Excerpts From JJ Abrams Interview in New SFX Star Trek Issue – Talks Fans, TOS, Roddenberry & more

This week the May issue (#182) of the venerable UK sci-fi magazine SFX comes out and it is all about Star Trek. The magazine features a number of articles and exclusive interviews related to the new movie, including a cover story with comments from director JJ Abrams. SFX provided TrekMovie with some excerpts from the new magazine, read them below.


Abrams on fans, updates and Trek themes
The cover story feature for the SFX Star Trek issue is very extensive and features many exclusive quotes from Star Trek director JJ Abrams. Below are some excerpts.

JJ Abrams is famous for saying that the the new Star Trek is for ‘future fans’ of Star Trek, however the director lets SFX know he (and the film) are very aware of the current fans:

Star Trek of all things has got such a famous, vocal fan base, and if you don’t address them and make sure you’re honoring all that they know and love about the series, you’re completely screwed. You have to make sure the movie is not just aware of them, but working for them so that they’re not only able to continue embracing it but hopefully bring other people into the fold.

Much has been said about taking a new approach to the new Star Trek, but Abrams makes it clear that updates have a reason:

The approach to this whole movie in every detail was to take the inspiration from what was in The Original Series and then filter it through what is relevant and vital for now. Not to say the goal was to make it cool or to make it different, but to make it real. And with characters that feel true and emotional, and like there’s a piece missing for them and they’re up against something significant and the stakes are high, it was fun to figure out a way to do everything from bringing the Enterprise back to make the relationship between Spock Kirk and Bones come to life and to use these wonderful new actors in a way that allowed them to really do their thing and bring these characters to life. I feel like the key was to treat it as legitimate.

Abrams also made clear that he tried to stay true to the Roddenberry vision:

The themes that got me excited honestly had less to do with Star Trek and space and more to do with the optimism and humanity and of finding your purpose through unity. It ends up being a guiding principle of the movie – it needed to be faithful to the optimism that Gene Roddenberry wrote with during a time of fear and hate and suspicion. He was writing of our future where we were not just surviving it, but by cooperating and collaborating, we actually thrived. That to me, more than ever is a relevant idea.

Much more in the issue of SFX Magazine
There is much more from JJ Abrams and Star Trek in the May issue of SFX Magazine (#182). There are interviews with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and John Cho. Plus there is a guest column from Simon Pegg, plus additional Star Trek related articles. SFX #182 goes on sale April 8th in the UK, and should be available in the US and Canada later in April.

More on SFX, including subscriptions and purchasing info at sfx.co.uk

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April 6, 2009 11:00 am


Darth Revan
April 6, 2009 11:02 am

True that about the fanbase.

Harry Ballz
April 6, 2009 11:03 am

I like JJ’s positive attitude! I am positive this movie will ROCK!!

April 6, 2009 11:04 am

JJ Abrams has made me a happy girl today. ♥

April 6, 2009 11:06 am

Optimism that is what Star Trek is all about and no meter how much the Enterprise exterior or interior have changed if it will keep the optimism it will be a very good, the best Trek movie!

April 6, 2009 11:08 am

good deal

Dr. Image
April 6, 2009 11:08 am

Yeah, make it real, JJ, right down to the real barcode scanners.
(Just KIDDING!!)

Wish they wouldn’t Photoshop those guys so much. It’s….. UNreal.
Nice cover, though.

April 6, 2009 11:09 am

Can. Not. Wait!

By the way that’s a dreadful picture of Quinto on the cover. Trailer shots have been far superior

April 6, 2009 11:11 am

“The themes that got me excited honestly had less to do with Star Trek and space and more to do with the optimism and humanity and of finding your purpose through unity.”

He gets it.

Note to JJ, that IS the whole point of Star Trek. The space stuff is all window dressing for the telling of the tales.

April 6, 2009 11:12 am

#8 agree. Quinto’s publiity shots look like they were done at a different time. Different wig (that fits badly) and masked eyebrows instead of shaved off, like he did for the movie.

April 6, 2009 11:13 am


I agree, despite my concerns over JJ Abrams changing everything I am glad that he understands the ideals of Trek.

April 6, 2009 11:14 am

Why the hell to they keep air-brushing to death Kirk and Spock on just about every magazine cover? Makes them look like they’re made of wax!!! Awful design work :/

Nice to hear J.J. referencing the optimism of Roddenberry’s vision as being an inspiraton to him – would be nice to have a film with a touch of optimism in it after Watchmen and Dark Knight….

April 6, 2009 11:14 am

To those who think JJ Abrams doesn’t ‘get it’: Read the above statements. :-)

It elaborates on public statements he’s made before on the project.

