Coming Onto Trek “a rescue mission” Says BEYOND Director Justin Lin + How BEYOND Will Honor Leonard Nimoy + Lin’s Hope For Trek on TV

In an interview with Film Journal International, Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin revealed a lot about the process of coming to work on Star Trek, saying it was “a rescue mission” after Orci left the production. He also reveals plans to honor late Leonard Nimoy in the upcoming film and why, for him, Trek lives on television. Plus, Roberto Orci responds to Justin Lin’s comments here on TrekMovie.

The Justin Lin interview is currently available only in the print edition of Film Journal International, but a scanned version of the article is up at TrekCore.

When long-time JJ Abrams collaborator Roberto Orci stepped down from the production of the upcoming Star Trek Beyond (at the time only known as ‘Star Trek 3’), new blood was sought out to complete the film.

Brought in to fill the director’s chair was Justin Lin of Fast and Furious fame. Lin says it was Abrams who convinced him to take the job.

“It was definitely not a project I sought out. I got the call from J.J. and he kind of laid out the mission.

It was J.J.’s call that jarred something in my head, and I realized that Star Trek is a big part of me. Our business is one where commerce and art collide, and this was a personal choice, not a business choice. It was something I was invited to do, and I was happy to accept.”

According to Lin, Paramount wanted a totally clean slate. He would come into the project with a very short amount of time to make film essentially from scratch, with all previous plans for the film having been scrapped.

“For lack of a better term – and I think this is out in the open – it was a bit of a rescue mission. I think something had gone wrong and they wanted to start over.

After The Fast and The Furious, I was kind of done coming in on the third film in a franchise, but if there was going to be a franchise where I’d do it, it would be this one.

I’ll be very clear: I don’t know what came before me. We basically had to start over, and that was one of the selling points for me. That was the mission and the challenge, and once Simon [Pegg] and Doug [Jung] came on to write the script, we started completely from scratch. A clean-up mission wouldn’t have excited me. Even though this was going to be a very compact schedule, it was one where I knew I’d be going in contributing to what the next chapter would be.”

J.J. Abrams has publicly confessed to not being a Star Trek fan, to the dismay of Trekkies everywhere. Roberto Orci is known to be a superfan – someone who grew up with the franchise and held a special place in his heart for all things Trek, which is probably why we got so many nods to The Original Series in the first two Abrams films. Justin Lin seems to fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

“Well, there are levels of fandom, I guess. I don’t want to offend anybody, but I’m not a Trekkie or a Trekker. It was part of my life, though. I grew up watching the original series in reruns with my dad and family. Channel 13 in L.A. at 11 pm every night – that’s what I grew up on.

You can’t just give me the number of an episode, and I’ll know the title; I’m not that level of Trek fan! But a lot of the journey of making Beyond was getting to the core of why I love Star Trek and why I hope people love Star Trek. It was important to me to reach in there and realize why this franchise has been around for 50 years.”

Knowing that Lin is indeed a fan of the show – at least, he is fan enough to be familiar with TOS from an early age – Film Journal International dove in head on to address the one and only plot point of Beyond we’ve been privy to thus far: the early destruction of the Enterprise.

FJI: “It’s been revealed that the Enterprise is destroyed early on in Beyond. Was that a plot point you and the writers hit upon right away?”

Lin: “No, I didn’t come in saying, ‘Let’s destroy.’ It was more like, ‘Let’s deconstruct.’ Talking with Simon and Doug, one of the things we felt was that with this being the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, let’s deconstruct it and hopefully rebuild it in a way that reaffirms why we’ve loved it for half a century.

That conversation went a lot of different places, and one of the most interesting places was the Enterprise itself. I remember watching Star Trek as a kid and saying, ‘That’s a cool looking space ship, but it looks really lanky. Is it built for combat?’ It took me a while to realize that they’re not out there to fight. It’s an explorer’s ship, so of course it looks like that. Just having that discourse about what it means to be on the Enterprise provides us with issues we can explore on a character level.”

Lin went on to give us a glimpse of what we can expect the holy trifecta – Kirk, Spock, and McCoy – to get up to in this 13th Trek film.

“As the movie begins, we’re two and a half years into their five year mission, so they’ve been together for some time since we last saw them. It’s interesting that we’re working in this kind of parallel [universe], where we have the resources of the TV show in terms of their relationships, but we’re creating our own canon.

