Next week, director-producer extraordinaire J. J. Abrams (LOST, Cloverfield) re-starts one of the most beloved franchises in Hollywood history: Star Trek. What’s more, the eleventh feature film in the Star Trek universe is a reboot, not a sequel, which dares to revisit the youthful Starfleet Academy days of James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) and his future Enterprise crew. While we won’t reveal plot spoilers here (suffice to say this Trek places our familiar officers in an alternate reality timeline), we thought we’d take a close look at the cast of Abrams’ Star Trek to see how closely they resemble their classic counterparts. See how the Enterprise crew measures up inside!
Strengths: Twenty-eight-year-old Chris Pine has a William Shatner-esque, boyish quality to him (see: Princess Diaries 2) but there’s also edginess beneath that handsome mug (see: Smokin’ Aces). We think Pine has got what it takes to give Kirk a faithful facelift.
Weaknesses: Can…anyone…resist…impersonating… the Shat? Pine will have to walk a delicate line between playing the character and playing the man who made Captain Kirk iconic to begin with.
Strengths: We know Zachary Quinto can do cold and calculating, thanks to his work as Sylar on Heroes. And maybe it’s the pointy ears and the bowl cut, but we think he looks the part of a young Nimoy, too.
Weaknesses: Where Nimoy was a master of the intelligent-yet-impassive face, Quinto’s Spock seems to struggle more to contain his emotions. Plus, can Quinto sing like Nimoy?
Strengths: Actress Zoë Saldaña has the charisma to keep pace with the flashiest co-stars — she starred in Crossroads opposite Britney Spears, after all — and has the wit to fill Nichelle Nichols’ shoes (and Federation-issued minidress) as the xenolinguistics expert.
Weaknesses: Starred in Crossroads opposite Britney Spears.
Strengths: New Zealand actor Urban seems to “get” what Bones is all about — complaining, practicing medicine, and cultivating his bromance with Jim Kirk.
Weaknesses: Urban has built a career around playing muscular warrior types (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Doom, Pathfinder), so he was a surprising choice to play the sardonic (and combat-averse) doctor.
Strengths: Let’s be frank; there aren’t many Asian American actors in Hollywood who are household names, let alone ones who are great dramatic and comic actors, so we’re especially glad that Abrams picked John Cho to fill the pilot’s chair. Plus, Cho appears to have some mean fencing skills.
Weaknesses: Despite quibbles over casting Korean-American Cho as the Japanese-American Sulu, in the globalized — nay, galacticized — future, Sulu represents all Asians. Or something.
Strengths: Russian-born Anton Yelchin has mastered the art of the Chekov “w” — nuclear wessels, anyone? — and plays the character as a believable sort of naive boy genius.
Weaknesses: WTF, Abrams? Chekov didn’t have curly hair!!!
Strengths: The Enterprise‘s basement-dwelling engineer has always been the life of the Trek party, so who better to spice up Kirk’s authority-challenging tiffs and Spock’s half-human, half-Vulcan existential crises?
Weaknesses: Pegg looks nothing like the Scotty we know from the original Star Trek, and he’s likely to give us more of the usual Pegg humor. Aw, who are we kidding? We love him! Bring on the hyper-Brit antics!
Strengths: It’s not really a matter of “casting,” but Abrams and Co. did give the beloved USS Enterprise a bit of a facelift. We’ll leave you Trekkies to make out the differences (hint: check out the bridge and the engineering sections to start).
Star Trek opens nationwide Friday, May 8.
See more from Star Trek on RT