The new issue of the official Star Trek Magazine has an extensive interview with Star Trek co-writers and exec. producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The pair talk about their fandom, favorite Trek books and more, but of particular interest was a discussion on why they chose to do a movie in the pre TOS era and also a bit on the Shat.
Excerpts from Star Trek Magazine
(interview conducted in March)
Why not the next Next Generation?
Star Trek magazine asked why the new Trek team chose to do a film in the TOS era instead of following Roddenberry’s example and ‘take things on a generation’ as he did with TNG.
Roberto Orci: We all had to agree that area would interest us, and we’re all fans to varying degrees. Everyone could agree that the original series was something that we all loved dearly. Also there seemed to be the fact that Roddenberry had done exactly as you described, so it would have been doing it again. Thirdly, there seemed to be a genuine gap in what we knew about these characters’ origins. It wasn’t just remaking an origin story, it was telling it for the first time. There seemed to be unexplored territory. We couldn’t believe it when we sat down to think about it.
Alex Kurtzman: It was shocking that after 40 years that there was still a story to tell about the characters that started it all. That alone was a reason to do it.
RO: Creatively that was a reason to do it and on the other side of it, we wanted to introduce Star Trek again to a new generation and the people who had been around who felt that they were never able to jump onto the bandwagon because they felt they’d missed too much. The idea of making an introduction that anyone can come into, and find out what it is that all of us love about Star Trek, without having to know anything about Star Trek, was something we just couldn’t pass up. The two of those together made it inescapable.
Orci and Kurtzman make an interesting point. If you look at the five Trek TV series, all but The Original Series had elaborate pilots that showed how the crews of each show came together. In addition to the pilots there were also prequel episodes like TNG’s “Tapestry” and ENT’s “First Flight,” which TOS never had (although “The Menagerie” did show the old days when Spock shouted a lot). In a way the new Star Trek movie is the ‘origin pilot’ The Original Series never had.
Shatner wanted larger part?
When asked if they thought it likely Shatner could be worked in, Orci said he didn’t think it likely but "never say never," He also gave some background on the whole Shat saga
We went through the same process that we went through with Nimoy: We pitched him what we were thinking early on before we wrote it, and got his blessing as well, which was amazing. We talked in the meeting about the fact that Star Trek had killed Kirk and that was going to be a big stumbling block to an organic introduction of the character, but we would do our best. Subsequently he said he would require a slightly larger part than maybe this movie could sustain so we’ve kept him in the back of our minds, and now with another year to go, who knows? .
It appears there may be more to the whole Shatner in the movie saga than just what we have been hearing from Mr. Shatner lately.
UPDATE: Orci clarifies
Shortly after this article went up, Mr. Orci wrote the followg in the comments section below
by the way, when I said that Mr. Shatner subsequently said he wanted a larger role, I was referring to his public statement that he did not do cameos. Nothing more.
The latest issue of Star Trek Magazine has much more from Orci & Kurtzman, as well as other good articles on the film, and much more. Pick it on newsstands now.