Comic Con 08: Abrams Team Talk Trek At Fringe Panel

4 out of 5 of the ‘Supreme Court’ behind the Star Trek movie hit the stage tonight at Comic Con, but they were there to promote their mysterious new show for Fox, Fringe. However, Star Trek could not be denied and it came up a few times during the panel discussion, with updates and post-production, thoughts on George Takei and who is the best villain Khan or the Borg. Details and video below


Star Trek almost locked
According to Star Trek director JJ Abrams, he is "very close to locking Trek," meaning that within a few weeks he will have his first cut of the film done. However, executive producer Bryan Burk pointed out that very few of the effects shots are done. Burk also noted that the trailer they are currently working on is not complete due to the lack of effects and that since they moved the film from December to May they are not rushing the effects. However, Abrams also noted that they are still hoping to have the film finished by December.

It still strikes some as surprising that the entire Trek team was in San Diego and yet there was no Star Trek panel (Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman and Burk were on stage tonight and I spied Damon Lindelof and Zachary Quinto in the audience). Abrams did try to explain to the Comic Con audience why this was the case, and also spoke about how he thinks the film is shaping up even without the effects in place:

I am dying to show you this movie. I love this movie. The actors are so good. The script is amazing, that Alex and Bob wrote. It’s one of these things, despite the effects not working* — you know, the Original show was not about the effects it was about the relationships, the dynamics with the characters. The reason I know that the movie is working, I don’t want to jinx it, but when I watch it, the reason I know it is working is that you care about the story and the people. It makes you feel. It is funny, it is scary, it is all these things that we hoped originally. They are walking around and there is nothing on the viewscreen or they are walking around and there is a big thing of green right there, but it is working because the actors are so good. I am dying to show you and I am sorry the strategy of Paramount not being here precludes us from not being able to present to you something that if I were you guys, and I feel like I am, I would really want to see. I hope it will be soon, so I apologize.

* within the context of the discussion, by ‘not working’ Abrams mean the effects weren’t in the cut yet

Abrams and the team also took questions on putting George Takei into a Star Trek movie and also were quized on who is the most badass villain (Khan or the Borg).

VIDEO: Trek questions from Fringe panel


Fox nixed Trek footage? + recent footage report debunked
There was a rumor going around the press room that the Trek team did actually bring some Trek footage, but that Fox didn’t want them to show it and upstage Fringe. I heard rumblings of this yesterday and again today. Tonight EW reported they did as well. However this could not be confirmed with any sources, so it may have been some last minute wishful thinking. I was able to talk to a couple of sources about the scene descriptions on AICN we reported yesterday. Both sources agreed that the scenes described are not in the new Star Trek, so false alarm there.


More Fringe
TrekMovie will have more on Fringe, including an interview with Orci and Kurtzman tomorrow.


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I don’t think they would’ve brought footage if Paramount(their bosses) didn’t want them to.

watching the video… I really believe that JJ wants this to be good.

I’m actually kind of glad that we didn’t get any spoilers so that we can all walk in fresh and with open eyes to a “new” Trek. so sweet… I loved this report and thank you to everyone out in sunny San Diego “whale’s vagina” and the home of Regal Begal (+Jack, Chrisy, Janet and the Ropers..+Larry) for this Update.

JJ: “despite the effects not working…”. I assume (and hope) that what he meant to say is that the effects are not ready.

Ha, I love his answer about George Takei. “Uhhh, sure.”

I love that answer at the end about putting Takei in Star Trek. Too funny. :)

@ #4 – He was referring to TOS’s sfx.

blah blah blah…same same…nothing to see here just more excuses about why this and why not that. Dont be surprised if this strategy fails. Not having a panel at SDCC was STUPID and there were rumblings there from people that attribute TREKS absence to Paramounts fear that the movie isnt that good. It will already be out prior to NEXT years Comic Con so they effectively circumnavigated having to show anybody anything in advance.
Im personally tired of the complete lack of so much as a table scrap and those ‘posters’ just irritated instead of titilated.
Wake up Paramount, the natives are getting restless and you cant afford to screw us over again.

I also can’t help thinking that just a few minutes of footage at CC could have created enormous buzz — a scene without visual effects would have sufficed. I wanna love and believe too JJ….

just chill, this movie is still 10 months away so it is not unusual that a full trailer is not out yet. a non trek movie, we would not be demanding a trailer so early.. by nov we should have a full trailer..

