Abrams On Shatner, Star Trek Sequel and Run Time + Exclusive Production Update

Today is what feels like round 78 in the ongoing Saga of JJ Abrams and William Shatner and the new Star Trek movie. In a new MTV interview Abrams talks about William Shatner’s response to his own comments in an interview about a potential scene…is this the last word? Plus Abrams talks about the run time of the film and TrekMovie has some additional info on the post-production. 


Abrams v Shatner
Last month JJ Abrams told AMC that there was a scene written for Shatner and then a few weeks later William Shatner did a videoblog about how no one ever offered him a role. Although this appeared to be a contradiction, TrekMovie noted at the time that they could both be telling the truth. Today in a new interview with MTV Abrams clarifies that he felt the scene written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman was ‘good’ but was also a ‘contrivance’ to get Shatner into the movie and that it didn’t work, and so they never offered it to Shatner directly. The ‘effort’ to get him into the film was therefore inside the Trek team:

I think he or his people interpreted as we reached out to him and tried to get him in. I meant internally. I didn’t want to present him with something we didn’t believe in. We were trying to make this thing work and it didn’t happen.  

Abrams open to directing the sequel
TrekMovie has previously reported that Paramount is working on signing the Star Trek team to a sequel. Abrams was asked about the sequel and said that he would "be open to it." This is reminiscent of the early 2007 buzz where there were regular stream of conflicting stories about if Abrams would sign on to this first Star Trek as the director or would only be the producer. So now we begin round two of ‘will he wont he’ with regards to the sequel. Word from inside Paramount is they want the entire Trek team back for the follow-up film.

VIDEO: Abrams on Shatner and directing


2 hour movie
Abrams talked to MTV about the run time

It will be a two-hour movie. I’m sick of these two hours and forty-five minute movies. Seriously, it’s like I don’t have enough time to stay two hours and forty-five minutes. I’m exhausted just saying that twice. I can’t stand it.

Although Abrams decries long movies, at 2 hours, Star Trek would actually be the second longest film in the Trek franchise. The longest is the last ‘epic’ Trek film, Star Trek The Motion Picture which clocks in at 132 minutes. Star Trek IV and Generations come in just shy of two hours at 119 and 118 minutes respectively. Although long for a Trek film, two hours is actually on the low end of summer tentpoles. This year’s big May movies (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Iron Man) were 122 and 126 minutes respectively. However many other recent big summer movies run longer: Batman Begins and Star Wars Episode III were both 140 minutes, Transformers clocked in at 144 minutes, and Dark Knight was 152 minutes.

Exclusive Production Update – on track to finish in two months
Because Trekkies like to be precise, TrekMovie checked with sources to see if there was an exact run time in minutes. A source said that the target was ‘around’ two hours, but that effects shots are still being dropped in and sometimes they change the overall length. As of now approximately 75% of the visual effects are completed, including ‘almost all’ of the titles work. There is also work being done on the sound effects and dubbing. However much of the post-production is considered finished. There is only minor tweaking going on with the edit of the film and Michael Giacchino has completed scoring the film. The goal is to have the film completed "by mid December" which would be right on the original schedule when the film was to be released this Christmas.

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2 hours is awesome. Most Trek movies are under 2 hours.

So this will be the last post on the Shat Abrams thing? Somehow I doubt it…

And maybe first?

as long as it lives up to the freakin’ hype!!

Good plan, my backside and bladder can’t last more than 2 hours!

Can’t wait to hear the new score..

Bring back Shatner as a Mirror Universe Older Kirk.

Meh… I still just want to see the Trailer and then we can talk shop… ;)

Agreed #5. I hope the score is reminiscent of the best of Goldsmith and Horner. Those 2 hours will be like watching a movie on Scalos!

Nice to see JJ is sick of hearing the same comments over and over too. ;)

I could sit through a 190 minute Star Trek. What are ya’ll talking about.

I’m eager to see what Giacchino has come up with score wise too!

….and the adventure continues…

This is nothing ‘new’ from Abrams on the Shat, IMO. It is exactly how I interpreted it the first time. He never even ‘implied’ that Bill had been offered a role. It’s ridiculous that he was even asked to defend or “clarify” that.

I like good movies. I don’t really mind if they are long. I seem to recall my favorite film (GFII) being rather long. If it is interesting, it will keep my attention. If it sucks, it won’t matter if it was 150 minutes or 120.

75% complete, huh? Personally, I like that Abrams has the luxury of taking his time (STV: Shatner’s Great Trek Turd Of ’89 always had the ‘excuse’ of being rushed). Take your time. Do it right. If TMP had been released in its superior director’s cut format in 1979, I think it would have been better received. Whether it’s in editing or the addition of effects, treat it like art. Don’t rush it. Make it the best it can be.