Bones is my favorite character, because I’ve always viewed him as the curmudgeonly uncle I never had. So it was fun to talk with Karl [Urban] about where McCoy is going and where he is right now. I almost feel like I’m making the biggest-budgeted fan film!

We got to have Bones and Spock have the conversation I’ve always wanted them to have. And I’ve always wanted to see Sulu get off the bridge more. To get to contribute to that is exciting.

I didn’t realize how much the franchise was a part of me until we played with putting characters in these different situations. And the cast is so great. They’re so respectful of what came before them with the characters, but are also talented and hard-working. I couldn’t ask for a better group of collaborators.”

Although Leonard Nimoy played an important role in rebooting the franchise and appeared in the first two JJ Treks, he passed away before filming of Beyond ever began. Justin Lin says that Beyond will honor the original Mr. Spock.

“It’s something you’ll see in the film. [Nimoy’s death] obviously affected everybody, because he’s been a big part of our lives. There’s an attempt [in Beyond] to acknowledge that in some way.”

When asked about whether or not we’ll be getting lots of callbacks to the original Star Trek, Lin suggested that we’ll be getting original characters, species, and storylines in Beyond.

“Let’s get them out into space! J.J. was able to explore a lot in the first two movies, but the Enterprise still hadn’t really gone on a mission. So that’s what was driving it more than anything else.

As a kid, one of the coolest things about Star Trek was that they’d be discovering new planets and species. So that became the driving force for the movie. Let’s bring in things you haven’t seen in the Star Trek universe.

When I walked in, I thought there was going to be a rulebook, but I think part of what J.J. did was to not have a rulebook. He wanted to explore, and that’s where Simon, Doug, and I went, too.”

Not unlike the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness, Lin says that Beyond‘s villain has “a valid point of view” and will make us examine what the Federation is and why it exists.

“The challenge with a big ensemble like this is there’s not always a lot of real estate. So I needed someone with a lot of presence, and Idris [Elba] was really my first choice. When I spoke with him over the phone… I felt we had a connection. I remember us riffing about the character and talking about his philosophy.

His character has a very valid point of view, and it goes back to our original concept of deconstructing Star Trek and the Federation itself. And to do that, we have to question what the Federation is about, why it exists, and is it truly a good thing?”

With a new television* series launching on CBS All Access in January 2017, FJI asked Lin whether he thought Beyond would play into a combined vision for the franchise as a whole. Parroting CBS’s original press release for the All Access series, Lin denied any connection between the upcoming small screen and silver screen incarnations of Trek.

Notably, Lin implied that, for him, Trek is best suited to the medium of television, and that tentpole films like Beyond are secondary to the adventures we see on TV.

“What I learned making Beyond is that the Star Trek I loved growing up lives on TV.

It had a TV format. For a little while, there was another story idea that we really liked, but I felt that the specific idea didn’t fit the medium this film would be. And that’s why I can’t wait for the new TV show, because they’re going to have people who can tell those kinds of stories in that medium.

With Beyond, we’re hoping to find the appropriate journey for the characters that fits into a tentpole [movie]. What I think is so exciting about the future of Star Trek is that it has crossed into multiple mediums. My greatest hope is that in a few years you’ll be able to watch Star Trek on TV, and if you want to see a [tentpole version] there’s a movie. Or you could have a virtual reality experience!”

When asked wether he would continue working on Trek after Beyond, Lin indicated not.

“I feel like this is probably it for me. Fast and Furious was different; I was trying to build something. I feel like when I’m done with this film, I’ll be excited to see where the franchise goes. To be able to be a part of this and not wear out my welcome is great, as well as to be able to contribute something to the franchise. Because I know Star Trek is going to be there when I’m gone.”

Roberto Orci responds
Right here on the TrekMovie comment boards, Roberto Orci has responded to Lin’s comments and allegations by some fans that Orci was removed from Beyond after a poor performance of Star Trek Into Darkness:

“When a movie destroys a franchise, they don’t continue it. They reboot or start over. So [your] analysis of [Into Darknesss] continues to be wrong.

As for the rest, I agree. They brought [Justin Lin] in to start over because I was only willing and able to tell the story we had generated”

Orci’s story lines up with comments made by Beyond‘s co-writer and co-star Simon Pegg that Paramount saw Orci’s story as “too Star Trek-y”.

