Lindelof Defends Star Trek Secrecy

As the show runner for the mysterious show Lost, it should be no surprise that Damon Lindelof is no fan of leaks and spoilers. The producer for the new Star Trek movie tells Wizard magazine that “leaks totally ruin a project.” Defending the ultra secret Trek project, the producer states…

I believe most people want to be surprised. I also believe most people can’t resist the temptation of peeking. The only solution is to give them nothing to peek at….but the Net makes that practically impossible.

Another exceprt from the article talking about leaks and fandom

Oftentimes, the fans feel protective of these franchises and in many cases, they rightfully feel more protective than the filmmakers themselves. If you’re doing a Superman or a Indiana Jones movie, us geeks have so much of our time and childhood emotionally invested in those characters, we actually feel like we’re owed a taste of what’s going on before we put down our 12 bucks.

For the full interview get the latest Wizard Magazine (Excerpts via TrekWeb)

What do you think about the secrecy with the new Star Trek? Let us know in the latest poll (right sidebar)

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You know I can’t think of a witty reply. I’ll just remind everybody this is the guy who told us this film wasn’t “your father’s Star Trek” I’m over 40 and a father. I sure hope I can enjoy the film….

From everything I’ve heard so far, it really seems like they are doing this movie right!

Man, as much as i don’t want spoilers, I admit that I’d read them. I hope and hope not that we see and hear some soon!

I agree with him over all. I’ve found it extremely hard to resist reading what few spoilers there has been about this movie, despite the fact that I really love being surprised. I hope when bigger spoilers come out, that I’m able to avoid them, but I think it will be quite the challenge for this Internet and Trek addicted fan. :)

Yes, I agree. I’m over 40 and I’m a father. I just have to say I feel like slapping the guy around. I hope they don’t ruin it with a stupid ADD type sensibility. Or just plain dumbness.

That is, I agree with Cap’n Pike, #1 above.

I love you, Damon Lindelof.

I can easily resist the temptation to read spoilers, but, once they’re out, the ‘net saturates with them. It becomes impossible not to eventually hear them if you’re a wired Trekkie.

I can’t comprehend why #1 and #5 have a problem with this. Mr. Lindelof just described the geek experience wonderfully–proving that he is One Of Us (TM)–and then promised that he was going to keep the movie secret–which is what the vast majority of us want, right?

So, to repeat: I love you, Damon Lindelof.

To true…first?

Do I want to to know too much? No. Do I want this to turn into Cloverfield and we don’t see the Enterprise until the movie opens? Definately not!

All I want are some pictures to see what the film will look like. That will determine whether I even go see it or not. If I’ve got to wait. I’ll wait until after opening weekend when I’ve learned what I need to know and whether it’s worth my money or not.

That’s all I really need. But I of course, they don’t have to give it to me right now.

I understand the desire for secrecy and I certainly appreciate the delight of being surprised, but the notion that leaks can “ruin” a project seems like an overstatement. Or, I _hope_ it’s an overstatement … :)

I know how (frex) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan turns out, and that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it again and again. Because it ROCKS. The first time I saw it it had an extra edge of surprise, sure, but even if someone had handed me a cribsheet a month before seeing it, that would have only dented the awesome (and replaced some of the thrill of surprise with a different thrill of anticipation), not “ruined” it. If a project’s quality is so dependent on gotchas that leaks could actually, genuinely ruin it, that implies a more fragile, disposable work.

… or someone engaging in dramatic overstatement to highlight his feelings. Here’s hoping for the latter in this case, because I’d much rather think that Lindelof is being a tad overdramatic than worry that the new Star Trek film is fire-and-forget candy filmmaking.

Most major movies are pretty weak nowadays so I can understand keeping things under wraps.

No spoilers is one thing, but absolutely no marketing at all is another. I guess this changes next week. Trek XI is not on all the “coolest movies of 2008” lists, and they need to generate buzz ASAP. Shatner’s bleating these past months has in fact invited no young fans to the series. Spaceships and pics of the Enterprise’s new “Scooby Gang” crew in a high tech or alien setting, just might.

#1-” I’ll just remind everybody this is the guy who told us this film wasn’t “your father’s Star Trek” I’m over 40 and a father. I sure hope I can enjoy the film…. ”
#7- can’t comprehend why #1 and #5 have a problem with this. Mr. Lindelof just described the geek experience wonderfully–proving that he is One Of Us ™–and then promised that he was going to keep the movie secret–which is what the vast majority of us want, right?

