Interview: Roberto Orci Talks Writing 2009’s ‘Star Trek’ And The Roads Not Taken

On May 8, 2009 the Star Trek franchise was revitalized with the release of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie. In honor of the 10th anniversary, TrekMovie chatted with Roberto Orci, who co-wrote the film with Alex Kurtzman and was an executive producer. In this first part of our interview, the lifelong Trek fan gives us an oral history of the development of the film, along with revealing some of the paths not taken.

Roberto Orci at the premiere of Star Trek (2009)

Let’s go back to the beginning: Paramount approached you and Alex [Kurtzman] just a few years after Nemesis. Had they decided they wanted to bring Trek back or just feeling you out?

They were just feeling us out. It was Marc Evans who was an executive over there, and it was prior to Mission: Impossible III [released in 2006], it was before we did that with [director] J.J. [Abrams]. He knew we were Star Trek fans and said, “Do you have any ideas of what it could be?” And we said yes. We would go back to the youth. We didn’t have the whole idea, but we had an inkling of how it should feel and going back to the original characters. We didn’t know yet how to figure out an in-canon reboot. And then when we did M:I III, that is when Paramount came to all of us officially and asked if we would be interested in writing something for J.J. to produce. After they saw how well we all worked together on M:I III, that is when they came to us officially.

Did Paramount have specific parameters for you, such as which characters to use, or all new characters, or era?

It was blue sky. They were very open about how they didn’t understand what made Star Trek tick. All that they knew is they wanted to make sure you didn’t have to be a die-hard fan to understand it. That was the only parameter we had. The late [Paramount CEO] Brad Grey admitted he didn’t understand Star Trek at all. J.J. was the same and admitted he wasn’t a fan of Star Trek, prior to becoming the director and really getting his feet deep into the water of it. So, it was very blue sky for us, which was both wonderful and horrifying because freedom is terrifying. As the French philosopher Rousseau used to say about America, freedom can be as binding as slavery.

So we just decided: let’s go this way. And when Alex and I came up with the idea of an in-canon reboot sequel, we knew it was going to be the right thing for a new audience, but also a pleasing thing for anyone who knew anything about Star Trek.

Since the 1980s, Star Trek movies had been small to mid-sized budget films. And yet coming so soon after Star Trek: Enterprise had been canceled and Nemesis bombed, you guys proposed going with a big budget. How much resistance was there for moving it into the tentpole level?

Paramount was very brave. They were very much behind the idea of taking it into the 21st century and making it a mega-splash, like the things we had done before like Transformers and M:I III. They knew that to really get a global audience, they had to put their money where their mouth is. So, much credit to Paramount for supporting a big-budget vision. But, we didn’t write it to be big budget. We could have told that story any number of ways, for less. But J.J.’s appetite and Paramount’s appetite dictated a level that we were happy with. I always preferred less, but I was not going to argue with making it as good-looking as it could be.

Did you seriously develop any other stories besides a sort of reboot of TOS with Kirk and Spock?

We developed one story, which was the Academy days, and you see a little bit of that in Star Trek ’09. We developed a version of it which was just the Academy, very much inspired by one of the Next Generation episodes where Wesley is in the Academy and he goes through that whole tribunal where his ship was part of a disaster [”First Duty”]. That story inspired us to develop a complete “Academy Days” story. But then as we got further into it and started to realize they were going to hand us the keys to the kingdom and the idea that we could get to Leonard Nimoy, that made us expand our scope.

This academy story would still involve Kirk and Spock?

Yes.

Cadet James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) in Star Trek (2009)

Your final story pitch relied entirely on Leonard Nimoy saying yes. Was there a plan B?

There was never a plan B for me. Maybe Paramount had a plan B, but for me and Alex, it has to be Nimoy or bust and that is why that meeting with him was so pivotal. His role had to be essential, otherwise, he wouldn’t have done it. So, to have a plan B would have been disrespectful to him, and the franchise. I didn’t know how else to do an in-canon reboot/sequel original story. If you have a plan B, then your plan A wasn’t so great.

Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek (2009)

This was before the highly-connected MCU was really a thing. The most recent big genre movie was Christopher Nolan’s reboot Batman Begins. This was also the era of Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. Reboot was a hot-button word back then.

The word reboot is something I used because that is what people called it, but I myself would never classify what we did as a reboot at all. I consider it a sequel. It is just a sequel that tells you an original story of how they met that could have happened in canon. I find the term reboot distasteful in regard to this franchise because I don’t think it was that simple or that is what it was? Reboot implies throwing out a bunch of stuff because of the idea of Nimoy coming back and changing history, it is well within the parameters of what Star Trek had established within its own rules. So, I just used that term because that is what the press calls it but reboot is a dirty word in regards to Star Trek.

And you guys never considered doing a total reboot?

Nope, not for a second.

And because the film takes place partially after Star Trek: Nemesis, that’s why you see it as a sequel.

Correct. Part of why it worked is that if you don’t know those ten films, you don’t need to know that it is a sequel, but if you know those ten films, you know it is a sequel.

And now Alex is going to pick up on some of those elements for the new Picard series.

I didn’t know that. Remind me to ask him for a check. [laughs]

Once you agreed on the approach, was writing the script and getting it approved more or less challenging than your other projects?

It was the least difficult, because we had such a passion for it, and because we had such a clear plan, there was no turning back. It wasn’t a multiple choice question. It was: This is the movie, and that was it. It was one of the most pleasurable, natural experiences we ever had as screenwriters.

With the script, were there any other significant blind alleys you guys went down or major changes or things that you cut?

