Exclusive: Orci Says Star Trek TV Talks Getting Real + Declares Movie Tie-in Comics & Game As Canon

In the second part of his new exclusive interview with TrekMovie.com, writer/producer Roberto Orci reveals how talks about Star Trek returning to TV series are getting real. Orci also finally (after some coaxing) makes a big declaration about the canon status of some of Star Trek’s extended universe materials. He also discusses his future with the franchise after the sequel. 


Talks Star Trek TV series possibilities + declares (his) EU canon + more

TrekMovie.com: For years I have been pressuring you guys to create an animated series for Star Trek – like you and Alex did with Transformers Prime. Recently you said things are finally heating up and you even mentioned the possibility of live action Trek TV? So to clarify, there are real talks going on with regards to Star Trek on TV, both live-action and animated?

Roberto Orci: They are almost real. The relevant parties haven’t sat down in a room together, but they have sent messages through intermediaries. So after [the 2013 Star Trek sequel] comes out or as its ramping up and after the powers that be determine whether or not Star Trek is back or not – one movie doesn’t make a trend. Two movies starts to indicate that there is a trend and its viable. It will become more real as the year goes on. It is certainly more real than the first time you pressured me into talking about it.

TrekMovie.com: And just to clarify, in the past when we have discussed this the talks were within your circle of trust. Now they have expanded to include other entities, most notably CBS?

Roberto Orci: Yes. Through our agents it has been raised as a question at CBS and as a possibility with the people who are in charge of Trek. So we are thinking about it to see if there is an opportunity there. 

TrekMovie.com: Is there some kind of handshake – or possibly written – agreement between Paramount and CBS for CBS to not do a live-action Star Trek TV series while there is a feature film in development or until after JJ Abrams produces three movies?

Roberto Orci: I don’t know how specific that is. I do know there is an conversation where all parties agree to do what is best for Trek. And sometimes that means leaving space for the movie and it may turn into "maybe we can do both." I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule where if there is a movie you can’t do it. It means let’s be aware of whether or not we are cannibalizing Trek. Let’s be aware of not saturating the audience and having them not be tired of it but hungry for it.

TrekMovie.com: But do you agree with me that an animated series is…

Roberto Orci: Yes. It is less cannibalizing. I would like to see an animated series the most. When I think about it, it is the most different than what we are doing and still in the most in line with it. So I would like to see an animated series.

TrekMovie.com: An animated series done like the new comic books and game you guys are currently overseeing – set in the movie universe with the same characters, having adventures in between the films?

Roberto Orci: Yes, exactly.

The last Star Trek animated series lasted two seasons from 1973-74, now Roberto Orci is talking about making a new one tied to his movie universe

TrekMovie.com: When I was at E3 I spoke to a VP from Paramount who said the upcoming Star Trek movie game is canon from their perspective. So will you guys just wave the canon wand over the game, comic books and upcoming comic books that you are involved with?

Roberto Orci: Well I always say that I arrived in Star Trek where the rules of what is canon had already been established.

TrekMovie.com: Yes, but some of the exceptions were that extended universe things done by creators of filmed canon were also canon. My argument also is that in previous times there was a plethora of filmed material to fill out the canon of the prime universe. So the extended universe stuff was a little bit extra on the side.  With the new movie universe there may be just three feature films, but there could also be an animated show, the comic books, games. In the end there will more extended universe, which is more like how it has been with Star Wars. And the way Lucas handles canon there is that the EU stuff is canon, but the films reserve the right to contradict and trump them. So in your case it would mean that everything in the game, comic books, etc you have overseen, like "Star Trek Countdown" for example, is canon except for anything that was contradicted by the movies. I thought that would be an interesting model and the difference with previous Trek is that
you guys are overseeing all of this. These rules aren’t written in stone from my perspective and I think a lot of fans would like to hear you say, "yes these are all the adventures of Kirk, Spock and the gang and it is all canon and all ties together into a single universe." Again, with the caveat that you reserve the right to contradict any of it in a future movie and that would trump. That’s my pitch to you.

Roberto Orci: OK, based on that then with you Anthony Pascale as a witness, I hereby declare anything that we oversee to be canon.

TrekMovie.com: OK! Do we need to get that in writing? Do we need to get the ghost of Gene Roddenberry to notarize this?

Roberto Orci: Let’s call his son Rod, I’ve got him on speed dial.

Bob Orci declares the movie-universe comics and game (and future EU he oversees including the possible animated series) to be canon

TrekMovie.com: Speaking of future movies, do you expect to be involved in a third Star Trek movie? I know you and Alex have a new deal with Universal, but that allows you to still work on Trek does it not?

Roberto Orci: Yes. I hope we are invited back. I would love to do another one.

TrekMovie.com: And Alex agrees.

Roberto Orci: Yes, absolutely.

TrekMovie.com: What about a fourth, fifth and sixth?

Roberto Orci: I would love to do nothing but Star Trek. However, I am aware that not necessarily being the best thing for Star Trek. I would want someone to tap me on the shoulder the minute it is stale. And I hope I have the self control and will to go "you are right, the best thing for me to do now is make a gracious and easy way for someone to come in and continue on."

If you missed it, check out Part 1 of Bob’s interview where he reveals Star Trek sequel character details and talks about the title, trailer and more.


POLL: Want Your Animated Trek TV?




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Elias Javalis
July 17, 2012 1:05 am

Star Trek + live action series = Resurrection of Sci fi (as a genre!)

July 17, 2012 1:05 am

Animated Star Trek show? No. I don’t think I would ever watch that. Anyway, just my opinion. I don’t think I’d even check it out… cartoons stopped being fun when I hit highschool. :(

Meanwhile, I remember debating with my friends why Star Trek was better than Star Wars — and one of the most significant points brought up was simply that there’s more of Star Trek. It’s a bigger world, a place you can go back to and watch for months on-end without feeling like it’s old. Star Wars … 6 movies… 3 good ones… it’s so limited. Yes you can love it, but there’s so much less to love. Anyway, my point — I would love to see Star Trek get back to coming out more often and at a faster pace. This waiting 4 years for a second movie when there’s a whole new universe to explore is frustrating. I am totally looking forward to more!

July 17, 2012 1:20 am

I know that when I am talking to people no one will even know about comics, games and animated shows. Only movies and live actions series would be relevant. An animated show would only run in the kids’ programm. So I am still against an animated show, because I think it would dumb Star Trek down.

And I still think canon is only what is on screen.

So a live action series along with the would be great. Every other stuff leads to Star Trek being nerd stuff (in negative way) or just being irrelevant.


July 17, 2012 1:21 am

I think a cartoon series would be a big step back for Star Trek and would hurt its chances of reaching a wide fan base and being taken seriously. I’d rather it stay off the air than have a cartoon Trek show. Wait till it can be done right (aka live action) or don’t do it at all.

July 17, 2012 1:22 am

A 3D animated series could be okay, if they do not change the heads of the characters like in Clone Wars AND if the stories are okay.

Nevertheless: Star Trek ist about human beings and should not be produced with animated characters instead of real actors / actresses.

I think a crossover like in the novel series “Star Trek – Destiny” would be nice. It should be a series about the future of the next generation and for me it does not matter if before or after the “big bang” of Vulcan. Maybe it could be a timeline where PIcard and his Crew are finding out, there is a parallel galaxy, that is slightly different… ;)

The fans will help you, if you need help, Mr. Orci or Mr. Abrams ;)

July 17, 2012 1:26 am

I’d watch an animated series. I say I won’t watch anymore animated series on tv, but I end up doing it anyways so what is one more?

