STLV: Shatner Previews TNG Doc & Talks Star Trek V & JJ-Trek + Ellison & Koenig Debate Fan Productions |
jump to navigation

STLV: Shatner Previews TNG Doc & Talks Star Trek V & JJ-Trek + Ellison & Koenig Debate Fan Productions August 5, 2014

by Brian Drew , Filed under: Conventions/Events/Attractions,Shatner,TOS , trackback


The last day of the convention was headlined by none other than Star Trek legend William Shatner, who gave a preview of his new TNG documentary and talked a bit of Trek, including giving opinions on JJ Abrams and Chris Pine. Sunday also had another Harlan Ellison panel, this time with longtime friend Walter Koenig. The pair had an interesting exchange talking about fan productions. More details and photos below.

Shatner previews TNG Doc + Talks Star Trek V & JJ Trek

William Shatner walked on stage to the Las Vegas Con with the help of a crutch, the result of being thrown off one of his horses a few weeks ago. He described the situation as a case of “a young horse and an old rider”, but said that he was healing nicely, and should be off the crutch within a week.


A highlight of his talk was a clip from "Chaos on the Bridge", the upcoming documentary he produced that details TNG’s tumultuous first season. The program will have it’s world premiere on August 25th in Canada, and will make it’s U.S. debut later this year. The clip featured Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and other cast and crew and made great use of animation to tell it’s story. It looked absolutely sensational and should be something every fan will want to see. [Editor’s Note: TrekMovie is endeavoring to get this video to show here so stay tuned]

The original James T. Kirk touched on a variety of other Trek-related topics during his 50 minute talk, including his friendship with Ricardo Montalban, noting those famous pectoral muscles we saw in The Wrath of Khan were a byproduct of all the trouble he had with his legs after years of dancing or horse riding. He joked that Montalban’s pecs were so big that "he [Montalban] entered a room preceded by his pectoral muscles."


Talking about how he happened to catch Star Trek V on television the night before, Shatner spoke of the trouble he had convincing Gene Roddenberry to let him do a story about meeting God, and he believes that his concessions made to Gene and others were compromises that hurt the movie. In the end, he said, he felt it was "not bad. I just wish Leonard Nimoy had directed it and that I’d directed Star Trek IV!"

Regarding Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations, Shatner explained that he was trying to imbue "awe and wonder" when Kirk utters his final "oh my."

The subject of  the 2009 Star Trek movie also came up and Shatner said that JJ Abrams knows how to "give it a ride." He also praised Abrams and the new films for opening up Star Trek to a larger audience, especially a larger international audience. He spoke highly of Chris Pine, and feels that "everything is going in the right direction", and would like to see "more emotion" in the next installment.


Bill also spoke of his experience making the 1962 film "The Intruder" with Roger Corman, a motorcycle he’s helping to design, a cooking show he just sold called "MILF" (Mothers I’d Like to Feed), and a show he’s pitching called "Good Grief", where two comics have 24 hours to cheer someone up.

He closed out his time on stage to a rousing ovation. For those who missed him this year, fear not: he’s already booked for next year’s convention, August 6-9, once again at the Rio.


Ellison and Koenig: Reunion of lifelong friends

Sunday also featured another panel with writer Harlan Ellison, this time joined by Walter Koenig. The pair recalled have they have been close friends for over 50 years, meeting even before Star Trek.


Walter talked about how he plays "Chekov as a 143-year old" in Star Trek Renegades. When moderator Adam Malin asked Walter what he thought of "this new generation of fan Star Trek content which looks very professional," Walter said "I think it’s great," noting how far things have evolved from "Kirk in bed with Spock, which is pretty much what all the fanzinies were about." He admitted he has only actually seen the episode of Star Trek Phase II that George Takei did and Star Trek Of Gods and Men, in which he had a part. But he was aware of all the other "rival groups" and said he thought it was "really amazing" what they were doing.


This lead into Malin talking about the issues these productions have with intellectual property, where Harlan (famous for suing over his ideas) quipped "Intellectual property? I have some experience in that area," garnering laughs from the crowd. Ellison then picked up on a point Malin said about how access to technology was "democratizing" productions, countering "when you say there is access to technology, it means there is very little way of differentiating between that which is genuinely excellent and innovative, and the ninety-hundred million wannabe efforts by the by people who aint got it." He went on to say "we are a culture that does not seem to be able to make the distinctions anymore between excellence and availability, so everything gets out there."


At one point talking about his stage work, and actors Walter made a comment about Leonard Nimoy’s skill as an actor saying that he had an "inner strength to play Spock. There are a thousand people in Hollywood who could play Spock, but there is only one person that I know of who is Spock and that is Leonard Nimoy."

One fan asked Walter his favorite and least favorite episode – "City on The Edge of Forever" (written by Harlan) and "And The Children Shall Lead" respectively. "It was a horror episode,” Walter said about "Children," a widely disliked episode. “It was a tremendous insult to the whole idea of Star Trek.”

Harlan also had some kind words for the fans and Creation saying "this has been a sensational convention." However, before you think he is going soft, Harlan finished his time with, “The experiment of the human race is not worth doing.”


One more to go

This is almost it for TrekMovie’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Star Trek Las Vegas convention. We just have one more wrap-up of Sunday panels along with more photos from around the con, including the Star Trek wedding.

