Old West Location Inspires Orci & Kurtzman For Star Trek Sequel + A Look At Past ‘Star Trek Westerns’

mccoyStar Trek scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are currently in production on their sci-fi western Cowboys and Aliens, which is shooting out in the New Mexico. But while there the pair are also working on putting together the story for the Star Trek sequel, and apparently the location his giving them inspiration.  We also take a look at past "Star Trek westerns".

 

Star Trek sequel returns to Wagon Train to the Stars

Crave spoke to the pair of writers at the Saturn Awards in June, and Bob talked about how shooting the sci-fi Western Cowboys and Aliens at the New Mexico location could be a source of inspiration for Star Trek:

Crave: What does being on set mean for working on Star Trek 2?

Roberto Orci: Well, it inspires it a little bit. Star Trek was Wagon Train of the Stars. Isn’t that how Gene Roddenberry pitched it? So right now we’re just doing Stars Come to the Wagon Train and now we start turning. Once we start relaxing about what we’re doing here, I’m hoping that being out in the woods a little bit will kind of inspire the right decisions hopefully.

Read the rest of the interview at Crave Online, but bear in mind the interview is five week’s old so discussion about the status of the Star Trek script is a bit out of date.
 

Westerns and Wagon Train as inspiration

Bob Orci is referring to the famous story of how Gene Roddenberry pitched Star Trek back in the 60’s, when westerns like the TV series Wagon Train were very popular. Before creating Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry wrote for a number of westerns, including The Virginian, Boots and Saddles, and Have Gun Will Travel. Here is how the Museum of Broadcast describes Roddenberry’s pitch:

Like The Lieutenant [last show Roddenberry worked on before Star Trek], Star Trek episodes comment on social and political questions in a military (albeit futuristic) setting. Roddenberry described Star Trek as a "Wagon Train to the stars" because, like that popular series, its stories focused on the "individuals who traveled to promote the expansion of our horizons". Star Trek was the first science fiction series to depict a peaceful future, and Roddenberry often credited the enduring success of the series to the show’s positive message of hope for a better tomorrow.

Of course you can take inspiration from stories of the Old West without literally strapping on a six-gun. It would be interesting to see Star Trek once again return to the ‘frontier’ aspect of the show. Most Star Trek films tend to be centered around a crisis related to planet Earth, but the mission of Star Trek is to explore strange new worlds on the final frontier, just like those pioneers in the Old West.

An example of a sci-fi film that drew heavily from the Western genre would be the 1981 Sean Connery sci-fi film Outland, which was inspired by the classic Western High Noon, but set on a moon of Jupiter (see trailer below).


Trailer for "Outland" – A Western in Space

Literal Star Trek Westerns

Although all of Star Trek takes inspiration from the Western genre, the franchise has done some literal trips to the Old West as well. Here are some clips:

TOS: "Spectre of the Gun" (clip)

 TNG: "Fistful of Datas" (various clips)

Enterprise: "North Star" (trailer)

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Red Dead Ryan

I’d like to see a Trek movie take place in a “Western” type setting. And throw in some Klingons as well!

And anyone who has not played “Red Dead Redemption” yet, I suggest y’all do so. Plenty of gunslinging, action, great characters, a huge landscape to explore, great music and just great fun overall!

P.S Get Rockstar Games to do a console Trek game!

I just hope that the sequil is not a western. The above mentioned stories were fun especialy “fist full of Datas” that was enyoyable. I would not make a wild west movie as the sequel.

Vultan

Yeehaw! “Spectre of the Gun” has always been one of my favorites. And it’s great to hear Orci & Kurtzman are finding inspiration from the Old West. Might I suggest at the end of the sequel we see Scotty’s little alien buddy left on a Wyoming-ish planet, calling out, “Scotty! Come back!”

(A million quatloos to the first person who gets that movie reference.)

kmart

FIREFLY mixed the western nicely, but I can’t imagine these guys doing anything in the way of genre-mixing without being massively heavyhanded. I don’t want to see a phaser that has a revolver-cylinder in it, the current ones are awful enough already.

Getting outdoors in TREK in a very good thing, especially since it’ll limit the number of light sources to create BS lens flares, unless they are in a 6-star system.

Lore

I kinda like the lens flares……….

Harry Seldom

SHANE!!!!

Please deposit my million quatloos on Raisa.

– Harry

Captain Conrad

Whoever did the funny clips left out the last shot of the Enterprise flying off into the sunset!!!!

