VIDEO: Nicholas Meyer on Star Trek II, Blockbusters and directing Star Trek Sequel (if asked)

Last night the Simply 70(mm) Star Trek Summer movie series continued at the Royal Theater in West Los Angeles. The guest for the night was Nicholas Meyer. Below you can see highlights and video of my chat with Meyer at the screening where he talks about making the ultimate Star Trek sequel as well as discussing if he would be interested in directing the next Star Trek sequel.  



Meyer talks Star Trek II, Blockbusters and more

Some highlights from Meyer’s talk on Star Trek II

  • On Success of STII: "Movie’s are like soufflés, they either rise or they don’t, the ingredients of each movie changes, there are so many variables…if it is a good picture, it is a miracle"
  • Didn’t think of TWOK as a sequel to The Motion Picture, but noted it is more of a sequel to TOS episode "The Space Seed"
  • Hadn’t seen a lot of Star Trek episodes, and was more influenced Horatio Hornblower novels
  • On Robert Wise’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, says he was more influenced by Wise’s submarine film Run Silent Run Deep
  • Says he is not interested in today’s "blockbuster tentpoles", because they are like "assembly lines" noting those making them "don’t seem to have any interest or belief in the story"
  • Was not happy with fifth draft of script of Star Trek II so he rewrote the film (without credit) because it had to be done in time for schedule and he didn’t pay attention to WGA rules, joking "maybe I should have, I would have made more money"
  • A month before opening head of Paramount Barry Diller expressed strong concerns over the death of Spock and Kirk as absent father storyline, Meyer refused to make any changes threatening to picket the film if studio changed it
  • On fans saying "you can’t Kill Spock" his reply is "yes you can, you just have to do it well."
  • More on that point, Meyer stated "art is not a democracy"
  • And on interpreting films: "the artists authority on a work of art ends when the work of art is finished, artists are people who messages in bottles and they hope that someone finds the bottle, pulls out the cork, and deciphers what is inside, but we are not going to be looking over their shoulder and explaining what is inside."

Meyer on Star Trek sequel

The last question (by request of many via email and Twitter) regarded the sequel to the 2009 Star Trek movie. I asked Meyer "If it turns out that JJ Abrams cannot direct the next Star Trek movie, would you be interested?" which garnered a lots of hoots and hollers of approval from the audience. Meyer’s response (with a smile)

Meyer: It depends on the script

And here is the video in two parts on YouTube (thanks to our new friend bdbdb)

NOTE: Meyer uses some ‘colorful metaphors’, and yes you can see my belly.

I could have talked to Meyer for hours, but it was a midnight show and we were doing the Q&A before the event, so Mr. Meyer wanted to keep it short to let the crowd see the movie and get out of there at a reasonable time. It was a lot of fun and as usual he was very gracious and entertaining. There was a big crowd on hand who seemed to enjoy the Q&A and the 70 MM Screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Line around the block for midnight show of Trek II at Royal Theater in West LA Saturday June 19th (Photo: Jonathan Lane)

More 70MM Trek coming this summer

The summer series of 70 mm Trek films at the Laemmle Royal Theater (in conjunction with Ledjer Film & Theater services and continues over the next few weeks, here is the latest schedule.

Date Film Guest
(assoc. Producer)
July 10 STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME Nichelle Nichols
(Pavel Chekov)
(Hikaru Sulu)


What: Simply 70 Star Trek movie series

When: Saturdays at midnight in June and July (see above schedule)

Where: Laemmle’s Royal Theatre is located at 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025, (310) 478-3836 

Tickets: $10 for general admission. You can buy tickets at the box office or online at



Sort by:   newest | oldest
June 20, 2010 8:00 pm

“Meyer: It depends on the script ”

If he is going to write it, sure, why not?

June 20, 2010 8:13 pm

Good point ‘Number 1.’

June 20, 2010 8:18 pm

Wow cool stuff. There are times like these I wished I lived just a few hundred more miles down the road.;)

June 20, 2010 8:34 pm

3. Rick
I was thinking the same thing.

Great stuff. I’d be all over this if I didn’t live on the other side of the country.

Hugh Hoyland
June 20, 2010 8:35 pm

Good stuff for sure. Myers mentioned a lot of those points in the DVD commentary for Wrath of Khan. A lot of what he said on it makes sense to IMO. It makes me curious as to what his opionion is of Star Trek 09.

June 20, 2010 8:37 pm

Poor Walter, having to do a Q&A for Trek V. If anyone was going to be there it should be Bill, so he could defend his ‘vision’ or at the very least, David Loughery, so fans could ask him what he was thinking when he came up with some of this stuff.

