In 2259, Captain James T. Kirk is removed from command of the starship USS Enterprise for violating the Prime Directive: he exposed the ship to the primitive inhabitants of the planet Nibiru in order to save them, and Spock, from a cataclysmic volcanic eruption. Admiral Christopher Pike is reinstated as commanding officer with Kirk demoted to the rank of Commander and first officer. Commander Spock is transferred to another ship. Shortly after, the Section 31 installation in London is bombed, perpetrated by the renegade Starfleet operative John Harrison. Harrison then attacks Starfleet Headquarters in a jumpship during the emergency meeting about the situation, killing Pike and other senior officers. Kirk disables the jumpship by throwing a rifle into one of its engines, but Harrison escapes by transporting to Kronos, the homeworld of the hostile Klingons.
Admiral Alexander Marcus reinstates Kirk and Spock to Enterprise with orders to kill Harrison by using a new Long Range Stealth Photon torpedo. Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott strongly objects to allowing untested torpedoes on board the ship without knowing any specifications but when he is overruled he resigns from his post. Kirk assigns Pavel Chekov to replace Scotty. En route to Kronos, Enterprise's warp capabilities mysteriously become disabled. Kirk leads a team with Spock and Uhura onto the planet in a small landing craft, where they are ambushed by Klingon patrols who order them to land. Uhura leaves the landing craft to talk to the Klingons, but they don't care that Harrison is on their planet. They instead decide to kill Uhura, but Harrison, with a little help from Kirk and the landing party, manages to kill the Klingons. After the battle, Harrison comes up to Kirk demanding to know the number of torpedoes on board the Enterprise and surrenders when Spock tells him.
Dr. Leonard McCoy and Marcus's daughter, Dr. Carol Marcus, open a torpedo at Harrison's behest. Inside is a man in cryogenic stasis. Every torpedo aboard Enterprise contains a human in stasis. Harrison is taken to the ship's brig, where he reveals his true identity as Khan, a genetically engineered superhuman awoken by Admiral Marcus from centuries of suspended animation to develop advanced weapons of war against the Klingon Empire. Khan reveals that Marcus had sabotaged Enterprise's warp drive, intending for the Klingons to destroy the ship after it fired on Kronos, creating an act of war by the Klingon Empire. Khan also gives Kirk a set of coordinates. Kirk contacts Scotty on Earth and asks him to investigate. Scotty discovers that they lead to a covert Starfleet facility near Jupiter.
Enterprise is intercepted by a Starfleet-designed but much larger warship, USS Vengeance, commanded by Admiral Marcus. Marcus demands that Kirk deliver Khan, but Enterprise, with a hastily repaired warp drive, flees to Earth to expose Marcus. After Vengeance intercepts and disables Enterprise near the Moon, Carol reveals her presence aboard the ship. Marcus forcibly transports Carol to Vengeance before ordering Enterprise's destruction, Kirk offers Khan and himself for the lives of his crew, but Marcus rejects Kirk's offer and orders Vengeance to attack. However, Vengeance suddenly loses power, sabotaged by Scotty, who infiltrated the ship. With transporters down, Kirk and Khan, with the latter's knowledge of the warship's design, space-jump to Vengeance. Spock contacts his older self, who warns that Khan is ruthless and cannot be trusted, and, in another reality, was only defeated at a terrible cost. Meanwhile, after capturing the bridge, Khan overpowers Kirk, Scott, and Carol, kills Marcus, and takes control of Vengeance.
Khan demands that Spock return his crew sealed in the cryogenic tubes in exchange for Enterprise officers. Spock complies but surreptitiously removes Khan's frozen crew and arms the warheads. Khan beams Kirk, Scott, and Carol back aboard Enterprise, but betrays their agreement by critically damaging Enterprise; however, Vengeance is disabled when the torpedoes detonate. With both starships caught in Earth's gravity, they plummet toward the surface. Kirk enters the radioactive reactor chamber to realign the warp core where he sacrifices himself in the process to save the ship.
