(Mild spoilers ahead: You might not want to keep reading if you have not seen “Star Trek Beyond”)
There is no doubt that Paramount intends “Star Trek Beyond” to appeal to a wide audience. But, as Kirk, Spock and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise embark on a new, dangerous adventure, filmmakers have made sure to embed some secret treasures for general fans and trekkies alike.
Here are six things to keep your eyes peeled for as you watch “Star Trek Beyond,” in theaters this weekend.
1. “Sabotage”… again
The 1994 Beastie Boys song is artfully weaved into the storyline. Considered “classical music” by U.S.S. Enterprise crew standards, the protagonists use the song — with its high, screeching frequencies — to battle an enemy. (And we won’t spoil it further than that.) What fans may recall — especially ones who watch the first two films to prep for “Beyond” — is that the ’90s ditty appeared in 2009s “Star Trek,” blasting on the car stereo as a young pre-Captain Kirk takes an action-packed joy ride in his stepdad’s wheels.
In “Beyond,” the call back to the first appearance of the Beastie’s hit happens when Kirk gives a knowing nod and says he likes it.
2. Sulu Is gay
As John Cho has previously discussed, his character Sulu is revealed to be gay in the film. The revelation about his sexuality happens when the Enterprise lands on the Starbase Yorktown and greets his daughter and his male partner. By the way, Sulu’s hubby is played by “Beyond” co-writer Doug Jung. It’s a quick moment, but one that is much more clear than the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it maybe gay couple in “Finding Dory.”
3. The ’60s get a call out
Seeing as “Star Trek” began on the small screen in the 1960s, the decade gets a callout at least twice in the movie. Kirk delivers his captain’s log, recorded on day “966” of his five-year mission — an apparent wink to original television series, which first aired in 1966. Later, an old Federation ship the crew discovers on a foreign planet is discovered to be from “the 2160s” and has retro decor reminiscent of the era.
4. Alibaba what!?
It apparently took a village to get this sequel into theaters, as the opening credits indicate. Of course there’s the usual Paramount Pictures opening animation with the studio’s logo, and then the same for J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot Pictures, which produced the film. Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment were also behind the production. Then something unfamiliar flashes across the screen: a logo for Alibaba Pictures — the Chinese film company that helped finance the “Star Trek” sequel. Hey, as China’s film market continues to grow exponentially, on pace to usurp North America in the coming months, this may only be the beginning of that sort of thing.
5. Bezos appearance, double confirmed
We knew ahead of time that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was appearing in the film as a Starfleet official from an alien race. And now we can confirm his name appears in the credits. Bezos appears early on in the film attaching a universal translator to a fellow alien’s collar (seen below, right).
— Justin Lin (@trailingjohnson) July 20, 2016
6. More alien friends
Director Justin Lin also brought some of his actor buddies onto the set to play aliens: Danny Pudi, who Lin also directed in “Community,” and Kim Kold, who was in Lin’s “Fast & Furious 6.” And yes, their names also appear in the credits.
7. Sentimental ending
As we wrote about previously, there are two important tributes that appear in the end credits: one for the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, who appeared in the series and who died last year, and Anton Yelchin, who died tragically from a freak accident involving his car at the young age of 27.
What else did you spot hiding in plain sight in “Star Trek Beyond”? Tell us in the comments or tweet @TheWrap!
Jeremy Fuster contributed to this report.