I remember in ’89,a few months after trek v had come and gone from theatres. There was a one of those one or two room mini-cons being held near where I lived in Virginia Beach. The guest was Jimmy Doohan, who was his usual entertaining self. During the Q&A, I couldn’t help myself…I usually wouldn’t have stirred the pot like this, but I was just in a mood after the disappointment that was “The Final Frontier”. I raised my hand and asked him, “So when did you know that Star Trek V was going to be a bad movie?” ( this provoked gasps from the crowd ). He groaned and rolled his eyes and said, “From the moment I laid eyes on the script.” which got a huge laugh from the audience. He was quite a character.

June 20, 2010 8:39 pm

If only Appleton, WI was the movie industry capital of the world instead of LA…

TJ Trek
June 20, 2010 8:43 pm

I don’t think the myer is going to direct the next movie. Not because I don’t he actually would want too (if the script really was good), but I don’t think that there will be interesting in asking him too. I would love to see another Star Trek movie directed by Myer, I think it could be really good. But then again, the reason that the other movies myer directed were good, is because he had a huge hand in writing them as well. So I think for a myer directed movie to be good, he would have to have a hand it writing it too. I don’t think that the type of movie that is being written is his style (I’m assuming the next movie will have a similar writing style to the one that was just done.) But, I would love see Myer involved all the same. Here’s to hoping.

June 20, 2010 8:46 pm

“David Loughery, so fans could ask him what he was thinking when he came up with some of this stuff”

Easy (and true) answer: “Bill wanted that”.

June 20, 2010 8:54 pm

Nick Meyer is class act. Not just a great writer and director, but he managed to bring Trek back from the dead with ST II.

Make no mistake–I liked THE MOTION PICTURE when I saw it as a child, but now…it still works, but the film still feels stiff, cold…and after reading reactions and reviews from when the film came out in theaters back in ’79, it appears that a good deal of critics and fans were a heck of a lot harsher to the movie.

THE WRATH OF KHAN is vibrant, exciting, an excellent revenge tale. And if Meyer got the chance to direct the sequel to TREK 2009, that would be very interesting to see.

June 20, 2010 9:17 pm

YES!! I SEE A DICK BLICK ART MATERIALS!!!! Best part of the article.

I think it would be interesting for Meyer to direct STXII, but I would be just as happy with JJ Abrams (minus some lens flares) directing it. I thought he did a wonderful job. Abrams succeeded, at least in my eyes, at making Star Trek a work of art, not just a movie.
Now, I’m not saying that Meyer wouldn’t do wonderful things for the franchise. I’m sure he would. But I can be just as content with Abrams. :)

Kirk's Revenge
June 20, 2010 9:19 pm

“art is not a democracy”

There are bosses out there that need those words tattooed to their foreheads.

Harry Ballz
June 20, 2010 9:34 pm

I would say that Meyer’s directing style is much too “slow-paced” for today’s audience. You can have great dramatic moments AND epic proportions!

Hugh Hoyland
June 20, 2010 9:37 pm

Im not sure Meyer would be the first choice if JJ cant or wont direct the next one. If he doesnt direct it Im not sure who would be next in line. My preference would be Del Toro, but I would be happy if Spielberg did it, or Ridley Scott or just as cool if JJ does, but right now Im not getting the vibe he will.

The Riddler
June 20, 2010 9:49 pm

Love Meyer and his philosophy on art.

If he directed and wrote the next star trek film it would be very very exciting to see.

Anthony Thompson
June 20, 2010 10:03 pm

Excellent. Wish I could have been there (though frankly I do think WOK is over-rated).

Paramount won’t let him do the sequel unless he agrees to do breakneck editing and puts in lots of lens flares. Which he won’t do. And frankly, the technology of filmaking has changed so much that he’d be at a disadvantage.

June 20, 2010 10:04 pm

To the Execs at Paramount: get Meyer to write/direct the next movie.

Anthony Thompson
June 20, 2010 10:10 pm

Another thought: Meyer, like Harlan, doesn’t have the kind of mindeset that studios of today (corporate to the max) can comprehend and accept. Studios don’t want to hear the ‘A’ word (art). Simple as that.

Vonneke Warlich
June 20, 2010 10:27 pm

Speaking of “STAR TREK :THE MOTION PICTURE” ,when is the footage from that movie going to be replaced from the “The Wrath Kahn” space dock sequence. As beautiful as that footage is, it simply shows that the budget was to small to shoot new footage(everyones knows it is from the first movie). I love the movie as much as anyone, but that part always throws me out of the movie for a minute or two.
I had hoped they’d used the space dock set up(models & etc.) used from STIII on, as a set up to do some new CGI for the Director’s Cut. Maybe if someone bugged someone this could be done. Has this been brought up before. If so , please let me know where to find info.

