Abrams, Quinto and Pegg Talk Trek’s Heart, Star Wars, Technobabble, TMP, and more

As reported before, the April issue of UK’s at Total Film Magazine went on sale this week, with four collectible Star Trek covers. In addition to the exclusive images (see previous article), Total Film also has interview comments from director JJ Abrams and some of the film stars. See below for some of the more interesting excerpts. 


Abrams: Keep Roddenberry spirit – but in HD
As he has said before, Abrams tells Total Film that he felt that "Kirk and Spock" were the characters he cared most about and that he wanted to tell their story and didn’t want to do a "completely separate space adventure that had the Star Trek name on it." And when it came time to make the film he wanted to keep he spirit while redesigning the future, saying:

The whole approach was, commit to the spirit of what Roddenberry was doing but don’t commit to the literal aesthetic of it. Like the uniforms… There were a handful of things I felt we had to retain so that when people glance at it they’ll go, ‘Yep, that’s Star Trek’. But if you look carefully at the uniforms, you’ll see there are a lot of differences that make them more ‘real’. We tried to make what worked 43 years ago work at a higher resolution.

Abrams & Pegg on Wars and Trek
As a Star Wars fanboy, the subject of that adventure in a galaxy far far away seems to always come up, and it did with Total Film. Abrams noted what he particularly saw in Star Wars that it appears we will also see in Trek:

One of my favorite things about those kinds of movies is that you see someone beginning as you or me — a farmboy in Star Wars, for example — and by the end of the film you see them defeat the evil that seemed so much larger than them. There’s a really empowering aspect to that.

Well known geek and Star Wars fan Simon Pegg (the new Scotty) was at the same interview session and he took a different point of view, noting:

Lots of stories deal with journeys like that. Star Wars itself wasn’t really that original — it owed a lot to what had gone before. But this film is like Episode IV in that you’ve got a cast of largely unknowns, backed up by a few veterans [Nimoy, Bana, Winona Ryder as Spock’s ma] to provide some gravitas.

Abrams wanted to take Kirk on an epic journey

Abrams and Quinto on technobabble and the heart of Trek
When it comes to Trek’s technobabble and what lies at core of this film, there was more agreement. Zachary Quinto tells TotalFilm that even with Trek’s penchant for tech talk, it isn’t the focus, going on to say:

Ever since Gene Roddenberry conceived it, the underlying theme of Star Trek has always been optimism, and I think that carries through this movie as well. There are glimpses into other emotional states, but I think a faith in our humanity is at the core of it.

Abrams agrees, noting:

I feel the best thing about the movie are the people, which was the goal going in. Yes, there are phasers and tricorders and all that stuff, but it’s not a gadget-centric film… It’s a human slash Vulcan-centric film with technology in the fine print. 

Abrams on TMP and scale of the USS Enterprise
One last bit from Abrams in Total Film. JJ Abrams has previously talked about seeing Star Trek The Motion Picture on the Paramount lot as a youngster in 1979, but he tells Total Film what he was particularly impressed with:

I remember being blown away by the scale of the ship. In the sequence, where Kirk takes the shuttle over to the Enterprise… it was the first time I could see the front lights, the first time I could scrutinize the panels: it was the first time I believed it was real. The ship was shown in a way that felt legitimate; it was no longer a TV show. I so loved that aspect of the film and it was something I tried to emulate on this one.

Abrams impressed with scale of the USS Enterprise in TMP

More images, information and comments from Abrams and his cast are in the April Star Trek issue of Total Film, which has four collectible covers. More info at TotalFilm.com.

Total Film goes Total Trek for their April Issue

Thanks to Neil for the UK excerpts

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Can’t Wait!

Looking forward to this great film!

TMP Enterprise is still the best.

Maybe JJ will bring it back, as is, when he makes Star Trek XXI

I am so excited. Having panic and anxiety attacks.

it’s very interesting to see the quotes about JJ’s feelings about the TMP Enterprise. It’s good to know that even though he loves his Star Wars he has had a profound emotional Star Trek experience when he was young.

I also vivdly remember that reveal in TMP, still gives me goose bumps today!

I hope there’s a TMP like moment in it.

Awesome! One note: Expect a lot of hard-core fans to come plummeting in here saying “WHAT? We DON’T WANT STAR WARS!”, and being absolutely ridiculous.

Right Boys and Girls, the objective now is to watch every episode of the Original Series again before May 8th.

Personally my money is on this movie to be a classier Spocks Brain.

I think we can all agree that’s what we want to see.

What, no tetryon particle buffers to invert the quantum matrix?


Damn… I can’t wait any longer… my head is on the edge of exploding!

I agree with Abrams on the TMP space dock scene. It is the only really good scene in the entire movie.