More STLV Coverage:

Karl Urban panel

TNG Cast Panels + More from Thursday

Roddenberry announces "Fan Census" + reveals Gene’s grandson

TNG in HD Panel Reveals Season 7 Details + DS9 In HD possibility + more

DS9 Cast Panels + More from Friday

Brannon Braga Talks TNG, VOY, ENT and potential Trek future

Simon Pegg talks Scotty and Star Trek 2016 + Peter Weller talks Into Darkness

Voyager Panel with Mulgrew, Russ, Wang and Phillips

Enterprise Xindi Panel + Westmore/Farrell Dax Make-up Recreation

Feel Good Con Stories with Chase Masterson and Nichelle Nichols

Star Trek Online ‘Delta Rising’ Announcement + More Merch News


1. Phil - August 5, 2014

Interesting comments on the fan productions. Nice to see that it’s not just people here who are asking legitimate questions about them.

2. Harry Ballz - August 5, 2014

The Shat is like the Energizer Bunny! He just keeps going and going!

3. B Kramer - August 5, 2014

The Shat is unbelievable. He definitely has some of Kirk’s qualities.

Great coverage on the convention guys, enjoyed it.

4. Cygnus-X1 - August 5, 2014

1. Phil – August 5, 2014

Jumped right on that one, di’ntcha, Phil. You and Harlan should get a pair of lawn chairs and hang out together keeping an eye on things. ;-)

But the vast majority of people who watch the licensed productions don’t even know that the fan productions exist. The friendly competition between the fan productions—Phase II vs. Continues, Axanar vs. Renegades—can only benefit all of the productions, fan and licensed.

Not only do I not see any cause for concern, but I don’t see any downside to less than “excellent” fan productions being “available.” Increasingly better quality fan productions are evolving out of the whole process. Star Trek Continues sets the new high bar for the TOS TV fan format, and Phase II takes up the challenge. And it all serves as a positive lesson in, among other respects, just how good a Trek production can be on a budget that is miniscule relative to the licensed productions. This is useful lab research for Paramount and CBS and all they have to do is sit back and observe. It’s all good.

5. CmdrR - August 5, 2014

The con ain’t over til the Shat-man sings…

6. Mike Barnett - August 5, 2014

The Shat Man: He takes a licking and keeps on ticking!

7. Keachick (Rose) - August 5, 2014

As soon as I clicked onto this thread and saw the picture of William Shatner and crutches (before reading anything), I thought, “Oh No, Bill. You haven’t come off one of your horses, have you? Oh dear…” and sure enough, what do I read?

I hope that William Shatner continues to recover nicely and is soon able to get back upon a horse, but perhaps one that is not so young and frisky…

I cannot help but notice the contrast between William Shatner and Harlan Ellison. Bill Shatner comes off as being energetic, funny, gracious, creative whereas –
well, I guess Ellison said it himself, “The experiment of the human race is not worth doing” just after saying, “”we are a culture that does not seem to be able to make the distinctions anymore between excellence and availability, so everything gets out there.” No kidding, Harlan Ellison!…:(

8. Tom - August 5, 2014

Bill wants more emotion in the next installment. Well get him in there and you will have more emotion

9. Gary 8.5 - August 5, 2014

Very Nice of Mr Shatner to show up for the event.
Quite Classy Bill!
With his injury, he could have easily cancelled

10. Michael Hall - August 5, 2014

Leave it to Harlan to lay a big, fat turd square in the punch bowl. Sure, the democratization of film technology opens the floodgates to a lot of crap, but he should know that his idol Francis Coppola touted the possibilities of such access for years as an alternative to the ossified studio system he came to loathe. As Cygnus X-1 points out, such productions can only do good for Star Trek in the long run (but you go right ahead and keep an eye on things, Phil).

(It also bears mentioning that IDW’s current adaptation/reboot of “City on the Edge of Forever” is, in a very real sense, a fan production. Harlan may have dreamed the dream, but the only reason he gets to share it fifty years out is because the fans wanted to see it.)

11. Cygnus-X1 - August 5, 2014

8. Tom – August 5, 2014

Bill wants more emotion in the next installment. Well get him in there and you will have more emotion

Yeah, I just sighed when I read that.

My guess is that Shatner meant more depth of emotion and more effective and meaningful emotion, because of all the ways that the BR Trek movies could be made better, increasing their emotionalism for the sake of emotionalism isn’t one of them. They’re already pandering to the audience’s emotions and the global focus group research indicating desire among non-Trek fans for less Trek and more emotion. Even the one and only traditionally non-emotional character has been made hyper-emotional.

Anyway, he’s the Shat. And if the Shat wants more emotion, well, then, you give him more emotion!

My suggestion would be that the next movie comprise long, gloriously dramatic death scenes for the entire senior staff. Have them all reflecting upon their lives and what it all meant as they slowly slip away. . . .

How awesome would that be. No one would find that ending predictable, I can tell you that.

12. Marja - August 5, 2014

Regarding Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations, Shatner explained that he was trying to imbue “awe and wonder” when Kirk utters his final “oh my.”

And that is exactly what I took away from it. That Kirk looked ahead and was awed and ready for this new adventure. In fact I thought it was one of the best moments of the movie, though for a badly-thought out plot device.
I am really impressed that he’s still riding at 83. It’s a very athletic activity [using the large muscles of the body], and athletes do recover quickly from injuries and surgery and such. Good on him for “letting the show go on”!

It reminds me of an Accident Report I reviewed when working in the Safety Programs Division [I kid you not] —

SUBJECT: Ensign ______________.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF ACCIDENT: SNO [subject named officer] thrown from a “frisky” horse while riding.
INJURY: Muscular injury, lower back.
RECOMMENDATION: Test horse for friskiness before mounting.

Signed: Lieutenant ________________[Snarky senior officer.]

13. Marja - August 5, 2014

And there goes Harlan, mocking “The Human Adventure is Just Beginning.”

Whatta guy.

