Fearing that his character “had become marginalized” after Into Darkness, Karl Urban has revealed that he was initially apprehensive about reprising the role of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy for Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond.
Word comes by way of StarTrek.com (via The Playlist), where the actor conceded that at the time of casting, he was torn between Beyond and another project that had caught his interest. That ambivalence can be traced back to McCoy’s limited screentime in 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, and it was only after a conversation with director Justin Lin that Urban had a change of heart.
“I certainly was hesitant about reprising the role of McCoy. 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.”
Indeed, this apprehension is something that Urban raised during our own interview; though in hindsight, the actor believes everything “turned out for the best.”
“…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.”
Given Paramount has already mapped out plans for Star Trek 4, it’ll be interesting to find out whether Karl Urban plans to reprise as Bones for a fourth time.