Orci: Star Trek Sequel Is Not Remake

The reports about the Star Trek sequel over the last couple of weeks have generated a lot of discussion across the web and here at TrekMovie.com. As he does from time to time, Bob dropped by the site today and made a comment about the chat, this time a short blurb, but with important implications. See more below, plus my thoughts on the latest debates. [NOTE: Article discusses potential spoilers]


Orci: Star Trek Sequel Not A Remake

Last week TrekMovie.com joined the growing chorus of other websites (AICN, Latino Review, Vulture, FirstShowing, and others) reporting sources saying Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Khan. Some have taken these reports to say that if true, then the Star Trek sequel will be just like the original Star Trek episode "Space Seed," where Kirk and crew first encounter the genetic superman from the past, or possibly even a rehash of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when Khan seeks revenge for marooning him on a doomed planet.

Khan (Ricardo Montalban) and Kirk (William Shatner) in original series episode "Space Seed"

Today in response to these concerns, Star Trek co-writer/producer posted the following comment here at TrekMovie:


No remakes. No rehashes.

And to add some more context to recent debates, I also think it helps to bring back a comment from Orci’s fellow producer Bryan Burk who spoke about the villain in the film and their decision (in general terms).

Bryan Burk (speaking to MTV in December): There are amazing villains throughout the Star Trek universe, as well as new villains as we did in the last film. There are a lot of directions we can go in the film and in this particular case we chose to do something that would be original and unique and different and again on paper I think we made the right choice.

So maybe TrekMovie and the other sites are all wrong and Khan is not in the film (and I admit this is entirely possible). I have also noted that reports of Khan are still officially rumors from Paramount’s point of view.

However, for the purpose of discussion, lets say the Khan reports are true, then how does that fit with what Orci and Burk are saying? It seems to me that the team are sending the message they have their own story (even if it has known characters). And just look at their often used example of Heath Ledger and the Joker for The Dark Knight. While using a well known character, director Christopher Nolan found a way to tell a unique story, which turned into a monster hit with great reviews.

My thoughts…

If you have seen me opine about this at cons over the last few years (it always comes up), I have consistently said that using a classic character does not mean that you are using the same story. If you just use your imagination, you can probably dream up a number of different ways an exiled genetically-enhanced leader from the Eugenics Wars can make headlines in JJ Abrams new Star Trek universe, and none of them have to look like “Space Seed.”

In fact, I have always found the debate kind of odd actually. With every new superhero movie there seems to be no question that they will use a classic villain. The new Superman movie has Zod, the next Batman movie has Bane (and Catwoman), the new Spider-man has The Lizard, and the list goes on. It seems to be a given that they will use classic villains, and yet with Star Trek this seems to be controversial for some. The irony of course is that the only Star Trek film that re-used a character for the villain was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which is still considered by most (including myself) to be the best film of the franchise.

In a way I think JJ Abrams obsession with secrecy just exacerbates the controversy. As noted with these other films, announcements on who the villains are usually comes with casting news, months before production. These other filmmakers don’t see how revealing a character is a big deal and know that it really doesn’t tell you anything about the story.

I agree, no one wants to see a remake or a rehash. But this team have always said they don’t want to be a cover band, they want to tell their own stories in the Star Trek universe (and they even made a new Star Trek universe for added flexibility). So for now, I take them at their word. They have a new story to tell and in the end that is all that matters. Whether it includes a known villain character or not, is really secondary.

Khan return for Star Trek II – and that worked out pretty well

Well that’s my two cents. What do you think? Sound off below.

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Backpedaling, AP? Haha!

Just kidding, man. Nobody knows. We’re all just playing a game of trying to sample the flow of probabilities.

Wow, I never thought of the re-use of villains in that context. And that just made me realize: didn’t DC just reboot its entire universe with The New 52? But we’ve seen Catwoman, The Penguin, and other classic DC heroes/villains in it.

