Pegg: Star Trek Not A Remake

There has often been much debate about terms like remake, reboot, etc as they apply to JJ Abrams new Star Trek movie. Simon Pegg (the new Scotty for Star Trek), a self-described geek who knows the difference, addressed this issue in the latest issue of Starlog Magazine.


Simon Pegg, who has previously appeared on the new Doctor Who, talks about how Who relates to the new Star Trek.

The weird thing–and I think this goes for both Star Trek and Doctor Who–is that neither of them are remakes. I often see Star Trek being referred to as a remake, and it really isn’t. It’s another Star Trek film; it’s another movie in the series. It’s the continuing mission. Doctor Who is like that as well. And because of the nature of how Doctor Who evolves, you become part of that tradition rather than a re-handling of it. Both of those are perfect examples of taking the spirit of the [original material] and entirely maintaining it.

So what is it?
Pegg’s point has been backed by the filmmakers of Trek who have often said it ‘fills a gap’ in Star Trek history. However, this issue of labeling has been a sticky one for the new film. TrekMovie asked co-writer and executive producer Roberto Orci about this in a previous interview, here is the exchange: You guys have resisting labels for this film such as remake, reboot, etc….even prequel. Prequel has a pretty basic definition so what is wrong with calling it that?

Roberto Orci: But yet it is not entirely accurate. In some senses it is a prequel, but the word I would use, which is how Damon [Lindelof] describes it, is a re-invigoration or re-vitalization.

So there you have it. Although it is always tempting to slap a label on films to define them one way or another, the new Star Trek film may defy simple labels. 

Much more from Pegg at and in the current issue of Starlog Magazine.

Simon Pegg, attending a party at the Cannes Film Fest in May,
looks ready to continue the Star Trek mission (WireImage)

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Is that it? Accurate assessment…but a bit nit picky.

Is that the meat of the interview???

There! I’ve been saying it for months. Now maybe people will start believing me.

IMO, so far Simon Pegg has had the best understanding of what this film is and what it should be. Or maybe he’s just more articulate than JJ Abrams, who speaks only in adjectives, and Zachary Quinto, who speaks only in evasions. Simon Pegg still isn’t giving anything away, but he does somehow manage to be reassuring. For me, this is good news since I was initially very skeptical about him being cast as our beloved Scotty. Now, I’m thrilled. I like his viewpoint that Dr. Who and Star Trek share some similarities in the way they can move forward while still maintaining the core of what they are. Of course, die-hard fans of the original iteration of Dr. Who may disagree strongly, so no offense meant there!

Just as long as they don’t call it by that stupid Hollywood non-word “re-imagining.”


Gotta agree there. I’m glad I’m not the only one tired of hearing every new product, commercial, etc advertised as a re-imagining of something.

In science-fiction, though, a reboot or remake can STILL be a continuation within the same series when one considers alternate timelines, alternate universes, etc. This doesn’t really tell us much….

I, for one, am sick of the stigma that’s gotten attached to the word “remake.” I am very remake-positive. Personally I like thinking about the new film as a remake, I think that makes it sound more dramatic, and frankly, would give license to more non-fans to get into it if they feel like it’s a completely new thing (while still honoring the original, of course). If you think of it as “just one more film in the series” as Pegg does, I think that runs the risk that only fans, who have been familiar with all the films in the series, will be very interested.

#7 – No disrespect intended, but if I had the time right now, I could name dozens of “remakes” which were absolute pieces of utter crap and total wastes of time over just the past two years or so, as opposed to MAYBE two or three decent ones.

Gotta disagree with you there.

So its a continuation, with an entirely new cast, with a lot of things changed, and a changed look to everything, and some backstory is being kept and some is being thrown out. Okay. If you want to call that a continuation, feel free. It sounds like a re-something to me. If “reboot” makes some people uncomfortable, how about we call it a “re-shoe” or a “re-slipper”?

I just have to say, that is perhaps the most badass photo of Pegg I’ve seen. :)

The new Battlestar Galactica is a re-make. It may be a “re-imagining”, too, but it’s still a remake. Sci-Fi Channel “The Andromeda Strain” was a remake (lousy, I heard). Sci-Fi Channel “Dune” was a remake (and way better than the original film). The same story had been made into a movie before.

