More From Orci & Kurtzman On Star Trek Sequel Script Development

Star Trek scribes Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman have another sequel update from the TCA  event this week (promoting Fringe). Regarding the Trek sequel, they corrected Zoe Saldana’s recent estimate that the script was ‘half done’, again noting they haven’t started yet. They also talked about the balance of new stories vs elements of TOS, writing with Lindelof and more. Details below .


Finding the story and the balance
According to Bob, as noted in the last TCA article, the team are still in the "re-reading and taking-it-all-in phase" and have not yet began writing it. As noted before, much of the debate is between new storylines and revisiting TOS material within the new timeline, but apparently those can some time mesh, with Orci noting:

Even when you pitch stuff, sometimes someone will be like, ‘Wow, that’s like that one episode. So even in trying to stay away from it, you can crash back in there.

It also seems that the team are going to stick with the formula for the first film and try and make the sequel be accessible to a general audience, but still true to Trek. Kurtzman notes:

A lot of what makes die-hard Trekkers really focused on Trek are those details that can sometimes be alienating to people who are not on the inside. That leads us back to what are the big themes, the emotional ideas? That’s a language everybody speaks.

Inside The Trek Supreme Court
Bob also talked about how the five member Supreme court will work, with Damon Lindelof also getting more involved with the script this time around:

We’re going to come up with the story together, obviously, in consultation with J.J. [Abrams] and Bryan [Burk]. Then we’re going to write it up together, the story. Also Damon, and then Alex and I will go write the script.

So it appears that in the end Lindelof may only share a ‘story by’ credit with Orci and Kurtzman


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I guess, in the meantime, we have the collaborative comic books from Bob and Alex, et al… can’t wait for “Nero”!

Supreme Court? Sounds a wee bit arrogant, doesn’t it?

Now that’s better! Hopefully we’ll get some script details by the end of September.

Orci’s right.

Even when you try something new in Trek, it can mirror something old. TNG did everything. Granted, there were some things that could have been done better, and many that were done flawlessly, but TNG did do most of it.

For example, even when I’m rewatching first season BSG, there are a number of episodes that feel like a TNG rerun!

I absolutely hate it when you guys call them the “Supreme Court”

4. cagmar: ‘even when I’m rewatching first season BSG, there are a number of episodes that feel like a TNG rerun!’

If you’re talking about the 1970s Battlestar Galactica, then I agree with you!

The new BSG had the balls to push an idea as far as it could go and live with the consequences. TNG always wimped out and went for the safe reset button at the end.

My great frustration with TNG was always that it came up with exciting, killer setups that could change the nature of the show and it always, always chickened out!

I agree. I think the Supreme Court description should be retired. It was interesting before the movie in validating that some of the writers and producers had tangible knowledge of the franchise. But, I don’t think they have quite earned the title as ongoing legacy just yet.

I’m glad that Damon Lindelof is part of the writing team. The episodes he writes for LOST are the best of the series and I think he is a stronger writer that Orci and Kurtzman (see Transformers). ST09 was really great but I think Lindelof can help make the sequel better.


Jeez! Why are some suddenly upset by the name “The Supreme Court”? I think kit’s kinda cute and besides, IT PERFECTLY DESCRIBES THEIR POSITIONS. IT’S WHAT THEY ARE. THEY MAKE THE DECISIONS. Perhaps we should quote W Bush and call them THE DECIDERS.

You may continue now with the usual minutia nitpicking.

Dom… be prepared how the nuTrek will chicken out. For example they had the chance to kill off Sulu in this movie, yet they didn’t. Lame.

Ok, let’s get beyond what the writer called them, please…

I think the story needs to touch on the new Vulcan colony and it’s establishment as it’s B storyline. Construction, terra (vulcan)-forming work, people doing things. And then the E and crew, perhaps Spock Prime as well, are pulled away for something something… or the E stops at New Vulcan before the five year mission… blah, blah…

McCoy needs more to do thing time… DAmmit, Jim.

I have never seen such a bad case of branding like today.

Did anyone even think of calling First Contact “Frakes-Trek”, was Nemesis “Baird-Trek”, was Deep Space Nine “Berman/Braga/Piller-Trek”? Yet with this new movie, the makers themselves put their names onto that movie. It’s “Star Trek from the creators of Lost and Alias”, “Star Trek by Orci and Kurtzman”, “JJ. Abrams presents Star Trek”, as stated by many posters and wallpapers all around the word. In Harve Benett, Ralph Winter or Rick Berman times it was ALWAYS “Based upon Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry”, there was never such a bad case of name branding going on.

Yeah, most of the fans wanted Berman and Braga to die because they screwed up Enterprise and Nemesis, but they were still just some gears in the grand machinery that was Star Trek.