June 20, 2010 10:27 pm

I read Meyer’s book The View from the Bridge and he seems like a intelligent and passionate guy. Wish I could have seen TWOK in 70 mm… TWOK is still my favorite trek movie of all time…

Harry Ballz
June 20, 2010 10:38 pm

Just read “The Seven Percent Solution” to see that Meyer is quite brilliant. Whether he could direct another Trek movie (current day) is another matter entirely.

June 20, 2010 10:59 pm

Wow, I *really* wish I could have been there. Looks like a lot of fun. Good job.

June 20, 2010 11:05 pm

anthony: are you moderating all the Q and A’s down there?

I am not Herbert
June 20, 2010 11:30 pm

Sounds like a GREAT time!

I think Mr. Meyer would do just fine directing ST2012,

but GdT would be a dream come true!!

June 21, 2010 12:34 am

Even if he did not write i think consulting him on story and having him go over the working script and offering advice would be a smart move.

On the one hand the movies need to keep the feel that the new team have given yet getting input from Meyer would provide a level of depth that he seems to bring without over riding what Abrams, Orci and Kirtzman have done.

June 21, 2010 12:38 am

Oh, and i would like Tarantino brought in to write and direct a scene where Kirk fights the Gorn commander.

That would be cinematic gold.

June 21, 2010 1:08 am

Meyer speaks wisdom.

Canon Schmanon
June 21, 2010 1:10 am

I have confidence in Meyer to direct the next film, but I’m not so sure he’s as picky about scripts as he may seem. TWOK was wonderful, but Undiscovered Country’s story was, in my opinion, very poor. Not as wretched as Final Frontier, but it was a pretty weak send-off for the original cast. Except for Sulu, actually. He was the only one who came out of that film not looking silly.

Sequels are scary, and can lose focus on what’s important. Take Iron Man for example. The first one had heart, it was about redemption, about fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves, whereas the second one was simply about Stark’s self-absorption. He wasn’t fighting for the weak in this one. He was simply fighting those who wanted to kill him. This made for great action, but the heart was gone. Thank God we had Scarlett poured into various outfits. Her action scene stole the movie.

Sorry, kind of off-topic there.

June 21, 2010 1:35 am

Undiscovered country’s story was poor? You may be the only trek fan on the planet with that opinion.

The send off was fantastic.

June 21, 2010 2:41 am

Agreed Chris Fawkes, Undiscovered Country is my favorite of the TOS movies!

June 21, 2010 3:09 am

I believe that Meyer could write a stronger script for a Trek movie.

The Undiscovered Country has a really strong story and it is in my top 3 movies.

I’m sure I will get booed for saying this but Star Trek XI actually had one of the weakest plots, it is riddled with plot contrivances and when you actualy think about it the story makes no bloody sense, However, saying that the new movie works stronger on character.

What I am saying is the new movie did the mainstream thing and thought more about spectacle rather than thought.

I like the new movie but I am saying that it does suffer from a bit of lazy writing.

June 21, 2010 4:13 am

Star Trek VI suffers from several misfires, the first of which is Kirk’s brand new trait as a vengeful bigot. In “Day of the Dove” he says “We have no reason to hate Klingons!”

That shut him out of the rest of the story for me. You don’t alter a character’s long-established moral compass just to push the story forward.

It was also cringe-worthy for the Chekhov character to discuss “‘inalienable ‘human’ rights” in Trek’s 23rd century at a table loaded with Klingons.

Also, the gravity boots thing was extremely sloppy; a 5-minute whodunit that made Valeris and her insertion team look like idiots.

The overall arc of the film, the Sulu sub-plot, an over-the-top Christopher Plummer, and a great performance from DeForest Kelley make STVI a palatable piece of work. It could have been a lot better.

June 21, 2010 4:32 am


Fair enough but it worked for the film.

To me Undiscovered Country is a lot better than the new movie.

June 21, 2010 5:02 am

@32: “In “Day of the Dove” he says “We have no reason to hate Klingons!”

Ya, especially after a group of klingons invade Federation Space, destroy the USS Grissom, threaten Spock, Saavik, and murder his son David. When looking at the conext, David died for no reason. Kruge wanted to kill him just to show Kirk he meant business even though Kirk was already what kind of a man he was dealing with.

To make matters worse, the Klingon Empire labeled Kirk as a renegade and blamed him for the murder of the Klingon crew even though it was all in self defense. The klingons were literally calling Kirk the murderer even though they knew darn well that Kruge acted on his own and did all the killing.

I think that would change someone’s mind about their views of a society as a whole.

June 21, 2010 5:08 am

Anthony doesn’t look at all like I thought. I assumed he was much older.

June 21, 2010 5:16 am

32. The killing of David, as was explained in the film during his log entry, is justification for his feelings. That said, it was a bit weak overall; the entire story hinged on a piece of velcro Spock just happened to have conveniently with him on the bridge and Kirk keeping his uniform when sent to prison. Veridian patch, indeed. Plus, they keep phasers in the galley?

