For some people, Star Trek: The Original Series and the following films were all about the contrast between the headstrong Captain Kirk and his stoic First Officer, Mr. Spock. I would argue that Star Trek should be more about the triumvirate of Kirk, Spock and Bones. Spock is the logical one, Bones is the most temperamental, and Kirk is trapped somewhere in between, as if Bones and Spock are perched on his shoulders like a little angel and a little demon, both pushing the Captain in different directions and representing his two sides.
For this reason, though I loved both films, I felt J.J. Abrams’ two Trek entries, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, were missing a healthy dose of Bones. Karl Urban, who plays Bones, may be the best at what he does out of the entire cast, but Bones’ presence is not felt in the first two “Kelvin Timeline” films as it is in Star Trek: The Original Series.
Apparently, Urban felt the same way, and was considering dropping out of the franchise after Star Trek Into Darkness, with no plans to return for Star Trek Beyond. Urban told TrekMovie.com:
“Firstly, I was a little disappointed with the lack of development with McCoy in [Star Trek Into Darkness]. So it was that. Even though I had an amazing experience working with J.J. [Abrams] and the cast, at the end of the day I didn’t have much to do. So when they came to me with the offer for [Star Trek Beyond] I was literally in the final stages of negotiating another film.”
Thankfully, director Justin Lin, as well as writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, had big plans for Bones in Beyond:
“They were basically asking me to take a leap of faith with them and I was unsure. I knew that if I didn’t do it I would regret it. As I said before, it’s like family with those guys and it’s so much fun. It was really Justin Lin. We got on the phone and even though I couldn’t read a script he told me the story and when he explained the situation of Bones and Spock being shot out of the turbolift into space and crash landing on a planet and being marooned together I was like ‘In! I am in in a big way!’
It was sort of me letting them know I expected a somewhat higher caliber of contribution for the character of McCoy. And it prompted them to develop it more and I certainly had a great ally in [co-star and Beyond co-screenwriter] Simon Pegg.”
And thank the gods (that don’t need starships) that Urban did return, as his subplot with Spock (Zachary Quinto) is one of the highlights of Beyond, and one of Bones’ finest hours. That’s not to say Beyond didn’t shine in other ways — it is a fantastic movie — but giving Bones something to do throughout the film, including the tail end of the third act, was nirvana for this Bones fan.
Can you imagine Star Trek Beyond with a new actor playing Bones, or no Bones at all? Do you also feel Bones had been shown the short stick in Abrams’ films? Let us know your thoughts in the comment csection below!
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