Khan crashes the Vengeance into downtown San Francisco in an attempt to destroy Starfleet headquarters, destroying some of the city. Khan survives and escapes the wreckage so Spock transports down in pursuit. McCoy discovers that Khan's blood has regenerative properties that may save Kirk. Spock chases down and pursues Khan through the city and is about to kill Khan, but Uhura stops him. Khan is knocked out and his blood is used to revive Kirk. Nearly one year later, Kirk speaks at Enterprise's re-dedication ceremony. Khan is sealed in his cryogenic pod and stored with his compatriots. The Enterprise crew embarks on a five-year exploratory mission.Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk, commanding officer of the starship Enterprise
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock, first officer and science officer
Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison / Khan, a superhuman genetically engineered during the Eugenics Wars
Simon Pegg as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, second officer and chief engineer
Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, chief medical officer
Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, communications officer
Alice Eve as Lieutenant Dr. Carol Marcus, a science officer who uses the pseudonym "Carol Wallace" to board Enterprise
John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, third officer and helmsman
Peter Weller as Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus, Carol's father, commander-in-chief of Starfleet, and a secret warmonger
Anton Yelchin as Ensign Pavel Chekov, navigator and Scott's temporary replacement as chief engineer
Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Christopher Pike, Kirk's mentor and previous captain of Enterprise
Leonard Nimoy as the original incarnation of Spock. This would be Nimoy's final acting performance; he died nearly two years after its release, aged 83.
Noel Clarke as Thomas Harewood, a Starfleet officer working in Section 31, who is extorted by Khan into bombing the facility
Nazneen Contractor as Rima Harewood, Thomas's wife
Christopher Doohan (son of James Doohan) as Transporter officer
Amanda Foreman as Ensign Brackett
Jay Scully as Lieutenant Chapin
Jonathan Dixon as Ensign Froman
Aisha Hinds as Navigation Officer Darwin
Joseph Gatt as Science Officer 0718
Bill Hader as the computer of USS Vengeance (voice)
Deep Roy as Keenser, Scotty's assistant
Sean Blakemore as a Klingon
Anjini Taneja Azhar as Lucille Harewood, Thomas's terminally ill daughter
Nolan North as a Vengeance helmsman
Heather Langenkamp as Moto
Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Morrison were credited for their archive footage of George Kirk and Winona Kirk.
In June 2008, it was reported that Paramount Pictures was interested in signing producers of the 2009 Star Trek J. J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci for a sequel. In March 2009, it was reported that these five producers had agreed to produce the film, with a script again written by Orci and Kurtzman (with the addition of Lindelof). A preliminary script was said to be completed by Christmas 2009 for a 2011 release. Kurtzman and Orci began writing the script in June 2009, originally intending to split the film into two parts. Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock who plays an older version of the character in the 2009 film, said he would not appear in the film. Abrams was reportedly considering William Shatner for the sequel.
By 2010, a release date of June 29, 2012, was set, with Lindelof announcing he had begun working on the script with Kurtzman and Orci. Pre-production was set for January 2011, although Burk said actual filming would probably begin during the spring or summer. Actor Zachary Quinto later said that these reports were untrue. Lindelof compared the sequel to The Dark Knight.
Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci said that selecting a villain was difficult; according to Abrams, "the universe Roddenberry created is so vast that it's hard to say one particular thing stands out". They also discussed the possibility of Khan Noonien Singh and Klingons. Kurtzman and Lindelof said they had "broken" the story (created an outline); instead of a sequel, it will be a stand-alone film. Abrams admitted in December 2010 that there was still no script.
In January 2011, Abrams said he had not decided whether or not he would direct, since he had not yet seen a script. Paramount Pictures then approached him, asking that the sequel be in 3D. Abrams said that the film would not be shot in 3D, but filmed in 2D and converted during post-production. He was also interested in filming in IMAX: "IMAX is my favorite format; I’m a huge fan." In February, Orci tweeted that he (with Lindelof and Kurtzman) planned to deliver the script in March 2011. Although the script was not finished on schedule, Paramount began financing pre-production; similar circumstances on the next Jack Ryan film meant that Chris Pine would film the Star Trek sequel first. By April, Orci said at WonderCon that the script's first draft had been completed. Abrams told MTV that when he finished his film, Super 8, he would turn his full attention to the Trek sequel.
