Editorial: With Execs Calling for ‘Star Trek: Zero Dark Thirty’, Does Paramount Just Not Get Trek?


The president of Paramount’s Motion Picture Group recently told WIRED that he wants to “take advantage” of unexplored parts of the Star Trek universe going forward with future films, throwing out such “ridiculous” ideas as “Star Trek: Zero Dark Thirty” and meeting the SEAL Team Six of the Star Trek universe. After the action-adventure shoot-em-up blow-em-up blockbuster that was Into Darkness, Paramount wanting a “less Star Trek-y” script, and the head of the reboot proclaiming that Star Trek is “too philosophical”, is this another indication that Paramount really has no idea how to do Star Trek?

Marc Evans, president of Paramount’s Motion Picture Group, sat down with WIRED recently to talk about Star Wars, Star Trek, and more. The article focused on the Star Wars franchise, its continued success, and recent plans to develop Star Wars: Rogue One, a “Star Wars story” set to hit theaters on December 16th, 2016. Trek didn’t get much attention in the interview, but its brief mention may be indicative of a systemic issue within the heads of Paramount execs that see Star Trek as an action-adventure story, rather than the thought-provoking cerebral sci-fi that we know and love.

On the heels of a conversation about the premise of Rogue One, Marc Evans told WIRED:

“I often think about the areas of the Star Trek universe that haven’t been taken advantage of,” Paramount’s Evans says. “Like, I’ll be ridiculous with you, but what would Star Trek: Zero Dark Thirty look like? Where is the SEAL Team Six of the Star Trek universe? That fascinates me.”

Hey, Paramount. I’ve gone ahead an made the promo material for Star Trek XIV, whose working title is Star Trek: Call of Duty. There would then be three spin-off films in an epic cross-over with the Transformers universe (directed, of course, by Michael Bay).



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Trek Hard.

The Fast and the Federation.

Khan Air.

I Am Number One.

Lethal Warp.

Uh… no.

At least he acknowledged that it was a “ridiculous” idea , but it’s scary that anyone thinks that way about Trek.

Well that’s just a depressing thing to read. They definitely do not “get” Trek. Too philosophical? Wow. I don’t even know what to say to that.

Preceding the Zero Dark Thirty line was this: “Like, I’ll be ridiculous with you, ” But please ignore that so you can be outraged.

I dunno, sounds like Renegades to me.

“that see Star Trek as an action-adventure story, rather than the thought provoking cerebral sci-fi that we know and love.”

Again, Trekmovie let’s it slip that they are more focused on TNG-like cerebral Trek.

I like Kayla and all the staff here, and they work hard to give us a good product. But at the end of the day, it definitely comes across that they are Berman-era Trek fans at heart — that is their “Trek Worldview”.

Also, I would wonder if Kayla perhaps didn’t see Zero Dark Thirty…because it was actually an investigative mystery that took years to unravel, with tons of cereberal scenes and implications on the characters…with one major action sequence at the end of the movie. Know way was Zero Dark Thirty an “action adventure movie”. That’s silly.

….and the graphic here at the top of this article that “converts” Zero Dark Thirty to Call of Duty is completely without merit.

Again, it shows a complete misrepresentation of Zero Dark Thirty.


4. The Lensman – November 17, 2015
Preceding the Zero Dark Thirty line was this: “Like, I’ll be ridiculous with you, ” But please ignore that so you can be outraged.

Trek. Trek never changes.

Trek fans are sometimes Trek’s worst enemy. Trek is about exploring ideas, but they are totally unwilling to open their mind to anything that isn’t their idea of Star Trek. What exactly is wrong with a Trek in the style of Zero Dark Thirty? ZD30 was about explored the depth of humanity, right vs. wrong, gray areas and lots of things Trek would be great at. So why all the whining?

DS9 all over again.

“Section 31” was conceived to add this type of thing to the Star Trek universe. Lots of fans were into it.

It CAN be done, if done with care.


BR Trek crew and Transformers join forces to battle the Decepticons and their new leader, Khan. Admiral Marcus unfroze Khan in order to get back at Nero in the past—but in the past of the Prime Universe, which is actually the future—but, Khan outwitted the admiral and copped another transwarp beaming duffel bag, which he then used to beam to the parallel universe that the Transformers inhabit. So, Alt Kirk and the gang use some red matter to open a black hole that takes them likewise to the Transformers world, and then the good guys and bad guys all shoot at each other and run around and stuff.

