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 TrekMovie.com 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/ TrekMovie.com 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 TrekMovie.com, 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 TrekMovie.com 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, TrekMovie.com
Well I have offered plenty of “this is what you should do instead,” Damon.
“So let it be written, so let it be done.”
Sounds ok for me. I hope they will start with the production soon. The delay to X-mas 2012 is hard enough for me.
But what I really want to see is a new series set in the JJA timeline. Maybe even an CG-animated one, as long as it is as well designed as Clone Wars with a little more adult approach.
If they do delay it, would be nice if they announced if we are to expect the Klingons, Talosians or Anomalies in space. I think that would give us something to look forward to and garner some patience.
Knowing who the villain(s) are and who are cast to play them would help us with the agonizing wait for the sequel :)
Good to hear about them not remaking anything. Also explains why they still haven’t finished the first draft of the script. I agree with destroying Vulcan, but wished that Amanda hadn’t died. George Kirk’s sacrifice worked brilliantly, but I felt Amanda’s death just didn’t pack the emotional punch that James Kirk’s dad’s did.
This is what you should do instead? I’ve read a couple of suggestions here. How about this one… show us the start of the five year mission and perhaps some insight concerning Kirk’s peers and how they view his rapid promotion.
What!!! Not going to use the Mirrior universe and the Terran Empire. BOYCOTT!!!!!!. Oh ok. I was just kidding. great that they will not use and or do a retread. No Khan and such. That is a good thing. new Adventure and new Stories. That is the Ticket!.,
I’d love to see a nod to Carol Marcus in there somewhere. Maybe you won’t do Khan, I hope you don’t but it would be cool to see Carol…and Nurse Chapel. Star Trek needs more female characters in the next movie, but there’s already a plethora of characters available who would make great additions. Chapel, Marcus, Yeomen Rand to name a few. Also, Uhura singing! And Bones has to say “he’s dead Jim.” I’d love to see Karl Urban doing that line in the same exact tone as DeForest Kelley did in the original, and I know he can pull it off!
I think it is great that our own Bob Orci comes on and chats with us and looks at some of our ideas. I do hope Bob Orci can use Del Trames name in the Movie. British Naval Dude. That would be a great Honor for our friend who passed away last year.
What the court should do is Build a new Engine Room and have Phasers that fire a beam and not a pistal shot.
1… There were lots of storyline suggestions here in the weeks and months after ST2009. I do like the Five Year Mission concept, with Pike giving the 12 starship captains their marching orders. I also like the concept of the next movie ending with the Enterprise finding the Botany Bay just before the credits roll. I suggested an “energy crisis” storyline, perhaps with a protomatter experiment run by a young Carol Marcus.
3… No Trek TV anytime soon, please. Don’t saturate the market again. Let the JJ-verse go three movies at least before Trek has to start competing with itself again.
5. Totally disagree with destroying Vulcan. So they can say “its a whole new universe to tell stories in”. Yes, it is: a worse one.
I would love to see Lt. Riley and Lt Bailey and Styles and of course Lt Gary Mitchell and Lee Kelso.
Great panel, but I wish they would spend less time doing this outreach stuff and more time working on the 1-year later and counting script.
After their first film came out in 09, I’ve been dreaming up fan scripts for the sequel (like I did for the first movie before it). Although I am not a huge fan of Klingons (sacrelige, I know), they would definitely be an interesting part of the sequel. They’ll show their leader Kor and the Klingon Empire rise to prominence, while they’ll show Spock and Kirk’s friendship develop strong and stronger, as well with the rest of the crew. Which leads them to meeting up on a peaceful planet in danger because of the Klingons. Similar to the episode “Errand of Mercy”, but with different side characters and planet setting as well as circumstances.
Just some fan-fic here. :P
An interesting read.
The thing that most leaped out to me was, and I know this is old news, the way Quinto lobbied for the job where as Pine wasn’t so bothered. Ironic then, for me anyway, that while Quinto was ok as Spock it was Pine that really shone through as Kirk.
Not sure if or how they can redress that in the next movie- or if they even saw it.
Clearly Kirk is the more enimagtic personality but somehow Nimoy’s Spock was able to compete with ShatKirk in a way that Quinto’s couldn’t with Pine’s.
Imo of course.
Some title suggestions for you Bob :)
Star Date 2260
Rise of the Federation
Rise of the Klingons
Settlement Talos IV
Live Long and Prosper
Star Trek Warp 2
Star Trek Dark Matters
Star Trek (A)
Star Trek Year 2.0
If you haven’t watched IP Man yet, please do, you can make a sci fi space movie of IP MAN in space with Star Trek skins.