June 21, 2010 5:17 am

What a surprise on this site.

The better Trek movies get slated for problems yet the problems with Star Trek XI’s script are always overlooked.


June 21, 2010 5:28 am

Four stunningly beautiful and talented actresses were wasted in the last movie and should have had more screentime. Jennifer Morrison only appeared at the beginning and we don’t find out what happened to her, Rachel Nichols was only in it for three minutes and we don’t find out what happened to her, Winona Ryder was in it for nearly ten minutes and was needlessly killed off and Diora Baird was nowhere to be found (except in a brief cut scene).

The Jerry Goldsmith theme music from the Star Trek Insurrection end credits should have been used at the end. Even Russell Watson’s ‘Where My Heart Will Take Me’ (the album version which is one of the greatest, most inspirational and underrated songs of all time) should have been included in the film. The Original Series theme music and new theme music in the movie was unnecessary. The soundtrack was disappointing overall. ‘Labour of Love’ was the best part of it.

June 21, 2010 5:28 am

Lady Gaga should have a cameo in Star Trek 12!

Midway through Star Trek 12, I’d like to see Kirk, Spock and McCoy go undercover to a concert of hers on a distant planet like with Diva Plavalaguna in The Fifth Element (1997). Her character (the most famous and successful singer in the Alpha Quadrant) could have dark connections to the Orion Syndicate who should be the villains of the sequel as they are essentially the Mafia of the Star Trek universe, involved in piracy, smuggling, and extortion. An explosively intense, thunderous phaser fight could erupt interrupting the show when she sings Bad Romance, Paparazzi, Poker Face or Just Dance between Kirk, Spock and McCoy and some Orion Syndicate henchmen.

June 21, 2010 5:29 am

All of the cut scenes should have been included in the final film. J.J. Abrams made a bad call removing the Rura Penthe scenes. He said that the test audiences were confused by those scenes in particular. I am at a loss as to what was so confusing about the inclusion of the Klingons in the film. I am stunned that yet another recognisable actor (Victor Garber) was in the film (making it nearly 20) and not only was it not announced but cut out. It was absolutely shocking to leave such a huge plot hole regarding where the villains were for 25 years. It makes them look lazy and stupid on top of the fact that they were superficial. Nero and Ayel would have had more depth at least as well. The scenes with the Kirk family and Spock’s birth should have been included as well.

In Star Trek 12, James Kirk should have several human love interests just like James Bond and should be played by Hollywood’s most stunningly beautiful young actresses.

June 21, 2010 5:53 am


Shame that the Trek we love must be sacrificed for the mainstream.

June 21, 2010 6:37 am

To bad Hollywood today is pure crap now! Back then it was run by some a-hole studio heads but there were courageous directors to stand up those men. Now the coward directors are wipped by CEO’s, who decide what stays and what goes! Art is replaced by profit!

Buzz Cagney
June 21, 2010 6:42 am

The only problem I had with TUC was that they made Chekov an idiot! This man had served many years on the E. and yet we were supposed to accept he had no idea that the ship’s alarms would be set off by a phaser fired on anything but stun.
Apart from that Meyer is a god! Well, maybe not a god. But certainly a terrific story teller and movie maker. Where would Trek be without him.

Buzz Cagney
June 21, 2010 6:44 am

Was not Trek ’09 a ‘tent pole’ movie? I thought it was.

June 21, 2010 6:49 am

“On fans saying “you can’t Kill Spock” his reply is “yes you can, you just have to do it well.”

Please take note, Mr. Berman. Re: Kirk’s death.

June 21, 2010 6:56 am

@ 31. The story suffered from lazy writing. That’s good.

Generations suffered from lazy writing.

Just as Kirk’s death was singularly the worst kill off of a major pop culture icon his birth in the new trek would have to be the greatest entrance of any popular character ever.

The story of star trek 6 made no sense? I’ll explain it.

Given that Klingon had only a very short time left their only option was to make peace with the federation in order to survive.

Some from both sides did not like the idea and worked together to sabotage any attempts at peace.

It made sense. Not sure how anyone could miss that.

June 21, 2010 7:01 am

Paramount: HIRE THIS KID! Nic should be making tons of movies. He’s got at least as much talent as JJ Abrams (that’s meant as a compliment to both.) HIRE HIM, and let him do his thing!

June 21, 2010 7:24 am

Good interview Anthony. Wow, you get to meet all the famous people.

I like what Meyer says about the artist.

June 21, 2010 7:30 am


Actually Nick Meyer has more talent than Abrams and Orci.

denny cranium
June 21, 2010 7:38 am

I think Meyer (rightfully so) would antagonise the powers that be a t Paramount.
His “art statement” may prove this.
It’s “show business” people and unfortunately its decision by committee