Karl Urban Was the Best Thing About Star Trek Beyond, But He Almost Turned it Down

Monday, 01 August 2016 - 1:20PM
Star Trek
Star Trek Beyond
Monday, 01 August 2016 - 1:20PM
Karl Urban Was the Best Thing About Star Trek Beyond, But He Almost Turned it Down
Star Trek Beyond successfully managed to improve on its predecessor, Into Darkness, in just about every conceivable way. From the writing to the individual performances, it really felt like Paramount upped their game in honor of the franchise's 50th anniversary. Upon leaving the theater, though, I (like many others) was struck by one area of improvement in particular: Karl Urban's Bones McCoy. 



Highlighting the improvement in the portrayal of Bones is nothing against Urban's previous performances, which have all been solid, it's more that he'd never really been given the opportunity to shine like this in 'Star Trek' or 'Into Darkness'. The first two movies in the Kelvin timeline had felt a bit like the Kirk and Spock show, but Beyond was able to give a more balanced portrayal of the Enterprise crew, allowing the likes of Urban and Pegg to really stamp their marks on their respective characters. But, little did we know that Urban's performance as Bones almost never happened. In a new interview, Bones revealed that with his contract at the franchise only for two movies, he almost didn't take the Star Trek Beyond role, potentially robbing us of one the movie's best elements.

Opening quote
"I certainly was hesitant about reprising the role of McCoy," Urban told StarTrek.com. "I felt that I was in agreement with a vast number of fans and audience members and critics who, after watching Into Darkness, felt that the character had become marginalized. And I was not keen to repeat that experience. I was out of contract. Because of the Olivia de Havilland law in America, I was no longer under obligation to do a third picture, and was, actually, in fact, negotiating to do another film when we were contacted and asked about reprising the role of McCoy. So I was somewhat ambivalent about it. And I really liked this other piece of material."
Closing quote

This response in itself proves just how much Urban understands this character and the franchise he lives in. While Kirk and Spock were always the headline characters within the Star Trek franchise, the other key members of the crew were all given prominence and relevance at various times throughout the original series and subsequent movies. Thankfully, Urban reveals that Justin Lin was able to convince him that Beyond would be a very different affair.

Opening quote
"But I got on the phone with (director) Justin Lin, and I raised my concerns and issues with him. And he outlined the story and the vision that he had for the character. And I was immediately intrigued and also somewhat reassured that he was a long-term fan of Star Trek, that he understood the weight and value of the character, and how the character interacts with Spock and Kirk. So that gave me a great deal of security, which enabled me to make the decision. And I'm so glad I did. I feel that the version of McCoy in Star Trek Beyond is the most well-defined version of the character that I've had the benefit to play. So it's all turned out for the best."
Closing quote

Urban goes on to reveal that he ended up collaborating with Simon Pegg and Justin Lin to ensure that the Bones of Star Trek Beyond was the Bones that we all wanted to see. Whatever they did, it worked. Urban's performance in Beyond wasn't just laced with moments of perfect comedic timing, it also showed a remarkable amount of sensitivity. Bones is more than just a punchline in the Star Trek universe, and for the first time in a good long while, we were able to dive a little deeper into what makes this character tick.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Trek
Star Trek Beyond

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