Star Trek Beyond writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung recently discussed the upcoming film with the official Star Trek magazine in its June issue. The pair touch on their writing process, being life long Trekkies, and a bit more about Beyond.
Warning possible spoilers below…
The Writing Process
Pegg began by affirming that he was “famously mis-quoted, or misunderstood at least, before the film started shooting, about the studio wanting the film to be “less Star Trekky,” which sounded awful, and wasn’t at all what I meant.” Pegg continued, “the studio is very conscious of the fact, and rightly so, that Star Trek has a very inclusive universe, and that, despite the 50 years of history, we shouldn’t assume that every audience member knows Star Trek inside and out.”
Pegg explained, as he and his writing partner Doug Jung were navigating such a vast history and trying not to retread something Trek had done before, they had a wealth of sources to lean on. “We got tips, and found pieces of information, through people who just love Star Trek,” said Jung. “And if we got a good tip, or a good direction, we’d take it from anyone. We had a really great one from a gentleman who did the alien dialects [for Star Trek Beyond]. I put something in about Vulcan physiology that was 180 degrees wrong, and he sent an e-mail with a very elaborate explanation, with references to episodes in the original show, that supported what he was saying, so that was great.”
Pegg noted that eagle-eyed fans should be on the lookout to references to The Original Series. “Whenever we watched an episode of [TOS], we’d always take down the names of ancillary characters, just so when we had to come up with names for characters, they would be canon.” Pegg added that these references are “little things that you wouldn’t notice if you were new to this thing, but if you were a real Star Trek fan, a Memory Alpha-reading super fan, you’d be like “Yes! I get it!”
Pegg and Jung, both being life-long Star Trek fans, wanted to bring the thought-provoking plots and allegories to Beyond. “I always loved the episodes that had an allegorical sense to them,” comments Jung, “An episode like “The Doomsday Machine,” which very clearly has that cold war analogy. They’re making a comment in that episode, in my interpretation at least, that what we’re doing now will have lasting effects on the future, and future generations, in a way that we can’t possibly predict. That’s the amazing power of Star Trek.”
On writing the feature, Jung did not want the aspects of Star Trek that work best, commentary on the human condition, to get lost in a Hollywood blockbuster. He said “rather than taking us into a world that feels dynamic and interesting, visually and aesthetically, it’s bringing Star Trek back to this human aspect…that inherent human desire for exploration and discovery, that also questions who we are, and what we’re trying to accomplish as a species. That’s something that this crew, and the whole idea of the Enterprise, is coming up against. They always confront that within themselves, and that was something we were really trying to mine – the real sweet spot where you get the bigness, and the adventure, and the scale, but at the same time bringing it all back to what it is they’re trying to discover about themselves.”
In regards to the setting of the film, Jung revealed that “the natural step seemed to be “let’s take them on their five-year mission, but the discussions were always “how far?” Is it a year? Is it four years? Is it the end of the five-year mission, which for a whole host of reasons seems wrong?” Jung explained that “we thought that the idea of them being about two years in is kind of interesting. We really wanted to open up, in a humorous, but also a poignant way, what does it mean to be locked in a big metal tube for two years with the same people?”
Pegg further explained, “we liked the idea of exploring the nature of what a mission like that would do to a crew. We thought “let’s make it the same length of time it’s been [between Star Trek and Into Darkness], and send them out into what we call the frontier.” Pegg added, “We get the idea that they’ve been moving around the galaxy, in a variety of directions, and had encounters with many new lifeforms and new civilizations. They’ve got the record for the number of first contacts they’ve made, and the amount of new inductees into the Federation that they’ve managed to court.”
Pegg outlined the beginning of the film, revealing that we pick up the adventures of the crew as they broker a treaty between a planet called Teenax and a planet called Fabona. “They’re right out at the edge, near a big nebula called the Necro Cloud, constantly pushing into unknown territory and uncharted space, and they’re pretty tired. It’s been a very successful, but quite an exhausting three years.” Pegg explains, “We really wanted to examine the effects of long-term space travel. They’re the first of the NCC-17 deep space missions. They were almost like guinea pigs, in a way – no one had ever been out that far, or been out that long before, and we wondered what that would do to them. They’re out there, away from their families, their homes, for a long, long time. We wanted to address how they would feel at this point. ”
“They stop off at a prototype starbase, called Yorktown, which is a Federation hub on the very, very edge of Federation space. It’s a place where all the new Federation inductees, or anyone who’s in the area and fancies picking up a leaflet, can go in and learn about it. Doug [Jung] and I would go into hysterics, writing about Andorians handing out leaflets like they’re at an airport.” Pegg continues, “That’s where the Enterprise picks up the mission that forms the bulk of the story.”
