EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman On Status of Star Trek Sequel + Discuss Importance of Villain & Title Ideas

This week Star Trek writer/exec producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were honored with the George Pal Memorial Saturn Award. While at the event the pair spoke with TrekMovie about the award and also discussed the Star Trek sequel, giving an update on the script status, discussing the importance of the villain in a ‘second movie’ and even talked possible titles (or at least title styles). See highlights and video interview below, plus more photos.


Bob and Alex update on the status of the script


  • Orci on status of Star Trek sequel script "We have a story, and the next phase is to get together and try to destroy it."
  •  But both clarified that the story still needs to be gone over to see if it "stands scrutiny" and if it doesn’t they will return to the drawing board
  • Orci on if they have chosen the villain for Star Trek sequel: "have a front runner", but would not elaborate
  • Will work with Damon Lindelof both on the story and on the script, Kurtzman noting that "I am incredibly relieved to have him full time now" [now that Lost has concluded]
  • Planning on "diving in" next week as Damon returns from vacation

On the importance of the villain in Star trek sequel

As the 2009 Star Trek movie was an origin story, the villain in the film (Nero) got less of a focus than the crew coming together. In the past Alex Kurtzman has talked about how ‘second movies’ (like Wrath of Khan, Superman II, Empire Strikes Back) are more about the villain. I asked him specifically about this, here is the exchange:

TrekMovie: At the WGA event earlier this year you talked about how second movies are all about the villain. Are you still thinking that way about this movie?

Kurtzman: I think the emphasis is a little different as the first movie is really about watching the team come together. That doesn’t go away in the second movie. The second movie is about how does the team now that they are on their journey, live together as a family, so that is still a big engine of the narrative

TrekMovie: But the action plot and villain become a bigger part of the film?

Kurtzman: I think you have a little bit more room, but I don’t think you can skimp on time with the crew.

Star Trek: The Title?

The brief chat concluded with discussing the title, or more specifically the format for the title for the sequel. When asked if it will have a colon in it (ala Star Trek: Nemesis), Bob said "it probably has to…it can’t be Star Trek XII, it can’t be Star Trek IIa". I suggested an alternative, saying it doesn’t necessarily need to have “Star Trek” in the title and they and can use the same format as the recent Batman franchise films which followed up "Batman Begins" with "The Dark Knight". Bob asked "Is that allowed? Will the fans revolt?"

I offered my pitch for the idea, noting that that the TOS movies all had a roman numeral and TNG movies already did the Star Trek+colon+subtitle thing and so their new series of Trek films should have their own style. Bob seemed intrigued with the idea, noting "Star Trek has been around long enough, you are going to know it is Star Trek, I like that " and Alex said "it’s interesting, we’ll take it to the court and see." Bob then suggested "Cold, Cold Space….or something like that."



Bob & Alex on the Saturn red carpet

Roberto Orci on the Saturn red carpet

Alex Kurtzman on the Saturn red carpet

Bob & Alex with their Saturn

Bob & Alex with their Saturn and presenter Michelle Monaghan

Photos courtesy of Albert L. Ortega

POLL: Should there be colons in Trek’s future?

We have polled on this before and my idea has been in the minority admittedly. Now let’s try it with just two options (as Bob noted “Star Trek 2” or “Star Trek II” can’t be done). So what say you given these two choices:



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Umm… although it’s a matter of “just kidding” but the suggested title for the new film would seem to suggest… KAHN!!!!!! :)

“It is very cold in space” = “Bob then suggested “Cold, Cold Space….or something like that.””

I like the idea of having a main antagonist in the film, but I like the broader, larger message Star Trek films are known for (save the whales, end discrimination, etc.). I would like to see the next film incorporate both if it doesn’t detract from a central message/theme. A super bad-guy who’s defeat teaches us a little something about ourselves or gives us a reason to reflect upon whom we are or what we do with our lives.

I think messages like that are important.

