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EXCLUSIVE: Lindelof On Star Trek Sequel’s Character Focus + 3D & IMAX + Team Already Talking 3rd Movie June 6, 2012

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Interview,Lindelof,Prometheus,Star Trek Into Darkness , trackback

In the second part of his exclusive TrekMovie.com interview, Star Trek sequel co-writer/producer Damon Lindelof discusses character dynamics of the Trek crew, how story trumps scale, the logistics of 3D (and IMAX), and more. And just in time for Wrath of Khan week, he explains how that film had a big impact on him. Damon even talks about how the team have already started talking about a third Star Trek movie. Check it all out below, and don’t worry there are no spoilers.

 

Exclusive Interview: Damon Lindelof on the Star Trek sequel (Part 2)

Here is the second part of my interview with Star Trek sequel co-writer/producer Damon Lindelof

TrekMovie.com: You talked about the characters, their relationships and conflict. The last film was all about this family coming together, especially with Kirk and Spock starting out hating each other and growing to, if not like each other, respect each other. This new film is four years later in real time, but not sure in movie time. Are we jumping in to a new spot on their character arcs? Or are we picking up where we left off?

Damon Lindelof: That is a very clever way of asking how much time has elapsed between the movies and that is not something we are commenting on at this point. What we can say is that the big difference with the fundamental crew dynamics as they existed in the first movie and as they roll into this one is the promise at the end of the first movie with James T. Kirk in his yellow shirt is now sitting in the captain’s chair. We have not seen Kirk as the captain of the Enterprise yet. We will see him be the captain in this movie and that changes the dynamic.


The "Star Trek" crew – Lindelof says Kirk as captain changes the relationship dynamics for the sequel

TrekMovie.com: Two years ago, before you even started scripting, [producer] Bryan Burk told me you guys were going for something larger in scope. Is it right to say this is a bigger movie?

Damon Lindelof: Sometimes I feel that bigger is not necessarily better. You are just saying "Oh my god this movie is just epic in scale and epic in scope and epic, epic, epic." But at the end of the day I feel that Trek is at its best when it is intimate and human and relatable. And when I say human, that can include aliens too. But all the things that we view as emotional touchstones: love, loss, and courage and all those themes that are the core of Trek. You sometimes when you want to make a movie too big for its own good, it loses some of those essential values. So we didn’t want that to happen. That being said, JJ’s decision to shoot a lot of the movie in IMAX, definitely makes the film seem a lot bigger and definitely the sequences he directed in IMAX I feel have tremendous scale and energy, without sacrificing any of things that I talked about on an emotional level.

TrekMovie.com: Another big difference this time is that the film is in 3D. So, did 3D make a difference in the writing or shooting? 

Damon Lindelof: It did not impact the writing of the script. We wanted to tell the story that we wanted to tell and we have already talked about the idea that all of us were a little bit cynical about doing the movie in 3D and then they set up a test at Bad Robot where they took footage from the first movie – the sequence when the Enterprise drops out of warp and they come upon all the federation vessels destroyed by the Narada and they are doing evasive maneuvers – and we just looked at each other after and said "that was kind of awesome." We are now – I wouldn’t say converts – but I don’t think this is going to hurt the movie. If people want to see it in 3D, they will get their money’s worth. And in terms of actual production, JJ shot the movie exactly the way he wanted to shoot it. And when you are doing this process, as opposed to a standard conversion, after every single set up – not just every scene but every angle – we had to do a 3D pass where you clear the set of the actors and the camera has to do the same moves so the guys doing the conversion can map accordingly and that will provide a much better 3D experience for the audience.

But again, our job was to just make an awesome movie and to care about the characters and again do service to this amazing baton that has been passed to us and that we take incredibly seriously and treat with a great deal of reverence. So the 3D decision was more along the lines of like "are we going to screw up Trek by doing this movie in 3D or is Trek ready for 3D?" Hopefully it is the latter. Based on the dailies that I have seen, I think JJ pulled it off.


