Abrams: Trek XI Story Is ‘Incredibly Cool’

TV Guide has an interview with JJ Abrams that focuses on M:I:3, which is released this week on DVD. However, they do throw in a couple of Trek questions

TVGuide.com: Changing topics, where do you stand on the Star Trek feature? Is there any framework in place, a setting, characters…?

Abrams: The framework is firmly in place, the script is being written now, and we are incredibly enthusiastic about it.

TVGuide.com: Do you have any thoughts yet about going with unknowns versus established TV or film actors?

Abrams: It’s way too early to talk about casting, but the story is incredibly cool. All of us working on it are just giddy about it.

Well it is not much, but that is the first thing he has said to the press about Trek in a couple months. It is in line with TrekMovie.com’s recent update stating the first draft of the script is due shortly. Hopefully Abrams does some more press for the M:I:3 release and we will get a few more nuggets. He also talks to TV Guide about Tom Cruise and the ratings slide for Lost, see TV Guide for the full interview. 


Mission - Impossible III (Two-Disc Special Collector\'s Edition) M:I:3 is now available at Amazon

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I know that he’s flavor of the month with the studio, but my confidence in his ability to do this falters on more occasion than not. It could be incredibile, it could be crap, he’s not reassuring me.

He needs to get Shatner signed and that will make all the difference. Shatner and Nimoy.



Ditto Shatner and Nimoy are key for me. If they are in, I have no problems with a younger cast. Ignore them, I aint interested.

With something as big as recasting Kirk and Spock, they’ll do everything they can to get Shatner and Nimoy on board in some way.

If we’re honest, can anyone imagine Shatner and Nimoy not being involved when they have contracts for at least some aspects of the film?

We’re talking about a big studio here that is trying to revamp a damaged franchise. Whether we get Shatner and Nimoy appearing in the film or not (and there are many excellent arguments in favour of or against that!) the team will desperately try to get those guys making promotional appearances, talking up the film and appearing with the new actors for photoshoots and so on.

Abrams isn’t an idiot: as a fan, he has a good idea what a lot of us want to see! Yes it could be a sucky film, but it might just be great!!! Quietly hopeful that the Star Trek I thought ended in 1992 might be back in some form!

I have an open mind towards it…I am not going to be anxiously awaiting it. Hopefully, that way I can be pleasantly surprised.

I’m a HUGE Trek fan and have been watching it since I was 4 years old…..that was 1979 for anyone who is wondering. :) To be honest, I don’t want to see Shatner and Nimoy in this film. They’ve both moved on, and are quite successful at what they’re doing. Shatner has shot back to Stardom with Boston Legal for heavens sake, he’s more popular now than ever. He’s actually being taken seriously as an actor now.

It’s time for Trek to move forward…however they do it….it should not involve any of the previous casts. There is far too much dead weight…too many ghosts. Lets go somewhere new and exciting this time…k?

Well, what’s Abrams going to say, “Yeah, the story’s really not so great, but I gotta get paid you know?” LOL

As to the great Shatner/Nimoy debate: I grew up with these guys. They formed a huge part of my youth, almost role models in a certain goofy way “Free Enterprise” anyone?). With that said, it really may be time for them (and us) to let go. Nimoy has wisely hung up his ears, exiting gracefully. And Bill… well that Direct TV spot speaks for itself. I found it really sad to see him packed into that uniform, bad rug and all. I don’t fault him for it — he’s a working actor with bills to pay, he’s going to take the gig and cash the check, and we can all just get lives. But to hold him up as a standard bearer for Trek and its new incarnations may just be a tad unrealistic. Let Abrams take his shot, unburdened by too many constraints.

Re-cast or not, Shatner & Nimoy or not, it doesn’t matter to me. Whatever gets produced will be somebody else’s Star Trek, not mine. I wish them well, I hope its good and it very well might be, but my heart won’t be in it. Post-1991, I just can’t make myself care that much one way or the other.

What was the show that had a few marine or special forces fighting the species from another dimension. Killing the alien for energy. Was it Voyager? To me they had the quality of a first rate StarFleet officers(without the killing) but they were portryaed as being the evil military style, regulation know it all.
I dunno if this makes sense but I thought wow they had it (Star Trek professionalism) and Rick Berman was trying to make it look bad. Like he was sealing the coffin to Star Trek and make his own..

