Star Trek Beyond isn’t the first Star Trek film to feature a new song on its soundtrack, but it just might be the first to put its song front-and-centre in a movie trailer.
The song in question is Rihanna’s ‘Sledgehammer’, and this is the trailer:
You can listen to the complete single via Spotify:
It is not clear to me whether this song was actually written for the film or whether the filmmakers are simply taking advantage of the fact that Rihanna has a new song to promote. Maybe Spock and Uhura have a big break-up scene or something.
Some websites have claimed that this is the first new pop song to be featured on a Star Trek soundtrack, but that’s not quite true; the jazz fusion band Hiroshima recorded a song called ‘The Moon Is a Window to Heaven’ for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier way back in 1989, and bits of that song can be heard in the Paradise City saloon and when Uhura performs a striptease to distract the followers of Sybok.
Here is the song; the striptease scene does not appear to be on YouTube:
Other Star Trek soundtracks have had instrumental pop covers of the themes written for those films, though the pop versions generally didn’t appear in the films.
For example, The Yellowjackets recorded two tracks for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, one of which — ‘Ballad of the Whale’ — was basically an ’80s jazz version of the Oscar-nominated theme music written by Leonard Rosenman for that film:
We’ll see how big a role Rihanna’s song plays in the new film when it opens July 22.
June 29 update: Paramount has now released a featurette on Rihanna herself:
The studio also issued a press release announcing that the music video for Rihanna’s song will premiere in IMAX theatres tomorrow. It is reportedly the first music video to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras. Rihanna tweeted a teaser for the video here:
— Rihanna (@rihanna) June 29, 2016
June 29 upperdate: Paramount has now posted the teaser to YouTube, too:
June 30 update: And now Paramount has posted the music video itself:
July 11 update: Here’s a video of Rihanna on being a Star Trek fan:
And here’s a making-of featurette for the music video: