Orci Talks Star Trek Sequel Budget, Scale Of The Film, & Engine Room

While interacting with fans here at TrekMovie.com in the comments section, Star Trek sequel co-writer/producer Roberto Orci has dropped a couple of interesting tidbits about the film’s budget, scale and even the engine room. See below for more.


Orci on Star Trek sequel budget, scale and engine room

In interacting with fans here at TrekMovie.com, Star Trek sequel co-writer/producer Roberto Orci has actually dropped some interesting bits of info about the film, which is currently in production and due in theaters May 17, 2013. First up he answered a couple of questions on the scale (and cost) for the sequel.

DS9 IN PRIME TIME:  boborci. What is the budget for this film? Is it the same as the last or are they giving you more?


Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire: Do you think in scope that Trek 13 will be bigger then Trek 09
Bigger? Yup.

It is good to know that Paramount has faith in the film and the creative team. The budget for the 2009 movie was around $145 million, which was a record for a Star Trek film, but not too uncommon for a tent-pole. However, it is worth noting that the film’s budget was set in early 2007, before the latest financial crisis and credit crunch which has hit Hollywood as much as Wall Street. Also, there are built-in cost savings for the sequel, with a lot of design and construction work (especially on the USS Enterprise) already paid for with the last film. And the actors were locked into option deals which traditionally increase per film, but not dramatically. So, it actually wouldn’t have been a surprise if Paramount chose to stick with the same or even a smaller budget for the sequel.

Big scene from 2009’s "Star Trek" – Orci says 2013 will be even bigger

Of course Star Trek movies have seen big shifts in budgets before. The combined budgets of Star Trek II, III and IV was about the first Trek feature. And producers and directors from all the post-Star Trek: The Motion Picture films have complained about Paramount’s budget limitations.

By the way, JJ Abrams has recently talked about the studio requiring him to produce a 3-D conversion version of the film (in addition to the 2-D version). It would not be surprising if this requirement was linked to the increased budget for the film. After all, the studio (and their financial partner Skydance) want to make a return on their investment, and higher 3-D ticket sales (especially overseas) are going to help the bottom line.  

Orci also answered a fan’s follow-up question to his previously reported comment about how we will be seeing "cool improvements" to the engineering section of the USS Enterprise.

VulcanFilmCritic: I’m still mulling over the improvements to the engine room. What could those be? I mean visually.
boborci: You’ll see more of it.

Scotty ejects the warp core in Star Trek 2009 – Orci says we will see more of the Engine room in the sequel

Stay tuned to TrekMovie.com for all the latest on the Star Trek sequel.


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Oh, improvement….

I hope bigger is better.
I thought the scope of XI was just right, it worked welll with the good characters, a very Trek plot. I even don’t mind the engine room, the only weak point in XI is the dialogue, but dialogue is hard to write imo.

The first picture (big scene) wasn’t even in the final cut of the movie. There was no blast into the water in the background.

@3 I’m pretty sure there was.

On a side note, anybody know what happened to Warp 11’s website? DId the band breakup? They just put a new record out recently so its odd that they gave up their domain name. The world needs all the Star Trek bands it can get.

I went to college at Cal State Northridge and spent many hours (mostly looking at microfilm of old newspaper comic strips!) in the Oviatt Library that stood in for the Academy building in the pic above. Seeing in it the last Trek movie was WAY more distracting to me than the distillery engine room.

I actually didn’t mind that – the tubes and tanks all looked pretty “engine room”-y to me. If Orci reads this, was that the Busch brewery in Van Nuys (where Busch Gardens used to be?)

I hope you guys finally get to make use of all that gorgeous engine room concept art.

Question: Is it easier on the budget now that some of the sets like the Bridge are already constructed? Or did they get torn down and you have to re-build them from scratch?

The improvement to the ridiculous engine room is that we get to see more of the ridiculous engine room?

Great, maybe we get to see Scotty pouring hops into a vat.

And what kind of two year old always wants things to be bigger?

“I want the big truck, daddy”

I would prefer a smaller scale movie, in fact, I think it a truly inspired team could make an exceptional movie that never left the bridge. Or was set entirely in a martial court room.

Some of the “bottle episodes” of Trek are the best ever & there are a lot of great examples of cinema that are set in one room.

I’m still waiting for a glimmer of hope.

No pics of the first film’s concept art of engineering??? What gives?

OK – not sure I want to go there, but here goes – what was wrong with Star Trek 09’s dialogue?

Believe certain sets, such as the transporter room and the bridge, are permanent sets that need only be brought out of storage and reassembled. Sickbay is probably in the same vein. Engineering can’t be, because there was no set. Here’s drinks to fixing that, if only rootbeer.

