Earlier this week Star Trek scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman conducted another online Q&A with fans here at TrekMovie. There were hundreds of submissions and they got to dozens of questions and even addressed a few nitpicks. To make it easier for you instead of slogging through the hundreds of comments, the Q&A is presented below in an easy to ready Q&A format, along with highlights.
Highlights of Orci & Kurtzman May 18-20 Q&A
- Open to TNG character in sequel (if done ‘organically’)
- 10,000 surviving Vulcans does NOT count off-worlders
- Vulcan’s red sky (was) seasonal
- SpockPrime will adhere to a ‘Temporal Prime Directive’ to minimize introducing future tech into new timeline
- Enterprise being built at Riverside Iowa Shipyard to ‘commemorate the sacrifice’ of George Kirk
- New timeline still bound to canon events that took place in the prime timeline (like Botany Bay, V’Ger, etc)
- Spock Prime’s viewing of the destruction of Vulcan was cinematic license and ‘impressionistic’ and could have involved a telescope or other device
- No ‘canon’ explanation for what Nero and crew were doing for 25 years between Kirk’s birth and arrival of Spock Prime, open to ‘fan fiction’
- The Admiral Archer mentioned by Scotty is the same Jonathan Archer from Enterprise (and Enterprise is part of new timeline)
- The attack on the Narada put Winona Kirk into labor preventing Kirk from being born in Iowa (as in the Prime timeline)
- Inconsistencies between film and "Countdown" can be explained that the comic is not canon
- Keenser was in Starfleet while on Delta Vega, just like Scotty
- Paramount expected to make the script available (checking on this)
- Kid on road (‘Johnny’) was "originally meant to be" Kirk’s brother George Jr. and "still could be"
- There’s money, or some kind of credit system in this universe
- The second ‘lightning storm’ referred to in the film was created when SpockPrime’s jellyfish arrived back in time
- Bridge viewscreen changed to window/HUD to justify the bridge’s placement atop the ship instead of in a more secure location
- Damon Lindelof contributed ‘a lot’ to the story of Star Trek
- Lindelof will be ‘breaking the story’ with Bob and Alex on sequel, Bob and Alex will write final screenplay
- Survivors and telemetry from Narada attack on Kelvin exposed Federation to Romulans (explaining why Kirk knows about Romulans and so film does not violate canon of "Balance of Terror")
- Although ‘Prime’ is used to distinguigh Nimoy’s Spock, the team have no name for the new timeline
- Star Trek wiki Memory Alpha was an ‘invaluable resource’
- New Stardates work by taking the year (as in 2233), with the month and day expressed as a decimal point from .1 to .365 (as in the 365 days of the year)
After answering dozens of questions, Bob and Alex finished the Q&A with the following message:
We want to thank you for hosting a truly great Star Trek destination. Your team, and all who have interacted here on this board have been a voice on our shoulder from the beginning of this process. We thank you all for caring enough to bother to nitpick us to death, Nobody does it like a Trekkie!
Bob and Alex
Note: all responses are from ‘BobOrci’ but come from both Bob and Alex who share an office together.
Jerry: Engineering? What’s the deal?
BobOrci: The deal is that we were pursuing the aesthetic of trying to shoot as many things practically as possible to contribute to the feeling of reality. The analog feel was also part of the ethic of having the future we are presenting seem right around the corner. Also, the location we used gave us a production value that would’ve cost millions if we merely tried to build it.
Data: Do you think of bring some characters from TNG era in future Star Trek?
BobOrci: If we can do it organically, perhaps.
Thasc: The Enterprise jettisoned a lot of little pods when its ‘core’ was ejected. We’ve been wondering what these are. Does the Enterprise now have multiple cores, with the singular ‘core’ term just being a, for lack of a better term a traditional name? Are the pods we see just antimatter storage pods? What’s the dealey-o?
BobOrci: We think of those as being the matter/anti-matter chambers of the reactor assembly. Just like a battery compartment can have multiple batteries.
TREKKIE369: I see a lot of talk of ‘alternate reality’, yet this seems like it’s an alternate timeline, vs an alternate reality like the mirror universe. What is your take on this?
BobOrci: In our minds, the terms are interchangeable.
Pragmaticus: Is Admiral Christopher Pike now a paraplegic? Is he permanently paralyzed or temporarily affected by the Centurian slug?
BobOrci: Who can say? We’ll find out together, I hope!
TREKKIE369 : Have you guys ever considered bringing Vulcan and Romulus back? And if not, how many survivors are there from both planets?
BobOrci: Recall that in this new Universe, Romulus is still out there, as Captain Pike indicates. As for Vulcan, Spock, in his Captain’s Log, estimates that there are approximately 10,000 survivors.
That Nutty Fanboy: What happened to off-world Vulcans? The lines in the movie indicate 10.000 survivors overall, which seems rather low for a space-faring species – especially that very likely have off-world colonies.. or was the 10.000-line pointed towards survivors escaping Vulcan itself?
BobOrci: True. Let’s just say then that the 10,000 does not count off worlders!
Thasc: A lot of future toys have made their way into 23rd century. We’ve been assuming that scans of the Narada made by the Kelvin allowed Federation science to progress more rapidly than in the prime timeline. Transwarp beaming would allow an almost Stargate-style transporter network to exist, bridging star systems upon which the system is established. And Spock Prime would be a wealth of information, assuming he’s willing to talk. So my question is, will we see this rapid technological growth continue in Star Trek XII, and should we expect to see the new timeline substantially diverge from the prime timeline as a result?
BobOrci: The timeline may diverge dramatically, but we imagined that Spock Prime would adhere to some for of temporal Prime Directive in which he tries to minimize knowledge of the future from affecting his new present.
Gorn Captain: Do you plan to use Admiral Pike again? And what did the Klingons in the movie look like before they were left on the cutting room floor?
BobOrci: Same answer to both. We’ll see!
ucdom: I like the idea that you came up for Bones’ nickname – but was it really necessary? I mean, it isn’t a stretch for a ship’s surgeon to be nicknamed ‘Ol’ sawbones’ is it? And why oh why oh why does the book completely fluff this line by saying “only left me with my skeleton” leaving the otherwise ill educated reader bemused as to why Kirk suddenly calls him Bones?????
BobOrci: We wanted to hear the word “BONES” and we figured a surgeon would not use that word organically in a scene, as in “I’m a surgeon, and they call us “sawbone’s” sometimes.
ucdom: The Transamerica Pyramid has moved suspiciously close to the Exploratorium – was this your doing??
BobOrci: Not my doing.
ucdom: Can you explain why a Red Matter induced wormhole or black hole (whatever) allows time travel for the Narada once, but crushes it at the end of the movie?
BobOrci: It is the technology of the interstellar ship (the Narada) that allows one to survive crossing through a black hole. At the end, the Narada is damaged and compromised by Kirk’s attack. Like a ship, it sinks when it’s damaged.
ucdom: Why, when Titan orbits in the same plane as Saturn’s rings, do we see the rings at a high angle when the Enterprise emerges from the top of Titan’s ludicrously thick atmospheric haze (PORCOOOOOOOOOO!!) ? And don’t give me that artistic license shenanigans – hire a science consultant or don’t.
BobOrci: Director’s discretion.
[editor’s note: ucdom, besides not being concise the tone was quite rude]
Robert Saint John: Can you provide us one definitive answer on the size specifications of the Enterprise and the Kelvin? Length, width, height, tonnage, crew members, ship class, etc. There have already been 5 conflicting answers. One from Bad Robot, three from ILM and one from the Enterprise Experience site. It would be great to be able to put these questions to rest with a ruling from the Supreme Court. Thanks!
BobOrci: I have no idea….We’ll hear the case very soon!
Joshua: What are the ‘fates’ of other canon Vulcans such as Tuvok, T’Pol, Saavik, and Spock’s half-brother Sybok?
BobOrci: Undetermined by current canon. We’ll see!
NC Trekker: In the Foster novelization, Spock Prime told young Spock that he planned to freely share his knowledge of the future. This line was not in the movie. What is your thinking on this and how do you see the future role of Spock Prime in the new universe? It seems that with his technical knowledge, he would be a valuable resource for Starfleet or someone else perhaps?
BobOrci: We won’t be discussing much about the future at this point, but the idea of sharing info was a lovely embellishment by Alan Dean Foster.
opcode: Perhaps it’s more of a question about production, but anyway I am curious…I read somewhere in this website that Marc Okrand is listed in the movie credits as a Vulcan and Romulan consultant. However I didn’t hear a single line in alien language during the movie (unless I miss something). IMHO that’s too bad because I always thought that the use of alien languages in ST movies increased realism, and even Star Wars used alien language a lot (though I understand that some dramatic moments are better left in English). Anyway, what happened? Were the alien lines recorded but never used (I understand that most ST movies inserted them during post-production). And in case they were recorded, any chance of adding them to the movies when it is finally released on Bluray?
BobOrci: You will see some deleted scenes on bluray. Not sure which yet.