Star Trek: Part D’eux

If not Khan, it should be a Klingon General

“Star Trek:
(in italics:
Kirk vs. Dinocroc & Supergator”)

Sorry. Watching that now on SyFy. I know they MUST have a villian-driven plot for a contemporary blockbuster, but it would be SO nice to remember to include some thought-provoking social commentary and also some good character development and dialogue. I know, I know… I’m asking an awful lot for my 10 bucks. (or whatever by then)

Given that the next film has to be the Klingons the villain must be a major Klingon figure. It is as with Batman’s villans. We love to see them ride again.

The only question for me is what do you do for the comic relief? Will you bring in their alter ego? Will you use the Ferengi? I hope so.

Hopefully this villain won’t go after Earth, because If Earth is put in direct danger again (third time in a row), I quit. Not only do I not care about Earth in Star Trek, but the Original Series never went to their modern day Earth for a quick save the world plot. The only stories that ever involved Earth were the ones that took the crew to Earth’s past.

I like the idea of the Klingons in the next one. If khan were used, it would have to be along the lines of “Space Seed”, as khan would need to be met by the crew for the first time for the storyline to make sense. You can’t just have khan looking for revenge without the backstory to justify it.

Bring on the Klingons!!

The Way of the Warrior
Sword of Kahless

Makeup will have a lot of fun with this film.
– Academy award number two

I say they should do involve an adaptation of the TNG episode Force of Nature and somehow have the villian allude to the BP Deepwater Horizon crisis and corporate greed vs. protecting our futures…

7 – Jeyl — Totally agree. In fact, a smaller plot would be excellent. Kirk could fall for a hot Klingon chick and have to wrestle with his loyalties. She could betray him / get killed… setting up Kirk’s lifelong hatred of Klingons.

I sure wish they’d go with the Mirror Universe in order to maximize exposure for the new actors and to let them chew the scenery a bit.

Orci, Kurtzman and LIndelhof always fall into the trap of too many characters and too much frantic random action. Their plots tend to be too confusing (not a densely thought out story, but a random cacophony of events without menaing or motivation.

“Evil twin universe” is a simple concept that spotlights the actors, evokes warm feelings in Trekkers, is familiar to the public, and has the benefit of having never been featured in a previous Trek movie, From that framework I would hope they could build a good character-driven story about facing danger, and facing yourself and what you might have become.

you heard it here

” Strange New Worlds”

All I ask is a ticket and a handshake…in front of a lot of people…LOL



Y’know, normally, I wouldn’t dig this, but damn, an updated version of Mirror Mirror would probably work well. Shatner as old Tiberius, maybe?


Woah… my vote on the title just brought it to exactly 50/50.

(for the record, I loved the bold move of leaving “Batman” out of the title in a Batman franchise movie, and I’d love to see the same thing done with Star Trek)

Colon or Not: I could go either way on this, but voted for “Star Trek: *” because of tradition. Having said that, I would not be peeved if they decided to go “The Dark Knight” route.

You need something to identify it as Trek if you don’t use it in the title.. like Dark Knight did. I know this was used in the original Trek.. but maybe “To Boldly Go” or something. I liked that “Enterprise” started without the Star Trek in the title. Too bad they forced them to use it eventually.

Oh wait… “These Are The Voyages…”

The villain should be a pissed off Klingon.

Or maybe the borg while leaving earth (from Enterprise episode) could encounter the Botany Bay and assimilate Khan. A pissed off borgified Khan.

I bet the sequels going to be CROSS-OVER between star wars and star trek. I know “the court” loves Star Wars more then Star Trek. I bet we’ll see the complete annihilation of Trek….. So given that state of mind…. I bet the title will be called :

Star Trek: Star Wars

Gosh i miss the old Ronald D Moore/Nicholas Meyer days…….

#19, you just gave the new movie a title, my friend: Pissed Off Klingons

It’s too bad the Shat used it instead of calling it Star Trek V: Craptastic, because The Final Frontier would be the perfect Dark Knight style title…

I am sick to death of it always having to be a villian in a Star Trek movie!

How about something original for a change?

You don’t need a villian to have drama and conflict.

Trek IV was one of the best and had no villain. Time to think outside the script templates a little bit, guys.

