Abrams: My Star Trek Not A ‘Rehash’

Star Trek’s producer/director JJ Abrams is focusing on promoting his new show Fringe this week, but of course the subject of Star Trek keeps coming up. In a couple of new interviews, the multi-tasking Abrams talks about how his Trek balances the fans and a new audience and how it is ‘real’ sci-fi.



Star Trek as balancing act
Abrams describes how Trek is both a film for Trekkies and a film for regular film goers.

AV Club: How do you put your varied interests to work in a franchise like Star Trek, which has fans deeply devoted to certain immutable core elements? How do you make it yours?

JJ Abrams: Well, I was never the type of Star Trek fan that had expectations or limits about what the "right" version of a Star Trek movie should be. But at the same time, one of the reasons I got involved with Star Trek was because it has such devoted fans, so I felt it was critical to honor them and honor the series. I learned as much as I could about the show, and looked for help from Bob Orci, one of the creators of Fringe, who was also one of the writers of Trek, and an avowed Trekker. He knows all the arcane details, so he was the one kind of keeping me honest on the set.

Ultimately, though, I wasn’t making this movie just for the dedicated fans. I was making the movie for fans of movies. The final product, I think, doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the show Star Trek. I mean, almost anyone, if you stopped them on the street and asked who Kirk and Spock are, they’d know. I think people will typically have some sense of those two guys. And then there are fans who know every episode and argue about what the Star Trek canon is. This movie does acknowledge a world that has pre-existed off the screen for decades, but when you see it, it’s not going to be quite what you’d expect, and definitely not just a rehash of things you’ve seen before. It’s a very new take on the thing that it’s also beholden to. It’s a very interesting balance .

Star Trek as sci-fi
In a separete interview with BuddyTV / Television Without Pity, Abrams talked about how Star Trek is more real sci-fi compared to other projects.

TWoP: You’ve become a science fiction icon to fans. Is that something you ever expected to happen? Is that where your passion is, that genre?

JJ Abrams: No, of course not. The truth is, to be lucky enough to get to work on shows at all, let alone, shows that you really care about or interest you. It’s a thrill and an honor. Doing Star Trek, that really is science fiction. On Lost, you can kind of argue it was a science fiction show, but we weren’t open about that at the beginning. And then Alias had a sci-fi bent from the beginning. Star Trek is Star Trek, you know what I mean? I don’t regard the genre as much as I like stories that are often just a little bit off-center or weirder. That usually means some version of science fiction.

JJ is listening
Last week we noted that Simon Pegg, Star Trek’s new Scotty, was clearly keeping track of Internet buzz for Star Trek, and of course Fringe co-creator and Star Trek co-writer Roberto Orci is a regular commenter at TrekMovie.com, so we know he is keeping up, but apparently so is Abrams…

TWoP: Do you read what the web folks say about your show? Are you going to read what the fans are saying about Fringe after every episode?

JJ Abrams: Yeah, I’m beholden to the audience, and the Internet is a great way to get a sense of what people hate and what they love and what they want more of or less of. It doesn’t mean you follow it all the time, but if something resonates, you can’t deny it. It’s not a bad tool to have in your toolbox.

From more from Abrams on his past projects, favorite shows, and Fringe, goto: AV Club and BuddyTV.

Fringe, created by JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, premieres next Tuesday on Fox.

Abrams with his Fringe actors: (L-R) Lance Reddick, Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson at FOX’s “Fringe” premiere party August 25




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“interesting balance”

Nice way of putting it!

After all this time can any film live up to our expectations?

more chat nothin said !

First !!!

Interesting to know that he reads stuff on the web. I hope he can separate the whackos from the majority.

Even more non news news. Never seen a Genre film with so much non news news. Starting to Pi*s me off again when I see production art, actual clips, props, hell even actual footage of other films like Watchmen, Terminator, Wolverine and Harry Potter. Films that are arguably likely to be as financially viable if not more so than our beloved Trek. And runaway successes like Iron and Dark Knight also fed their fans with a nice stream of footage and goodies for the fans again nearly a year before the actual release. Tired of the apologists too so I don’t wan’t to hear it.

Harry, it is difficult to gauge expectations when one does not know what to expect.

Still it’ll be nice to get some visceral sense of this film. It might off set the risk of over the top expectations.
Hey J.J.! How about some sneak preview?
After all, we were gearing up for this December…

Can’t wait to see the best version of Star Trek ever!!! Shake it up JJ!!!

