Orci & Kurtzman Talk Why Chose TOS Prequel + Shatner

The new issue of the official Star Trek Magazine has an extensive interview with Star Trek co-writers and exec. producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The pair talk about their fandom, favorite Trek books and more, but of particular interest was a discussion on why they chose to do a movie in the pre TOS era and also a bit on the Shat.

Excerpts from Star Trek Magazine
(interview conducted in March)

Why not the next Next Generation?
Star Trek magazine asked why the new Trek team chose to do a film in the TOS era instead of following Roddenberry’s example and ‘take things on a generation’ as he did with TNG.

Roberto Orci: We all had to agree that area would interest us, and we’re all fans to varying degrees. Everyone could agree that the original series was something that we all loved dearly. Also there seemed to be the fact that Roddenberry had done exactly as you described, so it would have been doing it again. Thirdly, there seemed to be a genuine gap in what we knew about these characters’ origins. It wasn’t just remaking an origin story, it was telling it for the first time. There seemed to be unexplored territory. We couldn’t believe it when we sat down to think about it.
Alex Kurtzman: It was shocking that after 40 years that there was still a story to tell about the characters that started it all. That alone was a reason to do it.
RO: Creatively that was a reason to do it and on the other side of it, we wanted to introduce Star Trek again to a new generation and the people who had been around who felt that they were never able to jump onto the bandwagon because they felt they’d missed too much. The idea of making an introduction that anyone can come into, and find out what it is that all of us love about Star Trek, without having to know anything about Star Trek, was something we just couldn’t pass up. The two of those together made it inescapable.

Orci and Kurtzman make an interesting point. If you look at the five Trek TV series, all but The Original Series had elaborate pilots that showed how the crews of each show came together. In addition to the pilots there were also prequel episodes like TNG’s “Tapestry” and ENT’s “First Flight,” which TOS never had (although “The Menagerie” did show the old days when Spock shouted a lot). In a way the new Star Trek movie is the ‘origin pilot’ The Original Series never had.

Shatner wanted larger part?
When asked if they thought it likely Shatner could be worked in, Orci said he didn’t think it likely but "never say never," He also gave some background on the whole Shat saga

We went through the same process that we went through with Nimoy: We pitched him what we were thinking early on before we wrote it, and got his blessing as well, which was amazing. We talked in the meeting about the fact that Star Trek had killed Kirk and that was going to be a big stumbling block to an organic introduction of the character, but we would do our best. Subsequently he said he would require a slightly larger part than maybe this movie could sustain so we’ve kept him in the back of our minds, and now with another year to go, who knows? .

It appears there may be more to the whole Shatner in the movie saga than just what we have been hearing from Mr. Shatner lately.

UPDATE: Orci clarifies
Shortly after this article went up, Mr. Orci wrote the followg in the comments section below

by the way, when I said that Mr. Shatner subsequently said he wanted a larger role, I was referring to his public statement that he did not do cameos. Nothing more.

The latest issue of Star Trek Magazine has much more from Orci & Kurtzman, as well as other good articles on the film, and much more. Pick it on newsstands now.


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Uh oh here come the shat rumors again…

the shat wanted a larger part? Wow, that’s not like him. ;)

It’s too bad the interview couldn’t have been done in May instead of March… I just can’t wait for the full trailer!


/hee hee

I need to renew my star trek mag subscription.

I think you should use spell check.

by the way, when I said that Mr. Shatner subsequently said he wanted a larger role, I was referring to his public statement that he did not do cameos. Nothing more.

no radar – I just check your site every day!

yes Bob, you were clear on what you meant (just good to be safe, just in case)

But, now that the movie’s release date has been changed…who knows, anything can happen. As someone else has said, “there are always possibilities”

see ya next time!!!

I check this site everyday, too (along with a couple of Beatle and guitar related sites). This has become one of my favorites, for sure.

gracias Anthony Pascale

From the mouth of Orci and Kurtzman

we’ve kept him in the back of our minds, and now with another year to go, who knows? .

