Brent Spiner (TNG: Data) is already on record as being against the prequel concept for Star Trek XI and now he is also questioning the ability for Trek to again break out to the mainstream. In an interview with FilmFocusUK, Spiner jabs at JJ Abrams and Paramount saying that they spent too much money on Mission Impossible III. He then questions whether they will do the same on Trek XI
And that’s the big fear with this Star Trek movie because this new regime at Paramount; I don’t know that they understand the franchise. Maybe [Abrams] will be able to do it, maybe he’ll be able to bridge the gap between the fans and the general public, but everyone’s tried to do that – that’s always been the intention – and they’ve never been able to do it. They’ve realised that if you spend any more than fifty million dollars on one of these movies you’re going to lose money. There are only so many fans that are going to go. If they come along and make an one-hundred and fifty million dollar movie they’re going to have problems. But I think he could be the guy to do it. He’s a perfectly capable guy and his shows are fun and he seems to know what he’s doing.
Even though he questions the films premise, its creators and the executives supporting it, Spiner is still open to playing a part…any part.
FilmFocus: Would you like to be involved in more Star Trek? I know Data had something of a goodbye in the last movie.
Brent Spiner: Well I wouldn’t necessarily have to play Data… I could play Worf! *laughs* I could play Counsellor Troi! I’d be happy to be in more Star Trek but I don’t think I could play Data again because I think I might look a bit ridiculous.
Spiner co-wrote the story on the last film, Star Trek Nemesis and it understandable why he has doubts. That film clearly couldn’t not break into the mainstream, however that does not mean it is not possible.
For the record, Nemesis cost Paramount a bit less than half of what M:I:III cost them, but M:I:III made 6 times as much. M:I:III is the 7th highest grossing film of 2006, outgrossing many films that cost much more (like Superman Returns). Any problems that Paramount has with making a profit off the last Mission is entirely due to Tom Cruise’s double wammy of a ridiculously lucrative contract combined with being a drag on domestic sales due to his behaviour. Paramount certainly saw this because after the film returns came in they signed Abrams to a multi-year deal and fired Cruise.
See the full interview at FilmFocus