Lame Defense of Carol Marcus Underwear Scene

Speaking to 1701 News, Roberto Orci (one of the authors of Star Trek into Darkness) offered the following on the scene of Carol Marcus changing her clothes in the movie (a scene that had a rather prominent place in the movie’s commercials):

Orci also knows that some fans had issues with Carol Marcus, played by Alice Eve, disrobing for what appeared to be practically no reason at all. Lindelof has taken the blame for that scene, but Orci says the true fault of that scene actually lies with someone completely different: J.J. Abrams.

"Originally, they were going to open the torpedo in orbit, in space, so originally we had Kirk chasing her into a room where she was changing into a space suit," Orci said. "So it seemed more purposeful when we originally conceived it."

However, because of production costs, they decided to open the torpedo on land instead. And while Marcus does wear a different outfit, Orci does understand fans who say she didn’t need to really change — and certainly didn’t need to do it in front of Kirk.

"I can’t claim to be an expert on feminism, but I can point out that you can see Kirk half-naked as well, in both movies," Orci said of Chris Pine. "He’s in his underwear, so is Uhura.

"Did the movie need that scene? No. Was Alice Even a good sport? Awesome."

Orci says he remains torn about how feminism is perceived today. "You can’t watch Miley Cyrus on the VMAs and not be confused about the state of feminism."’

Ah yes, the confusing nature of feminism with a side helping of the Miley Cyrus Defense,

I think I would prefer that they just admit that a) Alice Eve is an attractive lady in really good shape, and that b) showing attractive ladies in really good shape in their underwear appeals rather heavily to the main demographic likely to purchase tickets to Star Trek films.

Although I will give them credit for the amusing pretzel logic.

Such scenes, btw, are hardly unusual or especially noteworthy, but this one really did feel shoehorned in (a feeling reinforced by its aforementioned prominence in the commercial).  The ongoing silly attempts to explain it only reinforce that impression.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Why is Orci being questioned about the Marcus scene, but not about similar scenes featuring Kirk that appeared in both of the recent Trek movies?

  2. Stonetools says:

    Ok now I really want to see this movie :-).

  3. @Doug Mataconis: He does mention Kirk in the response, but seriously: is there a similar image of Chris Pine blocked the way the Eve shot was blocked and that was used in the commercial?

    But it really isn’t that, to me, it is the lame attempts to pretend that the scene was anything other than what it was.

  4. @Steven L. Taylor:

    The shots of Kirk in Star Trek and Into Darkness were just as gratuitous, though and I don’t recall anyone asking Orci or Abrams to justify those.

    Yea, the response is kind of lame, but the question is even lamer.

  5. @Doug Mataconis: Which Kirk scene would you consider to be analogous?

  6. @Steven L. Taylor:

    I believe the one in Uhura’s quarters in the first movie comes to mind.

  7. @Doug Mataconis: I don’t recall an isolation shot of shirtless Kirk in that shot that was designed for the clear purpose of just showing off his bod.

    And that scene was at least intended to be a character scene to show Kirk as a bit of a cad. What was the character purpose of the Marcus scene?

  8. (also: was the Kirk scene in question used as a major part of the advertising for the film?)

  9. anjin-san says:

    The entire movie was disappointing. Brining Kahn back once was slick. A second time was snooze inducing.

  10. @Steven L. Taylor:

    Character purpose? Let’s be honest here, this is Trek, not Shakespeare. As for the rest of the question, sex sells.

    Like I said Orci’s response is kind of lame but I thought this was kind of a dumb thing for people to obsess over when the question first came up during the summer

  11. gVOR08 says:

    Alice Eve is an attractive lady in really good shape, and that b) showing attractive ladies in really good shape in their underwear appeals rather heavily to the main demographic likely to purchase tickets to Star Trek films.

    And to a fair proportion of the OTB demographic, I suspect. What’s the point to this story without a still from the scene? 😉

  12. @Doug Mataconis: Yes, but the whole point of the post was that Orci’s response was lame.