Sure. Originally, we had it so the original Nimoy Spock would show up very much at the beginning of the story in the teaser as this mysterious character. You didn’t know who it was. They were chasing this potentially trouble-making time traveler as a fake villain, who would be revealed to be Mr. Spock. And he would reveal why he had gone back in time, because of this whole problem. He was a MacGuffin Darth Vader figure who was mucking around in time. And then it turns into what was the reveal we have for Mr. Spock in the ’09 movie.

The other blind alley we had was that he was disguising himself as Robert April or something like that and that he was the origin of the character of Robert April. We also explored doing that in Star Trek: Into Darkness as well, but decided it was too inside Star Trek.

Also, in the original pitch I had Carol Marcus in the story as a love interest for Kirk, and to set her up for sequels. But it turned out to be a little bit too unwieldy for what we were trying to do. We already had a kind of bromance with Kirk and Spock and the whole crew, and that felt like something more important.

Another change was as we turned in the script and Paramount got more confident, we were to expand some of the action. So, for example, the scene where they space jump onto the platform. That was more impressionistic originally. Once we got the green light to be bigger, we turned that into a whole action sequence that didn’t exist in the original script. It was much more theoretical. So some of the action was augmented. Same with the destruction of Vulcan and being on location with everything. Those kinds of things got bigger and bigger as we got more confident with what we had.

Carol Marcus was originally going to be in the 2009 movie.

You guys did write an alternative version of the ending which would have included William Shatner. How serious of an effort was there to make this happen?

It was serious. Ultimately J.J. nixed it because he felt it was too inside baseball. I personally stand by it and we subsequently had a conversation about it where he sort of said maybe we should have done it. He was not sure. But, ultimately it was his call and if you were to ask him I think he would honestly say he was ambivalent about it to this day. I certainly loved that ending but I also love giving Nimoy his due as we end it now. But, I liked that scene a lot and it felt very natural.

And wasn’t there talk of a post-credits scene?

We considered finding the Botany Bay as a post-credits sequence. But, it felt like it would have locked us into a sequel we weren’t ready to commit to. Again, I don’t think that would have meant anything to non-fans and I think that is why we ultimately nixed it. We wanted to make one movie that was completely self-contained before we started counting our chickens before they hatched.

Spock Prime watches the medal ceremony from afar in Star Trek (2009).

More of Orci’s Star Trek 2009 discussion to come

Stay tuned for part 2 of the interview where Orci talks about the response to the film, things he would have done differently, where he sees the franchise going, and more.

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Mike Stivic

I felt early on (even though I still love Star Trek ’09), that the movie would’ve been better without J.J. Whenever I re-watch it, I dread that stupid scene where they jump onto the drill as well as the drawn-out similar scenes on the Narada later. It’s boring and a waste of budget.

I also liked Into Darkness (including Khan) but was bothered by a few of the elements that J.J. probably inserted.

Star Trek Beyond was a shell of a Star Trek movie and I’m not surprised it bombed. I wanted to like it but there was nothing to it. It was empty adventure.

I wish we had seen Orci’s Star Trek 3.

And I wish he had some influence on the TV travesty that we’re now unfortunately experiencing.

A34

J.J. brought Star Trek back to life

kmart

A34,
Undertakers can pump stuff into a corpse that makes it feel warm, but it doesn’t bring the dead back to life, it just makes it feel alive (and creepy) to the person touching it.

A34

I disagree with you.

Jack

Personally, I think comments from this site (and others) got into TPTB’s heads and helped speed big screen Trek’s demise.

Duane Boda

No…at best he just gave it a few nonchalant kicks to figure out what to do with it. The lens flares were bad enough but beating a dead horse with the same characters is at best quaint but in actuality is extremely predictable and not adding to Star Trek at all 😴

Captain Neill

Beyond was the only one that actually felt like Trek to me.

Ian

Can’t stand Into Darkness, but ‘09 and Beyond worked for me, more or less.

NCC Lincon 1785

All of them work with me. It’s the cumberpatch white Khan threw me off. Del la toree should have been khan or showed a opening scene of Cosmetic surgery being done to come on while he sleeping

MerchantofVulcan

Cumberbatch made a great Khan.

Garth Lorca

No he wasn’t a great Khan. He’s a great Holmes, and a great Doctor Strange, but he was awful as Khan… Give us Zahn Mac Clarnon ASAP for that TOS-TWOK interquel TV movie project! ZAAAAAHN! ZAAAAAAAAAHN!

I’m Dead Jim

He made a good villain but was not Khan. They should have made the character one of Khan ‘s right hand men while the actual Khan remained in stasis or dead.

Life in Paradise

Agreed. In “Space Seed”, Kirk’s quick action saved Khan when his unit started to short out. It would have been easy to explain away that another caption/tech wasn’t able to do it in time. Also could have done without the switching roles for “Khannnnn!” That also would have done away with needing the magic blood. Change those things to me and the movie gets much better.

Tronic307

He could have been Joachim. At least that wouldn’t have pissed anybody off. If they could have had, say, Javier Bardem as Khan we would have known who he was supposed to be from the start. There would be no reveal plot twist.

ML31

That film had a lot of problems. Casting BC as Khan was not one of them, however.

The River Temarc

On the contrary. it was the first and biggest of many problems. It was whitewashing, every bit as much as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It made Khan into a genocidal villain, whereas he was charismatic, but not genocidal, in “Space Seed.” The movie was fatally flawed the moment Cumberbatch was cast.

ML31

BC was fine. It wasn’t his fault the character was badly written and presented the way you describe.

PEB

Into Darkness was actually a really good movie up until the big reveal.

Georgiou’s Sass.

I am genuinely surprised that the media didn’t immediately hone in on the fact that they whitewashed Khan. This may be a controversial statement for some, but I thought it was a despicable thing to take a character of colour and make him white.

