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Roberto Orci Talks ‘Star Trek’ and Fandom with TrekMovie.com

TrekMovie.com had a chance to sit down with the co-writer of the new Star Trek film Robert Orci at a promotional event for his latest film Transformers. The event was mainly for Transformers, but I was able to ask some Trek questions. Regarding his and (writing partner) Alex Kurtzman being fans of the franchise Orci stated “obviously we have been fans of Trek forever." The writer said he couldn’t really talk about the plot for the new Trek film, except to joke “we trek through the stars…and it’s in the future.” (I guess that rules out another Star Trek IV style time travel plot). He did mention that the character of Kirk is in the film (which was already announced by Abrams last month). When asked if Kirk had a big part in the film he wryly smiled and said "maybe." Orci (who also shares an Executive producer credit) did offer a status report saying that they are currently in pre-production and casting with shooting planned for November (which is a month later than previously reported). He also confirmed that the working title for the film is just ‘Star Trek’ and that he is "pretty sure" the simple title will end up to be the final title, saying "how do you deny it?…they might pretend it is not the official title but what else is it going to be?” 

…on ‘The Island’ and action movies
Transformers is unashamedly an action movie. I have seen the film and it is a complete success at being a summer blockbuster popcorn movie thrill ride (will provide a full review here and at Geek closer to release). Orci and Kurtzman’s previous collaboration with Michael Bay was The Island, which came to mixed reviews. Many felt The Island was disjointed between a slower paced cerebral sci-fi Logans Run kind of first half with a fast paced mindless action movie second half. Apparently Orci agrees, saying "If that movie had cost $75 million it would have been OK. I personally still like that movie. The action seemed to be too big for that movie, it wanted to have less of that spectacle." Last summer’s M:I:III (also written by Orci and Kurtzman) was more successful in mixing character stories into an action film (it actually toned down the mindless action from previous MI films).

…on fandom
Being that it was a Transformers event most of the discussion was about that film, but some of his answers are telling about his process and views of fandom. When asked who he wrote the film for he stated "we wrote it for ourselves, for [director Michael] Bay, and [Executive Producer Steven] Spielberg trusting that if we hit all three it would be for the audience.” However he also acknowledged that during the process he felt it was important to reach out to the Tranformers fanbase for feedback. Apparently they made changes to the script based on comments from his regular chats with fans on Tranformers sites. I asked him what he learned from his experiences dealing with fans and he said "I learned that we are going to continue to engage the fans, that closing them out is a mistake…don’t be afraid of the fans, don’t be afraid to engage, don’t be afraid to defend your paradigm.” Orci also acknowledged that at times it can get quite heated on the net. He joked that his writing partner Alex Kurtzman has trouble with it, saying "it effects him and he can’t sleep..anytime someone says that we ‘raped their childhood’ it is hard to hear.”

No more ‘Star Trek XI’
Based on Orci’s confirmation of just ‘Star Trek’ we at TrekMovie.com will try to no longer refer to the new film as Star Trek XI or Trek XI. We have been told by a studio insider that director JJ Abrams actually does not like to hear the film referred to as ‘Star Trek 11’ and everyone on the lot just calls it ‘Star Trek’ so we might as well get in the habit too. (it makes sense, Star Trek stopped using roman numerals in 1991 with Star Trek VI) For now TrekMovie.com is going to go with ‘Star Trek (2008)’ or ‘Star Trek (2008 film)’ or ‘Star Trek (film)’ to differentiate it from TOS or any other Trek film or TV show. Technically Star Trek is still just the working title, but it appears that this one will stick. Personally I think it is a smart move to go with just simple ‘Star Trek’ as it signals a restart for the franchise. After Orci said the film was probably going to be just named ‘Star Trek’ I noted back to him that colons (in movie titles) are uncool now – to which he replied "exactly."