14. Keachick (Rose) - August 5, 2014

How *shocking* that a Trek actor of great repute, the prime captain Kirk no less, should suggest that there be more emotion in the next BR Star Trek movie. I mean – what would/could he know? Also, what a *terrible* notion that any film maker could “pander to audience’s emotions”…the sheer humanity of it!

Gotta go now, fortunately to Yoga where I might gain a little “shanti”…:)

15. IDIC Lives! - August 6, 2014

We don’t need you to interpret Shatner’s speech. In fact, STID was indeed supposed to have “lots of emotion,” mostly Spock and Uhura, but other moments which happen on cue when the violence and noise end for a few moments.

Has it occurred to you that Shatner was speaking of kind of emotion which TOS has at its best? These are real humans (and a real Vulcan) whom we are allowed to know, and then the quality of the story allows them to emote, react and–act.

Shatner is not going to criticize STID at a con, even he is more diplomatic than that. He was being as positive as he could be but you are interpreting, twisting for your cause, and obviously, he felt STID lacks honest emotion. He has said so other times.

16. IDIC Lives! - August 6, 2014

H.E. has a view which a few usually very smart people have as they see our planet in so much trouble, mostly/partly thanks to humankind’s abuse of it, its life-forms, its land and oceans, and human abuse of other humans.

I do not feel this way but I see why Harlan Ellison does. Blithely tripping the light fantastic about the human adventure means you have closed your eyes to the road we as a species have taken, which makes the Star Trek future a very precarious possibility.

I am not debating this “Shatner” thread further so you can now call me what you always call me, a terrible, evil, stupid, nonsensical, malevolent cancer. Enjoy yourself, Keachick, as you do your oh-so-positive yoga.

17. Keachick (Rose) - August 6, 2014

IDIC Lives! – “… so you can now call me what you always call me, a terrible, evil, stupid, nonsensical, malevolent cancer.”

Please – don’t stop on my account. Yes, thank you. I always find doing yoga hard but also has a number of positive benefits.

No more of your trolling and sarcasm – one tires of it so quickly.
And now – for a great picture of a Captain Fine “Prince Charming” in costume riding a black horse – a still from the movie Into the Woods to be released in the US on 25 December 2014 – (perhaps Captain Fine has had horse riding lessons from the Shatners…hmmm)

18. Keachick (Rose) - August 6, 2014

I see my post has disappeared. Good – I hope it remains so.

Actually, we don’t know exactly what William Shatner meant by wanting to see more emotion in the next installment. Perhaps he elaborated to the audience at the convention, but this thread’s article did not say. However, what it did say was this –
“He spoke highly of Chris Pine, and feels that “everything is going in the right direction”, and would like to see “more emotion” in the next installment.”

I have not twisted anything and I am not quite sure what this “cause” of mine is supposed to be.

My response was to the post by Cygnus-X1, not to what William Shatner has actually been quoted as saying on this thread.

Now, please stop with your trolling and sarcasm.

I have not closed my eyes to anything, if only I could…

19. star trackie - August 6, 2014

“”we are a culture that does not seem to be able to make the distinctions anymore between excellence and availability, so everything gets out there.”

Yep. I like the fan shows, some better than others…but the cries from many for CBS to “hand over Star Trek to New Voyages”…or “Put Trek Continues on Netflix!!” are just ridiculous. But those that wave that flag don’t even realize it. In that regard, Ellison’s remarks were right on the money.

20. TrekMadeMeWonder - August 6, 2014

From the article…

Regarding Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations, Shatner explained that he was trying to imbue “awe and wonder” when Kirk utters his final “oh my.”

Trying to imbue a sense of wonder? What can I say? A man after my own heart!

Shatner looks great. Wee’z better have him signed for STIII’s production!

21. TUP - August 6, 2014

Why do these things bother to bring Ellison in? What a prick.

22. LittleLebowski - August 6, 2014

10. Michael Hall — Regarding Coppola and the rest of the USC / UCLA 60s film gang breaking out of the studio system, keep in mind that they studied their craft and plied their trade within the system before they went the indie route. They studied enough and learned from their mentors, in order to maintain a critical eye on their own work, and learned how to achieve artistic integrity while still running a tight ship.

One of the main criticisms of any beginner / fan production is the emphasis on surface details over the core. Scott McCloud talks about this in Understanding Comics – about the six steps from form/idea all the way to a polished surface.

What Ellison mentions is true in this context – it’s all too easy to be seduced by the tools, and to start from the outside in – the superficial polish and appearance – without paying attention to the core ideas, the idiom, the story and structure, and the “invisible” levels of craft in directing and acting, knowing the emotional journey you want to take the audience on, etc.

The better that fan productions address those issues, the better they become, the better we can suspend our disbelief, and the more we are engrossed in the complete work.

I mean, having a perfect replica of the TOS sets, lighting, and uniforms etc is cool and all, but nothing in Trek requires it. Some of the best episodes and movies were shot on a minimal, black cyclorama, or on the studio backlot in street clothes, or the streets of San Francisco.

As a fan of Ellison’s work (particularly the Dangerous Visions anthologies he edited) I think he wants to push for newer, more memorable ideas rather than rehashing or doing impressions of the past.

23. Anthony Pascale - August 6, 2014


Your continuous sniping is tiresome and pointless. Move on.

24. Danpaine - August 6, 2014

Great coverage, Trekmovie. Many thanks.

Mr. Shatner remains truly inspirational.

25. Disinvited - August 6, 2014

# 21. TUP – August 6, 2014

” Why do these things bother to bring Ellison in? What a prick.” — TUP

He that serves the pricking of a thumb, warns us whence something wicked this way comes.

26. TUP - August 6, 2014

Be emotion, Shatner probably meant heart. As in, the movie should slow down and tell a story that means something. And I agree.

Hey Keachick, maybe if you tweet him nicely, Shatner will send you a pic of his ass.