Dam I thought the hole “Is Shatner in the next trek” thing was over,,,
maybe not.

this seems to have more twist and turns than an episode of “Lost”

This has again, given me a faint glimmer of light that Mr Shatner may return once more as,,,,, “Kirk”


I could understand on the one hand having the Shat in it would pretty much make it “The Search for Kirk” but on the other hand, I cannot imagine Spock abandoning his best friend to the fate he ultimately met on Veridian III. At some point in the 24th century, he would’ve learned the truth about his supposed ‘death/disappearance’ from Picard.

The problem with having Kirk come back from the dead is going all the way out to Veridian III and digging him up from under all those rocks and then hauling his corpse to New England or wherever that Native American burial ground is and reburying him and then having him come back and kill Herman Munster before he does that cousin Vinny movie and then having to put him down again because he just ‘aint right.

So, there’s that.

@ warptrek

I guess it is established that Spock never met Picard again after “Unification”? Don’t get me wrong, I also can’t imagine Spock abandoning Kirk but you know, Picard and Spock aren’t exactly pen pals.

If the Hoff,…äh I mean the Shat would be in the movie…. That’ll be cool.
But if he’s not: Fine by me!

Maybe this is why people don’t ask me things…

I think it’s obvious that there was no way to put Shatner in this story without devoting a larger portion of the script to how and why we got ol’ kirk off that mountain on veridian III.

Which is not the story TPTB wanted to tell, or would have been what joe public would have wanted to see. By putting him him – they would have had to rewrite the script and could have possibly alienated any new audience by talking about stuff that happened over 4 movies back.

“Who the hells Soran…Whats the nexus?”

Only way in was a cameo and given that Shatner doesn’t do them. Would have been nice, but was not meant to be.

Just my take anyway.

I agree with 13. warptrek – June 16, 2008

Spock would’ve learned the truth about his supposed ‘death/disappearance’

Just maybe not from Picard.

Spock wouldnt abandon Kirk ,, as Kirk said..
“you would of done the same for me”

Shatner might have some “spare” time coming up with the final season wrap of Boston Legal….;)

To be honest I really think we need the Shat in this film. I think it’d bring things round full circle just for him to appear. And come on let’s admit it – we’d ALL love to see Shatner & Nimoy together again on the big screen. JJ you’ve got to find a way and you know it.

Mr. Orci, I hope that even if you can’t fit Shatner in this movie that you will keep the option open with putting him in the next one. Thanks for reading!

I little song I like,,,


:o )

Mr. Orci, Kurtzman & Abrams…. please ignore all the “advice” directed your way on these posts and just make the best film possible… take some risks, make it interesting, relevant, funny, and authentic, and we’ll all be happy (and so will your bosses ’cause it’ll make some money).

Can you tell us if Mr. Giacchino has begun work on his score? In the past the score album has been released several weeks in advance of the film, something that would seem to be an effective marketing tool. Is that a possibility this time?

How are those effects shots looking??

No, please don’t put Shatner in the movie. I for one do not need to see him and Nimoy together again. Leonard is enough for me. It’s time he got to be the big banana. There isn’t room for Shatner in this movie. Please please please don’t put him in it.

I still don’t buy the whole “Kirk died in Generations” argument. I’ve heard this story may be considered almost an alternate timeline or Trek universe plus they could have timed the future Kirk and Spock to come from a time before Kirk’s death.

There are other factors at work here, but who know if we’ll ever get get the real story…


Spock bloody better be CONSTANTLY SHOUTING in this movie…

Bob if you’re still reading would you and the team ever consider a Next Generation film or any other film about one of the other crews?

So it’s not ruled out yet completely that Shatner won’t be in the movie?

This looks more and more like a publicity stunt. He is in, no, he isn’t, maybe he is in it after all, no no, he isn’t, or is he?