#9 Ralph,

Back in TOS’s day, political arguments were still somewhat based in reality — as in, USS Enterprise was a naval vessel commanded by “Annapolis” graduates and it would be taken as seriously as the real thing: deadly seriously. Everyone understood this because most of them were in the Service during WWII, Korea, or both!

By the time of the new programs, hardly any one in Hollywood knew which end of the barrel the bullet exits, let alone anything about life in the Service.

In the minds of today’s crop of producers and managers, the militay is reduced to cliches from their distant past. “Hell no, we won’t go”, “baby killers”, “you’re in the Army cuz you can’t get a job” etc.

It is quite pathetic and utterly untrue, but it is what they think. Sadly, a nubmer of their viewers share that false persepctive.

Starfleet is not to be confused with the United States Navy or military in any regard. That cliche and allegory is as inaccurate as it is tired.

Roddenberry and Coon gave Starfleet a flavor of Naval tradition for audience identifiability, but the similarity ends there.

Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets defy and are beyond strictly American politics. Starfleet represents a global, then galactic organization, with influence from dozens if not hundreds of worlds and their cultures.
For one, Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets indoctrinated a non-interference policy which by virtue of it’s concept, prevented pre-emptive invasions of other cultures to satisfy the fuel needs of a vast body much like Rome.
The entirely inaccurate allegory of Starfleet being the United States military does a tremendous disservice to the spirit of what is intended by the fictitious organization.


If Starfleet is to be compared with ANY Earth based military organization, it would be the U.N. bluehelmets in both mission statement and function, having representatives from multiple nations serving in a capacity not governored by the whims of one individual, but a collective body.

^^^^^ Nicholas Myer pumped up the Naval allegory beginning with Star Trek II so that HE as a film maker could more easily identify with Star Trek, and has said so on numerous occasions. This is why Roddenberry was opposed to the militarization of Starfleet by Myer.

The U.S.S. Enterprise isn’t the U.S.S. United States of America, and never was intended as such.

I think bringing anyone in new at the helm is key. The old “you can’t go back, you’ve gotta go forward” thinking in Star Trek is very hardcore Bermanspeak, insomuch that I very much wanted to believe that the franchise was in good hands when passed from Roddenberry to Berman it did not pan out that way in actuality. It’s one thing to respect that which was before you, yet create your own mark; Berman and Braga were outspoken haters of the classic show. So eliminating that from the fray was the first essential step.

I really don’t know what kind of story can be told using the old characters that would have any significance. Such is the inherent problem with prequels. Plus, I dont think any amount of money would get Nimoy on board if the story didn’t meet his stringent requirements of making his appearance essential to the story. He’s a little more high road that Shatner that way. Shatner will do any story if the price is right – not always in the best interests of the franchise (see Star Trek Generations and the Berman / Braga agenda above)



“He needs to get Shatner signed and that will make all the difference. Shatner and Nimoy.”

Star Trek V had both of them and turned up rather underwhelming.

Keep Shatner and Nimoy away, just sign them up to promote & praise the film and state that the new actors playing their old characters are brilliant and deserve oscars…

An olde timey fan, I agree with your remarks on the whole (post 10.)

That said, Abrams has produced an excellent TV series that featured badass government agents who can practically kill with a merely a sneeze, let alone an Uzi, so I’m not worried that he won’t give his characters toughness and efficiency!

I do wonder how the overtly colour-coded uniforms will look in the present day, though. The pastel versions looked stupid in TMP, hence the definitive blood-red uniforms of most TOS movies. The TNG-era ones were also rubbish by the standards of the 1980s and beyond, only getting better from First Contact onwards!

Still, I reckon we can pretty much guarantee the original sound FX for the new film if it’s set in the TOS era!! Yay! :)

Preved Medvedi!

Keeping in line with the last line from post 17, I’d like to hear some of the original series music in the new movie. Not music inspired by, but those pieces. Sure it doesn’t have to all classic clips in the movie but I’d love to hear a few of them tossed in there besides, if the main title can be re-done for the remastered series then why not re-do those classic clips? C’mon admit it, you know you love it.