ML31

’09 and Beyond worked for me too. They weren’t Wrath of Khan but they certainly weren’t Voyage Home either. They were fine but in all honesty did not need to be made with the huge budget they had. STID was the worst of the lot. It’s heart was in the right place. The theme of Kirk needing to earn the chair was the right move. But a lot of story elements, including the use of Khan and Section 31 were just the wrong moves.

DataMat

It was mildly ridiculous that Kirk becomes Captain of the Enterprise at the end of Trek’ 09. In the real world I don’t think things work out all that simple in the military; It takes years to get to the top!

ML31

True but this isn’t the real world, either.

Corylea

Agreed!

nasty man

I too wanted the Orci/Shatner/Endgame ST3 . It wouldve been the right movie for the 50th

ML31

Still waiting to see that script somewhere. I’d love to read it and be certain what it was rather than the speculation of what it was I’ve seen on line.

Gary 8.5

I Loved Beyond.

Jack

I still find Beyond almost entirely unwatchable.

Trek 09, like TWOK, is one of the most rewatchable Trek movies. It works, even with silly line about the supernova that was going to destroy the galaxy (although Trek has had far shakier science than this, over the years).

Into Darkness was a remarkably well-made film that didn’t really work, partially because it didn’t stand on its own. I find it tough to rewatch.

albatrosity

I actually love STID the fondest for some reason and I think it’s because I managed to see it five times in theaters with some 20 of my friends over the opening week. They were pumped for the sequel and walked away disappointed, but I thought it was a fun ride like ST09. But yeah, Beyond I saw once in theaters and that was enough, seen it maybe twice since then. Trek deserved better for 50th. Really mad at JJ and probably won’t ever stop being mad at him for the decisions he made.

Jefferies Tuber

Very interesting re BEYOND, not that I agree or disagree–just never heard that opinion before.

Cygnus-X1

Jack

I agree with you that ST09 is the most watchable of the three.

The time-travel plot and the freshness of all the themes and characters being introduced give the story a direction to go in early on, promising that it will all come to mean something. Kirk’s GOOD WILL HUNTING childhood will lead to something meaningful later on as he wrestles with his demons. Spock’s alienation as a boy will lead to something meaningful later on as he grapples with it. Nero’s obsession with destroying the Federation will ultimately mean something when he’s confronted by Kirk and the gang. These are implied promises that the story makes early on which drive it forward. The frenetic filming style — quick cuts, hand-held camera, lens flares, protagonists constantly running — and action sequences drive the plot forward, giving the story a sense of urgency. And, as usual, the music helps a lot, too. The problem, as I’ve painstakingly elaborated, is that the themes and character development ultimately go nowhere. The promises are not fulfilled. The thematic checks bounce, and, in the end, the story turns out to be about nothing more than its plot.

PEB

Say what you will, but as a long-time Trek fan, I absolutely love the Drill Jump sequence to this day.

ML31

I, too, get a charge out of the drill scene. Sue me.

albatrosity

Yes, wonderful scene! Cemented the movie for me as not-your-father’s-Trek

The River Temarc

I actually liked that sequence as well. It was the space-bound action sequences that were too distracting.

Merchant of Vulcan

Agreed!

skyjedi

I’m still interested in finding out if they intended on picking up on the story that Kirk started a war with the Klingons, or that Carol Marcus was a permanent crew member. They just skipped over what Into Darkness set up with Beyond.

Trek in a Cafe

I guess this interview is already complete but I would love to know whether or not the destruction of Vulcan was ever considered as a jumping off point for feature film stories.

Wheelie

Oh for the days when Orci and fans debated, sometimes heatedly, every little detail about this movie on these comment boards. It was wild, man, wild.

One would hope that with the passage of time, conversation could be a little less heated and a bit more academic – it would be good to hear from the creative team what went right, what they would have done differently, and what was just wrong without having to deal with some hyperactive fan who can’t get over that their childhood is being assaulted.

Jefferies Tuber

Hate always gets more clicks, more engagement online. I think we’re doomed to this cycle forever.

Wheelie

One would hope but I think the internet has gotten much worse in the past 10 years. Sadly.

Harry Ballz

Ya got that right, Wheelie!

nasty man

the wild ‘fuk you’ ‘fuk me? no fuk YOU!’ days lol

Wheelie

Thankfully, the discussions here today are all thoughtful, respectful and even-tempered.

Harry Ballz

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Whatcha smokin’, Wheelie?

Wheelie

Some veeery good stuff, maaaannnn…

Harry Ballz

Suh-weet!!

dmduncan

I look back on those days and laugh. Whatever happened to MJ? That guy used to attack me from all kinds of sock puppet accounts. But that was okay. I had fun humiliating all five of his asses.

Greg

Just watched the three Kelvin Verse movies and still love the 2009 movie, I have serious issues with Into Darkness but have fun with Beyond. Great interview so far can’t wait for part 2.

JonBuck

I pretty much feel the same about these movies. Beyond was my favorite of the three.

Denny C

It was the first of the Kelvin films that stood completely on its own.

The River Temarc

“Once we got the green light to be bigger, we turned that into a whole action sequence that didn’t exist in the original script. It was much more theoretical.”

Perhaps the film would have improved had some of the action stayed theoretical. There were points when it just got too “Transformersesque,” and the action a bit too frenetic — I’m thinking of that space leap scene, which was then redone in Into Darkness, and then again in Discovery (twice, IIRC). It’s just not THAT compelling a scene.

