One of the persistent rumors about Star Trek XI is that it centers on the life of Kirk and Spock at the Academy. The Academy story is not a new one, it was originally proposed by Harve Bennett as an idea for Star Trek VI; the studio eventually went with Nick Meyer’s Cold War themed ‘Undiscovered Country’. Last year the Academy notion came back when William Shatner revealed that he is working on a Starfleet Academy book series with his longtime writing partners Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. He also revealed at the time that he had pitched the idea as a series to ‘top executives’ at Paramount. The Trek Movie Report has learned from a studio insider that the Shat went right to the top and pitched it to none other than Viacom Chairman Sumner ‘Get Tom Cruise Off My Property’ Redstone. Supposedly Shatner went in to Paramount after Star Trek Enterprise became ratings challenged in it’s second year. Shatner believed that Paramount/UPN would replace Enterprise with his Academy show, but they stuck with Enterprise for 2 more seasons before pulling the plug. There are currently no known plans for new Trek on TV. But Shatner still plans on getting his story out there in book form, he gave the Toronto Star a bit more detail on the storyline:
The troubled adolescence of Spock and Kirk lead them to a series of adventures that make us conclude that they will become the wonderful people that they did become
What if it conficts with Abrams’ Trek?
It has been long established that Star Trek books (even written by Trek Stars like Shatner and Trek scriptwriters like the Reeves-Stevenses) are not ‘canon’ (with a few exceptions). Only that which is ‘filmed’ is considered canon in the Trek universe. Margaret Clark (Shatner’s editor at Simon and Schuster) tells the Trek Movie Report that there is a very flexible policy in terms of ‘canon’ and continuity when it comes to the book series, especially now after the split from Viacom. Clark points out that many of the books conflict with eachother, and that is OK. The Shatner written books have had their own internal continuity, but most of the main storylines (such as Kirk being resurrected) are unique to his books, which are sometimes referred to as the ‘Shatnerverse’. So there are no issues with Shatner’s books conflicting with anything in Star Trek XI (if they do indeed conflict). Each will exist in it’s own universe, but only Abrams’ film will be considered ‘canon’. Clark says the books are ‘pencilled in’ for the 2008 timeframe.