27. Cygnus-X1 - August 6, 2014

19. star trackie – August 6, 2014

Yep. I like the fan shows, some better than others…but the cries from many for CBS to “hand over Star Trek to New Voyages”…or “Put Trek Continues on Netflix!!” are just ridiculous.

Why is it so ridiculous?

With regard to Star Trek Continues, you have to admit that it looks fantastically good and that the look and feel of the show are incredibly faithful to TOS. There are no issues with the production side of it that a relatively small amount of money can’t address. And the writing is not only pro-level, but better than much of what’s on TV.

As with all fan productions, the biggest area for improvement is in the performances. But even the performances in STC are pretty good. They might just be missing that extra 10%-15% to bump them up into what general viewing audiences recognize as “professional.” That improvement could come with more episodes and practice and the main cast becoming more experienced; or, with some “professional” actors being brought in either for the main cast, in guest-starring roles, or both. The performances in STC have shown marked improvement with each episode such that I’m excited to see just how far Mignogna, Haberkorn, Doohan et al can take them.

But, if it were the judgement of CBS that, for the show to be viable, they needed actors with different innate attributes, like looks and voices, they could offer to buy the show with the proviso of picking the cast.

Continues is already accomplishing so much on such a miniscule budget, that it’s not hard to see it as a potentially good investment. In fact, that’s the hallmark of a good investment—a product or company with great untapped potential that is currently undervalued by the market. CBS could fund Continues for peanuts and the show wouldn’t need a huge viewership to make it profitable. Consider the following…

On its current budget, the producers of Star Trek Continues could make 1,000 episodes of their show for just the budget cut on the next BR Trek movie (the budget of BR Trek 3 will be cut $40 million from STID, from $190M down to $150M).

Think about investing in a show that economical. It’d be a relatively risk-free endeavor for CBS, even if they tripled the budget for an extra $80,000 per episode on actors. There might be other costs involved, but the economics are compelling with regard to CBS buying STC as a turn-key operation and either tweaking it a bit or just letting the current producers do their thing and funding the show hands-off for peanuts.

At the absolute worst, such an endeavor would be regarded by general audiences as campy or amateurish, with a loyal cult following that would only grow over time if the current quality curve from episode to episode were kept up. At best, general audiences would slowly pick up on the show, especially those nostalgic for TOS and/or for 1960s retro shows (like Mad Men) in general.

I might be failing to account for certain costs, but the point being that CBS and/or Netflix funding STC for peanuts and putting it on Netflix isn’t such a ridiculous idea.

Here’s a nice little write-up on STC:

28. TUP - August 6, 2014

Holy @#$% please dont confuse a little bit of impressive amateur nostalgia with “real” major league quality.

I hate 99% of the fan garbage. and I say that while respecting their love, passion and effort. But its garbage.

Star Trek Continues is actually very slick and captures the feel of TOS. But good God, lets not be hiring these guys.

Im shocked Paramount allows this stuff because even as fan, if I was in charge at Paramount, I might not allow it. I think it contributes to the stereotype that Trek fans are nuts which adds to the stereotype that the Trek audience is worth pursuing. Then you get situations where Bad Robot gets a big budget with the directive to go out and get a “new” audience.

If Im Paramound (Or CBC or whatever) and Im considering a TV Series, Im calling two people – Manny Coto and Ira Behr. Im picking their brains first. And even then, Im cautious about people with a Trek past.

Id also be calling the head of programming for Netflix and saying “pitch me” because I firmly believe the Premium Cable model would work tremendously for Star Trek. Big budget episodes, big name casts, short first run seasons, creative freedom and no censorship.

29. Disinvited - August 6, 2014

#27. Cygnus-X1 – August 6, 2014

Since CBS already owns all the rights, what exactly is it that they would have to purchase from a tacitly allowed fan production? The scripts? The sets? The economical fx? And what payment might The Eye demand in return?

30. Disinvited - August 6, 2014

# 28. TUP – August 6, 2014

” I think it contributes to the stereotype that Trek fans are nuts which adds to the stereotype that the Trek audience is worth pursuing. ” — TUP

It only seems that way because you have been conditioned to think that the only way the arts exist or progress is through its relatively recent corporatization in human history.

If you were more aware of the role patronage of the arts had in said history, you’d realize this is merely its reemergence and not something unique to Trek fans as regards your concerns for over self-indulgences.

31. J.A.G.T. - August 6, 2014

“The experiment of the human race is not worth doing.”
Harlan Ellison… gotta LOVE this guy.

32. TUP - August 6, 2014

Disinvited: nah,its because the fan projects all suck and I want quality with my Trek.

33. Keachick (Rose) - August 6, 2014

Gosh, if only I was on Twitter…but you go right ahead, TUP, given that you appear inordinately consumed with desire to see both Pine and Shatner’s asses, without any genuine context.

Just a response to a snipe worthy of a troll.

34. Disinvited - August 6, 2014

#32. TUP – August 6, 2014

You impress me with your dedication to watching each and every fan production to determine that inclusiveness in your view.

35. Finnigan - August 6, 2014

The Harlan experiment was over, a long time ago. He makes me yawn.

36. B Kramer - August 6, 2014

Sorry Tup, they don’t all suck. Some are quite good, getting better and have received a lot of praise from fans and media outlets alike.

37. Marja - August 6, 2014

26 TUP, Shatner probably meant heart. As in, the movie should slow down and tell a story that means something. And I agree.

I agree with you …!

PLEASE BOB ORCI if you are reading this slow the pace a bit and allow some conversation instead of having to develop characters in 60-second increments … some action is fine but it shouldn’t be the whole Trek movie ….

