UPDATED: Trek 3 writer speaks about Trek for the first time – VIDEO

JD Payne, half of the new writing duo working with Roberto Orci on the 3rd Trek movie, spoke with two Latter-day Saint focused publications about being a life-long Trekkie, his faith as a Mormon, and working with Bad Robot and his long time friend and writing partner Patrick McKay. Click on to keep reading and see a new video interview with him.


From LDS Living:

On working with Bad Robot and getting the call to work on Trek 3:

“I’ve done a few projects with JJ Abrams’ company Bad Robot now,” he explains. “We’ve developed a really solid working relationship.” So solid, in fact, that he and his writing partner made it on the short list, as Payne recalls, “A friend over there came to us and said, ‘So we’ve got a new project to discuss with you guys. It’s very preliminary but. . .’  And we were just sort of waiting for it, and then they said, ‘It’s Star Trek Three.’”

On Trek 3:

A Star Trek fan since 15, for Payne, it was a dream finally come true.

So what’s in store for Star Trek fans? “I can’t really talk about much of what it is,” laughs Payne, though he did share, “At its core, Star Trek has always been about adventure, exploration and wonder, with an optimistic sense of the future, and all its possibilities. It’s a massive playground; we’re so excited to be diving in on it.”

Read the full interview over at LDS Living

From Mormon Artist:

There has been quite a bit written about the fact that the upcoming Star Trek will be your first produced script. However, you are pretty seasoned—how many screenplays have you written in total?

Star Trek will be our ~17th script from the first one we wrote when we were in college; our tenth from the time we got agency representation (though only seven of those have officially been in development at a production company and studio). I’ve read that the industry average is thirteen scripts in development for every one that ends up getting produced. I’m definitely still bullish that several of our other projects will make it to the silver screen, so we’ll see how that ratio ends up working out with our slate.

How did you first become involved with Bad Robot? What was it like to work with J. J. Abrams and the group involved with the film?

We had a great initial general meeting at Bad Robot, after which we pursued a project that came to be known as Boilerplate. From there, things took on a life of their own. We feel like we share a creative sensibility and point of view with J. J. and his team. They’ve been fantastic to work with every step of the way on each of the projects we’ve developed together. It’s a relationship we feel very fortunate to have stumbled into.

I could go into more detail about the nuts and bolts of the collaboration, but I should probably leave it at that. People think Edward Snowden got exiled from the country for the NSA Wikileaks scandal; in actuality, I heard his real crime was leaking a super-secret pizza recipe from the kitchen at Bad Robot’s offices.

Read the full interview on Mormon Artist

UPDATE 3/17/2014

TrekMovie regular Ahmed found a 90-minute interview with JD Payne from a Mormon film festival last month. The first 11 minutes are about the next Trek movie. Payne reveals that his first meeting with Bad Robot about Trek 3 was nearly a year ago in April 2013.

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A Trek fan since he was 15? So whats that, 18 months or so? :)
Seriously, hopes are high for these new boys.
Do well for us!

I like what Mr. Payne has to say in this interview; some of the best TOS scripts had interesting moral questions, and I’d love to see some actual intellectual content in the new script and not just explosions.

Exploration, a positive future, and a sense of wonder all sound like important parts of what made the original series so compelling. Please, Mr. Payne, don’t let Mr. Abrams talk you into another empty “mystery box” script; give us a script like “The Devil in the Dark” or “Journey to Babel,” one that has those elements that you talked about in this interview.

Oh, and go talk with Leonard Nimoy, if you can. He directed #3 and #4 and understands a lot about making Star Trek movies. Pick his brain all he’ll let you. :-)

@#2 I am more than pleased that they’re finally going back to allegorical storytelling. The new trek can have all the action it wants, but Trek at it’s core is Allegorical and told with universal themes.

@ 1. Buzz Cagney – March 16, 2014

“A Trek fan since he was 15? So whats that, 18 months or so? :)”


@ 2. Corylea – March 16, 2014

“I like what Mr. Payne has to say in this interview; some of the best TOS scripts had interesting moral questions, and I’d love to see some actual intellectual content in the new script and not just explosions. ”

Lets just hope that Bob will allows him to do that.

Trek 3 should have depth and strong story telling with a lot of character interaction. The film should not have shallowness, superficiality and excessive action like STID.

Take a cue from Gravity.

Hmm. Well, the Church of Latter Day Saints has an interesting philosophy of what happens in terms of outer space. Or at least it used to. I looked it up when a certain Presidential candidate ran a few years ago. If you don’t know what the church’s outlook is or was, I’m just gonna let you guys Google it and find out.