But today, with Abrams, Lindelof, Orci and Kurtzman, it seems Star Trek turned into “yet another production of Bad Robot”. And the decision to call the 11th installment of that great big franchise just “Star Trek” was a concious one to let that connection really suck in. It truly is Abrams-Trek now.

Nobody would have ever thought about calling First Contact or Insurrection “Frakes Trek” or “Berman Trek”.

I sincerely hope they will feature what will happen to the scattered Vulcans. That’s a goldmine of material right there!

Nothing about Moore’s BSG reminded me of TNG. Nothing. That was a *good* thing.

#6 Dom – I mean the new BSG. Season 1’s LItmus = TNG’s Drumhead. And Drumhead was in every way more satisfying.

I loved TNG. I think it was the quintessential sci-fi program for the ages. It was obviously written at a time when Serials were not approved of, and everything had to be wrapped up and back to normal by the end of an episode…. but I think as a philosophy and analogy for humanity, the way it dealt with things was perfectly acceptable and thoroughly enjoyable.

And it would be hard, as Orci says, to write something that does not borrow from TNG in some way.


And here I thought that nitpicking was limited to the movie alone.


It’s a nickname that describes the general duty of the writers and production staff. Nothing more.

Now if you want something to argue over, let’s go over the word “canon.” I guarantee you, others outside of Trek think we are psychotic for using a word that basically means “Sacred Doctrine.”

No Shat, no Khan pls. We all have the sets with them and memories are good and cozy, but we want something new. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s some great misunderstanding of what a Supreme Court does in real life.

old news. had this story ages ago before picked up on it. Coman Guys !

I just think it’s not a good way of describing the writers. It’s their movie… I don’t see any more of a reason to call them the “Supreme Court” than the writers of any other movie.

If I want Khan, Shatner, or any concept of TOS revisited, I know where to find them in my DVD collection.

New universe, wide open opportunities. Let’s not waste them, gentlemen.


I’m still waiting on a reason why these two are right for the job. ST09 didn’t convince me.

Jeyl, they are right, because they are the “Supreme Court of Star Trek”. They tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.

I think these guys can’t write dialogue.

I have a suggestion Mr’s Orci and Kurtzman: How about doing something involving a Brief Federation Civil War?

“Supreme Court” was coined here, I believe, and it was just meant to be a committee to put those who truly know Trek details, such as Orci and Lindelof, and those who don’t (Kurtzman, Abrams) in the room together to make sure things stayed more or less “Trekkish.” I remember the discussions, and I think it worked in the end, mostly (Spock and Uhura?).

I have to disagree with Kurtzman’s assertion that Trek’s ‘details’ alienate outsiders. If it’s the Riverside Shipyards, or blue nacelle caps, who cares? He should have another look at his movie, and see how many of those ‘details’ actually made it in successfully. Who thought two years ago we’d actually see Captain Pike in a movie?

The writers are coming up against Ron Moore’s nemesis, which is ‘canon.’ Too much history and details, so we can’t write a new story without getting trapped into something formulaic. Stop worrying. TMP was an expensive “Nomad” episode, and TNG filched Riker and Troi from TMP’s Decker and Ilia. TWOK was a TV sequel, TSFS was another sequel, as was the one with the whales, which had time travel and 20th century hijinks. TFF was again out looking for the Creator, TUC was a torch-passer, as was “Generations.” FC was a TV sequel, and the last two were hi-cost TV eps, the last of which was a re-hash of “Data has a brother” mixed with Khan-style bits and yet another passing of the torch.

ST09 passes the torch (again), but does so in its own unique way, and still has its genesis, perhaps coincidentally, in ideas Harve Bennett was kicking around decades ago. The writers should not re-invent the wheel for the next film, but consider it an advantage that Trek is so rich in history and details.

Good grief, the comments are full of well reasoned critique tonight eh?

To be fair, this is mostly a non story but since it refutes the Zoe reports then it’s worth mentioning. I think that the more salient point is that they’ve no desire to change the formula. Which is fine by me.

I’m as interested to see what they come up with this time as last time.

I hope the screen writers have an ear to the WOMEN who enjoy Star Trek–hooray for action and adventure but look closely at the vast majority of fan fiction being written–Spock and Uhura are getting lots of the attention. I know some of the geek boys are impatient with that ‘ship–they are worried that it interferes with the triad of Spock and Kirk and McCoy–but come on, guys–times have changed and you can be in a meaningful relationship with a woman and still have your guy friends. Spock’s relationship with Uhura made for great comedy and irony and sympathy in the movie, and it would be a shame not to explore it and continue it. It would also be a great shame to jump several years ahead in the storyline–we need to see how all of these young characters develop. I also vote for putting the Enterprise to work helping Vulcan get re-established–lots of possible peril there.

Waterbury, I think you might be on to something. Maybe not like the similar DS9 storyline, but there may be something in that. Good potential for cool action sequences and character insight/development.

