The third of our ‘Best of Trek 2008’ is devoted entirely to the new Star Trek movie. It is such a big deal for Trek it deserves its own list so we picked to top Star Trek movie stories from 2008, and there were quite a few to choose from, see below.
TOP 11 ‘STAR TREK’ MOVIE STORIES OF 2008
By far the biggest thing happening in the world of Star Trek is the JJ Abrams big-budget summer 2009 movie with the simple title, Star Trek. Instead of picking one big story, the editors felt it deserved eleven (we are called TrekMovie after all). So here are the top eleven stories for the eleventh Star Trek feature film. [note: article doesn’t contain spoilers, but many of the links do, so clicker beware]
11. Production wraps
Principal photography for the Star Trek movie wrapped up on March 27th, ending a 20 week production (second longest in the franchise behind TMP). Star Trek was one of the more secret sets in Hollywood history, requiring cast members to wear hooded cloaks and drive around shrouded golf carts, even when on the Paramount lot. The majority of the production (until February 12th) was also done during the WGA strike which often had Star Trek’s director JJ Abrams picketing Paramount studios in the morning before he went in to work on the film for the rest of the day. Since April, the film has been in post-production with the first cut completed at the end of July and just last week Abrams told fans that the film would soon be totally complete and ready for the ‘flash-freeze,’ awaiting the May 2009 release.
10. Shatner/Abrams saga
The ‘Should Shatner be in the movie’ saga of 2007 morphed into the ‘why isn’t Shatner in the movie’ saga in 2008, starting as early as January and running throughout the year with various interviews and comments from both The Shat and Abrams. Things heated up in September when director JJ Abrams revealed there was a scene in the movie written for Shatner, followed soon by Shatner letting the world know he never saw the scene, prompting Abrams to ask the question ‘when did [seeing William Shatner talk about me on YouTube] become my life?’ After that the whole thing seemed to be clarified and Bill even said nice things about the Enterprise, but controversy struck again later in December when Bill claimed JJ gave him a ‘fake script.’ Like the Shatner/Takei feud, there is a level of amusement with this back and forth, but hopefully this can all be worked out by May. Paramount probably don’t want Bill vblogging about how he isn’t in the movie and making more accusations around the time of maximum press coverage.
9. Teaser Trailer Released
It seems so long ago, but 2008 started off a bang with the release of the first Star Trek teaser trailer, featuring audio from the real world space program along with a ‘Space the Final Frontier’ from Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, and the first glimpse of the USS Enterprise ‘under construction.’ The trailer coincided with the theatrical premiere of the JJ Abrams produced monster movie Cloverfield on January 18th, and at premiere event the night before JJ Abrams trotted out his Trek cast who were still in production at the time, giving fans a good look at the new crew. The trailer was soon followed with the launching of the official movie site (and viral site), The trailer even introduced fans to a new Trek celeb: ‘the welder guy’ Anthony Vitale.
8. Movie Delay / No Comic-Con Panel (aka ‘excitus interptus’)
On February 13th, the day after the WGA strike ended , Paramount moved the release date of the Star Trek movie from Christmas 2008 to May 8th, 2009. The move had everything to do with Paramount filling out their thin 2009 schedule following the strike, but coming just weeks after the release of the teaser trailer, it put the promotional plans for the film into hiatus. Although JJ Abrams kept with his schedule to deliver the film in by the end of the year (which now looks like early January), other marketing plans all moved forward. The original plan to have a trailer run with the Indiana Jones movie in May 2008 was held back and (to the shock of many) there was no Star Trek panel at Comic Con in July. With the year kicking off with the teaser and associated promotion, this delay ended up creating a kind of excitement void in the middle of the year with regards to the film.
7. Rumors, spoilers, and spies…oh my
The combination of the ultra secrecy of the Star Trek movie, combined with the promotional hiatus after the delay, created a content void. But the internet abhors a vacuum and so the year has been rife with rumors (both real and fake), spoilers (mostly coming from TrekMovie and AICN) and spy reports (coming from paparazzi, passers by, news crews and even Kevin Smith). And even though most of the casting rumors were in 2007, some continued in 2008, including one we had to debunk about George Takei (oh my). There was even a hoax which prompted TrekMovie and i09 to sponsor a ‘make a fake‘ contest (yes, we were hard up for content).
Bakersfield news crew spied Kid Kirk’s Corvette in April
6. Abrams scrutiny
Throughout the year one of the hottest topics has been around the various utterances of Star Trek director JJ Abrams. For most of the year he didn’t say much about the movie, so every missive went under the Trekkie microscope. Many fans understood and even welcomed his comments about how the movie had a new approach, about bringing some Star Wars into Trek, keeping the film from being parody, and bringing in mainstream fans as well as Trek fans. However, some fans would to offense that Abrams was ‘dissing’ Trek or its fans, and when Abrams would seemingly imply the film was ‘not for Trek fans,’ he didn’t help his case. Abrams is in a tough spot. His job is to create (and promote) a film for a wider audience, but also bring the traditional Trek fans. This all inspired Star Trek co-writer Roberto Orci to implore his fellow Trek fans to "give JJ a little bit of leeway" as he goes around to the mainstream media so he can "get people onto our side."
