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    Phasers Set for Stun! Star Trek Sequel Starts Shooting

    Star Trek, Cast Industrial Light and Magic / Paramount Pictures

    Trekkies, rejoice!

    Paramount Pictures has officially announced that J.J. Abrams has started principal photography on his highly anticipated sequel to 2009's Star Trek.

    So who's the bad guy this time around?

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    Not much is known storywise about the revived franchise's latest installment, including its title. But the reboot's creation of a parallel universe essentially gives the Lost mastermind carte blanche to take the crew of the Enterprise on all new missions.

    That said, if Internet rumors are to be believed, Abrams plans to resurrect Captain James T. Kirk's number one nemesis, Khan, who as Trek history has it was blown to bits in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, unquestionably the best movie of the original William Shatner-led bunch.

    Benedict Cumberbatch, a fast-rising British thesp who's currently starring in the BBC's Sherlock series, appears in Steven Spielberg's War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and is lending his voice to the dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, has snagged a key role in the follow-up.

    MORE: Star Trek Sequel Scoop: Still Waiting to See the Script

    Per IMDb.com, he's rumored to be playing the Shakespeare-quoting superhuman first played to perfection by Ricardo Montalban in the original series and then on the big screen, a part producers were said to have initially offered Benicio Del Toro.

    Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin will all be back as Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Dr. "Bones" McCoy, Scotty, Sulu and Chekhov respectively. Joining them will also be new castmembers Alice Eve and Peter Weller, the latter of Buckaroo Bonzai and Robocop fame.

    The original Abrams-helmed Star Trek grossed a stellar $385 million in worldwide ticket sales after its release on May 8, 2009. Kirk and company's latest sci-fi adventure, penned by the filmmaker's go-to writing duo of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci along with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, beams into theaters on May 17, 2013, and—boldly going where no Trek film has gone before—in 3-D too.

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