Although a script was completed, uncertainty regarding the extent of Abrams's involvement led to the film's being pushed back six months from its scheduled June 2012 release.Other factors which precluded the release, ending up pushing it further back were the high budget and overall difficulty of finding actors to fit the roles. In June, Abrams confirmed that his next project would be the sequel, noting that he would rather the film be good than ready by its scheduled release date. Simon Pegg, who played Scotty, said in an interview that he thought filming would begin during the latter part of the year. Abrams stated he would prioritize the film's story and characters over an early release date. In September, Abrams agreed to direct the film, with the cast from the previous film reprising their respective roles for a winter 2012 or summer 2013 release. In October, Orci said that location scouting was underway, and a comic book series (of which Orci would be creative director) would "foreshadow" the film. Into Darkness was given a revised release date of 2013, and Michael Giacchino confirmed that he would return to write the score.
Lindelof said that Khan was considered a character they needed to use at some point, given that "he has such an intense gravity in the Trek universe, we likely would have expended more energy NOT putting him in this movie than the other way around." References to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan were eventually added to the script, but Lindelof, Orci, and Kurtzman "were ever wary of the line between 'reimagined homage' and 'direct ripoff'." Orci and Kurtzman said they wanted a film which would work on its own and as a sequel, not using ideas from previous Star Trek works simply "because you think people are going to love it". Orci noted that when trying to create the "gigantic imagery" required by a summer blockbuster, Kurtzman suggested a scene where Enterprise rose from the ocean. With that as a starting point they (and Lindelof) came up with the cold open in Nibiru, which blended action and comedy and was isolated from the main story in an homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Actor Benicio del Toro had reportedly been sought as the villain, and had met with Abrams to discuss the role; however, he later bowed out. In 2011, Alice Eve and Peter Weller agreed to their roles. Doctor Who actor Noel Clarke agreed to an unknown role, reported to be "a family man with a wife and young daughter". Demián Bichir auditioned for the villain role, but as reported by Variety on January 4, 2012, Benedict Cumberbatch was cast.
Into Darkness began principal photography on January 12, 2012, with a scheduled release date of May 16, 2013. Cinematographer Dan Mindel shot the film using a combination of anamorphic 35mm film and 15 perforation IMAX cameras. About 30 minutes of the film is shot in the IMAX format, while some other scenes were also shot on 8 perforation 65mm. Into Darkness was released in 3D. On February 24, 2012, images from the set surfaced of Benedict Cumberbatch's character in a fight with Spock. Edgar Wright directed one shot in the film. Production ended in May 2012.
Filming was done on location in Los Angeles, California, and around the area at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore. Additional locations included Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, and the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Some shots were made in Iceland.
Marc Okrand, the developer of the Klingon language, provided the Klingon dialogues with on-set coaching from constructed language experts. The dialogue did not make cohesive sense following editing and so new dialogue was constructed and dubbed during post production.
On September 10, 2012, Paramount confirmed the film's title as Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams had indicated that unlike some of the earlier films in the franchise, his second Star Trek would not include a number in its title. This decision was made to avoid repeating the sequel numbering which began with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, or making a confusing jump from Star Trek to Star Trek 12. Lindelof addressed the team's struggle to agree on a title: "There have been more conversations about what we're going to call it than went into actually shooting it... There's no word that comes after the colon after Star Trek that's cool. Not that Star Trek: Insurrection or First Contact aren't good titles, it's just that everything that people are turned off about when it comes to Trek is represented by the colon". Of the titles proposed, he joked that he preferred Star Trek: Transformers 4 best because the title is "technically available".
Composer Michael Giacchino composed the film's incidental music. Into Darkness was Giacchino's fourth film collaboration with Abrams, which included Star Trek (2009). The film score was recorded at the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City, California from March 5 to April 3, 2013. Its soundtrack album was released digitally on May 14, 2013, and was made available on May 28 through Varèse Sarabande. The score contains the original Star Trek theme by Alexander Courage.
On April 24, 2013, it was announced that British singer Bo Bruce and Irish songwriter Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol had collaborated on a song for the film's soundtrack entitled "The Rage That's In Us All". Australian songwriter and producer Robert Conley co-wrote a track with Penelope Austin, "The Dark Collide".
An expanded soundtrack album was released on July 28, 2014, limited to 6,000 copies.
