In May former TNG actor and professional geek Wil Wheaton blogged (here and on his site) about the state of Star Trek and the future with JJ Abrams. Some of Wheaton’s controversial views kicked off a lot of talk amongst fans. Now in a new interview with our friends at Geek Magazine, Wheaton talks about the controversy and the fan ‘backlash’.
Excerpts from GeekMonthly.com
Geek Monthly: You’ve been fairly vocal about the idea of director J.J. Abrams wanting to reinvent Star Trek. Obviously, it’s difficult to work on a beloved franchise and not get some kind of backlash from the die-hard fans. Are you excited or apprehensive about the next phase of Star Trek?
Wil Wheaton: It’s something we’ve all heard before—”Long time fans of the franchise are going to be served and everyone is going to love it. But people who have never watched Star Trek before will also have fun. Even if you hate science fiction you will love this film. This movie is perfect for everyone!” And it just becomes this marketing thing.
But the people working on this next film have a very unique and daunting challenge. Star Trek is a phenomenon that spans generations. It has one of the most passionate, entrenched fan bases in the history of media. The truth is, over the last several years, Star Trek was run into the ground and the franchise was nearly destroyed by the films and the television series that were not being guided by a good hand.
J.J. Abrams is a pretty good filmmaker. Cloverfield and the first season of Lost were great. So you have this guy who’s really creative and has a pretty good track record of making science-fiction related programs and you put him in the right seat and say, “Now fly this franchise and recreate it.” The pressure that he must be under to deliver something magnificent, and the amount of studio interference must be enduring, has got to be nearly indescribable. So I have a lot of sympathy and understanding based on those things.
But as a sci-fi fan, we live in a post Phantom Menace world. That movie was a huge kick in the nuts to a lot of people. For those of us that Star Wars meant more to us than just a movie, it was devastating. I think the same thing with Star Trek. It means more to people than just being a TV show. If you look at the track record that Hollywood has making lifelong properties that really matter to people into movies you see a string of failures. Star Trek fans really want this to be good.
Geek Monthly: That makes sense considering a lot of the older Star Trek films have been pretty bad.
Wil Wheaton: Oh, they’re horrible! There are two really great mainstream films, and two that are really enjoyable for Star Trek, fans, and the remainder are unwatchable. If we’re going to be Star Trek fans and hold J.J. Abrams to a certain level of excellence we have to be willing to admit and acknowledge that we’re even lucky this is even happening at all.
For much more with Wheaton, check out the from GeekMonthly Blog or pick up the latest issue on newsstands.
Wheaton on Comic Con Panel
In our Comic Con update last week we noted there would be a “Star Trek without a blueprint” panel with the Trek publishers IDW and Pocket Books. Today Wil Wheaton has been added to the panel, representing Tokyo Pop (publishers of the Star Trek Manga). Wheaton wrote a story in the second volume of Tokyo Pop’s Star Trek Manga which came out last September and also has a story in the third volume which should come out next week.
Second and third volumes of Star Trek Manga (featuring Wil Wheaton) available at Amazon: