Bennett May Contest Star Trek XI Script

Issue 4 of Titan’s Star Trek Magazine is a 100 page discussion primarily of the 10 Star Trek films. Each feature is discussed, including filmmaker interviews and trivia (such as how Harve Bennett hoped Ron Howard would direct Star Trek II). Bennett also discusses his views regarding Star Trek XI. It is well known that in 1989 Harve Bennet (along with writer  David Loughery) wrote a script called Star Trek The Academy Years which, like Star Trek XI, featured younger versions of Kirk and Spock. Bennett seems to feel that if Trek XI is truly an ‘academy movie’ he should be getting a call.

It’s a complicated issue for me….Right now, no one knows for sure what the next film is going to be. I thought it was interesting that the day after the story came out about them doing a Starfleet Academy movie, J.J. Abrams came out and said, ‘That’s not necessarily true.’  I am assuming that the current regime at Paramount didn’t realise that the studio had already bought that premise and someone went, ‘Hold on a minute!’

It’s possible they might do ‘young Kirk and Spock’ and, depending on what they do with it, it might be something I might not contest.  But if they ever decide to do a Starfleet Academy film, my feeling is that they better call us because that was our baby.

It is still unclear if there are any similiarities between the Trek XI script and Bennett’s or how much (if any) prominence Starfleet Academy has in the new script. Trek Today are reporting that as of last weekend, Bennett says he still has not been contacted by Paramount. Cases involving complaints and credit on scripts in Hollywood are not uncommon and generally are matters of arbitration for credit (and of course payments). Months ago when Trek XI co-writer Roberto Orci was asked about the Bennett script directly he said he had never seen any unproduced scripts at Paramount.

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Eh, for this to have any merit, I think there would have to be a bit more in common between the two scripts than just the “young Kirk, young Spock” aspect.

all i care about is how they deal with the fact that spock served on the Big E under Captain Pike 12 or 13 years PRIOR to serving with Kirk.

I suppose this does not preclude Kirk and Spock from meeting at The Academy, but it doesn’t mean they did. A Starfleet Academy storyline of Kirk and Spock is a bit of a stretch IMHO anyway. If you look at TOS, the Kirk/Spock/McCoy relationship developed during Kirk’s initial 5-year mission in the center seat of 1701. That relationship didn’t reach such completely obvious focus until II, III, IV, V and VI. It was always there for sure, but not so in-your-face until the theatrical storylines.

Interesting legal issues are raised here- let’s say Paramount bought the script from Bennett years ago. At this point, Bennett can only expect to be rewarded with screen credit, as he was already compensated for the writing duties performed. I’m guessing whatever contract he had to produce Star Trek movies has long since expired, so he has no claim to the property through that venue either. But Paramount owns Star Trek and probably Bennett’s Starfleet Academy script too. If the studio passed on the script and never paid Bennett for the work he did on that project… well that’s where things could get interesting.

Re: Anthony Pascale….

I told you so. I told you so. I told you so!

I feel so vindicated.

*sigh* I truly hope Abram’s project is NOT Starfleet Academy.

I have always LOATHED the idea of a Starfleet Academy film.


Forgot to say….if it IS Starfleet Academy, then that’s $8 or whatever they won’t be getting from me at the box office.

Terrible idea…terrible…


It only makes sense for Bennett to pursue this a bit. With screen credit would come some more money.

From what I remember of this atrocity, it was supposed to be an “academy years” script, but done horribly bad…like Kirk going up to an alien saying “gimme eight” (similar to a high five). I didn’t like the idea then because the premise sounded goofy. Now, if Abrams has a badass script and it gets shot down because of this, I’d be disappointed. I trust Abrams a billion times more than Bennet.

Yes, I’m sure money is (as always) at the heart of it. Not to take away anything from Harve Bennett… but, SHUT UP. Don’t even begin to suggest that ANY idea involving Starfleet Academy is “our baby.” YOU didn’t think it up. YOUR idea stalled. 1,534 talented chimps could bang out Starfleet Academy scripts. The point is, will this be any good? If you have something to add, be constructive in your offer.
Personally, I think an Academy scene would be fine, but I would rather the movie get away from there, since the age difference between the main characters makes it preposterous they were classmates.

One more bit to add, then I will SHUT UP. Starfleet Academy is mentioned many times in TOS. NEVER does Kirk say, “Hey Spock, remember OUR days back at the Academy?”

Why shouldn’t Bennett talk up his old script? I don’t think he has anything else going on these days does he?

It would be nice if JJ was to actually speak to H B , as for the scipt it seems logicial to me to have Spock and Kirk as friends at the Academy. This is because in they are obviously friends even in season one of TOS.

I read a review of Bennett’s script about a year ago, and it sounded no more then a book level story. It wasn’t epic at all and has Kirk and co. rescue some one we’ve never hearted of from some aliens nobody knows…
No wonder Paramount passed on it…

This’ll be sorted out in no time. If there is anything for Bennett to contest, it’ll be quietly sorted out. Possibly he’ll get some sort of credit or a bit of money skimmed off the budget. No biggie.

After all, Bennett, as producer, saved Star Trek. Without him, we might not have had any Star Trek films beyond number two or any further TV shows.

Personally, I think Paramount should have persuaded Bennett and Meyer to produce Starfleet Academy as a TV show, rather than hiring back Roddenberry to make TNG!

Sure, that would have been a great way for the studio to have taken a huge financial bath.

RE: 4


…kudo’s to Harve Bennet…the guy who saved Star Trek with producing The Wrath of Khan and the entire franchise…

His words carry more weight than most others and he deserves our respect and gratitude!


Bennets’ idea sucked….had it been made there’d be no Trek V (yeah yeah yeah im sure many of you like that prospect but i liked V) and no Trek VI. It would have presumably retired the TOS cast in favor of their younger versions (come on lets be real here its hollywood they try and redo everything geared to youth). Maybe J.J’s academy will suck too, honestly im not too thrilled about an academy film, but if Bennet did it it would have looked cheap as hell, thats for sure because that was the whole motivation–to make it cheap- dump the expensive cast and make it cheap. (excluding the Kirk Spock cameos of course)

Since Harve Bennett is basically responsible for there actually being a Star Trek movie franchise, I think some of you guys should shut up and give him some respect. J.J. Abrams has done nothing for Star Trek yet. Up until this week we weren’t even certain he was going to direct the movie.

If any of guys know your trek movie history, you’ll remember that Harve Bennett was given the chance to produce the Academy idea once he had completed Star Trek VI. And if Paramount decided not to make the Academy movie, Bennett still would have been paid. So the man at least has integrity.

I can understand where he is coming from. A lot of work was done on Starfeet Academy in the hope of making it a movie, with the ST:TUC DVD showcasing some of the preproduction designs. So two decades after his project was aborted and he keeps hearing that a similar movie might be made, I would be probably be asking the same questions.

In many respects, Harve Bennett’s desire to make the Academy movie was to use it to relaunch the movie series and reinvigorate it, while still retaining the old crew. Abram’s might be wise to follow Bennett’s lead.

I guess we know what the premise of the film will truely be now

Harve Bennett + Star Trek II + Six Million Dollar Man = Magic !!!

I can’t remember if I read it here, but isn’t Abrams’ idea more or less a “Citizen Kirk” story, jumping to various points in his life to cover the formative events of the man who would become the Captain of the Enterprise? So, what I’m saying is there may be some element of Kirk’s Academy years in the new movie, but it may not be the focus. I’m strictly talking about Trek XI’s plot and in no way am I implying anything with respect to Harve Bennett, an angel who *helped* save Star Trek (Nick Meyer, Leonard Nimoy, and yes William Shatner, the “actor” of couse, all contributed in solidifying the film franchise too).

heh, heh

classic example of a burned out hack trying to hold on..tell him to get the six million dollar man in devlopment! and shut the fU*K up. this guy always took way to much credit for ’80’s trek sucess..that why nimoy basically booted him off IV.he’s another rick berman a disgruntled hack!

#22 – Mr. Reviewer Science Officer Adam

Right on!! Finally just because the term Starfleet Academy has been thrown around everyone in the genre universe assumes the whole movie will be some lame Dawson’s Creek, MTVish, teenxploitation flick. Who knows there might be a couple of flashbacks to the academy days in order to spice up the story ala Lost (remember who is writing and producing this and how fond they are of flashbacks to establish the story and the character) I am sure this won’t be Star Trek the Towel Snapping Abercrombie and Fitch dorm years.

Hi Adam.

The reason I give Bennett so much credit is that he oversaw the whole ‘Life and Death’ trilogy of films in the TOS series. As producer, he held the purse strings, mediated between his directors and the studio.

Not forgetting Bennett actually co-wrote Star Trek IV, along with Nicholas Meyer (Meerson and Krikes only get credited owing to a dispute involving the writers guild, much as Konner and Rosenthal do in STVI!)

Bennett’s the guy that was approached by Bludhorn after TMP. Bennett’s the guy who dealt with much of the hiring and firing for STII and beyond. Bennett, IIRC, chose to hire Nicholas Meyer, for that matter!

It’s very easy in our culture to get caught up in the whole ‘director as auteur’ thing. Most films are collaborative efforts with many directors getting way more credit than they deserve (although Meyer proved to be an brilliant script rewriter as well as director!)

Hell, I know that, as an editor, sometimes you have to cut something completely differently from how the director intended to get a good result!

Also, Bennett walked away from regular Trek after STIV. Shatner had to beg him to come back to work on STV. It’s a shame really, because had Bennett stayed away, he’d have overseen some of Trek’s greatest moments and not been known for producing a flop (or rather a badly-compromised, cheap-looking film loaded with what appeared to be incomplete FX and sets!)

Say what you like about Bennett and Starfleet Academy, Bennett was always thinking about Trek’s future. He very sensibly oversaw the add-ons to STII, improving the ending and leaving the door open for Leonard Nimoy to return.

The story of the younger trio was intended to give Trek a life well into the next decade. If Ethan Hawke had played Kirk, aged 18, in 1988, as intended, we’d probably be looking at a film dealing with the end of the five-year mission by now and discussing how they’d handle the transition to the era of TMP! As for the TV series/film continuity inconsistencies, they’d probably have been ironed out, had the film progressed farther.

