George Takei Unhappy With JJ Abrams “Star Trek” Using Name “Star Trek”

George Takei, Star Trek’s original Sulu, has often shown support for JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek movie, and for the new Sulu, John Cho. However, in new interview he reveals that he isn’t too keen on how Abrams and Paramount called the movie "Star Trek." Details below, plus Takei talks about how Gene Roddenberry embraced his Trek philosophy.

 

Takei likes 2009 "Star Trek" but not the name + talks Roddenberry philosophy

This weekend George Takei is attending Motor City Comic Con in Detroit, and the Star Trek actor spoke to the Detroit News to promote the appearance. Takei was asked about his thoughts on the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek movie and the new Sulu. As he has done in the past he expressed support, but he does have one issue:

[John Cho] did a terrific job. J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ was a terrific movie. I think there should be a more distinguishing label to it than ‘Star Trek.’ I hope the next one will have some sort of a number or label. I take umbrage with it being called ‘Star Trek.’ We were ‘Star Trek.’ This ‘Star Trek’ is a progeny of our ‘Star Trek.’

Takei also talked to the Detroit News about how Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry practices what he preached on Star Trek:

"Gene Roddenberry said the Starship Enterprise was a metaphor for starship Earth. The strength of the starship lay in its diversity and coming together and working as a team.

"Interesting thing about Gene Roddenberry: He really believed in that philosophy. And he really embraced all cultures, all religions."

When Roddenberry married Majel Barrett, they "flew to Tokyo and decided they were going to have a classic Shinto ceremony." He hired a documentary filmmaker to film the preparations, Takei said. They honeymooned up and down the country. They came back and showed the film and had a big party.

"He really embraced that philosophy that you saw on ‘Star Trek.’"


Takei: Nice movie, but there’s only room on this bridge for one "Star Trek"

Takei, Mulgrew and Spiner in Detroit this weekend

Takei will be joined by Star Trek: Voyager’s Kate Mulgrew and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner in attending Motor City Comic Con this weekend in Detroit, MI. More details at www.motorcitycomiccon.com.

POLL: "Star Trek" v. "Star Trek"

What do you think? Are you ok with JJ Abrams film using the name "Star Trek" to signify it’s return to the roots of the franchise? Or was that name just for the original Star Trek series?

[poll=654]

 

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
TrekkieJan
May 13, 2011 9:31 am

I agree with George. It didn’t have much Star Trek about it beyond some window dressing.

Jeff
May 13, 2011 9:34 am

Abrams & crew updated the show, while respecting it, and brought it back to life.

It doesn’t always go that way…the first Mission: Impossible movie turned Mr. Phelps into a traitor. Now THAT’S a reason to be upset, and Peter Graves was. However, M:I3 restored the franchise…again, thanks to Abrams & crew.

Mattyb.uk
May 13, 2011 9:34 am

Maybe Star Trek: Begins or something Mr Takei. I have noticed that 3 word titles don’t do well, Generations, Nemesis etc

Admiral_Bumblebee
May 13, 2011 9:36 am

Looking at those pictures, the TOS-crew looks more like a family being at home.

I know the new crew still has to find “together”; but the bridge of the TOS-Enterprise looks much more comfortable and “home” compared to the 2009-bridge.

If they want to have the crew as a family they need to have the ship as their home and I wouldn’t want to live in this iPod-hospital of the “new” Enterprise.

I hope they bring back the charming, warm and comfortable “at home”-look of the TOS-Enterprise.

MJ
May 13, 2011 9:43 am

That’s OK George, as I am unhappy with you being a two-bit wooden actor glory-hound based on a minor part that you really did just an OK job on, and then having to watch you “gravy-train” that part for decades, and then behave like you have this huge axe to grind with Shat (who, despite being an ass in his own right, could act circles around you) based on him supposedly limiting your minor part (FYI, he and others could see from day one that you just weren’t that good an actor…sorry, the truth hurts), and then pretend like you are some big Hollywood presence way beyond you capabilities and without having ever earned the right.