Good luck and god bless

38. Cygnus-X1 - August 6, 2014

28. TUP – August 6, 2014

I’m surprised that you have such a low opinion of fan productions.

Have you watched STC’s Lolani?

Not only is it a lot of fun, but the writing is subtle and intelligent. Starship Exeter’s The Tressaurian Intersection, too.

I stand by what I said. If it continues at the rate it’s been developing, I can totally see taking STC into the big leagues with not all that much tweaking.

39. Cygnus-X1 - August 6, 2014

29. Disinvited – August 6, 2014

I’m not sure. I don’t know the terms of their license.

I suppose they’d have to buy “the production,” i.e. the people who produce the thing, doing what they do, with the hardware and the tools that they do it with. As for the intellectual property—the scripts—I’m not sure who owns them. That’s a good question.

40. Cygnus-X1 - August 6, 2014

37. Marja – August 6, 2014

“26 TUP, Shatner probably meant heart. As in, the movie should slow down and tell a story that means something. And I agree.”

I agree with you …!

PLEASE BOB ORCI if you are reading this slow the pace a bit and allow some conversation instead of having to develop characters in 60-second increments … some action is fine but it shouldn’t be the whole Trek movie …

Hear, hear.

41. Jack - August 7, 2014

Not to be a dick, but Shatner (and plenty of other actors) isn’t noted for his critical astuteness (exhibit A: Trek V, exhibit B: Shatner wanting Khan and Kirk to have an elaborate fight scene in TWOK).

Same goes with fans. Our suggestions are generally terrible. We generalize like crazy (ex. “Trek is about peaceful exploration and discovery” — is it? So which of those 79 episodes are actually about peaceful exploration? Ditto with “Trek is all about allegories” — that was Gene’s and Nimoy’s line in interviews, but go back and watch TOS and see how often this was true…)

The best Trek was about the characters discovering truths about themselves, facing their own and humanity’s weaknesses, facing consequences of theirs and others hubris and balancing ideals with vastly more difficult reality…

Which is why I’m hoping these writers know what they’re doing.

PS. Anyone seen Snowpiercer?

42. Jack - August 7, 2014

BTW, I think STID had the best intentions and everyone involved really did think they had captured the heart of Trek. Allegory? Check. Classic lines? Check. References galore? Check. Extensive homages to TWOK? Check. Speeches? Check. Kirk/Spock? Check. A Big Lesson (Revenge is bad? Kneejerk reactions are bad? Drones are bad? Choosing security over ideals is bad? Dealing with bad guys to defeat other bad guys is bad? Execution without a trial is bad? Secrets are bad? Might Is Right = bad? Engineering a war is bad? Ignoring the constitution is bad?). Check.

It all should work — but it doesn’t because structure trumped story. It felt like everything was happening because it was written that way.

It’s still interesting that the Trek movies generally considered the best came from Nick Meyer, who didn’t like TOS and had more than a bit of healthy contempt for the concept and the characters.

The worst Trek movies played like spoofs of episodes…

43. Herb Finn - August 7, 2014

Ninety-hundred million wannabe efforts describes all the fan productions before ST:NV/P2 and EXETER. Once they came along, it spurred on better productions.

There’s a few underrated fan treks out there such as “Project : Potemkin” what should get more notice. Set post -ST6, it’s well done on a shoestring budget. (although the bridge set is a little small due to their studio space.)

44. Mel - August 7, 2014

“…and would like to see “more emotion” in the next installment.”

I don’t know in what context Shatner said this, but I read similar things from different people about all kinds of movies. Often it is just a polite way to say, that they thought a movie concentrated too much on boom, boom, bang and splashy special effects and not enough on the characters. I suspect Shatner meant it the same way.

45. TUP - August 7, 2014

Keachick – you’re the biggest troll here.

Disinvited: I dont need to watch every single minute of every single fan “production” to know they suck. They do.

46. TUP - August 7, 2014

jack – that was the problem with STID – it was like they worked through a checklist. Its like handing “Writing Drama For Dummies” to a high school student and asking him to pen a Trek script. It will be heavy on all the “requirements” but lack depth and heart.

47. Red Dead Ryan - August 7, 2014

Hate to break it you guys, but neither “Continues” nor “Exeter” or any other fan production will ever be greenlit as an official series. These films are good for fans to enjoy once in a while, but I doubt general audiences would care.

Yes, they might care about TOS, but for them, the official series would be enough. Let’s face it, fan nostalgia is driving these productions.

And CBS, should they ever decide to commision an official series, would no doubt want to hire their own production staff and a cast that can actually act (no offense to these casts, as they do a good enough job for the type of productions they are).

Not to mention a precedent would end up being set where CBS favors one production over another, which could lead to some bad blood and jealousy.

48. Cygnus-X1 - August 7, 2014

41. Jack – August 7, 2014
42. Jack – August 7, 2014

You’re painting everyone here with one brush. You may not like peoples’ “suggestions,” but quite a few of the criticisms made by people here have been valid. When professional critics and fans alike all seize upon the same problems, I think those issues are worth taking seriously despite them coming from “crazy fans.”

It all should work — but it doesn’t because structure trumped story.

That’s one reason. Another is the laundry-list approach that you called attention to. The writers seemed more concerned with including things in the movie than in telling a meaningful story with characters who meaningfully develop over the course of it. Quantity over Quality. This combined with wanting to cram as much action as possible in the movie resulted in a necessarily shallow and superficial approach. Like a composer setting out to compose a piece of music with as many different instruments and motives (or “motifs”) as possible in a 5-minute piece of music. It’s going to sound rushed and meaningless.

