Abrams and Orci Talk Trek

IGN has two separate interviews of interest to Trekkies today: one with Star Trek director JJ Abrams and one with co-writer Roberto Orci. Abrams spoke about why he chose to direct the film and how he thinks it will make Trek ‘relevant’ again. Orci talked about how the origin story in Star Trek is one you haven’t seen before and that they put their all into it and ‘didn’t save anything for later.’

Excerpts from Abrams interview…

IGN: How big a decision was it to do Star Trek and how did it go?

J.J. ABRAMS: It went incredibly well. It was such a big movie and such a spectacular experience because the cast was just… When you look at a movie like this in the form it’s in now, which is incredibly rough – we just started editing – and a lot of times, it’s hard to find. But because the cast is so good, you watch the scenes now and you’re not looking at the green screen over there or that missing shot there. It’s like they inhabited these roles so completely. So all I know is the characters are wonderful and the actors are… Like, you want to be one of the crew. You want to be with them, you know? The decision to do it was a big one, but I read the script and as a guy who really, I liked Star Trek, but I was never the rabid fan, it was really just that Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] wrote a great script and that I felt like I would be so agonizingly envious of whoever stepped in and directed the movie and I just thought I’ve got to direct this.

IGN: What do you feel you’re up against?

ABRAMS: The honest answer is I think you tell a good story. I feel like Star Trek or not, if it’s something entertaining and exciting and emotional, despite it being Star Trek or whatever the franchise, it will work. But honestly, I’m not sure that the majority of the public is as aware of Star Trek as one might think, or even aware that there are 10 movies. I guarantee you, if you went around and asked randomly, ‘How many Trek movies were there?,’ people might say five or six. I don’t think people realize there are ten movies. I feel like in a way, the way Trek has sort of existed over the last several years, I honestly feel that it doesn’t really seem as relevant as it might, when you consider it’s number 11 and there have been X number of hundred hours. So my feeling is, I think we are poised to introduce people who have never even seen Star Trek and to give the fans of the series this incredibly fun, exciting ride. Mostly, I feel like we’ve got the goods. I feel like we’re in a great place when it comes out, and I think we can make it as good as I pray we can in editing. I think we’re going to be in good shape.

IGN: How intimidating was it to direct Leonard Nimoy?

ABRAMS: Well, the intimidating thing was going up to him and saying, ‘Here’s what I think you should do,’ because I’m like, ‘Who the hell am I to tell you what to do? You’re Spock!’ The truth is, he would literally grab me and say, ‘Look, tell me, tell me, tell me.’ When I say he was a sweetheart… Working with him was like working with the greatest person you’d ever work with. He was just open and curious and hungry to be better and that ended up being a pure joy. I love Nimoy.

More from Abrams at IGN.

Excerpts from Orci interview…

IGN: How tricky is it to come up with a story that will appeal to the old fans, and yet do the business of bringing in the new fans that it has to?

ORCI: It’s tricky, but we thought that it was an amazing opportunity, which is there’d never been an origin story of how this original crew of Kirk and Spock and Bones and everybody, how they met. So when we went back and started thinking about it, we realized goodness, that’s never been covered! That’s not even a remake. There simply has not been a story that told how they got together. So when we realized that, we thought well, that solves the introduction problem, because this will literally be an introduction to these characters that everyone knows, but not everyone knows how they met. So we knew that we could tell a story that was still viable for Star Trek fans, because it’s not a retelling. It’s a new story. And we knew that for those who don’t know Star Trek, it’s going to be an introduction to the world. So we kind of leapt at it, in that it hadn’t been done before.

IGN: The biggest problem with origin stories is that every time they’re a hit, the director or the writer, when they’re talking about the second one, says, ‘Well, the first one did its job and introduced its world.’ How do you go about making an exciting first film?