Spocks Left Ear: I miss the Star Trek 2 style ship phasers. Do you think we will ever see that style again? Or do you think the new future direction of space combat is too fast for this kind of effect. Thank you!
BobOrci: We’ll see! I know what you mean about missing those phasers.
Capt Krunch: 1. Vulcan…red sky or not?
BobOrci: Red sky is seasonal.
Capt Krunch: I believe, based on the Star Trek Chronology and episodes, that this is the right time frame…In the Deadly Years 1967…or 2267 Kirk states he is 34 years old…if he was born in 2233 when the Kelvin is destroyed…this would be correct timeframe…Can we assume that the Enterprise is being built 2245..the established launch date? since we see her in action for the first time in 2258?
BobOrci: A good assumption
Capt Krunch: And lastly….why in Iowa and on the ground?
BobOrci: The behind the camera reason related to our goal to connect a general audience to the idea that Star Trek is real and grounded (literally). The idea was based on a fan made picture we found on the internet depicting the USS ENTERPRISE in a shipyard. Alex and I showed this image to JJ, and he locked in on its value immediately.
From an in world story perspective, the idea is that George Kirk’s death caused Starfleet to commemorate his sacrifice with the Riverside Shipyards. We’ve heard the complaint that it is inefficient to build a space ship on the ground, but we figured that any ship that can literally cross the galaxy by warping space and moving faster than light is surely able to what the space shuttle can do — and that is, get into space easily.
Cap’n Kirk: Was there a line or scene that was cut that explained why the Enterprise was being built on Earth rather than in space, or was it just for the dramatic effect of having Kirk gaze at her while contemplating his future?
BobOrci: No line was cut, but above mentioned thought process went into decision.
Gallifrey1983: I don’t want to stir up the Shatner issue again (though I would have loved to see him in this movie or the sequel), but I was interested in the MTV account of the scripted but unfilmed Shatner scene. You once mentioned that you might post the scripted dialogue after the film was released, is that still possible? If not, anything else you can say about that scene? Also, it might be my imagination but some places in the film seemed to echo Generations (like Pike saying to Kirk your dad leaped before he looked and saved 800 people – see if you can do better, Kirk hanging onto edges about 4 times and not falling, Spock saying “Captains can’t cheat death”). Was any of that an intentional reference to Kirk in Generations?
BobOrci: We’ll release the scene one of these days. As for the Generations reference, you can’t talk about Kirk cheating death without in some way having his death at the forefront of our minds!
Reign1701A: While I definitely understand why you guys had to essentially reboot the franchise, aren’t you still bound my canon in many ways? The events of the movie should have no bearing on the Fesarius, the Doomsday Machine, the vampire cloud, V’Ger, and so on…all arguably major events. Won’t you be forced to acknowledge these threats as they appear in the timeline in future stories (and therefore retreading)?
BobOrci: We are bound in many ways, yes. Although those exact stories may fall under the jurisdiction of a future court since our the latest mission of exploration takes place many years before the events you just listed.
Smike van Dyke: How can Spock observe the destruction of his homeworld from the surface of Delta Vega. Even if Delta Vega wasn’t near the edge of the galaxy, you couldn’t watch the implosion from a neighboring planet. You couldn’t see Earth from Mars either. Is Delta Vega a Vulcan moon or what?
BobOrci: I prefer to think of Delta Vega as being in close orbit (although it could be a moon), but nonetheless, we like to think of that sequence as impressionistic for a general audience. In other words, Nero could’ve beamed Spock prime down to Delta Vega with a telescope or some other type of measuring device to allow Spock to experience the pain of perceiving the destruction of his home world, but that simply isn’t very cinematic.
Shaun Bryer: Where did the idea of giving Scotty a little alien companion come from? Keenser looks similar to the aliens in Star Trek Nemesis who chase Picard and Co. while they’re in the Argo on Kolarus. Was there meant to be a similar look. Does it really make sense to have this alien on the Enterprise in the end?
BobOrci: I believe that was JJ’s idea which he came up with very last minute. I don’t think JJ saw Nemesis, so I doubt any similarities is intentional. I like the idea of Scotty having a helper in engineering!
Captain Jack Bauer: What’s the deal with Chekov’s age change? I’m totally willing to buy that Nero’s interference could have moved his birth four years earlier I’m just wondering what your reasoning for that change (in terms of an in-universe explanation).