I think ST09 bought a bit too much into the “Kirk as rebel” meme. The original Kirk actually followed orders and was something of an intellectual (“a book in one hand and a girl in another”). It was only later, in comparison to Picard, that he developed this “break out the phasers first, ask questions later” reputation. The scene in STAR TREK CONTINUES (I think it was the episode where Lou Ferrigno guest starred) where Kirk was reading a book about the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire while internally wrestling with some moral question rang very true. ST09 missed this aspect of the character. Into Darkness could have redeemed it but made it much, much worse.

There’s an argument to be made that had the budget reigns been held a bit tighter, the final products would have had a sharper focus.

albatrosity

^ 1000%

Captain Neill

I feel the Kelvin timeline films played more to the expectations of the mainstream rather than what was developed about Kirk being more by the book in the academy.

Prior to this movie I feel Trek was smarter. Its the brand rather than good stories

Gary 8.5

That scene worked for me.
It was the first time Sulu and Kirk worked together, at least in this timeline.
And it also showed how capable an officer Hikaru Sulu really is.

Jack

You’ve been saying this here for at least a decade, Neill. :)

It was a different take on what we’d seen before — what if Kirk had had a screwed up childhood and wasn’t so straight-arrow.

I liked a fresh take, personally. I don’t want to see what we’ve seen before.

ML31

I think they played up the “I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship” line to be a much bigger thing than it probably should have been. They made it seem like that is pretty much how he solved all of his problems and it wasn’t. And in WOK he was wondering if it were a mistake or not. Besides, you don’t get made Captain in your early 30’s by being a rebel who “makes his own rules”. That was sort of the Kirk the KU created. Again, they tried to fix that a bit in STID with a silly story. But the good news was they tried to address it.

Jack

“And in WOK he was wondering if it were a mistake or not.”

I don’t think that’s accurate. He was never questioning his cheating at the academy. He realized that he’d never truly faced death.

ML31

True but that caused him to question his cheating. Which he admitted to. “I cheated. I tricked my way out of death.” Or was I just reading between the lines that part of that was questioning the action?

Disinvited

Jack,

In TWOK, Kirk literally questions his cheating death, and seems to ascribe it as stemming from his KM “solution.”

@ Captain Neill. Well, the mainstream is where the potential fans are. You can’t convert them without venturing out into the mainstream and make believers out of them.

Oh, and I wouldn’t hang my hat on the ‘smarter’ Trek theory. I’ve been watching since the 70’s, there’s plenty of stupid Trek out there. The appeal of the show has never been it’s imagined IQ, but it’s adherence to values that created a positive future. That’s why what’s available through AA works, it still holds to those values even when things are bleak.

albatrosity

Definitely, and like Jack said, having no dad in your life and a screwed up childhood really can change a man, so I can’t think of one reason why the filmmakers would go the boring book studying Kirk over the frenetic frat boy Kirk in this day and age.

Disinvited

albatrosity,

Well, for one thing, because they went with the even more boring predestination for the character setup in MIRROR, MIRROR, i.e. that no matter what, the universe “wants” Kirk at the helm of the Enterprise – as in he can do no wrong that will keep him from it.

MattR

The whole thing about Kirk being a rebel was intentional as it was caused by not having his father around, but instead an a-hole uncle.

Gary 8.5

Which when you think about it is a plausible idea!

ML31

Maybe your’e not wrong.

albatrosity

This is more than plausible, it’s kinda the only explanation. I can’t think of any other reason why Kirk would turn out so differently, minus the fact that his upbringing was radically altered.

Michael Hall

The change in Kirk may be “justified” by the loss of his father in the Kelvin timeline, but it results in a much less interesting character portrait than what was originally established. Instead of the nuanced background that we had in TOS — a physical hero who was also intellectually curious, and wasn’t always a paragon of confidence — we get the standard, tired trope of the talented bad-boy rebel, more Pete “Top Gun” Mitchell than the Kirk we’d known for four decades. Add the love/hate bromance of a dozen buddy-cop movies to define his relationship with Spock, and you get a film that for me was never anything but Trek In Name Only.

ML31

I did like the film overall but I did find the Kirk Spock thing in the film to feel like it was a little forced. Like it happened because prime Spock told nu-Kirk that it should be. They didn’t really didn’t get to forge a friendship there. Perhaps we can say it happened off screen between films but I consider that a bit of a cheat.

Corylea

Exactly!

GarySeven

Excellent point! Gary Mitchell said that when Kirk was his instructor at the academy, in his class you “either think or sink.” Hardly sounds like the impulsive Neanderthal the mainstream thinks Kirk is, or how these Kelvinverse films mischaracterized him. But as Orci said, the film was about playing to the mainstream audience.
A few times when people made fun of my admiration for Kirk, citing this portrayal of impulsive thoughtless Kirk, and/or Shatner’s buffoonery, I showed them clips of Kirk in the first season, such as him calling for battle stations in “Balance of Terror.” They are shocked.

Corylea

Yes! “Kirk the jerk” is just NOT a reasonable extrapolation about what Kirk would have been like in his 20’s. I’m always amazed when Orci says he’s a big Trek fan, because the Kelvin movies feel to me like movies made by people who’ve heard of TOS but never actually seen any.

I also have to wonder how much of a Trek fan someone is when they decide it’s a good idea to blow up Vulcan…

Holden

“The Kelvin movies feel to me like movies made by people who’ve *heard* of TOS but never actually seen any.” This captures my ambivalence about ST09. It’s a perfectly entertaining film, but on a Trek level, feels like a movie informed too much by pop culture cliches. And, sadly, the fact that TPTB clearly didn’t know where else to go from there has only reinforced that impression over the last ten years. It all mainly feels like a missed opportunity at this point.

Corylea

“It all mainly feels like a missed opportunity at this point.”

