Abrams, Orci & Kurtzman Talk Plot In Star Trek Issue Of Geek Magazine

Another magazine devoting its May cover to the new Star Trek is Geek Monthly. The issue contains a number of in-depth interviews and special features all about Star Trek — past, present, and future. Our friends at Geek have provided us with exclusive excerpts from the interviews with Star Trek director JJ Abrams and with writers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman. Check them out below (with SPOILERS).


JJ Talks to Geek
Geek editor-in-chief Jeff Bond has an in-depth interview, with Star Trek director JJ Abrams, where he asks him the tough questions about his take on Trek. Here are just a couple of excerpts

Geek: You seemed to have a deliberate strategy in talking about this project to audiences early on, which was to underscore the fact that you were not a huge fan of the original Star Trek. Why did you feel you needed to get that out there?
Abrams: It’s a fair question. I guess in any public speaking engagement there’s always a strategy, and the strategy for any of these presentations was really to make sure people knew that this movie was not like the Star Trek of the last 43 years, and is not made just for that group. At a certain point it seems like the Star Trek films and series knew and embraced the fact that they were never going to get beyond that core audience of fans. Yes, there were times when the audience would peak a little bit or come back down, but it wasn’t like the movies were being made for movie fans or fans of sci fi and fantasy, they were being made for Star Trek fans. So the best way to discuss this is by telling the truth—by pointing out that I started out this process by being one of those people that did not really know Star Trek. What I’d seen did not really grab me, and though I had a certain appreciation for Star Trek in my own way, I was not a Trekkie. Through this experience working on the movie and getting to know the characters and getting to know the world, I’ve become a Trekkie. Ultimately I think it’s important for these audiences, especially audiences overseas that don’t embrace Trek at all, that they understand that I was on their side when I began this process and hopefully when they see the movie they’ll be where I am now.

Geek: The plot of this movie really spins off the idea of Kirk having a different background than what we know from the series, something that changes his character, and Chris Pine plays him quite differently than Shatner did. But at the same time you have Karl Urban seeming to get very close to what DeForest Kelley did in the original show. So was there something about Kirk that you felt needed to be changed for him to appeal to a contemporary audience?
Abrams: It’s a critical part of the story, but I guess from the outside looking in what you’ll see is a character that I think is a much more relatable character in the beginning, someone with a more obvious piece missing—he’s aimless, he’s a punk and he starts fights and picks up girls in bars and he’s got nothing to lose. He has potential but without the direction and sense of purpose, and the interesting thing to me is to use the common knowledge that everyone has and that even non-fans know—‘oh yeah, Kirk, Captain Kirk!’ Well when you meet him he’s hardly a captain so we’re playing on the baggage that we inherit which is how does this guy go from here to there? It gives you an in that I never felt I had with the original series which was a way to go ‘Oooh, I’m him! I know what it’s like to be that guy.’ I was never as cocky or action-oriented as that side of Kirk, and I was never as philosophical as the other side of him, so I always felt like he was interesting to watch
but it was hard to relate to him because he was never me. I think the Kirk that we meet is unformed, and the Kirk that we meet becomes the Kirk that we all know. But by the time that happens a massive adventure has transpired and many familiar characters are met and relationships are formed. The Kirk adjustment was made not to say that he doesn’t become that character but to say how he becomes that character.

Orci and Kurtzman Geek out
Star Trek scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are also interviewed in the May Geek (by TrekMovie’s Anthony Pascale). The interview goes into a lot of SPOILERY detail on how exactly the plot of this new movie works, here are just a couple of excerpts.

Geek: The fact that you are using an altered timeline has some fans wondering if this is still our crew, or is this some alternative crew?
Alex Kurtzman: The characters have not changed as characters. They still have all the personality traits that we know of the original bridge crew. I think the gravest mistake would have been to try and reinvent the characters. That would have made everybody, including ourselves, very unhappy. It would have felt like violating sacred ground. This was a way to stay true to canon, and to take the stories in a new direction
Roberto Orci: Their souls are intact. And we would argue that we would have settled on some of the same character introductions, with or without the incursion from the future. In our minds some of the events overlap completely in both timelines.

