Orci & Kurtzman Talk Star Trek Lessons & Sequel

Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof have yet to dive into the script for the sequel to the Star Trek movie (aka "Star Trek: Something Something"), but they have until Christmas to deliver it. Before they do, they are still taking stock of the first one. In a new interview, Bob and Alex talk about the lessons learned from Star Trek and the big question for the second.


Full interview is available at SciFiWire, here are some excerpts:

Lessons from first Star Trek

Orci and Kurtzman said that initial tracking for Star Trek looked like it may fall short of expectations, but that at the last minute there was a surge that Paramount attributed to world of mouth. And Orci feels that fans helped fuel that word of mouth to make Star Trek the hit:

Orci: It was the first time we had seen word of mouth in action, so that was fascinating. And we’re so grateful that most of the fan base was open about it, and that new people were willing to risk being in a room with people who speak Klingon.

Orci also talked about some lessons they have learned::

Orci: I think the major lesson we learned is that fans were willing to accept differences and surprises, provided that they were somehow echoes or inspired by canon. We still have to be true to Star Trek the next time around, but we’ve also been blessed with being able to be unpredictable. And that doesn’t mean we can just be shocking for no good reason and just throw everything away. … It still has to echo everything that Star Trek has been.

The big question regarding the sequel

As for the next movie, Orci agreed that they are having the same debate that the fans are having

SFW: In thinking of a story, the inclination for a fan would be to see a new version of a story that’s been told in some fashion. Or to pick up tropes from one of the TV episodes or the films and maybe combine them. Or is your inclination to do a completely original story this time?

Orci: Well, that is the debate, literally. And that is going to be one of the first conversations that we have. But that’s exactly the question.

That question is at the core of what to do next. This weekend TrekMovie will be running an editorial on this issue, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments below and in the current poll (right sidebar).


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Make it original, please!

New stories with tiny crossovers and old references = HIT MOVIE!

I vote new story, with some threads echoing events of TOS. I also hope for something exploration or first contact based.

And of course, Jolene Blalock as T’Pring.

Please Please Please make it original, I agree. We have had all these alone with the pre-existing Star Trek universe, its episodes, themes, characters, etc. That was all truly great- but when we finally get something new, why would we want rehashes of the same stuff? I don’t even understand why this is a topic.
It’s about exploring, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldy going where no one has gone before…So why in blazes would we want to rehash things?

I had hoped to hear that Orci & Kurtzman had realized how important the long established Trek fan base has been to this movie’s success and perhaps move in a direction back toward a more traditional Trek film in its style and pacing.

I agree Weerd1. No more bad guys out to destroy the earth. You can keep it true to the meaning of the words “Star Trek” and still have it be exciting. Give it a try.

Character developement and more about how the crew forges their friendships. I agree with #1, #2 and #3 – New story

Just make it good, either way. And (it almost pains me to say this) don’t let JJ Abrams hand off the director’s chair. His pacing was essential to ST09 being enjoyable.

5 -Wouldn’t moving back toward “a more traditional Trek film” be counter-intuitive because the movie WAS successful with fans new and old?

5: “and perhaps move in a direction back toward a more traditional Trek film in its style and pacing.”

In other words: A boring film that no one outside of Trekkies will bother to go see.

Originality is key. It will be Star Trek, even if the villain is one we’ve never seen before.

They should discuss the Vulcan diaspora as well. And enough with the time travel!

We need a new story, but keep away from the whole “This giant ship/being/device/god-like creature is going to destroy Earth” story line, they’re getting old. Definitely a new story with a focus on exploration with a bunch of little TOS tidbits. The first movie obviously needed an urgency to it because of who was threatening them and what had to occur, but the next film can slow down a little.

And we need more beauty shots of the big E!