ORCI: I can tell you right now, we need not make any qualifiers like that. This is not something like, ‘Oh, just sit through the first boring one, and then we get to the fun.’ This one, I’m telling you, it’s an origin story that’s… We didn’t save anything for later. We wanted to make sure that it was great for the fans, but a general audience, they’re not going to be able to rely on that they love Kirk or they love Spock. They have to love it on its own merits. Like you said, Transformers and Star Trek are very different things. However, I don’t think anyone would say that the first Transformers somehow is like waiting for the second one to happen. Our goal is always to not be arrogant enough to think that you’re going to get more than one movie. Make one good movie and if that movie’s good, then hopefully you’ll get another one. Don’t save anything for later. Don’t plan on the sequel. That’s a mistake. And that’s how we approach it. Just make one good movie and god willing, we get to do another one

More from Orci at IGN.

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anyone else think that “origin stories” sorta kinda de-romanticize the past?

ie…if we have seen it on film…we can imagine it anyway wel like….but once its on film it just doesnt live up to expectations…

i’m not a JJ “nay-sayer”…thats just a thought i’ve had since the star wars prequels.

*if we HAVEN’T seen it on film…sorry

Can we put Leonard and Bill in the transporter and meld their set personality genes just a little?
Nice to hear positive stories from the set. Anthony, these will be even better after the film comes out and we can compare the comments to the results. Right now, it’s kinda like watching those interminable preview shows they put on. Since you don’t know whether the film is great or a great stinker, you don’t know how to interpret the actors telling you it’s the best thing they’ve ever been in.

Anyway — 356 days to go.

But this isn’t “the past.” It is a fictional world. The whole thing is romantic and escapist anyway- so where is the harm?

If this movie doesn’t do it for you, you can ignore it. Watch what you like, ignore what you don’t, and remember it is all just make-believe.

I have high hopes for this film, but if it sucks, it will not diminish my enjoyment of Trek one bit. If it is a reboot, it won’t change my fondness for Trek one bit. Heck, I like both BSGs, and I actually think the re-boot is a vast improvement on something I already liked. Hopefully, that’s what JJ does here. If not, well, I have a perfectly good DVD player to make it all go away. .

*1 “anyone else think that “origin stories” sorta kinda de-romanticize the past?”

Yeah – Hannibal Rising! Psycho IV! To name a few!

Capt Otter…..

yes, i should have also put quotations around my use of the word “past.” As i realize that it’s only a movie. I’m not saying that a disappointment would ruin the rest of Trek for me…but it would upset me. As i think it would all fans. I couldnt just ignore it. I would also be sad that so many new fans were exposed to a Trek that i didn’t necessarily think was “as good as” or “a true part of” the rest of the trek universe.

having said all that…I’m truly not a nay sayer and i think this film will be great. I’m just like to play devil’s advocate and bring up varying points of view.

#4: I’m not so sure it’s ever been said so well. You have a very good head on your shoulders.

they can only talk so much about how they got to making the movie and about all the stuff that came before the cameras were rolling. still a year to go, but hopefully some interviews soon will have something more to it than how JJ, Orci, etc. go to making the film, i think that should be saved for the special features of the DVD when it comes out. nevertheless, it’s good to keep hearing anything at all about the movie from the crew. i’ll be seeing it no matter what, even (as unlikely as this may be) if the trailers next year show it to be crap. I will still see it because it’s Star Trek and if it doesn’t live up to expectations, just think of it as a bad holodeck recreation, but in regards to earlier posts, it will not change my opinion/likeness of Star Trek either way when it is released.


Abrams: “Like, you want to be one of the crew. You want to be with them, you know?”

Orci: “Our goal is always to not be arrogant enough to think that you’re going to get more than one movie. Make one good movie and if that movie’s good, then hopefully you’ll get another one. Don’t save anything for later. Don’t plan on the sequel. That’s a mistake. And that’s how we approach it. Just make one good movie and god willing, we get to do another one.”

PERFECT thoughts and attitudes. Can’t wait!

They’re editing now and a year to go. Good luck keeping this one secret boys. Expect a bootleg sometime in August.

#9—You hit it on the head!