A 3D test conversion of this scene in "Star Trek" helped convince the team the sequel could work in 3D

TrekMovie.com: When we talked about Prometheus  (see my Movies.com interview with Damon) you mentioned that moving forward you want to challenge yourself with doing original stories and away from more sequels, prequels and comic book adaptations. Does that preclude your working on a third Star Trek movie? 

Damon Lindelof: It would be very hard to not be involved in Trek moving forward. We certainly don’t feel that a third movie is a foregone conclusion. Hopefully the second movie turns out well and we are really happy about everything so far. So three movies, again not to do everything that Christopher Nolan does, but if you do it right it’s a good model. But that idea, whether you want to call it a trilogy or not, although I reserve the right to when we are talking four years from now to say "this is the third movie in our trilogy," but it does feel that three movies is the right responsibility for us to have the baton for before we then pass it off to the people who are take Trek to wherever they want to take it. So if this movie turns out well, would I be writing on the third movie? Who knows? But, we did talk a lot in the writing of this movie and during production about what the next movie might be and started getting excited about some of the ideas, so it would be hard to say no to that. This is a once in a lifetime experience.

I have probably told you this before, but my introduction to Trek was the movie the Wrath of Khan. It was the summer of ’82 and I was at Pinebrook Day Camp in New Jersey and it was pouring rain. They put all the campers on a bus and took us into town. At 9AM they showed us Wrath of Khan, and as soon as the credits started rolling the entire camp started chanting "again, again, again!" And so they showed it to us again from 11-1 and we stopped for lunch and then they showed it to us again. After that I needed to know everything about Star Trek and started watching syndicated reruns on Channel 11 and then my dad an I would watch Next Gen every Saturday afternoon  when it started running. So the idea that I’m actually getting to be a part of this profound cultural story that had a great impact on me, that is not something that I take lightly. Like the idea of saying "yeah, I’m done with this, I don’t need Trek anymore," I just cant ever picture myself ever getting to that point.

That being said, a huge part of this job is my interest in the collaboration that I have shared with JJ and Bryan and Bob and Alex and all these incredible actors and the crew who have now worked on two movies. It bears mentioning Jeffrey Chernov, Tommy Harper who were every bit producers as much as the rest of us just in terms of logistically creating this movie. Just making it has been a stunning achievement and we have only just begun the post-production process. Tommy Gormly, our first AD, is another one and Roger Guyett, the visual effects supervisor are others worth mentioning. Just getting to work with all of them again is a huge incentive to continue. So as long as the team is together, I’m not going to be the one who breaks up the Beatles.


The "Star Trek" producers Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci – Lindelof says he is ready (if they are) for a third movie

And if you missed it, check out part 1 of my Star Trek sequel interview with Damon.

Read my new Damon Lindelof Prometheus Interview at Movies.com

I also talked to Damon about his new movie Prometheus, opening this Friday. Read – MOVIES.COM: Damon Lindelof, on How ‘Prometheus’ Ties to ‘Alien,’ Further Sequels and Why He Feels Like a Fraud.


Damon Lindelof with actor Michael Fassbender on the set of "Prometheus"
[Kerry Brown/20th Century Fox]

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Aurore
June 6, 2012 9:32 am

“But again, our job was to just make an awesome movie and to care about the characters and again do service to this amazing baton that has been passed to us and that we take incredibly seriously and treat with a great deal of reverence.”
___________

Merci, Damon.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
June 6, 2012 9:49 am

Ok. I like what Damon stated in that he and Bob and the court wanted to make Trek on a larger scale and keep the the Story as true to Trek. I only hope that they can do this. If so. Would make a lot of Trek fans very happy as well as the general public.
As far as 3D. Will wait and see.

The Unknown Poster
June 6, 2012 9:50 am

Sort of makes me nervous when they talk about doing a trilogy and moving on. Maybe we’re just spoiled by having TOS crew for so many decades and then the TNG crew for so many years but the way they have re-invented Trek with these tremendous actors, I’d hate to see the franchise re-booted again in a couple of years…

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
June 6, 2012 9:57 am

One thing though.
Bob Orci and the Court.
DON”T MAKE US WAIT 4 YEARS FOR THE NEXT MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CaptainDonovin
June 6, 2012 10:01 am

Not sure if I will see this in 3D yet. I saw Phantom Menance in 3D & liked it but saw Avengers 3 times but not in 3D.

