Kurtzman Sees Parallels Between New ‘Star Trek’ and Wrath of Khan

Adam Wills of the Jewish Journal recently interviewed Star Trek 2008 writer Alex Kurtzman and has put up part an interesting Star Trek tidbit from that interview on their GeekHeeb Blog. Kurtzman says that for their new Star Trek  they drew inspiration and hoped to replicate the experience the classic Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

For the “Trek” script a lot of it was what “Trek” meant to us as kids. We’ve been enormous fans of “Trek” since we were little kids. And what it felt like to be in the theater and watch “Wrath of Khan” for the first time was what we wanted people to experience … [want to recapture] that kind of an emotional ride. An incredibly great bad guy against an incredibly high-stakes story that’s just emotional. “Trek” for us is about family and friendship.

A bad guy and maybe Carol Marcus?
This is the first time we have had any reference to the film’s villain. Kurtzman seems to confirm that it will be a ‘bad guy’ like Khan so it looks like it won’t be an ‘entity’ like we have had in some other Trek films. That is probably a good thing since it is a lot easier to have good character drama with a person instead of a ‘probe’ of some sort. Kurtzman wouldn’t specifically answer a question on if the film was a ‘reboot’ or not, but when asked if the Trek II parallels may mean that Carol Marcus might show up he didn’t deny it and just said "you’ll have to see." 

Adam was kind enough to send over the audio, so take a listen and see if you think he is hinting that Marcus may show up:


Full Transcript at GeekHeeb.


More from the writers:

Of course there are even more interviews with the Trek writers out there today. Nothing major but here a couple of highlights



  • reboot is in the ‘eye of the beholder’
  • considered many actors for the roles
  • hope to have actor announcement at comic-con
  • script reflects current issues, Orci "I don’t know how you do Star Trek without it somehow reflect the society you are living in"

Super Hero Hype


  • Originally approached to do Trek a year before ‘it went down’ (presumably 2005)
  • Been ‘doing homework all their lives’ for Star Trek
  • Between 5 producers (Abrams, Orci, Lindelof, Kurtzman, Burk) they ‘probably did watch everything [in trek] again’ to prepare
  • Have researcher ‘on call’ for Trek facts

NOTE: when I talked to Orci and Kurtzman last week they said that they use the Okuda Trek books and Memory Alpha regularly for their research.

My thoughts
I like the notion of trying to recapture the spirit and adventure and experience of Star Trek II. I think the team really want Trek to do for kids today what it did for them (and many of us) when we were kids. I think the inclusion of Carol Marcus is interesting. She was a very strong female character and we know that these writers (of Alias and MI3) like strong female characters. Even if Marcus is not in the film I do expect there to be some love connection. Regarding the villain I think this again is a smart move. General audiences will probably like a bad guy and not a nebulous entity. From what I know about these guys I think the comments about a ‘ high-stakes story’ are quite possibly to to do with personal high stakes for the characters and not just a ‘save the world’ kind of thing. Getting back to Star Trek II I do not read the above to imagine they are ‘copying’ STII (like Nemesis did in a way), but trying to recreate experience, the event of STII and what it did for the franchise…and that is a good thing.    


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Holy crap, Memory-Alpha is being used as canon. That’s pretty darn impressive.

Like I said earlier, every news article gets me more pumped!



First! Does anyone else think Nimoy may play Sarek?


It’s great news that there’s a villain. I am actively trying not to read too much into “incredibly high-stakes story.” Please, no Galaxy in peril stories. Let’s focus on characters in peril. “family and freindship” is an encouraging phrase. As for Carol Marcus, Bebe was a MILF. Young Bebe-esque would be babe-a-licious. And maybe mini and go-go boots??? Can’t wait.

brady — if you just hadn’t wasted time on that last T, you really would have been first. so sad.


Excellent, we’ll have good drama at the core. I LIKE that !!!

Anthony, I apologize if this is off-subject, do you know if there is any more news about Paramount looking to do straight to video stuff?

I hear Anthony’s posting a 50,000 quatloo prize for the FIRST poster on the next thread.
Anthony, you could create a sub-thread and dump all the “Firsters” and politicos into it. Not deleted, just sorted. Just a thought. Although the threads in here are much livelier than GeekMonthly.com (which I like, BTW, it just needs to get more rabid fans like this site.)

This could mean an appearance by Gary Mitchell. After all, it was he who set up Kirk with the “little blonde lab tech” that Kirk almost married.


Great point Tim.