That’s my take.

I want it at Christmas :(


ME TOOO!!!!!!

I love his work!

Great, im glad this is a two hour movie. i agree i ahet very long movies too. two hours is ample. good move JJ.

am i reading this right then that no offer was made formally to william shatner. so shat was right then?

when do we get to see this trailer in Britain.

I had no idea ‘Transformers’ was that long. I guess this is a good thing as far as pacing is concerned, it just seemed like such an unsubstantial film by the end of it.

I felt every minute of ‘Dark Knight’, though.

Anthony, please please PLEASE tell me you’re working on an interview with Michael Giacchino !!!!!!!!!

I am both a Trek fan and a film music fan, and love this guy’s work on Lost, M:I:III and The Incredibles.

I would be stoked if you could get such an exclusive !!!!!

BTW, I think I can add to the chorus of Thank-Yous you should be getting for what you are doing on this site.

There should be contests to win an opportunity to pre-screen the movie in December. That would be quite the Christmas gift!

TDK was about a half hour too long.; The love subplot with Dent wasn’t needed.

Come one…someone’s got to be able to leak like two seconds of the score. I love Giachinno and I cant WAIT to hear what he’s done.

I hate long movies as well. I hope Trek is a fun ride that clocks in at 2 hours and feels like an hour and a half. Now, if it were to run a few minutes long due to a scene with Shatner being added…well…I think I could probably live with that…

And yes, it still stinks that we have to wait till summer. Just think, if it had been released as originally planned, they might be planning the sequel in May!

Bob Orci…if and when a sequel is hopefully announced, please try and use your mighty clout to get the studio to do a “back to the future” schedule, where you can film the next two movies at once. Or maybe bribe them with an nice pen/ pencil set. I know you can make it happen, you’re the man!

16.> Couldn’t agree more. I honestly can’t understand the Dark Knight love.

10. Michael Adams


21. star trackie

Your TREK navigational senses are spot on!


Is it me, or does JJ have Shatner mannerisms?
That would have made for an awkward dinner between the two.

Mr. Shatner, please sign on!

I want it to be just shy of four hours, with a ten minute intermission scored with a sweeping orchestral love theme.

Just kidding. I predict it will be 122 minutes long.

Scott B. out.

22 – Fantastic. While you’re speaking with <r. Bond, get him to update his Music of Star Trek book !!!!

There have been a couple of movies, with scores and soundtracks, that need his journalistic touch.

Two hours is good. Does that include pre and end credits? What’s the aspect ratio?

i told you guys that shatner was out.

never in.

happy 10-14 to you all; have the aliens parked over alabama yet? I need to get to a window.



C’mon, enough of this. What I really want is more information on the USS Spock’s Time Ship.

Star Trek IV is the second longest movie, at 119 minutes.

yeah, those long movies… Lawrence of Arabia, 2001: A space Odyssey, Seven Samurai…. they really suck….

seriously, make the movie good and let it be whatever length. As long as it doesn’t have 5 minutes of Kirk staring goo-goo-eyed at aship in drydock, it can be 3 hours for all I care..

Well, that clears up the whole Shatner debate for me, although I’m not sure why they couldn’t have just said that some months ago. Perhaps they were still holding out for a last minute rewrite/insertion that apparently didn’t happen or couldn’t be made to work. I can certainly respect the decision to put the story before any sort of plausability-stretching cameos. After all, a good movie is what EVERYBODY wants, right? Kudos to JJ and company for setting a high standard. And Kudos to Bill Shatner, just because he is….Bill Shatner!

Back to lurkerdom I go..

Do u know what I’d like to see, webdocs, especialy one of recording the score with the entire orchestra. Hopefully they’ll start putting one a month online or something.


It’s interesting … there are many here – me included – who think (or hope) Shatner is in the new movie. Why is that? As for my part it seems so simply unbelievable with all denials (especially JJ and Shatner) that it seems very likely :-) wow … what do you think?

U know a previous post mentions Shat being in it as a alternate universe Kirk. I know he isn’t in it and that’s no issue for me, but that is the best and only way I could see it being plausible. As I recall though Spocks alternate self was still logical and did bad acts because of the logic of his circumstance , But Kirks alternate was a real MoFo. Not sure that would be received well.

I think they are doing this right, I am also glad the running time is not too long and not too short. There is too much to tell here for a short flick. I sense the movie is going to move rather quickly along as to seem short even though 2+ hours passed.

can we get a special edition DVD that is 4hrs long please? I need that in my life.

I really like the overture in TMP.. gives the audience a chance to settle down and get their minds right for a good sci-fi romp.. really.. lovely theme right into the “BOOM BOOM” start of the title theme.. again adding to the epic theme of TMP.. theme.. can I say theme again?