UPDATE: Memory Alpha (based on this article I assume) have changed their listing to ‘Star Trek (film)’. Wikipedia have been doing the same thing for a while. IMDB use ‘Star Trek (2008)’ 

NOTE: Orci’s writing partner Alex Kurtzman could not attend the Transformers event due to a new baby in his family. So congrats Alex for bringing a new Trekkie into the world!

VOTE: what do you think the title should be?
We know it won’t have a roman numeral but do you like the simple title or prefer one with something else (like they did with Batman Begins or Superman Returns) or a title with no ‘Star Trek’ in it like the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight or recent Bond prequel Casino Royale. Poll in right column.

Transformers opens July 4 (although it will open a day earlier in some places) 

Image courtesy of StarTrek.com 

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Mark
June 16, 2007 4:25 pm

Not much to comment on, but I guess I’m first!

Xai
June 16, 2007 4:25 pm

“He also acknowledged that at times it can get quite heated with some fans and that. Orci joked that his writing partner Alex Kurtzman has trouble with it “it effects him and he can’t sleep..anytime someone says that we ‘raped their childhood’ it is hard to hear.”..

Ok, which of you has been leaning hard on the writers?

german fool
June 16, 2007 4:25 pm

Call it “Star Trek Zero”!

Trekdude
June 16, 2007 4:50 pm

no i like Star Trek 0.1 so you can have 0.2 and 0.3 and so on….. :)

June 16, 2007 5:01 pm

Hmm…”trek through the stars”!? Maybe several trek “all/ old stars” will appear in this movie….and “maybe” they are still dealing with shatner…
For me it’s still “Trek XI”, because it’s the eleventh movie, whatever the final title might be…

german fool
June 16, 2007 5:01 pm

Yeah, Zero-One, Zero-Two, Zero-Three… would be the Zero-Trilogy

and of course, zero is the only number where it makes sense to write it in letters

Star Trek – ZERO
the perfect name for a (hopefully) perfect movie

John Cocktoastin
June 16, 2007 5:43 pm

The more I read about this, the more it sounds just awful. As if by somehow denying that this technically the 11th film and simply calling it ‘Star Trek’ is going to make it a success. Gee why didn’t they do that before? Although we know nothing about the story, I fail to see how they can recapture the magic with a reboot and new cast. This isn’t Bond, there’s no literary greatness to base this from from scratch.

Still Kirok
June 16, 2007 5:50 pm

It’s Star Trek XI, no matter what they call it.

Admiral James T. Kirk
June 16, 2007 5:52 pm

Come, come, Mr. Scott (and John Cocktoastin).Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant!

Lou
June 16, 2007 6:21 pm

The Character Kirk is in it… hmm… has it been OFFICIALLY announced that this is to be PRE-TOS? if not, post TOS, pre-TMP is a possibility as well.

Buckaroohawk
June 16, 2007 6:51 pm
John Cocktoastin, Have you read Ian Fleming’s Bond novels? I love them, but they’re hardly what I’d call “literary greatness.” In fact, I’ll wager that if it were not for the film series, Bond would have been forgotten as a literary character long ago. If Paramount is in fact going to call the new film “Star Trek”, that will be fine with me. The new film isn’t “technically the 11th film” any more than “Batman Begins” was the fifth Batman film. It was, for lack of a better term, a NEW FIRST Batman film. This will be a NEW FIRST Star Trek film. In fact, I never really thought of the TNG films as an extension of the TOS film franchise. There are SIX films in the TOS series and FOUR in the TNG series. The new one will be the FIRST in the…oh, what to call it…Star Trek Movie (STM) series (?). If they’d like us to just refer to it as Star Trek, or Trek 2008, or “the new Trek movie,” then I’m cool with that. Finally, saying “I fail to see how they can recapture the magic with a reboot and a new cast” sounds an awful lot like what people said about TNG before it premiered. It’s not about “recapturing the magic,” it’s about creating new magic within a familiar realm. I’ve maintained from the get-go that there is a very good chance that this can be done successfully, and nothing that has been said or… Read more »
ety3
June 16, 2007 7:04 pm

Actually, “The Island” was a near total ripoff of the lame 70s film “parts: the clonus horror.” It was done as an episode of MST3K in the show’s eighth season.