Leonard Nimoy as Future Guy perhaps? Im Gavin Harris.

Cool. You do search other sites for Trek XI articles. I can just come to this one site for all my Trek XI and hopefully new series info. One thing I’m not sure about. Wasn’t Nemesis an attempt to be like Trek II and that failed. I hope that is nothing to worry about with Trek XI?

This has to be taken as good news. I like everything I hear so far from these guys. Let the nay-sayers say their nay, but I think we could be in for something really special when all is said and done.

I’m Fred Garvin, male prostitute.

I wonder if they mean they all watched everything Trek. I can’t believe I did and that took years. They’d go blind halfway through Voyager if they did it all at once. I’m neutral on a black hat heavy but it’s way too early to judge this thing.
Might work and with Star Trek any outcome from a new movie series to a TV show of TOS is possible.


This is the first news about the new production that disappoints me a little bit. Main reason: the need for a “bad guy,” even if he is “incredibly great.” Yes, Khan was a great villain. But the over-emphasis on “villains” in the TOS movies gets pretty tiresome, namely because “villains” were never the big focus on TOS as a series. Yes, you had some great ones, but a lot of the best stories didn’t have them. Can’t we do a great adventure story about exploration without having some guy to cross swords with and kill at the end? Unnecessary and, after a while, boring. ESPECIALLY if they insist on using TWOK as a template. TWOK was good, but please, there’s more to Trek than that.

I’m still looking forward to hearing more, but this news makes me a little bit sad.

If they capture the feeling of Wrath of Khan…..thats fine….but if they copy the plot thats a whole different story.

They tried that with Star Trek Nemesis and it sucked. Seriously, bad guy had a past with the captain, bad guy wants to blow up planets, massive space battle in a nebula…….

I hope by describing TWOK as a template they are refering to Nicholas Meyer’s emphasis on Trek as plain having fun, exploring the human condition, action/adventure “Wagon Train to the Stars” / “Horatio Hornblower in space” with some big themes in the background (i.e. Genesis, revenge, etc) thrown into the background as opposed to the Nemesis “let’s try to duplicate the plot” effort and in vast contrast to the TNG/Berman Trek exploration of utopianism.

Ironically Nemesis I felt didn’t work because it was totally out of step with TNG – I think Kirk and company would have been more comfortable in a Romulan civil war story.

Carol Marcus was a babe IMHO – smart, sexy and stubborn, totally bring her back. Hell, get Bibi’s daughter to play her, she’s a hottie in her own right (she was in Broken Arrow, right?).

There is no way that I won’t be in line to see this movie on its Opening Day.
Every little interview gets me more excited by the second.

Jessica Simpson as Carol Marcus!!

You do know I am joking.

Jessica Simpson as Janice Rand!!

Whatever, just get Jessica Simpson in a mini skirt. And don’t let her talk. Just have her test a sonic shower.
Signing off from fantasy land.

I remember reading a comic book back in the 90’s about Kirk, Carol Marcus, and Gary Mitchell at the academy. In it, they showed the famous “reprogramming of the Kobayashi Maru.” Maybe the test will show up somewhere? Just wild speculation.

There is the sense in TWOK that Dr. Marcus has met Spock before she beams up to the Enterprise. Maybe this’ll be the backstory to the Carol, Kirk, and David plot?

I agree with Cranston, having too much emphasis on a “bad guy” is not what worked best for Trek. Obviously a story needs an antagonist, but hopefully not the “arch-villian” variety. Khan worked well, especially for Trek fans, because of his inherent history and a degree of pathos.

I certainly don’t want to see it swing into the “mysterious unknown force” camp either, just give me a conflict that has as much human drama as shoot-em-up and we’ll be in bidness.

Yeah, that DC comic book was great however completely set at the Academy. That being said I’m hoping we can get Axanar, Kirk,Carol and Mitchell on a deep space mission so we get some exploration thrown into it.

Hell, steal the FASA Axanar plot; perhaps the Klingons are working with some traitors/nationalists within to destabilize the world, steal some new advanced technology and the Federation itself and some Academy mission or young grads get caught in the middle.

Its good to know that the producers are and will be well versed in all aspects of what was Star Trek. I can’t recall…(not that it matters much) but what recent producer (the last one?) had no clue to what Star Trek was about?
The next film can’t help but be heads and tails above (much better) then perhaps all others – maybe even the Wrath Of Khan. Lets all hope that they combine the best of the 2nd film with the better qualities of the 7th film – First Contact. I hope no matter what they decide to allocate in $$ for this film that they put equal time into the story. Just as a side-note….I wonder how much time they put into Star Wars from start to finish? Does anyone know?
Wasn’t it about 2 1/2 to to 2 years or something like that? Have a nice weekend.