Yes. The first Kelvin movie did very well, so audiences turned out to see the second and were wildly disappointed. Most Trek fans didn’t want to see TWOK’s pivotal scene cheapened by being repeated by characters who hadn’t earned that emotion. And most non-Trek fans didn’t know what the whole “Khan” reveal was about and felt left out.

It’s a real shame that they couldn’t follow up the momentum of the first movie by making a great second movie. I thought Beyond was fairly good, but the well had already been poisoned by Into Darkness, so a lot of people — both Trek fans and non-Trek fans — stayed home.

ML31

“TWOK’s pivotal scene cheapened by being repeated by characters who hadn’t earned that emotion.”

This was the scene where STID lost me, I’m forced to admit. It was always teetering but at that point I just couldn’t take it seriously. On repeated viewings I kinda can if I look at it a certain way. But in the theater, it was a huge eyeroll. I mean to repeat the scene nearly beat for beat? Emotion that was totally earned in WOK but not even close in the KU. Yes, there were a lot of mistakes in STID. And I really think a lot of its box office was a direct result to the goodwill created by ST09. Hence the superior Beyond tanking at the BO the way it did. It suffered from the badwill created from STID.

Corylea

The only way I can make that scene work for me in ID is to think that Spock isn’t crying for Kirk in particular; he’s crying because he’s already lost both his planet and his mother, and he simply can’t endure any more losses. But even with that, the scene still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Reusing that was really tone-deaf on the part of the writers.

Yes! I think the studios don’t realize that the box office receipts for a franchise film are often a reaction to the PREVIOUS film in the series. Into Darkness did reasonably well at the box office because the FIRST Kelvin movie was pretty good. Beyond didn’t do as well as it should have because so many people were turned off by the previous movie.

The River Temarc

…and by the same token, I think NEMESIS would have done a lot better without INSURRECTION preceding it. No wonder people gave up on Trek after Klingon zits and boob jokes. Hell, you’d have thought Seth MacFarlane penned it!

ML31

If Seth penned it at least the jokes would have been FUNNY! But yeah, I think a number of things doomed Nemesis. A weak predecessor, a 4 year gap between films AND it came at a time when the overall public enthusiasm for Trek had waned. It was a pretty good film but a perfect storm of circumstances conspired against it.

TonyD

As derivative as that scene was, I thought Pine handled it well. Of course, being revived with the magic blood just a few minutes later rendered it all pointless.

As for Quinto’s “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN” scream, all I could do was roll my eyes. It felt so forced and insincere and just seemed like it was inserted more out of a sense “see how clever we are?” than any organic reason. I was actually ok with the scene until that moment and I’d love to know who decided to add that in.

ML31

The “KHAN” scream was a terrible choice, too. I said this at the time but the Kahn scream has become somewhat of a joke over the years. So even if one was affected by the emotion of the scene (and Kirk saying, “Spock, I’m scared” DID work for me) when the scream came all bets were off. Also, this was just the 2nd film. We pretty much knew there would be a 3rd so there was no way in hell Kirk was going to get aced. It was just a failure on so many levels.

Corylea

I don’t blame the ACTORS for any of the failures of recent Trek. Pine and Quinto both do nice jobs with what they’ve been given to play; the problem is in the writing and direction.

And yeah, the “Khaaan” scream was really tone-deaf on the part of whoever wrote it; it was as if they’d seen TWOK but didn’t understand why people liked it.

Jack

Don’t be a gatekeeper, please. If you want fanservice, watch one of the fan films. You can be a fan and still actually understand how drama and storytelling works and realize that a good Trek story is more than just wish fulfilment.

Destroying Vulcan was supposed to add stakes, create conflict for Spock and show that this was a brand new universe where anything was possible (including character deaths) — and then in the next movie they basically just retold TWOK, badly.

Disinvited

Jack,

Re: retold TWOK

That may have been Abram’s and Lindelof’s initial compulsion but they couldn’t help themselves and retold THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK – not to mention Pike’s heroic sacrifice from THE MENAGERIE.

Corylea

Oh, I understand what they thought they were doing by destroying Vulcan. I just don’t think they achieved it. To me it seemed more like little boys destroying things because they think blowing stuff up is cool, rather than a thoughtful decision.

boborci

Not at all, meant to make it clear things are going to be different now.

I remember pitching the destruction of Vulcan to Nimoy. He merelyraised and eyebrow and we continued with the pitch.

Jemini

I wish the movies could’ve done more with the vulcan diaspora; it’s interesting for me to imagine ‘now what?’ with the vulcans and how it must have changed them, and not just them.

I have to say the movie has more depth and heart than people here give it credit for. Just that scene where Sarek admits he loved Amanda.. it’s one of my favorite moments. I think what made it more poignant to me is the fact Spock was firmly established, before that, as a character with agency who was able to love. He didn’t really lie to himself to pretend to be who he wasn’t, nor he treated his feelings and mixed heritage as a sickness or something. He was conflicted but he still had integrity and personality. When his father finally admits he loved Amanda, it’s touching because Spock realizes that they are, after all, more similar than he thought. In that moment, he can REALLY be a child of two worlds as he’s freed from.. feeling like he needed to choose between his own parents? He’s a more contemporary version of the character ( how tos Spock would be written too if tos wasn’t a product of the 60s).
I also thought that while it’s might be way too easy sometimes to villainize Sarek, the movie didn’t do that. That guy fell for a human and had a child with her, but no logic could teach him how to be a perfect father. Losing Amanda works as a catalyst for him to see that and that his son needed him to be honest because only that could help him (and help them both deal with what happened).