See here:
http://crow-t-robot.home.mindspring.com/reviews_s08_ep811.html

Kyle Nin
June 16, 2007 7:33 pm

“Mission: Impossible III” has a colon in the title.

Demode
June 16, 2007 7:57 pm

They can call it whatever they want, so long as Shatner is in the film :)

yo
June 16, 2007 8:10 pm

>> colons (in movie titles) are uncool now

14: > “Mission: Impossible III” has a colon in the title

That colon is from the original show’s title.
It’d be uncool to take it out.

The abbreviation “M:i:III” (two colons) was questionable.

Aren’t Roman numerals uncool yet?

Kyle Nin
June 16, 2007 8:42 pm

#16:

I was just making a joke.

Adam Castle
June 16, 2007 9:22 pm

Watch them use the original Star Trek logo for the new remake and simply give it a dirty tarnished metal look like they did for Transformers and Battlestar Galactica. Just watch. Because tarnished metal somehow conveys that something is new. :D

Thomas Jensen
June 16, 2007 9:24 pm
Very well said Buckaroohawk….. I love the original 79 episodes and six movies. But, for me, it’s all about the original actors playing their parts. As a young boy, I admired the trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. And I was convinced to attend to the drama because of their performances. As an older person, I see the morality tales in the episodes. I appreciate the way the drama unfolds in the play of the week. So many things to admire about that series…. The guys who made that show, made it all come together more so they could even recognize at the time. But, because of time, the original actors aren’t available as a set, anymore. So, I’ll be glad to see a new version of Star Trek where they aren’t necessarily literal with everything which has come before. I hope the new version holds to some of the main ideals of the show. I hope they’ll strike a balance between changing it so much it won’t be fundamentally Star Trek, or by keeping every historical theatrical aspect of the original show. I see the stories with the original cast as a ‘body of work’ exclusive unto it’s self. It’s quite possible someone wants to do it another way. That certainly doesn’t invalidate the original Star Trek if the concept is given a fresh start. They can recognize what was done before or start again and do it in a new way. I’m looking forward to being in the… Read more »
Trekkie84
June 16, 2007 10:00 pm

While I’ll still see this movie, It sounds worst and worst to me, especialy as they are simply calling it “Star Trek” and saying things like “It’s not Star Trek XI!” *sighs*….

RandyYeoman
June 16, 2007 10:18 pm

why are you made because he doesnt want his movie called star trek XI….after the crapfest that was star trek 10 (nemesis) who would want to come after that? anyway they havent numbered them in years.

they call it ‘star trek’ so I guess we all should just get used to it.

June 16, 2007 10:49 pm

#16: Not to go completely off-topic, but Wikipedia seems to think that that M:i:III is indeed the proper abbreviation. Anthony’s grammar is rarely perfect (no offense), but I think he’s got the bases covered here.

Josh T. ( The essence of spockulescence ) Kirk Esquire'
June 16, 2007 11:20 pm

They haven’t used roman numerals for Star Trek titles since Trek VI, so that’s nothing new.

Rick Berman was a minimalist. Rather than operatic, powerful verb and proper noun titles such as “THE Wrath of KHAN,” or ” The SEARCH for SPOCK”, we got Generations ( I won’t go there, some know the story), Insurrection, Nemesis. How minimalist can you be?

It’s entirely plausible these films may have made more of a splash had they used engaging, powerful titles that summed up the essence of the plot in an operatic and theatrical way. Star Trek was always bigger than life, not a Discovery Channel documentary. Give the films Star Wars like titles the way they used to be.