Does every movie have to try to recapture TWOK? Does a trek movie even need a super villain? I’d love to see something that broke all these molds. Something really new. I just hope they aren’t saving the Earth *again*.

I agree,
I just hope the movie has a sense of grandness, a sense of being in space and traveling far across the galaxy….like the feeling you get when you watch the original movies, 2001, and movies of that caliber.

#18 and #26, word. I personally had a great time watching TWOK, but don’t understand why anyone who’s gotten the keys to this franchise should automatically assume it’s the gold standard to shoot for. Of the original 79 episodes produced, I’d venture that at least twenty or so were at least as captivating and entertaining, as full of fun and adventure and a sense of wonder. . . and a number of those didn’t need a scenery-chewing bad guy to pull it off.

I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in mind, regardless. . . but I’m starting to hear my Hollywood Bullshit Detector’s warning buzzer go off.

I would agree with #18 to some degree. Frankly an over the top villain is what hurt allot of films and I would agree its tiresome. Much like Earth being attacked in every other Star Trek film.Gimme a break.
For Trek Films though its gotten alot worse. They are drawn like over the top James Bond Villians…Star Trek 2 is great originally by itself but trying to copy the depth of that film is just lazy. One copy of a film was enough and it wasn’t a good one..

#15 THX-1138

OMG…. I am still rolling, Mr. Garvin.


kirk said that the last time he saw david was when he was 5. Could this story be THAT far back? if so, would this be Kirk’s first REAL “adventure”? And if so, would it likely not (or VERY little) involve Spock?

#31 I agree.

Again, I am reminded of what John Logan said during production of Nemesis — references to The Wrath of Khan, family…being a fan…I am getting bigtime deja vu.

BUT: Having said that, I HOPE this team can pull it off…otherwise, next team that comes along and mentions Wrath of Khan and “family” again is just going to have ZERO credibility with me. And what’s with this “family” stuff anyway…if one wants to get back to the essence of TOS, then we would need to get back to high-concept storytelling (more like Doomsday Machine or, hell, even TMP) that DEMAND strong character interactions rising from the STORY. I don’t really wnat to watch The Waltons in space.

Star Trek V was all about “Family” and look at the crapfest that turned out to be! Same for Nemesis….did anyone really care about the characters in either case? I’d say not…and for me, personally, I didn’t care because I didn’t buy into the story premises.

In both cases, it was crap.

Anyway, I am more a fan of the EXPLORATION stories…which the Trek films after TMP got away from, sadly. I enjoy Treks II-IV and then VI, but the one thing I never cared for about these films is they aren’t exactly high-drawer sci-fi. Wrath of Khan worked as well as it did, in part, because they had Space Seed as a base to build it off off. Khan had a history! We KNEW he was a badass at the mention of his name. Plus, we knew he had cause to have a grudge against Kirk.

Any writer-fabrication for the the sole purpose of this film isn’t going to work. There’s no vested interest. On the other hand, if this is about Kirk’s first encounter with the vampire cloud, then THAT could resonate…again, history….vested interest…


CmdrR I see your 50,000 quatloos and raise you 30,000 more that Beyonce gets mentioned for Kirk’s love interest. Seems every genre film has Beyonce rumors why not start ours…

Anthony, As far as the whole first thing goes (which originated over at Aintitcool.com) Take it as a compliment. It means that your site and Original Star Trek is getting so hot casual fans are getting on board. You know the Aintitcool genre fanboys that Paramount is shooting for with this film.

I’ll see the movie in theaters no matter what – probably twice or three times – but honestly, I’d prefer Star Trek XI not being villain-oriented. That was one of the main things that ruined Nemesis for me, and it’s the reason The Wrath of Khan is not among my favorites.

Villain oriented brings back images of Flash Gordon’s evil Ming for me. It might as well be set in the Stone Age, the characters dressed in furs and throwing rocks at each other, with everyone motivated by a primal sense of honor and driven by raw bloodlust.

To my mind, Science Fiction generally excels when our more modern and elevated sensibilities are brought out – no villains or heroes, but anti-heroes and anti-villains, not black and white, but gray.

Ultimately, if the villain is the object of the film, then the *science* in Science Fiction gets sidelined.