I somewhat remember that one or more bigwigs at NASA were also Mormon during NASA’s heyday.

Maybe everyone already knows this LDS / space stuff and I’m just a newbie. If so, sorry about that.

Boldly go!

Someone with a fair amount of history with Bad Robot makes me think that he’s just a younger version of the writers for the last two Trek movies. I’m still hoping that we’ll get a Trek movie that feels a lot like the most recent Bond film, Skyfall, which was also a 50th anniversary movie, but I doubt it’ll be that good.

“At its core, Star Trek has always been about adventure, exploration and wonder”

This is something JJ never understood or cared about. I wish him the best.

“At its core, Star Trek has always been about adventure, exploration and wonder, with an optimistic sense of the future, and all its possibilities…”

I REALLY hope this is exactly what Trek 3 is all about… give us strange new worlds to explore and that sense of wonder we’ve been missing from almost all more recent Trek movies… We don’t need another giant super star destroyer or any other kind of doomsday scenario as in the last six movies.

I think it is time for them to do a proper interview with one of the trade magazines. The two interviews with Mormon sites were conducted a while ago, the first one was on Feb 25 & the second one on March 7, yet we just found out about it this week!

I don’t know if these writers are old enough to appreciate TOS. There is a certain cultural momentum behind TOS and ST in general. Perhaps you had to live through the times to appreciate what ST meant to people, relative to the real world.Whatever the case, Bad Robot has dumbed it down. Sure, there is much more action and it has been given relative life, but if I hear the word “torpedo” uttered ever again, I’m sure I will puke. Maybe it’s a sign of the times.

But I know what I like and don’t like. I don’t want to see Bro Kirk or Emo Spock. I don’t want to see relationship Uhura or metaphor McCoy. I want to see and feel the pulse of the original TOS. I also don’t think it’s the current actors fault, because they are very good in other things. I think the fault lies elsewhere and it is not in the stars.

In other news:


Chris Pine convicted of drink driving

The judge at Ashburton District Court this morning accepted Pine was remorseful, noting he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had complied with police. However his application for discharge without conviction was declined and he was disqualified from driving for six months. Pine was also ordered to pay $93 in reparations.

The actor, who played Captain James Kirk in two Star Trek reboot blockbusters, was stopped during what police say was a routine drink-driving operation near the mid-Canterbury town of Methven on March 1.

He had been in Canterbury shooting Z for Zachariah, a Hollywood science fiction film set after a nuclear war.

In court this morning, Pine’s lawyer argued a conviction would be “devastating” for Pine’s career, saying it would make it difficult for him to travel for work.

The court heard Pine returned a blood alcohol reading of 113mg to 100ml. He has since made a large donation to CureKids – around four times any fine the court could impose.


“At its core, Star Trek has always been about adventure, exploration and wonder, with an optimistic sense of the future, and all its possibilities.”

This is a good sign!

Looks like the writing team feel the pressure of the 50th anniversary!

From the LDS interview:

“The movie is set to come out in 2016—the 50 year anniversary of Star Trek’s initial TV release. With a laugh, Payne says, “So no pressure, right?””

That echo what Bob said in the Shatwatch 2014 article

” 202. boborci – February 21, 2014
Will 50th affect story? Yeah. More pressure;)”

Oy Vey…

So what’s this about being too young? I wrote ten ST stories back in the mid-70’s, when I was 17. ;-)

#3 “@#2 I am more than pleased that they’re finally going back to allegorical storytelling. The new trek can have all the action it wants, but Trek at it’s core is Allegorical and told with universal themes.”

I really don’t know how this myth got started and took root, but no, Star Trek is NOT about allegorical storytelling. It never has been. At its core, it’s about space based, action/adventure and exploring how normal people react and overcome abnormal situations. Were there stories that paralleled modern events?, Yes, but in 79 episodes, they were far and few between. This imaginary standard that people hold the new movies to is just that. JJ’s movies honor the spirit and ideas of TOS just fine. Anyone who thinks otherwise, I can only conclude, needs a refresher course in TOS 101.

The new movies are not based on TNG, nor Voyager, nor Ds9…not Enterprise…the movies are based on TOS. That they retain the spirit of the original series, along with the series’ superb balance of action/adventure, humor and romance is all that is required. Carry on Bob Orci and company. Cant wait to see what you deliver for the 50th anniversay!

We’ve had several Trek movies in a row with an emphasis on revenge, super weapons and people fighting on platforms. A movie about exploration and a central thought-provoking idea, with of course a good dose of action and adventure (far from Earth!), would be a welcome change.