I think it should be something new.. Since we are now in an unpredictable universe with the new timeline and all, I just think rehashing an old episode or combining elements would be too easy. Do something original, and good, with nods to canon, but make it different. As a long time Star Trek fan, I think we need to see something new and fresh. I’ve seen all the episodes from all the series, so in my opinion, I would want something very new and different.
My one gripe though is this size issue that keeps coming up. I know this new ship is supposed to be the size of a Star Destroyer, but having it that big makes the ship seem almost invulnerable and less intimate.Add to the fact that whatever Abrams wants to say about the size, many, many scenes just don’t prove it out, so I guess the ILM guys didn’t get the memo. I just think that haveing the ship stay around the size of the original gives it a more intimate setting, making the crew come together as a family more. It’s kind of like growing up in a small town as opposed to a big city. When something happens in your small town, you care more. When it happens in a big city, it’s far more impersonal. I think that would translate to the story as well.
Hopefully someone from the “Supreme Court” is listening…

The single biggest error Paramount -ever- did with the Star Trek franchise… is hand it off to a new director every other movie.

“And that doesn’t mean we can just be shocking for no good reason and just throw everything away.”
I guess destroying Vulcan for no good reason doesn’t count…

Wookiees. Give us more Wookiees this time.

Original story. Also, as much as I love the guy………NO SHATNER!!!! Don’t want a theme with these, you know, bring in Uhura or Chekov for the third. Please, no guest stars…….just the new crew.


It could be like the Love Boat.

I agree with #8 – just make it good, either way. Though please make it something deeper. Put in enough action and viz effects to blow my mind during the film, BUT put in something deep and thought provoking that makes me think about what I saw after the film.

And nothing against the composer…but I’d like something that sounds more “Star Trek” like…or create a more memorable theme. The only music I can still hum in my head from the movie is the ending – and that’s music that’s been around for over 40 years! I want a new theme for my new Star Trek!

If Star Trek cannot tell original new stories, then it is dead, so let’s see something we haven’t seen before, please. In particular, I don’t want to see a movie based around a rehash of an old TOS character like Harry Mudd or Khan.

I’d prefer it not be about saving the Earth again either, there was too much of that in the previous TOS movies and it all ended up a bit parochial. The original TOS galaxy was big and largely unexplored- the Enterprise was very much out on the “frontier”. So I’d like something that encapsulates that spirit.

I’m interested to see what roles the rethunk cast will play as a cohesive crew, which we didn’t see properly this time around as it was their first time out, Kirk wasn’t captain etc. Particularly as Chekov has been perhaps the most re-imagined as the boy genius. Traditionally Spock was the genius, and I’m surrpised actually that there hasn’t been more discussion of the scene in which Chekov was the one to tell Spock what was happening to Vulcan and how long the planet had to live- in a TOS episode Spock would have been the one to make the pronoucement, “minutes”. I’m not criticising, just pointing out that this makes for a considerably different dynamic. We now have Scotty the engineering genius, Spock the genius, and Chekov the genius too. This is actually going to make Spock’s role on the bridge a little less well defined, though I actually like Spock being a bit “depowered” in this sense. In the original, he was smarter and stronger and longer lived and had telepathic powers… having somebody else at least be the clever clogs spreads the powers around a bit.

Anyway I’m looking forwards to the new movie, but I hope to see development in a new and engagingly original direction, not a remake of The Doomsday Machine, which is a fabulous episode but should be left that way. Or if I see a discussion a year from now about “who is going to be playing Khan”, well, I’ll feel very very disappointed.

Re-do Catspaw, except with nudity.

I would keep the story original but yet expand on something not dealt with too much in the prime timeline.

With all the different incarnations of Trek (including the novels), all the backstory woven into franchise, and the differences established in the alternate reality – there just seems to be little reason to go with retelling an old story. In other words, do we really need a retelling of Kahn? How about taking an unexplored event in the prime timeline, see how it fits in the alternate reality, and then take it from there?

The writers have taken the liberty of not pressing the reset button at the end of this time travel story. They should take advantage of that. The sky’s certainly the limit..!

OK. Put Carol Marcus in the sequel, pregnant with Kirk’s son, but she goes on the Enterprise with Kirk. Federation about to go to war with Klingons. Big battle. In a scene parallel to opening of first movie, Carol goes into labor during attack and is evacauted, but the shuttle is destroyed by the Klingons. Kirk is out for vengenance against the Klingons. Kirk and Spock go under cover on the Klingon’s base on Organia. Kirk is conflicted between his mission to gather intelligence for StarFleet’s attack, or just kill as many of the Klingons (lead by Kang) as he can right there. He is also compelled to help the Organians, who don’t seem to be want to help themselves…

18- Really? I love the new music- the orchestral arrangement when the E comes out of warp to destroy the missiles heading for Spock is epic- lots of good brass. I’ve had it playing in my car for weeks.