Anthony, you said:
“…sources agreed that the scenes described (on AICN) are not in the new Star Trek, so false alarm there. ”

Thanks for you and your sources. I was a reporter for a few years and I know that to get to the truth of a story, one must weed through false information, misinformation, rumors, and sometimes outright lies regardless of the subject matter covered.
You and the TREKMOVIE crew are upholding the highest standards of journalism.
Thanks. This site is among the most trusted sources of information in any media.

Looking forward to Fringe.

JJ is da man.

“The reason I know that the movie is working, … but when I watch it, the reason I know it is working is that you care about the story and the people. It makes you feel. It is funny, it is scary, it is all these things that we hoped originally.”

This is the best sign that this movie just might work. For some reason TOS characters were able to evoke emotions and empathy more than any others and why it was so popular and lasting. I just hope newcomers who have never seen Trek will be able to get emotionally affected by these wonderful characters too.

Although the upcoming Movie’s release is months away yet, the same goes for some of the many other genre releases previewed at the much-anticipated ComicCon convention.

A little bit of carefully selected footage which didn’t need to reveal too much, could have generated a LOTof good ‘buzz’ for the project at this influentual show, and I think it’s been a missed opportunity…. The Studios that make more of an effort are the ones whos product ends up being raved about in advance by the journos that contribute a lot to the many relevant internet sites these days.

It would have been a good chance to impress some of them a little.
Whether it ends up a hit or not, it would have been nice to hear of an advance general ‘feel-good’ factor about this particular Movie from the ComicCon attendees, as these net journos can set a certain ‘perception’ to the general Movie-going public. This one should have been one of the MAIN talking points of the show, even at this point….and it plainly wasn’t. A pity.

The movie is due May 08, and we’re almost in August. Time to bring out a trailer, really!

JJ is such a cool guy, and I love the fact that they all share jokes and have a laugh. All the cast and crew appear to get on very well and we’ve heard nothing but good things from both parties. This makes for a good film, if all the cast and crew get on and have fun shooting this film, then we can expect good performances and good editing. Look what happened to Nemesis, none of the cast really got on well with Baird, and it bombed.

So if the films gonna be ready in December like JJ hopes wtf is gonna happen? Are the reels just gonna sit in storage collecting dust until next May?

If the movie was still going to be released in Dec., we probably would’ve seen something at the ‘Con.

Here’s a hypothetical… With the new release date… If we had seen something at the ‘Con, and noone liked it(eventhough they are seeing something out of context), it would create a lot of bad/unwanted buzz that would only grow and grow until May of next year.

It is way too early to show anything. So next year’s ComicCon is after the release of Star Trek. We don’t need the ComicCon in order to for JJ to show us something beforehand. That is what the internet and is for.

Someone wondered if the movie was going to just sit on the shelf and collect dust when it is completed in Dec. till the time it is released in May… Well, I’m am digging the idea of ‘Trek being released in the summer with a bigger potential box office draw rather than the original release date of December when people are busy with the holidays. But what I am worried about is that since the movie will be done way ahead of time… This means that their might be a bigger risk that the whole movie is leaked on the ‘net way ahead of time as well. I hope they keep that movie under extra tight security.

I think (although very frustrating for us) It is wise to hold the cards at this point. It makes the yearning more intense. JJ is smart as a whip when it comes to presentation. When he feels the time is right we will get some tidbits. If it were me I would not want my labors to be judged before all the elements were in place.

Oh and for the effects maybe they weren’t working. Perhaps JJ wants them to be ground breaking and show a scale we have never seen before. ILM are great but to be honest their effects have been kind of status quo for many years they havent broken alot of new ground. Actually my eye sees the more modern ILM projects to have a plastic quality to them. JJ seems like the kind of guy who wants amazing things and wants the envelope not only pushed but blown open and for perhaps the first time in his career he has the budget to demand such.

I see the glass half full from all of this. I am stoked….

JJ: OK, so why I’m really excited about this movies is because of the great character moments. Like, there’s this one part near then end when Nero pulls out a Romulan disrupter and blasts Quinto’s Spock, mortally wounding him. So, Pine’s Kirk says, “Oh no, my friend Spock!” Then — and I know hardcore fans will like this — Shatner’s Kirk pops out of thin airs and says, “Quickly, we must get him back to the Enterprise-D. Picard will take us to the Guardian of Forever, and Spock can put his katra into his younger self back on Vulcan while his mom (Winona Ryder) helps me relieve my space ennui.” So…
(JJ’s cellphone rings)
JJ: Hold on. That’s Paramount.
Cellphone: Waa-wa. Wa-wa-wa-wa-waaa.
JJ: (a pause) Um — it’s a great movie. Go see it. Thanks for coming. (leaves)

I think the guys really want us to see a trailer, and it will be shown to us at the right time for movies things, but I’ll bet we wont see the Enterprise until we are sitting in the theater itself. I trust the movie will be very far out.