While I love the TMP Enterprise, it is my second favorite after the original. When every other filmed sci fi show was doing flying saucers and rocket ships, this was truly inspired. I feel fixed about the revamped ST IX Enterprise, which often looks like a toothpaste tube that was squeezed too much. I find myself really hating the Tantine IV-esque Enterprise interiors, which giving my aforementioned metaphor could be the interior of a tube of toothpaste given its white glistiness.

As a fan since childhood in the ’70s I approach this film with a lot of reservations. The plot seems hackneyed, however I can live with a stale villain-on-a-rampage-who-must-be-stopped formula if it provides a couple good coming of ages stories for Kirk and Spock (and offers some great zingers from my favorite character, Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy).

Hopefully this is not a “Phantom Menace” scale disappointment.

The technobabble aspect of Star Trek was mroe of a TNG (and VOY) thing anyway. Previous Trek films never focused on it much, and I don’t think people will miss it much here. The focus should be on the message of our shared humanity and I’m glad that seems to be the case.

I have to get that magazine! I agree with #10… my head is getting ready to explode! I want to see this movie!!

I don’t want vulcan to be destroyed. It just seems wrong. I hope it wasnt it! Also it would be cool if they made the comic books a bigger deal so people can have more of a back story. @ #3. star trek XXI? I like technobable, but meh, I like storys better.

15. Reread the dust jacket that was previewed a few days ago from the book film adaptation and you can find out what planet was being destroyed.

I was as emotional as Kirk was at seeing the ship in TMP. I could sit through that scene many times, and indeed have. Good to know he liked it also.


The one in the trailer is destroyed inside out by a black hole, not by a nova shockwave. So I think, it’s not the same one.


When I want Star Wars, I’ll watch Star Wars… *sigh*

BTW… I feel like I’m alone in this, but I love the technobabble, LOL!

I am also a HUGE fan of the spacedock scene in TMP. I surely hope there’s something paying homage to that in this new film. Tobias’ renderings of the new Enterprise actually capture some of that very well…especially in the 2 angles that are shot from below the ship. One shows the structural “firmness” of the secondary hull and the other captures some wonderful detail in the nacelles. His work is truly top-notch and the images are my desktop wallpapers on a rotating basis. I thank him fervently for posting them on this wonderful site.

And I wholeheartedly agree with the “exploding head” analogy…I am more anxious to see this movie than I think I was for TMP. And I’m 46 now…you do the math.

Glad to hear them speak about the message of optimism…I just think these guys really do “get it!”

My faith in this film keeps getting reinforced. God-willing, this bodes well for the film!

God bless!

#11 That’s not quite what JJ said… and come on, you can’t tell me the Klingon Battle at the begining of the film wasn’t HUGE for it’s time, or the V’ger cloud sequence/V’ger Flyover sequence, or the rather breath taking, and errie “Spock Walk.” Granted the movie lacked in story, I never watched it for the narrative as much as I watched it to enjoy the beautiful visuals and fantastic score by Jerry Goldsmith. (When I need inspiration as a writer the TMP soundtrack is right up there with the classical stuff).


My second sentence was solely my opinion.

“Zachary Quinto tells TotalFilm that even with Trek’s penchange for tech talk, it isn’t the focus”

BEST NEWS I’VE HEARD IN 20 YEARS!!!!!! That’s what killed the TV franchise AND the movies dead (if I had to name a single thing).

Please people READ what is said in it’s entirity-not just what catches your eye. Star Wars is Star Wars-Star Trek is Star Trek-you CAN enjoy both. And to detractors-sarcasm will not show how smart you are rather how limited you are.
I look forward to this film-and nothing was not a 600 million dollar disappointment to which as today I still cannot understand what people were expecting. As in everything there is a generational gap and what you enjoyed as a child of the 70’s cannot be repeated for a child of the 21st century and that being the target audience has to be expected and also some expect WAY too much!
I grew up with the TOS and I saw SW on the big screen in 77 aas well as STTMP and I too loved the opening sequence of the Enterprise. You have to look at the whole history of what happen while filming the movie. You see a truer version of what they wanted to do in the directors edition of TMP. If you have not watched that you have missed a brilliant work by WISE.
I love the fact that technobabble is being curtailed as it was a fancy way to get out of a problem.
Looking forward to revamps that work:

Am I the only one who thinks that the new effects shots in TMP were not only not needed, but not very good. Most of the original shots were BETTER than the new ones.

The insertion of the warp nascelles from the view in the observation lounge always makes me pull a funny face.

Or should i just boil my head?


I agree with you 100%! The TMP Enterprise will always be my favorite. I do like the new Enterprise, but I think it could have been better.