Anyway, I’m glad I’m not the only one bothered by Paramount’s vision of Trek. It’s akin what I imagine taking Donald Trump to an art museum would be like. Listening to him assertively describe the qualities of the fine art hanging on the walls… I think this one here is the best. Maybe not the best, but one of the best. It’s very artistic, this one. Really, just excellent, excellent. But, I’d like to see a little more effort, you know? Something really super right in the middle of painting. Like maybe a tiger or something.

Sadness, just sadness

Roddenberry would be so upset to read that.

Star Trek on the a whole has its own identity? Exploration of Space. It doesn’t need to be like something else. Saw Zero Dark Thirty and agree it was not an action adventure movie but as a concept for Trek,come on.

Nobody should wet themselves over this. There are a ton of Trek stories about high stakes first contact missions, operating undercover, up to and including STID. Kirk’s spacedive in ST09 and his free flight through a debris field in STID were some of the best moments of both films. Those are both Starfleet Special Ops.

Star Trek was about exploring the unknowns of space.


Philosophical situations which showcased the best of humanity…

What do the current execs want?

ACTION, ACTION, ACTION, ACTION, ACTION, ACTION………..all to appease the Chinese market.

Make a GREAT movie, with a deep and profound storyline, and the world will beat a path to your door.


DS9 from the start was set out not to play by the rules . I think it had the best recurring characters but also a TV series that the War arcs had b stories. Never made it to the big screen.Too less Trekkie.huh.

Action has its place in the Trek universe.
‘Star Trek’ (2009) got the balance perfectly, in my humble opinion.

I am keeping the faith that Pegg and co will have created a fine broth with a similar balance.


The article is off base.Yes Dark 30 was more of mystery and when I saw it was surprised it had little action scenes though some a bit violent! Just tired of Trek exploring the dark side!

I liked DS9, and Fan need to stop freaking out over every little things someone says at Paramount, they want to sell Trek to the Widest Audience Possible, this means looking beyond what the Fan Base likes and looking at what sells to others outside the fan base…this isn’t about hating Trek, it about knowing what will make Trek a Sucess in the future,

@ Cygnus

The only thing missing from your post is an I am not Herbert emotion-filled “atta boy” follow-up.

Let’s compare Star Trek and Star Wars for a moment…. Star Wars movies have good stories, etc..and have figured out how to continually bring in new/young fans….via Animated Shows, great merchandise, toys, Lego video games, Lego Star Wars animated shows, etc.. You go to Star Wars conventions and you see a lot of kids who are fans…

You go to a Star Trek convention..and its a older/graying crowd…where’s the young/kid fans ? where’s the Star Trek animated show ? toys ? etc ?
and don’t say that Star Wars movies story lines are inferior..

Star Trek has hundreds of hours of more content than Star Wars.. but look at the state of the franchise…which one is more popular ?

@21 Lets just hope that it’s a tasty broth; full of flavor!

A film about MACOs why not?

As long as it holds true to Star Treks underlying principles

I’m not surprised Paramount doesn’t get Star Trek.

Even NUTrek fans don’t get Star Trek. They are actually Star Wars fans, stuck in the wrong universe.

Go away, we can do without you.

They will fail, miserably. And the more they try to turn Trek into something it’s not, the more they will fail! Because, you know, to watch action shoot ’em ups, the shoot ’em up people won’t watch Star Trek because that still carries the “philosophical stigma” in its name. They will watch the original action movies, super hero movies etc! That’s why STD (fitting acronym) was already a disappointment box-office wise. And these “casual” audiences, even if they seem bigger, they have zero loyalty and certainly wont watch it because its Star Trek.

Let’s just pretend these current and future action abominations didn’t happen. They are apocryphical.

And let’s hope that CBS is not that stupid and they do everything the opposite of Paramount with the new series. If only to piss off Paramount, that’s fine :)

I’m a surefire millennial and this panders to me in so many ways.

Bring on those damn explosions, and throw a massive space battle while you’re at it.

I hope Disney buys Star Trek, Because Paramount hasn’t done star trek justice, except for Undiscovered Country & First Contact.

I think the point has been made by other comments here – no one ever suggested a Call of Duty-Star Trek, and Evans was clearly just making a point here about branching out Star Trek into areas we have not covered so far.

