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JJ Abrams: Story Comes First For Star Trek Sequel + Open To Gay Character

While doing publicity this week for his upcoming TV shows and Super 8 (which opens this week in the UK and elsewhere in Europe), Star Trek sequel producer (and possible director) JJ Abrams has given an update on script progress, his thoughts on directing and even the notion of gay characters in the next Trek. Details below.

 

Abrams: Story comes first for Star Trek sequel

Star Trek sequel producer (and possible director) JJ Abrams spoke brielfy with IGN at a CBS TCA party (his new CBS show Person of Interest premieres this fall). He gave an update on the Star Trek sequel status and why they are being cagey about dates, focusing instead on getting the script right:

There have been a lot of things that we’ve been working on, a lot of important elements that we just know we need to really nail down and solve. Once you say, “We’re ready to go, but we don’t have a finished script yet,” or “I’m directing the thing and here’s the release date, but we don’t have a finished script,” what starts to happen – and I’ve seen this happen with a lot of friends of mine – is that you’re suddenly in production on a movie that they’re thinking, “Oh my god, we weren’t really ready. We thought we’d get it done in time, but we didn’t.” So, while we have a moment to say, “Let’s get the important things figured out,” then all the pre-production stuff will come. But, I just want to make sure that we’re putting the story and the characters, the cast and the crew, and most importantly the audience, first before we start talking about exactly which locations we’re going to be shooting at and what the wardrobe and visual effects budgets are. It just seems important
that we get the important stuff right first.

Abrams also noted that the studio are being supportive, saying they "have been great" and all they care about is getting a good movie.

Abrams jealous of any other Trek director

Abrams continues to say that the decision on if he will or will not direct has not been made, but he tells The Guardian:

The idea of someone else saying ‘action’ to those actors in those characters on that [Star Trek] set makes me jealous.

Abram will consider gay character

The site After Elton continues its campaign to promote the idea of having a gay character in Star Trek. They also had a chance to speak to Abrams about the idea and Abrams seemed open to it  but non-committal:

I would say that it is, you know, something that I would love to do, but just the way I would be careful doing a story that would involve any of the characters and their personal lives. The balance is always, what how does that story relate to sort of the bad guy, which by the way is always going to be that critical thing, what are they up against? The question how do you get into literally these are personal sexual lives of these characters? Like what is that going to be about. I don’t know who’s assuming characters aren’t gay or are gay.

But Abrams also said he would throw the idea "into the hopper" and bring it up at his next meeting with the writers.


JJ Abrams with Zachary Quinto on the set of "Star Trek"

 

POLL: Time for gay character in Star Trek?

So is it time for an openly gay character in Star Trek?.

[poll=672]

 

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Harry Ballz
August 4, 2011 4:06 pm

I just pray they come up with a compelling, dramatic story!

John Trowbridge
August 4, 2011 4:09 pm

I hope JJ directs! First

That One Guy
August 4, 2011 4:13 pm

Okay… I’m gay. Don’t go making gay characters for the sake of making gay characters. If it works, fine. Battlestar did a fantastic job of having them/us.

Too many shows nowadays have characters who are like “OH! I’m gay! My whole role in this show is to be the stereotypical gay man! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I’M NEEDY! GIVE ME AN APPLETINI!!!!”

Irks me to death….

We live our lives. We are no different. The only way I could, and frankly SHOULD, ever see a gay character in Trek is:

SPOCK: How is Rick?
GUY: He’s fine. And Uhura?
SPOCK: She is also doing quite well. As you were.
GUY: Aye, sir.

Done.

rabble rabble rabble rabble

Dac
August 4, 2011 4:16 pm

All they have to do is come up with something that at least makes sense. No wonder the Khan and Borg scripts got rejected simply because they were Khan and Borg scripts….

Spockanella
August 4, 2011 4:19 pm

3. What you said.

I. Montoya
August 4, 2011 4:21 pm

Gay, straight, human, alien… who the eff cares!! IDIC, son!

*into the bushes*
August 4, 2011 4:26 pm

Spot on #3.

John
August 4, 2011 4:27 pm

I was going to comment but That One Guy summed up everything I wanted to say. Thanks whoever you are.

dennycranium
August 4, 2011 4:28 pm

@#3- What you said!