Responding to Justin Lin’s comment that his work on Beyond was a “rescue mission”, Orci says that this was not in reference to salvaging the franchise after Into Darkness but rather that starting from scratch on a script for Trek 3 gave the new director and writers a very short timeframe in which to complete the film.

I don’t read [Lin’s comments] the same way. He’s not referring to STID, he’s referring to the fact that Lin has to mount a movie by a certain deadline that is very hard to make.

More from CinemaCon 2016
This interview comes out in tandem with an appearance by J.J. Abrams and Simon Pegg at this week’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas. TrekMovie will be bringing you any breaking news from that event.

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I knew as soon as Bob said he felt they’d earned the right to move a little away from action into sci-fi/exploration that Paramount was going to think his movie too “Trekky”. That would’ve been the great movie that honored Trek’s 50th. What we’ll get might be good but it won’t be that kind of vital, defining Star Trek movie that Orci, Payne, and McKay wrote.

Quote: What we’ll get might be good but it won’t be that kind of vital, defining Star Trek movie that Orci, Payne, and McKay wrote.

Correct me if I’m wrong but no one outside of Bad Robot and probably very few people at Paramount know what kind of story Orci, Payne and McKay wrote. In the other thread Bob suggests that he is trying to get his story published as a ST novel but until that happens there’s no way of knowing what it was.

I’d like to see the script or story-line before making that assumption. Remember, he gave us STID.

“Correct me if I’m wrong…” — DIGINON

You are wrong. Consider yourself corrected. Justin Lin is outside of Bad Robot and Paramount, and he’s SEEN it.

Didnt Bob say he showed the SECOND script to Lin, not the first one which is the one he believed in. @BobOrci, can you confirm…?

I seem to remember interviews where Lin said that he had no idea what the story/script was before he came on board. Maybe it was Simon Pegg instead of Lin who said it.
Anyways, I’m pretty sure that Mike Stivic (whom I replied to) hasn’t seen it.

Agreed. And it’s entirely possible that Bob felt comfortable, and confident enough to get a little risky with the story. But the powers that be might have wanted to stay in their comfort zone. I get the impression that Bob’s script would have given us everything (Trekkers) wanted. But when did the Producers ever care what the fans wanted? It’s all about the almighty dollar. But I swear, If Leonard Nimoy is not given the respect he is due for the 50th- whether in a movie, tv show, or CBS special presentation. If they don’t I’m walking from the franchise until the powers at be either drop dead, or replaced.

What about the Shat???

I really want to know what this too “Trekky” story was. I had very high hopes for it. Hope Bob gets to tell it somehow.

Great article. Thanks!

That 3 lens flashlight was used on FRINGE.

That’s it!!! I remembered it from somewhere but couldn’t place it!!

I think Justin is saying all the right things. I have been keeping my fingers crossed for this one and am anxious to see a new trailer. Perhaps after JJ and Simon give their Vegas talk we will know more.

In the ‘resque mission’ comment I too read nothing more than Lin saying they needed to start over with trek 3, specifically, and make a movie in a little time. That’s kind of easy to understand and english is only my second language (I think it’s not Lin’s main one either but he surely explains himself well) But if people here saw what they want to see and read more into it I’m not one bit surprised.

Agreed. I mean how could Orci have ‘destroyed’ the franchise when they gave the guy both director and writer of the next film? Clearly they had no issues with what he did with STID even if it didnt generate the interests they wanted. It just sounds like they couldnt get on the same page with the third film and either he quit or they fired him and they brought other people on at the last minute to start over.

But yeah I wont lie Lin is saying all the right things but I’m still deeply worried about this film. Someone else said it, WB managed to make three trailers for Suicide Squad that comes out the next month where as Beyond has not been shown ANYTHING outside of that one 90 second trailer. The film opens in July, not November. What is going on?

Awesome that they are going to honor Leonard Nimoy. I hope they honor the entire original cast. Still think it was a mistake not to include Shatner.

As for Bob, I totally respect him for sticking by his story. Paramount is the studio and they have every right to push a movie in a specific direction as well. Hopefully it works out. we will know in a few months if they made an error


If you do novelize your script, Bob, put me down for a copy.

Do you predict an “error” Bob?


The creation of perfection is no error. They are NOMAD. They are complete.