It appears his journey in this has been interesting:

– He agreed to produce the movie as part of his deal with Paramount.
– Orci and Kurtzman’s script, along with his wife, then convinced him that he’d be jealous of any other director making this, and agreed to direct.
– In the process of making the film, he was converted from a vague awareness and great appreciation of the script, to loving the story, characters and ideals of the original Star Trek.

It seems interesting to me that a guy who was not a big fan of Star Trek, has grown to love it the way we do, and has become a fan.

April 6, 2009 11:16 am

12 – I think all these images are from a single photo shoot, and the photographer is well known for manipulating those images.

Stills from the movie would have been far better, and it’s about as dumb as it gets.

April 6, 2009 11:23 am

Um, guys, if you haven’t realized, every magazine cover and advertisement for anything has the models Photoshopped to death.

So…. Yeah.

Locke for President
April 6, 2009 11:25 am

I posted this before, but it was at the end of a page and most people probably didn’t see it. I’ve been rewatching the movies on my new widescreen TV to get ready for the new one, and after 20 years I had a startling discovery:

In ST-V, Kirk pushes a button in the brig scene and sits down on a chair that comes out of the wall. With my bigger and more detailed TV picture, I just now realized that it is the first time we saw a toilet in Star Trek!

The stool itself has a line where the lid would be. There is a button to flush and a rectangular place where the toilet paper would come out. There is a warning on the back that says to not use it while in spacedock.

Have you ever noticed this before? I swear, in all my years I’ve never seen or heard anybody comment about the toilet before . . .

April 6, 2009 11:30 am

Look…. to the people who call themselves ”star trek fans” and who really insulted this film, take a look at this….. He speaks true words about Star Trek. Specifically, look at his approach to Gene’s Dream. UNITY. I think Star Trek is at its best when it doesn’t take it self too seriously and doesn’t try to be what fans think star trek really is….. They just have to stick to those underlining principles eg. of everyone working together (all cultures) for a single goal. Now that is something to look forward to in the future. I really can’t wait to see this movie. JJ Abrams is going to take what Star Trek is really about and give it the treatment it should have got a long time ago. Sadly it was never given a big budget and such a huge epic vision. I surely think this will hit with Star Trek fans who ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND what star trek really is !!!!

Bill Peters
April 6, 2009 11:34 am

I am glad JJ Respects the fans! I am also glad he agrees with Gene’s vision!

New Horizon
April 6, 2009 11:36 am

10. Dave – April 6, 2009

From what I’ve read in Quinto’s interviews, it was his real hair in the movie…and not a wig. The photoshoots though, yeah…bad wig.

I must assume that the music loop on the official site is a snippet of what we’ll get from the new score by Michael Giacchino. Very moody with echoes that actually remind me of some 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (the 1950’s version). I even felt a little Michael Kamen/Band of Brothers.

Looking forward to the Shatner voice-over at the end.

Kirk, James T.
April 6, 2009 11:38 am

I like the way SFX covers the F to suggest SEX lol – a time honored tradition of theirs.

great interview, fills me with so much hope that this movie will just be brilliant.

April 6, 2009 11:39 am

16: “There is a warning on the back that says to not use it while in spacedock.”

Cue a 300-post debate on why you should or shouldn’t be able to use the brig toilet while in spacedock…

Kirk, James T.
April 6, 2009 11:42 am

btw, is there new music over the Star Trek site because I’m hearing the same tune?

April 6, 2009 11:45 am

#20: “Looking forward to the Shatner voice-over at the end.”

Say what? State your source.

Harry Ballz
April 6, 2009 11:47 am


Pure conjecture!

Locke for President
April 6, 2009 11:48 am

22. Chris Basken

Oh yeah, I never thought of the ramnifications of bringing that up. I apologize ahead of time for any of the people in the “Using a toilet while in Spacedock doesn’t fit with canon” crowd.

Although I’m sure Page 27, paragraph three of some technical manual somewhere has the definitive answer to that burning question.

April 6, 2009 11:50 am

Nonsense. People won’t poop in the 23rd century.

April 6, 2009 11:53 am

That’s the thing!
Star Trek isn’t about the look of exteriors or interiors! Get this Nitpickers and everyone will be glad to watch this wonderful movie!

April 6, 2009 11:55 am

For anyone wanting to see one of the all-time best ”toilet moments” in science fiction, I humbly recommend 2001 A Space Odyssey–the part at roughly 36m39s into the movie.

April 6, 2009 11:57 am

NEED AN EXPLANATION, PLEASE HELP! I keep reading that Scotty fried Admiral Archer’s dog. But how old is Archer and when would he have met Scotty? I thought the Enterprise and TOS were set like 100 years apart? Anyone have answers?

Jorg Sacul
April 6, 2009 11:57 am

I bet Commodore Decker did, driving the shuttlecraft down the throat of the Doomsday Machine…

April 6, 2009 11:57 am

Yeah, I’ll probably catch this one when it opens.