BobOrci: According to Memory Alpha, Chekov was born in 2245 (vs 2233 for Kirk). He was always thought of as the youngest, and we read somewhere that he was inspired by the youngest of the Monkees, Davy Jones. So the idea that he was young naturally lead to the idea that he was perhaps also a prodigy, to justify his youth.
Roberto Suarez: What did Nero and the other Romulans do during the 25 years that passed between Kirk’s birth and Spock Prime’s arrival? Did they just wait for Spock to arrive? I’d be pretty pissed at Nero if I was one of his colleagues and he just forced me to wait around for 25 years doing nothing.
BobOrci: Canon does not say. This should be a rich area for fan fiction!
Shaun Bryer: In the Kelvin scenes, Captain Robau first is seen wearing a Starfleet insignia on his uniform. Then when he sits down in his command chair, does not have one on his shirt. When he leaves the bridge to head to the shuttle bay, it’s there again. Why wasn’t this caught? Did you, as writer, have the opportunity to participate in the post-production process as “another set of eyes” to make sure that something like this didn’t occur?
BobOrci: Hmm. Never noticed. It maybe because we might have reversed (or flopped) one of the shots, but I can’t be sure.
ML31: How do you explain the fantastic range of the transporter on Delta Vega? The Enterprise was way way way way way out of range of any planet side transporter by the time Kirk and Scotty were beamed back.
BobOrci: Spock Prime (Nimoy) arrives with advanced knowledge from the future which allows something which was impossible previously. As to the “TREK SCIENCE” behind it, I would have to think about it for a while, but I’m sure many of us here could come up with a good explanation.
Sarek: Is the “Admiral Archer” mentioned in the film intended to be Johnathan Archer from Enterprise? If so, he would be over a hundred years old Does the Enterprise timeline exist in this new reality?
BobOrci: yes, it is Admiral Archer is a reference to the Archer we all know and love, and yes he would be over 100, which is a likely life expectancy in a futuristic space faring race of humans (as depicted by McCoy’s (Deforest Kelley) in THE NEXT GENERATION.
Sarek: Are there any plans for Spock and Uhura to get married?
BobOrci: I haven’t asked them!
Sarek: If Khan were to be included in the next film, would you use the Eugenics Wars novels as an influence for the story? Would we see Gary Seven?
BobOrci: IF we went that way, anything that’s been written about K would be an influence.
New Horizon: Was there ever any thought put into developing something more along the lines of a Pike era movie series. There were years of unexplored territory…Spock and Pike served together for something like…ten years maybe? Bruce Greenwood was such an amazing force in this film…and in the end, I found myself wishing for more adventures with him in charge of the Enterprise. Wouldn’t have required the reboot…and feels a bit like a missed opportunity.
BobOrci: I loved PIKE in the movie. We knew he would have to be a big part of the story, but we never considered doing anything that didn’t involve the original crew s well.
SpocksinnerConflict: Was there a reason you had Spock and Uhura show their affection in a traditional human way, as opposed to the Sarek and Amanda Vulcan finger touching usually associated with Vulcan love?
BobOrci: We actually debated that very thing, wondering if the finger ceremony would be better in the elevator, but JJ correctly pointed out that a new audience would have no idea what was going on.
Desiree: While star trek was progressive for it’s time, there’s still only a single woman in the original cast, and she worked the phones. I loved the way BSG was pretty much beyond sexism and conversely am resentful of the token female presence in Star Wars. I know it’s difficult to squeeze enough time in for the entire ensemble, but are there any plans to introduce new characters, specifically females?
BobOrci: It is certainly on our minds.
MoPo: I understand it was a movie, but wasn’t giving a 3rd year cadet a promotion to Captain (one rank below Rear Admiral) after one mission a little rushed and forced just to get Kirk in the captain’s chair?
BobOrci: Yes it would be if there were no other extenuating circumstances (like saving the world, or the recommendations of Spock Prime and Captain Pike). People said the same about about a one term senator who jumped to the Presidency, (JFK, an inspiration for Kirk, as well as Obama).
cdom: In the novelization, Spock Prime says to Kirk, in the ice cave on Delta Wherever, that the Kirk he knew was born *on a farm in Iowa* Kirk/Pine counters that *he* was born on a spaceship. You’re doing or ADF’s?? If it’s you, then does this mean that the timeline was different PRIOR to the arrival of the Narada??
BobOrci: This came form one of our early drafts. No, it doesn’t mean things were different, it means that things changed at the moment of his birth. If not for the attack from the Narada, the Kelvin would’ve reached earth and Kirk would’ve been born in Iowa. The attack made Winona Kirk go into labor early.