That backdrop allowed Pegg and Jung to explore the main characters, giving them the opportunity to develop relationships more closely to those of The Original Series. “One of the things that we were afforded, which we hadn’t seen before, is the idea that they had spent a lot of time with one another, and had time to develop these relationships.” Jung points out that “you never actually saw some of these characters speak to one-on-one with each other…so let’s assume that they did and cut into the middle of those relationships.”
“We were really excited about breaking [the characters] out into relationships that you don’t normally see,” explains Jung, “Just by doing that, you get a greater understanding of who those characters are, because they have time to talk. That was really like a breath of fresh air to write. A lot of times in Star Trek the primary crew tends to move as a group – there might be discussion or debate within the group, but they are essentially moving in a group, and we went against that.”
For the full interview, which also includes details on the allegorical theme which forms the central question of the film, the motivation of Idris Elba’s Krall, the Spock-McCoy relationship, and Kirk’s state of mind in the film, check out the June edition of the official Star Trek magazine.
Stoked for this movie – expect it to be Great!
Come on July 22nd! This movie look like it’s going to be awesome and is in good hands with Lin and Pegg (and heck, even Rihanna too) as Star Trek fans themselves.
Looks and sound awesome, i´m looking forward to this movie :)
I definitely appreciate the fact they watched TOS episodes and used characters from canon for secondary characters in the film. Its things like that that are so easy, so appreciated by fans but dont in any way alienate non-fans (or new fans).
Finally they allude to the Ewok/troll creatures! There’s definitely going to be a lot of hookups happening, which probably won’t sit that well with some fans. But it’s reality.
I have to compliment Simon Pegg here. He’s much better at the fan PR than JJ Abrams was.
Pegg has basically rephrased JJ’s “This movie wasn’t made for Trek fans” comment, but in such a way that it almost seems like a good thing. He gives himself away, however, with the “references to TOS for the fans” bit, which reveals that Star Trek Beyond has been cranked out of the same assembly line as ST09 and STID: it’s a non-Trek film, made primarily for non-Trek-fans, but with some relatively insignificant and meaningless Trek-bones tossed out to the fans.
Thanks for that cold dash of water thar Cygnus :-(
@ Marja. You were expecting something else? Mr. Clairvoyant announced back before the first frame was shot that the movie was garbage, there’s no expectation of objectivity from him. Recall that Mr. Magnificent was pondering on a different thread, that because he did such a masterful job explaining to all why the BR movies are garbage, that the only reason anyone could possible still enjoy watching them was because they were to stupid to comprehend his dissertations and what ‘true’ science fiction is.
Once upon a time, that level of condescension got you banned here.
You interpret it any way that helps you justify your continued hatred of these new movies. You’re wrong, obviously, but go ahead. I’ve never been on to stand in the way of someone else’s loathing.
He sounds pretty right and accurate to me. Cyg is just “keeping it real. “
Ever the Grinch, eh Cyg?
I could never live in such a predisposed state of mind.
Super Moo, I hope you can see the ironic paradox in your statement. (perhaps it was intentional)
I usually agree with CYG but on this, I’m a little unsure. There are definitely touches that seem to be something like the real deal (or as real as you can get given we’re still stuck with Pine as ‘kirk’), and now that I’ve interviewed a lot of people about this (wound up doing four different articles, on vfx, cinematography, Lin and the conceptual artist Hargreaves), I still have guarded optimism.
Have no idea what spell this Rianna chick has cast on the planet, but then again, I never understood Britney appeal either, or any of the other cylon-sounding popstars.
Sounds really good.
This sounds SO promising!
Is Pegg wearing a Star Wars Episode 7 baseball cap on the set of Star Trek???
Yep, he was Unkar Plutt, the alien that gave Rey her “portions”
He also did some advisement on script according to JJ although non credited. Pegg is living the dream! ;)
It sounds like with this, and the previous film, the teaser is more like the movie I’d like to see, while the bulk of the film is yet another destruction-saturated battle between good vs. evil. I’m cautiously optimistic about this film, but it would have been nice to see a movie with a structure more like IV, where the crew splits up like here, but the focus is on solving problems without any on-screen deaths, and no confirmed off-screen deaths. It forced the movie to be creative, different, and inspirational. But for some reason, the only way IV has influenced subsequent films has been its use of humor. I loved the humor in that film, but it wasn’t as well executed in the films that seemed to be most influenced by IV, namely V, and INS.
You said that “it would have been nice to see a movie…where the crew splits up.” From what I’ve read and seen from trailers of Star Trek Beyond, that’s exactly what happens in the movie: Kirk and Chekov, Spock and McCoy, Uhura and Sulu, Scotty and Jaylah, each pair up. Do you know something I don’t…?