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.”
I’m not sure I like what’s implied by this comment. Plenty of women nowadays (apart from your wives of course, chaps) are perfectly capable of appreciating and understanding physics. Shit, honey, some of us even WORK in that field. One thing I didn’t appreciate about the reboot, was the dumbing down of Uhura from being a technician to a linguistic interpreter and mere love interest. Sort that one out next time around, boys.
@the team: just make it a real story again. not only action, but some thougtful and critical ideas about our life and society, too.
I think they meant for our non trekkie wives to enjoy ie emotional involving story that not only appeals to Trek fans but movie fans.
Good scripts do not come from frat boy writing committees.
They come from one person with vision and passion sitting down at a GD desk and pouring his heart out to earn his fat paycheck. The producer might pass it through polishing hands later, but the act of real creation is not a team effort.
Since writers are on PR tours now, does that mean PR flacks are busy writing scripts? From the IQ level of some recent movies, I’d guess probably so.
A love story between Kirk and Spock? Never noticed it myself. Dealing with emotions like resentment, grief and anger, coming to an understanding and greater respect for each other. I guess that is the start of a “spiritual” kind of love (for want of a better word) that Kirk and Spock ultimately had in the prime universe. I suppose when I think of a love story, I immediately think of a romantic kind of story. I do not believe that Kirk and Spock’s relationship was in any way romantic.
Please, please, please – no Carol Marcus or anyone like her. This Kirk deserves better…
I believe that Chris Pine’s sister, Katie, talked him into doing the audition for Star Trek. I will be forever grateful to that lady.
I like to See Klingons or Gorn as main Villains, and I like everything they said in the interview.
Somethoughts – did they dumb it down for the non-trekkie males too?
The movie sold a lot of tickets no?
Somethoughts: Also, I’ve never seen a more wanton misappropriation of the laws of physics in my life! I sincerely doubt that any of them have any sort of handle on THAT subject…
I believe so, they made the movie for fans of movies. ST2009 was more accessible than say nemesis, in print its easy to misinterpret comments made.
Somethoughts: Believe it or not, women do buy tickets for movies that don’t patronise them. I liked the original Trek because of a lot of the messages it put out. eg A black woman can have senior responsibility, can execute a technical role. If they carry on in that vein, I won’t be buying tickets in future.
Its a sci fi movie, I watch it with that kind of expectations. Reading up on einstien, newton, hawkings is done outside of movie fun time. I enjoy T2 cuz its cool, I dont nitpick at how it violates laws of universe
I thought spocks mom, uhura were strong characters and if you watch closely, spock respects his mom very much.
I really dont understand how you feel st09 mistreats woman
Somethoughts: I’ll leave you to enjoy the dumb then. Lowest common denominator and all that. But it won’t be Star Trek.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, likes and dislikes.
Did you like inception and tng?
Star Trek Ascension, best title I can come up with and would work for multiple plots.
You are allowed to like any movie you enjoy, myself as long as I was entertained and the movie made me feel inspired or challenged my senses, I am a happy camper. I do know I am picky with the type of films I like.
For the record, male and females are equals and star trek works because it shows diversity, family solving problems.
“our wives need to understand this movie”
Memo to Orci and Company — we are now in the 21st century.
Interesting point about you reading some of the books. Without giving away what you may be borrowing from (unless of course you want to hint at it), what are your favorite Trek books? I always very much enjoyed “Federation” & “Enterprise: The First Adventure” (about George Kirk, not Archer), or of course anything by Judith & Garfield Reeves Stevens myself.
MJ – my point above exactly.
Damon should have a look at this site from time to time.
There’s no shortage of unqualified praise and support for his work here.
In response to his request of the boards, I would re-iterate my constructive criticism and alternative ideas, much of which has been expressed by others here:
– Have a more substantial, more powerfully developed theme throughout the story arc. A motley bunch coming together to save the world wasn’t a bad theme, but the only real tension amongst them was between Kirk and Spock and their struggle for leadership. And that didn’t involve much in the way of differing ideologies or shifts in the balance of power. Spock lacked the daring-do to deviate from a text-book course of action, either because he was emotionally compromised or because his thinking is normally constrained to field-tested courses, or both. Kirk couldn’t contain his dissent with Spock’s leadership decision, so the latter kicked the former off the ship. Kirk finds a way back onto the ship and gets Spock to come unglued so that McCoy can officially relieve the emotionally compromised Vulcan of duty. Kirk then takes command, with the full support of the now-acquiescent Spock, and saves the day. A harder-fought, less neat resolution to the main theme would be nice. It would also be nice for the theme to last through, and not be resolved prior to, the climax of the story. Once the struggle between Kirk and Spock was resolved, the rest of the story, including the climax, really wasn’t dependent upon the story’s main theme. It didn’t really matter how the Enterprise came up against Nero at that point. Apart from our supposed appreciation of seeing the former rivals working together and the meaningfulness of Kirk being honored by Star Fleet, the movie after the Kirk/Spock resolution could have been tacked onto the end of many different stories.
