JJ Abrams: Star Trek Sequel Will ‘Start Over’

We now know when the next Star Trek movie is coming out (May 2013), but we still don’t know how much it will be tied together with Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek movie. A new comment from producer/director JJ Abrams indicates that the sequel will stand on its own. Details below. 


Abrams: Star Trek Sequel starts over

In an interview promoting the release of Super 8 on DVD & Blu-ray with New York Magazine’s Vulture Blog, JJ Abrams ventured a bit into talking about Star Trek. Here is the most interesting quote:

Vulture: Alcatraz comes out soon, joining Person of Interest — two Bad Robot shows on at the same time. With both these projects out, do you feel like you’ve escaped the shadow of Lost?
Abrams: Well, I’m working with Damon Lindelof right now on the new Star Trek. And what’s great is when we start talking about story, Lost will come up because we’ve both been through that together. He ran the show for six years. I left the day-to-day stuff by the end of the first season, but my association with that show is something that is incredibly gratifying. I’m thrilled I was involved in it in any way, and grateful to Damon for running that show, I think brilliantly, for six years. But it’s very difficult to ever do something when you’re thinking about something else you’ve done. So I don’t really dwell on any of the movies. Even working on Star Trek right now, we cannot in any way rely on the first Star Trek. We can’t think, Okay, we’ve got it in the bag, everyone loves these characters. We have to start over in a way.

With the lead up the the 2009 Star Trek movie, Abrams and his team stressed how much they worked to make the film appeal to both fans and to regular filmgoers. And the approach worked as the film became a big hit. Of course "starting over" doesn’t mean another franchise reboot, but Abrams does seem to be indicating that the sequel will stand on its own without relying on the first film. 

Abrams directing 2009’s "Star Trek"


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Interesting, hoping they reboot klingons

The ‘start over’ part is taken out of context. Come on… There is no need for that.

Sounds like they are getting serious.


Good I like stand alone movies better. That way your not trapped if the other movies stink.

Very interesting. I still have to believe that they will need to address the question of Vulcan’s destruction in some significant fashion. It is simply too big an event to ignore or have no consequences for the entire Federation. I wonder if Abrams was trying to say that it was important for the filmmakers to re-establish a new sense of credibility for the main characters with the audience members, to work hard to regain a sense of trust and connection with the audience about the Star Trek crew and what makes them such great characters.

Of course, that work would be a lot easier if the movie were completed for a 2012 showing instead of 2013.

Even more justification for my belief that there is not going to be any TOS or TNG carryover villain.

You mean, no pickup of the romance between Spock and Uhura? Say it ain’t so! ; )

What I liked most in Star Trek (TV series & movies) is the continuity, the interconnections in the various shows that made it more realistic universe.

I hope that we will see something like that in Star Trek 12, a story that will acknowledge the past while moving the story in new directions.

#5 aapip1 – unlikely. I’m betting they won’t deal with Vulcan at all, or at most, give it a passing mention. You’re forgetting that, unless you’re a very devoted fan, no one cares about Vulcan.

Now interestingly, I actually consider myself a big fan, but could care less about whether they give any time to Vulcan or not. Give me a great adventure, great story and great characters and skip worrying about whether the Vulcans will survive. There’s only one Vulcan that matters, ultimately, and he’s on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Sometimes, the Star Trek universe is a heavy burden on a story. So much so that it can dull it down, slow it down and drive away the mass audience that it needs to survive.

It doesn’t sound like he’s saying what you’re saying he’s saying.

Nah, save Vulcan for the sequel. It’ll be about seven years. Imagine the first Pon Farrs seven years after Vulcan’s destruction!

#10: I say, I agree with what you’re saying, and like the way you’re saying it.

Well – I think I’m going to have to bow out now. I stopped reading TrekMovie at least a year before the movie came out — I think James McAvoy was in the running for the role of Scotty at that point, and it took me 10 minutes of watching the movie to recognize Simon Pegg — because I wanted a clear, unspoiled movie watching experience.

I’m glad I did that – I had no idea who was playing Kirk and the gang (I knew Quinto had the Spock role, and that was it), who the baddies were, or anything else. (Well, except that Nimoy was in for a role ‘larger than a cameo’.) I’m convinced I enjoyed the film all the more as it was all new for me.

So now I know who’s likely playing the bad guy, and that it’s on a jungle planet. And I don’t want to know any more. So, I’ll bid adieu to Anthony and the fine commentators I’ve met here, wish everyone well, and I’ll be back on opening night to discuss the film after I’ve seen it. Cheers.


Have to say that’s some discipline there. As a person who didn’t like the new movie I visit this site every day. But I visit for other things.

They should NOT spend time extrapolating on the plot threads from the first movie. I want a new movie, not a rehash of what happened to Vulcan or future Spock. Let’s just agree to forget Spock/uhura ever happened.

Kind of like how WoK didn’t waste time mourning about Ilia and Decker, or Spocks’ failed purification ritual. It stood 100% on it’s own.

Get the adventure STARTED. Don’t wallow in the last movie at all.

I hope we get some answers about what Spock prime is up to.

What he’s saying when he says, “starting over” is not that he’s rebooting the series again. More like comparion TWOK and Search for Spock with Generations and first contact. Whereas the first pair were directly sequeled, the second pair were simply related only so much in “this happened before, but it’s not relevant to the story now” kind of way.

As long as they dont use cheap back drops like beer factories for engine rooms and corny Australian voices for aliens it will be something to watch maybe, unless they think the audience wont notice again.

The brewery will be back. J.J Abrams likes it. Felt it added some realism.

I just hope they try to disguise it by making it a little more futuristic-looking.

Wow, there are even lens flares in the behind-the-scenes photo above.