Aran

Yes, please, let us forego the western aspect in ST2

Whoever was asking the questions over at Crave needs to remember that there’s ALREADY a STAR TREK 2, and it came out in 1982. It was called THE WRATH OF KHAN, and has been (and always will be, for me) the gold standard for TREK story-telling.

Vultan

#6

DING, DING, DING!!! Harry, you’re a winner!

Now, for 2 million bars of gold-pressed latinum…
What Trek actor appeared in two episodes of the Steve McQueen western series “Wanted: Dead or Alive?”

jas_montreal

This is a interesting approach. I like what I’m hearing.

@EVERYONE

I doubt the trek sequel will be exactly a cowboy/desert movie.

Harry Ballz

If the next Star Trek movie has a Western theme, I can tell you right now……

WANTED: ROBERTO ORCI–DEAD OR ALIVE

Trekprincess

I see Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan is the most brilliant Star Trek ever

CmdrShaRk

What would be nice is if the movie centered on how the crew deals with a First Contact situation, rather than a cookie-cutter-Khannabe. In that regard, it’d be nice to see the Trequel look like one of the western eps.

I assume Gene used the phrase “Wagon Train to the Stars” because others didn’t sell. “Phazorsmoke,” “The Rigilian,” & “Can Stun, Will Tribble.” Meh.

Vultan

What Trek actor appeared in two episodes of the Steve McQueen western series “Wanted: Dead or Alive?”

HINT: The answer is within one of the ads on this webpage…

I'm Dead Jim

De Kelley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gary Neumann

Deforest Kelley :-P

Vultan

#16

DING, DING, DING!!! You’re a winner, Jim!

Now, for a lifetime supply of Romulan ale…
Patrick Stewart starred in a 2002 TV western movie called “King of Texas,” a retelling of what Shakespeare tragedy?”

Hugh Hoyland

#13 Its a classic for sure!

Vultan

Patrick Stewart starred in a 2002 TV western movie called “King of Texas,” a retelling of what Shakespeare tragedy?

HINT: A line of corporate jets shares a name with it…

Isn’t “The Final Frontier” sort of a Western?

Disinvited

#5.

If it goes Western at least that’s a genre were lens fares seem appropriate.

I suppose it would be interesting if instead of just dropping in on one planet Enterprise were to visit a FIREFLY type actual space settled civilization.

J_schinderlin56

I love Shatner’s Jumping Side Kick!!

philpot

Spectre of The Gun really felt like a 60s Twilight Zone or Outer Limits- the trippy music, the half sets, the odd camera angles… one of those very eerie, strange, slightly scary trek episodes that could easily be a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits (others would be Wher No Man, Charlie X, COTEOF, Little Girls etc – but Spectre most of all)…i mean if you turn the colour off so its B&W and edited in a Rod Sterling intro and Twilight Zone opening and closing credits then it could easily pass for a TZ ep…and the crew could be some kind of generic space crew

Disinvited

#20.

KING LEAR

Vultan

#25

You are correct, sir! Enjoy the ale.

John from Cincinnati

I would love to see the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” converted to a Trek story, or even the “Magnificent Seven”.

VOODOO

Please don’t make this a western.

John from Cincinnati

Space is the final frontier…

Let’s see the crew being out on the frontier, with not many “outposts” nearby.

John from Cincinnati

As someone already mentioned, it can be a Western in theme and inspiration but still set in the future (see Outland)

Vultan

And thanks to all of you for playing Vultan’s Western Trek Quiz!

John from Cincinnati

The problem with the Next Generation on was they lacked the feeling of being on there own. Too many other ships, outposts, starbases etc. The universe was “Crowded”.

I like the idea of the Enterprise having to be self-sufficient, with little direction from Starfleet. Kirk has to be diplomat, soldier and explorer all on his own.

That to me is the definition of “frontier”

NuKirk

Ironically, Star Trek: Insurrection was supposed to be such a film, a TNG version of TOS… sadly it rendered like a POS despite Frakes being behind it…still it’d be cool for JJ to reboot Insurrection with Frakes’ help and in the alternate universe make it where they pick The Ba’Ku planet to be New Vulcan, only to discover the Ba’Ku there and Kirk and crew must battle not just the S’Ona but also the Vulcan survivors who start having bizarre psychological side effects to the metaphasic radiation…

Vultan

#30

…The Mad Max Trilogy, Avatar, Aliens, Star Wars: A New Hope (Tattooine), Back to the Future part III (well, it’s mostly set in the past, but it’s still sci-fi), Firefly/Serenity, etc, etc…

Western themes + Science fiction = Awesome.