I’m anxious to see this movie. regardless of any possibilities of mishap or “they didn’t do it right,” I’m gonna go in giving it the “benefit of the doubt.” Michael Bay did not do a good job with transformers. partly because he’s more interested in blowing stuff up than making a decent flick, or he’d have given orci and kurtzman more time to write a decent script instead of doing their best to rewrite a crap script by John Rogers.

My biggest hope is that they respect the continuity of the star trek franchise. I know its self-contradictory at times. but generally, you can understand how things go. there IS a timeline, which they appear to attempt to follow. Nimoy knows more than all the rest of them about the “spirit” of star trek and the “original vision.” He’s not one to put frosting on something. he tells it as it is. if he says that they got it right, they got it right.


I hope this movie succeeds and infuses Trek with the new blood it so desperately needs, both creatively and fan-wise. And that it rejuvenates the fans Trek already has. I am being cautiously optimistic, as I’ve been thinking more and more about what Abrams & Co. could possibly do to make Trek appeal to non-fans. Frankly, I’m drawing a blank.

The post production on this film must be astounding. I am drooling all over myself thinking about what we might see.

Great to hear JJ ‘improvised’ during the shooting of the movie!

…the adventure continues….

There’s been so much talk without saying anything about it for such a long time now, that Roberto Orci’s comments really do stand out.

“…there’d never been an origin story of how this original crew of Kirk and Spock and Bones and everybody, how they met. So when we went back and started thinking about it, we realized goodness, that’s never been covered! That’s not even a remake.”

The motivation for the story hasn’t really been covered so far. I can see why they’d want to do a film, who wouldn’t, but what *story* do you have to tell? I do like that sensibility and it’s better that than wanting to show us what things looked like when it all began (looking at you Mr Lucas), but to tell us how it happened.

As for JJ’s interview, I’m just delighted with what he’s said about Leonard Nimoy, all most gracious without being OTT.

I know there will be the usual moans, but this was a nice drip in the dripfeed…

#4- Exactly. If you don’t like it, Ignore it like most people did regarding “Star Trek: Enterprise”.

This is definitely NOT one of those movies where you hear who’s directing and starring and writing and automatically think “suck”. I am at the edge of my seat with anticipation for this film, even more so than Watchmen. I am even thinking of throwing a Star Trek party for my friends and ending it with us all going to see the movie opening evening.

10. Al

“Expect a bootleg in August”. Yeah, right. Show me a leaked photo. Show me a leaked script page. Show me ANYTHING tangible leaked from this production before you start jabbering about a bootleg!

#4. A voice of sanity on a sometimes looney site.

That’s what amazes me. NOTHING is leaked, other than the odd photograph now and again. What’s weird is that the Script and the Ship Design have both been sealed all the way through production. The script must have been handed in and burned. There is, probably, like, three copies.

It’s amazing to consider that anybody actually thought the older Kirk could somehow show up during the acadamy period. His story is still trapped in the Nexus, and the possibility of a rescue attempt made by the remnants of his original Enterprise crew.

Even an appearance of the elder Spock seems to stretch the limits of plausibility. Was it a meeting that still resided in memory through all the years following; so that even as it happened, he was able to recall each detail from decades earlier?

Or does any encounter– if that’s even what’s in this story — get wiped from the memory of the younger participants?

#21–JJ’s reputation for secrecy is so far well-deserved. I admire that. I don’t want to hear plot leaks. I wouldn’t mind a photo of the E or a picture of the cast in uniform, but those things will be part of an official promotion anyway.
In the theater, it works so much better when you do not already know anything about it. In TWOK, we already knew Ricardo Montalban was in it and we already knew Spock was going to die. Imagine the difference in dramatic effect if we had only found out that Khan was on that planet’s surface when Checkov saw the Botany Bay emblem and Khan removed his mask! Imagine the chills going down your back in anticipation of the outcome when Khan began to describe his version of his last meeting with JTK and how he now blamed him for the death of Marla McGivers!
I want suspense and surprise. These guys are pretty good at that, and keeping it that way depends heavily upon the notorious paranoia of JJ Abrams. Fine with me.