You cut off Eric’s quote just before the two words that reveals your whole comment has no honest purpose: “…it would have been nice to see a movie…where the crew splits up LIKE HERE…” which refer to the same trailer that you are disingenuously trying to paint him as being oblivious about. And now he knows something about YOU that you think we don’t.
Re:understanding and misunderstanding
You have proceeded to paint me in a disingenuous light. In no way did I intend to paint a picture of Eric Cheung in which he was seen as oblivious, idiotic, or whatever negative word one can think up. My intent from the question was to fully understand where he came from. I missed the “…like here…” in his original statement and thus made an improper statement, to which I apologize to Eric Cheung for any potential problems I may have caused.
As for you Disinvited, not every person on this discussion board has a negative agenda of trying to show their superiority over others. I would suggest you (as well as I) think about the way chats are portrayed on this discussion board.
Live long and prosper.
Hey, I was born and raised in The South. I know when someone says something like this:
“Watching @NFXstudios torch @Navy and I’m sitting here drinking my sweet tea…” – Bud
They like stoking the barbecue or worse.
But bless your heart, you did apologize to Eric while taking the opportunity to cast my attempt to keep you honest as all sorts of unwarranted aspersions.
“I would suggest you (as well as I) think about the way chats are portrayed on this discussion board.” – Bud
I shall consider it, but I’ll have a salt shaker as near to me as that tall glass of sweat tea is is to you.
@Disinvited, I went back and forth on whether I wanted to respond and I decided to defend myself (as useless as that probably is here). Regarding the comment you quoted, it is first and foremost meant as a joke with a sarcastic flare. This is also part of a popular meme with Kermit the Frog taking a sip of tea. You may or may not have seen this meme before. Also being from the south, thank you for the “bless your heart,” as I know what that truly means.
Anywho, this is but a discussion thread of only text so it can be difficult to distinguish genuine comments of pure inquisition (that started this conversation) from those of sarcasm (that I posed in a separate article). I believe that your distrust with the intent of my comments and pessimism of my character is unwarranted, especially since we have likely never personally met before, but naturally those opinions are of my own.
LLAP. Bud, over and out.
Re:back and forth
Let me assuage your doubts about engaging me in this exchange: I did not quote Jerome Bixby merely because I liked the feel of those keys under my fingertips.
I am considering that the dishonesty I detected may not be as overt as it seemed, but merely one of those things we turn a blind eye to about ourselves.
It does fascinate me that you seem to believe that the good people of South Carolina have mastered a use of sarcasm that removes the diaphanously veiled.undercurrent of disdain, detestation and contempt that it usually attempts to barely guise.
I am coming around to the thought that you may not be consciously aware of your penchant for enjoying senseless pointless fireballings of those who hold views that you don’t particularly cotton to. And I am encouraged that, while I believe there is a streak in you that that doesn’t particularly feel all that guilty when you “accidentally” throw accelerant on it, it troubles you on some level.
Now I’m almost worried. I love what Pegg says here, but, if I’m honest, I don’t think the trailers make the film look that interesting. I worry that if it underperforms among mainstream audiences, that will be used as further proof that future films need to be even less “Star Trekky.”
Of course, the movie may prove not to be that thoughtful at all and this is just a bunch of PR for us diehards. In which case, my concern is irrelevant. Bring on the dirtbikes!
I actually don’t have a problem with Kirk on a dirtbike.
Those scenes look pretty cool to me.
?: What do you want from a ‘Trek film? Give me a plot that you might like to see on screen.
How about they search for God. . . Oh wait no that idea sucks. How about long long long shots of the enterprise flying through a giant discoball to discover a centuries old space probe with daddy issues. . . no wait that idea sucks too. How about a movie about aliens that kidnap Spocks brain. Now there’s your winner!
TMP is wildly underrated, sorry.
Re:like to see
Well, so far I’m encouraged enough to buy the ‘cycle over the NEMESIS Dune Buggy. But I definitely do NOT want see Scotty, under the gun, busy having every 3D printer he can scrounge up making starship repair parts, interrupted by Kirk asking him, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if Jaylah had one of these?”
Speaking of dirtbikes, and since this IS a spoilerific thread, does this cutaway from POPULAR MECHANICS July 08 2016 Issue page 90:
Pretty much source the cycle as coming from the Franklin? And isn’t it likely the second one is just a replicated copy of the Franklin’s cycle?
I saw that a few days ago. Having been a structural drafter early in my working career I still geek out on stuff like this. It also provides a plausible explanation for the bike – recall from Enterprise that transporter technology was just being cleared for biological transportation, so on the previous class ships, the shuttles would probably need to drag along some form of ground transportation – if the Franklin has a transporter at all, it would only be for inert material. Of course, I’d expect that Mr. Scott could upgrade it on short order….
