Abrams Still Not Sure If He Will Direct Star Trek XI

Paramount chief Brad Grey recently described JJ Abrams as a ‘triple threat’ because he can write, produce and direct. However so far it looks like Para is only getting a ‘double threat’ for the first project under his new multi-mil deal. Abrams is down as producer and (co)writer for Trek XI, but tells MTV that it is still ‘too early to make the call’ on directing. He also talked again how ‘cool’ Trek XI is going to be, saying…

we’re all ridiculously excited about it. It’s hard to talk about at this stage, because there’s so much still left to do, but I can say that the story is incredibly cool. To be honest with you, I haven’t been a follower of the more recent "Star Trek" films. I got to appreciate them and like them, but this is the movie I would be in line to see.

If not JJ, then who?
JJ Abrams is a very very busy man, with projects and deals with Disney, Warner and Paramount. It is easy to understand why he is non-committal, but if he doesn’t direct he will have to pick one pretty soon. One person that can be taken off fan’s shortlist is Bryan Singer who is now working on a sequel to Superman Returns that he promises will be the ‘Wrath of Khan’ of that franchise. And speaking of ST:TWOK, many fans may suggest Nick Meyer who is still only 60, but the onlything he has directed since Star Trek VI is a TV movie 7 years ago. ‘Star Trek First Contact’ director Jonathan Frakes (half jokingly) told Star Trek Magazine that he is available if needed, but from JJ’s comments above I am not sure he is going to be the first call. Many of the people who worked on M:I:III had worked with Abrams in the past on ‘Alias’ and ‘Lost’, so he may turn to one of his regular directors like Emmy nominee Jack Bender. So add ‘who should direct’ to ‘who should be the new Kirk and Spock’ on the list of speculative topics for Trekkies around the world.

Full Interview with Abrams at MTV 

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I really don’t care who directs…as long as it’s not William Shatner. Sorry, when it comes to Trek, Mr. Shatner belongs in FRONT of the camera.

(Ugh, bad memories from Star Trek V.)

Ok, i am going to add perspective here. People seem to paint an entire film with the suck brush, when in most cases it is only certain elements that actually sucked.

It kind of bothers me how many on here take ST:V, ST: TMP, and Generations and rip them apart on every category when only elements of the films are very bad. ST:V had a horrible story idea and extremely weak script, but honestly when u look at the directing, editing, and even acting at moments in the film. Generations can fall under the same category, the cinematography, editing and pacing, actually good TNG character moments at times and moments of acting are actually better than what people let on. What hurts generations is again, a poor plot concept with very weak/ hokey character moments that out shine the good.

TMP tends to be attacked because it is too slow, and pacing may have been an issue in the first cut but the later versions tend to buy very good. Not the best version of trek, but by no means is it not trek. I actually have grown to enjoy TMP the more i view it, especially over the later gimmicky TNG films. It is a nice change of pace in tone and feel from later entries in the franchise, and it seems that people just dont have the patience to sit for more than 2 minutes without something action packed happening. Life is not that way, and not every movie needs to be either. Besides, no seen in any film captures the feeling of Star Trek like the moment in TMP where Kirk first sees the refitted Enterprise. That reminds me everytime of what Trek is and what it means.

I would like to see Abrams direct, as I posted in the preceding story’s discussion, having seen his work on Mission: Impossible III.

One thing I always disliked about the TNG movies was that they felt like expensive TV movies and I think a lot of that had to do with 1) Berman’s producing duties and 2) the directors used. I suppose First Contact stood out because it was distinctly darker than any TNG episode, but the trite conclusion in Engineering (Data v. the Borg Queen) was a typical television episode ending. But then again, the Close Encounters rip-off ending did make things feel theatrical as a fitting coda.

But Abrams transcended television-style with his work on M:I-III. If he chooses someone else to serve as director, I would like someone with some film-centered experience. Well, now that I think of it, recent television shows play like 24-hour long movies (Lost, 24, Heroes, The Wire) maybe the line has been blurred. As long as Abrams keeps this from feeling like a t.v. episode, I think it will work out pretty good.

I’m hopeful about Abrams and Trek, even though I don’t buy into his current hype machine. A good half of what makes Lost work isn’t him, it’s the other guy who grounds it.

the last couple of seasons of Alias were a confused mess, and let’s face it, MI3 was really nothing but an Alias episode in disguise: Start with a cliffhanger – then reveal that it’s a flashforward to what is to come, then by the time you get there reveal that actually the situation wasn’t what you thought. That was Alias every week. If he intends to pull the same stunt with Trek I’ll be fast asleep.

However, his real strength is depth of character, and that’s what drives his work to such success. I certainly hope he brings his trademark theme of moral dilemma to the movie.

If it were up to me I’d give Shatner a shot. Star Trek V’s problems aren’t really due to direction but due to budget cuts, a flawed story concept (Shatner wanted Satan and Hell to physically exist, which is obviously not Roddenberry-esqe), and the fact that with all the huge effects films that came out in 1989 (Indiana Jones, Batman, Back to the Future II, Ghostbusters II), there were no first-rate special effects companies available.