Thought I read somewhere (here on Trekmovie?) that the original sets from 2009 were taken down and other films were using those sets now, but I suppose some stuff (Captain’s chair, helm/navigation console, etc.) were kept or stored so they could be used again for the sequel even if the filming location changed.


You can find it in “Star Trek-The Art Of The Film” book.

They aren’t going to use it for the sequel; the brewery is going to be redressed and maybe additional rooms attached, but essentially, its just going to be the same thing we saw in the first film, except that it will look less like a brewery.

You can count on that.

@10 To me, there were several moments where I felt I was watching a film that was trying really hard to be modern, edgy, youthful, my complaint is more about the fact that it was obvious that it was trying so hard it comes across as forced in places. It felt a little dumbed down in places, I’m not trying to sound pretentious or anything but it didn’t feel like it fit, if that makes sense? It’s 5am so forgive me if what I say is a little disjointed. Sorry for the rant I need sleep.

So instead of only a brewery in the engine room maybe they’ll ad the bottleing plant & a resturant. :)

Thanks for the updates, getting excited to see what these guys come up with.

When I hear the word scale tossed around I think about more glimpses into starfleet, armada’s of ships and vessels, more sets! One thing the Motion Picture got right was the scale of their Enterprise interior and Starfleet HQ sets. I want more of that! Star Trek VI’s scene at Starfleet HQ as well..

Don’t be afraid to show us the scale of the Federation! Lots of ships, a bustling region of space!

It would be cool if during the first movie right after Spock chokes Kirk towards the end, when Sarek and Spock are in the transporter room and you see Sarek look at Spock you see Sarek flash back to Spock’s birth and they could have injected that scene that was supposed to open the movie but they cut, right in there.

Even though I loved Trek 09 upon deep reflection it was everything going on with the characters before the Enterprise that I loved the most. Kirk at the bar, Spock at school, The Academy etc.

It also highlighted a problem with Trek movies in general where they feel like they’re episodes in the sense that the status quo for the characters is always retained by the end of the films so they can just continue another adventure. What’s cool and what I personally believe is the most important part of Trek 09 is that the characters from the beginning of the film have evolved to different people by the end of the film. This is rare in Trek movies and trek in general because of its episodic nature and I hope the Trek sequel delivers on this.

Once people reach a certain age, there tends to be very little change in the way they are and how they respond to situations etc. So to see a lot of change in a character would not be very natural for the most part and in fact, would seem out of character and the person at odds with himself/herself.

As someone mentioned on another thread, the only way you might see a very different facet of that person would be if they underwent some kind of trauma, were suffering amnesia or something like that. However, that change is not likely to be permanent.

This is all music to my ears. Larger budget, larger scope, more to be seen of the engine room….. Warp core (fingers crossed).

Why are they now at the Sony Studios? Are those empty buildings used by Sony bigger and more modern than the ones owned/rented(?) by Paramount?
I would have thought that big film companies, like Paramount, would actually own many of those buildings…

So freakin’ stoked. . .

Thank you so much, Orci, et al.

Pretty Kool. Where else,What other Website would have big time hollywood writers come on and talk to us fans. Thanks Bob for coming on and giving us Crazy Trek Fans Hints about the new movie. So Stoked about the new Bigger Budget Movie and better engine room?

I want and hope to see a real star fleet engine room and not a Brewery. I think that will be the case as Bob Orci and I bet J.J and the rest of the court read our post about what we liked and did not like, pretty much 98% of us crazy Hard Core Trek fans hated the engine room.

So far, so good. The only thing I’m still a bit foggy about is Engineering. Does “more” and “cool upgrades” = a new set or just a better redress of an industrial location? Here’s hoping for the Ryan Church version as seen in the “Art of” book.

Oh, and Anthony P: Please bring back the countdown clock! I know you were burned once before (we all were), but this date is set in stone!

a ver Orci ya que estas respondiendo a los fans pregunta directa…¿El USS Relativity esta involucrado en la historia?

Orci as fans are responding to the direct question … The USS Relativity is involved in the story?


What #8 said.

We don’t want “more” engine room. We want a better engine room – you know, something that looks like it belongs in a 23rd century starship, and not in a 20th century brewery.
The original series engine room looked more futurisitic than the nonesense we got in the last film.
More money? Build a proper set!!!!

so we’ll see more of the brewery.. does that include the beer trucks and fork lifts?

Engineering….. Plain and simple…….. Vertical intermix chamber please!!!

Well I hope that the improvements to Engineering mean that we will actually get an Engine room this time. One that fits in with previous designs and feels like it belongs in the 23rd Century rather than a 20th/21st Century brewery.

I despised the engine room so much that I felt the 60s design was still superior.

I have to say I am a bit jealous that Abrams movies get the bigger budgets, when sime of the better ones had smaller ones but then to me that proved you didn’t need massive budgets to make great films.

