Orci & Kurtzman: We Were Called To Duty For Star Trek

This Sunday, Star Trek writers and exec. producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman will be the guests on Life After Film School on the Fox Movie channel, a show where Hollywood big shots like Bob and Alex talk to real film school students. Fox has released a clip of the show, where the pair talk about what it was like taking on Star Trek and all of that canon. 


CLIP from "Life After Film School"

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Student: You guys wrote the script for the upcoming Star Trek film, which takes place before The Original Series era. This means it is almost a prequel to the original Star Trek show. Were there any challenges laying the foundations to something with such a heavy structure to it already in place, with such a canon?

Orci: Our version of Star Trek is not exactly a prequel. It is in some ways and you will have to see it to label it exactly. Canon, that is a word that was invented for Star Trek, meaning, does it fall within the continuity of this forty-year puzzle. But it was amazing when we went back to look at Star Trek,  no one had ever done the story about how the original crew came together.  

Kurtzman: [laughs] how is this possible?

Orci: Yeah, there’s five thousand hours of Star Trek and no one ever covered how they all met [laughs]. So in a way that was liberating in that no one had stated how that happened exactly. And because we had been fans truly–who knew all those years sitting in front of the TV watching Transformers and Star Trek that we weren’t wasting our time. It was all tax deductible. It was daunting, but we thought, if we can’t do it, the no one can! No, not exactly. But it was like we had been called to duty and it woudl have felt cowardly to back away just because ‘it has been forty years, what can we do?’

Kurtzman: I think also, as daunting as it was, because it has such a die-hard fan base. And it has forty years of rules that you can’t re-write…

Orci: Or can you?

Kurtzman: [laughs]…the thing that compelled us to do it, it is very very rare to be handed a franchise that you love as a kid. Are you kidding me, you want to give us Star Trek, like are you insane? First we were scared, not because we didn’t think it was worthy, but because we didn’t think we were worthy of it. So it became about thinking if we were going to do this, what did we love about it, what inspired us when we were kids? And how do we get back to that feeling? And what was that feeling about for us? And ultimately it was very much about Kirk and Spock and that Bridge crew. So what got us through the fear–the excitement of that opportunity–was probably comes once in a lifetime.


The Orci/Kurtzman episode of Life After Film School airs on the Fox Movie Channel on Sunday August 31st at 7:30 PM ET and 4:30 PT. For more on the show visit foxmoviechannel.com.


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I love their approach.

Of course you’re worthy! :)

I want their jobs. Can I have their Jobs? They sound like they have REALLY good jobs.

I need a job. :-P

I would of asked the million doller question,,, Is Shanter in this movie ?


Glad these two kids are respectful and intelligent with a sense of humor. Will be very surprised if they don’t deliver big time.

OK, I hope they were speaking facetiously & don’t REALLY think that the word “canon” was invented for Trek.

And at least two people have tackled the question of how the original crew met… Mike W. Barr & Vonda McIntyre.

I hope these kids can steer.

That was nice. How great would it be to have a job where you get to work on things you love like that?! (Transformers and Trek)

#4—“Shanter” is definitely not in the film…

If that was really worth a million dollars, please make the check out to…me.

“Or can you?”

Mmmm… wonder what he meant by that?

#7 Great comment! Who gave them a special pass to the candy store? I was watchin’ Trek looong before they were e’er in diapers.

This is all great and all, lots of people from the film saying great things about it. Almost every single day we read something good said about the film from the crew, the actors, people who have “seen” it, and so on and so forth. And we sit here read it, and I’m actually getting more depressed with each thing I read because I keep realizing I won’t be seeing it three months from now. I’ll be seeing it SEVEN months from now.

Of course, I expect to be excited again, like when the trailer comes out, and in the month before the move opens, but in the time in between that what? I’ll keep reading how GREAT this movie is from other people. I’ll be reading the nth Zachary Quinto interview about being Spock and the nth Simon Pegg interview about Scotty and his Trek fandom, and the nth JJ Abrams interview about his Trek being faithful, etc. etc.

It’s like we’re dogs being dangled a bone, hanging from a fishing rod attached to our bodies. And we keep running after it, getting hungry with each passing moment, and we’re just.not.reaching.it.

Uh… sorry about that. Woke up on the frustrating side of the bed. Excuse me. I’ll go watch some Chuck Norris movie now.

“I hope these kids can steer.”


6. John Trumbull – August 27, 2008
“And at least two people have tackled the question of how the original crew met… Mike W. Barr & Vonda McIntyre.”

Yeah but those weren’t….canon!

“Or can you?”

That comes closer to confirming the rumors that this will create an alternate timeline loophole yada yada yada for the movie and continuing movies.

So basically it’s their way of doing a remake while still throwing some scraps at all the die hard fans that stuck with the show(s)/ movies for so long.