Kirk1701: Is Kirk’s origin completely governed by FATE? Doesn’t that dehumanize him — make him more of a ‘tool of the gods’, rather than the blue-eyed humanist hero?
BobOrci: Question of fate has been touched on in article. In my mind, no, we are not relying on fate. Spock Prime pushing to place Kirk in the Captain’s chair is not based on the notion of fate, but on the proven empirical evidence ( from Nimoy’s past) that Kirk has an ability that others don’t.
Dennis Bailey: Leaving aside the story…as one of the producers, was there any decision made on the movie in terms of visual design, approach etc that gave you pause or worried you at the time it was made – as in “I really don’t know how people who have expectations about ‘Star Trek’ are going to react to this?”
BobOrci: Once we committed to the sacrilege of what we were attempting, there was not having pause, however, we knew many things would be scrutinized and difficult for some fans, like the ship on earth, Spock Uhura, Kirk becoming Captain quickly, and a million other things. But we went into it with our eyes open, and we made sure that no decision was made out of ignorance of what came before. All deviations were deliberate.
cugel the clever: In “Countdown”, the Narada effortlessly destroyed an armada of 24th century Klingon warships and disabled the Enterprise-E with one volley. However, in the film, the Kelvin (and early 23rd century ship) actually managed to exchange fire and survive for at least several minutes. It even managed to damage the Narada by ramming it. Logically, this makes no sense…. it should have been destroyed immediately (and Kirk&mother killed) given the firepower possessed by the Narada. This is like the Merrimac surviving a firefight with the Bismark. Care to explain this inconsistency?
BobOrci: Easy. The comic is not canon?
Enterprise: Was the assistant alien [Keenser] that was a friend to Scotty a member of Starfleet too, or was he just at Delta Vega when Scotty got there?
George Matthias: Are you guys going to release the script? As an aspiring screenwriter I’d love to get my hands on it!
BobOrci: I think Paramount does intend to release it. Will find out.
Red-Shirted Monkey: If Spock Prime was so aware he was in an alternate timeline, why would he imply the saying “live long and prosper” would be self-serving?
BobOrci: Good bit of nitpicking there! He is still talking to himself.
Wes: First off, Nero goes back in time destroys the Kelvin, which was some tiny ship on the edge of the frontier, 800 lives are saved which, is most of the crew, Kirk’s dad is killed. But, how much affect does this truly have on the timeline? regarding the technology, look of the Enterprise, etc.? All that should have changed was Kirk’s life. How can you explain all of the discontinuity between stuff we saw in TOS and this film, it should not be that much different considering many things would have already been on the drawing board around the time of the Kelvin.
BobOrci: You’ll have to get more specific. The short answer is to google the “butterfly effect.”
Wes: ‘The Cage’ to the time of ‘The Menagerie’ was 18 years, obviously Pike only commanded the Enterprise in the film for what, 2 days? So, now with Kirk in command, is the timeline pushed back? are things 18 years before they should take place in the ‘prime’ timeline? Kirk at this point should only be 16 and Chekov should be around 2, during the timeline in your film.
BobOrci: Can’t speak to that.
Wes: Is Kirk’s elder brother alive and well? Since the prime timeline existed until Nero came through, Kirk’s elder brother should be out there? Or was that the kid he drove by in the Corvette?
BobOrci: Canon is ambiguous on the matter. The kid on the road was originally meant to be his brother, and still could be, I suppose.
Wes: It seems like the timeline is now relatively unaffected, Kirk is in command, everyone is where they should be, etc. So, how much different will this timeline be?
BobOrci: We’ll see! Some things the same, some different.
Bart: You cited the novel “Prime Directive” as something that you read and were influenced by. I read and loved that book. Is there anything particular, plot or character development in the movie that is a “tip of the hat” to that story?
BobOrci: The inner monologue of the characters in that book inspired our characterizations and descriptions in the script, but nothing specifically story-wise was referenced.
Kyle: Do you see the new direction of the franchise allowing for more moral and ethical discussions in future movies? Such as the Genesis device in Wrath of Khan? Surely the new Battlestar Galactica has shown that realistic character drama can be combined with a sci-fi social commentary and be enjoyed by a wide audience, including people who say they don’t like science fiction.
BobOrci: There is indeed much room to tackle meaty ethical or moral dilemmas!
Kyle: I was amazed at how you balanced the new timeline scenario while also making it feel like these characters will grow to be the people we know. Part of what I feel makes the film enjoyable is that we do know who these characters become later, that Kirk mentions his solution to the Kobayashi Maru during Star Trek II, etc, that they become the family we know. Do you agree? Where do you think the balance is between the happy nostalgia of knowing who these characters are and what’s ahead for them, and keeping them in honest peril?
