Editorial,Star Trek Into Darkness , trackback
What do Trekkies want for Christmas? Well, a great sequel to this year’s Star Trek movie would be a good start. The follow up is 2 1/2 years away, but work on the script is likely start in earnest in January. Over the last few months TrekMovie has conducted a number of polls regarding the sequel, with some interesting results. See below to find out what the people are saying.
Star Trek fans are notoriously a finicky bunch, known to nitpick and debate over just about everything. So it is no surprise that there are few things where there is consensus, however our polling often has a majority or clear plurality for each question. That is not to say that the film makers should develop the sequel based on polling, as that way lies madness. However, it can at least be educational and perhaps informative as to what is working for the fanbase. Although the new Star Trek movie (and sequel) must work for a general audience, the core fanbase is still a big part of the Paramount bottom line. Polling on this site shows that most fans saw the film multiple times, with many brining friends, and a majority purchased (or plan to purchase) the DVD or Blu-ray.
NOTE: TrekMovie is the #1 Trek news site so visitors should be considered a representative cross-section of the core fanbase, however web polling is not scientific.
WHAT DO THE TREKKIES WANT IN THE SEQUEL
We have conducted many polls over the last few months dealing with the sequel. Below the findings from the various polls are broken down into various categories. The actual polling data is also available below the summaries.
The Basics: Star Trek Something Something in 2012 directed by Abrams
Although fans aren’t happy about it, they are accepting of the three year wait for the next Trek, but more than that and fans will get anxious, with only 31% saying ‘take as long as it needs’. As for the title, a clear majority (66%) seems to like Abrams suggestion of returning to the Title + subtitle (aka Star Trek: Something Something) like was done for the TNG era films. Only 19% of those polled liked my personal preference of having a Trek sounding name, but no actual ‘Star Trek’ in the title (like the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight). And even though he hasn’t decided yet, over three out of four fans want JJ Abrams back in the directors chair for the sequel.
Fans want JJ back for "Star Trek: Something Something"
The Cast & Characters: More McCoy, don’t need Shatner or Nimoy
When they sit down to write the script a big question Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman will have to wrestle with is which characters to include in the film and how much time to devote to each. When it comes to deciding who should have more screen time than they did in the first film, a majority of fans (56%) want to see more of Karl Urban’s irascible Dr. McCoy. The only other character worth noting for more time would be Scotty, who got 14% of the votes in our ‘more screen time’ poll.
In addition to the returning main crew, there will likely be some additional original series characters. In the past the writers noted that other TOS characters were in early drafts for the first film, who could also work their way into the sequel. Given a number of choices for possible original series female characters, fans were most interested in seeing Nurse Christine Chapel, originally played by Majel Barrett. She picked up the majority of votes, with Janice Rand a distant second at 16% and Barrett’s other character ‘Number One’ (seen only in "The Cage" and "The Menagerie") getting 11%. The rest of the choices of female TOS characters only grabbed single digits. As for an additional male character from the original series, the biggest vote getter was Gary Mitchell (Kirk’s best friend from "Where No Man Has Gone Before") who nabbed a third of the votes, but the second highest vote getter was ‘none’. So perhaps there is a bit of a feeling that there are enough familiar male faces in the crew already.
Of course one of the most talked about subjects with regards to the first Star Trek was the inclusion of Leonard Nimoy and the exclusion of William Shatner. Director JJ Abrams has said he is open to anything for the sequel. As for the actors, Nimoy has said he would read a script if he was asked, but he doesn’t expect to be involved. However, Shatner seems to again be lobbying for a ticket to the final frontier. But when fans were asked what guest star from previous Treks should be involved, the biggest vote getter was ‘none’ at 41%. Shatner came in second at 24% and TNG’s Patrick Stewart was the only other in double digits with 12%. Nimoy garnered just 8%. Reading between the lines and from comments, it may be said that fans would like some kind of guest star link to the past, but it really isn’t necessary in the sequel.
Trekkies want more Urban, not sure on Shatner
The plot: More Character, continuity and Klingons
The most basic question for the plot of the next film is the time setting. Only 11% of fans feel the sequel should take place immediately after the first film (like they did with Star Trek III and Star Trek IV). There isn’t a majority vote for how long of a gap, but 40% think within one year and 36% feel one to two years so basically fans want to see the movie kick off somewhere into the mission with the crew having a bit of experience under their belts. There has also been some talk about the next two sequels being closely linked together. This notion is popular, as Star Trek fans like continuity, but a majority (52%) feel that the link should be subtle, with a bit over a third feeling the next two films should be linked like a ‘two-parter’.
Another popular idea that has been discussed by the film makers is the notion of making the sequel a modern day allegory, which was often done in the original series in the 60s. But again, most fans also want some subtlety. While over three out of four fans like the idea of an allegory, 41% feel it should not be heavy handed. So no ‘message movie’. When looking at the mix of action, humor, sex appeal, sci-fi and character, fans want to see more character moments in the sequel. 41% would like to see a bump up in building the arcs for the heroes, with the second most popular answer being 29% saying the sequel should have the same mix as the first.