Daoud
June 6, 2012 10:16 am

Thank you Damon, for taking the time with Anthony.
.
It’s these kind of interviews and introspection we as fans have sorely been missing in the lead up to Star Trek: Dos Equis, and both of you did not disappoint with this.
.
What a way to begin a love of Trek.. .with Wrath of Khan. That’s much like having the best filet mignon for your first steak, or TOBLERONE bars for your first chocolate. The bar is set high!

Guy from Berlin
June 6, 2012 10:19 am

No one has interest in your opinion how you watched movies …

J.A.G.T.
June 6, 2012 10:26 am

“don’t worry there are no spoilers.”

Well, that’s what I’m LEAST worried about ;)
Anyway, thanks for bringing us this fine interview, Anthony!

THX-1138
June 6, 2012 10:28 am
Here is my take on the longevity of this particular iteration of the franchise: 3 movies and out. Then no Trek for a while. And then another reboot, probably back in the prime universe. Without any support in the marketing of this franchise it won’t last. They don’t do books, the toys were a flop, and and there has been nothing to indicate that they are going to appeal to kids. Aside from a theme park in Spain that MIGHT be completed in 2015 (more likely 2018-after the movies have run their course) there has been very little in terms… Read more »
Lancelot Narayan
June 6, 2012 10:37 am

Couldn’t have these guys have worn something a little more smart for the group photo? Worrying.

CJS
June 6, 2012 10:45 am

Oh they will definitive reboot after three movies. I doubt the cast or crew will commit to more (unless Pine, Quinto and Saldana suddenly can’t find work outside of Trek). Of course Trek is an expansive franchise, so they’ll probably reboot with TNG characters.

June 6, 2012 11:17 am

I’ll lay odds that there will never be a TNG reboot.

After a third Abramsverse film, there’ll be a somebodyelsesverse and ad infinitum.

rogerachong
June 6, 2012 11:19 am
Most important actual news from this article that all future posters should note: And when you are doing this process, as opposed to a standard conversion, after every single set up – not just every scene but every angle – we had to do a 3D pass where you clear the set of the actors and the camera has to do the same moves so the guys doing the conversion can map accordingly and that will provide a much better 3D experience for the audience. Like Prometheus this movie was shot originally in 3D and IMAX 3D so there should… Read more »
Stephan
June 6, 2012 11:24 am

Wait, I understoot it that way that it is a better conversion than standard conversion but it is still a conversion and the film hasn’t been shot in 3D. Am I wrong?

Stephan

The Quickening
June 6, 2012 11:26 am

Lindelof said “…when we are talking four years from NOW (emphasis, mine) to say “this is the third movie in our trilogy….” That’s not saying a movie ever four years.

I’m sure if the remaining films created by these guys finally breaks through and makes TREK movies an international success–something they have never been–we’ll see more of them, if not from this group of producers, then another. Though I think this current regime are moderately talented, I’m not too impressed with their talents and feel Paramount can still do better.

Anthony Thompson
June 6, 2012 11:34 am

8. Guy from Berlin

Thanks for providing the non-sequitor of the day. : D

Captain Braxton
June 6, 2012 11:37 am

I recon three films then we will get a new TV series, I’d love it in the prime universe set a century or so after TNG but it is far more likely it would be a series from the Alternate universe. Anyway I just want Trek on TV please!

rogerachong
June 6, 2012 11:38 am
@15 Movies are either shot in 3D or post converted at a later date. Damon described the way Paramount technicians showed them a POST CONVERTED 3D scene of the Enterprise that helped them to decide to go the way of 3D for the new film. Note that post conversion works best when the scene described is purely CGI as in all those PIXAR cartoons etc. Now onto the sequel there will be no post conversions as the process Damon described is the one used to shoot a movie in ‘organic’ 3D like Prometheus which has a great looking 3D by… Read more »
Drew
June 6, 2012 11:44 am

Anthony…wasn’t there an interview with Montalban and Shatner posted in the last 24hrs? I canna’ find et.