TheKeeper
August 4, 2011 4:29 pm

I’m gay also, I don’t see what difference it would make in the film if only for a few lines of indirect un-needed dialogue…and Saints Preserve Us if only for a moment of comic relief!!!

Also the “After Elton” site should understand that adding a gay character would better be suited for any future TV series where they can carefully develop a back ground for him or her. A motion picture after all couldn’t dwell on the subject for very long given the two hour window of telling the main story.

August 4, 2011 4:35 pm

I would think that by the 23rd century no one would be concerned. If a romantic relationship makes a good Star Trek story, I don’t care who it’s between. But if it’s not a good story, do something else.

John
August 4, 2011 4:36 pm

@TheKeeper

I love what JJ is doing but Trek is always best in a TV setting in general. Can’t wait.

tony morris
August 4, 2011 4:36 pm

we need not bring 21st century issues to the 23rd century, i mean its not going to bring more fans to the cinamas. It will probally keep most @ home. Be smart people, dont do this.

Corinthian7
August 4, 2011 4:37 pm

It’s really quite embarrassing that for a show that pushed the boundaries in the sixties, Trek still hasn’t had a significant gay character. However what I would not like to see is characters that have been written as not gay for 45 years suddenly coming out of the closet. Its likely with the new movies that actors will move on (at least after the two movies they’re contracted to) and be replaced by new characters. If they do introduce a gay character then this would be the easiest away.

Corinthian7
August 4, 2011 4:37 pm

It’s really quite embarrassing that for a show that pushed the boundaries in the sixties, Trek still hasn’t had a significant gay character. However what I would not like to see is characters that have been written as not gay for 45 years suddenly coming out of the closet. Its likely with the new movies that actors will move on (at least after the two movies they’re contracted to) and be replaced by new characters. If they do introduce a gay character then this would be the easiest away.

mike
August 4, 2011 4:37 pm

as long as it is lesbians ;)

Jack
August 4, 2011 4:38 pm

3. Indeed. Wait, who was gay on BSG? Just the girls, no?

But, agreed. Just a line. (about the amazing scientist — I worked with his husband on Ganjitsu… or, her wife has a great rack). But better and less obvious…

jas_montreal
August 4, 2011 4:42 pm

I’m looking at the poll numbers.

How far have we travelled and how far we’ve gotten… (sarcasm)

I don’t even know why ppl would reject the idea of a gay character. Its the FUTURE everyone…. Not the 1940’s…

Snugglepuff
August 4, 2011 4:44 pm

OMG I hope there are no gay characters. They would totally ruin trek for me.

Tazzeh
August 4, 2011 4:53 pm

How can having gay characters ruin it? There are gay characters in lots of shows and movies and it doesn’t do damage. Makes it more accepting but it doesn’t have to be the focal point.

@SnugglePuff: Homophobic retard.

August 4, 2011 4:53 pm

Given the jokes about hicks in the sticks, and their physical love for farmyard animals. Or jokes about ample nacelles. I kinda fear the worst in how it would be handled.

Some flamingly camp guy constantly singing showtunes no doubt. Not taking into account that stereotype exists, is often straight and just has an out-there personality and likes a catchy tune.

Mikeypikey
August 4, 2011 4:56 pm

Aww snugglepuff lol go play with your lightsabre

August 4, 2011 4:58 pm

Subtlety in my view, would be to get an audience to see two guys (or two girls) married and then it’s like, so what? One partner is killed in an attack like in “Balance of Terror” and the Captain’s responsibility to say a few words of comfort.

Enterprisingguy
August 4, 2011 5:05 pm

JJ Abrams: “There have been a lot of things that we’ve been working on, a lot of important elements that we just know we need to really nail down and solve.”

So in other words….they don’t have a script with a working plot and won’t have one anytime soon!

Why else would he STILL not know if he wants to direct this? Does he have that little faith in his pals ability to write a good story?

VZX
August 4, 2011 5:08 pm

I think a gay character would work better on a Trek TV series than a Trek movie.