Yes, The Geek experience he captured was well, and I understand about the need for secrecy. No problem with that. I just don’t like the condescending tone of “this is not your father’s Star Trek.” New is not always improved. (Old is not necessarily the best either). Good is good, and bad is bad, and new or old is not the point. But that arrogance, that the newest is better because it rejects the original- is stupid and all too common. Your father’s Star Trek had some pretty good qualities. Perhaps they should recognize them and then improve them, rather than dismiss them with “This is not your father’s Star Trek. ” Stupid and condescending, and a recipe for a bad movie.
I do see all the other good signs though, and hope that “father’s Trek thing ” was just a dumb little comment. I hope.

Gary Seven, how’s your cat? And that huge computer doing?

yes.. I wanna know

no…I don’t

yes.. I wanna know

no…I don’t

yes.. I wanna know

no…I don’t

I for one am happy with the “spoiler out of the headline” policy.

Ya know, sometimes I want insider info and at other times I wanna wait for the movie… depends on my mood.
The bad thihng is I may be too tempted if I know it’s there. So keep the set tight, but not too tight.

Remember how they kept “Howard The Duck” under wraps until it came out ?
…and after only one hot weekend the flick had DIED! By Sunday there were no lines! Word got out fast!
Keeping too much under wraps is sometimes a RED FLAG, however we are so early in the process on this film that I’m not worried…

I’d be really surprised at being surprised.


Yeah, i personally don’t want anymore story spoliers than we have already had. we know its about the crew when they were young, thats enough plot for me.

Pictures of sets, make up, uniforms, the enterprise!! these would give almost nothing of the plot away but really make our day.

What I mean to say is hype is all these major tentpole movies have going for them.

Yeah, I don’t trust these guys at all.

“Not your daddy’s trek.”

“Fans should come to the movie prepared for a new look and hopes they will have an open mind.”

This is not a prequel! This sounds like a total reboot. No matter what b.s. comes out of their mouths saying that it’s not a reboot, it sure is sounding like one the more I read about the movie.

They gotta earn trust. And in my humble opinion they’re not doing the best job earning it. My hopes for this movie is dipping lower and lower. I really hope they prove me wrong.

never mind star trek, its a t j hooker film i wanna see and it better be my daddys t j hooker too.

#20 They have told several times that the movie has a new look and design more in match with todays taste, but respecting the history events, characters, etc in the canon of the series.

It is a precuel storywise and a reboot only in the look of the designs.

Todays taste hopefully isn’t Kirk reading a tabloid about Britney Spears IV going into rehab again (unless it’s rehab for liking pretty green women).

#8 Tony: Yeah, Tony, don’t think I’m griping about you. Your job is to provide us with information, and you do a better job than anyone else has while I’ve been alive (which, in fairness, is not all that long a time). TMR does a great job with spoiler labels and so forth. The problem is that not everyone does. I’ve had to avert my eyes from the lower half of the front page of Memory-Alpha all week, because, while I’m not certain, I’m -pretty- sure there’s a minor spoiler regarding Tyler Perry there, and I’m not willing to risk checking it out. And that’s a highly reputable site; the unmarked spoiler content on many forums and comment threads around the net is, to coin a meme, over nine thousand. They’re not instantly moderated, and it only takes a second for someone to jump into a topic and go off-topic, revealing something new about the film. (Good example: #24 in this thread. We can only be thankful it was a trailer spoiler and not a real spoiler.) So, while I hardly begrudge a news source like this one posting any information it is able to get, because there are people who really do like spoilers, I am nonetheless pleased as all get-out that the Abrams Five are making every effort to prevent you from getting it and beginning its ineveitable dissemination throughout the entire Internet.

Hope that made some kind of sense.

#14 Gary: Oh, I see. I misunderstood you to be commenting on the current article.

Yes, I took “not your father’s Star Trek” to be a swipe at the recent series, rather than the more-successful TOS/TNG team (which they would be totally insane to abandon), but you’re right… it is an annoying thing to say. So I agree with you there.

But I still love you, Damon Lindelof!

I find that comment (not your father’s trek) to be ill-sighted at best. Disrespecting something like Star Trek’s utopian vision of the future is not ‘fathers trek’. In that case we might as well disrespect all science fiction that has come before us. Forget Asimov, Bradbury, Verne and those who set the stage for current Science Fiction in all forms.