– Have a science-fiction theme for what has historically been a science-fiction franchise. As has been said by several people on these boards, Star Trek ’09 was more a space adventure movie than a sci-fi movie. Of course, Star Trek has always been rich in stories that were not dependent upon science-fiction, but being that you’re re-booting the franchise, it would be nice to have a science-fiction story before you start going in other directions. Look to TWOK for a good example of a movie that did an excellent job of both — the science fiction premise of “Project Genesis” combined with a variation on the literary theme from Moby Dick.
– Make sure that, in some way, the scenes, events and main characters of the film are serving the film’s main theme and story arc. The monster-chase scene on Delta Vega was an extraneous action scene in an already-action packed movie whose breakneck pace seemed to pander to the audience’s weakness for constant stimulation and instant gratification. This scene was a waste of a lot of screen time that could have been better spent on making the story’s main theme deeper and more powerful, and on making the villain’s motive stronger, more meaningful and better expressed.
Maybe my criticism here is ignorant and bone-headed and Damon, Bob and Alex are wise to ignore it, but they can’t rightly say that it’s not trying to be constructive or offer alternative ideas.
#34 and #36
I see your point, I am sure they are sorry for saying it, they prolly meant for fans of movies to understand/like.
Very easy to offend/misunderstand in quotes and interviews.
Rise of the Federation, Final Frontier, and Where No Man Has Gone Before, are three titles I can dig for the sequel, if we’re going Dark Knight style by avoiding a redundant “Star Trek” in the title.
It’s hard to know if any of these titles are even fitting though since we don’t know the story yet.. for all we know Bob could blow up the Federation. Lets wait and see…
Other potential titles I can dig for the sequel are Enterprise, New World(s), and Journey (trek = journey).
@36. Yea, my wife loves Trek and I’ve got my 10-year old daughter loving Trek, and so I could do without this “Trek Rat Pack” outdated boys club nonsense.
“You don’t want to see a remake, you want to see a new movie.” Thank you. :-)
Though it was really apparent to me in ST 2009, I really don’t feel the Kirk/Spock love story, as they put it…
Maybe that’s cuz I’m a guy. And I don’t think their mainstream dumbed-down “target” audience would either…
“Dude! Kirk and the pointy-ear guy are soo gay!”
Bob Orci- I have a quick idea for a Trek CG animated series that could be done without impacting the movies. Let us see the voyages of the U.S.S. Kelvin as they would have been without Nero’s incursion through time!
I dare them to make it 2hrs and 30mins of orgasmic epicness winning
I always saw it as a bromance, a mutual respect and genuine love for each other. Not brokeback mountain love but more like bart and milhouse love or homer and flanders love or forrest gump n lt dang love
@43 “And I don’t think their mainstream dumbed-down “target” audience would either…”
Ah, you must mean Orci’s, Lindelof’s and Kurtzman’s wives, right? :-))
I’m forever grateful for them making New Trek and for everything they have done so brilliantly in the last film :):) so the script is nearly finished that’s great news.
#29 “I thought spocks mom, uhura were strong characters”
In what way? We barely saw Amanda, and Uhura had been changed from an independent, clever, technically-savvy officer who had made it to the bridge of the Enterprise on merit – into a dumb bimbo who left her post to go cuddle her boyfriend, and was only on board in the first place because she’d slept with him.
Then again, the writers also changed Scotty from an authoritative, brilliant, tough, professional guy who commanded respect – into a clowning idiot who’s there for laughs.
Still, so long as their poor little airhead wives were able to follow the plot (once they’d popped the dinner in the oven, bathed the children, cleaned the house, put on a nice frock and had their hair done). Sheesh!
#49 – “Still, so long as their poor little airhead wives were able to follow the plot (once they’d popped the dinner in the oven, bathed the children, cleaned the house, put on a nice frock and had their hair done). Sheesh!”