Watching Pine and Quinto work on set and seeing some of their work on screen suggests both may deliver star-making performances. ''I think Zach had the toughest job, but he gave a performance that totally captured the character without resorting to impersonation,'' says Simon Pegg (Scotty). ''And Chris had that steely arrogance and wry humor you want in Kirk. He's also sickeningly good-looking and really funny. Talk about nature giving a guy too much.''
For Abrams, who shot for five months on the Paramount lot and around Los Angeles, the defining struggle was fighting through his non-Trekker prejudice. He succeeded, but that still didn't alleviate all of his anxiety. ''There were days when I would look around the set, with all these tattooed faces and pointy ears, bizarre weaponry and Romulan linguists, with dialogue about 'Neutral Zones' and 'Starfleet' and I would start sweating,'' he says. ''But I knew this would work, because the script Alex and Bob wrote was so emotional and so relatable. I didn't love Kirk and Spock when I began this journey but I love them now.''
Based on footage screened for EW by Abrams the awe-inspiring introduction of the Enterprise; thrilling action sequences on a harsh ice planet and in the skies of Vulcan the director has transformed Star Trek into state-of-the-art pop. Moviegoers will get a sneak peek when the first full trailer is released with the new James Bond flick on Nov. 14.
NEXT PAGE: ''My only regret is that the movie can't come out sooner,'' Nimoy says.