So, is it two years or three?
Saw that also and wondered. But I am happy that they don’t feel compelled to establish the characters so much now and they feel free to jump right into the relationships that are two, maybe three, years along. Good movies do that frequently even with brand new characters and I think Trek can get bogged down easily by too much exposition or set up.
I am very optimistic now along with Justin Lin’s new comments about the movie in Empire magazine today. They all want to do their best so if the movie fails to resonate amongst fans its not for lack of trying. I think STID was just a contractual obligation to some of the writers/producers as it sure felt like it to me!
I hope Beyond takes Star Trek to a new level of popularity & ensures the 4th movie in this series gets underway this year behind the scenes at the writing phase.
If Beyond works no reason to not get Pegg + Jung + Lin back if they all want to be involved again in the same capacity!!
a planet called Teenax and a planet called Fabona.
a big nebula called the Necro Cloud
Don’t you always wonder where they get these names? I postulate the Bathroom cabinet and the Laundry Room for the first two: Teen[age boy uses] Axe; Laundry Detergent Fab and Bona Wood Floor Cleaner …
As for the Necro Cloud, guess it’s the DVD cabinet … THE DEAD ZONE
Marja, LOL LOL!
I am putting faith in Lin and Pegg since they have made successful movies. Don’t know too much about Jung. However if that plot synopsis was on the back of a Trek novel I would not be too impressed. Once I get passed the disappointment that this may not be an epic that ties into the 50th anniversary, perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised. The movie may be great but I hope for a great movie every time but for the anniversary movie to be special
And the winner is…
Aren’t you the clever boy.
And you the perfect corporate astroturfer, Harry Plinkett.
Hey create the meme of your dreams just be original about it chuckles. There are second graders face palming right now over that lame attempt.
Every time they talk they say all the right things but honestly every time I look at any preview for this film it just feels so generic and standard to me. And to be fair they only shown the same basic clips over and over again so we really have seen little of the film so far. We got mostly the planet stuff, a few parts on the station and the Franklin so yeah I cant judge just based on that. But same time yeah, that is what they are promoting and so I do feel underwhelmed.
But knowing its Lin who directed it I suspect its going to be a big film action wise but I do hope that they came with a really interesting and intelligent story. They make it sound like thats what they done but again the trailers feels lacking in that part. We’ll know soon.
No matter how much they talk the talk, the trailers show me “Fast & Furious in Space”. My expectations continue to be low.
Glad to hear it man! *thumbs up*
That’s awesome, you should buy a parrot.
I’m skeptical too but I’m not gonna let a trailer decide that for me. Even a great film can have multiple, misleading trailers.
Though I know nothing of this movie other then the trailers I’m certain it could be made so much better IF
more time was put into the story to make it really good and not be just another ST film that will be initially
well attended then forgotten about through the course of the Summer. As is I’m sure much of it could be
scrapped – redone and the rest just refined. All of the films except for some of the 2nd were really poorly
told without any regard to what was being said and why. For once…..do it right. 2nd rate is inexcusable.
You know nothing of the movie other than the trailers but based on that you’re CERTAIN the story could be better? That’s like taking a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle and putting two or three pieces together and concluding that the entire picture will suck.
For fans of something that features a race of beings devoted to logic I’m seeing very little in the way of emulating it.
You know nothing about the movie….so let me tell you how to fix it??
When you stand in the forest and look at a tree, how long does it take you to figure out that the book it will be made into someday also sucks?
Re: Men in Trees
I estimate that it will take more time than it takes Prodigal Son to look at the same tree and declare that its wood being used to make STAR TREK 14’s sets gives him another feather in his predictive turban in guaranteeing that movie’s realized smash success.
Redone and refined into what exactly?
Just relax and enjoy. Star Trek is relavent again. Thanks to JJ. It was dead after Enterprise. He gave it new life and a momentum. Its even back on TV again. And dont think we don’t know all you whiners will slink into a screen somewhere and see it….. Me dost think thee protest too much
Silly rabbit, every student of history and TV coroner knows that NO television series’ cancellation ever means the death of STAR TREK.
Making Trek relevant requires it to no longer be Trek? Then it doesn’t need to be relevant, cuz except possibly for Lin’s involvement, EVERYTHING Abrams has done re: TREK has been a bad call, Ripley, bad call.
My article on Trek VFX is actually up on the HD Video Pro site now, quite a bit earlier than I expected. (don’t tell trekcore, they don’t deserve a link to it.)
Great! I’ll do a write up on it soon.
I’m telling you, this will be the best of all 3 movies so far…by a long shot. Maybe not $$$ wise, but Trekwise.