I also don’t understand why Abrams is being vague about if he directs or not. My guess it’s more about how much he’ll get paid and less about story.

njdss4
August 4, 2011 5:14 pm

I agree with #3 completely. I don’t mind if they put a gay character into Trek, but they should do it only if it works with the story. Purposely shoehorning an over-the-top gay character into the movie just to say “HEY LOOK WE’RE NOT MEAN TO GAYS CUZ WE PUT ONE IN OUR MOVIE” isn’t a good idea. I would suggest it be done like it was in Star Trek Phase II (the fan series) episode “Blood and Fire”. I thought that was handled well.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
August 4, 2011 5:19 pm

I am all for having the Story and the Fans First before anything else. Sounds like J.J will be directing which is a good thing. As far as Gay. Only if it is good for the Story. like others. I don;t want to see Gay just to say. Hey. Trek had a Gay Person. It has to work for the Story or don’t do it.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
August 4, 2011 5:21 pm

But. If they want to have 2 really Hot Red Shirt Lesbian Girls. Well. I can go for that.

That One Guy
August 4, 2011 5:22 pm

17,

Felix and Gaeta were together, up until the mutiny.

CanOpener1256
August 4, 2011 5:25 pm

Let’s get a story first …. NO MORE DISTRACTIONS! I want an excellent sci-fiction story, not Stargate Universe SOAP-OPERA. I don’t care about their sex lives or that their marriage at home sucks. If I wanted that, I would watch the SLOP on TV already. I want sci-fiction, adventure, battles, lives hanging in the balances, tribbles, etc. So FOCUS, O mighty Supreme Court less every group demand equal time.

Unless its between Uhuru and an Orion slave girl. Then I’m totally in. :)

AHM
August 4, 2011 5:26 pm

The whole first movie was more about Kirk and Spock’s relationship than Nero; it’s hardly a stretch to make the sequel about them falling in love while aliens beat the shit out of them.
I don’t think a throw-away line or character would do it for me—it’s too much of an off-hand thing, throwing a bone to a minority.
I vote K/S goes public, they’ve had fifty years too many in the closet.

frank
August 4, 2011 5:30 pm

One of the things with Trek, is that it never focused on everyone’s differences. Uhura didn’t come on the bridge and be a Black Lady, she was just a lady. Sulu was not some cookie cutter Asian guy, he was just a guy. Spock was Alien, but he was treated no differently. So I think it’s problematic introducing a gay character into a 2 hour movie that is really about these 8 characters – The 7 crew, and the Enterprise, and their ongoing Space Adventures and Social Commentary. The only way to really do it would be to take some existing 1 or 2 off crewperson that was known from the show, Like Riley or Kyle, and have some 1 line reference to a partner, or watching the dancing guys on Rigel 9 or something in a bar type conversation, But to never make that what the person is all about.
I always wonder what groups want such a character to look like or represent.

Ripped Shirt Kirk
August 4, 2011 5:31 pm

W*F, this is Star Trek not a soap opera, there is no need to introduce a gay character just for the sake of it because certainly him/her sexual preference will not have no impact on the story.

And this has nothing to do with being gay, because I equally loathe at Spock/Uhura relation as it makes no sense whatsoever and in nothing contributed to the 2009 story except making them look bad.

If this is done then for me nuTrek will be dead an burried just like new voyager are.In it while there was no relatationships even if straights ones it was great but then they had to bring gay characters just because it looked hip and cool.

Joe
August 4, 2011 5:32 pm

@ Tazzeh

Homophobia implies fear of gays. We do not fear them, we do not hate them. We simply do not approve of the lifestyle. There is a difference.

Thomas
August 4, 2011 5:33 pm

I can’t vote in the poll because none of the possible responses apply to my feelings on this issue. As a heterosexual male, I’ve never objected to the presence of gay characters in Trek, but my concern is pretty well expressed by That One Guy; that is, that Hollywood has never really figured out how to portray LGBT characters in a manner that wasn’t “hey, look at us” hamfisted or over-the-top flamboyant.

By the way, wasn’t malcolm Reed on ENT supposed to be openly gay? Whatever happened with that?

That One Guy
August 4, 2011 5:33 pm

29,

Nix that, Gaeta and Hoshi were together. There we go.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
August 4, 2011 5:36 pm

I really do not care about the Gay stuff. Just get us a Story that will blow us all away.

