Talking to Collider, Lin said that while he was grateful to Abrams for setting up the world and forming the relationships the characters have with one another, he wanted to explore other aspects of the series that hadn't been touched on yet. He said that with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek coming up, he wanted to deconstruct why Starfleet, Federation and the franchise itself were special.
Lin, best known for his work in the Fast and Furious universe, added that stylistically, Beyond will also be much different from its predecessors. Unlike Abrams, who is famous for his use of lens flares and flashy sequences, Lin said that the approach he took to the film had "never been done before."
"And it is very different than the other two," Lin told Collider. "But it reflects kind of my chapter or my turn as a gatekeeper for this one."
Lin said that after talking to Abrams — who essentially handed him the keys to the car and said do what you want with it — he made a couple of changes that he thinks fans of the original series will appreciate. For example, Lin said that one of the aspects he loved was the amount of time the crew spent traveling and exploring new worlds, so there will be much more of that in Beyond.
Still, Lin acknowledged that the Star Trek movies had to have their fair share of action-oriented scenes, and promised there would be a couple of those high-octane events in Beyond. One in particular, which he refers to as the "inciting event," happens about a quarter into the movie.
The director also spoke briefly about Idris Elba's character, whom Lin said was definitely not a part of the Star Trek universe. Lin said that having a powerful antagonist tied into the film makes or breaks the experience, and he started working with Elba early on to make sure that he understood where his character was coming from and why he was determined to do what he had to.
"For me it was important because this film would not exist without this character," Lin said. "And I feel like it was important when I had that first meeting, and once I decided what journey this film should take, it really was hinged off, again, this antagonist’s philosophy. "
Star Trek Beyond, which reunites Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg and Zoe Saldana, will hit theaters July 22.