What kind of world was Gene Roddenberry trying to create? Like most great movies they relate back to a portion of the Bible. The struggle of good and evil. One, the good, trying to sustain the golden rule. As in Luke 10:25-28 “25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26″What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
28″You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
While the other, evil, could be an alien who just does not understand the the meaning of treating your fellow being as an equal. Usually this would consist an alien of another world imposing on others out of ignorance of others feelings. Once the alien learned of the wisdom of the great James T. Kirk, they would reconcile and set aside their differences
The other evil would be a human, who was either tempted by power or greed who can not be reasoned with. Who rejects the Golden Rule so as to gain all for themselves. It would seem the greatest evil comes from within. While the good of mankind spreads the Golden Rule, looking at his back for the rogue fellow human.
The utopia could be like the hackers of the iPhone. They first hacked into the operating system and exploited it a way that benefited all. Apple grasped their exploit and the hackers respected Apple. Or the Unix and Linux world where a great many individuals contribute in creating a better OS. All in their spare time and for no money. Just recognition. And many other great advances by individuals who do it for the better of all.
That is Star Trek’s utopia. Starfleet is the Israelites spreading the Good News!.

Classic Trek was never overloaded with techno babble. It was everything that came after that loaded the scripts with tongue twisters of a technical nature. There was very little techobabble in TOS.

#29-Pardon me for saying this……but “WHAT?”

Just saying.

What. No real techobabble. But Capt she canna do it. The Converter assembly of the Warp core injectors are fused. Oh ok. Probly did not make any sense. But hey. At least have a little technobabble. Scotty did it a few times in the Tos Series. My Barrens. My poor Barrens!

I like the fact that J.J loved the Big E in Tmp. he had a Great Trek Moment on that as did we all who seen it at the theater. I am so stoked on the new Movie. I know ill be there for the Midnight showing and as far as Im concerned. Friday May the 8th is a Holliday!!. Im takeing off that day. ill see the Movie and report back here to Trek Movie!!

15 –
“I don’t want vulcan to be destroyed. It just seems wrong.”

Do we really know it does? As far as I know, the only evidence of it is in the latest trailer.

However, I have various theories about that shot, from it being a different planet, to it being one of those “this is what we’re trying to stop” scenes (you know those scenes…the scenes where the director gets to blow Earth up without really blowing it up), to, well, Vulcan blowing up lol.

Unless someone has heard more about it than what we see in the trailer (beyond pure speculation), then I’m not sure we can conclude anything. It’s in the trailer cause it’s a cool looking shot, but given some of the counter-evidence, I still have great doubts about that event taking place. (Spock being on Vulcan, Kirk and Sulu being on the platform – Obviously Spock wouldn’t survive if he were on Vulcan, and Vulcan blowing up would seemingly mean that Sulu and Kirk failed…and I doubt they would survive either being on the platform)

Anthony, Orcster

Speaking of scale one thing that’s bugging the poop out of me is the I can’t figure out how big the new E is. In the original teaser it’s size apeared much much larger than the Original-TMP E. Judging by the size of the workers against the hull and the presumably much more spacious outer saucer rim (In the TMP cutaway there was just enough room for two decks in the outer saucer rim, in the teaser there appears to be about four decks or two much taller decks or two decks and additional room for additional structure ect) But with the additional pics and trailers we have seen the outer rim has two rows of windows similar in size and scale to the TMP E. And if it is roughly the same size as the original-TMP E where the hell is the lower shuttle storage and container storage as the secondary hull is much thinner looking missing those sections which stored the shuttles and cargo on the Original and TMP, (Phfeeeew!!!!)

So I don’t think it would really be any kind of spoiler to give an indication of the new size for the E. Is it roughly 1000 Ft-ish (300 meter-ish) OR is it a 1000-meterish as mentioned in some of the sites

HELP !!!!!

These quotations from Abrams, etc. always seem like the biggest bunch of bull crap.

#37-“seem like” means that is definitely your opinion, Stanky, but not necessarily the truth!

38 – sweet website. Also, I think it answers 36’s question about where the shuttlebay is…

Then quit reading them Stanky. Seriously.


Thanks for the link to the ship model. That was very enlightening and cool!

Thanks and very cool but still with the new design for the secondary hull the whole section where shuttle storage and cargo would go is gone. Which leads me to believe the scale of the ship is much larger than the original I NEED DEFINATIVE ANSWERS!!!!!!!
Can’t wait to see cutaway deckplans

The last time I was this excited about a movie was the summer of 1977 when Star Wars first came out. This is going to be a very entertaining move and wonderful escape. I can’t wait to take my boys to see it.

#38 –

Wow, GREAT site, and it furthers my opinion that Paramount chose the absolute WORST shot and angle to premiere the look of the “new” Enterprise.

“It’s a human slash Vulcan-centric film”

Not gonna lie; that got a giggle out of me.

re: 41. Capt. of the USS Anduril – March 7, 2009
” Then quit reading them Stanky. Seriously. ”

Only if YOU stop reading mine. Seriously.


Capt. Mike:

“Bairns” is a Scottish way to refer to children. The engines are Scotty’s kids.

#48. Point taken. I hope that we see that in the new Movie. Scotty takeing over Engeneering and makeing it his new Home.

@8: “…A classier Spock’s Brain”


I tried to visualize that, and my mind’s eye caught fire.