I agree. More showing, less talking.

Show pictures! Make a trailer with real footage!

Make the fans feel valued rather than ignored.

The idea that secrecy is going to make for a better premiere and more money is ridiculous!

Fans are going to see the movie 5 and 10x if they like it.

Showing pictures and trailers before the pushed back premiere is only going to build interest, not kill it.

Unless the movie is so bad that he’s afraid…

#4 – Lord Garth

I’m 100% in agreement with you. The Dark Knight supplied pictures, and plot details for months and months before the movie premiered.

And it is now the second largest grossing movie of all time.

The argument that keeping the movie secret is necessary for it to be a success is totally blown out of the water.

It won’t suck like the Phantom Menace… I’m sure it will rock

Very cryptic with the clues. Yes, I am starting to think that Sir JJ is speaking only to me, and in code. Helter Skelter and all that rot.

Just kidding.



JJ if you’re reading this, throw us a bone!

My wife and I got absolutely hooked on Alias…to the point of watching an entire season on DVD to the wee hours of the morning (not a good idea if you have a toddler at home…DAMN YOU JJ!)

If Abrams utilizes the same strategy with Trek, audiences will likely leave the theaters next May salivating for a sequel. That’s an entirely new generation of addicted fans. Just what the franchise needed…right?

We need more than a bunch of tight love-me shots of the principles…
Any word on a holiday sneak preview out there?

Sorry, but I really, really *love* the secrecy. I hate knowing everything about a movie before I walk in a theatre. I want to be surprised. I want to feel suspense. I even like the feeling of being disappointed firsthand, rather than having 100 critics tell me something sucks beyond compare.

I say good job keeping the lips sealed Mr Abrams! It can’t be easy.

The fact of the matter and I think we all know this by now but Sir JJ drives a macintosh, and in fact displays a very large macintosh in his trousers as he walks down the street swinging to an fro all the live long day.

These facts are not in dispute and these facts one cannot refute.

When Sir JJ says, “My Star Trek is not a rehash”; I think what he is saying is that theres a sense of ownership on his journey. Its as if he has shared the commonality of the experience yet taken away his own individual reflections and personal growth. He speaks yets says nothing. He says nothing, yet says everything. When he speaks…



#15 Me too. I plann to stop reading trek news on the internet a week or so before May 9 so I don’t accidentally snag a spoiler.

JJ & Co. have debunked almost every description of this film, except for re-invigorization (Lindelof). It will simply be a big-budget sci-fi flick with new actors playing our Trek faves before the Five-Year-Mission, AND a new updated perspective on the world of Trek as a whole. The “Batman Begins” analogy posted elsewhere is probably the only clue we need to see where Trek 11 is going.

As for the lack of info, it is strange that the few starts we’ve had (Teaser in January, posters in Summer) were not followed up with anything. In marketing, when you spend money to promote something, the attention span of the consumer is yours until it’s not. So far, it’s been an unprofessional waste of what little money was spent. Iron Man, Dark Knight and Indy IV are models of how to get the public into a film well before its release, and keep ’em hooked until opening day and beyond.

Anyone out there who knows the information that was put out in the run-up to the release of Superman Returns feel a sense of deja vu? It feels like the same crap Brandon Routh was peddling about the wonderful blending of all aspects the new film would pay homage to Superman past and present. Then what happen was we were left with a mediocre story.

Let us hope and pray that this is not the case and it turns out to be more along the lines of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight. Oh, and definitely not anything like that stupid movie Cloverfield, … I want my money back J.J.

I wish JJ well with Fringe, but doubt I’ll tune in unless I hear some serious buzz — or someone telling me what’s diff here from X-Files and SO many other shows.
As for Trek secrecy — it’s still JJ’s ball and bat. If he doesn’t want to play just yet, we’ll have to wait.

I would really like to see a trailer that gives a glimpse of the Enterprise and maybe some of the characters. it doesn’t have to give me much, but something to talk about besides the endlress talk!!! Maybe in front of an upcoming Paramount film??? Like Eagle Eye on Sept. 26!!!

I’d be happy if they would just let us know when the next trailer is going to be in theaters!!!

But, doesn’t he know that all most fans WANT is a re-heated, re-fried, re-hash? How DARE he bring a new interpretation to the table? Who cares if the average movie-going audience doesn’t like it, as long as WE get what we want?

“the Internet is a great way to get a sense of what people hate and what they love and what they want more of or less of.”