How could ST XI be a remake? There has never been a production of the story about the how the Original Series crew came to be on the Enterprise, so how can it be ‘re-made”?

The word remake has had a lot of negative connotations lately. I personally always thought the movie was more of a prequel than an outright remake. With that being said, it can’t just be another movie in the series. Star Trek would be dead if it was just another movie in the series. It won’t be just based on who’s behind this project. Fresh talent=fresh ideas. I am sure the movie will honor the others, but thank God somebody is breathing new life into the franchise. You can’t attact a new audience by just thinking of it as another movie in the franchise. As Peg mentions, there’s got to be a balance between the evolution and the maintenance.

Star Trek has always changed backstory (when needed to further the plot, ie TWOK – Chekov did not meet Khan in the original, however in TWOK Khan says he always remembers a face..). Also, characters have changed as well (Saavik and Quarks mother being played by two seperate actors, among others). Also sets have been re-designed (The bridge of the E between Star Trek IV and V, 1701D’s bridge between the television series and Generations, etc) What Simon said is probably true, and by the way, if any star trek fans want MORE star trek in the future, you better all go to the movie and make it a success or else this may in fact be where the journey ends.

I agree hitokirivader, a kick ass pic of Mr. Pegg indeed.

I don’t know why the word “prequel” would be wrong but re-invigoration or re-vitalization is ok. The words are not opposites of each other. If it is not a remake then it has to be canon of current films and that means it’s a prequel, in the same way Enterprise is a prequel of the other series.

I like to call it the “DJ Double-J Dance Re-mix”

There really were “mixing signals” about this issue, from day one of the reports of the new movie. But reading this quote from a trekkie actor calms things a little.
I always remember Orci in one of the talkbacks here, saying something like “every change you’ll see in the movie will be for a reason”.

As I wrote that day – I don’t care is the Enterprise will be pink at the openning, as long as it will have the right colour at the end of the movie.

Just make a good movie. Don’t care if it’s called a prequel, a remake, a reboot, a reinvigoration, a retread.

You can call it a rebootalicous remade reinvorated prequel. Or you can call it just a Star Trek movie. Doesn’t matter what you call it, if the movie is good then that’s all that matters. If it’s crap, then oh well.

I’m not going to hate on the movie if it’s well made, but Scotty has 123,432 less hair follicles than he should so therefore the movie stinks.

It’s just a movie. Next year at this time you’ll be thinking about buying it on DVD in a few weeks.

7, I completely agree with you. If we look at how many “remakes” and “re-imaginings” (for lack of a better word) there have been of classic plays, we’d quiet down. Film is still such a new medium.

Like what Pegg has to say. Bringing him onboard for PR alone may have been a good idea.

#13—-I agree in general with what you are saying, but not based upon the example of TWOK. Just because Chekov is not seen in season one of TOS (and specifically, in “Space Seed”), does not mean he was not there. He simply is not depicted as the Enterprise’s primary navigator until later. Since Khan obviously remembers him, the notion that he was aboard the Enterprise is actually canon. He could easily have been working the “graveyard shift” on the bridge (logical, since he was a junior officer), or simply not on the bridge at all. Remember that Khan absorbed much of the Enterprise files from its computer library during his convalescence in sickbay. Perhaps he absorbed its non-classified personnel files as well.

#16—Actually, the quote was:

“Anything which appears to violate canon will have a canon explanation.”

But your point is well taken. There was really no reason to define STXI as a “remake” in the first place. The story will depict events which have not been visited on screen before, so the very definition of the term “remake” was actually never applicable.

With that said, there may very well be some artistic liberties taken with regard to the asthetics of the period depicted. However, if we are to take Mr. Orci’s comment literally, then those subtle changes in asthetics will be canonically explained (presumably through minor changes in the timeline as a result of some rogue Romulan group’s interference).

I think I understand Pegg’s take on it quite well.

# 18 Thinking about buying the DVD?

Ill be losing sleep in anticipation and this is after I have seen it several times in theaters@!

PS This is my first post. Iv been reading trekmovie for 2 years now!
Hello Everyone

Pictures. I need pictures of the new E. And Zoe. Actually, just send me Zoe.

Its a reboot. They just don’t want to call it that and panic us fanboys because they know we’re freakin’ NUTS!

Maybe a better way to explain this movie is that it is a part of canon, but made in a way that if the Original Series had a modern movie budget, the sets, the costumes, the special effects would all look better and of higher quality, while adhering to the original designs as closely as possible.

And now it be time fur “Tea-Time Chat wit’ British Naval Dude”:

BND: Hello thar’! Me guest today be Mr. Simon Pig…

PEGG: Pegg.

BND: What? Oh, sorry, mate. Well, let’s be off then… so, what do ye’ think o’ this new film herein called “Debbie Does Liverpool”?

PEGG: It’s another movie in the series

BND: So, it’s more of this tart goin’ around shagging people indiscrimant-like, eh?

PEGG: It’s the continuing mission.

BND: Weren’t ye’ in it fur a brief bit? I mean, how did it feel ta’ be part o’ this franchise?

PEGG: You become part of that tradition rather than a re-handling of it.

BND: You sure yer’ not just getting re-handled a little bit again and again?

PEGG: Perfect example of taking the spirit of the [original material] and entirely maintaining it.

BND: Well, thank ye’ fur joining me Mr. Pug…

PEGG: Pegg.

BND: Yeah, well, get yer own bloody show and ye’ can call yerself whatever ye’ want ta’… I mean, I may just be a depraved and irresponsible knerk bent on me own selfish personal gain and guiltless destructive pleasures, but I gots me own show.

PEGG: Doctor Who is like that as well.

BND: And now fur me next guest from the Council of Antiquitties in Egypt, Mr. Zawi Hawass ta’ discuss why tha’ new monument they unearthed on tha’ Gaza plain is not at all a Stargate…


The quote is even better than what I remembered :)

#21—Is that Thibodaux, La. (my wife is from there)?

That is a great way to look at it…. :-)

I like the fact Simon Pegg and Karl Urban are in this movie. I respect the hell out of both those actors. Additionally, after hearing Quinto speak at the Las Vegas Con a couple weeks ago, I sincerely believe he has invested himself emotionally in this franchise. It is in good hands.

Now if we can get the OTHER actors from Star Trek XI at these conventions, maybe we can all start feeling the same way about them too.

Dukes of Hazzard was a remake. Brady Bunch Movie was a reimagining, reboot. What Star Trek is going to be is unique. Whereas Dukes of Hazzard completely ignored the past… and the Brady Bunch winked to it through cameos… this is a continuation of the previous 10 movies that goes back in time to be an origins story. Which somehow, according to Sir JJ, leaves that future wide open once again, while keeping the Trek history that we know intact. Figure that one out. Whatever you call it, it’s going to be unique and it’s going to be compelling and it’s going to wake up the franchise on a big time scale.



#24—I would have no problem with that. But again, if you take Orci’s comment on the subject literally, even those subtle changes will be canonically explained.

“Anything which appears to violate canon will have a canon explanation”.

That is, of course, assuming that costumes/asthetics are (in Orci’s mind) a part of canon. It is obvious that many fans feel that way (although it is not my definition).

21, Wecome to the Asylum ;-)

I think there are two kinds of Canon involved here.

1. Visual Canon (what the ship looks like, the look of Starfleet Academy, Uniforms, sounds etc.)

2. Story Canon.

If we look at the whole of Star Trek on screen as a depiction of “History”, then we have to accept that some things are not going to be quite 100% correct.

I believe that creative license may be taken, within reason with the Visual Canon, however the Story Canon is less likely to vbe violated.

The Enterprise may look different, but the characters should remain the same (ie established facts and traits), though depicted by different actors.

In 1979, Star Trek fandom was asked to accept a completely different look and feel for the style and drama of Star Trek.

And the same happened, in a slightly different way, with Star Trek II.

What united them with the original series is the STORY making sense within continuity.

I don’t mind if the Enterprise looks a little different, or that shuttles, technology, uniforms etc. are different in appearance.

This is an origin story for the Original Series, told on a broader canvas than they could afford in 1966.