“To Boldly Go”

As I rarely wear me pants, I fairly much go anywhar’s… OK, old joke…

“Where No One Has Gone Before”

Wow. What a title that be. I’d see a film like that as it invokes images o’ me wit’ Ellen Degeneres. Bob Orca- do ye’s got her number so I can give her a ring? Me fake boobies are just sittin’ in me drawers anyways.

“Puke in the Porthole”

Tha’ story o’ a young crewman named BND who gets spacesick from his drunkenness and infects tha’ crew wit’ “gin”-gavitus.


Somehow gettin’ tha’ timeline back on track as Spock impregnates all tha’ remainin’ Vulcans. Even tha’ blokes. Think o’ tha’ multiple Nimoy cameos that could come forth. So ta’ speaks.

“The Phantom Menace”

Cold war scenerio wit’ tha’ evil Teletubbie empire tryin’ ta’ hug every Fedaradiation outpost. Can’t be worse than tha’ Ferengi threat.

“The Next Genera…” Uhhhhhhhh, no. Bad title alls around.

“Enterpri…” Again, uhhhhhhhh… bad title alls around. Unless they be fightin’ Scott Dracula then it could be…

“The Undead”

And they could bring back all tha’ Vulcans who got sucked into a time bubble as thar’ planet collapsed and went back in time ta’ became a**holes in tha’ beginnin’ o’ tha’ Federation. Scott Dracula sucks. And then T’Pow undresses as Trip eats some fish…. errrrrr… catfish.

“The Bath of Cones”

Again, T’Pow undresses and goes inta’ tha’ tub fur’ two hours. Me skin gets all swollen and pruney just thinkin’ aboot’ it.

or perhaps a title likes…

“This Second Film Needs Good Writing- Spend some time on it, dammit!”

Oh, I kids cuz I luvs.

Tha’ new Starry Trek film wuz’ really a lot o’ fun and I hopes tha’ second one be a contrast and be serious and dramatic and GASP! science-fictiony-like…

So, this big white space whale comes up and eats Kirk’s… uhhhhhhh… appendage… And ta’ his crew’s dismay he vows ta’ hunt this plumpy porpoise and… uhhhhhhh… More space battles? Mayhaps not.

Godspeed, John Glenn.


Leaving out the words Star Trek from the title? Obvious: The Final Frontier. Instantaneous recognition from all and orients the theme along classic Trek lines.

How about something obvious and simple like “Starship Enterprise”.

Or they could do something like The Empire Strikes Back. The word “Star Wars” isn’t in the title, however it does appear in the logo.

Anthony, that’s not a bad idea, but I’m not sure if the Delta Shield is as recognizable as something like the Bat-signal or the Bond logo.

#27 Been there, done that. See movie number 5, 1989, Some obscure actor, William…. something.. directed it.

‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’

there. problem solved. :)

One last thought… ta’ concur wit’ Harry Ballz… allow me ta’ invoke Tina Turner…

“We don’t need another villain!
We don’t need to go that way- it’s old
What we want is something new, you know
Have Kirk and Spock fight in Thunderdome.”

Wait a tic… that not be new!

Internal Starfleet conflict… unknown world that be seemed a loomin’ threat but comes oot’ as a planet o’ Teletubbies… Has “Roberto” (is that correct-like? Me name be DJ Tribbleton so I never make fun o’ a bloke’s name but… Roberto?) did he e’er read “The Mote in God’s Eye”?

Oh, I’m bein’ bad. Roberto and Alexo did a very good job on Starry Trek. It wuz’ a fun film so much like an old eppie-sode. I just be worried that number two will be a number tw… Oh, I will stop.

I haves me faith.

Again, Godspeed.


Coming up with a title is tricky. It must be powerful, short, and snazzy; perhaps, intriguing or alluring. But it can’t be meaningless: it must relate to the subject matter in a salient way.