Seriously–the thing that truly will make this an exciting/giddy movie is Shatner returning as Kirk. Anything else COULD be good, but there’s the disappointment of NOT having Shatner involved.

I think it’s awesome, no matter if Shatner or Nimoy take part. Honestly, I don’t care. They were great, but I think it’s time for some new blood.

This film should only have the new re-cast Kirk and Spock involved “on-screen.” Though i do feel it would be beneficial for Shatner and Nimoy to be involved in some regards with regards to character portrayal mainly in script conception and slightly in the acting one. The new actors (focus on the new there, not “famous” actors) should be allowed to develop their characters for themselves in many regards since this would only allow for a better performance, but Shatner and Nimoy could easily give notes on what they looked to for influence in their own portrayals (ie. Nimoy’s focus on incorporating notions of Sherlock Holmes into Spock’s persona.)

Shatner and Nimoy, being signed up, probably depends on how much “creative input” they are demanding. Are they content to just show up and be propped about or will they demand some type of clause in their contract that gives them the control that producers hate. Nimoy and Shatner are probably wisely waiting to see a final draft of the script, so they know exactly what they are getting themselves into, before they even entertain the thought of signing an acting contract. And that’s cool with me…if they are willing to hop onboard, especially Nimoy, then I’ll take that as their seal of approval and be anxiously awaiting the movie, no matter how much screen time the two have.

If having Shatner and Nimoy onscreen for a couple of minutes somewhere in the movie is good marketing then they might as well do it. Doesn’t really matter *what* they do, because the real interest of the movie and whatever future it may presage for “Star Trek” will be carried by the new actors and their characters.

I watched Mission: Impossible III today on DVD, and a fwe thoughts that are relevant to the forthcoming Trek:

If Abrams is behind the camera for this one, I am encouraged by his ability to direct large-scale tense action sequences. The editing and the photography for M:I-III was very good– it was not overly frenetic like Michael Bay and it looked stylized without being cheesy. I really liked the way the movie was put together.

Abrams has disclosed that he will be uitilizing the same writers for Trek. On this note, I am not 100% gleeful. The M:I-III script itself was good as a n action genre show, but there were a couple of logical flaws to the story that bounced me out of the movie. Characters did things ass-backwards at times, only because it was necessary that some new twist had to take place. With Star Trek, even more so than your typical action movie, nothing kills a story more than a logical contradiction. I hope that Abrams doesn’t let things slip for the sake of an over-the-top twist.

On the plus side, the scope of the M:I-III story was fantastic. Obviously they spent a ton of money producing the movie, but given smart economical decisions, I am hopeful that we can get a large-scope Star Trek movie for a change, something beyond starship sets.

One thing we have never enjoyed as an audience is a Star Trek movie that really delves into the exotic vistas of outer space. We are way overdue for something large-scale. On that issue, I am very hopeful that Abrams is capable of delivering a satisfying show.

So, there ya have it. I’m growing in enthusiasm for this new Trek.

I approached the pilot of TNG with low expectations. I was never a huge Roddenberry fan. As the show progressed, I was still taking it in, considering the pros and cons when suddenly a jolt of adrenaline shot through my body as I saw DeForest Kelley as the ancient admiral shuffling across the screen. From that moment on I was hooked. It was obvious to me these folks were going to honor the legacy–and they did for the entire run of TNG IMO.

Whether this next film includes Shatner & Nimoy or not, I will see it and hope to embrace it. But if my past experience is any indication, I think Bill & Leonard’s onscreen involvement will be a plus, not an albatross. They are two of the most iconic facets of this modern day mythos and I say if they are still alive and willing–use them. Wouldn’t mind at all seeing the rest of the Magnificent Seven (sadly now five)–and maybe even some CGI with our dearly departed Bones and Scotty.

What Nicholas Meyer understood better than most is that Trek is not about space, it is about family. These people are our family. We might be able to warm up to a whole new group but it would be richer if Uncle Kirk and Uncle Spock came along to give them a send off.

#17 Dom —

The colored uniform tunics are a nod to the deck crew of an aircraft carrier.