I wouldn’t exactly call it a prequal because that was “Enterprise.” I would say more of a gap filler. I also heard that it takes place between “THe Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” So that couldn’t be accurate. I have heard that it is basically the 2 hour premier that TOS never got. All Star Trek Series had a 2 hour premier that basically introduced everybody and told how the adventure began, except TOS. They are basically giving it one.

“…in the latest issue of Starlog Magazine.”

They’re still publishing that thing?

#32 – Good summation. That’s been my thinking about this, as well.

I believe now that JJ Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman, the actors and everyone involved in the production of this movie are sincerely wanting to make a high quality and successful movie and all Trekkers should be happy about it and not nit-pick everything to death. I have been guilty of nit-picking before so I know what I’m talking about. The nit-picking comes from a source of love, a love for a franchise, so it’s not misplaced, but rather misguided. The nit-picking takes the joy out of everything for everyone. I am happy and I can’t wait to SEE THIS MOVIE!

JJ – Please give us some screen shots!!!!

(I still think they could’ve found a way to include Shatner, but perhaps the story will explain why they couldn’t. I’m witholding my opinion on that until I see the movie)

It IS a reimagining: it just a matter of how severe it will be, and much it will matter.
The uniforms are different and it appears the sets are different, and the ship will probably different. I personally want these to be very similar, especially the ship.
It is yet to be shown whether the known and accepted sequences of events in the characters’ lives will be different or not. That will probably be the major area of contention.
My concern is that it might become too derivative, for example if everyone knew each other long before they did in TOS, and that the events, and therefore the relationships, will be different than in TOS. For example, it is rumored there will some sort of conflict between Kirk and Spock in Starfleet Academy over the Kobayashi Maru test. That sounds very contrived, and hope it is not the case.
But in any case, from the evidence we already have, for good or bad, it is a reimagining.

– I , personally like the fact that this movie isn’t a remake..but..i don’t want to see the same mistakes that i saw in ENTERPRISE.. like making romulans and kligons just simple stupid marauders…vulcans being just another impulsive race…the ships with wrong design..for example..romulan ships are looking more like klingon ships and klingon ships have that simple design of romulan ships…
But first of all ..i want to see a good movie..

37 – Actually, a conflict between Kirk and Spock would make sense in that context.

Spock would not condone cheating, since it may to him invalidate the purpose of the test.

Kirk’s cheating on the test is not “logical”, but emotional.

This wouild work to establish the different ways of thinking that will eventually complement and balance each other.

So, what happens when they will reach the point of the beginning of the Original Series? Or in twenty years, they will be in the timeline of the movie-era. What happens then? Not much gaps to fill I guess…

37. I agree with you, but also, it has to be a reimagining. Look at TOS, made in 1966 for a small screen. Now jump ahead to 2009, a big screen and an audience that is used to high definition. If they put the exact same costumes and sets up on that movie screen everyone will be laughing. You’re right in that it will all come down to how drastic things are being changed. But you know what, they’re making this movie respectfully from what I’ve been reading so far, and I also believe with some love, from Orci and Kurtzman’s writings. So the right motivations are there. It’s not like it’s CBS back in 1965 that picked Roddenberry’s brain on how to produce a science fiction series, didn’t pick up the show Star Trek and then used Roddenberry’s ideas to make a rival show (Lost in Space). Times have changed for the better and I believe CBS Paramount really want to make a fantastic product, for the fans and for everyone to enjoy.

You bring up good points on story continuity, and I only hope, they stay as close as possible to the original on those issues. The only way this movie will disappoint me is if it’s an alternate timeline we see and basically setting out to erase everything we’ve seen in TOS, starting over.

oh my god, seriously its time for something from this movie, trailer!!

The best part of re-whatevering Star Trek is the admission that all the Next Generation films sucked. I am so sick of seeing behind the scenes footage of movies like Nemesis and seeing the man I watched play the Captain of the Enterprise brilliantly for 7 years say how this movie is so great and the scope is “huge” and then it’s a big steaming pile of tribble poodoo.

#32 “In 1979, Star Trek fandom was asked to accept a completely different look and feel for the style and drama of Star Trek.
And the same happened, in a slightly different way, with Star Trek II.
What united them with the original series is the STORY making sense within continuity.”