(Note: Not to suggest that Flash Gordon had anything to do with the Stone Age. My apologies for the poor writing there. I just mean that Flash Gordon and the 1930s and 1940s serials in general were “Science Fiction” only incidentally, insofar as there were space ships and death rays, but not at their core. Star Trek, on the other hand, shines when it portrays humankind facing and coping with the future and its problems.)

I’m getting a bad feeling about this. So far we’ve heard the “using TWOK as our template” cliche, the “themes of family” cliche, and the “it’ll be a movie both Trek fans and the masses can enjoy” bit, all of which being the exact same hype we heard ahead of time about Nemesis. Now I didn’t hate Nemesis as much as many people here but it certainly was not a successful movie in box office terms. If this one craps out it’ll be a *long* time before we see another Trek movie.

Along with the TWOK template I hope they also jettison the Klingons, as well as the hoary “you’re the only ship in range to save Earth” cliche. High-concept sci-fi is the way to go with this one.

One word.


If they couldn’t replicate the greatness of Khan with an established cast then they havn’t a hope in hell of doing it with new people.


yes i agree with what alot of people are saying , does it always have to be one guy who is evil ! ( i mean nemesis. i looking forward to seeing the romulans , but no , instead i get one guy who is pissed off , and what more he is human , and please no more , lets destory the federation by attacking earth !!! , jesus are we the only planet , and if they do attack , can they please take more then one bloody ship, its o.k. if your the borg and your uber hard , or even if your looking for whales or your creator , but by the time it got to a big ship with a new weapon that can destory the hole planet ( nemesis) its like watching a star wars , they might as well call it the death star. so from now on if you want to attack the federation and starfleet and your not one of the above you better have a large fleet or a really well thought out plan .

and i do hope they put money on sets and speical effects as well , as a good script , but please people dont forget make up ! can we have some aliens at starfleet , i know the enterprise was built in the sol sector , but there has to be some aliens on it ! ( all else the klingons well make fun of us again )

and agreeing with people above , it should not always be the enterprise doing all the work ( only ship in range stuff) , i would like to get a feel of the federation and starfleet actually being this hugh organization that it is)

thats my all rant lol.

I would just like to confirm here for everyone a rumour that has been going around about this… It is, in fact, spelled c-o-n-f-i-r-m, not conform.

And… Yay!

I gotta chime in here.
If this movie has the scope and vision of “Batman Begins” and is a pre-prequel to TWOK, I’ll be the first dude in line.

This is an opportunity to show the latent family bonds between the characters in TWOK and enhance our appreciation for TWOK. But, it would have to be visceral enough for todays audience to be blown away by it and contain enough trek elements of the original to keep the old school fans in the seats.

That is *if* it involved Carol Marcus and that whole early Kirk scenario.

I agree #34. Lou. If they are doing a welcome home to the trekkies and trekkers, then this might be it. What better way than have Kirk holding his 5 year old child. Hmm.. thats why I have stayed away. I want to be suprised. Knowing the plot ruins it.

Unfortunately, so much time has passed I wonder if anyone would get the ties to TWOK. Sure, Trek fans would…I would…but what about that “new audience” they are supposedly trying to get?

I am not sure the tie-ins to TWOK would work with them.

With regard to this new film, I am cautiously optimistic but for me it’s going to all hinge on the premise and the story…if those suck again (as they did in Star Trek V, Generations, Insurrection and Nemesis), then they will have lost me — and I would venture to say a good chunk of the audience as well.

What is needed is something that evokes a sense of wonder (and not “I wonder why I wasted good money and two hours to sit through this?”) and is fun at the same time. In early interviews with JJ, he mentioned The Twilight Zone as an inspiration. Well, JJ, let’s SEE a story that Serling would be proud of! Let’s see something on the level of the first Planet of the Apes (the original script written by Serling) for example…

Let’s see some solid science fiction, that is at the same time fun to watch and with those characters we all know and love at their best renditions.