My father served on both USS Valley Forge and USS Independece. The “airdales” have tightly choreographed roles with very specific functions. The colors tell them what each of their mates is doing at any given moment – catapult, fire suppression, traffic control, etc. Without them, there would be pandemonium on the flight deck!

Josh… you betray your youth and inexperience with your rather audacious commentary. Knowing one’s limits is a good thing. What you are doing is rather asserting a position based on hearsay, not knowledge. In this case, you are mistaking sales spin for something meaningful. You lack context for your assertions and so they loom much larger in your own estiamtion than they are in fact.

There is another thing missed by the younger fans who were never given the benefit of a liberal primary education, that of “perspective”. When Roddenberry (a salesman not above saying whatever is required to close the deal) says, “It’s not Navy”, he means, “This is not about the Fifth Fleet and we won’t be recreating WW2 sea battles.”

But in other accounts, he quite clearly calls it “Horatio Hornblower in space” (Royal Navy). He also made quite a point of the flexibility of the Navy scenario since a captain is “God at sea” and is diplomat, soldier, sailor, judge, executioner, strategist, etc. etc.

To mistake secondary remarks meant to distinguish Trek from “Victory at Sea” dramatizations is to demonostrate your ignorance of the underlying cultural knowledge of the common man in 1964.

Pity. Any one under 35 has almost no idea what life was like in The Before Time, since history today more resembles Big Brother and the Ministry of Truth than anything anyone ever understood the term to mean before.

Dom & Longwinded:

I hear you bro’s! Let’s have Theremins and wind ensembles and blurps and servo sounds and dynamo noises all! It would be a smash hit even with people who never heard a real instrument performed!

“Knowing one’s limits is a good thing.”

It is, indeed.

Actually wasn’t it Meyer who always referred to Trek as Horation Hornblower in space.

#30 acb — If he did, he was repeating Roddenberry in his “Star Trek Format” IIRC.

actually, i think they both came to the same presumption of Trek in that form of comparison on their own accord. Meyer does say when he was first introduced to Trek, via the Trek II script, he drew that conclusion for both a realistic comparison as well as story telling mold for himself to draw upon. It is simply that Meyer had slight variations in how his view of equating Trek to Horatio Hornblower than was Roddenberry’s.

“21. Naib – October 30, 2006
I think it’s awesome, no matter if Shatner or Nimoy take part. Honestly, I don’t care. They were great, but I think it’s time for some new blood”

naib, I agree.

No “Old Timey” on the contrary, you are projecting your own internalized perceptions and disposition of a fictitious and completely subjective material, and surreptitiously propogating this grossly internalized rationalization as though it were the voice of authority which is both a shortcut to rationale and quite presumptuous, not to mention intellectually disingenuous.
My personal age, is irrelevant to your notions on what constitutes the militaristic allegory of Star Trek.
My personal experiences, unknown to you, are entirely irrelevant as well.

The “context of my assertions” happens to be direct qoutes pertaining to the subject at hand, of which I have no remote desire or interest to copy and paste, if they matter enough you are freely invited to go look them up.
Furthermore, you speak of audacity, then presume to attempt to speak on behalf of Roddenberry and his mindset. This fallacy in logic is not indicative of age, nor inexperience, but rather ignorance, whether deliberate or calculated the end result is the same- Assigning your own perception to a fictitious work of art and blatantly second guessing the motives and creative intentions of the artist while propogating said perception in the name of authority. It’s assinine.

If you are going to use qoutes it helps if you use them properly.
Actually Roddenberry said “It is wagon train to the stars”, and some of Captain Kirk’s personal attributes were INSPIRED by Horatio Hornblower. Yet also Alexander the Great, and John F. Kennedy.
Roddenberry was vehemently opposed to the militarization of his creation by subsequent producers.- primarily Nicholas Myer.
You should try watching some of the DVD commentaries of the films, it assists greatly in having an informed opinion.

You were speaking of knowing one’s limits?
To thine own self be true.

Josh, Roddenberry, in later life, was vehemently opposed to any ‘vision’ of Trek that wasn’t controlled by him and his lawyers! He was opposed to Meyer mainly because he and Bennet were the first people to take over Trek after Paramount gave him the boot!

