Alex Kurtzman

Star Trek Prequel/Sequel/Reboot gets Prequel/Sequel/Reboot

st_finaldomesticposter_unratedAs studios continue their trend of jumping well ahead of the game, announcing sequels to films that have yet to be released, Paramount Pictures decided to move forward with a Prequel/Sequel/Reboot to follow the Prequel/Sequel/Reboot to Star Trek that will not release until May 8. Kurtzman said:

“Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month,” [...] “With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We’ll be ambitious about what we’ll do (/Film)."

Ok, so let me see if I understand this.

  • The people who wrote the not yet released film (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) will return with producer turned writer Damon Lindelof to pen a script for the next film.
  • They don't know if the film scheduled for May 8th is a sequel, a prequel or a reboot.
  • They are not going to start writing the next movie because they are not convinced that fans will accept the sequel/prequel/reboot premise, cast or aftermath.
  • Their uncertainty has risen to the level where they have yet to ask director J. J. Abrams to return for the sequel/prequel/reboot to the sequel/prequel/reboot.

Well. They are at least making one thing clear (maybe), by not having J. J. Abrams return they are signaling that they don't want the net movie to be another time travel story to another dimension.

Check out my Star Trek Review.

Star Trek is not a reboot?

startrekfanposter1After pushing the new Star Trek movie as a reboot of the franchise, writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are starting to push back. It's clear that most people are not interested in yet another reboot, and even less are interested in a reboot of Star Trek.  It is interesting to see how they are changing the context of the film from a reboot to a prequel/sequel.

From Reboot to Prequel/Sequel

Orci said, "We couldn't imagine not having this movie somehow fall within some degree of continuity. We don't accept the word reboot. Reboot does not actually describe the fact that this movie would not be possible without the 10 movies that came prior to it. The very events of the movie themselves are caused by Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and his story, which picks up essentially after the last movie, Star Trek 10 [Nemesis]. ... So our movie is both a prequel and a sequel. It's a sequel if you're a fan, and a prequel if you're not (SCI FI Wire)."

Honestly, I don't know what to think about this.  I am not sure if it is:

  • the writers starting to revolt against what they feel is an unfair characterization of this movie
  • a new marketing push to rebrand a movie that is not gaining much traction

I want to be hopeful, and believe they are telling the truth, but the good feeling doesn't last long.

Star Trek "fan" PosterTime Travel and Canon

Why is the time-travel element necessary?

Orci: I don't think that fits into the classic definition of a reboot. So it was necessary for that. And it's also necessary in order to both connect the world to the original Star Trek, but then also to then give us the dramatic license and the dramatic stakes of having an unknown future in the movie.

Kurtzman: Yeah, the biggest thing I think we all hiccuped on, just conceptually, when Trek was presented to us was, "Well, we know how they all died. We know what happened to them." And when you know that, it's very difficult to put them in jeopardy in a way that feels fresh or original. How do you ever have real stakes to your characters?

...

This also conveniently allows you to violate canon, such as it is, if necessary.

Orci: Well, again, it's a continuation of canon. If words have precise meaning, it's not technically a canon violation (SCI FI Wire).

They are going out of their way to try to keep this movie in the prequel/sequel category.

I find it hilarious to see any Star Trek writer talk about cannon.  Every fan knows that ever since Gene Roddenberry died, continuity has not exactly been a preoccupation of the continuity.  Whenever it was convenient, they have abandoned canon.  Kurtzman does make a good point that by adding an element of time travel, it does mean that no one is safe.

Star Wars in Star Trek

I have already gone into detail about my fears that they are going to make the new Star Trek film too much like Star Wars (see it here), so I won't repeat myself, but Orci and Kurtzman have given me more to chew on:

Orci: Well, my short quick answer on that up front is Star Wars had a little bit more of an archetypal, mythological structure. That differentiated it from Star Trek to a certain degree in that Star Trek was a little bit more classical science fiction. Star Wars is fantasy, really.

So, as a result of it being fantasy, the story, I think, was a little bit more mythologically drawn.

Kurtzman: I think what we know is that ... Star Trek is about naval battles, and, at its best, is always about out-thinking your opponent. ... But there's a reality to the way that people watch movies today. ... Which is that you cannot honestly expect ... a 12-year-old boy to walk into a theater and to go sit through two hours of very slow naval battle. It's just not going to work.