I think it is something that is easier to do than an actual live action show. Paying people to provide their voices is infinitely cheaper than asking them to actually do on-screen acting. Also less of a constricting schedule for the people who would be in the show. The fact there are things you can achieve in animation that you couldn’t otherwise in live-action would make it a plus.

Right now, I don’t think ST or the industry is at a place where a live action series would do good. An animated series, though, would be a great start for its reentry to television. ST needs to explore outside of the live action arena, and considering animation WAY better than it was in the 70s, it could really be something great with the right vision, art style, and writing.

Er, anyways. Nice to know my investment in the comics is not going to waste. And my eventual purchase of the game. I liked what I saw when I was at E3, so I’m definitely anticipating its release.

July 17, 2012 1:31 am

That basically confirms the mitchell thing was just karl trolling us Fans ?

July 17, 2012 1:37 am

I’m not so sure. I watched some of the animated episodes, but it just wasn’t the same. I’d much rather have another live action series.

July 17, 2012 1:45 am

Perhaps it’s the sour taste in my mouth that TAS left there. I bought all of TAS on DVD, and my family and I watched every episode and enjoyed only 2 or 3 of them. They were BAD!

I think heading to another animated series is a terrible idea. . . . A case of history repeating itself. Let’s not make the same mistake twice. . . Stick with what works, and what is enjoyed the most, live action television and movies.

July 17, 2012 2:01 am


July 17, 2012 2:13 am

How about a Next Generation series in the new universe? That would be interesting.

July 17, 2012 2:15 am

I would watch an animated series, but a live action series is of course much better.

Currently there is no new scifi series based in space on TV. They should use this opportunity of no similar competition.

July 17, 2012 2:21 am

The problem is you guys are assuming this would be like the 70s animated series, and not being able to see animation as a medium of serious storytelling.

Technology is better, there are plenty of amazing artists, animation studios, and writers in the world just itching to get their hands of something like this. Sticking to what is known is the reason Star Trek doesn’t have as much of a presence like it used to. It continues to follow the same equation and fails to do something groundbreaking and new to further expand its popularity.

It isn’t like whatever they make would be some show made for 10-year olds to watch on Saturday mornings (though I’ve seen some intense Saturday morning shows, like Young Justice and LoK. That stuff is definitely does not have kids as its main demographic. Murder-suicide and mind rape don’t really fit into that bill, though look at where those shows are)

July 17, 2012 2:23 am

I don’t like the idea of an animated series at all. It would cause a big debate whether it was canon or not and how it fits in with everything else. I just don’t see it working realistically.

A new live action series set in the new timeline? YES PLEASE!

Spock/Uhura Admirer ;-)
July 17, 2012 2:25 am

“I would love to do nothing but Star Trek. However, I am aware that not necessarily being the best thing for Star Trek. I would want someone to tap me on the shoulder the minute it is stale. And I hope I have the self control and will to go “you are right, the best thing for me to do now is make a gracious and easy way for someone to come in and continue on.””

Well said.

Shatner's Charisma
July 17, 2012 2:42 am

LIve action show please!

July 17, 2012 2:51 am

No for animated show. Star Trek Show. Come on … We have 716 Star Trek Episodes and 11 Movies. What do you think what is more important for a Star Trek fan? A movie every 4-5 years or a TV Series? And I mean live-action TV Series. There is a huge appetite for a real space-opera among sci-fi fans as there are none on TV since a few years back. Cannibalize this appetite and make a real quality Star Trek series, like it was with the 4th season of Enterprise or the later seasons of every other Trek series, and do not make the mistake into making episodic seasons like Enterprise season 1 and 2. But hey … You are the one of the masterminds behind Lost. You know how to do a good TV series so get on it and do your thing with Star Trek because you know how to do it.

USS Enterprise B
July 17, 2012 3:00 am

A Live Action series would be So much better than an animated one!! The new animated Transformers tv show is a Kids show. We’re adults here! Live Action is the way to go. I want to see a series set inbetween TOS and TNG time periods, bridging the gap between Kirk and Picard. Lets see a show focused on the USS Enterprise B and C. Bob, if you’re reading this, that’s what I want to see!