On May 10, 2013, Cho, Pegg, and Eve were interviewed on The Bob Rivers Show to promote the film. Rivers asked about the title: "The title Star Trek Into Darkness indicates some sort of ominous turn, obviously". Eve suggested that Pegg discuss the theme of terrorism, and Pegg obliged: "I think it's a very current film, and it reflects certain things that are going on in our own heads at the moment; this idea that our enemy might be walking among us, not necessarily on the other side of an ocean, you know. John Harrison, Benedict Cumberbatch's character, is ambiguous, you know? We [the characters in the film] don't know who to support. Sometimes, Kirk, he seems to be acting in exactly the same way as him [Harrison]. They're both motivated by revenge. And the Into Darkness in the title is less an idea of this new trend of po-faced, kind of, everything's-got-to-be-a-bit-dour treatments of essentially childish stories. It's more about Kirk's indecision." Cho agreed about the characterization of Captain Kirk: "It's his crisis of leadership."
The pivotal scene near the end when Kirk enters the reactor chamber serves as a role reversal of a similar pivotal scene in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Originally conceived as a retelling of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Kurtzman and Orci defined the main theme of Into Darkness as "how far will we go to exact vengeance and justice on an enemy that scares us. How far should we go from our values?" They added that running from personal values is a personal struggle, where "the enemy’s blood is within us; we are the enemy. We must not succumb to it; we are the same."
Dolby Laboratories and Paramount announced that Star Trek Into Darkness would be released in Dolby Atmos, with Andy Nelson and Anna Behlmer handling the mix with supervision from Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood. The film was released on May 9, 2013, in international markets and May 16, 2013, in the United States.
As part of a contest Abrams designed after the release of Super 8 (2011), the prize for answering a series of questions would be walk-on roles for two people in Into Darkness. He debuted three frames of the film on Conan on October 4, 2012, showing what he described as Spock "in a volcano, in this crazy suit". The official poster for the film was released two months later on December 3, 2012, showing a mysterious figure (thought to be Benedict Cumberbatch's villain) standing on a pile of burning rubble looking over what appears to be a damaged London; he is standing in a hole in the shape of the Starfleet insignia, blown out of the side of a building.
About nine minutes of the opening sequence was shown before IMAX presentations of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which was released in the United States on December 14, 2012. Alice Eve, Cumberbatch, and Burk unveiled the IMAX prologue in London, England on December 14. A two-minute teaser was released in iTunes Movie Trailers on December 17. The teaser marked the beginning of a viral marketing campaign, with a hidden link directing fans to a movie-related website. A 30-second teaser premiered February 3, 2013 during the stadium blackout of Super Bowl XLVII. The same day, Paramount released apps for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone which enabled users to unlock tickets for showtimes two days before the film's release date.
An international trailer was released on March 21, 2013, with an embedded URL revealing an online-only international poster. On April 8, Paramount released the final international one-sheet featuring solely Benedict Cumberbatch's character. On March 24, 2013, at 9:30 pm a swarm of 30 mini-quadrotors equipped with LED lights drew the Star Trek logo over London. This choreography marked the beginning of the Paramount UK marketing campaign for Star Trek Into Darkness. It was coordinated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour event and was performed and developed by Ars Electronica Futurelab from Linz (Austria) in cooperation with Ascending Technologies from Munich (Germany).
On April 12, 2013, iTunes Movie Trailers revealed the final domestic one-sheet featuring USS Enterprise, and announced that the final US domestic trailer would be released on April 16. In the days leading up to the trailer release, character posters featuring Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Harrison were released on iTunes. Paramount attempted to broaden the film's appeal to international audiences, an area where Star Trek and other science-fiction films had generally performed poorly. Into Darkness was dedicated to post-9/11 veterans. J.J. Abrams is connected with The Mission Continues, and a section of the film's website is dedicated to that organization.
The cast (except for Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, and Peter Weller) participated in May 2013 press junkets. On May 7, Pegg appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. On May 8, Quinto was interviewed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He was followed on May 10 by Cumberbatch (who told Fallon that his fans are called "Cumberbitches"; Fallon countered that his are called "FalPals") and on May 17 by Saldana. Saldana said that she lobbied Abrams for four years: "If we make a sequel, Uhura needs to kick ass". On May 9, Cumberbatch appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.
On May 10, Cho, Pegg, and Eve had a radio interview on The Bob Rivers Show. They discussed approaching a body of work already mastered by an earlier generation of actors, agreeing that they would remain with the franchise as long as it lasted. That night, Chris Pine appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman; Letterman showed a gag reel of robots in a black-and-white film before showing a clip from Into Darkness. Pine said that he had to gain weight for the role of Captain Kirk.