How about: ‘The Seed of Evil’. ‘A Superior Tyrant.’ ‘The Eugenics Wars.’ ‘The Prime Directive’. ‘The Genesis of Fear’. ‘Wild Justice.’ ‘The Rise of a Prince’. ‘Evolved Sensibility’. ‘Brave New Worlds.’ ‘The Augments’. ‘Natural Selection’. ‘The Return of Khan’.

As you can see, I think a certain baddy will make his return. Devising a title is very tricky; but I’ve had a go….

i agree with those that say why does Trek need a villain? wasn’t that berman’s thing and what almost killed the franchise, well movie-wise ’cause he thought a strong bad guy was the only way to pull in an audience other than Trek fans?

and, i wasn’t going to say anything…but @10, yes i agree we are too depended on oil, but they could show in the new movie the real villains was not the greedy BP’s but actually turned out to be the regulations from the true villains, the environmentalist where if the BP’s could have drilled in more shallow and safer waters than the leak could have been stopped in a matter of hours instead of weeks, i mean months, i mean…oh that’s right it’s still going cause they can’t get to it

My title suggestion: “Voyages of the Starship Enterprise”

“Quantum of Science, A Star Trek tale of love, betrayal, lingerie, ridge-browed baddies, glowy green energy cubes, and Uhura kicking ass”

There, no colon. Could use a semi-colon, though.

Actually… stand-alone titles that could be made to work quite well:

“Prime Directive”

These could be stories that could focus on the true meaning of these integral Trek themes.

I know it is the usual bring out a main villain but how about something different a cross between THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE and THE DEVIL IN THE DARK with maybe some of THE GALILEO SEVEN thrown in. If you have to have a villain have them completely alien being but now evil just so different they come in conflict because of that. Maybe have a planet or huge ship in space to explore to create this conflict. Have exploration part of this equation. I really feel like the films have just left part of the cool concepts of STAR TREK behind and I really don’t get why. Well that is just my 2 cents and good luck out there as I hope it is another fun film.

Shat My Admiral Says

More McCoy!

Star Trek: Dammit Jim!

Oh yes one thing I forgot maybe have some working titles finish the script and let that really inform what the title should be. Let it work out organically in this whole creative process of making this new film.

And… I want more perils of exploration and a little less villain please.

Regarding the comment ‘cold, cold space’ and people thinking that this refers to Khan, well, it may not. These guys like to keep people guessing and the script and direction to be secret. So it may refer to something entirely different – or to nothing in particular. It could, however, be a reference to the Klingons. Remember, in the Day of the Dove, Kang says: ‘You will die of suffocation, in the icy cold of space’….

Personally, I want Khan over the Klingons. I won’t mind, however, so long as the story is good.

Regarding the poll, I voted for keeping ‘Star Trek’ in the title. I don’t think that the Trek brand is yet established enough for it to ‘go it alone’. The analogy with James Bond is, perhaps, misleading: James Bond has always (since it’s creation) been a mainstream hit. And it has a greater sense of identity; not least because we all know of James Bond and the elements of a Bond film – and they’re instantly recognizable. I don’t think that this is true for Star Trek. The advantage that James Bond and Star Wars have over Star Trek, here, is that they have greater mainstream awareness and appreciation; and they follow a strict formula: Bond has the gun barrel, the opening scene, and the music. Star Wars has the music and the opening monologue. ETC.

“To infinity and beyond!”… oh, never mind

How about Star Trek SEMI colon, something something?

Oh please, you all embarrass me with your applause. I’m turning red.

44. Damn straight. The villain of the moment is getting a bit old (and as someone else said–a threat to earth juast as much). Seems these guys are thinking squarely inside the box. Which is about all you can expect from Hollywood these days. Truly Trek would be better off as a TV series in the current reboot, tentpole, blockbuster formula, 3Dify everything environment. Trek should be about ideas and not every moment dedicated to beating the crap out of someone (not that TOS didn’t have action/adventure, but it was more than that and the best Trek, like Devil in the Dark and City on the Edge of Forever, and Balance of Terror broke formulaic storytelling).

The last time I listened to this much discussion about a colon, I was seeing my proctologist!

Cold, Cold Space…
is that some sort of possible reference to Khan being in suspended animation?