Anthony Thompson
July 17, 2012 3:08 am

7. heisdeadjim

WHAT confirms it? What are you talking about?

July 17, 2012 3:37 am

@19. Bob’s statement that the IDW Star Trek comics are canon. This means that Gary Mitchell is as dead as he was in the Prime timeline and will not be in the next movie, thus Karl was pulling our collective legs.

July 17, 2012 3:41 am


July 17, 2012 3:47 am

A live action series would mean bringing in another new set of actors to fill the roles. Isn’t doing that once for the movies enough? I would definitely watch a new series if there was one but I quite like the people who have the roles right now and want them to keep them for a while.

July 17, 2012 3:52 am

I like the idea of any Trek on TV. A Clone Wars style of animation, just a little more “real” in terms of character appearance, wouls be wonderful!

Steve T. in NY
July 17, 2012 4:06 am
I cant believe all the Trekkers that are against the idea of a new Animated Series. Do you think it HAS to be for kids? Aniation can be a vehicle for legitimate, serious storytelling, although I will say that idea has had some fits and starts over the years. Batan: The Aniated Series comes to mind. Originally set to be aired at night, and having adult themes, The First season was simply some of the best work to date ( not counting the Nolan films) but Fox switched to airing the show in the afternoons.. i’m guessing because of ratings. That was a long time ago. If you look at soe of the newer aniated shows, Yes.. The Clone Wars coes to mind, there are serious stories there that aren’t always for the “kids”. Also the Japanese Ironman series is a very serious show that handles adult themes and storylines well. I think a new Star Trek Animated Series could do well. It would give us a chance to not have to re-cast actors if they choose to do stories about Kirk and Company, which would be great for continuity as well as allow the actors the ability to do other movies while still being identified with Trek. Also animation can allow a much righer and wilder universe as theres no additional special effects costs to worry about. I say Bring It On!! Done right, it could not only bring Sci-fi back to TV, it could also change the American… Read more »
Steve T. in NY
July 17, 2012 4:07 am

jeez.. sorry about all the typos above.. damn predictive text!! grr!

July 17, 2012 4:16 am

Oh if Countdown is canon, then so is the TNG crew’s future that was shown there! The logical thing to do with an animated series is to explore that era further. If the TNG cast provides their voices (with guest appearances of DS9 or VOY characters), it would please the TNG/DS9/VOY fans – while the newTOS era is covered by the movies. There is simply no voice that’s more awesome to hear than Patrick Stewart’s ;)

July 17, 2012 4:20 am

no to animated series. live action, yes, please!

July 17, 2012 4:23 am

So, Countdown is canon? Hell yeah! Data’s back!

Countdown would make an excellent 4-part mini series with the TNG crew.

Heck in a lot of ways I enjoyed it better than the ST ’09 film itself.

Randy H.
July 17, 2012 4:45 am

What a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys! Canon is what is on-screen in filmed productions; other material may be consistent or interesting, but not canon. To say “all I touch is canon” is arrogance personified and no one – not even Roddenberry – ever made that wide sweeping a claim.

I really worry for the future of the franchise if this is the attitude of folks in charge these days.

July 17, 2012 4:47 am

I’d only want to see an animated series if it was done in a realistic 3D looking kind of way, sort of like Final Fantasy. Not interested in a cartoony looking offering.

Ideally, I’d like to see something live action.

Mind you, if it was animated, why not employ the talents of the remaining original cast and get sound alikes for those, that are sadly, no longer with us?

Then we get more original cast Star Trek episodes…

July 17, 2012 4:57 am

Arex & M’Ress!

July 17, 2012 5:02 am

The game and comics are actually canon? Really? Are you kidding me?

These guys need to leave Star Trek (and now Spider-Man) alone. Like now.

