With the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie still eleven months away, is it too early to be talking about a sequel? Apparently to Paramount Pictures the answer is ‘no.’ Star Trek co-writer and executive producer Roberto Orci has revealed exclusively to TrekMovie.com that the studio is already perusing the new Trek team to nail them down for a follow-up.
In yesterday’s article about JJ Abrams views on Spoilers, Orci dropped by the talkback section and interacted with the fans. Although Bob expressed his backing of the Abrams ‘no spoilers’ policy, when pressed for some spoilers (including showing him the Queen of Diamonds from The Manchurian Candidate), Orci let the following out of the bag:
Alright, since I saw the queen I can give you a spoiler about the Studio’s state of mind (not about the movie itself). The spoiler is that they already want to lock us down to write the sequel. Take that as you will.
After reading that TrekMovie.com contacted Mr. Orci to get some more details. Orci first wanted to clarify that Paramount wants ALL of the Trek team back, or as he has dubbed them: ‘The Supreme Court.’ This would mean the return of co-writers/exec producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof, executive producer Bryan Burk and director/producer JJ Abrams. There are no detailed discussions yet, but Orci tells TrekMovie “they would like to lock us down” for the sequel, but he points out:
Unless the studio had a horrible experience with us, they would be trying to lock us down as standard operating procedure. They haven’t even seen the movie yet, so this news should not be taken as evidence that we are anything special. It’s a quite normal practice.
It has previously been reported that Paramount has signed all the major actors with options for two additional films, which is also standard practice. It should also be remembered that the first talks between the Abrams team and Paramount about the 2009 Star Trek feature were in early 2006. That being said, all indications from TrekMovie sources are that Paramount is very enthusiastic about the new Star Trek and the team behind it. The move of the film from Christmas 2008 to the Summer 2009 season was a big indication that they think Trek can join Tranformers (and now Iron Man) as one of their stable of tent-pole franchises.
If one were to guess, then the likeliest timing for any sequel would be 2011. Paramount seem to be spreading their franchises out with two year gaps now like with the 2009 Transformers 2 and the talk of a 2010 Iron Man 2. Of course finding time on the busy schedules for the Abrams team is always an issue. Abrams has multiple TV and film projects in the works as a producer and there has been some talk of him directing an adaptation of the Steven King’s Dark Tower following Star Trek (he will at least be producing it). For their part Orci and Kurtzman have a number of projects going, most notably now the aforementioned Transformers 2, but also nine other films as either writer or producer. Lindelof keeps pretty busy as the showrunner for a little thing called Lost and Abrams, Burk, Orci and Kurtzman are also spending a lot of time on their new Fox TV series Fringe, premiering in the Fall of 2008. Regarding schedules, Orci notes:
As far as our schedules, I’m not sure what the hurry is since Star Trek doesn’t come out for a year. Some of our development is up in the air right now, so I don’t know exactly when we could get started.
Of course since we still don’t know where Star Trek ends, it is difficult to talk about what the sequel would be like (except we know it would retain much of the same cast). When asked if he and Alex have put much thought into the sequel, Orci states:
It depends on what you classify as “much.” We’ve certainly thought about it some.
But what to call it?
One of the issues Paramount and the Abrams team will have to deal with is what to call a sequel. Star Trek II is already taken. TrekMovie.com suggests finding a name like The Dark Knight, the sequel to the Batman reboot Batman Begins. There is no reason that ‘Star Trek’ needs to be in the title. This year we will see the 22nd film in the James Bond franchise and not a single one has had the name ‘Bond’ in it.