JD & Patrick (and Bob)…

Welcome to the lions’ den. It won’t take you long to see that Trekkies are — urm — a bit difficult.

Seriously, I truly hope you take full advantage of Trek’s 50th Anniversary year to give us a new story that has ideas, optimism, adventure, and characters. Please don’t just pick the bits that have made money before. Don’t mine laugh lines from past films. Please… Boldly Go into Trek’s NEXT 50 years with something original, fresh, and fun.

Thank you!

If anyone doubts the next movie will involve Klingons in a major way I have some swap land to sell you!

Isn’t the more interesting question what happens after the new Star Trek 3?

The real interesting discussion should be the persistent rumors that Seth McFarland is lobbying to bring Star Trek in one form or another back to television.

My gut tells me it will happen and it will be animated. But, I hope that Seth is able to navigate the Paramount / CBS corporate suits to convince them to give it a go for another live action series.

Salt Vampire in 2016!

Yeah, I’m totes jelly of these guys. I just hope they don’t mess it up.

I understand that you all are using “LDS” as a shortening of “Latter Day Saints”, but I can’t help but think of Star Trek IV. “I think he did a little too much LDS”


I disagree. (And yes, recently around the holidays I watched a TOS marathon.) Even episodes heavy on space battles, like Doomsday Machine and Balance of Terror, have greater things to say than the noise of explosions.

Strikes me as a bit much that Pine was convicted given that many other such defendants would have been able to strike a plea deal that would have resulted in a nonconviction for such a charge, which is a relatively serious one. I’m not referring to the monetary aspect of the penalty, which is entirely inconsequential given Pine’s wealth, but the fact of the conviction itself.

I once thought that New Zealand was a progressive jurisdiction. Now it appears otherwise.

What are New Zealand’s policies toward more serious crimes? I doubt it is as harsh as the United States toward violent felonies, for example, and if it is more forgiving of violent felonies, what is it doing bringing down the hammer on Pine for this offense?

I hope that Pine’s lawyer can get this conviction expunged given the passage of time, as it may, indeed, impair his future travel and therefore career possibilities.

^^ Referring to plea deals in the United States, not necessarily New Zealand or any other country.

Our hopes and dreams travel with you JD & Patrick.

17: “Many of the conflicts and political dimensions of Star Trek represent allegories of contemporary cultural realities. Star Trek: The Original Series addressed issues of the 1960s,[4] just as later spin-offs have reflected issues of their respective decades. Issues depicted in the various series include war and peace, the value of personal loyalty, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism, feminism, and the role of technology.[5] Roddenberry stated: “[By creating] a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles. Indeed, we did make them on Star Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network.”[6]


Tell them to catch cosmos. Amazing show! :-)

Nice comments , however we been over this before, in the end it will be an action film once again..hope i’m wrong , but I doubt it

I dont belive people seeking God in Star Trek. I really hope, our new writer keep his faith to himself and not use Trek to send religious messages.

I don’t know if Chris Pine could appeal his conviction or whether it would be worth his while. His lawyer, Marilyn Gilchrist, did seek non-conviction but the Judge denied it.

Given that NZ is looking at dropping the legal limit to .05 instead of what seems to be the present .08 limit, (I thought that the new legislation was already in place), the conviction and disqualification does not seem too undue. Chris Pine’s blood-alcohol reading was 1.13 which is not just a little over the limit but well over. He has not been fined, which the Judge could have also handed out and he is not doing prison time. It was noted that this was his first offence.

I am really sorry to say this but Chris Pine was DRUNK. He should not have been allowed access to keys to any vehicle. He may have thought he was OK and even appeared OK to others, but clearly he was not. He posed a serious danger to himself, his passenger and anyone else who may have been on the same stretch of road that night.

Chris Pine has received a bit of Kiwi style Toughlove and unfortunately, I suspect that it might not be before time. I do wonder how many other times he has done similar, believing himself to be safe/OK. He was lucky but no way OK or safe.

I am thankful that I am not praying for his recovery as he lies (perhaps, seriously) injured in a NZ hospital or worse still, mourning his death. God knows – it really is hard being a *fan* sometimes. He and I are strangers, yet I am weeping at the very thought of what I have just written…:(

I agree with the judgement, given how far over the limit he was.

So I just watched TOS season 3 epsiode “That Which Survives” for the first time in many years, and what do I see, I see another instance of interstellar transporters on top of Assignment: Earth, only this time the entire ship was transported 970 light years, and they hit warp 14 on the way back, 14.1 actually. Granted that was because the engines had been tampered with and the warp reactor was running wild.