Geek: Even though things are different in this timeline, like Kirk coming aboard the Enterprise first as a cadet, by the end of the movie every one of the original bridge crew end up where they are supposed to be. Is there some kind of notion that it is their destiny to be on that bridge, regardless of what timeline you are on?
Kurtzman: Yes. In fact there was one version of the script where Kirk points out that it is incredibly odd that they all sort of turned as they would have. Nimoy Spock tells Kirk ‘I knew this character as this person and that character as that person’ and Kirk says ‘wow, those characters are exactly the same ones that I know’ and Spock says something like ‘Fascinating, that must be the timestream’s way of trying to mend itself.’
Orci: It is a nod to destiny. And there is still something like that in the film.

Much More Star Trek in Geek
There is much more in the interviews with Abrams and Orci & Kurtzman in the May issue of Geek. In addition there are other Trek goodies in the issue, including:

  • movie cast/crew roundup (w/ interviews) of: Leonard Nimoy, Daniel Mindel (DP), Michael Giacchino & Zachary Quinto

  • Mirror Universe Vacation guide

  • Star Trek Cosplay [featuring the ‘Chonastock’ girls profiled at TrekMovie last year]

  • Star Trek bands

  • Transporter Tech: If we could build transporters would we really want to?

  • Day in the life of an Enterprise crewman

  • Real Life Redshirts

  • Star Trek in Japan 

The May issue of Geek is on newsstands now. More on the Star Trek issue at geekmonthly.com.

Cover of May Geek Magazine

Sample pages of Geek article on Star Trek Cosplay

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A nod indeed.

Nice cover, lol.

So nice to be made cool… again.

I like the cover image.

I picked this up the other day. The article about Japan blew me away. I thought they had always been all over Trek…not so. Also, a great job by our host asking some great questions with thoughtful answers by all involved. Well done.

And Jeff Bond, I know you drift this way once and again. If you see this, please know that your quote to the Star Wars fans in your editorial, concerning when they were babies and were doing…well, what babies do…made my day. Well done across the board gentlemen. Great issue.

I realize that some people aren’t happy with the alternative realty aspect to this movie. But I’m OK with it.

We’ve had a lot of different Batmans. Each brought the mythology of the main premise up to date for that time period. When you ask someone which Joker did they like better, does anybody even remember Cesar Romero?

If you don’t like the new version of Star Trek, then you have a lot of old movies and TV episodes to watch.

Let this new version of Star Trek stand on its own merits, good or bad.

This issue was a great read. First mag I have piked up in a while. Nice article Anthony!



#6 “When you ask someone which Joker did they like better, does anybody even remember Cesar Romero?”

Absolutely I remember him. His Joker was “deeelicious” fun indeed!!

Is this going to be available over the pond in the UK??

As a person who enjoys reading fanfiction, I have always loved Alternate Universe fics, and I think that if I view the new movie that way, it’s seriously going to kick ass.

I have to say it. I’m getting tired of JJ Abrams’ toward Star Trek. He says: “I’m not a huge Star Trek fan.” Then what on Earth are you making a Star Trek movie for? He says: “It’s not for Star Trek fans.” Then why even make it Star Trek? It’s like the fans are wrong about what they want, like, and dislike.
Orci and Kurtzman, on the other hand, are doing a great job. So I’m gonna see this movie for their writing, not for JJ’s directing. Hope it doesn’t suck.

#6: “When you ask someone which Joker did they like better, does anybody even remember Cesar Romero?”

LOL – only in my nightmares.

And you have my vote. Linus for Secretary of State.

re: 12 RedShark
“Then what on Earth are you making a Star Trek movie for?”


“Then what on Earth are you making a Star Trek movie for?”

Just like any other professional director/writer on planet Earth :)

#12: JJ Abrams is right on when he says:

“At a certain point it seems like the Star Trek films and series knew and embraced the fact that they were never going to get beyond that core audience of fans. ”

The post-DS9 shows embraced that, too. Star Trek never made any effort to convert the casual fan. You need to get new blood into the fan base, or your loved franchise dies.

I love Star Trek II. But there are people, non-Star Trek fans, to whom I show it, who fall asleep during it. Why? You have to know and care about the characters pretty well already when it starts really to “get it.” And Star Treks II and Vi have the most cross-over appeal of any of the films up to this point, period.

But I think that it’s important for everyone to realize at this point, there is no way to convert the die-hards’ way of thinking. Even though they have witnessed and accepted thousands of alternate universe explanations and bogus physics to explain other things, this is just going too far for them…the ship looks different.