ML31

For me, that opening sequence involving Jim Kirk’s birth was surprisingly touching. And the other was that final scene with Spock and Sarek. Both worked for me. But I have to also mention both were helped tremendously by Michael Gianccino’s fantastic cues.

Jemini

I LOVE Giacchino’s work and I agree it helped a lot. But to be fair, the scene where Spock hugs Uhura back in the turbolift also is very touching for me, and there was no background music aside from the ship’ sounds that add a level of quietness to it. A great choice, IMO, as there are scenes that are more effective without music. In that case, it seems deliberate as it creates the illusion, for me, that I’m kind of ‘invading’ on a private moment between two people. That moment also is a personal favorite of mine, I still remember how it made me feel. It really makes me understand, with no need for too many words or detailed explanations a) who she is for him and the nature of the relationship b) that there is more to him than it seems, and there are sides of him unknown to others (I don’t watch the movies projecting tos on them. I pretend I’m watching completely new characters I still have to know, which in part is what they exactly are. This allows me to like them on their own merit too and not just because they have those names)
That scene, combined with the scenes with his mother, adds poignancy to the interaction between him and Sarek at last because, like I pointed up before, it isn’t the naive, cliché, idea where suddenly Spock ‘wakes up’ and is able to feel just because his father said it’s vulcan(tm). It’s more the fact, I believe, he doesn’t have to feel bad for who he is, and the surprise that him and his father do have things in common. That means a lot to him. But the character of Spock has agency already, he isn’t who he is just because someone made him like that or influenced him.

Michael Hall

For me the best line about the Kelvin movies came from Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, who observed that they play not so much as if they take place in an alternate universe, but rather as if they were produced in one, where the source material was a superhero comic book franchise instead an idealistic ’60s TV space opera that was canceled before its time.

Corylea

Yes! Great line.

Cygnus-X1

Michael Hall

For me the best line about the Kelvin movies came from Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, who observed that they play not so much as if they take place in an alternate universe, but rather as if they were produced in one, where the source material was a superhero comic book franchise instead an idealistic ’60s TV space opera that was canceled before its time.

That is a good overview of what’s wrong with the Bad Robot Trek movies. The writing style introduces themes and concepts and then, for each one, sort of says to the audience, Well, you can imagine where it goes from here. Which is what reading a comic book is like. What I’ve come to believe from all of the arguments about BR Trek over the years is that some viewers are not only totally fine with doing the work of the writers for them, but actually can’t tell the difference between a fully realized story and one that introduces a bunch of themes on a superficial level and then just leaves it to the audience’s imaginations to imbue those themes with depth and substance. And it’s not about those people being dumb. I have a very bright friend, who happens to be a writer, who is that way. He loves comic-book movies and just can’t tell the difference between a story developing a theme and showing the audience what it means, and when the story merely introduces themes and leaves it up to the audience to imagine how they’re meaningful — like referencing proverb in passing. I remember trying to explain the difference to my friend by pitching him a very generic story idea off the top of my head — I mean something as trite and hackneyed as you can imagine. And he just kept listening without saying a word. I said, do you see how what I said is so generic and superficial? Are you really invested in this story? And, to my surprise, he said, Yes! I want to know what happens next! As we say, no accounting for taste.

Disinvited

Corylea,

Re: just NOT a reasonable extrapolation

But the Kirk who helms the ISS Enterprise in the Mirror universe..IS????

The River Temarc

“the Kelvin movies feel to me like movies made by people who’ve heard of TOS but never actually seen any.”

…and there we have the problems with them (at least the first two) in a nutshell. Well spoken, sir.

boborci

Nimoy.

kmart

invoking Nimoy is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card. His judgement is suspect JUST based on his endorsement of the Cushman trek ‘histories’ — which is akin to LIBERTY VALLANCE in the ‘print the legend’ part, but also pioneers even worse ground by making up legends when there aren’t enough to fill the pages.

Jemini

Attacking Nimoy, and making a straw man argument against him just because his opinions about this trek don’t align with yours, doesn’t make you any better than Orci here, nor it makes you get points, though.

Let’s be real, had Nimoy hated the movies, a lot of people here would worship him and use his opinion to seek validation. Instead, not only he didn’t cry outrage about what they did with Spock, he approved Quinto Spock and actually liked him for the differences. It seems Nimoy also was realistic enough to get that nowadays trek cannot reflect storytelling from the 60s anymore.

kmart

jemini,

what straw man is blowing in the wind here? I’m talking about the man’s support of an incompetent and dishonest ‘journalist’ and how on that basis, it seems he fell prey to revisionism in a way I find abhorrent.

Am not getting into whether his work and public support for the Abrams films was driven by love of trek or strictly money because I don’t know — what I’m speaking to is his credibility with regard to being a protector of history, which WAS still very much in evidence when he vetoed a TREK history book for the 25th anniversary because it didn’t reflect the events and the people in the proper context. I can’t speak to what happened to his judgement between 1991 and the 2010s, but something obviously changed.

Jemini

Yeah, you are trying to question his ‘credibility’ (by attacking the guy for stuff that has nothing to do with the point) to invalidate his opinion just because you disagree. This (still) doesn’t make you get any points here.

ps: Nimoy had said ‘no’ to other treks before when he didn’t like it. And I hope you aren’t even trying to question his relationship with Zachary because his support is indisputable and had nothing to do with ‘money’.

kmart

How does Nimoy’s judgement NOT have to do with this? I’m not expressing an opinion about Cushman here; all you have to do is look at serious trek scholars to see that he is literally pulling a ton of info out of his backside in direct contradiction to the actual production reports, which others have studied at length and reported on in citing Cushman’s incompetence and lack of respect for truth in reporting.