So that is like 10 instances of interstellar transporters I have counted now, from throughout the franchise, not counting the reboot movies because I am looking at how many times it was used in the older versions. Some of them are slightly borderline I will admit, I am not sure if transporting Seven of Nine off of Voyager in the Delta Quadrant of the 24th century to the USS Relativity in the Alpha Quadrant of the 29th century, then to Voyager in multiple different time periods and physical locations, from Earth to the Delta Quadrant, should count. I am counting beaming a Romulan commander from a ship in the Alpha Quadrant in the 23rd century through a wormhole to the Voyager in the Delta Quadrant 24th century.

I love this franchise.

#25 – Well, NZ has no Death Penalty. We threw that out in 1959.

I do not know what the various penalties can be, depending on the crime committed. Obviously, people who commit violent crime receive a prison sentence, which can vary…

A DUI causing injury will get you prison time, as well as loss of licence. Obviously, the penalty increases if your DUI driving causes death.

I do not think that plea bargaining is as common here as it appears to be in the US. Basically, the Ashburton District Court could not care less who Chris Pine was (celebrity or other status) or how wealthy he might be – he drove whilst drunk so he loses his right to drive for period of time – in this case, six months. The Judge said that he would be treated like any other offender charged with the same crime, ie Justice is blind.

wouldn’t it be a better idea if he wrote a B.S.G. script it seems it would be more up is alley and fitting the storytelling format.

If you do some research on white bead and the option for good for you bred that has substance. You will find your answer to why J.J.A. has shown that he lacks and never will have the depth to deliver on a genuine ST script. As much as I may have supported what J.J.A. Was trying to do with ST. Abrams is the guy with the sign demanding the 99c white bread and retaliating against a better more dense and full filling bread as there is no profit in trying to open people up to something new.

Look back on J.J.A.s work and you can seen that the theme running thru all his work is No substance, No depth, No real respect for the Audience rinse and repeat. Just a man who seems to have got a job (SW7) that is going to expose him as the manufacturer of white bread that went stale when we reached adulthood J.J.A.s method is to treat us like children who are startled by a cheep light show (a torch/flash lite) and ideas are so beyond recycled even the words spoken in his movies are looking for another agent that gets them a movie where they can flex there meaning and deliver on engaging the audience.

Its the bottom line and not the movie that is important its the cash that it can spew forth into the lazy hands of ST current custodians that write the script and they know that all you have to do is deliver 99c bread no one will complain about anything or be full filled wiser or entertained

Woe is us who have to explain to ourselvs that it wasen’t all that bad at least it wasen’t ST5. Its been 2 moves ditch the current people they haven’t and cannot deliver on a script of any worth. When J.J. A. F.U. SW7 there will be a coming together of fans of 2 very significant franchise who are really going to want an answer as to Why is J.J.A. getting away with delivering uninteresting unworthy boring B.S. that has the substance of a fart in an open jar.

We choked down Lucas 1-3 but Abrams ain’t Lucas and ST fans know whats coming down the script sewer for SW7. Sorry SW fans we really feel for you we will be there for you when it is over.

@18, Jonbloc, the allegories were no myth, they were an essential ingredient of TOS. Corylea, I too am hoping for a strong and original storyline, and please, not just explosions. However, I don’t feel hopeful. I’ll give number 3 a go, but may have to retreat to the glory days of the 79 episodes and 6 films

13. Ahmed
Its a pitty that actors don’t have the balls to take it like a common person. Actors don’t really ad to any function of society as the court case shows they don’t live in a world that any of us would recognise ei we go to prison for breaking the law. The judge gets a sob story from a pretty below average actor (have you seen another movie he’s in just to see C.P acting. No I didn’t think so). Stick the drunk driver in jail and let there be truth in Justice.

But the poor dear might find it difficult to go to work…………… People meet their death at the hands of drunks in cars. C.P. needs to man up and take what is due him like a drunk black working poor person would have to without question if they were in C.P. position.

This might be the wrong place to ask this but….any word on the ongoing possibility that Paramount might someday pony up and release a Blu-Ray version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture -The Directors Cut? Or do they see Blu-Ray as dying format with no return on investment? As they would have to render all those new effects in HD. I saw the original HD version streaming on Netflix the other day and the visuals never looked better, and with my internet speed, I’m sure that was not much more than 720. I can only imagine what they would look like in 1080p! I might be in the minority here, but I think this film holds up better then most of the Trek films, and the STTMP -Directors Cut DVD release was a vast improvement. Come on Paramount….make my day…go Blu-Ray!!!