What I LOVE is Star Trek and what I WANT MORE OF is genuine preview material (screenies and trailers) and what I HATE is you* for not providing any.

A picture is worth a 1000 words and all that…

*(“you” meaning whom ever is responsible for this stupid secrecy.)

Yeah, the lack of info is getting frustrating for me, too. The longer we go without seeing anything, the more cynical it seems I become. I mean, come on, it’s Star Trek. Millions and millions of people already know what it is, and they’re counting on them to see the movie. Hiding things you’ve changed, such as the look of Enterprise, until the last minute tamps down on any large-scale fan backlash you might get.

Or I just could be becoming too damned much of a cynic. :)

#4—“Tired of the apologists too so I don’t wan’t to hear it.”

Then turn off your computer, Garth, before I resurrect Mr. Poopey face.

#9—“The argument that keeping the movie secret is necessary for it to be a success is totally blown out of the water.”

I’ve never heard that argument. It is just the way that Bad Robot prefers things, and I think that the “surprise element” will ultimately afford the audiences a big payoff in the end.

I think back to TWOK. If I had not known until the scene where Chekov finds the “Botany Bay” emblem on Ceti Alpha V that Khan would be returning as the villain in the story, or that Spock would die in the engine room until I saw it on screen….I can only imagine the added impact of those elements to the story.

With that said, I don’t understand why some people are so impatient as to get up in arms about the lack of photos, etc. when the movie does not debut until May. IMO, STXI will only be able to sustain about 3-4 months of aggressive hype, and that would mean that the real campaign would likely not begin prior to X-Mas.

This is NOT Iron Man. It it NOT The Dark Knight. This is Star Trek like we have never seen it before. Abrams is going to keep most of it a secret and a surprise. You can drive yourself crazy being impatient, so why not just relax?

Regardless of what you complain about here, you are going to show up anyway…and Abrams knows that. My guess is, he will show mainstream audiences just enough to intrigue them and have them questioning their preconceived notions about Trek when the aforementioned hype machine gets going around December or so. Don’t expect any more major details or promotion campaigns before then. If you don’t expect anything, you can’t be disappointed…

Look kids, no Christmas until December 25. Or May 9th as the case may be.

I predict that when this movie opens, we will see this movie and we will be absolutely stunned by everything that we didnt know on September 3.

He didnt make this movie for the die hards. He made the movie for fans of movies. But what that really translates into is “I hope that someone other than the 1000 people who visit trekmovies dot org everday go to see my movie”

And if you ask him what his favorite movie is that he made, he will tell you that all of his movies are like children and you love them all equally. But that Star Trek is the best, obv. How can it not be with a mac in the pants so brilliant?



#25—-“Millions and millions of people already know what it is, and they’re counting on them to see the movie. ”

Are you threatening to NOT see the movie? Please….They are counting on them, and they will not be let down. You’ll be there day one…I don’t care what you say.

Everytime I read an interview with someone attached to STAR TREK the more excited and confident I get about it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: JJ Abrams and company are making something special.

I want Benjamin Sisko.

Poopey Face are you on the Bad Robot payroll now???

If so I am much more interested in how Lost will play out than non news news about Trek. Does Locke become Jacob??? Oh wait Screenrant has a 2mm swash of Spock’s uniform tunic gotta go!!!!!! Damn!!! sorry false alarm.
OK guys this is HUGE!!!!!! Kevin Smith said Trek was good!!!!!!!


#31—“Poopey Face are you on the Bad Robot payroll now???”

I just never was into peeking at my Christmas presents early…I always liked the thrill of Christmas morning better.

I think there’s always the possibility of a sneak preview of Trek, just not during the holidays when it’s still almost five months before release.

On another note, I’m torn on the secrecy thing. I like finding things out, but I also understand JJ’s wanting to keep things under wraps. He doesn’t have to show us anything right now if he doesn’t want to. I think more things will come out as the marketing plan heats up much later this year.

As Worf would say….”Enough talk!! More Trailers!!!!”

One key ingredient of a successful film premiere is pre-release buzz. I really don’t understand the Omerta-type secrecy involved with ST and how this killing of the buzz is supposed to enhance the anticipation.

#33—“I think there’s always the possibility of a sneak preview of Trek, just not during the holidays when it’s still almost five months before release. ”

The “holidays” is when I expect the first real trailer, and I would expect the hype campaign to get more aggressive from there. By no means would I anticipate any kind of “sneak preview” at that point. I just mean that Paramount and Bad Robot will actually begin actively promoting STXI then. To this point, the extent of it has been a few off-topic questions about it while they are out promoting projects that will debut more immediately. I think that’s about all it will be until around December.