Also, where did you get that Nick Meyer didn’t like TOS? In the WOK interview leading up to the release of that movie, Meyer says something like that he watched TOS in order to gain an understanding of the spirit of Trek, found what TOS was “about” at its best—“issues” or “allegories” or whatever—and sought to make a movie along those lines. Sorry, I can’t find the video, but it was posted here in a WOK article a few months back.

49. TUP - August 7, 2014

Off the top of my head, I’d suggest the writers come up with an idea on a human drama level that teaches something. Dont worry about action or set pieces or summer blockbuster nonsense. Come up with a wonderful “December Oscar season story”. once you have that, its so much easier to punch up the scrip with action and set pieces then it is to have a mindless action flick and try to shoehorn in some quality story-telling.

50. Tom - August 7, 2014

IF Bob decides to include Shatner and Nimoy in the next movie, I think he could easily re work the Shatner scene written for 09. I think it could bookend nicely. We know they are beginnig the 5 year mission. So it could start off with Spock Prime saying goodbye (for real this time with reason to be determined) to NuSpock and handing him the holpgraphic pendant with Shatner
This was a gift to me. Representing…
a dream. One we were unable to fulfill.
The way you can now.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to
(stops, grins)
I know I know, it’s illogical to
celebrate something you had nothing to do
with, but I haven’t had the chance to
congratulate you on your appointment to
the ambassadorship so I thought I’d seize
the occasion… Bravo, Spock — they tell
me your first mission may take you away
for awhile, so I’ll be the first to wish
you luck… and to say…
(beat, emotional)
I miss you, old friend.

I suppose I’d always imagined us…
outgrowing Starfleet together. Watching
life swing us into our Emeritus years
I look around at the new cadets now and
can’t help thinking… has it really been
so long? Wasn’t it only yesterday we
stepped onto the Enterprise as boys?
That I had to prove to the crew I
deserved command… and their respect
I know what you’d say — ‘It’s their turn
now, Jim…’ And of course you’re
right… but it got me thinking.

Then Nu Spock gets interrupted, the hologram stops and goes right into the story.

At the end of the movies adventure NuSpock goes back to the hologram

Who’s to say we can’t go one more round?
By the last tally, only twenty five
percent of the galaxy’s been chartered…
I’d call that negligent. Criminal even —
an invitation. You once said being a
starship captain was my first, best
destiny… if that’s true, then yours is
to be by my side. If there’s any true
logic to the universe… we’ll end up on
that bridge again someday
Admit it, Spock. For people like us, the
journey itself… is home

Then some dialogue about where they are heading next. Then a crewmember says “well we are not going home” whereby Chris Pine as NuKirk repeats Shatners line “For people like us, the
journey itself… is home”

Then the crew sets off to continue their journey

I realize that those who do not want original characters cameos will hate this. For those who wouldnt mind a bit of nostalgia for the 50th, what do you think? I really would like to see one scene with Bill and Leonard together too but only the writers would know if that is part of their story and if it works.

51. Keachick (Rose) - August 7, 2014

#44 – I agree that we have been given no elaboration by William Shatner on what he actually said. Therefore, people will surmise.

Both BR Star Treks contained plenty of emotion, along with fast paced action and violence.

However, giving the audience the illusion of genuine passage of time elapsing was not done at all well and showing a character in a different outfit does not cut it – sorry, Bob Orci. It gives the viewer the sense of it being just relentless, insistent, which, even in this 23rd century reality with ships going at warp speed, does not feel right. I do not think this is just a problem for these movies, with JJ Abrams directing, but is part of a pattern seen in many American made TV series and movies. How music is used or NOT used is also a major contributing factor.

May I suggest, Bob Orci, that you watch of the British made films like Sherlock or some of the murder mystery series. Another series that could help is Call the Midwife (BBC). Call the Midwife is in a genre all of its own in many ways, however giving the illusion that time has passed is what each episode can be about, in order for it to look and feel right. I realize this series appears to be so far removed from Star Trek – sci-fi genre, but it is about you (and others) trying the capture the *essence* of how Call the Midwife and other shows do this…

I only watch, see, know the effect that different ways of presenting a situation and people can have on me as I watch the stories unfold. I also know that I have written about this before some time back on this same site, but I do feel it is important.

Emotion – well, that covers such a wide range of sentiment/experience – we have already seen the various examples of grief – anger/revenge, (survivor’s) guilt, tears. We have been shown examples of gentle affection, the capacity to console via a tender kiss. We have seen flirtation and brief scenes of physical intimacies in what appears to be very sexual in nature… and much more. However, these moments have had to fight their way through the fast pace where (shocking) violence, destruction, noise (prompted on by the loud *music) seem to get the upper hand more often than not, or that is how it seems.

However, emotion can also be tender, delicate, even fleeting, in nature, missed if one does not pay attention. I recall asking that the writers and producers not forget to include such moments in the next film (ie the second Star Trek movie). I also recall asking Bob Orci to take care of “my captain” – well, he did and he didn’t.

I also pointed out the fragility that life and beauty can be and that it has always been so easy to stomp on it through lack of awareness, ignorance, carelessness or through an act that is cruel and deliberate. But – our Kirk, Spock et al would recognize this special nature that life can be and do what they could to protect…

Sentiment, emotion and logic, reason – it is hard to know where one ends and the other begins – as it was and always shall be. In TMP film, primeSpock finally *realizes* this, ie has an epiphany.

*even if the music is good.

52. Mina McPherson - August 7, 2014

It’s so funny to see that whenever there’s any (even clear and totally innocent) comment by a star, there’s always some of the fans who then try to twist the words to mean what they want it to mean.
People in the comments trying to claim it has to mean he’s putting down the reboot. Pfff… He was very clear about feeling it’s going in the right direction, so it’s quite unlikely he’d say the opposite just after.

