Yesterday we reported on JJ Abrams comments to the USA Today, which (as it so often does) kicked up a lot of comments from a lot of fans (500+ and still going). Luckily Star Trek co-writer and exec producer Roberto Orci dropped in to TrekMovie.com and answered many of the questions and took some more. Orci talked about mainstream v fan appeal, canon, publicity photos and more. For those that don’t dive into the comments, there are some excerpts below in easy to ready format.
The following are just a few of Orci’s recent comments in Q&A form, but read the full set of comments if you want to see it all.
Jim: There was a time (pre-internet days, for all readers under 15), when fans had to seek out information about new movies from obscure print sources. Anyone out there remember fanzines, or Jim Steranko’s “Mediascene” or other like publications produced by folks who clearly loved the genres upon which they were reporting? Because of that, the way in which movies were released and promoted was much different (for the better, IMHO).
Creative types actually seemed to care about attracting a passionate fan base by releasing meaningful information rather than running around saying “trust us – we make good movie”. For example, several months prior to the release of “Star Wars” (and no I ain’t doing the renumbered chapters foolishness), Lucas had not only released a lot of Ralph McQuarrie’s pre-production art but a complete novelization of the movie.
It is sounding almost as though this film will be one for the “it blowed up real good” crowd than for those who found ST more challenging (and thus, more entertaining) over the years because it seemed to resist pandering to the lowest common denominator. If this is the creative team’s idea of “viral marketing”, it sure has backfired for me. After a brief period of cautious optimism, these recent comments have driven me to a point where I could care less about what’s up with this new film.
Roberto Orci: Marketing and making a movie are two entirely different endeavors. I would implore you not to base your opinion of one based on the other, particularly when it has been our intention to not have ANYTHING be known about this movie until much later — we are forced into revealing details of your surprise party because thanks to the internet, fans don’t like surprises. Our trade off, however, has been to be as open as possible about the process and the thinking behind our decisions.
Although I have to come to be suspicious of the phrase LEAST COMMON DENOMINATOR as a unintentional code word of the elite, let me just say that the story of this movie IS NOT targeting the least common denominator.
Admiral_Bumblebee: But isn’t the purpose of a prequel to tell what happened before the events we all know, to tell how those events came to pass?
It seems to me, JJ wants to have a fresh start. But if so, why use the known characters? Why not create new characters?
I do not have a problem when he updates the look of the ship, the bridge, the uniforms etc. But if he creates a new timeline in which everything we have seen doesn’t happen, then I will be angry.
If JJ wants to do his thing, then he should have created his own characters, maybe have the story set in the future and not the past.
Roberto Orci: JJ had no intention of directing Trek at all. But we knew if we could get an A-lister non-”AVID”-fan like him to do it, with a TOS script that still satisfied our geek impulses and that still maintained original characters, then we would really have a shot at making this work.
Ahkenatan: I have a major, important, stupendous question. Will we see miniskirts? For the love of God please tell me!!!!!
Roberto Orci: You will have an answer about what everyone is wearing very soon.
RideOp1 (to Closettrekker): Most of us are here because we love TREK, plain and simple. Sometimes people can get a bit emotional about it, myself included……As I said before, it’s all opinions here, and what we say will have no bearing or influence on what Abrams and Orci do. Hell if they read this stuff at all, they probably think we are all nuts with way too much time on our hands and are laughing about it.
Roberto Orci: Not true. Comments here do and have had an influence…. and we read everything.
Gene: Curious……Did you think the Star Trek “canon” issue would be such a bone of contention for so many fans when you took on this project? What is your view on the importance or lack of importance of canon?
Roberto Orci: I had no idea — was completely surprised….
Just kidding. I was 147 percent sure it was going to be a MASSIVE deal. As i’ve said before, Trek fans are among the most savvy in the world, and since Damon and I humbly consider ourselves fans as well, all we had to do was look at each other to know that it was going to matter A LOT.
Canon is part of the DNA of our story. If you know your Trek, your knowledge will not be wasted. If you don’t, if won’t prevent you from entering this amazing world that’s been taken care of for over forty years by the fans. What other franchise has as distinct and established phenomenon as to have a name (Trekkie, Trekker). Even mainstream media covers the Star Trek fan base. There are no SPIDERMANNERS or PIRATERS, or SUPERMANNIES.
Trek belongs to all of us. I see canon much like the constitution. It is living document, but it has some principles that are inviolable.
Closettrekker: Mr. Orci, What is it about this project that you feel will draw a new and broader audience to Star Trek? Is it something different about the story and how it will be presented in this film, or is it just in the marketing approach?
Are we going to have to watch TOS in a different light after seeing this movie? I hope that question is vague enough for you to feel comfortable answering.
Roberto Orci: I believe that we are the lucky recipients of 40 years of Trek school, No one who came before us had that benefit. As a result, we’ve had the opportunity to learn (hopefully) what is essential and wonderful about Trek and to distill it into its most potent from yet. Additionally, the technology and budget available to us will also allow us to realize a vision of Trek that will hopefully be the most “real” ever.
Also, by approaching it to some degree as a “prequel,” we get to make the case to new viewers that this is the time to jump into the Trek universe and find out why the rest of us have loved it for so long.
As to the question of whether or not you will view TOS in a different light, my sincere hope and belief is that it will enhance it. That’s the goal, anyway. As always, our success or failure will be entirely your judgment.
TrekMovie.com wants to again thank Mr. Orci for taking time out of his busy shooting schedule to interact with the fans. And we wish you and the team the best of luck up there in Toronto shooting FRINGE (and the team shooting STAR TREK in LA the best too).