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January 31, 2013

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: New app enrolls fans in Starfleet Academy

Posted in: Movies

Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk (Chris Pine) confront Benedict Cumberbatch in "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Zade Rosenthal/ Paramount)

Spock (Zachary Quinto), left, and Kirk (Chris Pine) confront the mysterious John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) in “Star Trek Into Darkness.” (Zade Rosenthal/ Paramount)

Alright, “Star Trek” fans, the wait is over — the wait to download the new “Star Trek” app, that is.

With only about 100 days until J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” opens in theaters (but really who’s counting?), the new app is now available for free download in the U.S. and Canada for iOS and Android at Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

Designed to appeal to hard-core “Trek” fans and more casual users, the “Star Trek” app comes with between 30-40 missions, with eight to 10 available at any given point and the option to skip missions that don’t seem especially interesting. New missions will become available every week.

Some missions will involve scavenger hunts, such as finding and scanning the latest “Star Trek Into Darkness” poster or visiting an AMC theater; some tasks will use an audio scan function to recognize when users are watching “Star Trek” content on TV or elsewhere and reward them with points. Some tasks will only be able to be completed inside certain areas.

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The app also aggregates news articles about “Star Trek Into Darkness,” in addition to offering access to exclusive interviews and photos as well as extended versions of trailers and movie clips.

Hero Complex got an early look at the app, sitting down at Paramount with director of product development Mitch Lusas, for a guided tour of what looks to be a fun foray into Abrams’ universe.

“This app is like the Star Fleet Academy,” Lusas said. “You start off as a cadet, and you complete these missions. As you complete each mission, it will disappear and a new mission will come up. You’ll advance in your rank, you’ll unlock content and there will be some other exclusive things that will come up as well.”

“The higher you get in your rank, the more content you will actually unlock,” Lusas continued, “things like potentially extended versions of some videos we might be releasing. We’ll also have some information that’s exclusive coming to this app.”

Like, say, details about the top-secret villain Benedict Cumberbatch will play, the man now known as John Harrison?

A screen shot of the new "Star Trek" app. (Paramount)

A screen shot of the new “Star Trek” app. (Paramount)

“For people who are diehards, they’re going to find hints in here,” Lusas said. “There are going to be hints. His character is fun.”

The launch coincides with Sunday’s Super Bowl game; a new extended trailer is set to debut during the second quarter of the game.

Starting late last year, Paramount began steadily releasing new material — a poster, a teaser, a trailer, the first nine minutes of the film — to help stoke excitement among fans for Abrams’ follow-up to his 2009 big screen reboot of the beloved sci-fi franchise.

The news that Abrams will now be taking the helm on an upcoming “Star Wars” movie in addition to his “Trek” duties certainly made the filmmaker an even hotter topic of conversation in the genre world, though not everyone was overjoyed by the idea that one man could hold such sway in both universes.

Still, Abrams has earned plenty of goodwill from fans who enjoyed his big-screen reboot of the beloved television and movie series. With 2009’s “Star Trek,” he won over a new generation of audiences with a broadly entertaining and accessible take on Gene Roddenberry’s venerable cast of characters — and satisfied hard-core fans by creating a place for Leonard Nimoy to appear as Spock alongside Zachary Quinto’s new take on the beloved Vulcan.

Lusas is confident that “Star Trek Into Darkness” will live up to the hype.

“I can say this, J.J., he’s got a great story,” he said. “I think fans are going to love it. Being a Trekkie, I’m super stoked. He’s able to give attention to every one of the characters and then create some really great plots. This one, it’s going to be a really great film.”

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

— Gina McIntyre


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