A couple lines of dialogue from the original series which stand out in my mind and convince me that Orci, Abrams etc. are heading in the right direction with the origin story set at the Academy:

Amok Time- Kirk enters Spock’s quarters and makes this comment: “In all the years that I have known you…”, not once, but twice. That has always said to me that their friendship was built upon years of shared experiences. That, along with the ease and familiarity with which they interacted throughout the series, points to a longstanding relationship, logically beginning at the Academy. I personally would love learning that they were roommates there as cadets.

Operation Annihilate- McCoy, trying to comfort Kirk in Sickbay after Spock’s attack by the parasitic fried eggs: “Captain, I understand your concern, your affection for Spock…” IMHO, another character’s observation of an element of their years-long friendship.

Love the comments we are hearing from Abrams and Orci and feel the Trek universe could not be in safer, more capable hands. Now, if only that rumor about Kirk getting some girl to reprogram the simulators turns out to be false, everything will be perfect…

Nothing anyone says is going to deter me from seeing this film with an open-minded attitude. Then I’ll decide for myself whether I like it or not.

A number of people I know said “Iron Man” wasn’t very good. (I’m sorry that it wasn’t a great experience for them.) I went anyway and LOVED IT!!!! Glad I didn’t rely on the news I was hearing. I intend to do the same with ST:XI in May 2009.

See you there!


There is too much behind this film for it to ever “suck”.

All the RIGHT people worked on this one, it’s so obvious.

They’re going to blow us away.
We’re going to leave the theater CRYING about the 2-year wait
for the 12th installment.

just my two cents.

#22–“Even an appearance of the elder Spock seems to stretch the limits of plausibility. Was it a meeting that still resided in memory through all the years following; so that even as it happened, he was able to recall each detail from decades earlier?”

I think it is more likely that the villain, Nero, either does something to alter the timeline and Nimoy’s Spock has to go back and do his best to correct it (in which case Spock would have to have been somehow unaffected), or Nimoy’s Spock uncovers Nero’s plan and follows his back to prevent it from succeeding. The second scenario seems to be more plausible (if you can even apply that term to a story about timetravelling), and I think Spock eventually succeeds to some degree, but ultimately he is unable to prevent some things from turning out differently (which would canonically explain why some things LOOK different).

#24–” Love the comments we are hearing from Abrams and Orci and feel the Trek universe could not be in safer, more capable hands.”

Me too. I think a dose of the “Lost” boys is exactly the treatment Star Trek needs to grab some mainstream appeal and bring 23rd Century Trek into the 21st Century (wow, does that make any sense at all?).

I am bored with all this talk from all the stars and the cast.. enough already… the worst thing that has happened is the delay in the release… now they are sitting on everything.. ( no pictures, no releases, no information, no new trailer.. ) NOTHING will happen until later this year or next year…

So.. I am bored.. my heart isn’t in wasting my time reading the same stuff over and over again.. when there is something new, I’ll pay attention.. until then… snooze city.. and I can’t be bothered.. sorry JJ and company.. but you are boring me. I am losing interest, and I bet you many of your fans who were so excited a few months ago have already moved on.

Poopey#27- Yes, it makes sense. I reach, brother… our minds are one…

Me again.

#23. Mr. Poopey face (formerly known as Closet-Trekker)

“I want suspense and surprise.”

Agreed. TOTALLY.

I was disappointed that before I saw Nemesis it was announced that Riker and Troi were getting married. Now granted, most would probably “pooh-pooh” that statement but not everyone we see in TV who has a romance gets married. I would have enjoyed the surprise, so I echo your comment. Keep everything “mum”, guys. We’ll appreciate it all the more.

It’s like knowing about your surprise party. I had three wedding showers thrown for me. Knew about all three but I didn’t want to spoil it for the “throwers” so I acted as surprised as possible. They were thrilled that they had “pulled it off” so-to-speak. I was happy to let them enjoy the moment.