It’s quite possible Shatner’s “wanting more emotion” is a way to say it would be great if they brought him in too (what else would generate as much emotion, after all?) It could mean a number of things. But it certainly isn’t the “he must be hating on STID” that reboot haters and similar are hoping for…

53. B Kramer - August 7, 2014

@48 Cygnus I posted the WOK clip a while back:

ET Flashback Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan

54. Cygnus-X1 - August 7, 2014

53. B Kramer – August 7, 2014

Right, that’s the one. Thanks.

Here’s what Nick Meyer said about TOS and TWOK:

“Basically what Star Trek was, was the presentation of moral or ethical human dilemmas in a kind of pop-allegorical format, and there were certain philosophical underpinnings to all this: the essential belief in the goodness and future of mankind and of men of good will and so forth—or species of good will—that were all very appealing. And I was content, in making my film, to devise a film that would be like that only more sophisticated in its acoutrements and perhaps a little more daring in some of its specifics, but essentially musch more like the original stuff.”

And, I’ve probably said this already, but I would call attention to Meyer’s clarity of vision here. He analyzed the source material, got to the root of its form and appeal, and used it as a template for his film. The contrast between Meyer’s approach and what we know of the BR approach could not be more clear and distinct.

The BR approach, to paraphrase a critic that I read, is “filmmaking by committee.” There’s no vision—certainly not a clear, cohesive one—and, I would say, there’s not much heart or soul, either. BR Trek is more a Frankenstein’s monster of global focus group prescriptions—“more action, less Star Trek, less sci-fi, more emotion, more love interests,” etc…with a few references to would-be themes literally stated by characters in the movie but not actually developed—“this movie is about family,” “this movie is about not letting your desire for revenge turn you into your enemy,” (obviously I’m paraphrasing here to illustrate the point) all dressed up in a Star Trek suit.

From this article:

Paramount conducted focus groups across the globe to see what they wanted from a Nu-Star Trek movie and the results were less Trek and more action. They took that data and constructed a film to fit the results. You have to ask, is that good film making?

55. TUP - August 8, 2014

Tom – to be honest, I dont really like the Shatner scene written for 09. When I read it back then, I thought it was wonderful. I guess in the context of that first movie it worked. But now, in retrospect, especially after the goofy Nimoy inclusion in STID, it just seems like a waste.

To me it would scream too loudly that this character is long dead. One of the problems with including William Shatner is that he’s such a huge star. There is nothing subtle about William Shatner and you cant really sneak in a subdued William Shatner performance. He takes you out of the film because its William Freakin Shatner.

And thats why I really feel that they NEED to include him but in a very major promotional manner. They need to have a big presser with him announcing his return the role he made famous. And make it a big deal throughout, like they did with Nimoy in 09.

As I read These Are the Voyages, one thing that is strking is just how accomplished and respected Shatner was as an actor before Trek. And while he was typecast somewhat for Trek and TJ Hooker, he really reinvented himself in his later years and ofcourse, the Denny Crane role earned him many accolades. He’d be the most accomplished and decorated actor in the next Trek film. They should embrace that.

56. B Kramer - August 8, 2014

Welcome Cyg-X1

57. TUP - August 8, 2014

Cygnus-X1, you’re quote hit on another failing of STID.

Meyer understood what TOS was. And using Khan was the embodiment of a world humanity over-came. Khan’s purpose was as that embodiment of a humanity that Star Trek envisoned we would eventually over-come – the warrior mentality, the romanticised dictator, the genetic manipulation seeking perfection versus accepting the flaws of humanity as something to be embraced.

Orci and Co. didnt understand Khan at all. Didnt understand Space Seed, Didnt understand WoK. Didnt understand the point of the Khan character in Star Trek and why he was the celebrated nemisys of James Kirk.

I mean really, Bob, tell us the truth – you didnt actually watch Space Seed and WoK, did you?

58. Tom - August 8, 2014

55 TUP

That would be great if they did include Shatner in a big promotional way. I alwyas get the feeling that they don’t want to do to that because they do not want to fall back too much on original cast appearances and do not want to take away from the new cast. I wish they would embrace what he brings to Star Trek

59. TUP - August 8, 2014

Tom – I think its a red herring. They are afraid of not getting credit. But these two modern films have been anything but separated from TOS. From Nimoy’s appearance to the inclusion of Pike, Khan and the “death” scene at the end of STID, they have been using TOS as a crutch while paying lip service about “moving forward” and “being original” and “standing on our own”. Its all BS.

60. Tom - August 8, 2014

59 TUP

Good point TUP. Ironically I would think the time to be TOS heavy would be for the 50th Anniversary. Hopefully the can do that while still being original

61. TUP - August 8, 2014

I agree Tom, 100%. The third movie should have been planned to be a generations-spanning epic that “fixed” the timeline damaged when Nero appeared in the first one.

But that would have required some pre-planning and forethought, something seemingly missing from the modern incarnation of Trek,.

62. David B - August 8, 2014

Star Trek will live forever.
William Shatner will not.
For the sake of humanity and a once in a lifetime opportunity make the 50th anniversary film include the man that started the dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars.

63. Keachick (Rose) - August 8, 2014

#61 – The third movie should be none of the kind. Nothing needs fixing. There is too much in this alternate universe – as in, in this time, Kirk could decide to go thisaway instead of thataway…

Let’s hope that Bob, Patrick and JD make it so. Perhaps a nuli or similar might get to take a peek at the Enterprise.

So tired of all the negativity, snarky criticisms, singular lack of imagination and even less goodwill.

64. Tom - August 9, 2014

63 David B

Right! Just do it!

