Star Trek Beyond has a lot to live up to. While JJ Abrams' first Trek was a huge success, there are few that would consider its messy sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, a classic. And with Abrams now off in a galaxy far, far away, there's a sense that the series has something to prove.
Still, we're optimistic. Star Trek has a long and illustrious history, and we're all hoping that Justin Lin creates an adventure worthy of the franchise's 50th anniversary. Here's what we'd like to see tinkered with and improved for the 13th movie...
Live up to the title
For a series called Star Trek, the Abrams movies haven't done much actual trekking so far. Rectify that! Show us the Enterprise out on her own, deep into the five year mission, with the crew truly facing the unknown.
Happily, that seems to be the intention. We already know that at least one new alien race will be featured, and the title suggests that we're going to be going where no one has gone before. Well, at least not in the last two films.
Get over The Wrath Of Khan
Khan is a great movie. But it's already inspired two sort-of-remakes in Into Darkness and the diabolical Nemesis (LOL @ ickle Tom Hardy). You could even, to an extent, include JJ's first Trek, as that also hinged on a deranged revenge plot. Scrap all that. Tell us a new kind of story. Oh, and let's keep Benedict Cumberbatch in the freezer, eh?
Chuck in a moral dilemma
At its best, Trek was about hard choices. Think of episodes like "Amok Time", "The Empath" or Deep Space Nine's "In The Pale Moonlight" all stories that forced the characters to make tough decisions. The crew of the Enterprise wield great power, and it's always fascinating when that comes back to bite them. So give the crew something to disagree about: a situation where Bones will be outraged, Spock logical and Kirk is forced to do something for the greater good. And then show us the consequences.
Make a bit more sense
Into Darkness was a big old tangle of plot holes and weird, thrown away ideas. Hey cool, McCoy knows how to beat death now! Oh, you can transport between planets? Cool better ditch those spaceships, then. It was a classic "hang on a second..." movie. So, while we appreciate that these films are always going to require a certain bit of handwavey logic and less-than-credible science, it would be good if there was a stronger, more coherent plot this time around.
Dial down the action
Star Wars is an action-adventure series, but Star Trek can and arguably should be more thoughtful than that. This is a series about explorers and diplomats, after all, not galactic conflict. And yet the last two films have had explosions and gun fire all over the place.
We're not saying ditch the action entirely, but use it wisely. The destruction of Vulcan in the 2009 Star Trek was a genuine "holy shit!" moment because it had consequences. But you don't have to blow up planets to achieve the same effect. The storming of the Klingon ship in The Undiscovered Country is equally surprising and thrilling.
Give the women more to do
Zoe Saldana is a fine Uhura and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with pairing her off with Spock. It does, however, take away from the fact that the character was originally defined by her aptitude as a Starfleet officer, rather than her romance with a man. The only other significant female character in the new films so far has been Carol Marcus, and she's best known for stripping down to her pants and (possibly) being a future partner of Jim Kirk.
Starfleet is supposed to represent an egalitarian, post-sexism future where humanity has bettered itself. So let's have more female characters in prominent roles and don't have Kirk try to bed them all.
Give the Klingons something to do
Yeah, okay, this goes against the "give us new stuff" thing, but there's still room to touch on what the Klingons are up to. We're not saying make them the only other race in the film, but Into Darkness suggested that war was brewing between the Federation and the Klingons. Let's feel some of that political tension. They have an Empire. We should see some of that and get a sense of how powerful they really are.
And finally... Shatner?
We all love William Shatner. Without him there would be no Star Trek, probably. And there was a big rumour at the start of all this that he would cameo in this movie to celebrate the franchise's 50th birthday.
But that might not be such a brilliant idea. Getting Kirk Prime into the new universe would require a lot of narrative footwork. Moreover, if the plan is for the third film to strike off in new directions then this could be seen as a step backwards.
Then again it's William Shatner! And wouldn't we all like to see the ending of Generations conclusively undone?