... There has to be an updating there. And yet you have to stay entirely true to the spirit of Trek. So the challenge then becomes "How do you marry those two things?" And ... the way that we put it is that there's plenty of naval battles in a way that's familiar and a way that seems very Trek. But ... the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars is that Star Wars has always been about speed. ... It's dogfights versus slow ship fights (SCI FI Wire).

Ok, I am not sure what to make out of this.  I really want to remind them of the space battles from the Dominion War in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, or in Voyager, or Enterprise.  You don't have to look outside the franchise to find fast paced action.

I also have a problem with the invocation of the 12 year old boy.  They have been dumbing down entertainment for so long, that they now feel that they have to cater to the short attention spans they created.

I suppose I should be comforted that their contribution to the franchise will be to remove what little science fiction remains.

Forget everything you know

So remember:

  • It's not a reboot
  • It's a prequel/sequel
  • It will be fast paced
  • It will not by Science Fiction or Scifi
  • It was made just for 12 year old boys, not for general audiences
  • It is true to cannon

Wait?? What?? Forget everything I know?  Ok, I will.  I will expect:

  • wooden 2 dimensional characters
  • no plot
  • nothing thought provoking
  • lots of shaky cam
  • lots of explosions
  • fantasy creatures around every corner

I didn't expect the sequel to Lord of the Rings to be a Star Trek film but game on...

PS: J. J. Abrams' "Creativity" and "Imagination"

Facepalm left a great comment on the original post on SCI FI Wire.

The History of J.J. Abrams:

Lost: It's time travel across dimensions Fringe: It's time travel across dimensions Star Trek: It's time travel across dimensions.

Can't wait for his version of Romeo and Juliet.

Most of the comment were negative against the film..

Check out my Star Trek Review.

Saving Star Trek

starfleet_command_logo Club Jade pointed to some posts about how to save Star Trek.  They reminded me of my post Star Trek After Roddenberry…  I cannot resist the urge to comment on them.

Mixing Star Wars and Star Trek

The Official Star Wars Blog highlighted an interview with the writers of the new Star Trek movie, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman by Wired:

Wired.com: J.J. Abrams makes no secret that he’s more of a Star Wars guy and not so much into Star Trek, but you two were full-tilt fans.

Orci: In terms of fandom, yeah, and Damon too is a fanatic - we’re not going to drop the ball out of ignorance. Nobody can say that we don’t know Star Trek. There might be some things we do that people could question, where they go, “I hate them for some other reasons,” but they can’t say, “They didn’t know their stuff.”

Orci: And it’s controversial to even mention Star Wars and Star Trek in the same sentence, but Alex said, “We have to bring more Star Wars into Star Trek.”

Kurtzman: (joke-coughing) Original Star Wars.

Orci: Original Star Wars. I want to feel the space, I want to feel speed and I want to feel all the things that can become a little bit lost when Star Trek becomes very stately — which I love about it , but….

Kurtzman: Star Trek is often the space equivalent of sub battles, which is what makes it unique and different from Star Wars, so you can’t blow that away, either.

Orci: It’s somewhere between that the truth lies.

Really?  Again with people thinking that Star Trek is suppose to be an action series!  It sounds like the new film will be, but that is not the original concept for the series.

I feel like I have to say something:

Science Fiction ≠ Action

I know this is a hard concept for some people to understand.  While science fiction can have action scenes in it, one is not equal to the other.

Star Trek was intended to be a Science Fiction show, and many of their best episodes did not have any action scenes at all Like the City at the Edge of Forever.

Roddenberry wanted the show to highlight how diplomacy should be our first resort rather than violence.

5 Ways to Ruin Star Trek by Adding Star Wars

idicio9 added fuel to the fire with its own wishlist.

Make Your Heroes Less Perfect

Yeah, that is a great suggestion.  Instead of trying to show a future that actually lives up to the ideals you have set for it, and that you are hoping your audience will also aspire to, throw all your ideals out the window and make your characters flawed and while your at it, make the future something no one will ever want to aspire to.

Less Talk, More Action

Diplomacy is overrated, lets just beat the crap out of each other for no good reason.  A puerile show filled with hate and violence is better than a show that sets reason and self-control on a pedestal.

There is no way that a Star Trek with more space battles and less attempts to sit down and talk things through like grown-ups would be a bad thing (io9).