PEB
June 6, 2012 11:48 am
#10 nice pessimism. honestly i think we’ll see 3 films possibly an animated series but definitely a live-action series after the 3rd film is released and it’ll take place in jj’s universe. (expect to see AT THE VERY LEAST one person from the current team involved probably orci as exec producer) the reception that recieves will determine where paramount wants to go next with trek. these days, everything is about ratings and you either get them or you dont and you’re cancelled and thats that. i think (and this is just my oppinion) that they’re trying to create a hunger… Read more »
June 6, 2012 11:48 am
I must have seen twenty 3D movies. I cannot recommend any 3D conversion as the version you should see. I did recommend Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) but that movie was a hybrid in which part of it was shot in 3D and part was converted. Movies converted to 3D from 2D are inferior to those shot in 3D as far as 3D quality. The conversion process is like creating a cinematic pop up book Link. Light, shadows, nooks and crannies are not caught by 2D cameras for the conversion. Another problem with converted 3D movies is that they… Read more »
Stephan
June 6, 2012 11:48 am

@19: I get what you are explaining but a certain time ago it has been stated on trekmovie.com that they would go with a conversion for Trek 12 and in the article above Damon talks about “the guys doing the conversion”. So it still sounds to me like Trek 12 will be converted.

Maybe Anthony could clear this up?

June 6, 2012 12:32 pm
@ 23 Stephan, Star Trek 2013 is a 3D conversion. Link. What Damon Lindelof is describing is that Star Trek will not be a “standard conversion.” Doing ‘3D” passes without the actors will make the job easier for the artists who will convert the film to 3D. It’s a cinematic pop up book. See post 22, Slate article to see how it’s done. A movie shot in 3D or what we call native 3D is one shot with a two lense camera rig. Promethues was shot in 3D. The upcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man” was shot in 3D. You can only… Read more »
Ahmed
June 6, 2012 12:40 pm

Until they make 3D movies that don’t require those bloody glasses, I will not watch any movie in 3D.

I will see Star Trek in 2D, same as with all the other 3D releases this year.

Johnny
June 6, 2012 12:45 pm
Star Trek is way too culturally *important* a franchise to just do three movies and out. The original crew got three seasons and six movies. There are just SO MANY stories to tell with these characters… there is absolutely no reason for a reboot after the third movie. The original actors were tied to their characters for 40 years. Whether they like it or not, the new actors signed up to reprise beloved characters in an iconic, long-running franchise. It’s not like a lesser franchise such as Transformers, Spiderman, or even Batman, that are re-imagined every decade or so. Personally,… Read more »
Johnny
June 6, 2012 12:48 pm

Shorter version of my point @26 —- is that there is simply NO REASON to end and/or reboot the new franchise. Why would anyone want to stop making Star Trek? What could these guys possibly want to move on to that’s BETTER than Star Trek?

Daoud
June 6, 2012 12:51 pm
Lindelof’s desires with Trek aren’t necessarily in line with K/O Paper Products. I really expect Boborci to pilot an animated series, probably continuing with the voices of Pine, Quinto, et al., but in the least with their likenesses. That would be the easy way to go. . And I’d expect them to exec produce someone else’s adaptation of a Trek midquel. I’d think a run of “limited series” could be done, “A Year In the Life of The…” Year 1: USS Columbia just after the Romulan War, Year 2: The USS Kelvin, the year before Nero, etc. Easier to get… Read more »
No Khan
June 6, 2012 1:07 pm

If they would make them a little faster maybe they could do five before the cast splits. And I’m not saying rush them, but it seems Paramount isn’t worried about how long each movie gets made. I guess its up to J.J.

Plus, I’m sick everything having to be a trilogy. What rule says it has to be a trilogy.

Ahmed
June 6, 2012 1:16 pm

@29. No Khan – June 6, 2012

Agree, we shouldn’t wait more than 3 years between each movie. Also, if Abrams & his team left after the third movie, Paramount should continue with the same cast but with new director & writes, not to reboot the whole thing and start all over again.