Just my two cents here: Zero Dark Thirty has basically been done (add some action/adventure/scifi and you have The Undiscovered Country), the other two top-ranking Trek films are First Contact (which is basically action/adventure with some revenge aspects) and TWOK, which is essentially an all-out revenge story. Point is: you can do all that with Trek, it will not hurt it in any way. Much of the criticism towards Into Darkness for example was aimed at the fact that it was basically a revenge story. Which is entirely besides the point. It was a bad revenge story with a script that needed a lot of polish before shooting.
It’s not about the theme or topic, its about the quality of the script. Good scripts will incorporate philosophical questions while still delivering all the action.

I seriously don’t understand why so many fans are so critical of the films. Maybe its’ been forgotten but pretty much every Star Trek film since The Wrath of Khan was an action film. The Voyage Home and the Final Frontier were comedies, but you gotta remember this was out back during the era of Back to the Future, Monster Squad, Mannequin and several other sci-fi/horror and fantasy films were doing the comedy thing.

In the 2010s, it’s all about action. And its’ to the extreme now. Nobody really talks about the older films anymore it seems. But Nemesis was action packed as well. I’m not saying that the action compared to the last two films but you gotta remember that the budget was also a lot smaller.

I really don’t like it when people say that Star Trek should be like the “good old sci-fi we know and love.” I’ve always liked the movies for how they are. The films are supposed to be bigger, and wilder, and it’s always been that way. Now that I’ve said that you should know that I love scifi, and always have, and most of the films I watch are scifi. But they are also mostly action films as well.

And no, I like Star Trek waaaaayyy more than Star Wars. I even like Doctor Who better than Star Wars. Believe me, I do get Star Trek, and I do like how it incorporates hidden philosophical messages into the episodes. But the films never really have been like that so much. The Motion Picture was, and so was The Voyage Home, but that’s pretty much it.

The real problem is that we don’t get enough Star Trek. It hasn’t been on TV in 10 years. That’s a long time. A long time to go without sustenance. I think that the fans would appreciate the movies more if there was Trek on TV. Which thank God it’s coming back in 2017. And yes, I’m hoping it will be the traditional Trek. That’s how it works best. But I don’t go around hating on the films just because we don’t have Trek on TV.

Trek on TV is our dinner, and the films are the dessert. Dessert is really good, but it’s easy for people to get tired of it when that’s all they eat. Star Trek has always changed with the times. JJ’s Trek wasn’t the first Star Trek film to be an action film. Not even close. But it was the first Star Trek film to take on a very modern approach to sci-fi film making. Embrace it. I’ve heard some people say that they would have liked the JJ Trek movies if they were “some other sci-fi film, but not Star Trek.” To me that just doesn’t make much sense. If you think you would have liked it as another movie why did you not like it as a Star Trek film?

Is it because maybe you are expecting a little too much from a franchise that really nobody but us fans like anyway? Star Wars is far more popular for a reason. Even nerds like the action. We are beyond nerds…we are like Kings and Queens of nerds. It’s getting out of hand. I’m sorry, but I really have to roll my eyes at this, which is something I normally do to Star Wars fans.

29. Alex – November 18, 2015

I think the point has been made by other comments here – no one ever suggested a Call of Duty-Star Trek, and Evans was clearly just making a point here about branching out Star Trek into areas we have not covered so far.

Kirk’s crew meets the Transformers hasn’t been covered so far. And it would be economical in terms of scope, being that they could bring back Kurtzman and Orci, writers of both franchises. And obviously Michael Bay would feel at home working with them. It’s a match made in heaven.

I wouldn’t mind Star Trek: Zero Dark Thirty, primarily because it would actually reflect the objective reality of the Star Trek universes, which is that the Federation is the only big good guy faction in that part of the galaxy and it’s surrounded by space assholes and weird, deadly space phenomena. The franchise’s scope is big enough to accept a story exploring that fact and the more optimistic bent of the usual exploring space stuff without too much of a problem.

@Marc Henson:
I actually liked the first Abrams movie, since it was pretty good aside from some parts of the script, but I and a lot of other people hate Into Darkness for squandering the potential that it had. Between Orci’s 9/11 Truther nonsense that breaks as soon as you realize that everything makes more sense if you assume Khan is lying & manipulating Kirk and Lindeloff’s tendency to make everything go really fast so he can get to the “cool stuff,” you’ve got a story that pushes an idiotic message espousing poorly thought out ideals, without considering the in-universe consequences.