Then a boyfriend threw me a surprise party which he very excellently kept hidden. Came to take me out then said he’d left his wallet at home due to rushing because he’d been running late. Like a dork, I believed him and came in the door and his mom told me to go downstairs and have a seat. I went downstairs to the dark rec-room, saw the pool table decked out with chips/pop and stuff but before I could put it all together, a ton of people came running out from under the stairs yelling “surprise!!!”


The flip side of that coin is, if something happens that some don’t like, they may say “if I’d known that, I wouldn’t have spent the money or the time on this flik”. I guess ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.

I’m in.


28: But you DID read it, didn’t you? :)


So, are you saying you will be less bored by not having any news about the new Star Trek movie? I mean, this very article had statements that none of us have heard officially from Orci or Abrams. I wonder how you can be bored with “all this talk from the stars and the cast..” Aren’t they one and the same. Who else would satisfy your appetite for Trek XI news? The Key Grip? Craft Services? The ILM folks are probably still busy working on the FX (they seem to have extra time now) so I wouldn’t look for any comments just yet from them.

I think what you are experiencing is more disappointment at the release date being moved back than boredom. The original release date would still be a half year away. I don’t think you would have gotten much more news than you have now. Some of us have been waiting for this particular movie for over two years now. I say, excercise some patience. Bad things happen when one gets in a hurry. Good things come to those who wait. I fully expect to be rewarded for my patience. Or else.

There seems to be a concern here whether this movie will suck or not. Seeing so many escapist movies today make gargantuan bucks whether they are good or bad–POTC 2 and 3–come to mind, that is not my only concern. While, I too am hoping for a good movie, what concerns me equally as much is whether people are interested enough in STAR TREK to even show up. Quality doesn’t guarantee box office.

I am still of the opinion TREK died as much from lack of relevancy, quality genre competition (something TNG never faced) and over-saturation as because of a poor product.

Let’s hope the interest is there.

If there is any trace of greenscreen spill, bad CG ship movement, or audio glitches I will burn down ILM. lol.

I have faith in these FX and they have more than enough time….and talent!

…..if only some other classic trek endeavor…cough…TOS-R…cough…had been given the same star treatment. :(

I’m glad ST got pushed back. I really am. This is Trek’s last stand as far as I’m concerned. Make or break and make it good.

If Morn’s in the movie it will be great!


I hope I don’t get flamed too badly for saying this (considering who haunts these boards on occasion), but the only minor concern I have is the dialogue. The acting, directing and (I guess) plot seem to be in good hands… I just hope Orci & Kurtzman (& Abrams) are able to find the character’s “voices.” Somewhat worried that, dialogue-wise, the lines will either be generic run-of-the-mill or worse, sound completely off, where we all scream at the theater screens, “But Kirk/Spock/McCoy would NEVER say something like that!!!”

I’m still hoping for the best… I only bring this up because MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, I felt, did indeed have fairly generic “spy/action-thriller/espionage” movie dialogue, and TRANSFORMERS was… well, just completely terrible (but I’m willing to chaulk that up more to the source material and Michael Bay’s direction and need to have his actors improvise in a really lousy way).

STAR TREK is a whole different beast, and I hope the dialogue stays true to the crew of the Enterprise. Ideally (even though this will feature brand-new actors), we should be able to close our eyes, listen to these new words and think, “Yeah, I could definitely hear Shatner/Nimoy/Kelley, et al, saying something like that!”

(Apologies ahead of time to Orci and crew… I haven’t seen every movie or TV show they’ve written, so my fears may be completely unfounded!)

33. I agree. Trek stopped being relevant and became this thing that played only to the fans, but eventually the the creators got lazy and the fans got bored. Repititive storylines, cop-out resolutions (Borg nanoprobes can fix anything!), and a lack of interest from the network suits. I want Trek to be what it has the potential to be: A reveleant, thought-provoking drama that has something to say about us and our world.

Lots of sense spoken there I feel.

I am still mixed up though…nerves I think but good points were made.