I have faith in the “Supreme Court” that they can tell an original Khan story while staying true to some of the traits that made Khan such a great foil for Kirk.

Interesting. Are my comments working…?

Bob, why not just release the synopsis, you will make everyone happy.
seriously, too much secrecy is not helping anyone.

It’s possible for these comic book based movies to use existing villians (and different actors who step into the roles) because the villians are also established – Joker/Zod, or whomever can escape their prisons to once again be a thorn in the side of the hero. Khan does not have that relationship with Kirk, we only have two episodes to even establish the relationship, Space Seed and TWOK, and both of them were adversiarial. Yeah, Khan can be a stand along character, a friend, ally, not an enhanced meglomanic, perhaps?. If all context is stripped away, then why call him Khan at all?

Seems to me the problem with the re-use of Khan has to do more with the actor’s ethnicity than anything else. How many comments have we seen that say something along the lines of “why would they cast a pasty white Brit as a Sikh?”

Really it doesn’t matter for me… I just want a great plot whatever the villain… the cast is awesome… so I’m waiting a great movie!

;-) :-)

Yes no Khan

Given how good Khan was is Space Seed and Wrath of Khan, do we really not want to see what happens with him in this universe? I for one am excited to see a fresh take on Khan and to see how this new crew handles him.

Well, if it is Khan, that nicely explains they haven’t announced the title yet. “Khan” is probably in the title!

Untill Bob Orci say’s there is No Khan then there is Khan in the movie. But. I know Bob Orci will blow us away with a great story. Right Bob Orci.

4. Ahmed – May 10, 2012

Bob, why not just release the synopsis, you will make everyone happy.



Who says they can not make a story about Khan and the Enterprise again? Maybe something happened before Khan was actually settled on Ceti Alpha. Somehow Khan remembered Chekov in the Wrath of Khan movie and yet we never saw Chekov and Khan together on the tv episode. They could also invent a story of Khan after he was settled on Ceti Alpha 5. Kirk believed Khan and his future wife and crew were sent to Ceti Alpha 6 which exploded. Kirk never knew they were actually sent to Ceti Alpha 5. That is why Kirk never checked on the progress of Khan because Ceti Alpha 6 had exploded. This caused damage to Ceti Alpha 5 and shifted its orbit. So many possibilities for a new story here.
I hope it is Khan we see in Star Trek 12 (2013) and not Gary Mitchell with the glowing eyes.

I am with Thorny. Yes! Just the name “Khan” alone would have every middle-aged and senior STAR TREK fan bring forth the $12 to see the movie on the silver screen. I don’t need 3D for this movie.

Maybe the TOS Khan was full of crap and wasn’t Khan Singh at all, but his cousin Murray. There are myriad, non-creaky, slightly less ridiculous ways they could make Khan work, if they chose to. It could be complicated, and he could be Khan ish. Or they could get all Days of Our Lives and they/we/he don’t know he’s Khan. Or, whatever.

9. Yeah, me too. I was hoping for fresh, like I said, just because I was hoping for them to come up with some new Trek characters that would really become part of Trek. (the last movie that did this well was Trek II)… but I’d still be thrilled to see what they come up with, if Khan’s involved.

As long as they don’t count on the audience to suddenly realize, “whoa, it’s Khan!” and be amazed. It didn’t work with Sybok the laughing Vulcan (I think the audience was supposed to be amazed at that as well) and it won’t work now.

Put in easter eggs galore if you guys want, but don’t make the plot hinge on them (or bend to them).

3. Haven’t seen you on here in a while. Hope all’s swell.

Technically, if we want to nitpick, by bringing the Khan character back onto the screen, it is rehashing…then again, the entire reboot is a rehash.

I’m quite confident that if the villain is Khan, then it will be a Khan story we haven’t seen before. But you know how they could avoid this criticism? By going with a new villain! Or at least one that hasn’t already been redone!