BobOrci: The balance you speak of is the hardest part. It just has to feel organic to the story, and not just including details from a list that don’t fit.
Kyle: Last geeky question that you’ve probably been asked already….one can assume that the star that destroyed Romulus is still headed for that fate some years later, no events in the new universe seemingly changed that….did Nero destroy Vulcan in vain? It also held the technology to save Romulus.
BobOrci: They have a lot of time to deal with it, and now they know. Presumably, the technology will be available again in time.
Adam: Vulcans, their culture and their planet have obviously had a huge influence on the Federation since it’s inception. From science, to art, to mysticism, Vulcan has always been as much apart of Federation culture as Earth. With Vulcan destroyed in this parallel timeline, will the Federation unfold in a way that it should, or will it become something completely different, completely… Human? And don’t say “you’ll have to wait and see.” I want to know your opinion on the matter.
BobOrc: I would say that their influence will absolutely still be felt, perhaps more so as the Federation rallies around the remaining Vulcan colony to assure they are safe going forward.
sean: Since they appear to be very similar, was there any point where you considered simply using Ceti Eels instead of Centauran Slugs?
BobOrci: Yes, we considered it, but we wanted ‘homage’ instead of a direct lift.
sean: Was the Spock/Uhura romance something you came up with off the top of your heads, or was this based on the few subtle allusions to Uhura’s crush on Spock from TOS?
BobOrci: It was off the top of our heads, although after the fact, we looked back at some episodes and noticed a moment or two of flirtation that we’d never noticed between Spock and Uhura.
Red-Shirted Monkey: Was it logical for Spock Prime to risk the existence of Earth in order to nurture the friendship of young Spock and Kirk, and if your answer includes the phrase “needs of the one” don’t you think that’s a stretch?
BobOrci: I assume Spock also believed his plan had the best chance of success. And did you just advise me not to quote Trek philosophy as an answer?!;)
lawmanjcl: As compared with Spock Prime, Amanda’s premature death triggering an earlier resolution of Young Spock’s estrangement with Sarek (an estrangement which Spock Prime arguably never quite fully resolved given the “Sarek” and “Unification” TNG episodes), and the earlier resolution of Young Spock’s struggle with logic and emotion perhaps triggered by the same event (a struggle which Spock Prime only began to resolve after his encounter with V’ger) — were these intentional decisions made when first setting out to craft the movie’s story outline?
BobOrci: we didn’t start with those conclusions as endpoints, but they were the logical and natural progression given where the story took us. Half intentional up front, half finding it as we go.
Catie: What inspired you to put Spock and Uhura together?
BobOrci: The death of Spock’s mother inspired us to accelerate Spock’s emotional development, including his acceptance of a human relationship (the way his father accepted one).
Just another German trekker: Some passages in the movie seem to indicate that there’s still some kind of monetary economy in the Star Trek Universe. How else could, for example, McCoy have “nowhere else to go” after his divorce?
Have you been aware of the fact that mainly this plot point (along with other, less crucial, ones) couldn’t withstand close examination given the fact that there is no money in the Star Trek Universe? (I mean: He’s a [physician] – how could he NOT be of service on earth?)
BobOrci: And Kirk offers to pay for Uhura’s drink at the bar, There’s money, or some kind of credit system in this universe.
Doug L: For me, the main characters, Kirk, Spcck & Nero (as antagonist) are largely fleshed out with cut scenes and cliche’s…. ie Kirk is a badboy because he gets into car fights, wrecks cars and has no father… I feel there is a lack of both clear motivation and emotional impact as a result. Do you think this is a result of script, editing, directing, or do you disagree?
BobOrci: Obviously I disagree, however as the writers, we always take full responsibility for any dissatisfaction.
TerokNor: Why was there a lightning storm in space both near Vulcan (mentioned by Chekov, I think) and near the Klingon prison planet (the transmission Uhura decoded)? The original lightning storm (mentioned by Kirk) was apparently caused by the temporal rift the Narada passed through. When the Jellyfish came through 25 years later, a similar storm was seen. So how could such a storm be at those other two locations when there was no Red Matter-induced time travel anywhere nearby?
BobOrci: The second lightning storm is the one caused by Spock’s (Nimoy) arrival. Spock went through the black hole later, which is why he appeared later from falling into the same, original, red matter created black hole.