The title is taken out of context and implies something completely different from what was said. :\

A lot of people seem to think Abrams just said that he killed the Spock /Uhura romance.
I didnt hear that at all.

BTW, I just watched “Super 8” again last night, this time on Blu Ray. Classic. Those who haven’t seen it really need to.


They should make the particle accelerator at cern as the main engineering :)

This screams main engineering and they don’t have to spend a whole lot to build it :) go to cern JJ!


Start over? Good.

Maybe they’ll change the sets and those damned engine nacelles.

The film never said that what we saw was main engineering. It was a water coolant and recycling area, as well as impulse engines. It seemed a bit large though for what I thought was the overall size of the ship.
Anyone seen a warp core engine plans? It might be a good idea if they sent JJ and co. those plans toute suite, so they can build a *proper* warp core engine…;)

Enough with the misleading headlines, if you please

I think what he really means is that the drama of this picture can not rely on the connection set up in the first. It can use the first as a springboard, but it has to have it’s own character arcs, setups and payoffs; a self-contained piece of work.

#18 – Yeah and we’ll get railing deaths and brick walls to go with it. *cringe*

if he’s really, really smart he’ll do the origin of Khan. Given that this will be, in a way, be ‘star trek 2’

Khan would fill theaters.

Good to hear about the fresh start — to me, that means they will be at least a year or two into their first 5 year mission, which is very good considering that all have aged four years. It would have stretched credibility a bit to have the first movie pick up right where the first one left off.

Some other likely takeaways from this comment from JJ:

— Pike will likely not be in the movie
— Doubt we will see Earth in this one
— Forget about Spock Prime

Incidentally, I would not at all be surprised if Kirk’s brother appeared in this one.


— Toned down Spock/Uhura relationship
— Not much on Vulcan’s destruction

I love, love, LOVE Star Trek…I REALLY wish I didn’t feel so pissy about how long they took to get around to it. I don’t want to be a hater and I admire these guys so much. But I can’t help it…I’m f@#$ing mad.

Hmmm, somehow I wouldn’t mind another reboot of Star Trek…

“Two Bad Robot shows…”? I guess no love for ‘Fringe’…

Yeah I could live with it being CERN. No problem.

MJ – 32, you’re right about Pike not likely being in the film, as well as Spock Prime. And on #33, you’re right about there not being much on Vulcan’s destruction.

I hope Kirk isn’t a whiny-ass Mary Sue in this one. He came off like that some of the time in Trek 2009.

And I agree, the whole “start over” thing is SEVERELY taken out of context.

To go back to the original mission statement, ” to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no man has gone before” I personally hope they don’t retread old ground but give us something totally new.

Creativity thrives on both the familiar and the unfamiliar. Look at Trek II, Lucas’s approach to Empire and Jedi, Coppola’s reinvention of The Godfather Part II — I beieve Mr. Abrams’ has that kind of crazy energy and I want to see ST 2.

J.J., please. PLEASE stop pandering to the mainstream audience, they’re a lost cause. All these reboots are further splitting up and destroying the fanbase.

Either start minding your target audience (Trekkies) or just don’t bother.

That, and no more breweries, for Kirk’s sake.

Another update that basically says nothing.
How bout: “cams rolls, Klingons boffo! — sez JJ”

I don’t understand what it means to not rely on the first Star Trek Movie. Will it be reset like the original series ? Will the new movie time line will not be altered in the next movie or nothing will be mentioned from in the first movie? Losing the Vulcans is HUGE – in the story line.

I understand fully what he means by “starting over” and stand alone film.
Yes, I agree that each film in this series should almost be like a fresh start, not relying on other installments in the series as a jump oint of their next story.
Also, this way if any redesing are needed, they are not tied down to explaining it in needless scenes.
And we all know how much Star Trek fans need to be hand held thru a movie in order to follow a film……YEAH MORE LENS FLARES!!!!!!!
(and I do mean that, I liked them)

I don’t think he means starting over in terms of destroying the established “canon” of the first film. I just think that they need the freedom to tell new stories. TOS occasionally mentioned pre-existing events (e.g. Harry Mudd) but generally when you watch TOS in syndication (randomly) it doesn’t matter where you jump in. Watched sequentially we presume that the seasons roughly correspond to the years of the mission of the Enterprise, but that’s it as far as story arc goes.

One thing that vexed me about the Harry Potter movies was the enormous amount of information that I was missing because I was unfamiliar with some of the previous movies and the books. An audience should be able to jump into Star Trek…whenever.

Hopefully, we will be able to bounce forward in time a little bit. The whole Starfleet Academy thing is getting a little tired, and I don’t think it will be very believable as the actors are aging somewhat. Wouldn’t it be great to see them a few years into their “real” mission? The crew are more mature and Captain Pike is now an older man, with a lot of gray hair, as most starship captains are. Or maybe he’s even an admiral.

That’s great!! I’m jazzeed! :) :D

I am all for an original story, new characters and lots of action. There is no reason why the next Trek has to be tied to be limited by the last movie. Also, no Shatner, no Kahn, no Harry Mudd.

As long as any ‘start over’ means not including ‘Scotty’s’ ridiculous ‘sidekick’, I’m all for it!

“And the approach worked as the film became a big hit”

Yep, all about the $$$.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans!

I’m going to stay positive and assume Pike WILL be in the sequel and I’ll do that until I read different from someone from on high.
Of all the cast, Pike is the one I definitely want to see. He’s the reason I loved the 2009 movie.

It seems they are indeed “starting over” with introducing yet another “cartoon villain”, if respective rumors and these “talks” with Benito whatever mean anything. That is so 1930s (Flash Gordon serials, anyone)? Even the new Planet of the Apes remake got it right – simplistic good vs. evil is something for kids and not what a modern audience is satisfied with in a science fiction movie.