Cinefex magazine has an article from Alex Jaeger (sp?) saying they designed the new E to be 366 meters long, but upsized when they saw the size of the physical shuttle models. I vote we call that the inconsistency and keep the new E more homey.

Oops, I meant Kor.

For those who are clamoring for something “original”, be careful what you wish for. “Original” ideas brought us Insurrection, Generations and ST:V.

Don’t just go with “original” for “originals” sake. Please. Go with what works. ST092 has to feel like a movie, not an overcooked episode. I’m not going to plunk down $11 to watch our protagonists gape at a view screen for two hours straight.


I’m sure Spock would have been so on that if he’d been at his station. But I do agree with you, Spock was a bit OP in TOS =)

I agree with #2

Another vote for something new for the next film. Lets see some actual exploration for once. And no Khan. Frankly no actor can do Khan like Mantalbon, so its best to leave that character be. I like Mudd and wouldn’t be upset if I saw him again, but as others said I’d like to see something different for once.

#23- Are you serious? Do you really want to see another movie about battles again? Almost every other Star Trek movie was about that, not to mention how ever many tv episodes. Space battles are getting old and overdone. I vote for something completely new and that we haven’t seen yet.

it has to be completely original… please no khan just because he’s star trek’s main established villain. Original stand alone story and an original never before seen villain.

New story. Explore the relationships you started in the current movie i.e. Kirk/Spock, Kirk/Spock/Mcoy, Spock/Uhura (this one in particular has sparked a lot of YouTubes and is popular among women), Pike/Eveyone.

Sorry I love Bill but please no more old cast – we have DVDs for that and fan based episodes for the canon obsessed.

You can have a more meaningful or deeper theme if you you would like but you still need to keep the action piece in tact.

The next story has been my concern since seeing the new film. We don’t want a Quantum of Solace- a decidedly average film following a very good one. Roberto and Alex have truly got a big task on their hands.
I find it easier saying what I don’t want rather than what I do want. I don’t want Khan. I don’t want Borg. No cameos. No threats to Earth.

Yeh, like others have said- Harry Mudd would be interesting. A new big screen villain like Harry would have possibilities. Beyond that I’m not sure!

@ 29

I agree. Id like to see some actual exploration too. A classic away-team-finds-something-weird-redshirt-dies-first kind of movie. No dwelling on past events.

But wait. Keep in mind that this is 10, 15 years before the TOS pilot, before Cage, before Talos iv… So who knows.

I’m going to have to go with the so-far unanimous vote (I think, at least. I honestly haven’t read every comment so far. But it seems that way) and say “new story.”

“Space, the final frontier…
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds,
To seek out new life forms and new civilizations,
To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

“Where no one has gone before.” Please note that, Boborci. New stories are key to telling Trek. But yes, it also needs to be deeper than a vengeful Romulan bent on galactic destruction. That was good as an intro, but now it’s time to deliver some meat onto the franchise.

Maybe they could write a movie where a scruffy extroverted Vulcan hijacks the Enterprise to go find God, and they can have an $11 CGI budget and Kirk Spock McCoy and Uhura can wear combat uniforms that look like pajamas and oh wait….

The new movie was crazy. The enterprise as big as a sovereign class, Checkov an ensign (when he was supposed to be still a small kid by the time), Kirk becoming captain fresh out of the academy, spock just happened to end up on delta vega, where scotty was… the crew just happened to end up together so early? As if it was fate. Maybe it was. And Nero doing nothing for 25 years? Is he crazy? he could have taken over the entire federation if he wanted to, or even destroy it.

JarJar Abrams wanted to make this his own. He could have made a better movie. Why change the look of the enterprise. It could have been great. I mean when you at the kelvin bridge, its akin to the old trek design only upgraded. That bridge could have been the enterprise bridge, only a bit brighter, with one big window/screen. Fewer Pipes and brewery, of course.