P.S. Chekhov wasn’t on the show during Space Seed, yet you accept bogus explanations as to why Khan “remembers” him for Star Trek II.

But changing where the ship was built is just going too far.


I read fan fiction, too. And I have a lot of TNG adoring cuzins who will love this film as i complain about alternate reality’s.

I’m on a VOY marathon so that I am completely ready to accept new trek, and after I watch it, like 20 times, I’m going to watch every TOS epi and the movies until I buy it…

PS: Am I the only one who LOVED transformers???

Here’s some 1960’s Joker clips:


What is interesting is that the set design and music are a lot like Classic Trek. Definitely two shows that are a sign of their times.

18 “PS: Am I the only one who LOVED transformers???”

I didn’t like it, but it was a movie made for kids, based on toys, so I think it was well done for that target.

all these comments and no one mentioned how cute the andorian girl looks … tsk tsk

-Nick Meyer was not a Star Trek fan, and then he made Wrath of Khan.

Harlan Ellison has talked so much trash on the old show, yet he wrote the most appreciated, episode of the series.

Just because you’re not a fan, doesn’t mean you can’t still be interested in the concept, and capable of creating quality Star Trek.

Apparently, from what Anthony Pascal says (the guy who runs this site), this JJ guy knows how to put together a good Star Trek movie.

I will find out for sure in three days, wish me luck.

#17—“But changing where the ship was built is just going too far.”

Yeah. Lol.
I have a question for anyone who truly believes that….

How old was Star Trek when you first learned (canonically) that it was built in any particular place? Oh wait… :)

And if you accept the fact that there is a plaque aboard the Enterprise which says “San Francisco Shipyards” as evidence that it was actually built there—-what exactly did that add to Trek…really?

And assuming it did *not* add anything of note—-what exactly do you fear has been taken away?

Just a question for anyone…


Agreed, but I’m a sucker for Andorians anyway.

#17 “Chekhov wasn’t on the show during Space Seed, yet you accept bogus explanations as to why Khan “remembers” him for Star Trek II.”

Because the actor wasn’t on the show yet doesn’t mean the fictional character wasn’t on the ship. Since Khan remembered him, he obviously was there somewhere. In this fictional world, all that is required is Khan’s memory to make it so.

12 and 14 – don’t or cant you both read?

Abrams is a geek, who in their right mind would pass up the chance of re-inventing Star Trek in thine image? Trekkie or not, if your a geek in the business of filmmaking, your not going to pass up a chance to have Paramount give you a clean slate to re-invent one of the most iconic cultural phenomenon’s the world has ever seen are you.

This movie could turn JJ Abrams from an up and coming Director/Producer into the next Steven Speilberg, the opportunities within Star Trek and other projects if this movie is successful are enormous.

Money is what makes the world go round but Abrams obviously wanted to be in the industry from a young age, he has a passion and a vision that many creatives lack, Berman, although guiding the franchise through its most successful years, never really had his own vision. As far as Abrams love of Star Trek is concerned, well it’s really neither here nor there, he’s a talented guy and i have faith he’s made a great film, a GREAT FILM. not a film for just the fans, not a film for just the pop corn guzzling kids, it’s for people who love a GREAT FILM with a GREAT story and GREAT visuals that just keep you hooked. However much i love most aspects of the franchise, i don’t blame him for not really liking it – it’s become over its 43 year history, a convoluted mess and thank god that now someone like JJ Abrams has come along and is sorting through it and respecting what has been done before, respecting the message of optimism but making it so much cooler in terms of size and scope, giving Trek a visceral experience it has never seen before and just opening up this rather claustrophobic universe and giving it an whole new dimension.

No disrespect AT ALL James Cawley, but if he had been given a billion-dollar budget to make the movie we all want to see as fans, there would never be another one. This one has to reach more than just us hardcores.

There are countless properties JJ could have made money on. At this point in his career he’s making a lot of money regardless.
It’s just an easy, reactionary argument: He’s doing it for the money.
To begin with, you have to speculate, big time. Unless you can get into his head, there’s no way of knowing if money was his primary motivation.
Then, it’s an easy road of complaint to take since the guys job is making movies so yea, you win. Quite literally he made this movie, and then he recieved money for making it.
But saying it was his prime motive for making the film, if this was the case you’d think he’d just pocket most of the budget and use cheap effects and rush through production, both of which we know he didn’t do (ILM cost a lot).
Honestly, when i think Star Trek and “for the money” I think of Star Trek 5. Now that’s a case where it really seemed like the creative folks in charge just pocketed the budget and cut corners.