Capt Mike of the Terran Empire

Well. Trek has always had a westeren flair. Tos. Specture of the Gun. Tng. A Fist full of Datas. Enterprise. North Star. Those are some of the best. I would love to see Trek go back to it’s roots. But not literaly in the west. I think that Bob Orci is using the West as a Metaphor just like Gene did back in the 60s.

Startrekker

What If they do make the Star Trek sequel western themed

Phaser Guy

We already had a desert western town in Star Trek V.

Jeff O'Connor

They say the TNG era was more civilized, at least in the Alpha Quadrant. There were big baddies, sure, but it was the blazing-through of the TOS era that brought more togetherness to the point that the Enterprise-D could possibly have families aboard.

In other words, the TOS galaxy was probably a darker place overall for the Federation. So I say bring on the Western metaphors; Kirk did love adventure.

Jonboc

The only thing that sets Star Trek and westerns apart is the time frame. Star Trek always was a western in space. The Enterprise was a wagon train, heading into unknown and very dangerous territory…all alone. Kirk was, at times, the exploring wagon master combined the the justice seeking Marshall Dillon, while Spock and McCoy duplicated the Chester/Festus vs. Doc routine to perfection. Now all this sort of got lost as Trek was spun off again and again, so it’s great to hear that,like the first movie, Trek may once again return to it’s roots….not in the literal sense or course, with 6 guns and saloons ( which would be fine as far as I’m concerned) but rather in the original spirit in which Star Trek was concieved and executed.

And yes, Red, Red Dead Redemption is, hands down, the game of the year. Fun stuff!

Bucky

I wish Voyager and DS9 had done Western episodes. It’s kind of a thing, y’know?

Bucky

Actually, I’m on a minor ENT S4 kick right now (watching Augment’s arc, Kilingon Forehead arc, and Demons/Tera Prime) so I just decided after that I’m going to do a Trek/Western trilogy – way of the gun, fistful of datas & north star. Thanks for the inspiration, Trekmovie article!

“Star Trek was Wagon Train of the Stars. Isn’t that how Gene Roddenberry pitched it?”

Certainly wasn’t the pitch for Trek 09.

cugel the clever

Spectre of the Gun and Fisftful of Datas rank as two of the worst ST eps of all time. Please, no ersatz western movies. Surely Orci and crew can be more creative than that!

Red Dead Ryan

One could argue that “Deep Space Nine” itself was a western set in the 24th century. You had outlaws (Maquis), a dangerous area of space (badlands), a remote outpost where people of different backgrounds converge (Deep Space Nine station) enemies (Dominion, Cardassians, for a short time Klingons) Saloon (Quark’s Bar), religion and the overall grittiness of the show (especially during the Dominion War).

4 8 15 16 23 42

This is the worst idea I’ve heard yet for the next film… worse even than the Khan idea. At least Khan brings the whole Augments concept with him.

Vultan

#44

Nicely put, Ryan. I’d never really thought about DS9 that way, but, yeah, you’re right. Odo could be seen as the town marshal, with Sisko serving as the cavalry captain at the local fort. Jeez, now I’m gonna have to get on youtube and watch some episodes. (Please, if anyone with Viacom is reading this, there are no DS9 episodes on youtube. I was only kidding. Ha ha. He he. Funny, huh?)

Bucky

Aw, c’mon, how can anyone hate Fistful of Datas? Even the title is gold. Hating that episode is like kicking a puppy.

Vultan

#43 & #45

Calm down, guys. I’m pretty sure Orci was talking about the spirit and themes of westerns and not the actual setting. Avatar was essentially “Dances with Wolves” in space, but I don’t recall seeing anyone wearing a ten gallon hat or spurs.

Jonboc

Spectre of the Gun is great. Kirk and crew set to be executed by an unknown alien force, using fragments of Kirks mind and memories as the means of their destruction. Great creative premise imaginatively brought to the screen with those great partial sets masterfully created by Matt Jefferies. And the ending, where the bullets rip apart the fence behind Kirk and company, is a fav. Good stuff.

I’d pay good money ta’ see “Starry Trek 2: Paint Yer’ Wagon.”
We needs a good musical movie western fur’ tha’ franchise.

KIRK: (singing) I was born under a wandering star… over a cliff I drove my stepdad’s car…

SCOTTY: (singing) Tha’ best things in life are dirty!

McCOY: (refusing to sing) *

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…