No George, I could really could give a rats ass about your opinion of Star Trek 2009.

May 13, 2011 9:45 am

He’s entitled to his opinion, but I don’t think that it’s an issue. If anything, the 1979 movie should have been called “Star Trek” without a subtitle, but they didn’t.

No need for numbers or colons until the next go-round. Subtitles imply sequels, too, and that would have driven the casual viewer away from the theatre since this film was a starting point for many people and the lack of subtitle gave a clean slate to those of us who were poisoned by the later years with Berman and Braga.

trekprincess
May 13, 2011 9:52 am

George I respect your opinion but I am very happy with the new version of Star Trek :):)

Johnnyb807
May 13, 2011 9:52 am

@#5 (MJ) … Stop beating around the bush and just tell us how you really feel ;) !

Blake Powers
May 13, 2011 9:53 am

I think the name served it’s purpose.. And we can all remember “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” I think the title brought Star Trek to the MANY… Let’s admit it, us trekkies would have gone to see it if it were called” Aliens Firing Missiles killing $#!^.”

May 13, 2011 9:54 am

Before fans of the Star Trek 09 get angry, George Takei did say Abrams’ film was a “terrific movie.” His comment seems to be about his series being the original “Star Trek.” I guess he wants Abrams movies to be named something different like Star Trek: The Next Generation. But what would you call the new movie? How about:

“Star Trek in J.J. Abrams’ Parallel Universe Which Is Not Fringe But Is The Second Movie Which We Hope Will Make A Ton of Bucks.”

Okay, it’s a little long.

Oh and by the way, he also raises one of Gene Roddenberry’s ideas for Star Trek. The Enterprise was a metaphor for earth and the need for the races to work together. Along with site reporting on the letter by Roddenberry defending “The Cage” (link below) and saying that he wanted the show be one of substance, I say there is a Roddenberry vision for the show.

http://trekmovie.com/2010/11/30/letter-of-note-gene-roddenberry-defends-star-trek-the-cage-pilot/

1701A2E
May 13, 2011 9:54 am

I’m against just “Star Trek” as a fan of all series and movies, and especially big fan of this latest movie. But I can definitely see why it needs to be called just “Star Trek” marketing wise to bring in arguably largest number of fans in a new generation.

I will definitely be 1000% against next one be called Star Trek 2. It needs to have a label.

May 13, 2011 9:59 am

I happy with them keeping with the Trek name, to me it actually takes some guts. The name carries with it a certain stigma.

There is a reason why Nolan hasn’t used Batman since the first…he wants to distance himself from the name. If the movies weren’t good he’d be getting run over on the internet for it. It just so happens he makes great films so he gets a pass.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t veer away from the Trek name in the title, but I think it took some guts to just say here is Star Trek…yep THAT Star Trek. And I think they changed a lot peoples mind about Trek and opened up a lot of others to the shows and films from the past as result.

For me I think it was 100% great for the franchise, both past and future.

SChaos1701
May 13, 2011 10:01 am

5

ROFL that made my day!

johnbijl
May 13, 2011 10:02 am

I hope they’ll call the next movie just ‘Star Trek’ as well. For the heck of it.

;-)

Chris
May 13, 2011 10:06 am

I’ve never seen any reason to care about George Takei’s opinion in the past and see no reason to start now.

The guy’s a non-entity, a bit player fame whoring a tiny part he had over 40 years ago.

He needs to grow up.

Kev -1
May 13, 2011 10:09 am

“Star Trek” sells. I think they excised what they considered “baggage” and focused more on action and FX. It’s a kind of Star Trek, just as TNG was a kind of Star Trek but not TOS. I think the new one is based on a certain shortsightedness, though.