The only cutting of corners you could say applies to this film is where cannon is concerned and that’s argumentative to the extreme (as seen on this very site)

Is it just me or is that Andorian girl in the TOS uniform about the hottest thing the internet has ever allowed anyone to download? I don’t usually like coming off sounding all “guy” but she’s wonderful.

^Agreed! I like that LANDING PARTY spread!


great interview, mr. bond.
j.j. defines both the cultural need for this film and his honest confusion over how trek became a lame parody of itself, requiring a good bout of storytelling to validate it’s descent. in a post-galaxy-quest era, the film is quite noble, i think, even in concept.

stanky, your comment, “money”, offends me. you’re grasping for straws now. everyone ever involved in trek had financial aspirations. please find a position that isn’t reactionary and desperate, old friend. i know you can do better.

I’ve resolved the ‘where the Enterprise was built’ alleged canon conflict!

It was built at the San Francisco Shipyards, Riverside, Iowa. :-)

(Hey, the plaque never said it was San Francisco, California. And if there can be a Tokyo Spa in my Michigan hometown, I guess there can be a company with the name San Francisco in Iowa….)

#22: “Harlan Ellison has talked so much trash on the old show, yet he wrote the most appreciated, episode of the series.”

Harlan didn’t trash TREK until after he was re-written. In fact, early on Mr. Ellison was a big fan of what TREK could be. I seem to remember reading somewhere he had a hand in the letter-writing campaign to NBC to save the show…. and if he weren’t somewhat fond of the show, why was he approached by Paramount in the 1970s to write a script treatise for a projected film… I love Mr. Ellison, but sometimes I think his comments are meant to incite a reaction… which is a good thing, in my opinion.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t the early interviews/articles about JJ quote him as saying he was a fan of the TOS series (but more of a Star Wars fan)?

still, my point is:To create good trek, it’s arbitrary whether or not you are a fan before you begin to work.
And being a fan of potential, as apposed to the actual product (which is what i’m talking bout here) is a bit different. I nan see Harlan giving props to Trek for trying. And being aware of Ellison in general, the idea that he trashed the show simply because they re-wrote him wouldn’t surprise me.
But have you ever seen that Trek retrospective from the late 70’s with Chekov and Scotty and, I think, McCoy, where Ellison insists that Star Trek was sub par and silly science fiction?
He actually makes excellent points. I would argue that “silly”, and pulp elements doesn’t cancel out the cerebral elements. But Ellison is a thoughtful man on top of being self obsessed so I wonder.

Again, to re-iterate my basic point: Fan does not =quality trek (and vice verse) It’s the amount of craftsmanship, passion for the project AT HAND, and resources.

I just hope that the changed timeline does not simply eliminate the adventures of the original series. If they are nodding to destiny and we can believe that what follows is something close to the original episodes, then I’m okay with it. But if there is an obvious and drastic change that results in no Edith Keeler or Khan, then I will be very depressed.

I am a fan of Fringe and JJ and his gang. But More so of Roddenberry, Coon and their gang. Take those original adventures away and it is no longer Star Trek at all.

Someone please talk me down. Thanks.

#12 & 14 – The Trek fanbase is very limited and how else do they keep the franchise going but by making it cooler and contemporary for todays younger audience? The people who watched and loved TOS when it was on the air and not yet in reruns are certainly not getting any younger…

…p.s. While the actors didn’t change, there was a big reinvention of sets and designs between TOS and TMP1 and then again in TMP2 and fans were fine with that…then came along TNG and that was the most successful Trek show…and then DS9…needless to say, core fans have accepted drastic change in the past and have enjoyed it when it is done well and I think it will happen again, except this time, they are gaining new audience members so that the vision of Trek continues to boldy go into the future.

Funny that those who know of IDIC don’t actually believe in it…how illogical!

#6: “We’ve had a lot of different Batmans. Each brought the mythology of the main premise up to date for that time period. When you ask someone which Joker did they like better, does anybody even remember Cesar Romero?”

Cesar Romero’s Joker is remembered quite fondly by many people, actually. Myself included.