Nice try on Bob’s part trying to spin the “rescue mission” into something isn’t a commentary on how he was viewed by the studio or how Star Trek was viewed after STID.

STID was a mess, plain and simple. Bob can’t still be holding on to the idea of revenue as his basis for bragging about a film series he was dumped from…

Opinion =/= “fact”. Nice try, though.

Its pretty clear the starting over referred to Star Trek 3, not ID. It was a rescue mission, getting 3 off the ground and into theaters in time for the 50th.

Great Trek,

You say that as if it not being STID would directly absolve Bob from all the responsibilities that lead to 3 needing to be “rescued” in the first place. I don’t believe even he asserts that.

Whatever STID was, one thing it most definitely wasn’t was something that Bob was able to wield to convince Paramount to back his vision and keep everything on schedule.

And yet they hired Bob after STID to write and direct the next movie. That seems like a strange decision if Paramount viewed Into Darkness as a mess, like you suggest. No, it’s quite obvious that the decision to start from scratch came much later, not as a result of Into Darkness.

Well he burned all those bridges pretty good. The only thing I hear around town now about Bob is baaaaad.

I definitely could be wrong, but it seemed Orci was JJ’s choice to carry on the mantle. He was announced writer and director and then dropped by the studio. Perhaps JJ’s power had waned once he jumped to Star Wars. But the impression I get is, JJ chose Bob and sold the studio on it (maybe the studio didnt need selling) but the end result was the studio didnt want to keep Bob as director after rejecting his story.

Id like Bob to write a book, blog or whatever detailing his time working on Star Trek from beginning to end and all the intrigue. Much like Meyer wrote about his time with Trek. Would be very interesting…

Great article. The more things I read about JL and Beyond the more excited I get for the movie! On the same turn I’m pretty curious to read the rejected story/script Bob and co came up with.

I think it’s safe to finally say that at the end of the film, we’ll get a new Enterprise for the crew to depart in. Probably something a little closer to what we’re used to.

Hey BobOrci,

Will you ever tell the world what was your version of Star Trek 3 that Paramount was so against?

He’s writing the story as a novel.

I’ve personally had very, VERY little respect for Bob Orci ever since he came on here after people were bashing the crap out of In To Darkness before it was released. Complaining about lack of originality in a story line, etc.

He got angry and cussed at fans and told them that’s why he gets paid to write movies and they didn’t. he then pouted and said he was never coming back to trekmovie.

Come to find out, the fans were right about just about everything they were weary of in STID.

…and he’s still here.

@Meee – Prepare to be trolled hard by the usual suspects. But you’re right. Soon, some posters will come along and tell you that Bob was correct to be such a jerk because how dare fans be mean to him and insult his movie.

It would have been nice if Bob had apologized to everyone. He only offered an apology to one person, if memory serves, and I didnt think it was sincere, but that person did which is all that matters.

Bob has a lot of interesting things to offer when he isnt getting defensive or trying to be too cute. In fact, the point of an industry insider on a site like this should really be to provide interesting insight. Which he does from time to time.

Has Trekmovie tried to arrange a more formal interview or Q&A with Bob and would he agree to such a thing? @BobOrci??

It was spectacular to see him get his comeuppance after such hubris… Almost perfect and movielike, really. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

From the trailer and from what I have seen and read about Beyond, I can’t wait to see Orci’s novel. Hey I really liked the Fast and Furious series, but it is not Trek. I would rather have had Orci hold to the original promise of JJ, Star Wars fan, that in the 3 films the stories would arc towards the prime universe. But all of that appears out the window now. Thank God Trek is owned by 2 corporations, and we will see what CBS does with the TV series.

I too would love to read a novelization of Bob’s rejected story. Has Bob said which story he wants to turn into a novel? He submitted two stories for consideration for the film, did he not? Were they essentially variations of the same story? ie. One story?

Or two completely different stories. And if so, which will he write? I assume one (if they dont both) which included ShatnerKirk and NimoySpock…

@BobOrci – any updates you can provide on this? Im ready to part with my $29.99 (wait, what do new hardcover books cost now?).

We wrote a two drafts of a script, but when it made it to the top and was rejected, we did a hail mary version of a new story in two weeks, but I knew it was a lost cause and not what I wnated to do. Was just trying to be a good soldier and not give up, but it became obvious that I needed to walk away or suffer for two years. Really, we submitted one “story” that I believed in.