Perhaps the improved engine room will look more like a microbrewery than for Bud or Bud Light…

As I said an engine consistent with the others and an Enterpprise in which all decks are consistent. Did not like the high tech at the top and dirty, grungy at the bottom. All decks should be consistent like in the prime universe Trek.



[quote] VulcanFilmCritic: I’m still mulling over the improvements to the engine room. What could those be? I mean visually.
boborci: You’ll see more of it. [/quote]

Am I the only who reads this more as a deflection than an answer? VulcanFilmCritic asked about “improvements,” which refers to quality, and Orci replied about “more of it,” which is (1) about quantity and (2) is ambiguous – could refer to size but also could simply there are more scenes that take place in the engine room. In no way does he indicate they may be shifting away from the brewery. In fact, he could be read as implying that the engine room will be the same as what we saw, and the only change will be seeing more of it (in terms of space, time, and importance).

Mind you, the brewery thing doesn’t bother me as much as it does other fans, although I must confess there is something very terrestrial about it.

Bigger Budget sounds Good. But i really want a upgraded Engine Room. And a name please!

All they need is a large room with a big sparkly think in the middle! How complicated is that.

@14 – Agreed, but that was exactly the audience this new film series is going after. JJ is going after teens/ 20-somethings and folks that don’t normally go see “Star Trek” films. If past fans happen to join up, great, but the target audience I’m sad to admit is much greater then the original audience, and JJ and Paramount know that. Looking at the box office and realizing the bulk of who bought those tickets for the last film, there is no question about that.

Point being, I expect the sequel will be more of the same sadly. Old fans of the franchise can hope intelligent dialog will find its way in the next film, but let’s not hold our breathe here! The studio is more concerned with the bottom line then holding true to Roddenberry’s original model for this show.

I get the impression the powers that be like their take on engineering, and have no desire to replace it with something else. So I imagine any criticisms of it at this stage are likely wasted energy.

I really wish I could get into that bit of design, but I just can’t. It breaks the illusion for me. Sorry guys, the rest of the design ethic works for me, but Engineering simply doesn’t.

I can’t really use the age argument, I was 17 when XI came out haha

Thank you Mr. Orci, for answering my question. I suspect you are someone who parses his words very carefully, but maybe I’m reading too much into those five words.

@35. I didn’t get the feeling that this was a deflection of the question. If that were the case, why bother answering it?
I guess if Mr. Orci had written it this way: “You’ll see MORE of it,” it might make more sense, MORE being the key word

I suspect that we will be treated to either some kind of deep perspective view of the engineering section (like the view of the Krell machines in “Forbidden Planet”) or some kind of Scotty-led walk-around of fantastic machines, hopefully accompanied by stirring music that will bring tears to my eyes. Otherwise why even bother showing it? This is after all, Star Trek; its supposed to astonish us and make us long to live in the future.

I just hope the engine room does not look like the weird circular parking lot in “Mission: Impossible, Ghost Protocol.”

Budgineering FINALLY serves Guinness Extra Stout!

“Budgineering” sounds like something to do with budgies :P

If they are upgrading the engineering (adding the ‘core, with few shiny bulkheads and a bunch of consoles would be just fine), they could also upgrade other industrial-ish areas: shuttle bay (remove all those pipes and girders), comm center (remove those huge shiny tanks), and torpedo room (bring it at least to NX-01 style weaponry room). In essence: upgrade them, but don’t make them as glossy as bridge and transporter room – leave them ”darker”.

#8 – I’m not sure they even use hops at Budweiser. Certainly can’t taste them.

I loved Trek 2009. Great job by all involved. But engineering – please. If there had been giant rodents running inside wheels to power the Enterprise I might have been slightly less impressed than what we got.

The TMP engine room would’ve looked right in place in the Trek ’09 Enterprise.
We don’t need “more,” we need better.

And ILM could generate Church’s great design and it could be integrated via blue screen and look excellent, without question. AND it could be cheaper- just utilizing whatever foreground set pieces the actors needed.

The “reality” is that “real” can look like shit sometimes, JJ.
Time to rethink, I think.

Deleted by admin

@ 46
“The “reality” is that “real” can look like shit sometimes”

sounds like something George Lucas would say.

I prefer “real”

47: Sure, “Bill.”

I am not sure if I like the concept of a bigger budget. Sometimes having less to work with will force filmakers to be more creative and intimate with the story. And having a large budget can make something like The Phantom Menance, where the creator’s whims are not kept in check. I do not want Star Trek to become like the Star Wars prequals.

#47,even though your not in it “Bill”? :) I am so freakin’ out for this thing man!! And it’s still 1 year and (counting from Feb.) 3 mon.s till we get to see it!! Can’t wait for the first pic!! :) :)