Unbel1ever: Kirk says to Nero, that the Narada is too close to the singularity to survive without help, which he is “willing to provide”. Why does he fire on the Narada after Nero refuses his help and risks his ship and crew by remaining there ?
BobOrci: He can’t risk Nero traveling through time again.
PA: I understand why destroying Vulcan on the alternate timeline was ‘necessary’ for the movie. Did you also consider the effect of destroying Romulus in the Prime timeline or was it entirely secondary to what you wanted to achieve in the movie?
Was it ever an issue to consider to effects of the movie on the Prime timeline?
Do you think there should ever be a return to the Prime timeline and the post TOS characters?
BobOrci: The Countdown comic shows that the TNG timeline continues on after Spock’s death/disappearance. I would love to see another TNG movie.
Docor Pulaski: I wondered. Since everything before Nero changed the timeline is as it was. Does that mean that Star Trek: Enterprise still happened in this new Star Trek universe? So Archer, T’Pol, Trip etc. and all their adventures happened?
BobOrci: Sounds logical.
Cousin Itt: Question: Many of the problems I have with the film involve actions that seem to be very out of character. How do you justify young Spock leaving the Enterprise to try and save his parents, despite the fact that Captain Pike is gone, and he is in command during a battle situation. Spock’s devotion to duty has been demonstrated over and over again, and this is something that this character simply would not do.
BobOrci: Unless he is the only one who knows what to do to SAVE HIS DYING CULTURE. Certainly there must be some provisions in the regulations for that. In fact, I believe in TNG, such a thing is spelled out, but I can’t remember the episode. Also, Spock is not as fully formed in this moment as when you first met him.
DaggerScribe: Is the mind-meld as complete as canon always told us, i.e. a complete transfer of experiences? If so, young Kirk would know all about the Prime timeline as old Spock lived it. Any plans to show him using that knowledge?
Or is this a new, more selective type of mind-meld that contained only the transfer seen in the movie?
BobOrci: In our minds, Spock is only passing on the narrative he describes and the feelings associated with it. Nothing more.
Mike Ten: Why does Starfleet in this universe use windows instead of viewscreens on the bridge? In the prequel series Enterprise the NX-01 had viewscreens and the TOS Enterprise had a viewscreen not a window.
BobOrci: In our movie, it is BOTH. I believe it was based on the odd fact that, although the bridge didn’t usually have a window, it was nonetheless situated, much like a naval ship, at a high look out vantage point (which, by the way, seems unnecessarily vulnerable to attack). Rather than move the bridge, we added a window to justify it’s location.
Mike Ten: What was the Starfleet doing gathered in another solar system while Nero was headed to Earth?
andrew: How much did Damon Lindelof contribute to the story?
BobOrci: A lot!
Drew: I think its a shame that we as the audience didnt get to see a little more development on the characters particularly Jim Kirk. I’m fully aware that there is so much you can do within a 2 hour movie. He (Jim Kirk) becomes cadet then First Officer then Captain. Yes this is an alternate timeline but lets also be a little realistic to the character. Show Kirk as a leader at the academy, teach, win awards and show that he is not just any typical cadet in Starfleet Academy but someone who is special and will become the beloved starship captain that he is destined to be.
BobOrci: We skipped over his time at the academy. But I like to think what you describe is what happened there.
Ran: As a fan, what were you thinking by destroying Vulcan, Romulus and killing Spock’s mother? Was it really necessary?
BobOrci: We knew it would be controversial for sure, but we wanted to make it clear that the rules had changed, and that we were DEFINITELY in a new time line. As for Spock’s mother… we haven’t mentioned this too much, but one of the inspirations for the Kirk/Spock relationship was the friendship between Paul McCartney and John Lennon. In a way, they were opposites, but they bonded early in life because they both suffered through the loss of A PARENT in childhood.
RTC: The TOS episode ‘Amok Time’ establishes that Vulcan’s atmosphere is thin. But in the film, Kirk and Sulu do some serious Romulan smackdown on the drill platform above Vulcan with very little heavy breathing — despite being miles in the sky. How did you resolve this one as you developed the story?
BobOrci: High altitude, time release oxygen capsules?
oby: Don’t the Nokia and Budweiser product placements contradict the post-capitalist Trek Federation envisioned by Gene Roddenberry?
BobOrci: Not if those companies have been nationalized!
Crabtree: Was there something you really wanted to get in the movie, some scene, reference, joke, or other that you couldn’t?
BobOrci: Wanted to mention Prime Directive, Pohn Far, Carol Marcus, Mudd, Gary M, time on the Farragut… list is endless.