Just my opinon, but i have never been to Comic con and my decision to see or not see a Trek film has NEVER been decided by what did or did not happen at the convention. I think the hype of Comic con’s influence is way overblown. I will watch the movies and televison shows i want to see irregardless of the convention. Truth be told I hadn’t heard of the convention until a few years ago. IMHO it just doesn’t affect the majority of movie goers!!!

What I wanna know is: When are they gonna make the big announcement that The Shat is in the movie? C’mon, Bob and JJ, my cred with all the Shatner fanatics is on the line here! They have been panting with anticipation ever since my prediction of a Comic Con surprise announcement! : )

4 & 23 Anthony Thompson

re FX:
Note that Anthony addresses that in the story.

re: Your prediction:
You are gonna owe people money :)

Wow, so they pretty much have a trailer done, but they just need to finish the effects. So, I wonder when we’ll see it? I’d assume we’d see it before the end of the year!

Paramount could have really helped helped the publicity inertia of the last two years by allowing a panel as well as a sneak peak with some simple non-revealing footage.

As it stands, all the buzz is about Watchmen. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have the buzz be about Trek instead?

Oh well.

I think we’ll see a trailer in December or January.

I would like to start off by saying I’ve never been to Comic Con. However, I am aware of the number of attendees, somewhere in the hundred thousand + range. That’s a lot of fanboy and fangirl buzz, which now a days is very important to the film industry since they appear to be catering to that demographic.

It’s no longer just the fans that attend the con, it’s the press as well. And that is probably the most key factor in films attending the con is to get that press buzz. What I’m saying is that, while comic con might not be important to you and me, it is very influential to those who are still on the fences; it helps to inform those who are not regular visitors.

Even if the footage was received negatively, it still would have been better than not showing any thing at all, because now people are going to think that Paramount doesn’t have any faith in the project. And unfortunately, that can create even more negative buzz and negative reaction amongst the fans than crappy footage.

I feel it was a major misstep in the handling of this film to not attend the con. And yes, I know they had a booth with a poster and some bags. That won’t cut it these days; do you guys know how much is spent on advertising alone for the average summer blockbuster? $100 million + that’s an insane amount; it’s also the reason why movies have to make two or three times their cost to be considered profitable. Early Comic Con buzz goes along way to help that.

Too late now, I guess

nice comments from JJ, the film sounds good except for one thing

I’m confused. I hear so much whining that I think maybe I’m in a daycare, and not on a web site.

Those fans who threaten Paramount make me laugh with cold Klingon disdain. Paramount knows they’ll see the movie anyway.

I don’t understand to need to speak negatively about the film before it is seen. It’s like saying you’re not going to like a meal at a new restaurant before you’ve even gone. There’s no basis for the claim and it just makes the whiner look like a tiresome oaf.

If this movie alienates some of those “fans” and attracts new, less whiney ones, then I’m all for it. This series needs more mature fans. Let the babies break away and go watch Star Wars.

That being said, I’m not excited about Fringe in the least. I haven’t liked any of Abrams’ TV shows. Both Alias and Lost were/are tiresome. In fact, I didn’t like Mission Impossible III either, so I should be the biggest whiner here. But I’m not. I’m excited and looking forward to Star Trek.

Hugs and kisses!

28. Zodou – July 27, 2008
“.. because now people are going to think that Paramount doesn’t have any faith in the project. And unfortunately, that can create even more negative buzz and negative reaction amongst the fans than crappy footage.”

– I respect your opinion, however, I disagree. I didn’t go to the Con either and while I’d enjoy seeing something, a lack of film doesn’t make me feel that Paramount has lost faith in this project. If it’s not ready to show, it’s not ready. Attendees got bags and posters and a lot neat toys (that I want). Trek was half the Paramount display I am told.

This is not a sign of a lack of faith.

15. Holger – July 27, 2008
“The movie is due May 08, and we’re almost in August. Time to bring out a trailer, really!”

They did.