How about Star Trek M.A.C.O. the series.

Scary. Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Kayla. Brings to mind, “What about the Mayans?”…

Clearly they have never understood it ever since the very beginning of TOS. This is exactly why Star Trek does better on the small screen. At least soon we can start having both again!

#11 Starkweather “What exactly is wrong with a Trek in the style of Zero Dark Thirty?”

Nothing. Unless you were raised on a steady TOS-less diet of TNG-style Trek, full of conferences, flute playing, tea sipping…and, of course, the always magical, problem solving, deflector dish-sensor array!

This sounds like more of a desire to explore and profit from the huge Trek universe and many of its interesting characters, factions, and ancient empires, for example. They can’t ignore that Disney is maximizing profit from a rich fictional universe in Star Wars and Marvel While Paramount has barely scratched the surface.

Star Trek has the potential to be more interesting than SW because it’s much less fantasy based.

#35 “and, of course, the always magical, problem solving, deflector dish-sensor array!”

Hey they also kept reversing the polarity of the thingabob.

Isn’t this Nemesis? And Voyager? And a lot of mediocre eps?

Star Trek: P’choo P’choo

Please get back to simply exploring strange new worlds – each week!

Then there will be ample opportunity to do any style of storytelling.

@ 5. The Lensman,

“Preceding the Zero Dark Thirty line was this: “Like, I’ll be ridiculous with you, ” But please ignore that so you can be outraged.”

Apparently you missed the part where he went on to say:

“Where is the SEAL Team Six of the Star Trek universe? That fascinates me.”

Someone should pitch him a Star Trek-Transformers crossover!

@ 31. Cygnus-X1,

“Kirk’s crew meets the Transformers hasn’t been covered so far. And it would be economical in terms of scope, being that they could bring back Kurtzman and Orci, writers of both franchises. And obviously Michael Bay would feel at home working with them. It’s a match made in heaven.”

You better have your people call Mr. Evans people to arrange a meeting asap!

From Trek VI (and germane to this)

Are we (Trekkers) So old that we’ve outlived our usefulness?

Hope not, but times, they are a-changin’

“Star Trek” has been dead ever since Jar Jar took over.
The “too philosophical” mention seals that thought.
Unless some MAJOR Trekker with the money steps up and
buys “Star Trek” from Viacom, it will remain dead.

They’ve already done Star Trek: Call of Duty. They’re called Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force and Star Trek: Elite Force II. (The former of which I’ve played. Good game, by the way.)

Did people that refer to themselves as Star Trek fans bemoaning different concepts for the Trek films bother to watch Star Trek?

Star Trek as an intellectual creative property is RIPE for a variety of approaches, characterizations, concepts, and styles, as originally envisioned by Roddenberry Star Trek was frontier action adventure wagon train to the stars, couched in anthology morality plays that invited writers to submit an action adventure story one week, a monster of the week the next, a who-dunnit mystery, romance, comedy, theatricality, space ship battles. A variety of genres with a consistent crew and setting, the U.S.S Enterprise. Alot of people lambast the J.J. Abrams Trek films but, if you’ve ever bothered to watch the Original Series the two recent J.J. films captured the quintessential essence of that tv show completely and perfectly. Some people prefer the more homogenous and bland Next Generation Berman era Trek. The safe, new agey , dour , comittee like approach to those stories though not my preference, still have a place and relevance to Star Trek as yet another iteration, just as the J.J. Abrams films. Thats a testament to the versatility of the Star Trek concept and ideology- it lends itself to a variety of writers, styles, approaches, concepts , and yet can still be Star Trek.

Well said sir. The Trek universe if being screwed

What I dont understand about this is, if studio execs feel that way, why dont they just create a new space-based franchise that is different than Star Trek?

It just seems so odd that they want to change Star Trek. It would be one thing if thoughtful, philosophical, character-driven films neither existed nor made money. But they do. So why cant Star Trek be that?

It seems counter-intuituve to want to make Trek into the Transformer’s of sci fi where, albeit, they make lots of money but burn out critically.

For a studio exec to say “gee I just dont like Trek, I want less thought and more mindless action”. Okay, cool but thats NOT Star Trek. Why cant Star Trek be Star Trek?