Kaizer: When the Enterprise first encounters Nero at Vulcan, Captain Pike makes a comment about contacting Romulus in order to negotiate a ceasefire, etc. Nero responds that he does not speak for the Empire. My question is, assuming the timelines between the two realities were the same up to the point that Nero arrived, how would the Federation have had relations with the Romulans, given that in TOS they had had no contact with the Romulans, and didn’t even know what they looked like, until Balance of Terror.
BobOrci: Survivors and telemetry from the Kelvin exposed the federation to Romulans earlier than would’ve occurred otherwise.
Charliehorse43: In the scene where Kirk and Scotty beam onto the Enterprise what was the water turbine for. I just can not get a handle on how it fits into a starship engine room.
BobOrci: Its not water.
Ryan: What is the reasoning behind bringing Damon Lindelof on board as co-writer of the sequel (instead of his previous role as Producer)? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and respect Mr. Lindelof’s work (especially on Lost), but it seems to me that you guys did an excellent job on your own. Why mix it up? Does he have some bad-ass idea for a sequel, and all of you guys are just acting coy?
BobOrci: Damon will be breaking the story with us and Alex and I will write the screenplay. The logic is that he is a A GENIUS and we’ll take all the help we can get to make sure the next movie is as good as it can be.
Vrenir: The mind-meld flashback was a nice plot device, but I wonder how you decided on the content of the recap. A supernova threatening the galaxy? It makes sense knowing the uniqueness of the situation from Countdown, but why no mention of the mass-into-energy growth in the movie? Similarly, the backstory of Nero in the comic is so detailed and enhances his character so much; why does Spock make no mention of working with him to try and prevent Romulus’ destruction? Something along the lines of, “Together we pled our case before the Vulcan Science Ministry, but they refused to help, believing that the Romulans could not be trusted with their technology. Eventually, I was able to convince them to let me use the Red Matter, but Nero had already returned home in frustration.”
BobOrci: We played around with various things like that, but it’s amazing watching various cuts of the movie what works and what doesn’t and how much is overload or unnecessary extrapolation. Also, the Countdown story was created after we shot the movie, so we lacked some of the footage we would’ve needed to execute.
TyrannicalFascist: My question is regarding naming. So the original universe is called the “Prime” timeline or universe. Have you guys come up with a name for the new reality, other than “Alternate Universe” as it’s being called on Memory Alpha? Perhaps something shorter and less likely to get confused with other universes?
BobOrci: No. It is not for us to label.
Andrew C: When you were writing the movie, did you picture a young Shatner when you wrote scenes for Kirk, a young Nimoy for Spock, etc? Or did you have casting ideas in mind that might have influenced your writing?
BobOrci: Good question. Honestly, this is where the books where extremely helpful, because reading a much more detailed inner life of our heroes really helped us think of them simply as CHARACTERS from the inside out instead of from the outside in. Hope that makes sense.
EFFeX: Although you have clearly explained that we are dealing with an alternate time line, would you admit that the notion of restoring the Universe in later stories is still an interesting concept to toy with?
BobOrci: Sure. Reboot the reboot!
Jörg: Kudos for the inclusion of small dialogue references to previous shows (Melvaran mud fleas appeared in Enterprise, Klabnian eels, here fire tea, appeared in TNG). Are we right in assuming that Memory Alpha was used to research those snippets (not implying that you don’t know all 700+ episodes by heart) ;-)
BobOrci: Absolutely. Memory Alpha was an invaluable source. I’m hardly a whiz with Trek Trivia.
Logan: How does the Stardate work in the new Star Trek-Movie? It’s shown quite diffierent in the ways seen in the past films and series.
BobOrci: The year, as in 2233, with the month and day expressed as a decimal point from .1 to .365 (as in the 365 days of the year).
MC1 Doug: It is accepted throughout TREK history that when a transporter beams a person up/down that the position they were dematerialized is the position in which they rematerialize. Yes, there have been a few instances of this inconsistency in the past. (which still does not explain it) … for example, USAF pilot Captain Christopher in “Tomorrow Is Yesterday.” So, why was Spock, who was seated in the jellyfish, beamed to the Enterprise standing up?
BobOrci: You got us!
Cap: What significance does the villain’s name being Nero have in relation to the Emperor Nero, of Rome? What is the specific or general reference to be derived here?
BobOrci: A nod to the Romans that inspired Romulans.
And that is it for now, but don’t worry, Bob and Alex will be around
TrekMovie would like to thank Bob and Alex for taking so much of their time to do this, and also thank the TrekMovie community members who participated and came up with so many interesting quesitons