Mike
May 13, 2011 10:11 am
Mr. Takei is, I think, absolutely correct here. As someone that grew up with actual Star Trek the new Star Trek is not really Star Trek. It’s similar, but it’s a different universe, as everyone says. It’s actually a Star Wars movie with Star Trek nouns, exactly as they intended it to be. You may like it and that’s fine, but Star Trek was, in it’s own time, almost the anti Star Wars. That was perhaps even the point sometimes. This wasn’t a show about a fantasy universe. This was an attempt to to make reasonable, optimistic predictions about the future. Star Trek was the single most important moral guide I’ve ever had. It talked about complicated situations that applied to everyday life, and it didn’t always plunk the sides into the extremist viewpoint of good vers evil. It talked about getting along, respecting each others differences, and imagined that we could all live in a society that was as good to it’s citizens as the Federation was, and that people could be that responsible and honest. It was about hope. Star Trek 2009 is about a frat boy that gets WAY over-promoted. Now it’s a “peace-keeping armada” whatever that is. Now they take swords down on missions. Now the most important founding member of the Federation gets annihilated to make Spock more angsty. Now the science is magic and all the crew are geniuses. Scotty’s crazy and has a pet alien. I liked Star Trek 2009, but it was… Read more »
Dee - lvs moon' surface
May 13, 2011 10:12 am

…”we were Star Trek”??? … I respect Mr.Takei, but “Star Trek” is more important than a euphemism… I think! … Star Trek is forever!

:-) :-)

Chadwick
May 13, 2011 10:15 am

I agree with George. There have been many spinoffs but this movie was the first reboot and regardless of a reboot going back to TOS pre TMP, it was the 11th movie within the Star Trek franchise.

TMP technically is not called Star Trek I its called Star Trek The Motion Picture, it was the first motion picture movie within the franchise. A fitting name for the first movie. And that is the only thing that…not angers me but rubs me the wrong way, I am sure the creators of Fringe and Lost could have come up with an appealing and cleaver subtitle fitting for this movie.

In the end if it were the executives at Paramount who wanted the simple Star Trek name, then its out of the hands of writers and producers unless they have a silver tongue.

In the end, its not something I even think about unless its brought up for debate in an article like this, it does not bother me. But…a big BUT. I am hoping the next movie has a subtitle because Star Trek II would piss me off. Star Trek 12 is not Star Trek 2.

Thorbury
May 13, 2011 10:16 am

“”Interesting thing about Gene Roddenberry: He really believed in that philosophy. And he really embraced all cultures, all religions.””

Yep – he embraced them alright … from the waist down!

Also, #5 – say what you will about Takei, but there’s a pecking order. Just as the Shat can out-act Takei, Takei can make a meal of the 2009 cast. Sad to say, but that’s how it is.

Dr. Cheis
May 13, 2011 10:20 am

It’s still the only movie named “Star Trek.” I don’t think anybody is going to be confused.

Chadwick
May 13, 2011 10:20 am

And we all know Gene Roddenberry said in the future (now) he wanted someone to remake Star Trek, bigger, better, using their vision to continue what he started. Regardless of whatever nit picking we do, I personally feel the father of Star Trek would have been proud of the new movie, is proud of the new movie.

May 13, 2011 10:22 am

@17 You’re awesome. lol

I second everything you said there.

Mike
May 13, 2011 10:22 am

22 – Really? I tend to think he’s just dead.

Ivory
May 13, 2011 10:23 am

Who cares?

Horatio
May 13, 2011 10:26 am

When I first saw the article title I thought “Good gawd, George is bitching AGAIN!”.

Interesting that he states Roddenberry embraced all religions. Although I suppose an argument can be made for that, Roddenberry always struck me as a very staunch humanist.

Regardless, IDIC is a wonderful philosophy.

Trek Nerd Central
May 13, 2011 10:26 am

Oh, my!

Seriously, what’s the big deal? It’s a title. Plain, simple, straightforward — suggesting both a reference to the beloved old series and a break from it. A fresh start.

Should every iteration of “Hamlet” since Elizabethan times come up with some funky new name? “The Depressed Dane Begins”?

the Quickening
May 13, 2011 10:34 am

#2

I still think the studio’s decision to finally spend money on a TREK film (something not done since TMP) was just as important as anything Abrams and his team did to successfully bring back TREK.