I’m hoping Giacchino’s theme is bold and ambitious… like ROAR! was to Cloverfield..

I truly hope the movie’s aspect ratio is PANAVISION 2,35:1. No Super 35 and noooo 1,85:1 …

2 hours. Not long enough.

It must live up to the hype. The run time would only matter if it were “Jurassic Park 3” short, aka 88 minutes (less than that if you take out the credits!). Two hours is fine, just make it good!


Sounds like a pretty tight ship they’re running, leaving little opportunity for outtakes and other schnizzle to put on a DVD.

Conventional marketing and merchandising aside, I sincerely hope they’re using these months to launch non-traditional, guerilla-style, viral marketing. They could get Ben Stiller to post “home made” videos from the Enterprise crew on youtube, set up games, recruiting films for Starfleet, tourism videos for Vulcan, the sky’s the limit.

Then again, these are the marketing geniuses that gave us the straight down the middle campaign for Indy IV–like Crystal Skull Vodka. Get ready for Romulan Ale Wine Coolers.

Megan Coligan is the Co-President of Marketing at Paramount, and she comes up from the Paramount Vantage label [think: BABEL and AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH] and Fox Searchlight before that. It’s kind of amazing, actually, because all of Vantage’s movies failed due to poor marketing. She doesn’t seem to be a true believer or have any experience in something like this [then again, who does?].

It’s long past time for the TrekMovie Army to turn its attention to not just Production, but Marketing and Merchandising. JJ and KO can turn in a film that’s so great our heads explode [in a good way], but a crap marketing campaign can scuttle all of that. Frankly, I see a little BABEL-like preciousness, not to mention ignorance of the color symbolism, in the Teaser posters. The thing we all need to worry and be vocal about is CONDESCENSION. Marketing people tend to think that geeks will eat whatever’s put on their plates, so they’ll probably build a marketing campaign that goes out of its way to appeal to non-believers and the LCD… not unlike the way the Presidential Election has become all about appealing to the 10% who don’t see a difference between Obama and McCain.

Since it appears likely that Shatner will not be in the theatrical release, how about a special DVD version with the famous Shatner scene????

43. How about a short fade then the Shatner scene at the end of the film?

29 Ralph F.

From TrekMovie…

“Spock’s Time Ship

As reported before, the Star Trek film involves time travel and elder Spock (Leonard Nimoy) traveling through time. However (contrary to previous rumors about the Guardian of Forever) Spock uses a Vulcan ship specifically built for time travel. The ship is small and has a crew of one (Spock). The film will feature the bridge and also the ship’s ‘time core.’ It isn’t known what the name of the ship is, and it may be that the ship has no name.”

About the “problem” with the Time Ship.

1st off, and obviously, Why would’nt Spock just travel to Veridian III and help Kirk stop Soran? Or at least save his life there.

Sure it would be a shorter movie, but logically it makes more sense than going way back into the past to stop some kooky time traveling Romulan pirates, who are trying to assassinate a younger Kirk. Obviously that never happened.

But then it could go in any direction. It up to the writing. It’s got to be great!

Do the Romulan “space pirates” ; ) follow Spock into the past and see he has saved Kirk at Veridian III, and then decide to steal his Time Ship and go further into the past to destroy Kirk at a much earlier time?

I hope Orci and Kurtzman are very aware of the fanboy curse when it comes to re-imagining the classics. All aspects of this new Star Trek movie should have been thought out carefully and logically. I am expecting a “Lord of the Rings” style movie arc with this new production.
The Time Ship idea, if true, really puts this whole ship on Red Alert.
Hopefully all is planned out with a three picture scenario in mind.

Can’t wait to provide my critique on the trailer. What IS the running time on the trailer anyhow?

Good luck guys! I anxiouly wait hoping to be “pleasantly surprised.” with the new movie and trailer too.

I hope they put in all the extra scenes on the DVD / BD.

… hmm. That’s funny. I never made the connection that Shat and J.J. where waging a media war… and neither did J.J. apparently.

Gotta love those one sided things :D

The movie isn’t even out yet and they’re already planning a sequel?
Is anyone getting that little feeling that this movie will… suck?

47. Capt. Fred

I take it as a GOOD sign.

24. TrekMadeMeWonder – October 14, 2008

“Mr. Shatner, please sign on!”

You said this before. Sign onto what?

It wasn’t offered and that was clarified in the story above.


49. Xai

No way. Shatner IS Kirk, as much as Leonard is Spock.
One without the other is absurd. Read between the lines here Xai.

JJ loves surprises. Its supposed to be a surprise. It’s going to happen! Shatner will appear somewhere in this movie, or I’ll give up my Star Trek TOS Phaser remote control.