I agree to let the movie stand on its own merits. But Star Trek is different than Batman in a very fundamental way: except for the Batman Beyond cartoon he can’t exist beyond about a 30 year period as he would be too old – so he gets reinvented for a new time every so often to keep the stories from being purely historical. Trek is more flexible than that, and has four decades of (basically) internally consistent stories that all take place in the same timeline.

This will be the first Trek that takes place in an alternate timeline that we will – it seems – use as the exclusive basis for future stories. It’s as though we suddently followed the stories of the ISS Enterprise after “Mirror, Mirror” and never returned to the USS version.

I am excited by the prospects of new stories that reflect the sense of adventure, respect for science, and belief in a worthwhile future for humankind found in Trek. But I don’t for a moment think that these characters or the universe they live in are the “same” as in TOS. That’s okay, though, if handled right. And given the sensitivity to these things shown through the interviews, there’s a better than even chance it has been handled right! We’ll see . . . .

Wanna see more of those babes? And other cool Trek graphics.


The Aussie gals’ LOTR and Trek shoots are here: http://chonastock.deviantart.com/gallery/#Star-Trek-Series-1

38, 39, Bless you. May the Great Bird of the Galaxy smile upon your planet. I thought T’Pol in Classic uniform was the greatest Trek image ever… I may have been terribly wrong.

This was an eductional interview. They didn’t go to “JJ” and say “hey, it’s been a while since we made a Star Trek movie.” What they said was, “hey, a bunch of people connected to venture capital and studio backing and complex legal agreements are getting tired of watching Paramount’s films bomb every time they throw $150,000,000 at something. Hey, JJ. Go make a movie with great branding, and make it for people in Japan or China or Indonesia or India or United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia or Mexico who find the old Star Trek as ridiculous as you do.”

When Abrams says “Through this experience working on the movie and getting to know the characters and getting to know the world, I’ve become a Trekkie …”

I do wonder if that means he’s gained a real affection for Star Trek as a whole, for original Star Trek, or only for his version? :)

what kind of shirt is JJ wearing?

I picked up a copy of Geek this weekend in Sacramento — cool to see a photo of Anthony on the contributors page! I haven’t read everything yet, but it’s an awesome issue already. Love the JJ interview, the Japan story, Mark Altman’s column, and the fun cover photo of JJ. The opening editorial is required reading for old school Trek fans who resist change.
Next to read is the Orci & Kurtzman interview, so I’m skipping the excerpt above to stay unspoiled. :-)

PS – Yeah, those landing party babes are worth the cover price alone!

32. RTC – April 19, 2009
I’ve resolved the ‘where the Enterprise was built’ alleged canon conflict!
It was built at the San Francisco Shipyards, Riverside, Iowa. :-)
How do we know that the i-prise is built in Riverside, Iowa in ST09.
Kirk was born in 2233.
The Enterprise was launched in 2245. It was started to be plan and built before 2245.
Robert April was like the father of the Enterprise and I don’t think April is going to die on the USS Kelvin with george kirk in 2233. So I think even that the attack of USS Kelvin changed some things, The i-prise would still be launched in 2245, the same as and like the old Enterprise.
Kirk would be 12 in 2245 and the Kirk in this new movie looking at the i-prise in Riverside, Iowa was must older than 12.
Also the clip of the i-prise being worked on is just that, “i-prise being worked on”.
We do not know if it is being built or not.
I think and hope it is just a retrofit in Riverside, Iowa in 2258.

35 The movie is going to answer your questions and it will be fine with the answers, honestly. I speak with my fanboy hat on.

ajd, I don’t know if you new to this site, but our fellow Closettrekker has explained again and again that evrything that was filmed canon in the Prime universe stands unchanged and comes BEFORE this movie.
Spock Prime travelling back from the 24th century makes sure of that.

As for the movie, it answers all questions, and offer logical explanations.
It is a new universe, and a new ship. But it is still our crew.
That is what counts.

Is anyone else concerned about the lack of international advertising?

doesn’t JJ not sound a bit arrogant by becoming a trekkie after completing a film that he directed?

– The Kirk adjustment was made not to say that he doesn’t become that character but to say how he becomes that character. –

We already know how Kirk becomes *that* character. There are indeed few, but subtle hints at his developing into the Captain we see in TOS – namely Tarsus IV, and the incidents on The Farragut. If you decide to ignore *that* history and make up your own, you don’t ‘adjust’ a character, you alter it. No need for euphemisms. :)