way if Starfleet was militarized then we could have become the mirror universe. This could have been how we all became evil.
What do you think about Starfleet itself, something so huge and so expensive and with so many people that's basically on a mission of exploration and goodwill?
I think that's what makes Star Trek such an aspirational idea. Not only is it a place where everyone is accepted and there are multi ethnicities working together, different groups from all of the Galaxy are working together. We might actually evolve to a point where this is what we want to do, rather than concur or fight. It's a nice idea that the human race can evolve beyond these marshall instincts that we seem to have. That's one of the things about Star Trek, this utopian idea, that I think a lot of people latch on to. Isn't it a lovely thought that we could do that and not destroy ourselves.
I think he's just a friend. The true story of this is when Scotty when he was marooned on Delta Vega he has Keenser as his companion there and when we were making the film, the relationship between Keenser and Scotty seemed quite attractive. When Scotty beamed off and left Keenser on his own, it was quite a poignant moment. And me and J.J. were off set one day thinking, "wouldn't it be nice if he got out of there too, and maybe came on board the Enterprise?" We then called Michael Kaplan and asked if he could make a little Starfleet uniform? We called Deep Roy back and put him back in the make up and had him come aboard the ship, he's obviously a very talented engineer. He kind of operates as Scotty's conscience sometimes, because Scotty is often talking to himself. But it's not like he's Scrappy-Doo, he's just a non-human friend of Scotty.