18: “It is way too early to show anything.”
This would be true for some movie where you don’t have scores of starved-out die-hard fans and where you don’t have such a ridiculously long delay between estimated completion and release date.
This movie may be intended to reach a wider audience, and that’s fine, but the movie won’t be a success without the fan base. And the fan base, it seems, grows impatient.
I would like to see all this talk about how dedicated everyone is to the project backed up by some evidence, preferably of visual nature.

30. Einstein Jones
“If this movie alienates some of those “fans” and attracts new, less whiney ones, then I’m all for it. This series needs more mature fans. Let the babies break away and go watch Star Wars.”

Hear, hear! Hey, whiners: Paramount doesn’t *owe* you anything. Threatening them with boycotting the film just ‘cuz they haven’t given you a trailer *10 months* before the movie even comes out is pretty silly. This franchise has given you many years of entertainment and hopefully many more to come but Paramount does not work for you and making angry demands of them makes you sound like a self-entitled schmuck.

And to everyone who’s been interpreting the lack of spoliers out there as Paramount, JJ & company being disappointed with what they’ve got so far — are we reading the same articles? Everything I’ve read in the past year, everything the team controlling the film has said sounds like confidence in the project is very high. They just don’t want to spoil it almost a year in advance.

I am excited about the film. The franchise needs invigorating. I’m sure some things will be accepted as welcome improvements and other aspects will be harder to swallow. Some stuff may even outrage some people. But from what I’m reading I’m pretty optimistic that it’ll be largely satisfying. Why don’t we all just wait and see before declaring it all a DISASTER a year before it’s out.

33. Holger – July 27, 2008
” And the fan base, it seems, grows impatient.
I would like to see all this talk about how dedicated everyone is to the project backed up by some evidence, preferably of visual nature.”

Of course you would… we all would. But even if we don’t see a trailer until Nov or Dec…. I’ll bet you 99%+ of all who complained still go to the theater in May. There will be no boycott except by a few and they’ll sneak in when their friends are not looking.

Give them time to do it right.

The ego of some people…

If any Trek film relied solely on the fan base none of them would have been a succss by any means measurable. Movies are not made for the fans. True, the fan have some level in helping the film succeed… films are made to make money and the fan base would not have been going to enough repeat showings to make the films profitable.

And once again… marketing isn’t geared to the fans as a target audience. Marketing is geared to the rest of the population. Its those dollars the studio has to worry about targeting. Anyone who comesinto these forums and says they are not going for this reason or that must really think they are the con artists of the new millennium. You will be in line just like everyone else. If for no other reason then you simply believe the film will fall flat on its pratt becasue they didn’t put Shatner in it or the engine nacelles glow, or the shuttlecraft is the wrong shape. You’ll pay your money to see if you were right and if you were wrong, you will never have the stomach to come in here and admit it.

And for everyone else… the trailer will not be available until the holidays. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but get over it. Marketing at Paramount has their timetable for these things and there is nothing that the production people on the film can do to change this. Marketing departments have ben seliing people on films for over 75 years. A few Trek fans are not going to convince them to do otherwise.

The film will be what it is when its released. We can’t change it and we shouldn’t try. Find something to occupy your time until November or December. Until then you are going to see very little concerning Trek except for a ton of interviews (and that’s only because all these talented people have other projects to promote and Trek wil obviously come up during those interviews).

#36 DaveM


I would have said Khan too. But if I were up on that dais I would have said neither…..I think Captain Ron Tracy was more “bad ass”.

Just lob in some Bran Ferren Effects from Star Trek V!

Once again, I am tired of them saying how amazing this movie is! What are they going to say? That it is horrible?


-“I respect your opinion, however, I disagree. I didn’t go to the Con either and while I’d enjoy seeing something, a lack of film doesn’t make me feel that Paramount has lost faith in this project. If it’s not ready to show, it’s not ready. Attendees got bags and posters and a lot neat toys (that I want). Trek was half the Paramount display I am told.

This is not a sign of a lack of faith.”

Thank you, this is YOUR opinion. Not necessarily the opinion of everyone. Go back and re-read my post I didn’t say Paramount has a lack of faith in the project. I said it makes it appear to others that they have a lack of faith.

Go read I know you have to wade through a lot of garbage to get some honest opinions but go read their talkbacks, they have a wide and varied readership and I find it’s a good way to get an idea as to what’s popular and what’s not. Let’s take The Dark Knight for example, it had pictures and video out long before the film was finished and look at the returns on that. These days it’s all about buzz, how do you create buzz? You advertise and not with a stock Photoshop headshot poster. They needed to dominate Comic Con to get some buzz out there, they didn’t and now Watchmen has the buzz.