I’m of the opinion that Captain Garth would be a great villain to reuse for the reboot series. It’d probably be an origin story for him, so that’s a big chunk of plot ready-made, but also an origin story we haven’t seen played out dozens of times, which is rare for Hollywood.

I never thought they would remake Star Trek 2,I think 1. You just can’t do that!! 2. They have alot more going on for them to use what’s been done,reuseing the character is ok by me.

Why is Khan the default setting? I’m going to assume it is not Khan until Bob Orci (or J.J. Abrams) says it is.

If it is Khan, it will probably have no connection to the Ceti Alpha system. The settlement of Ceti Alpha was a result of the events of the episode Space Seed. If Khan and his followers are found and thawed under different circumstances then you have an entirely new story that is in no way a retelling of either Space Seed or TWOK.

One thing they might do is have the whole movie with No Khan and at the end of the movie the camra pans out to a different sector of Space and we see the S.S Botney Bay. Drifting in space and then a Klingon Ship Decloaks and then the end credit’s.

If they do Khan with the S.S Botney bay. Then they have to uses the exact same looking ship and clothes that Khan wore in Space Seed. Otherwise. Not Canon.

“No remakes. No rehashes.”

Except that we’re doing Kirk and the original crew in the original series time line and making many non-sutble references to their previous works.

Not saying you should retract your statement Bob. I KNOW you’re talking about storyline specifics here. But the overall product is for all intents and purposes a rehash of what’s come before. But I’ve accepted your rehash take of TOS, which is why I’m not bothered by the fact that the villain is going to be Khan. Maybe I’ll look at this new Trek film with a good sense of respect and enjoyment, but I’ll still be looking forward to the day when someone takes charge of Star Trek and says it doesn’t need Kirk, Spock or even the Enterprise to make great Star Trek moments that are iconic.

22. Canon schmitzanon.

Ahmed, I don’t get it either. I mean like Anthony said we already know Zod and the Lizard are in the next Superman and Spiderman movies does that give away any spoilers for those movies? Not to sound mean but are they not confident in their villain and that is why their is all the secrecy?

#24. Are you the same Jack that was in. Wolf in the Fold.

The story arc for the origonal Khan was really short – exiled, frozen, thawed, exiled again, escaped, died. Considering the next movie is about Kirk and crew, I really don’t know where people keep coming up with the idea that Khan, the character, has this wealth of background that needs to be explored. The details may vary, but the story has to end well for Kirk and bad for Khan. Which makes this look like a hybred of SS/TWOK.

Woohoo! Not a remake!

But having Khan in the film doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a remake.

Woohoo! Not a rehash!

But having Khan in the film doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a rehash.

Thus and so, as AP says

-remake -rehash [not equal sign] -Khan


I find if odd that Trek keeps being compared to comic books. Wasn’t it TV’s answer to “Forbidden Planet”?

26. I can barely send email, let alone possess a ship’s computer and throw down psychedelic graphics.

Yeah, but comic books are nothing to sneeze at these days, Vultan.

Comic book heroes are big money. Look at that “Avengers” movie — comic book heroes, all.

Not a rehash. Not a remake. But is it a REMASH?

And yes, I do realize that Thor was a Norse god before he was a comic book. But before the comics, he was known only to geeks who studied the Classics and/or Folklore and Mythology. And the occasional nongeek, I don’t rule that out.


Yeah, and that’s the first thing I worry about when I see a movie: will the studio see a return on their investment? Priorities, man… priorities….

32, only if Alan Alda is in it.

Any such rumors?

34, no money, no honey, babe. If Trek tanks, there goes the future of the franchise.

