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Star Trek producer Damon Lindelof was at Comic Con to promote Lost as well as participating a couple of other panels. TrekMovie caught up with the prolific writer/producer after he finished moderating the Always Sunny in Philadelphia panel and he gave us a breakdown on where things are with Trek and also talked about the film’s humor, the appeal to TNG era fans, Nero’s ear, and more.
Comic Con 2008 Interview with Star Trek producer Damon Lindelof
TrekMovie.com: So Damon, can you give us a production update? Where are you on your timeline?
Damon Lindelof: We are still cutting the movie, getting effects from ILM, and we are going to show the movie to the brass at Paramount, probably by the end of the month. We are really, really, really excited about what we got. I think the movie really works. Then I think we are just going to be putting effects shots in. It is one of those things where we have stayed on the schedule to get the movie ready for Christmas, so we are going to be sitting on it for a while.
TrekMovie.com: JJ [Abrams] said his first cut is almost done, but [executive producer] Bryan [Burk] says very few effects shots are done. So the next five months is all about the effects?
Damon Lindelof: I think the thing about an effects shot and Trek, in terms of all the elements that are going on, yeah some effects shots are partially done, so if you are looking at a viewscreen you see space out there. But it is not fully rendered space, nor are there any elements, the planets are only — it is like every iteration is sort of like you are watching Michelangelo sculpt David. It is a block, then it is slightly starting to take human form, then ‘oh my god.’ It is just that nothing is ‘done done’ because of the sheer size of it — it is why you didn’t see the robots in Transformers until six weeks before the movie came out.
TrekMovie.com: At the TCAs JJ talked about how this movie is ‘real’, and he said it was ‘not kitschy’ and I think one of the actors recently said it was ‘not cheesy’ or something like that. So does that also mean ‘not funny?’
Damon Lindelof: No, not at all. I think when we use a word like ‘cheesy,’ the Original Trek series was bound by certain budgetary limitations, so it looked silly at times. The sets were unrealistic, the costumes, there is a fine line between a well-executed episode of Trek and one that is cheesy on a production level. But "Trouble With Tribbles," which should be cheesy, just given what they look like, is actually a Trek classic. I think the reason that is, is because it is funny. It doesn’t feel like they are poking fun at themselves. The movie has a real sense of humor. I think Kirk has a great sense of humor. I think Bones has a great sense of humor. Every scene with that [Simon] Pegg is in is laugh-out-loud funny. But the stakes are real. The fact of the matter is that these guys are in a version of the military, so they take their jobs very seriously. So you to find the humor as organically as you can.
TrekMovie.com: I know you are a huge Next Gen fan. By the way, I loved "The Constant" which you told me was your homage to the Next Gen finale, and in fact I emailed both Brannon [Braga] and Ron Moore that quote from you and they got a kick out of it….
Damon Lindelof: …oh good, I always plead guilty to wholesale thievery.
TrekMovie.com: So as a big Next Gen fan–you know that some fans prefer the Next Gen era shows–so is this film for them too, even if they don’t like The Original Series?
Damon Lindelof: I think for us, it is mostly about capturing the world of Trek. A world in which there is a Federation of Planets. The characters are sort of interchangeable in that world. For me, I would get into a very lengthy debate with someone who says ‘I love The Next Generation, but I hate The Original Series.’ Why is that? Both of those shows function in the same universe, abide by the same rules, are set in a future that is optimistic and adventurous, and they are exploration shows. So I would have hard time saying to them ‘if you liked Deep Space Nine, you probably won’t like our movie, but if you liked Voyager you will like our movie.’ You can’t separate the shows out as far as I am concerned. I have seen more Next Gen episodes than I have seen of The Original Series, just because I was more into it and when I was growing up Next Gen was on.
TrekMovie.com: So the question of the week is, since you put out those new posters, what is up with Eric Bana’s ear?
Damon Lindelof: Oh the piece that is missing? You will see in the movie.
Lindelof shows his Trek cred at Comic Con 2008
Bonus Video: Lindelof Talks Time Travel (on Lost)
[Lost Spoilers] As mentioned above, the last time TrekMovie talked to Damon, he said that he thought the TNG episode "All Good Things" was the best series finale of all time, and that this season’s episode of Lost "The Constant," was an homage to "All Good Things." That episode of Lost firmly established time travel as a story element within the world of Lost. The subject of that episode and time-travel came up during a panel discussion with a number of TV showrunners earlier at Comic Con. Below is video of Lindelof (and co-showrunner Carlton Cuse) talking about hard it was putting "The Constant" together and how he feels there can’t bee too much time-travel on TV.