Essentially the same thing DC has done with their timeline over and over again. One of the reasons I don’t bother to follow DC comic books.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, when it comes to anything, excitement inevitably leads to disappointment. I grow pessimistic already.

No wonder he’s been ignoring me. I’ve been calling him the ORKster. When its more like ORSter as in Worcestershire.

I’m confused.



Some how I feel that Star Trek is in good hands not only because of the writers but the cast as well. Simon Pegg and others have such a deep love for Star Trek it comes out everytime they talk about it.

John Trumbull – August 27, 2008
OK, I hope they were speaking facetiously & don’t REALLY think that the word “canon” was invented for Trek.

A: Naturally… meant it in the vein of “Michael Jordan was born to play basketball…”

Roberto and Alex rule!!! Nice to hear from the other half of the writing team!

Alex don’t be a stranger.

Love Roberto’s sotto voice- ‘or can you?’

… the adventure continues….

I love the way Boborci can whip out the Vulcan salute without any effort – the sign of a true blue trekkie. So can I, thanks to practicing since I was a kid.

Note to Boborci – I think you’re gaining a little too much weight. Time to ease off the doritos, dude.

always nice when you visit, Bob


More like a $2.00 question.

I like these guys. They are alright.

Thanks, gentlemen.

They look like Trey Parker and Matt Stone 5 years in the future

#9 re #4.

No, no, wait a minute – maybe a tam o’shanter *IS* in the film. Scotty wears one, for all we know.

And which canon? The one in 1812 overture? That’s the one that was invented for Sar Trek?

#20. lay off Bob O. I think we all have to calm down a little when it comes to people’s physical appearances.

#25. Note to self: Be sure not to misspell something when I’m busy mocking someone else for misspelling something. Karmic.

That’s STAR Trek, of course. Not SAR Trek.


Janice – August 27, 2008
I love the way Boborci can whip out the Vulcan salute without any effort – the sign of a true blue trekkie. So can I, thanks to practicing since I was a kid.

Note to Boborci – I think you’re gaining a little too much weight. Time to ease off the doritos, dude.

A: I know, it’s true. Hanging around sets makes you fat. I’ve lost ten pounds since that interview!

Boborci – Good to see you guys on video.

I have to say, I’m really looking to see the movie that you and Alex wrote.

Hearing good stuff so far ;-)

Thanks for visiting these humble forums and actually speaking to the fan community.

#15—“That comes closer to confirming the rumors that this will create an alternate timeline loophole yada yada yada for the movie and continuing movies.

So basically it’s their way of doing a remake…”

Or Bob is just being Bob…(“bobbing” and weaving)

#17—Yeah, Urban gives me the same kind of feeling. But ever since Pegg sparred with that jacka$$ from that L.A. rag paper (who went out of his way to denegrate Star Trek fans), he earned a bigtime fan of his own right then and there…me.


Hi, Bob! Nice to see you posting again, and I hope our various speculations have proven entertaining. (You lucky guys already know, while we still have to wonder for another 8.5 months! ;) )

I know this must be part of the plan, but I wish the whole discussion weren’t so confusing on whether this film is part of the rest of Trek, or not. Mr. Pegg and Ms. Saldana seemed pretty explicit that it is, while Mr. Quinto’s comments were taken to be less certain, and so forth.

Realizing, of course, that there have been reports of various alternate time tracks seen in the film, and all that, and also of course realizing that there have to be some visual evolutions, I just hope that the “origin story” part still dovetails with the rest of Trek, in terms of storytelling. If you guys could just tell me that it does, I could so breathe easy and be ready to go for whatever the rest of the ride will be.

I know you probably won’t, and I guess that’s my cross to bear, but still… :)

“can you do the Vulcan hand salute?” Then the kid does it WRONG!!! puh-lease!

Will a trailer be out this fall? Maybe with Eagle Eye?

Janice#20- The “doritos” comment was totally berefit of class, especially since you know Mr. Bob comes here to read.

why doesn’t Alex ever Comment here?……oh Denise # 34, you may have just answered that.

“a show where Hollywood big shots like Bob and Alex”
I dont think that they think of themselves that way! Clint Eastwood, etc. are big shots! Writers have never been respected like they should be. But, everyone is just doing their job in the entertainment world, and that is what no one gets!

Well, Bob and Alex are pretty big. They did write Transformers which was huge, so don’t underestimate the writers.

I’ve made a command decision absent a response in the affirmative. I must defer to nostalgia. Nostalgia dictates THE ORCSTER, without further contest or correctals. SO it shall be.




Are you just going insane trying to dance around the big question like “Is it a prequel? Is it a reboot?”. Movie is about 9 months away, and you must be dying to talk about it.

The Star Trek universe in novel form is spotty, at best, in terms of quality. I don’t care if the origins of the Enterprise crew are covered in book form; it needs to be on screen to count.