Star Trek VII – The El-Aurian Strikes Back, or Return of the Aye-aye, or The Phantom Nexus

kidding

But seriously, more bombastic titles engage an audience,

Star Trek VII – Christmas with the Picards

STar Trek VIII – Assimilate this

Star Trek IX – When Botox goes wrong

Star Trek X – A clone by any other name

June 16, 2007 11:40 pm

Orci stated “obviously we have been fans of Trek forever.”
So was John Logan (Nemesis)and screenwriter David Loughery (Star Trek V)
Yes I feel I so comforted now….

Jeff
June 17, 2007 3:27 am

James Heaney – You trust Wikipedia for anything? Hahahahaha!

I think I’ll pop over there right now and “update” the entry for TOS to indicate that it starred Ernest Borgnine (where do you think they got the idea for the Borg?) and ran longer than Bonanza.

ENGLISH TREKKER
June 17, 2007 4:00 am

Just so long as the new film isn’t called Star Trek Rebooted, and if I hear the words ‘re-imagined’ then I’ll be worried. I hope that the new film has a proper SF content like the Motion Picture did and that it is not just an FX / Action flick like First Contact and Nemesis, for all its flaws at least Insurrection had a SF concept at its heart.

[…] 1.) der Arbeitstitel des Filmes lautet Star Trek und wird wahrscheinlich auch der finale Titel sein. Die Bezeichnung Trek XI gilt im Produktionsstab als unerwünscht (bekannt, wenngleich dieses ‘unerwünscht’ neu ist. trekmovie.com nennt den Film daher nur noch ‘Star Trek’ [2008 film], ich werde bei Trek XI und dergleichen bleiben) […]

pat
June 17, 2007 6:43 am

Good lord, people. The last numbered movie was VI. And that wassixteen years ago!!

Call it whatever you want, but I don’t see why we should be worried about this being XI when VII, VIII, IX and X didn’t have numbers.

Give Orci a break.

Kev
June 17, 2007 7:03 am

What does it mean Kirk will be in the movie? Isn’t that a given?

June 17, 2007 7:08 am

I can’t get behind that… ;-)

Great_Pretender
June 17, 2007 7:45 am

I wish they’d just make a new series. But one that is more akin to TNG, DS9 and VOY in terms of the way it’s made, and how the characters interact. ENT is way too modern, and Americanized.

I can see it now : Huge colony ship destined for another galaxy through transwarp, with a joint Federation/Klingon/Romulan/Cardassian escort.

And then, like, something goes wrong, or something.
-TGP-

William
June 17, 2007 8:00 am

An argument can be made that movies STMP – VI were reboots or reimaginings of the orginal series. The sets, the uniforms, the consoles, the Captain’s chair, even the ship were significantly altered from the original series. Yes, the cast and characters were the same but pretty much the look of everything else had changed. Obviously this was done because what looked futurisic in 1966 didn’t look so futuristic in 1979. Regardless of why it was done though, it was still a drastic change. What looked futuristic in 1991 (STVI) doesn’t necessarily look futuristic now. As long as they are faithful to the general story of Star Trek and can put together a decent plot in a well made move, I am really looking forward to the new picture.

June 17, 2007 8:25 am

I always thought that star trek could be much bigger than it was presented to us in the last movies or series. Just read the novels behind the movies and compare this written stuff to the filmed versions. So there’s a big discrepance between the written and the finally filmed stuff. I could really be satisfied if the new star trek would go much more into the direction of the novels. And wasn’t it Abrams in one of the first interviews who praised the literature around star trek!? I guess he was, and it’s that epical dimension that I expect for the eleventh or for the following movies.

Stanky "Red Bridge Railing" McFibberich
June 17, 2007 8:48 am

re: 18. Adam Castle

Star Trek is not about tarnished metal.

Christian
June 17, 2007 10:14 am

Colons are uncool. Words are uncool, too. We shouldn’t name it after all… ;)

I call it Star Trek XI like Star Trek X, IX, VIII, VII…;)

Besides: I don’t care what the studio says and “it will be the greatest Star Trek of all times”. They said those things often before… I judge the movie AFTER it’s start and not before. And they shouldn’t do it, either!