65. dennycranium - August 9, 2014

Re fan productions:
First of all, I’m on the production team at Phase2. I’m the 1st AD.
A big reason why these fan films get made for a shoestring budget is because a huge part of us volunteer our time and pay all of our expenses.
We pay for our airfare, lodging and meals.
A lot of us contribute to unforeseen expenses at the shoot as they come up, as well.
All of the money raised goes into rent for our studio,set construction, salaries for SAG actors, post production, etc.
For the people that wish we got better? We are trying and to the people that contribute to the Kickstarters? A huge thank you. Contributing to the Kickstarter for the production of your choice (pick your favorite one) helps make the episodes better.
Should CBS want to license one of us? It wouldn’t be a shoestring budget anymore.
I’m thinking they would want a steady stream of episodes.
Most of us use vacation time during filming.
If it were to become a part time or full time career- we would need to get paid.
As far as Harlan’s comment about excellence and availability?
I would suggest that he read Cushman’s “These Are The Voyages” books.
A lot of first season episodes got made because they were filmable and “available.”
Some 1st season episodes were deemed not worthy of a repeat.
Thanks to both Harlan and Walter to give us some coverage.

66. Cygnus-X1 - August 10, 2014

65. dennycranium – August 9, 2014

Thanks for the view on the ground.

Paying people who are currently working for free would obviously increase cost, but I wonder by how much. My impression is that the people at the top in a Hollywood production company—the JJ Abramses—must be getting paid pretty well and that could be a significant factor in the cost of production.

What we really need is a budget sheet to look at. I’m still optimistic about the economic viability of a fan production. There’s a lot of good stuff in Phase 2, though I tend to not like the pacing of the episodes—they all seem to have a certain drag to them. Maybe that’s just the intentional Phase 2 style, but I’d love to see some progress with the episodes getting tighter, even if it means them getting shorter. Leave the extraneous dialogue on the cutting room floor. Anyway, that’s my “2 sense.”


67. dennycranium - August 10, 2014

Thanks for your thoughts about our editing process.
The producers do read this board and take constructive criticism and ideas into consideration.
I’ll forward your thoughts to our executive producers.
Thanks again for watching our show!

68. TUP - August 11, 2014

@63 – lack of imaginations is that you look at this “new” universe and dont see everything wrong with it. Close your eyes and imagine for a moment. It might come to you.

69. Cygnus-X1 - August 11, 2014

67. dennycranium – August 10, 2014

Sounds good and I’m looking forward to your next episode.


70. Curious Cadet - August 11, 2014

@61. TUP,
“But that would have required some pre-planning and forethought”

It’s not just missing from Star Trek, it’s missing from everything, otherwise LOST would have likely turned out very differently.

“The third movie should have been planned to be a generations-spanning epic that “fixed” the timeline”

I know you and many other hard core fans feel this way, but it doesn’t necessarily work for a general audience. To the extent Star Trek is back on the big screen because the studio wants to develop its franchise potential, rebooting the timeline for newly attracted audiences (and let’s face it that accounts for the lions share of current box office) after three movies would be confusing. In order to “fix” the timeline, they’d have to go back before Nero arrived and stop him there before the Kelvin showed up. Thus everyone the new audiences may have been invested in would be fundamentally different. And they could still do this arc without the planning, but what’s the point? The damage is done, the die has been cast. Finish it. Aside from poor, unimaginative storytelling, it’s fun to play in this sandbox.

You guys speak of epic generation spanning story lines, but the 25th anniversary barely squeezed in a film before the end of the anniversary year, and it was just another TOS movie. As it should be. After all it’s the anniversary of the TOS premiere, not TNG. It’s enough that they acknowledge what came before in the new films for the fans, while maintaining consistency for the new audiences. The “Khan” moment is a perfect example of how to confuse your new audiences and pull them out of a film. Don’t do it on a wholesale scale. Besides, nothing upsets an audience following a story over a period of what may be an 8 year span, more than saying, ‘whoops, it was all a dream’.

TUP, you have many valid points in your criticism of Nu-Trek. But this one is a case of the ship sailing. Nothing productive can come out of it. Wait for the next ship/reboot, and hope for the best at that time. In the meantime, we should all try to improve the ride on the current voyage. And I just don’t see confusing the hard won new audiences by introducing a lot of geriatric actors from previous incarnations of Trek, which require a lot of explaining and backstory to understand their presence, as a particularly good move. For better or for worse, Star Trek is not just for the fully immersed indoctrinated fans anymore, so even if we were still firmly entrenched in the Prime universe, complex sweeping stories like the proposed still wouldn’t be a wise idea for building new audiences, 50th anniversary or not.

71. TUP - August 11, 2014

Also, as for LOST, I was astounded at the level of unprofessionalism displayed by the creative team. Lost really hurt due to a group of writers that thought they were a lot smarter than they were.

I couldnt believe when I read them admit to introducing important plot elements with no clue as to how they’d resolve them. They simply thought they’d figure it out later. Lost collapsed under the weight of it’s own lofty goals and the immense egos involved. Such a shame. The premier episode was one of the best debuts in TV history.

Lost also introduced some really intriguing concepts and plot developments, likely because its easy to introduce gripping ideas when you dont have to pay them off with any satisfaction.

I might be in the minority but I actually liked the finale.

72. Keachick (Rose) - August 11, 2014

Believe me, I am quite capable of closing my eyes and imagining. This is an alternate universe, so why should everything be wrong with it and everything be right with another universe?

Life is a mixture of right and wrong, good and bad, off centre and on point…

Such one dimensional thinking…where is that brick?…:(

73. Phil - August 13, 2014

@65. You have no idea how much I enjoyed this comment. A little bit of candor goes a long way with me…

74. TUP - August 15, 2014

@72 sometimes things suck. And STID sucked. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.