Shatner’s story and production decisions weren’t all bad. He succeeded in reintroducing shuttlecraft substantially for the first time since TOS and in filming alien planets outdoors instead of a soundstage, again for the first time since TOS.

As far as actually directing the actors, Shatner did fine, and arguably the Kirk/Spock/McCoy scenes are the warmest of any of the TOS films. Personally I’d feel better about new actors taking the roles if they had the real deal guiding them through it.

Shatner suffered on STV:TFF because Paramount slashed his budget in half, the special FX turned out to be awful and he was forced to change his script because Paramount was afraid of offending the Protestant bible belt.

Roddenberry was against the film from the start, because he’d attempted to cover similar ground in The God Thing and been prevented from doing so and therefore didn’t want anyone else getting to make a film on the subject. Plus, he’d been booted off the film series, so was biased against anything post ST:TMP from the outset.

JM Dillard showed how good STV could have been in her novelisation. In fact the STII through STVI novelisations were brilliant!!

I’m still hoping that, when it comes to the HD STV:TFF release, Paramount might allow Shatner to sort the FX a bit. I mean, the controversial ST:TOS Remastered crowd are making better FX than there were in STV:TFF every week!

“many fans may suggest Nick Meyer who is still only 60, but the onlything he has directed since Star Trek VI is a TV movie 7 years ago.”

Exactly. Like many others associated with the Franchise, Meyer is considered a heavy hitter only in Trek fandom.

Dom: Good call on JM Dillard’s novelization of STV. I remember reading the book a couple of days before the movie came out and I was expecting the greatest Star Trek movie of all-time. It took me a few months to recover from my disappointment. But even now, years later, I can enjoy STV as a good character piece on the Big Three. But that book is one of the best Trek novels ever written.

That being said, don’t give this movie to Shatner (not a chance of it happening anyway), don’t give it to Nick Meyer (whom I love as a Trek director, but he’s done his work already). Give it to Abrams to direct, as he is young, inventive and extremely talented.

I wont jump on the trash Trek V bandwagon. I love the movie and think it is more like the original series than any of the other films. The characters are right and the story is, well, different, but very much in line with offerings of the TV series. I also rather enjoy Shatner’s technical skills…camera movements, composition and lighting choices…and the music was choice. FX do not a tv series make, nor do they a movie.
Having said that, I really would rather see someone like Abrahms give it a fresh new take. But if it has that hand held shaky camera crap…all the time, like MI3 employed, I’m gonna walk out. Different genre, so I really don’t expect it, but I really do hate that “style” of camera work.

I wish Harvey Bennett would come out of retirement and direct!
He was a great director and producer on Dynasty and T.J. Hooker~!

what do you think?

Trek V was one of the best episodes in any format. Coming from an education based on the Western canon, SFX have always been tertiary to my enjoyment of Star Trek anyway. Story first, acting second, everything else afterward.

Shakespeare, anyone? Scott’s Ivanhoe? Dostoyevsky’s Crime & Punishment? None of these require special effects of any great imagination but each one dealt with premises quite familiar to Star Trek. Shatner’s take on Lucifer as the Great Deceiver is appropos to the heritage, and frnakly it raised some fascinating questions about evil and its requirement for human accomplices to do anything. Reminds me of numerous Biblical injunctions (“Resist the devil and he will flee”) or as attributed to Burke, All that is necessary for the triumph of evil … is for good men to do nothing.

It is a terrible shame that so many fanboys do not seem to grasp these much more interesting and profound ideas, favoring instead silliness. Perhaps we are witnessing the Peter Principle at work!

I certainly hope this Abrams guy doesn’t fall into that trap…

All the directors above would have their strong points, but I wouldn’t endorse Mickey Friggin’ Mouse until I had an inkling of what the script was about. ‘Nuff said.

Anthony, if you have any clout with CBS, maybe you can lobby CBS Paramount to do use CBS Digital to work with Shatner and create the version of Final Frontier that he wanted. Why would any one buy the current one on HD DVD?

And I’d prefer an “Id” monster “Devil”, akin to Forbidden Planet than the “rock men”.

Just a wild and crazy thought, but while Bill’s still with us, why not?

Bryan Singer is directing the sequel to Superman Returns ,and He admits it will be “the Wrath of Kahn” of the Superman franchise?That’s like Robert wise saying “Star Trek :The Motion Picture”sucked.Don’t these Producers ever learn?They re hiring the same guy who sunk the return of the Superman franchise to do the sequel.The ticket buying traditional superman audience was so put off by Singer’s INTERPRETATION that they ,myself included,avoided that movie in droves.In the real world if you screw up you get fired and someone else cleans up your mess.Like Nick Meyer did.Want to kill Trek?Hire Bryan Singer to run a picture with limited appeal to an over-budgeted fiasco with even MORE limited appeal.