I don’t know anything about Nimoy and Quinto and am not commenting on that. As to Nimoy saying no to some TREKs … on GEN, his creative input was flatly turned down by TheBermanThatBE, whereas here TheAbramsBunch clearly would do anything to get him onboard with the project.

I also don’t know what this ‘points’ system is you’re referring to, but if I were to ‘score’ this, I’d say you have an axe to grind but aren’t sure if where you intend to bury it is a place you can safely pull it back out of again. So you’re checking off a bunch of different strike spots, hoping one is soft enough for you to attack.

Of course if you don’t know anything about Cushman, then you’re just providing an uninformed opinion.

Ten years in, and hindsight is always 20/20. I am interested in hearing what he would have done differently. As a fan, not a nay-sayer.

Cygnus-X1

“They were very open about how they didn’t understand what made Star Trek tick. All that they knew is they wanted to make sure you didn’t have to be a die-hard fan to understand it. That was the only parameter we had. The late [Paramount CEO] Brad Grey admitted he didn’t understand Star Trek at all. J.J. was the same and admitted he wasn’t a fan of Star Trek, prior to becoming the director and really getting his feet deep into the water of it.”

This explains everything that is wrong with the movie. And, while Orci’s account comes as no surprise to me, it still makes me a little angry to learn in detail how blatant was Paramount’s disregard for Trek fans — the people who loyally supported the franchise when it was all but dead and gone — that the studio couldn’t even be bothered to learn a bit about the values and sensibilities that made Trek great, or to toss a small fee at a Trek consultant who did know, perhaps someone like Dorothy Fontana. A bunch of thoughtless, spoiled brats showing absolutely no respect for a culturally important body of work that just fell into their laps, nor for the people who built it up to such a status where it could be mindlessly exploited for a bunch of cash — it really is emblematic of all that is wrong with Hollywood today.

dmduncan

10 years later and Cygnus is STILL angry!

In a bitter sort of way.

Cygnus-X1

boo! @ Phil. boooo!! hisss!!

@ Cygnus….is that boo, or boo-urns? :-p

Cygnus-X1

dmduncan

LOL! :-)

Corylea

For good reason, I think. The reboot movies were a wonderful opportunity, an opportunity that’s mostly been wasted. They got JJ the Star Wars directing job, which seems to be what he actually wanted all along…

boborci

They didn’t disregard fans, that’s why they hire me,

TG47

But boborci, that’s a lot to put on one writer’s shoulders – whether you for the Kelvin movies or Kirsten Beyer for Discovery.

Ok..my background in strategy isn’t in Hollywood, but for a property as valuable as Trek, another industry would do a deep dive into consumer market research – including surveys and focus groups to understand the historic brand and audience, as well as potential for growth. and map out what the go forward options and trade-offs might be.

But instead Paramount’s CEO admits he doesn’t get it, hires a head creative who doesn’t get it, and hopes that one creative who has his individual/personal take on the historic franchise can influence things enough to chart out a profitable way forward.

This is not a way to maximize return on investment.

They were fortunate to have done as well as they did.

boborci

They did research. It was horrendously ambiguous, some research indicating that the name Star Trek was a deterrent to audiences, and that women dislike sci-fi.

Which I understood. It lead marketing to ask us if the movie had to be called STAR TREK.

Trying walking into that situation and finding your way through it. Yeah, a lot to put on a writer, but thank god I was also executive producer, And I understood both POVS.

ML31

I find such inside views fascinating. Thanks for sharing Bob and would love to hear more about the experience.

Holden

Co-sign, ML31. I appreciate the open honesty.

Cygnus-X1

boborci

Bob, I don’t know what to tell you. Either they disregarded the fans, or you don’t understand what made Trek great. I know you want to be respectful to the people you work with, but this one’s not even a close call. We’ve been through it all before. There’s no meaning in your story. The protagonists don’t learn anything over the course of events. Spock is different at the end, but for no reason other than because Kirk got his goat. And Kirk doesn’t change at all. You introduce some themes that have potential, and then fail to develop them into anything meaningful. And your villain is a cartoon whose motivation is ludicrously weak — and I recall you all but admitting as much in an interview that you did with Alex, where you talk about how Nero was just created as an excuse to get “the gang” together. And, that is all that Nero does in your story. He represents nothing meaningful — no ideological or moral challenge to test our protagonists. Kirk’s big realization comes in the form of Spock Prime tipping him off by telling him how to get Alt Spock to lose his temper. Kirk accomplishes his mission without growing or learning anything about himself, at all. Alt Spock, I suppose, learns a bit of humility from Kirk successfully goading him. But, Alt Spock’s issue wasn’t his own arrogance, to begin with. At least, it’s never presented as such in the movie. So, there’s a character arc for Alt Spock that kind of ends there but started somewhere else. The arc for Alt Spock that you start out with concerns his issues about feeling different and being an outcast. And that goes nowhere. Anyway, if you’re going to press the issue, then I’m forced to say that the reason Paramount thought that you would be sufficient to imbue the movie with the values and sensibilities that made trek great is because, as you said, they were totally clueless about it, themselves.