Another big debate for the Star Trek sequel is the matter of the villain. Although much of the talk has been about bringing back Khan, when asked specifically about the return of the genetically superior megalomaniac, 69% feel that Trek has been there and done that. In fact only 5% want to see Khan again as we know him with the rest feeling that if he is brought back it should be a different spin. However, if the film does end up with Khan, most agree that No Country For Old Men’s Javier Bardem would be an ideal or acceptable choice for the role.
So who should the villains in the sequel be? One word: Klingons. Given a broad choice of classic Star Trek villains (including Khan) half of the fans picked the Klingons. They are the big bad guys from the original series and Kirk’s greatest enemy in the show and the six TOS movies, so it makes sense. Coming in a very distant second would be to have a new race of villains, which garnered 10% and all others (Borg, Romulans, Cardassians, etc) could only muster single digits. As for the look of the Klingons three out of four were happy with the designs seen in the deleted scenes although a plurality (40%) would like to some little updates.
Who needs Khan when you can have Klingons for "Star Trek: Something Something"
Even though Trek fans are a diverse group, there are some areas of consensus for the next Star Trek. Polls show that the first movie worked well with the vast majority of the installed base and they are ready for more (of course it still has its detractors). Fans are hoping that the Abrams team go deeper into the characters we love and bring in some more familiar faces. But in the end, fans want the team to stretch their legs and not just make this film series into a greatest hits album (hence the resistance to going back to Khan). It is going to be an interesting couple of years as we go through the whole process all over again with rumors, real news, ups, downs and all the stuff that makes Star Trek fun.
The fans are looking forward to getting to know the crew all over again
Top answer for each poll is bolded
Feel about Star Trek sequel in 2012?
* No! Cant wait! (30%)
* 2012 is OK, but no longer (39%)
* Take as long as needs (31%)
Star Trek sequel title?
* Star Trek + subtitle (like ‘Star Trek: First Contact’) (66%)
* Star Trek + verb (like ‘Batman Begins’) (14%)
* No ‘Star Trek’ in title (like ‘The Dark Knight’) (19%)
Preference for director of Star Trek sequel
* JJ Abrams (77%)
* Other director (23%)
Who should get more screen time in Star Trek sequel
* Kirk (7%)
* Spock (3%)
* McCoy (56%)
* Uhura (3%)
* Scotty (14%)
* Sulu (2%)
* Chekov (2%)
* Same mix as first (14%)
Guest Star in next STAR TREK movie?
* William Shatner (24%)
* Leonard Nimoy (8%)
* Other TOS actor (1%)
* Patrick Stewart (12%)
* Brent Spiner (5%)
* Other TNG actor (1%)
* A VOY/DS9/ENT actor (9%)
* No Star Trek guest stars (41%)
TOS era crew-woman to add for Star Trek sequel?
* Christine Chapel (52%)
* J.M. Colt (1%)
* Elizabeth Dehner (1%)
* M’Ress (4%)
* Marlena Moreau (1%)
* Number One (11%)
* Janice Rand (22%)
* Other (2%)
* none, enough crewmembers already (7%)
TOS era crewman to add for Star Trek sequel?
* Arex (9%)
* Ben Finney (2%)
* DeSalle (3%)
* Lee Kelso (0%)
* Kyle (10%)
* Gary Mitchell (32%)
* Dr. M’Benga (5%)
* Kevin Riley (10%)
* Other (7%)
* none, enough crewmembers already (21%)
Plot & Villain
How long after STAR TREK should the sequel be set?
* Immediately/shortly after final scene (11%)
* Within 1 year (40%)
* 1-2 years (36%)
* 3-5 years (10%)
* more than 5 years (2%)
Star Trek sequel as modern-day allegory?
* Great idea, worked for TOS (33%)
* OK, but not heavy handed (41%)
* No need, just a good story (26%)
Star Trek sequel should have
* More action/fights/space battles (13%)
* More character moments (41%)
* More sci-fi concepts/technology (14%)
* More humor (1%)
* More sexy scenes (2%)
* Keep same mix as first film (29%)
Should next two Star Trek films be linked?
* Yes – integrated like two parts (37%)
* Little bit – only subtle links (52%)
* No – totally stand alone (11%)
Khan in Star Trek sequel?
* Yes, he is the superior villain (6%)
* Maybe, but with a different spin (25%)
* No, been there, done that (twice) (69%)
(Javier Bardem as new Khan? (If Khan in sequel)
* Perfect (46%)
* He’ll do (33%)
* Prefer other actor (21%)
Villains for Star Trek sequel
* Klingons (49%)
* Romulans (3%)
* Khan & Genetic Augments (5%)
* Other TOS era villain (10%)
* Borg (6%)
* Cardassians (1%)
* Other TNG era villain (0%)
* Internal Federation villain (8%)
* New race villain (10%)
* Force of nature villain (9%)
Should deleted scene Klingon design be used for sequel?
* Love them, use design for next movie (32%)
* OK, but make some changes (40%)
* No, start over with new design (28%)