One story told by cast members during the promotion concerned an on-set prank initially devised by Pegg, which he later noted grew out of proportion. While filming at the National Ignition Facility, Pegg and Pine (with the crew's help) tricked the arriving actors into believing there was "ambient radiation" at the location and they had to wear "neutron cream" to avoid being burned by it. Cumberbatch was tricked into signing a release (which was meant to give the joke away, but he signed it without reading it), while Urban and Cho were tricked into recording a public service announcement about the necessity for neutron cream.
On May 13, Abrams appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on May 16, Pine appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. On May 14, Abrams, Zachary Quinto, Pine, and Alice Eve appeared on The Urgant Show (Russian: Вечерний Ургант) in Russia.
Into Darkness earned $13.5 million on its opening day in the United States and Canada, lower than Star Trek's $30.9 million. The film earned $22 million the following Friday, also lower than its predecessor's earnings four years earlier ($26 million). It earned $70.6 million during its opening weekend, finishing in the US box-office top spot (above The Great Gatsby and Iron Man 3). Total weekend earnings were $84.1 million, including the early-showing grosses. Although these were lower than Paramount's projected box-office earnings, studio vice-chairman Rob Moore said he was "extremely pleased" with the sequel's performance.
Several weeks after release, the film grossed $147 million at the foreign box office, surpassing the lifetime international earnings of its predecessor. Into Darkness reached the top spot of China's box office with a $25.8 million gross, tripling the overall earnings of the previous film during its opening weekend. Star Trek Into Darkness ended its North American theatrical run on September 12, 2013, with a box office total of $228,778,661, which places it as the 11th highest-grossing film for 2013. It earned $467,365,246 worldwide, ranking it in 14th place for 2013, and making it the highest-grossing film of the franchise.
Scott Mendelson of Forbes contends that the film's box office performance was the result of Paramount's inability to sell the basic components of the film’s story, and inclusion of Khan "for little reason other than marketability and then spent the next year or so lying to everyone and claiming said villain wasn’t in the picture... With no added value elements to sell, Paramount was forced to craft a generic campaign based around Benedict Cumberbatch as "Generic Bad Guy", so the excitement never took hold... This was adding to the idea that merely withholding basic story elements is tantamount to promising stunning plot twists... and it made fans and general moviegoers less excited about Star Trek 2 than they were four, three, or even two years ago." Calculating in all expenses, Deadline.com estimated that the film made a profit of $29.9 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 86%, based on 265 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "Visually spectacular and suitably action packed, Star Trek Into Darkness is a rock-solid installment in the venerable sci-fi franchise, even if it's not as fresh as its predecessor." On Metacritic the film has a score of 72 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". It received an average grade of "A" from market-research firm CinemaScore.
Critics called it a "rousing adventure" and "a riveting action-adventure in space". Cumberbatch's performance attracted praise from critics, with Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calling it a "tour de force to reckon with" and his character "a villain for the ages". Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News wrote that Cumberbatch delivered "one of the best blockbuster villains in recent memory". Jonathan Romney of The Independent noted Cumberbatch's voice, saying it was "so sepulchrally resonant that it could have been synthesised from the combined timbres of Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and Alan Rickman holding an elocution contest down a well". The New York Times praised his screen presence: "He fuses Byronic charisma with an impatient, imperious intelligence that seems to raise the ambient I.Q. whenever he's on screen".
However, not all of reviews were positive; The Independent said the film would "underwhelm even the Trekkies". Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film one-and-a-half stars (out of four), saying it had a "limp plot" and the "special effects are surprisingly cheesy for a big-budget event movie". A.O. Scott dismissed the film in The New York Times: "It's uninspired hackwork, and the frequent appearance of blue lens flares does not make this movie any more of a personal statement".
The film was criticized for a scene with actress Alice Eve's character Carol Marcus in her underwear, which was called "wholly unnecessary" and "gratuitous". Screenwriter and producer Damon Lindelof apologized on Twitter for the scene: "I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future". On Conan, Abrams addressed the matter by debuting a deleted scene of actor Benedict Cumberbatch's character Khan taking a shower. Eve addressed the underwear controversy at a 2013 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention and said, "I didn’t know it would cause such a ruckus. I didn’t feel exploited."
