He gave a pretty good summary of where the film stands both in-universe and in the real world, as it moves on from what the first two films in the series focused on, how it relates to classic Trek, and the demands of modern blockbuster film-making:
...we want it to be about them on that five-year mission. In fact, two years into that five-year mission, and how that impacted them personally and what it meant to be out in space that long. And we liked the idea of also, on the fiftieth anniversary, looking at Roddenberry’s original vision and questioning it. The whole notion of the Federation and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing and how productive is inclusivity and what is the true cost of expansion. That kind of stuff. So we went in with some big philosophical questions to ask … Star Trek’s had to evolve in order to exist in the current marketplace. A film that was totally in the mood of the original series would not be made today, or make money today. Because people want event cinema. They want [things] to be a little more brash and a little more action-oriented. So we’ve had to dial that into the Star Trek brand. But at the same time that doesn’t mean that can’t be fundamentalized by all the tenants of what Star Trek is, and how those characters have evolved over the years, and to really give its DNA a kind of authenticity.
I felt like the Kirk-Spock thing, we’d done that now. Arguably maybe too soon in a way. I think there’s still a lot of time for those guys to become super friends. Maybe we’ll do that further down the line if we do more. I felt like now it was time to move away from the bromance thing and concentrate on the idea of the crew as a family living in a small space together, and what it means to all of them. I really love the dynamic between Bones and Spock, so that’s something we’ve kind of concentrated on a little bit with this one. Kirk’s older than his dad was when he died. All that sort of psychological stuff is playing on him. Scotty’s just still Scotty.And that is important to what the overall story is: That a few years into the mission the crew are perhaps getting a bit tired. In fact the way Pegg talks about it, focus on that last sentence in this quote, it seems that's a really crucial story point:
It’s less that they’re done with it. Because they know that they’ve still got time to go. It’s more that they’re dealing with what would inevitably be the psychological impact of doing it. It’s not they’re, “Oh, I don’t want to do this anymore.” No one’s over it. It’s just that they’re doing their job. They’re going from adventure to adventure and it’s kind of tiring, and wondering what the end game of it all is. The idea of the movie, the story in the film, is that what they encounter helps to clarify what their job is.
Part of the story at least begins with them docking up at a new Starbase which is at the very edge of space. It’s a new kind of diplomatic hub. It’s called Yorktown, and it’s right on the edge of Federation space. It’s where all the most recent Federation inductees can come and mingle with each other and sort of learn about each other.
...it’s basically a place where they can understand what being part of the Federation means, and it’s an important kind of tactical establishment for the Federation. They’re very, very far out, but it’s been built locally, so it’s very interesting to look at. It’s where the Enterprise docks up. For the first time in ten months it’s had proper contact with other people—that’s where the story begins.You can read the full interview, which also gives some very intereting insights into the unusually fast developement of the film, on the Nerdist.
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