Bob can you give any details on the stories you offered up? Sure a lot of people here would be interested to know.

I am curious, too, what your story was about Bob. Any hints?

@Mel – someone else can correct me as I am going off of memory but the rumor that made the rounds was the Federation and Klingon in a race for a device that allowed time travel (I think…hmmm, does that sound right?)

And at some point Shatner & Nimoy would appear as older versions of the Pine/Quinto characters.

I was optimistic about the story, although I really wanted Shatner to play OUR Kirk, not the “alt” Kirk but gotta take what we could get. The idea of a galactic race for something very important sounds like a decent basis for a fast paced film. And the hint of time travel led to speculation about resolving the time line split.

@boborci-Are you saying you don’t believe in the story they ARE telling with STB? Just curious.

That’s quite a conclusion to leap too, there….

Poor question by me. Reading what Bob wrote again tells me it was the changes made to the story he DID believe in that turned it into something else. STB story is unrelated. Sorry about that!

Hey Bob, how did you fall out of favor with Paramount, BSD Robot, and your former friends so fast?

Seriously? On what facts are you basing the assumption that he fell out with everyone simply because his script was rejected? Are people that fickle when this kind of thing happens? I dont think so. This kind of thing happens regularly in this business and you simply move on

@BobOrci I honestly hope you are talking to @BryanFuller about using your original, best story for Star Trek 2017. I mean if it was to “trekkie” for a contemporary blockbuster movie, it might be great 2hr TV episode or two-parter. AND if the new series is an anthology, why not pitch it as the premise of a second season? Roddenberry rehashed a number of old episodes for TNG, etc. Maybe there is still hope!!

@BobOrci – thanks for the reply. That’s very interesting.

So if I understand correctly, you submitted the story you believed in, the top brass didnt like it and you wrote a brand new story based on notes they provided, things they wanted?

Assuming you’d be reluctant to reveal much of the story you believed in, especially if you hope to turn it into a novel, can you provide any insight into the second story you submitted? Was it completely different from the first? Completely different from what STB became?

Was the story you believed in the one that included Shatner & Nimoy?

And finally, what are the odds this will be a novel…and when? Next to the new series, I’d be most excited for this novel, to be honest.

I always feel a bit sad when a new director is brought into an established franchise and confesses to ‘not being a big fan’. That said, I was proven wrong about JJ. I personally think ST and STID are spectacular Trek films. Quite frankly, they’re the best we’ve seen since Trek VI, in my opinion.

I am very sorry about the office politics surrounding this film. But I do wish people would keep an open mind – ‘young minds, fresh ideas’ etc. I won’t judge this film until it’s running thru the projector.

Also, I still don’t really understand the STID hate. Lin clearly wasn’t talking about that in his interview. It’s sad to see people still clutching at that.
All I ask in a Trek film is that there is some social commentary, character development and a little bit of hull damage. STID delivered: using Khan to address modern day terrorism; brilliant.

Now that both films are safely in my house on Blu-ray I’m ready for Trek 3…

P.S. As always, no one has to agree with me – this is just my personal opinion! I only ask that you let the creators create…as much as they can with a producer on their back!

@Tom – I agree with you. I’ve repeatedly said I will judge STB on its merits. I hope its fantastic!

I went into STID defending some of the choices we knew going in (Khan) and was, unfortunately, wrong on all counts.

I went into BvS wanting to love it. I loved everything I heard about right up until their (I think) second trailer…then they sort of recovered and released better trailers after that. I was so optimistic. And it was such a let down.

I went into TFA really worried they would screw it up and not confident in JJ. And I had a smile on my face from the first line of the opening crawl…that first line made me realise they got it.

So lets hope Lin and Pegg and everyone else involved creatively “get it”. I want to come here the day after i opens and say “I love Star Trek Beyond”.

Remember, Myer wasn’t a fan either. Fresh blood just may work here.


Lin isn’t saying that he was NOT a fan as JJ did, neither is Simon Pegg for that matter, but rather he doesn’t know what to call it has he doesn’t feel he had the passion to actively support it as that for which those that are labelled Trekkie or Trekker were famous.

So this whole “fresh blood” director analogy falls appart as much on THAT as it does when I remind all that Baird was not a fan too.

