What Sofia Boutella's MMA Training Tells Us About 'Star Trek: Beyond'

The plot synopsis is mysterious, but the lead actress gives us insight into the latest 'Star Trek' installment.

Details of next summer’s Star Trek: Beyond are solidly under wraps — someone learned something from the marketing fiasco that was Cumberbatch’s Khan — but that doesn’t mean we can’t use our Vulcan logic to figure a few things out using the next-gen technology that is IMDB.

The second most memorable face in the trailer, behind maybe only weird lizard head Idris Elba guy, belongs to Sofia Boutella, who plays a warrior character named Jaylah. If you’re not familiar with the Algerian-French actress, her filmography is instructive.

Boutella got her start as a dancer, most notably for Nike and Madonna. Her specialty is hip-hop and street-dancing, which wouldn’t look out of place in a choreographed fight scene.

Boutella got her first major part in Kingsmen: Secret Service (which is great, go see it). About her experience for the film, Boutella has said “The stunt training for the film was intense. They taught me Thai boxing, taekwondo and how to work with cables. Gazelle uses her legs to kill, so I had to learn different types of kicks. I’d never done anything like it before.”

Such a leg-heavy fighting style is very specific, and her casting —and position as the top-billed cast member on IMDB — indicates that it will play a central role in Star Trek: Beyond. They wouldn’t cast a Thai boxing and Taekwondo fighter then ask her to man the bridge. It’s unclear whether she’s a friend or foe, but whatever the case may be, there will assuredly be some close quarters, probably hand-to-hand combat.

Director Justin Lin, of Fast and Furious fame, has commented “I put Sofia through hell in her intro fight, and we had to go take after take after take. It was four days of really pushing it. She was so pumped up and she just went for it. It looks great. I’m excited for that.”

With the wire work, it seems likely our heroes will be visiting either a low-gravity planet or a planet populated by super strong aliens. That’s cool. And given Captain Kirk’s penchant for getting his ass kicked, we’re looking forward to the movie kicking off (literally) with the love interest beating the hell out of the lead. It’ll be like When Harry Met Sally — same arc, more blood.

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