I agree. I think we, as fans, accepted it because it made logical sense in the timeline of that universe. We saw Pike’s Enterprise. Set years before Kirk’s command, it was notably different. As was the Enterpriseof Kirk’s early command as witnessed from Where No Man Has GOne Before. Now we go further into the 5 year mission (which I speculate started 2 years into it, the 3 seasons being the last 3 years of the mission.) Again, thigns have changed. Uniforms, the bridge, the Enterprise itself all changed with the span of time.

Now it’s 10 years later. We get a new movie. We’ve already been accustomed to change, so we accept the “refit” with little resistance. The a change of uniforms in Trek 2. Still, no problem, time marches on, they get new uniforms.

All that is easy to accept. Going BACK prior to Kirk’s 5 year mission with an tricked out TMP style enterprise and a bridge straight out of Steve Job’s mind is a little more of a stretch to wrap the continuity-minded brain around. Having said that, I think JJ and company have created the perfect safety net with the “altered timeline” angle. This allows things to change…drastically, yet still be acceptable because, while it takes place prior to the 5 year mission, it takes place in a totally different place and a time(line). It gives the filmakers incredible freedom without jeopardizing anything that has come before.

I’m as pure a TOS fan as they come, but even I can wrap my brain around this angle and accept it as a fascinating look at “what if?” But the bottom line is Kirk Spock and McCoy. The on-screen magic between those 3 characters and the chemistry between Pine, Quinto and Urban is vital. If they get that wrong, all the real steel and plexiglass in the world won’t matter.

#25 BND- would that be the predecessor of the M5 computer, AKA the IBM iSeries AKA IBM i5 AKA IBM AS/400?

I’m as pure a TOS fan as they come, but even I can wrap my brain around this angle and accept it as a fascinating look at “what if?”

Of course the problem with this logic is that Leonard Nimoy is in the movie. What else could this movie be but a prequel to TOS and the six movies if old Spock is there to talk about it?

Closettrekker – The Khan thing non-withstanding. Your explanation shows that there is a way to explain almost anything in the Trek universe. What I was getting at is, as long as fans go into this open minded, we will be able to accept this for what it is. I admit, I was bad during the Nemesis years, and I did not see that in the theater. During the Enterprise run on TV, I skipped many of the shows, and only picked it up again halfway through fourth season (which I ended up buying on DVD). My point was, and still is, Star Trek needs its fans to enjoy it, and go and watch it, to survive. We all know we love to pick apart everything (cough cough, who else owns one of the nitpickers guides), but for the sake of the show, lets watch the movie, give it a chance, be open minded. Because if we don’t, we are liable to lose Trek forever.

Whatever it be, it’s got sand in places it really shouldn’t…


I agree Adam, and I think the fans will be there no matter what they may say. The problem with the Trek franchise as a whole is that I have never seen a studio who, not only ignores its’ fanbase, but blatently spits in their face time and time again. Kirk dies from a rusty old bridge collapsing? A Borg Queen? The Defiant but no one from DS9 other than the always happens to be around the Enterprise crew during the time of the movies” Worf? Insurrection was a halfway decent episode but brushing over Troy and Riker’s wedding when it is the only good thing about the whole movie? Oh but we did get to see Janeway in a new uniform so I guess that forgives the horrible plot and villain.

I read a treatment for First Contact before it came out that involved Sisko and the crew of DS9 for a few pages in the beginning. It was a small part but it was something. Every single movie after Undiscovered Country was made to get non-trek people to like a Trek movie. All I want is (like many of you have already said) is for this movie to be good. A good story, good effects and maybe a slight nod to someone who has seen anything Star Trek related before XI. I hope this is not too much to ask.

What worked back in the 60’s was the technology, the stories and the social commentary that reflected what was going on in the world.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the 60’s it was the cold war and Vietnam and today it is terrorists and Iraq.

Star Trek has kept on going like the energizer bunny for over 40 years because the message it sends is as relevant today as it was in 1966.

Star Trek painted a picture of hope and a bright future during a time of war and unrest which is where the world is today. I feel the things they struck a chord with the generation of the 60’s will once again strike a chord with todays generation.

It isn’t about reinventing or reimaging. It is about sticking with what worked back then which will work again today; a great story and cool special effects.