I must say, I don’t care about buzz at all, in fact I hate it. I hate the advertising machine. I never use that as a basis on what I choose to watch. But the fact is some do. It is they that Paramount needs to appeal to for this film to succeed.

To those of you whining about the supposed whiners: Your on a message board where people share their Opinions, they don’t necessarily have to match yours. So to save face you may want to consider that before you berate them for having a stance on something.

Why is it that when describing this movie Abrams insists on using the adjectives “funny and scary?”

I love horror films. I enjoy good comedy. But I also like geart sci-action adventure films. I wouldn’t describe the ones that are great as funny or scary. Stop with the funny and scary stuff. It’s sounds like this movie is so funny it’s scary.

And throw me a bone. Don’t show clips. Fine. Just a series of promotional/preduction pics of some of the characters in their costumes. You know, so we know that the uniforms look like and what the cast looks like. That four part poster cut half of spocks face, much of Nero’s head (maybe the other ear is pointed) and the pic of Pine as Kirk gives a sense that he is a crazy mime on the loose (which I don’t fault Pine for. They posed him and they chose the picture).
He looked like he was about to say, “here’s Johnny,” in a real crazy way.

– Is this movie a complete remake of the original show or..a prequel..??
This is a really burnin’ Bob and J.J…Should we expect to se brand new kilngons in the new movie.. too..???
The ‘big secret’ is really understandable for me and for the rest of the fans …

The movie is not a remake.

We were considering showing some Trek stuff at the panel, and we were literally discussing it up there on stage, but then we collectively concluded it didn’t feel right to do it there at that time.

What brought you to that conclusion Bob? I think it would have gotten everyone very exited.

We were there to talk about Fringe with three of our cast members who’ve literally moved from various parts around the world to work on this show, and I think it would’ve been disrespectful to them to turn the Fringe panel into something else.

Also, Damon wasn’t up there with us and that would’ve felt a tad weird as well.

Odd how I almost want to say “I don’t care about the FX I just want to see a new Trailer regardless”. I mean I know they’re Important and all, but Lucas spent a lot of time on FX and look what happened there. I know there’s a story Here and great Effects will be cool, but ……Ahhh whatever.

I can understand that. Why do you think paramount didn’t have a Star Trek board? Or at least more of a presence.

40. Zodou – July 27, 2008

First, AICN. Yes, I’ve been there and if you are using that as a basis for any informed opinion… the nicest thing I can say is, reconsider. Regarding this movie, they have once and possibly twice posted “spy” reports on private screenings that were false. Anthony disproved the second one and the first hasn’t been backed up with facts that I have seen.
Second, I did acknowledge it was Your opinion and never offered mine as anything more than a differing view. You weren’t “berated” on your opinion. In fact I said I respected your opinion, however I disagreed and said so. There was not the animosity you seem to be reading into it.
I don’t agree that JJ should have shown any film, good or “crappy”, at the Con just so they could say they did, as you said in #28. They’ve said it’s not ready to view and obviously a trailer is not on the timetable yet.
Third. The “buzz”. I am not in the business of making or promoting movies and I am not an expert in the massive marketing campaigns required for a blockbuster. But I am in advertising and while my Trek-fan self says “I want a trailer, and photos and details… gimmee, gimmee, my other half doesn’t disagree with the ad plan JJ and Paramount currently has in place.
In my OPINION, the presence they had at the Con was good enough (partly because they have no trailer ready) and it’s far too early (yes, I know about Batman, IronMan, etc.) I expect a trailer with the holiday films. Probably November or so at the earliest.
Last, nobody insulted you, so don’t act put out.

Bob Orci, hello

Can you throw us a clue when we might see the next trailer?

Indeed, Mr. Orci. I’ve never been to a Comic Con, and I live in San Diego. This year may very well have been my first, but for the announcement that Trek wouldn’t be featured on any of the panels, a decision which still seems inexplicable to me. This is the largest fan gathering in existence, with a considerable presence of entertainment media, and Paramount chooses not to use it as a venue to promote one of the biggest genre films of 2009? If you don’t care to explain, then fine–but please don’t try to tell us it was because none of the visual FX have been completed or it’s too early to start giving away information about the plot, as such excuses just insult the intelligence of everyone who posts here.