Oh yeah, one more thing: screw Shatner.

Not the actor; just all of this repetitive, annoying talk about him. (And not necessarily in this thread, either.)

I am once again reminded of how enthused I am about the casting :)

– This movie should be a good movie..i never saw before a movie produced into an interactive way …and i’m really happy to see mr. Boborci keeping the contact with the fans…

I think he will, from what I understand the Transformers fans are kept well in the loop too.

And once it’s announced that he and Kurtzman will be writing the Superman reboot, I hope he’ll do the same for Superman fans….

I envy these guys so much, I think everyone has an idea or a Star Trek story up their sleaves, I mean we’ve heard so many ideas about how to Bring Back Kirk for example, but to actually get the opportunity to sit down and write a Star Trek movie…. wow

I really hope they come up with the goods as im sure they will, and Bob, your interaction with the fans on this site only heightens my respect for you and my faith in this new film… kudos

Bob Orci,
Get busy on writing a story which includes “The Return Of Captain Kirk”.
Snag Shatner and Nimoy while time is still on their side.
You will be remembered with love and honor for crafting such a story/movie among Trekkers.
You cannot create chemistry with the new cast no matter what has been said or written about. It comes with aging and familiarity. Like an old pair of worn and soft loafers.
That is what I fear about this new movie the most. Forced chemistry seems shallow.

#45 “You cannot create chemistry with the new cast no matter what has been said or written about.”

While I agree, chemistry is important, TOS was magic in that that chemistry DID exist from day one. The first episode filmed was Corbomite Maneuver and the crew feels like they have been together for 10 years. It’s that rare magic that happens once in a blue moon. Whether or not the new cast has that “connection” has yet to be seen but one thing is for certain, it can’t be manufactured. Lets hope they screen tested each actor against one another, partuclarly Pine, Quinto and Urban and witnessed a little of that magic before they signed the dotted line.

#7 – “I hope these kids can steer.”


Lets face it, whilst this movie will throw a lot out for the fans, the nostalgic bits and pieces like the sound effects of the doors and the look of the uniforms and the look of the Enterprise – this film won’t be for the fans that cant accept change. This is very much a film that will chart a different course for Star Trek – i hope it doesn’t rely too much on an “alternate universe” because if Abrams want’s to make it as real as possible – the idea or an alternate universe is just a little far fetched. I can see the problem being that they have focused on their favorite episodes (Balance of Terror and Yesterday’s Enterprise) and made a film relating to that kind of story telling – when in fact they should have looked at the entire Original Series – sorted the worst episodes from the bad and came up with a NEW story about what Roddenberry set out to do in the first place – inform people about the world they lived in within this sci-fi concept of a wagon train to the stars. in essence they should have created a western in space rather than a complex alternate timeline story to excuse the fact that they DO want to take this franchise into uncharted regions.

i have a feeling although this film will be good – they’ve taken too many steps to ensure they don’t mess with what has gone before, they’ve listened to the smallest percentage of the fan base that speaks out but forgotten about the silent majority who would just love to see Kirk take on the Gorn again or to see Kirk fight a Klingon or figure out how to destroy the doomsday machine.

I hope this movie isn’t just about an alternate timeline excuse to get away from the 40 year back story it has, i hope they are bold enough to suggest that an audience should forget about the last 40 years because our Star Trek is better – in perhaps a way that maybe elder Spock has to re-write history to save the future – in essence i hope that it acknowledges the past 40 years but through the story – wipes the slate clean.

The majority of fans will love it as long as it’s a good ride that is in the vein of how Roddenberry told his TOS stories.

The comment about being able to classify it once it is seen is fascinating.

Is old Spock on a holodeck, or having his memories sifted? Is Star Trek 2009 taking a page from the nasty Star Trek: Enterprise Valentine? Or are we in a post-Katra situation where Nimoy is revisiting a la Surak? Or is he having an Inner Light experience? Or is it inside out, and everything we’ve seen is the Inner Light? I have a Twilight Zone feeling from such comments. However in spite of that sense, it is somehow… reassuring.

A peculiar note: other than Star Trek: Enterprise… the character of Spock has been alive during the timeframe of TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY. Could Nimoy’s Spock be ‘not as we know it’? Could he be “old Quinto”?

The 8.5 month mystery we have to endure is severe, but if necessary, I am prepared to airlift as many bags of Doritos[tm] into the Writers Zone to ensure the production of the next movies after ST’09…

Long live the Supremes!

49 – i believe he uses a time-ship to go back and stop the Romulans from killing kirk but… does he succeed or does he have to change history so that he saves the future of humanity… re-setting the timeline and re-setting how Kirk and crew all met and went off on their 5 year mission – thus making it easier to write future movies without having to worry about what had gone before – ala Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.