Despite an acclaimed performance from Cumberbatch, Christian Blauvelt of Hollywood.com criticized the casting of the actor as Khan Noonien Singh, saying that the character had been "whitewashed into oblivion", since Khan is an explicitly ethnic character Star Trek canon (introduced as a Sikh and former ruler of much of eastern Eurasia). There have been similar accusations of whitewashing by fans and American Sikhs, with Star Trek: Voyager actor Garrett Wang tweeting "The casting of Cumberbatch was a mistake on the part of the producers. I am not being critical of the actor or his talent, just the casting". George Takei, the original Hikaru Sulu, was also disappointed with the casting, as he thought it would have been better to cast Cumberbatch not as an established villain like Khan but as a new character. On Trekmovie.com, co-producer and co-screenwriter Bob Orci addressed Khan's casting: "Basically, as we went through the casting process and we began honing in on the themes of the movie, it became uncomfortable for me to support demonizing anyone of color, particularly any one of Middle Eastern descent or anyone evoking that. One of the points of the movie is that we must be careful about the villain within US, not some other race". An in-canon comic book has subsequently been created to retcon Khan's hitherto unexplained change in ethnicity in the film.
In an interview with Buzzfeed two years after the film's release, Abrams addressed some of the film's shortcomings. He thought that the dynamic for Kirk and Spock's relationship in the film "wasn’t really clear." For keeping the identity of Khan a secret prior to the film's release, Abrams felt he "was trying to preserve the fun for the audience, and not just tell them something that the characters don’t learn for 45 minutes into the movie, so the audience wouldn’t be so ahead of it." In the end, Abrams recognized that "there were certain things I was unsure of.... Any movie...has a fundamental conversation happening during it. And [for Into Darkness,] I didn’t have it.... [The problems with the plot] was not anyone’s fault but mine, or, frankly, anyone’s problem but mine. [The script] was a little bit of a collection of scenes that were written by my friends.... And yet, I found myself frustrated by my choices, and unable to hang my hat on an undeniable thread of the main story. So then I found myself on that movie basically tap-dancing as well as I could to try and make the sequences as entertaining as possible.... I would never say that I don’t think that the movie ended up working. But I feel like it didn’t work as well as it could have had I made some better decisions before we started shooting."
Star Trek Into Darkness was released as a digital download on August 20, 2013. It was first released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D in the United Kingdom on September 2 and in the United States and Canada on September 10. The retailer Sainsbury's has an exclusive edition with a second bonus DVD disc containing 33 minutes of extra features. There is also a Special Limited Edition Blu-ray set available with a model on a stand of USS Vengeance as seen in this movie.
In North America, the release is split into various retailer exclusives. Retailer Best Buy has an exclusive Blu-ray edition with 30 minutes of additional content, available on disc in Canada, and via streaming service CinemaNow in the United States. Target's Blu-ray edition also has 30 minutes of additional content that is different from Best Buy's. Online retailer iTunes' version comes with audio commentary for the film not available in the retailer exclusives. A collection of deleted scenes is available exclusively via the Xbox SmartGlass second-screen app paired with the Xbox Video release of the film.
The split of the special features between various retailers has attracted criticism from fans. In particular, The Digital Bits' editor Bill Hunt remarked that "taking fully half or more of the disc-based special features created for a major Blu-ray release and casting them to the winds as retailer exclusives, thus forcing your customers to go on an expensive scavenger hunt is, I’m sorry, absolutely outrageous. Seriously, if Paramount is going to treat its Blu-ray customers like this, they should just get out of the business altogether. Or better yet, farm all their titles out to third party licensees who will treat these films and Blu-ray customers in general with greater care and respect." Weeks after posting his article, Hunt himself was invited by Paramount to discuss about the issue of giving away the film's special features to different retail partners. He suggested "[putting] together the true special edition that should have been delivered from the start, with all of the extras that got scattered around to different retailers, including the enhanced audio commentary, plus all-new content just for this release... [and] to consider offering the IMAX version of the film..." This eventually resulted with the release of Star Trek: The Compendium, a box set that includes all of the previously retailer exclusive special features, plus additional features for such as a gag reel, alongside both the theatrical release of Star Trek (2009) and the IMAX 2D version of Star Trek Into Darkness.