For Star Trek XI news, 2006 was both exciting and frustrating. In April and May we first learned about the project and got some public statements from producer JJ Abrams and his cohorts, then the cone of silence descended and it became almost impossible to learn anything about the film. This is actually quite normal for a film this far out. Paramount know that Trek is an important franchise and that there is really no upside to talking a lot about a film at this very early stage. For 2007, some of that will change…and it promises to be a big year for Trek XI. This article is to summarize where we are now (Much of the following has been reported before, but some is new)
First things first: Star Trek XI is set in the pre-TOS era and will feature Kirk and Spock
Although this does not seem like ‘news’, TrekMovie.com will no longer consider this to be ‘rumor’ or say this is ‘probably’ true. Although the studio has yet to say this officially, TrekMovie.com have spoken to enough sources to say that either everyone is being lied to…or we are going to see Kirk and Spock back in action in 2008.
Film Status…moving forward towards Winter 2008 (sorry not Summer anymore)
Star Trek XI continues to move forward and Paramount still continue to assume it will be in their 2008 lineup. However it appears that Abrams has got his way and the film will most likely end up closer to the end of the year, giving the team more time. Here is we have learned from our sources:
- First draft of script complete (weeks ago)
- Second draft in progress
- Development of budget to commence in January
- Film should receive greenlight (if script and budget are approved) by Feb (at which point pre-production begins)
- Shooting (production) scheduled to start in late Spring to run through the fall
- Post production should last around 1 year
- Release most likely in Fall/Winter 2008
Crew & Creative…little bit of ‘insider’ hiring, more soon
Due to the film still being in development, no real hiring has happened (except for Abrams and the writers who are part of the ‘development’ deal). However, some people are being ‘tapped’ to be part of the film (told to clear schedules, etc). This includes Abrams inner circle people (like Michael Giacchino as composer and Scott Chambliss as Production Designer) as well as others he worked with on M:I:III. It is worth noting that none of those being tapped are technically hired, because there is still no budget. The studio has brought in Stratton Leopold, a Paramount veteran who worked with Abrams on M:I:III. Leopold is an Exec. Producer and Unit Production Manager who will be handling the budget as well as much of the hiring of behind the scenes types. Once the film gets an approved budget and opens a production office, expect more announcements and leaks in February and March. It is possible at this time Abrams may start reaching out beyond ‘the circle of trust’. As for if Abrams will direct, this still will probably not be known until after the script and budget are approved.
Casting…we got nothing!
Last we heard Abrams has done some auditions already, but have heard nothing new since. Things are tight as a drum around this. On Shatner and Nimoy, all we know is that they have some kind of contract with Paramount for Trek XI related to promotion and/or consulting. We know that Shatner wants in and Nimoy is open to it. We know that various actors are interested (like Quinto, Grunberg, Weisman and others). And all that is known about Matt Damon as Kirk is that Abrams expressed interest once and that Damon is open to it if the script is good, but no contact has been made. Like with the crew, most real casting cannot truly start until there is a final script and budget (although the leads could be an exception to this). The announcement of the new Kirk and Spock will be a big event and Paramount want to be sure they control that. Due to concerns over leaks they will likely announce as soon as a decision is made.
Typical meeting on Star Trek at Paramount
Plot & Setting & Characters…is this movie ‘Kirk Begins’?
Like with casting, the story is something that is a very closely guarded secret. One could almost describe the level of secrecy at Paramount paranoid. The writers (Orci & Kurtzman) have been rather chatty on Transformers, but did get burned with an early script draft being leaked. A source at Paramount tells us not to expect the same level of openness on Star Trek XI (which is typical for how Paramount deal with Trek films). All that being said, TrekMovie has picked up pieces here and there, some of which are possibly conflicting. This may be due to bad information and/or out of date information due to changes between the story treatment and script drafts. Here is what we think we know. (unlike the pre-TOS setting and the inclusion of Kirk and Spock, everything that follows is considered rumor by TrekMovie.com…grains of salt please)
- Origin story focusing on Kirk (and his relationship with Spock)
- Story jumps around in time (perhaps a bit like Batman Begins)
- There will be scenes from various times and locations in Kirk’s life, possibly including
- Starfleet Academy
- USS Farragut (ship Kirk served on as Lieutenant)
- USS Enterprise
- There will be a number of familiar characters (beyond Kirk and Spock), possibly including:
- Captain Pike
- George Kirk (Kirk’s brother)
- Captain Garrovick (of USS Farragut)
- Dr Leonard McCoy
- Montgomery Scott
NOTE: the above lists of locations and characters is by no means complete and by no means concrete…there are sure to be tons more. Also some of these locations and characters may just appear briefly.
Things to look forward to in 2007
2007 is shaping up to be a huge year for Trek. Almost all the hiring will be done. The film will move from development, to pre-production, through the entire fim shoot, and begin pre-production. Also on the promotional side Paramount will probably start to do a few things
- Casting announcements (probably early 2007…this will probably be the first offiicial confirmation of the Kirk/Spock storyline)
- Film gets name
- Teaser Trailer
Thoughts: Cadet? Captain? Lieutenant?
Since the first leak in Variety one of the biggest questions around Trek XI is…where in Kirk’s life is it set. There is a lot of time before the Original Series caught up to him during his 5 year mission as Captain of the Enterprise. Much of the early speculation (sparked by Variety) was that the film would focus on Kirk’s Academy years. This site reported that the film would cover the other end of the spectrum…Kirk’s first mission as Captain of the Enteprise. Now we are hearing there are scenes at other times in his life, most interestingly as a Lieutenant on the USS Farragut. As we know the writers for Trek XI are steeped in Trek lore, and Trek history states that 7 years before Kirk was on the Enterprise he was a young officer on the USS Farragut. It was on this ship that Kirk met with a crisis and lost his captain and half his crew, and he also blamed himself for hesitating to fire phasers on a ‘vampire cloud creature’ that was attacking the ship. This was all covered in the episode ‘Obsession’, when Kirk as Captain of the Enterprise re-confronts the creature and goes a little nuts…or gets ‘obsessive’. This, probably more than the fabled ‘Kobyashi Maru Starfleet Academy scenario discussed in Star Trek II’, is a key moment in Kirk’s life. The big unknown is how much of the film covers these early times in Kirk’s life. It may be that it quickly goes over them and gets us to the Enterprise, or perhaps we can see Kirk’s journey. This is speculation now, but it would be interesting to see how James T. Kirk went from a young officer who lost his crew and blamed himself, to being the youngest captain in Starfleet…in 7 years. How did he pull that off? That sounds like an interesting movie.
So does the film get to the Enterprise early on…or does it show the journey to it (in the same way that Star Wars: Episode III showed how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader). Only time will tell, but rest assured TrekMovie.com will be looking out.
TrekMovie.com Info Section
Remember that TrekMovie.com has a complete Star Trek XI Info Section
you can always find updated info on the status, cast, crew, etc. This section will be regularly updated and expanded as the film progresses. This section also includes detailed FAQs, which are also updated.
As stated in our last Trek XI update…things change. This is a summary of what we think we know now. Nothing is really written in stone. Trek XI may never get a greenlight, or may never get made. Films further along that Trek XI (remember ‘Watchmen’) have run aground. And we fully admit we can be misinformed on some of the above details, it isn’t like Paramount are handing out press releases on Trek XI. Right now it seems like it is easier to get nuclear secrets thand get people to talk about Star Trek XI. Paramount would probably prefer everyone to just sit tight until the first teaser is released…but we just can’t do that. So we will remain vigilant, and remind you to be open minded.