July 17, 2012 5:11 am

An animated show would hopefully be high quality like Star Wars: The lone Wars, TRON Legacy or Transformers Prime, not something to kiddy. It looks like they want the 2013 movie out of the way then makea decision of where to take the franchise.

If it’s animated to me it’s a step forward to having a weekly Trek series. Better than waiting 4 years for a movie. Having the ongoing comic is like having a TV series already – being an ongoing arc it keeps me going – after Orci worked hard with the publishers and the game people it would be senseless to say it doesn’t all count. I like the extra bits to enhance the storyline.

So what would the animated series be? More inbetween adventures of Kirk and crew or something else? Lucas has certainly milked the Clone Wars for over a decade now!

Geek Girl
July 17, 2012 5:12 am

I’d love an animated series – especially if it was done in the style of Gargoyles. Beautiful animation and great story telling that had something for kids and adults to enjoy.

July 17, 2012 5:36 am

I would feel better about the declaration if it hadn’t been for the misunderstanding of Star Wars canon from the discussion. Lucas considers the Expanded Universe a parallel universe, separate from his own films, much as Roddenberry did. The only difference is that he let them maintain an internal continuity, and the EU makers thus maintain a separate canon system known for its lettered levels which include the G-level films and such. See CanonWars.com for more.

July 17, 2012 5:37 am

as long as its not anime style, count me in!

July 17, 2012 5:40 am

I view continuity for Star Trek vs. Star Wars as such:

Star Trek canon is only things that are filmed as there is so much, the universe is entirely fleshed out. There is so much continuity conflict among the books and comics that you’d have to pick and choose what you accept as canon, and that’s too hard to keep track of.

Star Wars canon is able to include the books and comics because there is so little filmed and the EU, as it is called, is able to keep their own continuity logical with relatively little conflict within itself.

Even though I consider myself a Trekkie, I am able to tell you more about the EU of Star Wars than Star Trek because of how easy the continuity is to follow.

Who knows though, I might accept the stuff in the Alternate Universe EU better because the current keeper of the continuity (Orci) is directly involved telling writers what they can and cannot do.

Matt Decker
July 17, 2012 5:45 am

It’s a freaking FICTIONAL universe.. anybody can do anything they want.. sheesh… you think for a minute, that if someone like JJ Abrams decided to tell a story that was ‘against canon’, that a. someone would stop him from making money on it, and b. we wouldn’t pay to go see it?… come on… It’s a story. Have fun, enjoy, let go of reality…

The Mitchell thing is real. This is all just JJ’s army making up for Karl’s mistake after being tired.

July 17, 2012 5:51 am

Make an animated series that will appeal to adults, like old TAS (real sci-fi stories), but that is cool enough for the kids.

For CBS, it is an investment in the future of the franchise.

July 17, 2012 6:00 am

15–Agreed. That was Rick Berman’s biggest problem. Contrary to what many here say, Rick Berman did put out some great Star Trek in the 90’s. There was a time he was king of the hill, with First Contact being a blockbuster, and Deep Space Nine coming into it’s own. His problem is he did not know when to take a step back until it was too late.

The current team being involved with so many other things may be an advantage in that regard.

Re: canonizing the comic books, etc. in the alternate universe. The novel writers of the currently relaunches will have to take note if that is true. When they approach 2387 they’ll need to account for the Countdown Comics. The Typhon Pact books have made hints about that already (Picard is considering diplomacy as a possible new career tract, and it’s interesting to note in “Raise the Dawn” when the Tzenkethi create an artificial wormhole, Sisko considers the ramifications of anchoring it to a star or planet, and possibly injecting it with something to destroy it–hinting possibly at Red Matter–which was designed to halt a supernova originally).

