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.