So it is all past so it should be forgotten or it has little merit of the present, right?

Wrong. If the past works of those who set the stage for Science Fiction are not respected for their own literary merit, then stories will just loop in circles until someone comes along with that respect to push the envelope the way it needs to be pushed.

Trek is not a product of current culture. It had the staying power for at least three generations. It has the potential (as most utopian literature does) to exist for many more to come.

As for Abram’s quest for keeping information secret, Kudos. First Contact suffered from the AOL message boards leaking the Borg Queen concept.

Damm just release the teaser :)

I remember seeing Serenity at a sneak preview two years ago. There were secrets and surprises and twists and turns. We all left the theater and vowed that none of these would be told.

Similarly there was a twist or two in Batman Begins that managed to stay under wraps.

Waaaay back before I knew way too much about this stuff one of the greatest “gotchas” ever was the Kobayashi Maru. I almost can’t imagine ever having a moment like that again.

Keep it under wraps guys. Keep it ALLLL under wraps.

(I did manage to avoid seeing the Enterprise E until I saw it on screen.)

I’m also over 40. I was one of those sending fan letters to Star Trek in gradeschool, and so those like me do own Star Trek. It was our interest and continued interest that brought the fanchise to what it became. Otherwise it would have stayed that 3 year lark it was at that time.

To you young whipper snappers… your welcome. ;)

I used to visit all the time before Star Wars Episode II came out, and by the time the movie was released I knew absolutely everything about it. Since the trading cards, action figures, comic books, and even the novel were released before the movie was, it wasn’t hard to visit the forums and pick up on everything. I went to see the movie opening night and I got bored because I knew every scene, what it looked like, who was going to say what, and how it was going to end.

For Episode III, I took a not-quite-spoiler-free approach and appreciated the movie much better. I knew the major set pieces, but that was it.

As for Star Trek, I never really had much temptation for spoilers before this movie. Star Trek movies were just added bonuses to my movie-going year. I don’t want to be Episode II spoiled, just some cast pictures will be fine. But if information IS leaked, I can’t guarantee that I won’t read it. And I know that I’ll end up regretting it.

So, in short: keep it secret, keep it safe.

“before we put down our 12 bucks.”

Who pays 12 bucks to go to a movie?

Imagine if our only hints were coming circa 1980’s style, i.e. Starlog Magazine. Hey, what’s three months between old news stories?!?!!


But keep in mind that the scene of Spock “dying” at the beginning, the fake-out, was written and inserted late, in response to the leaked info that Spock dies in the movie. It was put in to restore the surprise when he actually does die later… if those that had heard the leak saw the film, they would assume that the first scene was what had been leaked.

So the “gotcha” scene was made because it was hard to keep a secret even back then.

Who made that comment of ‘not your fathers Star Trek’…because my father hated Star Trek. TOS was ‘my’ Trek…even though I’m only 32. JJ Abrams is older than I am, and I’m guessing Roberto is around my own age. So whose father are we talking about? lol

I hate spoilers, and avoid them whenever possible. I don’t mind teasers, trailers, and official photos, but I hate leaked scripts, leaked script reviews, etc.

I appreciate that Anthony puts SPOILER alerts in his headlines. I wish that people who leave comments would do the same, but since that’s usually not the case, I find myself avoiding the comments section more and more as the production goes forward.


Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon were the first two, best prodcuers of STAR TREK.

Damon Lindelof is not only missing a “G” from his name, but his last name ends in “F.” As in “Fred Freiberger,” producer of the lousy third season of the original TREK.

Thus, this movie will fail. Boycott this mother. ;)

I’m from the “don’t want to know anything before I see it” group. If someone starts talking about a movie I want to see but haven’t seen yet, I will let them know, in no uncertain terms, that they need to put a sock in it. Don’t care so much about pictures, and such, but I do NOT want to know anything about the story.

Rampant speculation by a rabid fan base, however, can be quite amusing. ;)

Movies have been made for years without total secrecy. Great movies in fact. Going to “digital sets” certainly helps the secrecy quest.

There are just so many Star Trek fans. This is not an ordinary movie. Letting fans see drawings or images of an Enterprise or uniforms isn’t going to ruin for “newbies”.

If it reaches a point when wanting to keep it secret affects the “quality” of the production then it’s wrong.

The only reason to not let the cat out of the bag is because they don’t want to generate a bad reaction across the web. Changes must be on the way.