April 6, 2009 12:00 pm

That Quinto picture is awful. He’s orange, and shiny, and he looks like he’s in a wig. I just don’t understand why they bother- the man’s good looking as it is, he doesn’t need airbrushing!

Other than that, looks like an interesting interview, I’ll keep an eye out for the magazine.

April 6, 2009 12:02 pm

30 – It’s possible for a man to live into his 90s with current technology and medical knowledge. It’s possible Admiral Archer may live longer.

I doubt the dog is actually Porthos, since dogs have a shorter lifespan, but he may have a love for that kind of dog, stemming from his relationship woth Porthos.

April 6, 2009 12:03 pm

he gets it. not that i didn’t already know this.

April 6, 2009 12:05 pm

30. We’re not going to get that. It has been stated by all parties that Shatner is not in the movie.

It’ll be Chris Pine’s voiceover with the “To Boldly Go” speech, in all likelihood, since he’s the Captain Kirk viewers of the movie will know by the end of the film.

It’s the only choice that would feel right in the context of the movie from what we’ve heard and read.

Sybok's Secret Brother
April 6, 2009 12:06 pm

Um – I think I flushed while we were docked – is that gonna cause any major problems?

April 6, 2009 12:07 pm

I think in DS9 they said that human beings have an everage lifspan from 120 years. And Admiral MacCoy visited also the Enterprise D

Duncan MacLeod
April 6, 2009 12:08 pm

Nope, They have mini guardians of forever (TM Harlan Ellison, et al. etc etc.) and they ACTUALLY poop in the 21st century. (there is a heck of a lot of $h!t being thrown against the wall today)

April 6, 2009 12:08 pm

What would really feel ”right” is for Majel Barrett-Roddenberry to voice-over the famous phrase at the end. Somebody sitting at studio during the recording of her as the computer voice had to have had that idea…huh? Just for the heck of it?

That would be a fitting and wonderful send-off in my opinion for the ”mother” of Star Trek.

April 6, 2009 12:10 pm

Not to bash any of the previous Trek patriarchs, but I never recall hearing Berman or Braga talking about Trek in such an astute and insightful manner. I think JJ really comprehends Star Trek on an elemental level, and I have high hopes that he will re-order the Star Trek universe’s priorities such that heart and mind will once again come before gizmos and gadgets.

April 6, 2009 12:14 pm

# 29…the best “toilet moment?” You may refer to Galactica for that one. It had Starbuck sitting on the can and the sound of her taken a leak…. can’t get more real than that one… lol.

Love the comments above. Come May when the movie is out… I’ll be there.

Kirk, James T.
April 6, 2009 12:21 pm

41 – couldn’t have put it better myself! well said.

Treker chick
April 6, 2009 12:35 pm

I don’t know… That instruction plaque for the operation of the zero-gee toilet, and the scene of Dr. H.F. sitting there studying it, was pretty funny.

April 6, 2009 12:36 pm

#30 and #38–another fact: Bones and Archer are the only two people to have had Vulcan katras in their minds (Bones had Spock’s in Star Trek 3, and Archer had Surak’s in Season 4 of Enterprise) …presumably a side effect of a human having for a time had a Vulcan katra in their minds is they get a lifespan equivalent to as if they were half-Vulcan…namely, a 150+ year lifespan…

April 6, 2009 12:37 pm

Welcome to the family J.J. & Co!

April 6, 2009 12:39 pm

40 – For Majel, it absolutely would.

But for the movie itself, only fans such as ourselves would get it.

The lines were written for James Kirk to say in the Original Series, and James Kirk should be the one to say them.

Also, the recordings for the computer voice were done before she passed on, and chopping together words from the voice clips would sound disjointed and distracting, assuming they even have all of the words.

I suspect there will be a dedication at the start of the movie.

A simple “For Majel Barrett-Roddenberry” before theopening, with no sound or music, a simpole fade in, wait about 3 seconds, then a fade out, would be appropriate.

April 6, 2009 12:39 pm


Airbrushing is a such a powerful post-production tool these days. It can be abused. Why must the designer abuse this tool? :O

April 6, 2009 12:43 pm

Yes, with all the airbrushing, Quinto as Spock looks more and more like Alan Rickman as Sir Alexander Dane as Dr. Lazarus. Even almost has one of the same facial expressions!


April 6, 2009 12:44 pm


If they dedicated the film to Majel Barrett, they would probably do it at the end when the main credits finish rolling. If I’m not mistaken, Heath Ledger and the doomed stuntman were given dedication credit only after the “The Dark Knight” was over. To be honest, I never cared for dedication credits that opened a film. I know they did it for the Challenger crew in “Star Trek IV” and Gene Roddenberry in “Star Trek VI”, but I think it’s a bit distracting. In my opinion, recognition in the end credits is better.