@Disinvited – and Baird didnt immerse himself in the franchise and couldnt find the voice of the characters. He cut the heart out of the film. Whereas Meyer did immerse himself and arguably became one of the best writers of Trek characters of all time.

I like what I’m hearing so far from Lin, hopefully he will pull off a brilliant ‘rescue mission.’

Many hardcore fans wanted the Reboot to be TNG like, not actually Premised in Wagon Train to the stars,and when some fans didn’t get TNG like TOS Reboot, They attacked, the Spirit of Trek was being Defiled, Paramount doesn’t care about Trek cause they didn’t give us something closer to TNG Trek….

@Bill – that is absolutely not true whatsoever.

On forums there were many who were convinced that no one wanted to see Kirk and Spock again, only more TNG or DS9 movies. Not sure of a number obviously but some did while others were excited to see the TOS again, even if everyone was recast.

Yep, many fans forgot what TOS was like (to be fair, for many, it’s all they had ever watched) and they came to expect TNG and it’s many spin-offs to be indicative as how “Trek” needed to be presented…when it was actually very far removed from it’s namesake. Fortunately, when Trek 09 and Into Darkness came along, the mass audience…just like those fans of the show in the 60’s…, loved the fun action-adventure format of TOS and ate it up! But yeah, those that were expecting more subdued TNG-style Trek were definitely left out in the cold….still are, and many are none too happy about it.

Problem is, Trek needed new blood, WE all loved what was, but for Trek to keep on being made you had to start with General Audiences, and make Trek more Accessible to them, meaning you had to bypass the Hardcore Trek fans, they may be the base of your market but they can’t be your whole Foucus. Old Fans want to be the Foucus rather then part of the crowd.

We’ve seen this before. Enterprise was supposed to be pre-Federation earth, with a TOS ethic, and it was shoehorned into the TNG mode after just a couple of episodes, with predictable results. Think about history for a second – San Francisco in 1900 was still very much a wild west town, in 2000, not so much. So Kirk was the arbiter of law and defense in Federation, Picard more an enforcer.

I’m not sure I’d agree with your observation about the reboot, Bill. At least here, those who are consistently and vocally opposed to the reboot also are quite the proponents of fan films, which are almost exclusively TOS themed. That makes their opposition to the reboot a bit of a head scratcher, as it does tend to have a TOS ethic as well.

@Bill – that isnt universally true at all. Its another weapon certain people use to dismiss opposing opinions..that all these people that dislike STID hated the reboot from the beginning because it wasnt TNG.

That’s nonsense. I’d speculate most people here favour TOS. That’s not a fact, just an observation. I dont believe in the TNG/TOS war at all. I think most fans are fans of both if even of various levels.

For example, I love Star Trek. I thought Voyager sucked. I occasionally watch it when its on. Im still a fan. I loved TOS and I loved TNG. They were very different. Loving one doesnt preclude loving the other.

It would be a very small minority of fans that dislike the BR films because of their setting (aside from the universe aspect). The films should be judged on merit.

The positive reaction to the rumors of the new series taking place post TUC would seem to disagree with your assertion.

As for the spirit of Trek…well, it depends on what you mean by spirit. There is a difference between how Trek is portrayed on TV versus the films. The BR films remind me a bit of Nemesis in that it seems like the best potential stuff was cut in favour of more action, especially STID.

Justin Lin clearly doesn’t know the meaning of the word deconstructing. What absolute drivel!

“I’ll be very clear: I don’t know what came before me. ” — Justin Lin

I wonder what Lin means by that?

Orci said he showed Justin the script and they honored Paramount’s wishes by withholding his script from Jung and Pegg.

It’s a common thing filmmakers do in this situation. They pretend they know NOTHING about the drama that preceded it, that they never good heavens no read any drafts, etc. They don’t want to be associated with the stuff that gave the studio cold feet or cause any WGA arbitration problems.

I think it’s irresponsible not to know everything you can about a franchise film. I know some actors decline to watch previous incarnations or meet with the real people if they are playing them, so as not to be unduly influenced.

But I like Meyer’s approach – immersing himself in the franchise. How else do you find the voice of the characters and truly understand their history and interactions.

Although I take that remark as meaning he didnt watch 09 and STID. If he knows TOS, that could be his basis for the work he did, not what the previous film makers did on Star Trek. Still…seems irresponsible to me. But perhaps its a quirk of some directors.