You think fanbased revitalizations of three-season failures (TOS) grow on trees? ;-)

I think it’s different for comic book movies and their choice of villains. A Batman (be he animated or live action) will always have to go up against the Joker. Henry Cavill’s Superman will have to do battle with Lex Luthor in a sequel to “Man of Steel”. Just by the inclusion of OsCorp in the new reboot for “The Amazing Spider-Man”, is it safe to assume that the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man will at the very least encounter Norman Osborn in a future sequel? Comic book movies HAVE to recast these iconic supervillian roles. If they didn’t, we’d just be stuck with idiots like Stilt Man, Boomerang and Hypno-Hustler for “The Amazing Spider-Man”.

I think Data said something once to Picard that only 9% of the Milky Way had been charted by the 2360s. Or maybe he was just talking about the Alpha Quadrant… Anyway, what about that other 91% that remains undiscovered? What unknown villainous characters lay out there? Not surprisingly, I love Benedict Cumberbatch, but there will be some segments of fandom and the media who will simply say that he’s good (or crap) and that he’s no Ricardo Montalban. It’s inevitable. Sure, it’s a challenge for him to sick his teeth into those Moons of Nibia, Antares Maelstrom and perdition’s flame, but I’d much rather see him tackle a whole new creation.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s Khan for the following reasons:
–Spy pics show Cumby’s character is stronger than Spock and resists nerve pinch. This hints at a genetically altered superman.
–The fact that JJ will not release the character’s names might mean that the names will give away a bit of the plot. Sure, some of the other characters are original creations, but JJ can’t give away some names and not others. So, one of them is probably an old-school character. And what character name would give away a bit of the plot more than any other? Khan.
–The other actors that were considered for this plot were mostly of Hispanic descent. But the white-ness of Cumby throws a curve ball.
–Khan IS the most famous villain of Star Trek. JJ likes to use what is most familiar to the general public.
–Last, many fansites stated that Cumby is Khan. Yeah, it could be a rumor, but the fact so many posted this info might mean it’s most likely true.


“Franchise.” Yeah. Got it.
And like McDonalds, they’re all starting to look the same.

@36 I’m in agreement. I no longer expect Star Trek movies to be like Star Trek episodes. But I’m hoping that there is a mindblowing Trek series eventually.

My guess is the Klingons find Khan and he goes on a rampage against Earth and the Federation.

Or it’s a twist and Khan didn’t survive and one of his crewmembers is the main adversary.

Or none of the above. Look at Cloverfield and Super 8, nobody really knew what was going on in those movies until they were released.

Here’s the thing. With the new Star Trek and the alternate timeline, everything that happens after the alternate timeline was created can be (and appears to be) different from the prime universe. However, everything before the timelines diverged is the same and unchanged since there was only one timeline.

So, barring the movie necessity of recasting the role, how will this make Khan any different in a way that makes sense in terms of canon storyline?

With Nolan’s Batmans (and much like any other comic book movie series), they exist completely independent from the other Batman movies, serials, and shows. There’s no story based way (or otherwise) that Nolan’s Joker would be intertwined with Keaton’s Batman.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but from a canon storytelling standpoint, the comparison of the Joker from Nolan’s Batman and (assumed) Khan from this new movie doesn’t hold water. From a movie making standpoint yes, but I get a feeling there will be plenty of nerd rage if this ends up being true.

All things said, I’m still sure it’ll be a good movie.

Yep, it’s going to be Khan. Better get used to it folks!

The fact that they originally were going after Hispanic actors is one piece of evidence. Another is the supreme court’s obsession with the character. Every time they talked Trek, they mentioned Khan. The secrecy surrounding the film is so high, its obvious that they are trying to hide something. Recently, Benedict Cumberbatch flinched at the mention of Khan. They also want a villain that can draw in a bigger audience.

And all the reasons that VZX stated above.