Bennett has every right to want to keep an eye on this film. His Star Trek prequel was very important to him and who wants to take the shit he did for his idea only to see something similar turn up 20 years later?!

First off, I can’t imagine that Harve will have much of a case, unless we are talking at word for word rewrite, and I hardly imagine that were are talking the levels of “Clonus vs The Island” ( only mention it cos I just had a MST3K weekend ). Harve doesn’t own the academy idea any more than George Lucas owns anything with a space battle in it.


It’s not about owning the concept. It’s about credits for development work and script work. There are very strict rules surrounding these things.

The reason the Salkinds reshot so much of Superman II, for example, was in order to get to 51 per cent of used material shot by Richard Lester, allowing him sole director’s credit!

It’s legal stuff more than anything else, worth reporting for interest value, but nothing odd. Bennett’s hardly storming the set with a machete threatening to cut JJ’s throat unless he gives him control of STXI!

Hi Dom,

Oh, Bennett deserves his due, I agree. He and Bludhorn made the pact to revive Star Trek and they managed it with excellent results. And its kind of interesting to note that Bennett’s career up until that point consisted of mostly TELEVISION success, something akin to J.J. Abrams’ situation with Star Trek. Like I said to you in the other discussion today, Star Trek is at its heart a TV show. Bennett had the right mentality and he did his homework, that’s for certain. I have a great amount of respect for the man’s contribution to the franchise, but like a good producer, he got the best work out of those around him- writers, actors and directors (all of whome deserve credit for their work as well). And the movie-going climate at the time was very favorable for a multi-picture franchise.

I’m also glad you mentioned Bludhorn- what an eccentric, yet essential character in Star Trek’s history. He was the catalyst for a lot of great things.

Since Harve thinks its his baby then maybe he should do a starfleet nursery show for saturday morning tv. Otherwise he can just return to the starfleet old farts home with Shatner.

Oh, just give Bennett a screen cred, a little wampum for his angst, quit bitchin’, and In Abrams We Trust. Unless he eff’s it up – then I never typed that. LOL :-)

Unbelievable how the most minute morsels of information or statements can induce frenzy in certain individuals. I never cease to be amazed.
Pro-Bennetts and Anti-Bennetts to arms!! He *might* or *might not* do something if such-and-such happens or doesn’t happen. wow

I think what has really been forgotten is that Harve Bennett is not claiming the Academy idea as just his own. However, he does state the fact that Paramount already purchased his idea. And I am not certain, but I guess should the proposed film be similar in some respect, he has every right to seek credit for something the company has already paid for.

And I think the fact that the Harve Bennett Academy film is essentially well know to fans, and should be to anyone who does an ounce of research on the movies. So if J.J. and his friends are even half the so-called Trek fans they proclaim to be, they have heard of his idea in some form.

Harve Bennett should be brought in on this if only to be a consultant or advisor for this film. After all….look what he did for Star Trek II! Who can
argue with that kind of success? I’m 110% certain that any half-baked
idea that Mr. Abrams may have could only be much better under the eye
and fatherly direction of Mr. Bennett. Otherwise it would be like taking a bucket of Ice-Cream out in the HOT sun….Mr. Bennett would say..Cool down!

Heh, yeah, why all the ruckuss? Come on, nothing is goning to come of this~ LOL!

So should Nick Meyer get a credit for Nemisis since it’s nearly the same concept as TWOK? If the new script involves different timeframes etc I can hardly see how the use of the Academy is a basis for a rip off of Bennetts script.

Either way, I agree that he’s not really complaining about anything that much, and I’m sure he doesn’t really care that much

Has anyone even read Harves Starfleet Academy script. Ive read detailed synopsis and some dialogue and it seemed spot on to me. Personally I wish they would still make it.

#1-#37 Stop Crying…

Until a real ST:XI script is seen, this is all just a bunch of fanboys guessing. Bennett’s done nothing wrong to Trek and in fact helped save it. He’s just making a comment based on the same info we see from the media.
He did some script and pre-production work and wants to be paid if his work is used. I’d do the same.

#33 reptile… agreed

Bennett may have done ST:II+III, but if he’s looking for credit now on a twenty year old idea, tell him to blow it out his ass!

Have I said I loathe the concept of a Starfleet Academy film today? :-)

Re: 16

I was referring to my previous comment here, that you swiftly poo pooed.

#32. Stanky McFibberich

Wow… indeed.

#38. Orbitalic

Here, here and bingo.

Harve had a good point. I always hated his Academy idea and I don’t like the concept driving XI, but Harve does have a point. This is documented in some of the Trek movie DVDs and other places as well. It also was not a secret he wanted to do an Academy movie prequel.

The Starfleet Academy bit is just a rumor, denied time and again by
MR ABRAMS; it seems to me to be a young Kirk and Spock story. Kirk and Spock NEVER met at the Academy; was Spock even AT Starfleet Academy? Wasn’t he depicted as training at the Vulcan Science Academy
in TAS? Why is MR BENNETT snarking and panicking over a false rumor?