The movie was attempting to be the typical juvenile, dumbed-down flick that Hollywood usually makes in the summer season to which dozens of directors could have been found to produce–many of whom could have done a lot better job. Abrams’ poor choices and some of the slipshod writing almost sabotages the effort.

May 13, 2011 10:35 am

He’s not saying he didn’t like the movie or that it “wasn’t Star Trek,” as some of you are trying to force his words into meaning. He’s saying the title Star Trek belongs to the 1960s television show and that this one should have had an identifier on it.

I still disagree.

May 13, 2011 10:36 am

The problem is that, by calling it Star Trek , they insinuate that this thing really is what ST stands for. Which is a very crewed idea, but the idea that general populace will have when ST is mentioned. Thank you, media.
So now days, not only is it necessary to be careful about showing the depth of your interest, as usual, but you also risk being outed as abrams or abramsmovie fan by simple association, even though it has nothing to do with ST or Gene.

Richard Dawson's Ruffled Shirt
May 13, 2011 10:39 am

I don’t care if he said “I am the Walrus, Coo-coo-cachoo”, I’m sick of him running his damn mouth about stuff he has NOTHING to do with.

100-% agreed, MJ, and that’s saying a lot.

Red Dead Ryan
May 13, 2011 10:42 am

Well, how about that? George Takei complaining about………………………………..something else instead of William Shatner!

By the way, I liked that the “Supreme Court” went with “Star Trek” for the title. Kept it all simple, and reminded everybody about the origins of this great franchise and phenomenon!

Jorge
May 13, 2011 10:43 am

The title of this post is misleading. Personally I don’t care about the title of the film because the fact it was great was what mattered but I refer to it as XI

djeewhy
May 13, 2011 10:45 am

I think it’s a good question . It stands with respect. Star Trek was the name given for the show, even Gene Roddenberry added “The Motion Picture” for the first movie. Calling this movie Star Trek is a sort of appropriation of the show, and a denegation of the past, it’s more than a reboot it means: ” Hey! Look guys! What you’ve seen before was sh… Here is Star Trek!” I understand that some people can’t stand that. I think that George Takei is right: They were Star Trek…On some adds for the movie we could read “Star Trek: The future begins” ,it could have been a good title, respecting the tradition of Star Trek:….. even Enterprise came to this kind of appelation.

Robert Paulson
May 13, 2011 10:46 am

They can call it what they want. Rubbish is rubbish!

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
May 13, 2011 10:48 am

I love that they called it Star Trek. To me they did a great job and J.J Respected Star Trek while moving forward. So I respectfuly disagree with George on this.

Damian
May 13, 2011 10:52 am

The name was not that big of a deal to me. I realize they were trying to tell the casual movie-goer that they did not have to be up to date on prior Star Trek to see it. I agree with 29. It seems that anyone who has even the slightest criticism of Star Trek, no matter how mundane, is going to get trashed. George Takei was fine as Sulu. He was not a main character, but he did ok with the role he was given. I never had any reason to complain.

I understand his point, even if I don’t fully agree with it. Basically every Star Trek show and movie that has come out since the original series has been based on “Star Trek” that Roddenberry created. The original will always be those 3 seasons of Star Trek and the characters and actors who portrayed them. Everything else is based on that template, whether it be The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, the new movie, etc. Even Star Trek (2009) had to credit, based on Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry. I think that is the point he was trying to make.

MikeTen
May 13, 2011 10:54 am

I think some of you guys are beating up on George Takei unfairly. He was asked a question by a reporter and answered the question. It’s not like he went out and just started picking on the new movie.
He said he liked it but wished the title was more than just Star Trek. Even if I don’t agree with everything Mr. Takei says I value his opinion and his contribution to Trek as one of the shows original cast and his appearing in nearly all of the original TOS episodes.

May 13, 2011 10:57 am

After purposely dodging a Japanese racial stereotype in the 60’s by having Sulu be into fencing… and fantasies of being a French literary hero like D’Artagnan – I wonder how he rationalized John Cho having a folding samurai sword?