In any case, Star Trek 2011 should be to Star Trek (2009) what The Dark Knight was to Batman Begins- same style, but even more awesome!

I say there won’t be any dramatic changes in the next movie, it will play fair and save just like any other Trek episode you guys are bitching about “was too save, too formulaic”. What shall there be? Destroy yet another planet? Yeah, wow. Kill Spock? Been there, done that. Kill Kirk? Yeah, right. And I highly doubt they will kill off any of the other crewmembers. Destroy the Enterprise? Again?

I think the most single dramatic and totally unexpected thing that the sequel could have would be if they reverted the timeline back to normal.

Dear Mr. Orci & Mr. Kurtzman — or should I say: Your Honorable Justices? ;) — loved your film, hope you’ll be reading this,

#24 itzWicks wrote: “New universe, wide open opportunities. Let’s not waste them, gentlemen.”

I agree, and I have a proposition, although I believe you’ll eventually come up with much better ideas. It would not be for the next film, but for an arc that could span the films to come after that, but one that should then be established in the background of the next film’s plot.

The destruction of Vulcan and the decimation of the Vulcan people will have created vulnerabilities with regard to Vulcan-Romulan relations in the new timeline. Even before the Nero incursion there were attempts at re-unification, but now the balance is lost, and the Romulans would no doubt have the upper hand. They might even consider forcing the remaining Vulcans (or parts of the Vulcan people) under Romulan dominion. Maybe some Vulcan factions would openly join the Romulan empire and break with UFP. UFP’s/Starfleet’s role would radically change: Not only would there be a reverse deja-vu, in that Starfleet now has a kind of guardianship over the Vulcans that’s not completely unlike the one the Vulcans had over mankind in the Archer era… but there would also be a possibility for massive conflict, political, military, federal, social, even among the Enterprise crew (I’m thinking sabotage here etc.), coupled with a interstellar-cultural background, which is known to Trek fans from previous series, however with altered circumstances. Go with the idea that the Nero incursion will really jumble things. (In some ways you already did. Take it further!)

That’s the potential and opportunities which I would not like to see wasted. Take what we know, like the Vulcan-Romulan relations, but only as a starting point, then recalibrate it according to the realities in the new timeline.

Think big, as in trilogy, as in, well, yeah: Star Wars—hi there, Mr. Abrams. ;) In the third film of that hypothetical trilogy (which would then be your fifth film all in all), or in the second (fourth), Spock Prime could be re-introduced.

There’s potential to explore the two Spocks’ relationship: Old Spock from the prime timeline has lots of experience in Romulan-Vulcan relations, even at re-unification diplomacy, which might however be worthless (at least to some degree) in the new timeline. This could be expanded to turn him into a tragic figure, a person lost in a universe that appears more alien to him with every new development. I believe Mr. Nimoy would love to take Spock in a totally new direction, in a few years, in the 4th and/or 5th film. There is also possibility for a schism between the two Spocks—at least temporarily…we don’t want to lose the positive vibe now, do we? Big battles, big resolutions at the end. Etc. pp..

Then the Klingons… would they seize the opportunity, when UFP is shaken, because Vulcans start to lean toward Romulus?

Well… I know I know: 2¢, thinkin’ loud…

In any case, just do us one favor: No Shat please, and no Khan, no augments or whatever. I’d rather have Section 31, to be honest.

If you look at the hanging threads of ST09 from the standpoint, you can imagine the chaotic mess created by the appearance of Nero.

1. Klingons declare war on Romulus for destroying their armada..
2. Federation could also declare war, but will be more sensitive to the real story, which must be kept mum due to tech transfer from 24th century ships.
3. Klingons could ally themselves with the Feds, as both are victims. Klingon DF is weakened by Nero incursion.
4. Feds could mediate dispute between Klingons and Romulus, promising timely aid in the prevention of the Hobus star’s inevitable appearance.
5. Some Vulcans may decide to resettle on Romulus.

Lots of good tidbits which could be woven into a story,

Schultz, you realise that NONE of what you just wrote will EVER appear in a movie or a novel, because of copyright issues that would arise if the writers ever used one of the ideas that was written down here?

Wow. Schultz and I had almost identical brain-farts at the same time!

#37 (dude23276)

LOL. What copyright issues? Do you think that (a) anything of what I wrote is important (or worth putting in a film/novel), or (b) anything I wrote is “original”? That narrative sketch would not even have been possible without ST09, without episodes like Re-Unification, Kir’Shara etc. But hey, yeah, I hereby give permission to use that material, freely, change, adapt, write, film, refilm, reuse, new use etc. pp. No license fee, no buyout fee. Only royalties, incl. derivative products. LOL. ;)



I wonder if that’s true.