    However, are you really going to tell me that of all the scenes of this nature that one can conjure, that this wasn’t one of the silliest? Changing clothes in a shuttlecraft and then taking a full body, lingering shot in her underwear. The reason people ask is not because they are prudes, it is because of the obvious and clumsy nature of the shot. Surely you can see that point?

    I am not arguing, to be clear, that I am outraged by the scene or that I would have asked about it had I interviewed anyone involved with the movie. However, every time it is brought up, the answers are sillier than the questions.

  13. wr says:

    When paintings were the dominant form of visual expression, artists made paintings of attractive naked people. Because we — particularly men — like to look at them.

    And one of the pleasures of the movies is seeing attractive naked people. Mostly women, because men seem to like to look more than women… and because men control most of the entertainment industry.

    This reminds me of Michael Medved whining that Gwyneth Paltrow’s nudity ruined Shakespeare in Love and how the movie could have worked just fine without it. To which you could respond that her being naked adds a level of honesty and realism to the love scene… but then you’re arguing on his terms. Gwyneth Paltrow is a lovely woman who at that time had a beautiful body, and many people enjoyed looking at her. It was a type of visual pleasure that matched the verbal pleasure of Stoppard’s dialogue.

    And if Orci should be apologizing for anything, it’s the way he, the co-writers and Abrams strip-mined the most emotional moments from Wrath of Khan and, by taking them out of context, emptied them of all emotion. At least the quick shot of the actress in her underwear offered clean, honest pleasure. The script made me want to take a shower.

  14. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Everyone should have a chance to decide…

    As for me:

    1) It added nothing to the story,

    2) Who cares, it’s still Star Trek.

  15. “Gratuitous” = $$$

  16. OldmanRick says:

    Not to cause anyone to have an aneurism, but sex sells. It is used universally to sell everything from A to Z. Remember those car ads in the days of old?

  17. @Donald Sensing: @OldmanRick: Indeed. I am not disputing that, not in the least.

  18. B. Minich says:

    I thought they had already used the lamest excuse possible on this scene.

    I was wrong. The excuses just keep getting dumber. It’s like they really want the scene to be about something other than what it actually is. Like that might make it better?

  19. Ernieyeball says:

    @anjin-san: Brining Kahn back once was slick. A second time was snooze inducing.

    Goddamn Spoiler!..or am I the last one to find out?

  20. Mikey says:


    am I the last one to find out?

    Probably. It came out before the movie did. If it was supposed to be a secret, it was very poorly kept.

    As far as Alice Eve in her undies, who cares why? It’s Alice Eve in her undies!

  21. Ron Beasley says:

    Dear Alice has bared a lot more in most of her other movies and she not even in particularly revealing undies – looks more like a bathing suit.

  22. anjin-san says:

    @ Ernieyeball

    I have been watching Star Trek since 1966. Loved the last movie, but this one was a total waste of time and money. The Trek franchise is now kind of where Bond was after “Quantum of Solace” – they revitalized the franchise, then had a serious sophomore slump. The next one needs to be good.

  23. Peacewood says:

    @anjin-san: My personal dream for the next film: James Spader as Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Mudd’s inept dealings put the galaxy on the brink of war. Make it camp and comedic, like ST IV was.

  24. Grewgills says:

    The first 3/4 of the first reboot movie was great. The first 3/4 of the second was good. The last quarter of both were terrible. I realize that sci fi physics are at play, but Abrams carries that so far towards the end of both movies that it completely took me out of the movie. I was chuckling at the ridiculousness of the scenes rather than being at all invested in the outcome.

  25. Anderson says:

    I’d rather hear an explanation why McCoy needed Khan returned to the ship, when he had 72 superhumans on ice with the necessary magic blood.

  26. Grewgills says:

    or why Khan’s magic blood lost it’s power at the instant of his death