No Trek fan will stay home if we find out it’s the exact same Enterprise from from TOS—and it won’t stop newbies from watching a movie with a good story. Newbies won’t care what the Enterprise looks like. The only potential negative firestorm is letting an existing fanbase know what you’ve done.

This is not a top-secret product that has copyright issues. FEED US A BONE!

The more secret the best it is.

I don’t want to get spoiled to much… I’ll even try not to watch the trailer. I’ll watch the teaser but not the trailer. I don’t want to see the key phrase of the movie during a trailer…

I regret spoiling bits of First Contact by watching the trailers. How am I going to resist all the trailers for a year?! I NEED Star Trek.

“The only reason to not let the cat out of the bag is because they don’t want to generate a bad reaction across the web.”

That’s my read too. When people see that Nu-Trek bears about as much resemblence to TOS as the Lost in Space movie bore to its predecessor series, or as the 1998 Godzilla bore to the 1956 Godzilla, there will be a reaction, justified or not, that’s going to get picked up in the press and will generate some less-than-flattering stories for a period of time. There’s the “no publicity is bad publicity” mentality, but I assume these people are enjoying all the “one of the most anticipated movies of 2008” buzz they’ve had for a couple of months, and are trying to ride that wave to opening weekend. You’ll notice that Mr. Orci, who practically set up a tent here and at AICN over the weekend, deflecting reaction to that rumor they posted, is nowhere to be seen in conjunction with yesterday’s story about the set designer. I personally have no problem with a reboot, but I’d prefer they just say its a reboot instead of getting up the hopes of the old school fans who were hoping all the talk about respecting the canon and whatever actually meant they were trying to make the movie fit into the show’s established lore – continuity-wise, story-wise, thematically *and* visually. But they apparently want to have it both ways and plenty of people seem happy to give them a pass on changing the design of the entire TOS-era universe, so good luck there.

The best secret is not to share your secrets with anybody!

I’d rather this movie be a secret reboot. ;)

My enjoyment of the movie is more enhanced when I know relatively nothing about it before going in, so I am in the camp of people who prefer to stay spoiler free.

Having said that, this movie is a big deal, and a VERY exciting event for a star trek fan. So it is sometimes difficult instinctively not to want to get as much info as possible before it comes out, because it is still far away from opening day, and the anticipation is tough to deal with. Sorta like what gifts are for small children during the christmas season.

Right with #1 here. Over 40, a father…and I found “Lost” insulting and pointless after the first disc of the first season DVD set, so I walked away. (“Look! Pretty people bounce from airplane crashes!”)

That all being said, unless I see something definitive to be concerned about, I’ll give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Being over 40, if there’s something I’ve learned it’s that I have been and can be wrong about things.

We’ll just have to see.

I’m glad they’re secretive because I cannot help my curiosity!

#45 Kionel –

You really should try giving “Lost” another shot… you’ll never be able to accurately gauge the series based on the first disc alone. Chances are great you’d have a better appreciation for it if you sat through all the episodes.

Mr. Abrams, Mr. Orci & Mr. Lindelof:

Please reboot the franchise.

Thank you.

32. Diabolik –
“……………in response to the leaked info that Spock dies in the movie……….
So the “gotcha” scene was made because it was hard to keep a secret even back then.”

It was hard to keep a secret back then because some believe it was Gene R. who actually leaked the secret about Spock dying in ST II (and the Enterprise being destroyed in ST III) because he was very protective of the fans and knew they would be upset if Spock died or the Enterprise was destoyed, and he was also very bitter about losing control of his franchise. It was alleged that he leaked the info in a futile attempt to get the filmakers to change the scripts.

I actually have no problem with minor, logical, changes or “tweaks” to uniforms and the Enterprise. As a designer, I believe there is a right way way to do it.

I’m lacking faith that the people with the opportunity to work on projects that attempt to refresh what I grew up with are able to do it right. Lost in Space is a great example of a failure. The story was OK, but why call it “Lost in Space” and get the Robinson’s involved if the entire look changes? They just don’t seem to understand that the sci-fi fanbase is huge. There is no real reason to change things because the general public doesn’t care about the gadgets like we do. It’s simply better to er on the side of what the hardcore fans are expecting. (Unless of course something stands out as an obvious sore. I might add that the Star Trek uniforms would be a place to make the most changes—or lean towards the look of ‘The Cage.’