5. Fan outreach
Even though this project has been under a cone of silence, there has been a surprising amount of fan outreach. A big moment of that was in January with the live chat from the set of Star Trek here at TrekMovie.com, which included JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk, Jeffrey Chernov, Bob Orci, Roger Guyett, Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana and Karl Urban. Although the delay of the film quieted things a bit Quinto went on to appear at three conventions in 2009 (two of which with Leonard Nimoy). Orci also attended a con along with TrekMovie’s Anthony Pascale, and has been a regular interviewee, TrekMovie comment section denizen, as well as a constant evangelist for the film granting many interviews in both the geek press and mainstream press. Fans have not had this kind of access to the people behind Trek since those AOL chats with Ron Moore in the 90s and it very much appreciated (even by the cynics).
Abrams and Burk chat with fans at TrekMovie.com
If there were one word that showed up more in terms of fan commentary, it would be ‘canon’ or the fictional history of ‘continuity’ of the Star Trek franchise, and how it relates to this movie. Since the beginning of the process, and into this year, the film makers have constantly said that the new Star Trek movie would ‘honor’ Star Trek’s canon. This issue came up in dozens of interviews and comments throughout the year, which culminated with Bob Orci’s recent TrekMovie interview where he finally revealed exactly how the movie fits within the canon of Star Trek, and that conversation is still going on (and we expect is not over yet).
3. The USS Enterprise (and the USS Kelvin)
Since TrekMovie first revealed the USS Enterprise would be in the Star Trek movie (last year) it has been one of the hottest topics, and in 2008 it got even hotter (prompting possibly more comments than any other subject). Things started really cooking with the first image of the Enterprise under construction released in January, which was soon revealed in the teaser trailer to be being constructed on the ground, which set off a firestorm and reply from (of course) Orci. Besides a few hoaxes and periodic confusion of the Koernerprise, things were quiet on the Enterprise front until November when the first full image was released. The reactions were decidedly mixed, but things got better after the fans saw the Enterprise in the trailer. Fans still haven’t seen much, although most reviewers who saw the 20 minute previews felt the ship looks much better when seen in motion. Another ship that seems to have much more consensus is the USS Kelvin, which comes from a ‘generation before’ the Enterprise and appears to be designed to more match what fans are used to (borrowing heavily from ENT, TOS and especially TMP designs). We also know much more about this ship, with its own promotional site and it has even inspired some fantastic fan art.
The new USS Enterprise
2. Mainstreaming and Globalizing of Trek
One of the big new pushes for this new Star Trek movie is for it to hit a mainstream movie audience that are not regular Trek film goers and to also hit it big around the world. To that end Paramount has set the first ever truly global premiere for a Trek film, opening in 46 countries simultaneously. And director JJ Abrams took the extra step to go on a multi-city tour around Europe to promote the film to an often skeptical press. Paramount also made big cover-story splashes in EW and Empire and elsewhere in the mainstream media (around the world) this Fall, which even got the notice of the Drudge Report. After a bit of a dormant period, the film is moving up to a fever pitch of buzz and appearing on most ‘films to watch in 2009’ lists. Paramount and CBS also lined up a number of new retail merchandise licensees, new partners like Burger King and Intel, and has even arranged to get Star Trek as the only May movie to get the IMAX treatment. The success of this effort could mean the life or death for the franchise going forward and for now it appears that they have got the world’s attention…next step is to deliver the goods.
1. Theatrical Trailer Released (and re-released)
There can be no doubt that the biggest thing to happen with regards to the new Star Trek movie, was the release of the full theatrical trailer on November 18th, along with the new Bond movie Quantum of Solace. The trailer was also a big media event showing up on entertainment TV shows as well as being reformatted into a TV spot. It was also a global event, with foreign language versions in many markets and even some special online exclusives around the world introduced by JJ Abrams. Paramount soon followed up with a complete update of the official site and a version of the trailer just for the fans, that included Leonard Nimoy’s Spock. The trailer answered many questions about the movie, and raised some new ones (some of which are answered in our shot by shot breakdown). After a long dry spell, publicity blitz that started in late October culminating with the release of the trailer in November have been great cap for the year and came not a moment too soon.
Four Spock Version of the ‘Star Trek’ Trailer
What we are looking forward to in 2009 for the Star Trek movie
Well the obvious thing will be the premiere of the movie in May, but there is much more to look forward to, such as:
- More images (especially of the Enterprise)
- Another Trailer?
- Full posters
- TV Spots
- Merchandise and tie-ins
- Press junket
- DVD release
- More spoilers!
- Possible announcement of a sequel
More 2008 Lists to come
Still to come in the coming days are our lists for best official productions (episode, book, etc), best fan productions, and Trekkies of the year…so stay tuned.
Previously posted Best of 2008