After reading this I believe again that he will be in the movie and that his appearance will be the big surprise of the film.

That Shatner thing is over…or not …or maybe it’s only just beginning…or maybe there’s a next round, and a next one, and a next one until May 09, or maybe the Shat and Abrams & Orci are keeping a loophole open …or maybe not…stay tuned for the next cryptic prognosis…;)

As far as I’m concerned, there’s still something LARGE-SCALE going on, and it’s MIND-BLOWING to read that “now with another year to go, who knows?” over and over again, and I’m DYING to see Mr. Shatner as Kirk ONE MORE TIME. :)

Adjusted timeline at movie’s end: Old Kirk’s back as a result. No need for Nexus shampoo.

I put a quarter in my rumor-mill generator and got the following: “The big surprise of the film isn’t that Spock ends up saving Kirk from his on-screen fate in a subtle benefit from thwarting the Romulan plot: Instead, the big surprise is that Romulan plot ends up preserving Kirk’s life in a way that is unavoidably damaging to the time-stream, and Spock has to (with restrained but obvious anguish) pop a phaser-cap in his captain’s ass to save the universe.”

Wow. That thing spits out much cooler stuff when I actually put in the quarter! The needs of the many, bay-bee!

24, Yes, thjat’s something I don’t understand about the supposed difficulty of Shat’s Kirk being dead – if this new film is supposed to rewrite Trek history with an alternate timeline or universe/multiverse thing going on, then the alternate 23rd century’s Kirk may have not been involved in the Enterprise B incident. Heck, could this be that we could even flush away all Bermatrek in this new alternate version!!?

29: Be careful what you ask for. No Nexus = no Guinan. No Guinan = serious problems with large parts of TNG history. Think of the butterfly in the Amazon…

I don’t want Shatner *forced* in the movie. But if they can find a way to gracefully have him, well, that’s good for me. By the way, all these rumours are building up the theory about Shat in Trek XI.

Mr Orci

You guys just don”t quit trying to make this more awesome. You get Shatner , that is the cherry on top. I hope you can make it happen. Anyone who loves the original series would find this a once ina lifetime oppurtunity.

– Anyone who loves the original series would find this a once ina lifetime oppurtunity. –

I wholeheartedly agree.

Call me crazy, but Shatner is going to be in this new movie. It’s all a big dog-and-pony show we’re watching here between Shatner and the production. “Oh, we tried our bet to fit him in but there was not way to do it.” This coming from the most creative team currently putting out television and film entertainment.

Okay, gents. I’ll play your game.

I have had faith all along that he would be in the film and after reading these comments and with the time before the film opens, I am CONFIDENT that we will see Shatner and Nimoy at the end of the film.

Shat in, Shat out…OMG!!! Whatever! All I want is a good Trek film.

And a star to guide her by ;-)

And I’m a Shat fan.

I can’t wait to see how the relationship between the big 3 – Jim, Spock and Bones is tackled. If humorous dialogue between the characters in Transformers is anything to go by then this should make for a very entertaining and engaging story – one that will hoepfully give avid Star Trek fans as well as the movie going public in general a sense of where these characters have come from.

Re Mr Shatner, my feelings are simple – I am a Kirk fan first and foremost. The last thing anyone should want to see is William Shatner doing a parody of himself just to satisfy the whims of fandom.

One ocmment that really stands one where Bill Shatner more or less refers to having him in the movile as “good business”. My point of view is that creativity should come first. One of the biggest failings of Star Trek in recent years is that business appeare to guide many of the decisions to bleed the franchise dry with an oversuppply of the product. In the end the “business” nearly killed all creativity in an effort to keep the franchise alive.

Its so refreshing to here people speak about their goal to make an entertaining movie and simply tell a story.

