Star Trek Sequel Writers Give Script Update + Promise No Remake + Talk Vulcan, Arcs, & More

Following Nick Meyer chat at the LA Times Hero Complex Film Fest it was the turn of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof who talked for forty minutes about their 2009 Star Trek movie, and about the 2012 Star Trek sequel. Highlights, quotes and a video clip (with shoutout) below.


Orci, Kurtzman & Lindelof on Star Trek sequel

The Star Trek night at the LA Times Hero Complex was a double feature with Star Trek: II The Wrath of Khan and the 2009 Star Trek movie. For Star Trek there was an all-star panel with co-writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman along with producer Damon Lindelof, all three of which are knee-deep in writing the Star Trek sequel. The group spoke about their admiration for Star Trek II and Nick Meyer, their 2009 Star Trek movie, and the sequel. It was a very entertaining night and three out of five members of Star Trek’s new "Supreme Court" said all the kinds of things that should be encouraging about the next Star Trek.

LA Times Geoff Boucher with Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci at Hero Complex Film Fest – Friday June 10

On sequel status – 80 page script-thing & "JJ’s attention"

The panel started off with a question about the status of the Star Trek sequel script. Lindelof and Orci gave a quick update on what was recently described as a "70-page outline," which appears to have grown in the last few weeks:

Lindelof: As of right now there is kind of a 75 or 80 page half script/half…I don’t know what it is…

Orci: It is in a state of quantum flux

The core creative team behind the 2009 Star Trek movie are Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burke. Now that Super 8 has come out, it’s time to get the band back together for the sequel:

Lindelof: our attitude for the sequel in order for it to be successful is that we sort of have to form that [group of all of us together] again. So we were kind of waiting and now the moment is upon us where JJ has done Super 8.

Orci: JJ and Bryan’s little side-project is over and now we can have their attention.

On sequel time setting – "some adventures" have happened

They also talked about the direction they want to go with the character arcs, talking about how there is some time between the films:

Orci: The first one was about, "Spock is pretty emotional." Well, he is younger And "Kirk, he is not a bookworm with legs who really understands the chain of command." Well he is not quite there yet. So you can get closer to what you know. It is all about earning what you know and learning that when we see them now they have been through a couple of adventures, but they don’t know each other either. There is still discovery, but there is also more familiarity. So, like the first one, it will feel like Trek, but it will also chart new ground.

On fallout "ripple effect" of the destruction of Vulcan

While talking about the parallels between modern terrorism and Nero in Star Trek 2009, Damon Lindelof appeared to imply that the impact of the destruction of Vulcan will carry into the sequel :

Lindelof: We often referred to the destruction of Vulcan as the 9/11 moment of [Star Trek 2009]. There had to be an event that was so significant that it allows you to change the Trek universe, not just for the purposes of the first movie, but moving forward. The idea of saying, if you did something that huge, what would be the effect of that rippling outwards?

On original vs. classic storylines – "No remake"

Lindelof also talked about how their approach is not to just do a remake:

Lindelof: We love Trek too, but we want to also blaze our own trail here. The idea of just kind of playing cover songs and classics again – we feel like there has to be a little of that, but there has to be a lot of original music in the set list to be worthy of your time and attention. You don’t want to see a remake, you want to see a new movie.

More sequel highlights:

  • In last two years Orci has gone back and rewatched every episode of the original Star Trek, plus read some Star Trek books he had missed
  • Lindelof has also reviewed previous Trek episodes to see "is there anything I can steal"
  • Wouldn’t say what classic Star Trek elements they will take from for the sequel, but did confirm they would not be using "Spock’s Brain" or the Mirror, Universe (noting they already have an alternative universe)

LA Times Geoff Boucher with Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci at Hero Complex Film Fest – Friday June 10

On Star Trek (2009) time travel, canon and more:

Lindelof talked about their early decision to use time-travel to allow them to make Star Trek both an origin story and a sequel to all that came before. Explaining:

Lindelof: That was the only way we could make it work, because we said, we can’t be bound by the incredible canon of Trek, because the Chekov knowing Khan thing [continuity error from Star Trek II] would have just been the tip of the iceberg. It would also hamstring us in a way because if you watch the movie you would know that no one could die and nothing bad could happen to anybody, because they have to grow up and go on the adventures we saw them have. And we also didn’t want to replay those adventures, because everybody knows the outcomes.

Orci: We also didn’t want to erase what came before, so that is why we decided to sort of update time-travel. It is not the rules of Back to the Future. It is the rules of more modern theories, of creating an alternate universe. It explains why some of the characters do what they do. Spock doesn’t try to fix the timeline because there is no such thing as fixing the timeline, they are just in a new universe that is going on its own. That had been done is some of the previous Star Trek series, but not in the movies. 

Lindelof:  In the case of the physics and the science and the science fiction, we had a rule that we kept coming back to, which was "our wives need to understand this movie."

More Star Trek 2009 highlights

  • Lot’s of debate within the team over the destroying Vulcan, they didn’t do it just to show "it’s our Star Trek now."
  • They attribute a plea from Abrams to convince Leonard Nimoy to come out or retirement. Also proud they got Nimoy to tear up during their first pitch meeting
  • Noted big difference between how Zachary Quinto lobbied for role of Spock, whereas Chris Pine took some convincing to audition and take the role for Kirk
  • One of the "touchstones" for Star Trek was Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie, especially the extended origin story at the beginning of the film
  • Lindelof said they believed key to Trek is "huge emotion" and friendship and Star Trek 2009 was really a love story between Kirk and Spock
  • When asked for a favorite Star Trek villain Orci and Kurtzman cited Khan, Lindelof noted The Borg

VIDEO: Damon on Bob on fan feedback w/ shoutout

During the Q&A the group were asked about the pressure to make their Star Trek movie "cool again." Orci replied by saying for them it was about making a movie where you love the characters. He also gave a shoutout to feedback on, launching into a discussion with Damon about fan feedback online. Damon noted that if you are going to critique, it is better to offer suggestions, you never know if he might just borrow the idea. Watch the exchange below.

More to come from Hero Complex Film Fest Star Trek Night

Early in the week the LA Times will be posting (better) video for both of Geoff Boucher’s panel discussions with Nick Meyer and with the Star Trek team of Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. Look for an update on that here.

Bob, Alex and Damon also gave an exclusive video interview all about the Star Trek sequel. Look for that update early in the week too. 

Photos and video by Anthony Pascale,

Sort by:   newest | oldest