They should keep moving forward, not stuck in loop & keep rebooting.

gov
June 6, 2012 1:26 pm

hmm…disappearing comments!

Daoud
June 6, 2012 1:37 pm

@31 Well, gov, server migration happens.

LizardGirl
June 6, 2012 1:46 pm
I’m seeing this in both 2D and 3D! As nice as it would be to have more than 3 JJ/Trek movies, consider the time required to create a movie. The actors may not want to be typecasted if more Trek movies come up in the future. Even if they’re interested, they may still be busier than they already are. I’d like to hope that, if there is an animation in the works, that they could at least be free to do those. But seeing as it would evolve (most likely) around the new trek characters it would require most if… Read more »
THX-1138
June 6, 2012 1:46 pm
#21 You are confusing pessimism with realism. But let’s just “bet” each other. I do note that you don’t dispute any of the marketing points I made, other than you don’t seem to recall going over to any kids’ house to play with their Trek toys. I will say that when TNG was first run Trek toys were wildly popular. The producers made a concerted effort to market Star Trek to kids, and whether you can recall what you did or not, one of the driving forces behind a science fiction/fantasy franchise from a marketing standpoint is children and young… Read more »
LizardGirl
June 6, 2012 2:01 pm

Correction for post 33: revolve around… (sorry)

trekkie77
June 6, 2012 2:33 pm

I hope that after an trek XII and trek XIII , that trek will be rebootet with tng this tine, set jja´s NUTREK, just in year 2358….with a enterprise D , and crew of tng, just other actors, and only character that should appears would be quinto´s spock, either quinto´s spock or another recast actor playing an much older spock.

And then make new tng stories in NU-Trek :-)

That I think would be the future :-)

El Chup
June 6, 2012 2:37 pm
“Sometimes I feel that bigger is not necessarily better. You are just saying “Oh my god this movie is just epic in scale and epic in scope and epic, epic, epic.” But at the end of the day I feel that Trek is at its best when it is intimate and human and relatable. And when I say human, that can include aliens too. But all the things that we view as emotional touchstones: love, loss, and courage and all those themes that are the core of Trek. You sometimes when you want to make a movie too big for… Read more »
Smike
June 6, 2012 3:00 pm

I guess there will be a TNG reboot at some point, possibly happening after the third movie…let’s say 2018…I’ve already got some ideas who could be in it…

Picard = Tom Hardy (Quite logical choice! He’ll be in his fourties by then)

Data = Tom Hiddlestone (Can there be any doubt???)

Troy = Kirsten Stewart (she’s got the dreamy looks)

Worf = Tyrese Gibson

Crusher = Lauren Ambrose

Geordie = Lance Gross

Lillian T. Riker = Megan Fox :-)

Enough
June 6, 2012 3:12 pm

Enough of the c*** teases. Anthyon this interview just plays into it. Nothing was said that we already didn’t know, of course it’s going to be bigger and grander. Why wouldn’t it? We the fans are the reason Star atrek still exists, give us a title a premise or Charcot. I am excited for this movie and enjoy the work this new team does, but they way they are handling themselves are just reply childish and rude.

Enough
June 6, 2012 3:13 pm

Enough of the c teases. Anthyon this interview just plays into it. Nothing was said that we already didn’t know, of course it’s going to be bigger and grander. Why wouldn’t it? We the fans are the reason Star atrek still exists, give us a title a premise or Charcot. I am excited for this movie and enjoy the work this new team does, but they way they are handling themselves are just reply childish and rude.