Except it would have to sell out all of its ideals in order to do it.  For some people selling out seems to come easier than for others.

Ignore the Laws of Physics

Ok, Star Trek was a Science Fiction show.  Science Fiction is a subgenre of Speculative Fiction where science plays and integral role in the plot, and it would not be possible to tell the story without it.

Ok, so, we take that away and Star Trek is nothing but a run of the mill Space Opera.

Have At Least One Sequence That Will Make A Good Video Game

That’s right.  Think about the merchandising first.  Stop thinking about the plot and the characters.  Just think about the money you will make with the crappy game based on movie. (honestly, has there ever been a good one?)

Think about money, nothing but money.  Nothing matters but money, and entertaining people who are so emotionally dead inside that they could not be moved by anything.

Put Uhura In A Metal Bikini At Some Point

Because, I am sure it is better to turn an important character into nothing but a vapid sex object that only hormonally brain damaged men will care about.  What where they thinking trying to give women a role model to look up to.  I suppose Graeme McMillan thinks that women should stay in their bikinis and not have all those pesky opinions.

IF this is the new Star Trek…

…then I know it is nothing that I want to see.  My snarkiness aside, these truly are bad ideas.

If Star Trek was to be rebooted, I wish people would have listened to J Michel Straczynski and Bryce Zabel who wanted to keep the spirit of the original alive. (see there concept here)

What these people have described is not a reboot for Star Trek, but a different show with the same name.

May the Great Bird of the Galaxy save us all.

Update

JJ Abrams told Entertainment Weekly:

Plus, at heart, Abrams is still more of a Star Wars guy. ''All my smart friends liked Star Trek,'' he says. ''I preferred a more visceral experience.'' Which is exactly why he accepted Paramount's offer in 2005 to develop a new Trek flick; creatively, he was engaged by the possibility of a Star Trek movie ''that grabbed me the way Star Wars did.'' That meant a bigger budget and better special effects than any previous Trek film, plus freedom to reinvent the mythos as needed. ''We have worldwide aspirations and we need to broaden [Trek's] appeal,'' says Weston. ''Doing the half-assed version of this thing wasn't going to work.''

So everyone involved in the new movie wants to see these sort of changes... Grr Argh.

Check out my Star Trek Review.

Star Trek After Roddenberry

generoddenburry-240x320 As the news about the new Star Trek movie dips out, including Kevin Smith’s recent reviews about the flick he is not saying that he has seen, I find myself thinking a lot about how Star Trek has listed since the death of Gene Roddenberry in 1991. With the exception of Deep Space Nine, all of the Star Trek Series and Movies have drifted further from Gene’s vision for the series.  They no longer focused on issues and ideas, and instead devolved into nothing more than a generic Space Opera with little under the surface to hold onto.

Voyager and Enterprise, not to mention all of the Next Generation movies continued to drift further away from brilliant series that so many of us fell in love with.

Gene’s genius was to discuss complex social and philosophical issues through the action, adventure, and mystery of the series.  He also created archetypal characters who were so personable the viewer longed follow the twists and turns of their lives.

After Gene’s death, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine struggled to stay on course, and fortunately had to compete with Babylon 5 for viewer.  This competition forced them to deal with issues more often and the probable cause for the Dominion War.

Once Babylon 5 was no longer on air to challenge Star Trek, the show quickly fell into little more than action adventure space opera.

On film, First Contact and Insurrection flirted with depth, but erred on the side of action and adventure.  As Star Trek drifted from the storylines and motifs that made it popular, the studio questioned why the audience was falling away.  Their solution: forget the original fans, add more spectacle and hopefully we can attract a new audience.  The tactic failed…

Now, J. J. Abrams is making a new Star Trek film, rebooting the original series:

Paramount synopsis: From director J.J. Abrams ("Mission: Impossible III," "Lost" and "Alias") and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci ("TRANSFORMERS," "MI: III") comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, "Star Trek," featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before (IMDB).

Since very little has been said about the plot of the upcoming film.  What we do know is that the Enterprise in Unchanged and they are spending more on this movie than any other Star Trek film has made, but I would not be surprised to see them follow the same formula that has not served the franchise well to date.  I hope I am pleasantly surprised.

I know I have been accused of taking Star Trek a little too seriously, but it annoys me when a company corrupts such a good idea.

P:SI # 22 - "Our Billion Dollar Property is Worthless"

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