It’s a treat to hear from the writers, because that’s the skeleton of the whole thing, the bones on which the rest of the production hangs. Good writing can make a supbar production worth watching, and poor writing can make the biggest blovkbuster into an embarrassment. It sounds like Orci and Kurtzman have their heads screwed on right, and that’s a comfort to know.

I don’t want to talk about Shatner being in the movie any more….

I like surprises :)

– I’m a huge fan of the pilot episodes..but i think the worst trek pilot episode was ‘WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE’..but is just a purely objective and atemporal opinion..

Origins stories are boring. Girl gossip and nothing more! I would much rather see a good adventure story. I really don’t care how Kirk and Spock first met and fell in love. Ooops. Given the way things are today, someone might take that seriously. GOOD GRIEF!

Oric & Co: Just tell a rip-roaring adventure story. Leave the gossip stuff for the soap operas and Oprah!

Oh yeah – “Generations” is nothing more than “Who Shot JT (Kirk)???”


^39 Adam from Sydney

The last few Trek spinoffs and series were certainly poor business decisions. I’m not sure why good entertainment is said to be “a creative decision” while poor enterntainment is said to be “a business decision”!

Everyone here is in business, even if you simply sell your time for money as a wage earner. Also, there is much more to business than “the money”. Ever hear of “investment” and “growth”? Please read about “maximizing shareholder value”, “net present value” and portfolio theory, to start.

You’ll see that efforts like Enterprise and “whatever that last TNG movie was but I never saw it so I don’t know its name” went against sound business decision making. How do I know that? Because they were failures, even by artistic standards let alone in terms of market acceptance. And let me remind you, that YOU and I ARE the MARKET, lol!

(I will also remind everyone that William Shakespeare was a shrewd businessman who wrote his plays to bring subscribers to the Globe theatre. So too were Mozart and Beethoven who wrote on commission. Gene Roddenberry for that matter, whose only reason for creating Trek was to earn a living.)

Money makes the world go ’round. It does not force it to be juvenile, dull, boring, or anything else. That friends, is up to you!

I quite frankly am getting tired of all the “Shat” talk. I love the guy and what he did for Star Trek, but if he can’t be put in the movie that ads to the fluidity and plot of the story then don’t bother. I don’t want him thrown in simply because the fans demand it, that’s not a good enough reason (sorry guys). Kowtowing to fans is usually a good way to kill a film to be completely honest. that’s why writers and directors do things their way and throw in an occasional nod or easter egg instead.

And if I might say so now, it might have occurred to Spock in the future that were he to go rescue Kirk from his fate, he would still be relatively young and useful to the Federation. Just a thought.

Interestingly enough, I think one of the mistakes made in “Enterprise” is that it was TOO MUCH of an origins story. They set themselves the unenviable task of either exploring familiar territory too deeply (If so much was already known about Vulcan culture, why did so much of it come as a surprise to Spock’s friends?**) or exploring new territory that wouldn’t play much of a part in series set later along the timeline. They had to constantly walk that fine line, and I’m not sure ANYONE could have done that successfully.

That kind of

**This is also one of my beefs with DS9 – if so much about the Trill was already old news and common knowledge, it retroactively paints Picard and his staff as uninformed dimwits. Whatever Picard’s faults were, a lack of anthropological knowledge wasn’t one of them.

Mister Orci,

Years ago, you served our country in the creation of the Transformer, now we beg you to help us in our struggle against the mainstream thought of Trek. I regret that I am unable to bring you my personal thoughts and feelings in person, but my ship has come under attack and my mission to bring the plans to Alderan has failed. So I have placed what I can into this text box. You should know how to retrieve it. This is our most desperate hour.

Help us Robert Orci, you’re our only hope.

With or without Shat, this is going to be an incredible movie. Orci, Kurtzman and J.J. have outdone themselves….. again! CAN’T WAIT!!!!


Chris, you honestly make me feel better every time. It’s good to know that you and Orci all keep track of this site. It really does help to bring the public into creation of this movie.