#35—“I really don’t understand the Omerta-type secrecy involved with ST and how this killing of the buzz is supposed to enhance the anticipation.”

The “buzz”, at this point, is really only among established ST fans. Mainstream audiences will have a much shorter attention span for Trek. The type of promotion campaign that can cause “buzz” among mainstream moviegoers is still months away, IMO.

“And then there are fans who know every episode and argue about what the Star Trek canon is.”

. . . No idea which fans he means, here. . . Hmmm. . .

#15. Sean, I’m with you. I’d rather not know the nitty-gritty until I see it on the screen. That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing a cast photo — on the bridge, in full uniform. It would take me back to Starlog’s first photos of “ST: The Motion Picture.” (Would Robert Wise have called it a “reboot”? Surely it was. And surely “The Wrath of Khan” was a reboot of a reboot.)

#23. Diabolik, you *are* being ironic, aren’t you? Please say you are.

#28 Um, I don’t recall ever saying I wouldn’t be going to see it anywhere in that post. Though probably not opening day. I’ll wait for the Sunday matinee.

I kind of find it a bit wierd that when a movie first comes out and you ask them what they thought of it, they say It was “Awesome,” 2 Thumbs up. But later, those same people say that the same movie SUcked. What changed, why is it one minute they are excited and the next such a downer about it. That is what I see about Episode one of Star Wars. Like the character “Jar Jar Binks.” People first said, “yay, he is funny.” They even impersonate him. BUt then those same people say, “He was annoying, I hate him.” Does anybody else see a pattern like that?

I think lost in all this back and forth is the fact that Earl in #30 has made a rather bold and forthcoming statement on an apparent life choice.

Good for you, Earl.

I, too, was in the “show me stuff now” camp. I have come to realize that I was wasting my time. So, since I still wish to remain enthusiastic about the movie, and have no real reason to get upset, I choose to be patient. I know that this is not for everyone and I can respect that. But getting mad about it brings you to a point of either embracing the secrecy or being done with this whole thing until the movie comes out. Because JJ is the immovable object on this, I’m afraid. He won’t be changing his policy.

Plus, he’s being all secrety and stuff because Shatner is really in the movie.

(Tee Hee)



“JJ if you’re reading this, throw us a bone!”

He’s already talking about his tool and his toolbox. I can only guess that his bone won’t be far behind.

#4 and #9 Knowing too much sometimes can hurt the film more then not knowing..take Nemesis for example, we constantly got fed information and little previews and it did not help the movie any when It came out infact it may have killed what was a good movie over all. I’d Rather know a little and wait then know everything and not have Trek do good. Yes some info would be fun but JJ tells us when we can have a few treats, not the rabbid fans who can’t wait.

Everyone can keep on arguing about which is better, getting previews or keeping it secret.

I’m just glad there is another Star Trek.
This franchise was on hold until JJ asked for it. I cannot wait to see this movie, but I will and if we get something from JJ & Company we get it, if we don’t, we don’t.

I don’t really care because there is a new Star Trek movie coming out ….. and I want it to be a hugh hit so more Star Trek movies or TV shows can come out.
In 2 or 3 years when they are talking about the next Star Trek movie and the new series that is coming to TV nobody will care that you didn’t get to see a preview of STXI 9 months before the release date….

and that Star Trek in coming back is all I really care about!


#40. Said:
“I kind of find it a bit wierd that when a movie first comes out and you ask them what they thought of it, they say It was “Awesome,” 2 Thumbs up. But later, those same people say that the same movie SUcked.”

I’ve noticed this about people as well. Very odd.

#38 – I still have my Starlogs from the first movie, and the subject of the shooting model from ST: TMP came up at work. We all remember back to when we’d race down to the drug store and look for the newest Starlogs.

Thankfully there wasn’t the Internets back then. Can you imagine the dabates?

spoilers are fun and I am all for them….but I don’t want the spoilers to runin a good movie. Yes it would be great to see the Enterprise now but that isn’t going to happen for a few weeks at most. I am looking foward to all the things that build up to the premiere day and such but we as Trek fans need to make it so this movie does better then the last two movies.

JJ, some kind of a picture that isn’t a spoiler would be cool. Something to tide us over until the next trailer comes out (hopefully) after Thanksgiving.

And yet again I cannot spell. By dabates, I mean debates.