PEB
June 6, 2012 3:15 pm
@34 I was a kid when TNG first came on the scene and my point was that while there were toys I remember (because I was wildly into Trek as I still am) it wasnt as popular as you’re tying to say it was with kids. I will agree that it was the age of models and that was extremely popular with young adults and some kids. I couldnt walk in a hobby or craft shop without seeing MANY Star Trek models on the shelf next to Star Wars model kits. I loved that and I miss it. So I… Read more »
Smike
June 6, 2012 3:24 pm
They need to speed up production of these movies if they want to prevent NuTrek (or Trek in general) from fading into oblivion. An interval of four years between those movies simply is too long. Look what Marvel has accomplished in four years: six blockbuster movies within such a short period of time! Or Harry Potter: eight movies in ten years! Despite what some people may believe: long intervals between franchise movies do NOT serve the purpose of increasing interest in the series. A new movie every other year is simply required if you want to keep up the brand… Read more »
T'Cal
June 6, 2012 3:43 pm
As to the marketing posts, I wish TPTB could be half as successful at marketing Star Trek as those who handle Star Wars. The latter franchise sells toys at virtually every toy store, convenience store, CVS, Walgreens, etc. all year round. We’re lucky if Trek stuff is sold around when the movie is released. Besides toys, there are party favors, balloons, T-shirts, beach towels, sunglasses…you name it. I think part of it is that SW has always targeted kids as part of their audience. Five of the six films were rated PG. Star Trek 2009 was clearly a PG-13 film… Read more »
Keachick - rose pinenut
June 6, 2012 4:17 pm
Frankly, I couldn’t give a damn about the merchandise – the toys and stuff. Although the Star Trek movies may have a rating of PG-13, the premise is simply more adult. The topics and themes discussed should also be more adult, even controversial and thought provoking, so quotes like “sex with farm animals…” and similar could be part of a Star Trek script if deemed appropriate to the story being told. Star Trek is not a Disney production, never was. I would not like to see Star Trek movies become R-rated because, for one thing, it would lose a significant… Read more »
Bucky
June 6, 2012 4:20 pm

Trek was only PG-13 in the States. It was PG in Canada! Same deal for Prometheus (being R-rated down there, 14A here). Your rating system is just wacky.

After reading this (fun interview, I always like hearing from Lindelof) I’m basically resigned to the fact we’re probably only going to get 3 movies out of this crew in front & behind the camera. I just hope / pray Bad Robot & Company would be involved in the new series, wherever or whenever it pops up.

Bucky
June 6, 2012 4:22 pm

Oh and also the first time I see this flick it’ll be plain old 2D but them shooting in IMAX does throw a monkey wrench into viewing plans. Probably for the 2nd viewing. I wouldn’t bother if it was post-conversion 3D + post-conversion IMAX but since it was actually shot in IMAX I do want to check it out.

Johnny
June 6, 2012 4:23 pm
@34 But what I’m saying is that why would the cast and crew choose to make other movies over Star Trek ones? They all talk about how doing Star Trek is such an incredible experience… so why would they want to “walk away” at any time soon? Like I said… the original actors never did walk away. If they want to do other projects in between, then fine. That’s what Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale did with Batman. The only difference is that Nolan and Bale are stopping after the third movie, because they envisioned the series as a trilogy… Read more »
Smike
June 6, 2012 4:25 pm
I really don’t know where the urban myth of long intervals serving a franchise’s popularity and financial success comes from. There is plenty of evidence for the contrary! Most franchises with long intervals within its sequels slowly faded while those with very short intervals (new stuff every other year or even annually) proved economically viable… Let’s see: Short intervals (1-2 years or less): Harry Potter, Twilight, Avengers, Paranormal Activity, Transformers, the LOTR trilogy, the first three POTC movies, the 60s Bond movies, you name it… Long intervals (4 years or more): Alien, Terminator, Men in Black, Jurassic Park, Mummy, Scream… Read more »
When they can’t even say how much time has elapsed between films, I think they’re taking secrecy a bit too far. Not sure how that would be some kind of spoiler. Personally, I’d like it if some time had elapsed, because these people were just kids in the last film. They’re four years older now and I think that would be a good thing in the movie. It would give them some maturity. At least say a few years have passed. It just seems a bit improbably that Starfleet would give their newest, coolest ship to a bunch of fairly… Read more »
porthos's bitch
June 6, 2012 4:43 pm

@48 NEM ?
I think three years is about right….BTTF was 6 months between 2 and 3. I dont mind the wait but please no cliff hangers ! Back in the days of vhs I remember waiting months to buy part 1 of BOBW’s so I was able to buy part 2 at the same time.

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