38. moonwatcher

Sorry moonwatcher there is no profit in rewarding the audience with entertainment (even if it is just visual enhancement) as the recent STITD dvd/blueray releases have shown us. Its not about delivering a product but milking the audience for extra cash for content that was going in the bin anyway. And how many different distributors had a piece of this content and another having another piece of content.ST may be thought of as a franchise but the truth is moonwatcher you like ST are a commodity to be managed for profit and gain. And at the moment what you want ain’t worth Jack right now.

Its a bit sad you seem like a reasonable person with a reasonable request. Pity your not Cris Pine you could have said it was to hard for you to go to work and someone would have bought you a mint condition one of a kind STTMP remastered Bluray and a couple of hookers to your house.

12. DJT

“Perhaps you had to live through the times to appreciate what ST meant to people, relative to the real world”

How hysterical an American from the late 60s referring to the real world. Is this the world that to quote Khan (the kick ass Kirk Douglass from Spartacus style Khan from the1982 ST)

Admiral? He didn’t tell you how
Admiral Kirk sent seventy of us into
exile on this barren sand heap with
only the contents of these cargo bays
to sustain us?

You lie! On Ceti Alpha V there was
life, a fair chance to —

This is Ceti Alpha V! Ceti Alpha VI
exploded six months after we were
left here. The shock shifted the
orbit of this planet and everything
was laid waste. Admiral Kirk never
bothered to check on our progress.

I think these lines go a long way to summing up Americas attitude to its internal movement’s (hippies American values towards its enemy who are only trying to survive in a world where America has disenfranchised the independence of other countries).

The point being
“Admiral Kirk never
bothered to check on our progress”

Kirk is America never seeing the end result of its actions towards others. The 60s were a free for all party for Americas self appointed Moral Superiority over other cultures they never understood. (even now). It was the suburban comfort of not having to confront the world it was a part of and seeing its place and its self for what it was and is, just a country forming a part of a larger community.

Khan is the world returning to America and asking WTF did you and do you think your doing to us. Revenge is a dish best served cold its very cold for America in the world right know.

#30. tom vinelli – March 16, 2014

None other than TIME magazine appears to endorse your position:


“Hollywood ACTION [my emphasis-Disinvited] star Chris Pine pleaded guilty to charges of drunk driving in New Zealand on Monday after being pulled over earlier in the month, according to the Associated Press.” – David Stout, TIME

33. Who cares – March 16, 2014

So that is like 10 instances of interstellar transporters I have counted now, from throughout the franchise, not counting the reboot movies because I am looking at how many times it was used in the older versions.

I’m not sure if you’re mentioning this in relation to issues that have been brought regarding the duffel-bag transporter in STID. If so, I’d just point out that the issue is not just increasingly fantastical technology, but how it’s used and how it serves the story.

#38. moonwatcher – March 17, 2014

I support your call for a remaster, but I am probably more concerned that they restore the original 70mm 6 channel sound and offer it as a listening option than rejiggering the FX yet again. But I understand your concerns and that that genii is already out of the bottle.

#25. Hat Rick – March 16, 2014

There’s Progressive and then there’s MADD. Personally being a part of two family lineages each helmed by a living raging alcoholic patriarch during my formative and young adolescent years, well..you know…I tend towards throwing in with the mothers.

I’m digging the vibes I’m getting from new guys and their relationship with Bad Robot. They are young though. I hope they can draw the line between TOS and TNG. TNG was an ok space show, but it lacked so much of Star Trek that made StarTrek Star Trek…its hard to call it Star Trek! Say that 5 times fast! lol Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 50th anniversary!

#23. richpit – March 16, 2014

The Kirk character was saying that about the Spock character. Maybe missionaries bicycled their way out that far? Perhaps a variant of LDS would especially catch on in New Vulcan where certain historic “traditional” unions promoted in ts formative years could only be seen as logical in a campaign to restore the population back to its original numbers asap?

23 Richpit, LOL I thought of that too! In fact I cannot stop thinking about it

From “Mormonism” blog: “Harris replied that if his companion could only see [the Moon] as he had, he might well call it beautiful, explaining that he had actually visited the moon, and added that it “was only the faithful who were permitted to visit celestial regions.”


@Keachick. I don’t know where you get your “facts” but if Pine’s Blood Alchohol content had been 1.13 he would be dead now, death occurs at about .60 BAC, though the possibility first occurs at .30 BAC, Chris might have been at .113 BAC, well over the legal limit of .08 BAC, but he could never possibly hit 1.13 BAC. You gotta pay attention to those decimal places, the smallest difference changes the number completely.

1.13 Blood Alchohol Content would mean a persons blood was more than 100 percent alchohol by the way, that is medically and mathematically impossible.