May 13, 2011 11:08 am

I think it was neat as the last film was more of an adaptation of the original show than the the original films. I’ll continue to refer to the Prime universe films in writing with Roman numerals and the alternate reality ones with Arabic symbols.

Danpaine
May 13, 2011 11:09 am

…since it technically took place in the TOS era (albeit most of it in an alternate timeline), I thought it absolutely fine. And prior to 09′, there WAS no Trek film simply called “Star Trek.”

But yeah, I agree with most….the next one should not be called Star Trek Two.

Cap'n Calhoun
May 13, 2011 11:11 am

This headline’s a bit misleading, and I think a fair number of these responses are directed at the headline rather than the actual article.

While it’s true that George said “I take umbrage with it being called ‘Star Trek'”, this was in the context of saying “I think there should be a more distinguishing label to it than ‘Star Trek.’ I hope the next one will have some sort of a number or label.”

So his issue isn’t saying that he’s “Unhappy With JJ Abrams “Star Trek” Using Name ‘Star Trek'” in the sense that he thought it should’ve been called Star Wars or something (emphasis on “or something”), as I’m sure many are choosing to interpret this. (That is, they’re reading between the lines to say “Takei’s saying this isn’t realy Star Trek!”) It would be more accurate to say “George Takei thinks Abrams ‘Star Trek’ should have had number or label” or something like that. (In all fairness to TrekMovie, this would probably still be misinterpreted, and it doesn’t roll of the tongue nearly as well.)

Phil
May 13, 2011 11:18 am

Star Trek: Plan 09 from Vulcan Orbit.

There, George, happy now…..

Cheezyspam
May 13, 2011 11:20 am

STAR TREK: The Old Generation revised for a New Generation without calling it the Next Generation.

Er… or just call it Star Trek XI I don’t care…

Shannon Nutt
May 13, 2011 11:23 am

Interesting that George would invoke Roddenberry, since – with the exception of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, Gene wasn’t very happy with the movies. In fact, the one he hated the most of the lot was STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, which he saw shortly before his passing. He thought it was so against the characters he created, he told fans to “consider it apocryphal”. Yes, Gene probably would have hated the new movie too…but if you’re invoking Roddenberry’s name, George, please know from whence you speak.

May 13, 2011 11:24 am

For about 25 years now, Star Trek has been referred to as The Original Series… or the Classic Series.

Although I do wish it had been given a subtitle. Maybe when the sequel comes out, the first one will get a name retrospectively. Like Star Wars adopting “A New Hope” or whatever. Although at least there was caption onscreen calling the fim Episode IV and that name.

May 13, 2011 11:31 am

@1

I’m with a few others here too. Feel like I’m alone sometimes in that respect. It was not very ‘Star Trek’ to me.

AJ
May 13, 2011 11:31 am

As has been mentioned here and in previous discussions, we can look to how George Lucas “framed” his episode titles under the moniker “Star Wars,” even changing the 1977 film’s name to fit in.

“Star Trek” is an iconic brand in many countries around the world. I respect Mr. Takei’s opinion, but with 4 series to follow before JJ’s reboot-vention, I think ST09 brought back the old mojo, especially with Nimoy on board.

Perhaps George is still hoping for “Star Trek: Excelsior!” And I say Bring it On!

Desstruxion
May 13, 2011 11:32 am

Many actors have portrayed Hamlet ever since it was written. In modern times as well. Hamlet is still Hamlet. If it’s good enough for Shakespeare then it should be good enough for Star Trek. Get a life George. You are only one part of it.

Lt. Bailey
May 13, 2011 11:35 am

I would have liked to have it have some secondary title to it so we can refer to it witout any question as to what we are talking about. When some one askes me if I have seen the Star Trek movie? I always reply “Which movie are you asking about?” But if they ask have you seen ST V (or Final Frontier)? Then you know what they mean. So George has a valid point and he is entitled to it.

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