They should just write the movie looking to TOS and “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and ignore anthing that came after TOS. IF they want to come home to the basics of how Trek started out and tease with the prospects of returning to the TOS era or near pre-TOS era, all this talk about trying to emulate success from the Trek movies is sending the wrong signal and needs to be jettisoned. Loose the Carol Marcus thing as well since she is a construct that is a product f ST II from someone else who wasn’t writing TOS. Keep all other later Trek out of this so as to NOT POLLUTE IT. Alot of this recent talk is not sending me any encouraging signs, and jsut confrims my suspicions that this film will repeat the hype and tease and not deliver as advertised. The franchise has a history of looking what has been established and then instead of taking the next progressive step withthe Trek universe and instead making a radical trun just so to keep everyone “guessing”. If all of the hype has been deliberately teasing with a TOS film, and then swerves into instead into something that more emulates the post – TOS Trek movies…then count me out of expecting to go pay to see this. ( I feel like my chain has been yanked as a cruel tease…..) Pure to TOS indistinguishable from TOS canon, in writing and universe….or I’m out! Period! No games please. I have no desire to waste my time being led to believe this film to be something that it ultimately will not be. The franchise has too much of an established history doing this in the past like when it made efforts to allay fears when TNG began airing. That is why I turned my back on Trek many years ago. For once I would like the end product to live upto the hype coming out of the gate. It really tested my patience for over 2 years before TNG really showed some semblance of getting “really good”. Not trying to be a spoiler. I like rooting for and pointing to really cool stuff, and wonder why anyone doesn’t make it anymore and wonder why people avoid any suggestions to do so like the plague or asking the impossible. Try not to pollute the TOS timeframe with other later Trek related stuff, and I seriously believe that you will have a bigger draw in ticket buyers. Anytime Tos is waved in front for all to see in recent Trek productions like “Tribbles and Tribulations”, “Relics”, the talk is of a ratings boost. Is not why this is understood? Why keep toying with it ,and be brave and make a committed leap of faith knowing if TOS era Trek is resumed that it will have a stronger attraction for those who grew up with it and identify with it. Especially for those who normally woundn’t identify themselves normally as”Trek Fans”. TOS has been engrained in the culture over the past 40 years, and makes an easier connection cause more people recognize it and it is easier to digest and understand for non-fan who grew up with it in constant re-runs. You couldn’t claim that 40 years ago prior to TOS since it was all new and had it’s narrow market. But it’s propsects to those who grew up with it even in background I think are more primed to watch it than those who were not origionally part of TOS’s target audience. After the cancellation of Enterprise and the lower ratings, what have you got to loose? When you hit bottom, anything above that is an improvement if it has a bigger draw in ticket sales and in later sereis ratings if this property ever sees a TV series. And I bet that if it was done to resume the TOS timeline even if it was a different ship or crew, that it would have a strong draw atthe box office and strong early draw in ratings if this new movie became the platform for a new sereie based off of it. What have you got to loose? Either you trust in the appeal of Roddenbury’s work guiding and developing TOS, and bank on it’s draw as interesting material despite TOS itself being ran into the ground in countless re-runs…..or you don’t. Do new material that weaves to blend into TOS in a way that is indistinguishable fromTOS that offers a continuation of what all was going on in TOS, and I’ll bet you could justify the effrot and expense. After all the production design in the look and costumes was paid for 40 years ago, and effects technology is dirt cheap now with CGI. So all you… Read more »

This thread is one excellent reason why I think the directors and writers of any Star Trek production should not be interviewed. Every fanboy and girl reads what they want or fears most into the words from their mouths and the rumors start to fly.

EGADS!!!!! Carol Marcus as “babe” and “MILF”????? Saltpeter could do no better.

So long as we’re in to retro for Star Trek 2k8, I hope TPTB think about Anne Francis, Diana Rigg, or any number of the truly beautiful Power Babes of Trek (ca 1966-1969) — starting with Susan Oliver.

These babe-a-licious starlets were all *feminine* and not a weakling among them. Besides, smouldering femininity is back in style — not that it was ever “out” to begin with.

^34 Lou

Carol Marcus was only a bad dream. She never existed. She was nothing more than Kirk’s fears, stresses, guilt and intense situational pressure acting on his subconscious mind in the most horrible expression of angst this side of the Monsters of the Id.

Say it with me, There is no Carol Marcus; there was no Carol Marcus; there never will be a Carol Marcus.

Then you must say, Jim Kirk has no bastard son; Jim Kirk had no bastard son; Jim Kirk will have no bastard son.

Now don’t you feel a whole lot better?!!!

^38. 4 8 15 16 23 42

A cult deprogrammer’s work is never done…

Say it with me — you can do it! There is no such thing as “humankind”; there is no such thing as “humankind”; there is no such thing as “humankind”.

Speak aloud in a firm, clear voice, Mankind; mankind; mankind.

and you may now take great pride in not mangling the English, German and Latin tongues simulataneously. Thank you for your scholarly attention to linguistic integrity!