Hell, I’m gonna be jumpin till I see this film so………….arghhhhh!

Very excited about seeing a new story for trek but as metioned above this could be last orders for trek and I fear Treek dont carry the nostalgia trip of Transformers for most.

Walking bundle of anxiety right here

I would be less bored with no details about this movie. Either give us a juicy nugget of costume design or nothing at all, this stuff is getting lame. I’m having Trek withdrawls so bad that I am substituting good trek with reruns of voyager. Man Im becoming a junkie.

#36—I wouldn’t care to see that type of corny dialogue in an “epic” ST film, either. But let’s be fair. MI3 and Transformers were exactly what they were supposed to be. I think STXI will be too.

Decloaking . . .
Sitting here thinking back on what Mr. Poopy said above. I can place myself in the dark of the theater in TWOK . . . NOT knowing about Kahn.
Checkov says “Botony Bay? Botony Bay!” I’d be thinking: “No way, they’re on the wrong planet, RED HERRING. Checkov wasn’t in Space Seed.”

Then Kahn removes the mask, my heart would have stopped!

Okay, deal me in.

I don’t want to know another bloody thing!

We’ve got Nimoy somehow going back to interact with youngself, Kirk meets Spock & company. Enough! No more!!

Show some pics, give us a vague trailer, I DON’T WANT NO STINKING LEAKS!!!!!


SPB – May 16, 2008

A: No apologies necessary. Fair comment and fear.

I think and hope and that you will be pleasantly accommodated…

Bob Orci- Don’t try to be a great man, just be a man and history WILL take care of the rest.

You guys are going to make a great movie. I have no doubt

#42 –

Thanks for the classy response, and I hope I wasn’t too harsh. Of course, this being the Internet, I’m sure you’ve read far worse!

I’m still a “glass-half-full” guy when it comes to TREK XI. My gut is telling me it’s going to be awesome.

What??? Spock , Kirk and McCoy are TV characters and never existed??? Must…call….my……therapist!! Come on people it’s only a movie !

When is the DS9 movie coming out? Probably before this One!! (if they’d make it)

Khan would have been even more of a surprise if they hadn’t named the movie “The Wrath of Khan”.

Maybe… “The Wrath of the %*”

*superman formerly known as Khan

Here’s a good example of quality Trek dialogue:

Kirk, Spock and McCoy are in the anterooms of the Klingon High Council. The futures of the Federation and the Klingon Empire rest on what will happen today.

Spock: “I believe, Doctor, that I have achieved…a ‘boner’ .”

Bones: “Well, Saints preserve us! Spock’s got a boner!”

Kirk: “What’s a boner?”

Actually, I’m quite happy being blissfully ignorant about the details of the plot, the look of the movie, and melody of the soundtrack…

In this day and age where everybody little detail seems to leak out, I am pleased that this has not been the case with this production.

Please, JJ, I want to be _surprised_!!

(Oh, and, your efforts at hiding everything from prying eyes are greatly appreciated. I don’t have the willpower to avert my eyes — like when the pics were posted a couple of months ago. Sadly, they are still on my HD for me to look at. I try not to “inhale,” but you know it goes… )

While I am anxiously looking forward to the movie (because of both its content and the people involved), I think I’m not the only one wary of the idea of an “origin” story. I have in my imagination my own approximation of how these characters met and wound up serving together — and, generally, I imagine it happening “realistically”, over a number of years and sometimes through happenstance, the way people in any “service” wind up working together — not over the course of a single “adventure”. (As a fanatic, I also admit that certain lines of dialog, as mentioned by 24 above, can be parsed for meaning that creates a backstory that is at once vague and yet, somehow, certain and inviolable).

That said, I agree with George Lucas when he observes that some Star Wars fans hated the prequels (which I liked very much) because they had already made their own SW movies with their own galactic histories in their heads to the detriment of their enjoying the films.

So, I’m going to keep an open mind and if it works, and if it is in keeping with what’s more or less established, the movie might really be something really special.