Jesus Christ, there will be hell to pay in some corners if the Botany Bay doesn’t look EXACTLY like it did in 1967…


remake or original, it doesn’t matter. what a horrible insult to star trek 2, one of the greatest sci fi movies of all time. it’s no different than remaking the original star wars. any true trek fans know this is going to be like claws on a chaulkboard watching abrams and these gen y actors completely ruin the legend of khan.

just who the hell is this cumberbatch guy? never heard of him. what an insult to cast him as khan. who deemed him worthy of playing one of film history’s greatest villians? a no name. all the great lines we heard in star trek two, including kirk’s eternal khaaaaan scream will never be topped. who would even think of trying. i would like to see pine deliver such a performance.

39, how so? How can we prejudge a sequel based on rumors that haven’t even been confirmed yet?

Assuming, without conceding, that it’s Khan again, just what about this fact makes Trek so uninteresting?

Was Harry Mudd less interesting the second time around?

And what about the idea of having a Khan-based trilogy of sorts — one that crosses universes (Trek Prime and NuTrek)? Khan would die (in TWOK), then he’s alive (in Trek ’13), and then he would die again (in some future Trek). It would be the obverse of the TWOK-TSFS-TVH Trilogy that everyone loves so.

Hey, someone could even write a dissertation about that! “Death, Life, and Death Again: Semiotic Consequences of the Hyperextended Metaphor in a Post-Universal Age — A Literary Exegesis of a Popular Cinematic Experiment in the Postmodern.”

I’ve written the title. Now let some lucky grad student write it.

Soon to be a major exhibit at LACMA….

27. “I really don’t know where people keep coming up with the idea that Khan, the character, has this wealth of background that needs to be explored.”

Me neither. I sure hope it’s not a Khan origin story. I don’t need flashbacks showing Khan infiltrating Nirvana in the early 90s. I wonder if the character alone would have been as compelling if someone else (say any other male Trek guest star) had played him back then. Tough to say.

329. Agreed. Nothing against comic books. But, yeah, Khan ain’t the Joker. Or Dr. Claw. I think you raise a good point — comic-like bad-guy villains don’t work well with Trek. Even in the TOS episodes with protaganists, the conflict was based on a problem/circumstances (not just bad guy out to destroy everything), or there was some flaw to the bad guy that was the point of the story. It wasn’t black/white, good/evil — and, heck, some episodes even played with those good guy/bad guy conventions, like Errand of Mercy. Almost all the movies tended to simplify this and turn it into good guy/bad guy, because, well, that’s the big way movies tend to work. The point of TWOK wasn’t that Khan was out for revenge (Kirk has no big speech where he laments making the wrong decision about Khan 15 years before, and he makes no speeches to convince Khan of the errors of his ways — he barely talks about the guy, or to him… nobody does, apart from “hey, Khan’s attacking” etc.). it was about, among other things, dealing with mortality and the consequences of making choices (or not making them). Khan is almost just a plot device. It was amazing that the episode left that opening and it gave the movie a chance to work through all that stuff without making the villain seem contrived (Hey, Nero). We probably learned as much about Nero through dialogue as we did Khan — but Khan had the virtue of a backstory, even if you hadn’t seen it.

I’m fine with them using Khan again, I’m just a mite perplexed they’d decide to go back to that. It is a big galaxy & all & there are quite a lot of types of stories you can tell in the Star Trek universe aside from “crew confronts genocidal maniac X”. Which we’ve basically seen from Star Trek aside from the first movie & the fourth movie. (If the baddies in ST6 fall under that category is a bit of a squeak but you can’t deny that General Chang is more than a bit Khan-ish)

#13: don’t see how there is any possibility of a khan story. they found his ship in space seed, cast him out to seti alpha 6 by the end, found him again in star trek 2 on accident on seti alpha 5, he was dead by the end of the movie. i don’t see any room for a khan story in there. might as well just remake star wars where vader doesn’t die, blah blah blah. this is completely asinine.

40, if the Klingons are in it, as rumored, it could be very mindblowing.

Anyway, I realize I’m starting to sound like an amateur cheerleader for Trek ’13.

But, aw, hell — what’s wrong with that?!