Ozy
June 17, 2007 10:28 am

Just ”Star trek” is stupid title.
It’s sounds every time more and more like hard core reboot. ( like movie with no connection to other star trek shows and movies ).

Lord Garth Formerly of Izar
June 17, 2007 10:46 am

Stankamania….. Yes no dingy Galactica crap. Works in their world not in ours. Red God Damned railings on the bridge!!!!!

Will
June 17, 2007 11:21 am

Did he say anything about the Strieber adaption he’s co-producing, 2012?

Synopsis is “Strieber’s story centers on an academic researcher who discovers that multiple versions of Earth co-exist in different dimensions, but all are threatened by an apocalypse to occur in 2012 prophesied by the ancient Mayans. By opening a portal into a parallel universe, he makes contact with his double to stop the prophecy from being fulfilled.”

June 17, 2007 11:40 am

@will
That remembers me on an early script of ST:TMP about Mayans and dinosaurs… But who is coproducing it? Orci or Abrams?

Stanky "Please Announce Stuff to End Speculation" McFibberich
June 17, 2007 1:42 pm

I wish:

They would announce the official title.
They would announce who is in it and what roles they are playing.
They would announce details about the design of the ship inside and out.

The Realist
June 17, 2007 3:23 pm

2. Xai – June 16, 2007 – I have no doubts fans will lean hard on the writers. I must say and I may get alot of abuse because of this, but I would hate to be writing a Trek movie, no matter how hard you work or how hard you try and how great the movie would be and how much money it would make, there would still be some fans that would just be down right nasty or derogetory, I have no doubt that there would be massive support, but there would be a few, who instead of saying “the movie was weak because….” would say something like “the arrogant a#@ lick, f#$%%#d MY Star Trek” the fans want Star Trek to survive, and so do I, I want a new Generation of fans to come in and put their spin/interpretation of Trek on the TV and Movie screen, so we need to get behind the Production Team of Star Trek, and any new series that comes out, and be constructive in our critisism and Vocal with our praise/

Xai
June 17, 2007 3:41 pm

#41 Stanky
… and when they did you’s sum it up in an “I don’t care, it’s all fake anyway” type of statement.

As for naming it…. DOES IT MATTER? It could be called Star Trek: The Bombing of Lexington… But would it matter as along as it’s good?

IMO…Really tired of people critiquing a movie that has not had one frame of film shot or a cast. Some you would write it, cast it, act it, direct it, edit and distribute it… and then still bitch about it.
Some posts here are truly “I wonder if or a genuine opinion. Others?….. you get the drift.

My apologies for the negativism… I felt it needed to be said.

June 17, 2007 3:46 pm

#42 Realist.
I agree fully.
My post that you refered to was slightly tongue-in-cheek. I have seen the “raped childhood” phrase used in here before regarding TOS remastered and agree with you about us ALL being “constructive in our critisism and Vocal with our praise”… to quote you.

Stanky "Just Get it Over With" McFibberich
June 17, 2007 4:45 pm

re: 43. Xai
Thank you for understanding. :)

I will, however, analyze each element separately for its degree of fakeness.

last o' the timelords
June 17, 2007 4:58 pm

“The Island”!! They wrote that, too? Can’t these guys write an original script sometime instead making a career picking the bones of other people’s ideas?

BTW I hope it gets a real title based on the story it tells.

trektacular
June 17, 2007 6:51 pm

I will miss hearing it called Trek IX

Robert Simmons A.K.A Vice Rear Admiral Nerd ( TOS Trek Purist / SFB Gaming Dude )
June 17, 2007 6:57 pm

My recommended Title….Star Trek Dawn.

Emphasises….a beginning

Xai (Just the facts, ma'am)
June 17, 2007 7:14 pm

Dam, what’s up with this “duplicate comment thing”?

Xai
June 17, 2007 7:16 pm

Anthony, why can’t I post

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