Ok, the same statement i made for St: V, TMP, and Generations i am now going to adhere to Superman Returns. Just because a film decides to take on telling a form of a story rather than all out action does not make it a poor movie by any means. If u look at Returns, the material is fairly faithful to the multiple incarnations of Superman. That (like ST: V; TMP and Generations) is not to say that Returns did not have its faults by any means. Namely in:

*Brandon Routh not reaching the range in emotions as Reeve did. It is not that Routh can not, it is more that he seemed still overwhelmed by the material and its following.

*The fluctuation in not making it clear just how the kryptonite actually affects Supes. The really missed the mark by not being consistent here.

*Luthor’s scheme being contrived and pointless. This should have been a revenge piece all the way with Luthor’s main focus on killing Superman and that be it.

*Lois hitting her head way so many times that a normal person would be………well dead.

*Lack of material early on in the film before Superman actually “returns” to make u reconnect with the character.

*and failing to incorporate into the story just how the world had actually moved on and how Supes needed to find a place for himself again. It seemed more like he should his face and everyone was willing to accept him back with open arms. It would have been better to have seen him having to fight for a purpose.

Even with those faults though, the film was still a good film. It simply needed to be tweaked. Besides JON, it is a poor arguement to use a film which u never actually saw as an example for your arguement……leave those types of things to the politicians and studio execs

ACB. My friends who saw it told me not to waste my time and the word of mouth,reviews etc confirmed it.A dud.

Yes, the problem with the TNG films is that they were glorified tv episodes. I agree with Mr. Cohen about First Contact… it was only those darker moments which set it apart from the other films. Apparently, the producers of the TNG films forgot, or never learned about, the matter of “high concept”. And with little or no character development, how could those films rise above the level of mediocrity? The producers knew the characters so well they never bothered to reveal anything about them. And when they tried (like having Picard learn about the loss of his family), it came across as contrived.

Yes, ST:V and TMP are better films than what some proclaim. While they were not “high impact” films (like TWOK or IV), they were MOVIES, not souped-up tv episodes. Remember Leonard Nimoy saying, “When we set out to make a feature we said ‘This is the movies… it’s gotta be big!” And if the TOS films did fail at times with high concept, they made up for it by making the most of the family of characters. ST:III is the best example of this, IMO.

Yes, William Shatner did an admirable job on V with what he was given from the snobbish Paramount. Shatner is a bright, talented guy who deserves every bit of attention he gets these days. I think he would be a great choice to direct, and with Abrams producing I’m sure Shatner would receive the proper amount of respect – and funding – from Paramount.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if William Shatner portrayed George Samuel Kirk, the original first officer of the Enterprise, as James T. Kirk’s father in STXI? Kirk would be close to his father and would on occasion consol with his father the Admiral (or retired)?

Spock as Sarek? I think it could happen.

How about this guy Neill Blomkamp that was going to direct the now sadly on hold “Halo”? This guy is an AMAZING talent, as anyone who has seen his shorts will testify.

Try to catch his “Alone in Joburg” mini movie and tell me you wouldn’t like to see some of that creativity in any proposed Star Trek reboot.

Studios should bite their hands off to get this guy onboard for a big screen opus.

That is my whole point JON. The issue with much of the general public is that when they see a film and then see a moment like the previous ones i had listed in my post, they go on to attribute those faults to the entire film, ala idealistic views of black and white. It is either this or that, it is either “unbelievable” or it is crap. NO in between, which is very unfair for many films out there. They never really look at films such as Returns and attempt try to figure out their actual issues with it. And the arguement can be made vice-versa with people whole accepting a film as great simply on the basis of some notions of feeling they need to (ie. Pirates of the Carribean 2).

The issue is that there is a very BIG difference between a film that is, as u put it, “a dud,” and one that is just good or decent but could have been great. Returns did have many moments that were actually quite good, and it had those moments that really needed the time to be thought through and readjusted. Those issues i presented before were moments in the film that were not impossiblities to fix, and are easily adjustable for the next film. Its all a matter of seeing the layerwork really of a piece and then saying honestly “ok, that actually is not bad but this is what can be done to make it better.” But like a said, there are alot of normal viewers who do not do this, perhaps because they dont have to creativity to see “other choices.”

And actually if u look at the reviews for the film, it is actually in the 75%-80% positive for Superman Returns. Dont believe me, check out rottentomatoes.com. Then if u look at the reviews that were negative, they say the same thing i do. They point out the moments that were very off for the film.

Star Trek needs a visionary to re-invigorate it.Not a producer who’s gonna hand it off to a director du jour .I don’t get why Abrams comes across as so willy nilly about such an important property.He could be the next George Lucas if he does this right (forget Rodenberry and Meyer comparisons).My point is this…Star Trek needs a one man ( a father-so to speak)to take his vision to the screen and make it work.That means,Abrams needs to be producer ,director and writer.Hiring a director means that director is going to be beholden to others expectations(producers,fans,canon,etc.) and creativity will suffer.