Planet Pandro
July 17, 2012 6:04 am

I don’t see Orci/”Supreme Court”‘s definition of canon as arrogant. The new movie continuity is their world and its up to them to define it as they see fit! They are not infringing on established prime universe canon, just adding to their own alternate universe. They oversee Star Trek right now, and their universe is theirs to define until someone else takes the reigns.
I for one am glad that Bob Orci is at least interested in making everything in the new movie continuity count, and everything compatible. Some of the prime universe EU stuff is SO contradictory to itself/canon that I can’t take it seriously!

Legate Damar
July 17, 2012 6:08 am

I would love to see a new Star Trek TV show, and I will definetly watch whatever Trek show gets released, but a cartoon that ties in with the new movies is a terrible idea. I don’t have anything against cartoons. I’m a huge fan of Disney and Pixar movies, as well as a few TV cartoons like Spongebob, Family Guy, and Futurama. But, outside of comedies, how many cartoons are really treated as serious adult entertainment? Trek tried being animated once, and it was perhaps the worst piece of crap I’ve ever seen. It was even worse than the first season of TNG. Trek is serious science fiction and should always be live action. Putting a TV show in the new movie timeline is an even worse idea than making it animated. The new movie timeline is an interesting diversion, but I wouldn’t really want to see more than a trilogy of movies set within it. We have already seen the adventures of Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew, and seeing another series with them but in an alternate timeline would not be too interesting. The next Star Trek series should show us a new period in the history of the original Star Trek timeline. Either show us what happenned in between Enterprise and TOS, or show us what happenned after Nemesis. If I wanted to see Captain Kirk exploring strange new worlds every week, then I would just turn on TOS or TAS.

July 17, 2012 6:09 am

[quote]”For years [b]I[/b] have been pressuring you guys to create an animated series for Star Trek”[/quote]

[quote]But do you agree with me that an animated series is…[/quote]


Anthony, I do believe that you’ve finally gone mad with power…

July 17, 2012 6:16 am

I’d watch an animated series- especially if it has the new cast in it. Today’s technology and capacity for realism would be an interesting combination with the TrekVerse. I say go for it.

And if the comic series in the AU is canon, all I can say is that there are going to be some interesting scenes in the new movie.

July 17, 2012 6:17 am

No Trek cartoons. Please.

July 17, 2012 6:19 am

Sounds to me like we wont get a new live action or animated Trek TV series until Paramount and CBS see if the sequel is a success? Anthony I what would it take for the sequel to be considered a flop, even though I hope its succesful.

July 17, 2012 6:20 am

Well, here’s credit to Robert Orci for saying that all the work that writers, artists and programmers do for something that consumers pay actual money for finally amounts to something that counts.

July 17, 2012 6:21 am

Um, he doesn’t get to do that. I treat that as a joke, especially in light of how it came up.

I once got Bruce Timm on a message board to declare an episode of Batman Beyond as out of the continuity. Doesn’t mean I took him seriously.

Live action–canon. Animated series? Could be canon. Comics/books/etc., not canon. Besides, declaring comics canon is stupid because it takes away things they could do in the future. It also could contradict stuff they would like to do.

New Horizon
July 17, 2012 6:24 am

2. ironhyde – July 17, 2012

You obviously haven’t watched the new Transformers animated show. I’m 37 and that show is awesome.

July 17, 2012 6:27 am

Just to add one more thing–if they reserve the right to contradict anything, then it can’t be considered canon.

For example, they won’t contradict something that was crystal clear in the last movie. You won’t see Spock’s mom or Kirk’s dad popping up at the Enterprise Christmas party.

Likewise, say they do some time travel comic story and show Uhura’s Orion roommate as an old woman. That wouldn’t stop them from killing her in this movie, and who cares about the contradiction because it’s not canon.

By Orci’s logic, they can incorporate Shatner’s books, and use Kirk Prime because in the books, Kirk Prime is alive.

They won’t do that, and chose NOT to do that last time because since 99.9999 percent don’t READ books, comics, or play games, they would still have to explain how Kirk Prime is alive.

Canon with the right to contradict is not canon. Kind of goes against the definition.