I want a sequel to the “Star Trek-Enterprise”-series.
Why not in a movie with Captain Archer and T´ Pol?

For me the one thing missing in Pine’s Kirk that Shatner’s Kirk had in droves was a sense of wonder about the universe and exploration, which to me was the core of the character. I understand in an origin story you only have so much time for exposition but a 2 minute scene with Kirk and say…a girl with Kirk dreamily looking into the night sky(as she dreamily looks at Kirk ;) with a look of fascination and wonder on his face,(something Pine could easily pull off) a few poetic words later from Pine, and you have established an important quality in Kirk’s character.
Kirk is an explorer (who also happens to like hot girls and fighting!- but they are simply the icing on a bigger cake)
It was the explorer in Kirk that attracted me to the show as a child in the first place. I would look up at the stars at night and imagine what was really out there and how incredible it would be to poke around up there. Perhaps the next film could at least touch on that as the Kirk character grows and matures. I absolutely loved the film by the way, everyone did a fantastic job, but I would like to dig a little deeper into these characters and their core motivations for being out there in the first place.(and lots more fights as well!)
: )

I think the next one has a few tall orders:

– About something found during Exploration, something completely unknown to them.
– Give them a MYSTERY to challenge them. Someone or something that they do not fully understand.
– Have some high stakes and a fast pace. Perhaps placing one of the crew in need of rescue?

I think first some issues regarding size need to be resolved. The Enterprise is not that big. You can even tell in that pan shot when the camera zooms out from the window of the bridge.

Also by the end of this series the time line needs to be fixed. I know this is a new time line for new stories, but in the end it needs to be resolved

So Mr Orci and Mr Kurtzman, get into your cars, drive to a secluded spot on a clear night and lay on the hoods of your cars and look up at the sky and wonder.
I guarantee you, you’ll be inspired by the real thing.

I vote for a retelling of “A Piece of the Action” with James Gandolfini as Krako and an aged JJ Abrams as Oxmyx!

I am a Trekkie/Trekker from the very first episode and have absorbed every version of Star Trek since. Was part of the letter writing campaigns to bring back TOS & name the Space Shuttle Enterprise. Star Trek was a major influence in my choice of careers. Played a Vulcan in a MUSH version of ST:TOS (textbased RPG).

Please please please please DO NOT remake any of the old stories. We KNOW the old stories like the back of our hand, it is canon and it is set!

What I hunger for in future Star Trek is new adventures, new worlds and new civilizations… boldly take us where we have not been before.

Come on guys. I cringe every time I hear of a new ‘remake’ of an old classic. I don’t know about others… to me there are tons of untold tales of our future in Space. How many generations has Star Trek touched? It is time for new blood and new tales, not retelling the old ones.

Just dont do an Insurrection 2…Pleeeeeaaaassssseeeee….

I want something original! There could be some fun elements of older stories worked in but I don’t want it to be the main plot.

I definitely want a new story.

Also, to whoever is doing this, please stop with the Jar Jar Abrams B.S. It makes you look completely ignorant.

And I’ll keep saying this. Most of the hard cores wouldn’t have even known that the engine room was a brewery unless you had been told.

How about a Klingon story. A Mirror Mirror story. Or something that is later than where the original show ended. Maybe a Mirror Mirror story from our side of the mirror.

I liked Insurrection. :P

BUT PLEASE Original!!! Why go out of your way to bitch about how all how Klingons and Romulans and their overuse was KILLING THE FRANCHISE and that was why a new TOS UNIVERSE needed to be created – and then turn around and just rehash the same stuff – that you bitched was killing the franchise?!

New please and original and maybe…could ya lay off the cliches the next time fellas?

By the by, I love the new movie, well done, actors well chosen to match the adults pretty well, better than I expected frankly. Only problem I had was the Spock & Uhura thing.

I just cannot see the young Spock giving in to emotions when fighting that very thing so hard all the rest of the time. Could be worked out maybe to be explained in the future why Spock & Uhura never expressed any knowledge of each other in that way.

Rubs the Vulcan in me the wrong way. :)