“Of Gods and Men” had Charlie Evans go back from the 24th century and kill Kirk’s mom in the 23rd, in Iowa, which created a new timeline. Could they sue?

Also, the argument is moot if they decide to actually pay a few thousand for a good idea. I think it was TNG that started taking unsolicited scripts, and some actually made it in some form to TV.

With all the ideas circulating on this forum, someone is bound to touch on something which may occur in the film as a coincidence.

I think it would be cool if they mixed some old schoolers in with the new team. Maybe something like this.

Producer: JJ Abrams
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Story By: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Ronald D. Moore & D.C. Fontana


I thought Frakes did an awesome job on First Contact and they probably had less than half the budget of these new movies.

Just looked it up: First Contact = $45 million; Star Trek = ~$150 million. No fair.

I certainly hope nobody from here sues Orci, Kurtzman, or Abrams in the future because ‘their’ idea was used in the sequel. That would be ridiculous. Speculation doesn’t have copyright issues attached…there were those who speculated that ST09 would include time travel. And it did.
As for The Supreme Court…I wouldn’t say it’s arrogant, but I don’t really care for the name either. How about “Command Crew” or “Senior Staff”? That would be more fitting.

32…StarTrekGal, I agree. I was totally skeptical when I heard about Spock and Uhura, but it worked! One of my favorite parts is the look on Kirk’s and then on Scotty’s face in the transporter scene.

34, 37… dude23276, you make some good points. It doesn’t seem like there’s much left to do. As much as I ‘want’ a sequel, I have my doubts. Trek has done some things that simply can’t be topped. Just because Abrams thinks he can make it better (I’ll admit he had success with his idea the first time) doesn’t mean we ‘need’ another Star Trek movie. Maybe we should just let it rest, I don’t know…some of us can be content with reruns and DVDs of the old shows.

Damon Lindelof will likely be consumed by the out-of-this-universe expectations for LOST’s last season but I hope he does have an impact on the new script; he’s a darn good storyteller and dramatist.

I hope this “new Trek” is basically a trilogy with Abrams directing all three with a narrative/stylistic cohesion and sense of internal — uh, oh — canon, all its own, even as it touches on established “Prime” events and characters.


It is just personal preference for sure, but I would love more and more Trek. Reimagined Trek, old school Trek, I don’t care that much. I adjusted to TNG back in the day and eventually managed to greatly appreciate and enjoy DS9 and VOY.

My attitude is basically that if someone attempts something new with Trek and it sucks, that’s too bad, but not as bad as the prospect of an entirely dead franchise. Plus I’m open to new forms of Trek that haven’t been done yet.

When DS9 and VOY were still fairly new I refused to watch them because I thought the concepts were lame and that the TOS/TNG stuff was enough for me (DS9 was soap opera Trek and VOY was just superfluous and cheap). I’ve since watched all of DS9 and VOY multiple times and I believe my original assessment was way wrong to say the least. I love the fact that there are so many hours upon hours of Star Trek material to say nothing of the novels, comics, etc.

I suppose someone out there must thinking “get a life, its just a tv show.” No apologies.

Still waiting for a good reason. Orci & Kirtzman didn’t do a good job.

Will Damon Lindelof make that big of a difference? I was happy with what we got. I can rejoice in being a ST fan again after B & B slowly ruined ST for me.

47 Jeyl,
Go and watch Fringe. Personally, I think they do a good job with the dialogue in that. But I happen to like their style. If you don’t like the way they write, then you probably won’t like anything else they’ll do, including the next Trek.

It’s all a matter of opinion.

AJ & Shultz,

lol, I posted a few variations of the new timeline Romulan-Vulcan-UFP relations plot ideas on a thread like a day after the movie came out. I’m going to sue you both!! haha.

My favorite involved a split among the Vulcan survivors with one group dealing with the trauma by clinging even more to the Vulcan philosophy and another group who responds by embracing their passions and anger (being more reminiscent of Romulans- perhaps with a touch of Kahn and his peeps). I suppose you could compare it with the Jedi & Sith from Lucas’ franchise. haha.

Another story idea gave the Romulans a certain change of heart. I feel that the common roots of Romulans and Vulcans makes it impossible for the former to not sympathize with the utter genocide brought upon the latter (by rogue Romulans no less). Ultimately the dynamic results in the Romulans emerging not as villains in the alternate reality, but as an interesting race/civilization to be explored. Would be ironic anyway, in the prime timeline Romulus is destroyed which results in them being basically cool in an alternate reality. Still independent, but no more neutral zone, and relationship not marked by tension and hostility. Maybe Spock’s reunification dream materializes in this universe and perhaps many Romulans come to embrace the teachings of Surak, etc. and the Vulcan way of life is reborn on Romulus of all places.

Lots of interesting directions to take for Vulcan-Romulan loving geeks anyway… Back to daydreaming…