Trek didn’t get the sympathy of cinema audiences until it was ‘militarised.’ Trek had to be adapted peoperly for the cinema and Meyer ran with the ‘Hornblower in Space’ take that Roddenberry had conicidentally come up with for Kirk in the 60s

‘Wagon Train to the Stars’ was the ‘The Cage’ concept and The Cage was iffy, to say the least, not to mention looking like it came out of the 1950s!

I don’t think Treks 2-6 were ***that*** militaristic, anyway – they were simply more believeable in the context of a modern-day film franchise. Indeed, I found TMP far more cold, disciplined and militaristic than Meyer’s version – TMP’s vision is very reminiscent of how I imagine a Soviet Federation would have been run! I still wish Meyer and Bennet had been the guys who ran TNG, though, so what do I know?!! ;)

an olde timey fan, very interesting about the aircraft carrier colour coding. You know any websites that have picture material of that? Would be interested to see what they looked like!

That said, I’m speaking in big screen visual terms rather than reality. They’ll have to make adaptations for the present day cinema, without question! I’m intrigued to see how they go about it!

Dom, here’s a link for a page on the Abe Lincoln that has a nice shot of the deck crew at work:


You might search under “airdales” for more information on the deck crew. It’s amazing how 5,000 men come together in a floating city. I can’t even imagine the pressure those kids face. I heard somewhere the averge age of a carrier crew is 19 years! Maybe Josh could enlist :-)

Josh, Josh, Josh… you get waaaay too excited about things that do’t really matter. But tell me, please: In your mind, Just what is navy life like? As a one-time Navy brat, I’d be very interested to learn what you think.

A little more, including additional articles linked at the bottom of the page:


This article from the same series features a photo of small arms practice on my dad’s old ship, the Indy:


Here’s another link with the various MOSs for the airedales:


Here’s a link with the colors defined:


If projecting 20th century naval sensibilities onto 23rd century space exploits enhances you guys enjoyment of the program, have at it.
I prefer the “Soviet utopian” ideal of the Federation myself but that’s neither here nor there.
Notice how “iffy” it became when they tried to incorporate a little capitalism into the program via Federation “credits?”
That notion was quickly abandoned.

I’m assuming the majority of us have western educations and sensibilities and it must be remembered that there is the taught disdain for anything resembling “Communism” from an early age.
When in reality, conceptually and theoretically, Communism is the ideal.
Only Communition in execution has failed, primarily because it was invariably mixed with Totalitarianism – One despot orchestrating government influence and control.
In Roddenberry’s fictitious future, gone are economic and social class distinction, poverty, resource wars, and those left behind by the machines of commerce.
Evidently free market trade exists even in Roddenberry’s future given the Cyrano Joneses and Fajo’s.
Roddenberry drove home the fact in the 23rd century people freely choose and select their professions and essentially no career is beyond the capacity of individuals.

It didn’t get iffy when they added in credits.

It’s just that credits are only necessary in any way for niceties. Things like one-of-a-kinds and works of art and real antiques, as well as stuff like power (which is extremely cheap by then after the discovery of dilithium reactions and so on).

Money is largely unnecessary for food and other normal day-to-day stuff because of replicators. It’s unnecessary for entertainment for anyone with a personal holodeck, and cheap for anyone with access to a non-personal one.

Think of stuff like food the way, to be quite frank, the way we think of music recordings nowadays.

If replicators were really invented, there’d be all sorts of organisations trying to ban them because hunger is profitable (well, it IS!) — if they were actually produced anyway, there’d be all sorts of chaos, and eventually Safeway would go out of business the same way Tower Records is doing right now.

Credits didn’t make anything iffy. They just serve a different purpose than our money does and are less important. In the federation, a person can live comfortably being broke his whole life… but you need credits to buy a tribble.

That was my point Dodger, they deliberately left it vague becaus they saw how limited the concept of wages would be.

How do we know food was free? It never explicably said one way or the other. Which was intentional.
Just because you dont insert a dollar into a vending machine to get your Saurian Brandy doesn’t mean the pay doesn’t come out of your weekly Starfleet allotment.