IESB‘s Robert Sanchez is reporting some inside info on how Paramount really view the Trek franchise and its future with JJ Abrams. The report starts off with a roundup of the latest Statements from William Shatner. If their sourcing is to be trusted Paramount is very up on Abrams, but not so much for Shatner. The unnamed ‘studio source’ is quoted as saying “Absolutely not” to there being a chance of the Shat showing up in Star Trek XI. IESB’s source went on to say quite a bit about the state of the Trek franchise and how Abrams’ Star Trek XI can bring Trek back:
This is not just another Trek movie but instead a total reboot, we will see things that are similar to what is known in the Trek Universe but we will not be held to every aspect of the last 40 years. We are going to introduce Star Trek to a whole new generation and many more generations to come. We have total faith that J.J. and company will take Trek to a whole new level. Trek has been going downhill for the last 10 years and if we expect it to be around 20 years from now we will have to take some bold steps that might be controversial at first but we are sure to bring new fans to the dying franchise
New fans? what about the old fans?
Although their source is unnamed and not very diplomatic, it is true that Trek needs new fans to remain vital going forward. Abrams built in fanbase should help (as would the fanbase of any ‘star’, like Damon for example). IESB’s ‘source’ elaborated on his views of Trek fandom
Trek fans were not able to keep the last show (Enterprise) on the air and we are looking on bringing over “Alias” and “Lost” fans and if the old Trekkies like the new movie great, if not too bad. We have to boldly go were no Star Trek has gone before.
These types of comments are quite different than what Paramount says publically about Trek. When the Abrams’ deal was announed Paramount President Gail Berman talked glowingly about how the Trek franchise has been the great for Paramount. That being said, it is undeniable that their last two efforts (Enterprise and Star Trek Nemesis) show that the harcore base that is still loyal to the franchise just is not enough to sustain it. JJ Abrams himself has said that Star Trek XI is not just for the hardcore fans and that he will not ‘pander’ to the fans. Bearing all that in mind, it is a bit hard to imagine anyone at Paramount actually saying they are willing to totally blow off the fanbase. Although it is not the entire target market for the film, the ‘Trekkie base’ is a key component. In addition the loyal fanbase factor in to the home sales which have always been strong for the Trek franchise. One thing that Abrams has said publically on many occasions is that he respects the fans and has learned a lot from the (sometimes obsessive) Lost fans.
I think some fans may get hung up on the term ‘reboot’. This term gets used in many different ways. I read it as a ‘restart’ to the franchise like Star Trek II, with a new team and a new concept, not a ‘reimagine’ like Ron Moore‘s new Battlestar Galactica where the entire mythos of the franchise has been changed. All three Trek XI writers (JJ Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) have been quoted as saying they will respect trek ‘canon’. A source inside Paramount tells the Trek XI Report that the first draft of Trek XI is not complete, therefore it is hard to imagine how anyone at the studio would have detailed knowledge about a ‘canon reboot’ or any so-called continuity violations.
IESB seemingly confirm the rumored plotline “What is known is that we will be seeing Kirk and Spock in their early Starfleet years. The new movie will chronologically take place before The Original Series.” Although we at the Trek XI report use this as our working assumption, we still consider it to be rumor. It is unclear if they have got this info confirmed or not. They also add the following commentary “There are quite a bit of problems with this specific storyline since it goes against established Trek mythos from the last 40 years but that’s a whole other story.” If they haven’t had a timeframe confirmed to them, they may be assuming the Academy plotline is still valid. As we reported here two weeks ago, our source tells us that the prequel takes place much later on Kirk’s first voyage as captain of the Enterprise. Most Trek watchers agree that this later storyline is far less problematic.
Don’t forget your grain of salt
Because this is an internet report from an unnamed source (something the Trek XI Report has been known to do on occasion), we categorize this info as as ‘rumor’. It should also be noted that we are assuming that ‘studio source’ is referring to Paramount Pictures and not CBS Paramount Studio…this of course may be a false assumption…we will try to get this and other items mentioned above clarified.