I'm Dead Jim!
August 4, 2011 5:37 pm

@29 Wasn’t that relationship closely covered only in the webisodes?

Browncoat1984
August 4, 2011 5:37 pm

I’m sorry, but if a political group like After Elton gets their way and has a gay character in Trek, then it’ll be there just for the sake of being there and that’s ALL that character will be about. Almost 99.99% of the time when a sci-fi show does a gay/lesbian character that’s all you know/care about the character.

I really like Aaron Ashmore’s new character on Warehouse 13 because he’s gay, but that’s not what he’s about. Any other TV show *cough* SGU *cough* you would see him hook up with another guy, probably even one of the main cast members within 1-2 episodes and you would see them making out. I fear that a gay character in a Star Trek movie would be just that…

Now, if Trek were episodic and they wanted to do a gay character, I probably wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it as long as they handled it the same way Warehouse 13 has – we know it but its not front and center about that character – but the movies should stay away from it. Period. Because I don’t go to the movies wanting to see a gay character, who, chances are will be a new character I won’t care about, I go wanting to see the characters I love on a new adventure.

That One Guy
August 4, 2011 5:41 pm

@38,
Exactly. Who the hell cares what they did in their free time? There are countless on-ship romances in any series that we don’t see. Take Harry and the Delani sisters. Though, Harry is not exactly a good reference when it comes to romance… or character development….

Keachick (rose pinenut)
August 4, 2011 5:43 pm

Kirk and Spock simply become very good friends. How is platonic friendship a bad thing or considered less than other kinds of relationships?

They are not friends with benefits. At the moment Uhura appears to provide that for Spock and he for her and well, for Kirk…he just needs to meet (my Menosian character) Jasmia!

Perhaps Dr McCoy might develop a more intimate connection with another male friend (not Kirk or Spock), something he did not expect to happen… how long it lasts, where it leads – who knows?

August 4, 2011 5:47 pm

@29

Felix and Gaeta were together? Wasn’t his name… Felix Gaeta? Who is this other Felix? I don’t remember that at all…

August 4, 2011 5:48 pm

Whoops, sorry, didn’t read far enough down the thread. My bad! Ignore the above!

Buzz Cagney
August 4, 2011 5:48 pm

41. You are joking, right?

August 4, 2011 5:51 pm

35. “By the way, wasn’t malcolm Reed on ENT supposed to be openly gay? Whatever happened with that?”

It was mooted when the series got launched, and I could’ve bought that. Reserved character, secretive who turned out to have a Section 31 past. He often got a bit too excited and interested in what kind of weaponary the aliens they encountered we’re packing.

I doubt Dominic Keating would’ve had a problem with playing an openly gay character.

However halfway through Season One, that was basically nixed. “Shuttlepod One” revealed he had a relationship with a woman at the 602 club. Ruby. To add some extra tension to the two guys being trapped in a confined space, running out of air – it was revealed to be the same person Trip had been seeing for a while.

Buzz Cagney
August 4, 2011 5:54 pm

#45 as Marty said in Frasier… ‘he’s English, they all sound gay’ !!! lol

August 4, 2011 5:56 pm

Aww, man. More no votes than yes votes? Seems like we have a ways yet to go.

August 4, 2011 5:58 pm

And don’t forget redlettermedia’s Star Trek review on how the writers planted many subtle lines of dialogue to explain how none of the characters are actually gay.

Case of the “NOT GAYS”.

Obsidian
August 4, 2011 5:58 pm

41 – No.

3 – Amen, brother. People are just people. If one happens to be gay, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Torchwood does that pretty well with Capt. Jack.

Speaking of Torchwood, why is it that I tried Dr. Who, can’t stand it, but I like Torchwood? (I came to Torchwood first, and figured since it’s a Dr. Who spinoff, logic suggests that I’d like Dr. Who as well. Didn’t happen.)

August 4, 2011 6:02 pm

46. Yeah, there’s that too. The US often looks at British TV and mistakes a lot of actors for that. While John Barrowman is simply rugid, manly and a fine All-American guy they like to go roughousing with! :)

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