Cygnus-X1

boborci

I do appreciate that you did a great deal of interacting with the fans in the run-up to ST09. But, that all really falls under the purview of marketing. The studio was happy to have to go out and sell their product, but they didn’t make that product for the fans. They made it for a new consumer base that they were after — to wit: “Not your father’s Star Trek” — and then had you go out and try to get the old fans on board with the not for them movie. And you did a good job of it. And I appreciate your enthusiasm. But, the fact is that the studio didn’t make ST09 for the fans. JJ even admitted that the movie wasn’t made for the fans. By making no effort to produce a movie consistent with the values and sensibilities that made Trek great, the studio disregarded the fans. The studio was interested in one thing and one thing alone when they produced ST09: money. Of course, money is always important. But, with meaningful art and entertainment, there’s a balance between the value of the product to humanity and its commercial value — the classic marriage of art and commerce. What these studio people still don’t seem to understand is that meaningful art is ultimately more commercially exploitable and profitable than mere entertainment. Meaningful art is the basis for entire franchises, with spin-offs, merchandise, multi-media and endless streams of licensing revenue, that can last decades or even centuries. Mere entertainment yields fleeting profits. With ST09, the studio was just exploiting Trek’s former glory to chase money. The hard work of creating something meaningful had already been done. These guys at Paramount were content to just slap the Trek label on anything vaguely resembling Star Trek. They didn’t create Star Trek and, as you said, they had no idea what made it great. They were like janitors who stumble across a closet filled with beautiful paintings and then sell them as expensive wallpaper.

Olaf

Well put!

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Not to mention Bob came to his fandom as a youth narrowly focused primarily on TNG and cinematic Trek, he really didn’t have much of a longer view of it.

For example, I recall one exchange with Orci where he admitted that as a youthfully exuberant fan his concept of Khan was totally drawn from the film and for the longest while he wasn’t aware that it was a character based on an earlier performance.

boborci

JJ can say whatever he wants, the script was written for fans and non fans. Damon also said this is not your fathers Star Trek. I disagree.

dmduncan

JJ and Damon must’ve been doing PR spin, and I can understand why given where Trek left off and the type of audience they needed to make it big again. You and Alex did a great job keeping Star Trek recognizable to existing fans and not only not creeping out potential new fans, but actually getting them into the theater in numbers that Star Trek was not accustomed to entertaining–a noteworthy achievement to do all that.

dmduncan

In regard to the aforementioned “closet filled with beautiful paintings,” the defense would like to enter into the record, Exhibit A: http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj299/Obi-JiffKenobi/Mugato4.jpg

Cygnus-X1

dmduncan

Cute, but I was speaking metaphorically.

Jack

I’m so tired of this. It’s been a decade. Enough with the endless whining. TOS was a product of 60s tv, and it wasn’t always as smart as some seem to think.

Yeah, the movie wasn’t perfect. The flaws are well-documented. And Bob’s been getting armchair quarterbacked by the same few people here (including me, at various times) for years and years.

The evidence (ex. Michael Pillar’s book and what was actually produced for decades) shows that the studio did indeed get Star Trek and was very careful about guarding the brand.

And, enough with “the fans” – big deal, we watched a TV show. Despite Roddenberry’s PR, fans didn’t actually do anything to make Star Trek great besides, like millions of other people, watch it.

The goal in 2009 wasn’t to make fanwank, it was to make Trek accessible to a general audience, which is exactly what Roddenberry et al aimed to do in 1966. It was a TV show for a general audience. Only later on did the mythology become so constraining and weighty that it scared
away new viewers.

TWOK is great Trek, but it’s also just a great movie. And it has far more similarities to Trek 09 than most fans think.

kmart

Funny that you think the studio got trek and protected the brand, given all the evidence that this was never the case during the 70s. Except for one guy in Paramount’s TV division who seemed to know story and understand how it worked on TREK, I don’t recall reading about the studio wanting to do anything but a cash grab with TREK (and I’ve read a TON about that era and interviewed a number of folks myself who were involved with TMP.)

Disinvited

kmart,

70s? I remember Bludhorn, in the 60s, had to order Paramount to take over producing the original series because they argued vociferously against dumping it on them as they saw absolutely no future in it for their bottom line!

kmart

Dis,
That’s interesting. I didn’t realize Bludhorn even knew what TREK was till his daughter starting talking it up to him.

Disinvited

kmart,

It was my understanding you are correct about Bludhorn. It was his wife who got it and put the bug in his ear that there was more to STAR TREK than the traditional metric seemed to indicate.

Cygnus-X1

Jack

Well, you’re just wrong on the facts here.

And I wasn’t talking about Piller/Berman Trek. My criticism here is exclusive to JJ-Trek. I would assume that there have been different people at Paramount making decisions about Trek over the past four decades. I have no shortage of criticism for the TNG movies, but those movies are bad for different reasons. And I can assure you that any similarities between TWOK and ST09 are at the most superficial level, if they can even be reasonably said to exist, at all, which I doubt.

NCC Lincon 1785

It’s a different trek. That’s why I don’t get involve in these idiotic flame wars. I don’t own it. It just watch it and take it in. If there something I don’t like I vote with my wallet. The movies are average to good base on which part.

Gary 8.5

That’s actually a very good attitude to have.

Cygnus-X1

NCC Lincon 1785

That’s why I don’t get involve in these idiotic flame wars.

Except to denigrate opinions with which you don’t agree.

More of a limited involvement.

Jack

Dude, you’re ruining our weekend. Over a 10-year-old movie. What are you trying to accomplish exactly?

Cygnus-X1

Jack, I was trying to ruin your weekend.

And I’m ever so pleased to see that I have accomplished my fiendish mission. Muhuhuhahaha!!!

Come on, buddy! It’s just a TV show! :-)

Alan Light

Well, said, Jack. You are right. I am tired of the whiners as well. They need to move on. Many thanks to Orci and Kurtzman for bringing Star Trek back in a big way and with a great story and ingenius canon reset. It wasn’t 60s Star Trek, but was still a great watch.

ML31

I appreciate Orci’s involvement and the fact that Trek made a comeback in ’09. The films are entertaining. Bottom line. Even STID has elements I liked. Sure we can ask for more, and I wish the KU films were much better. But I still enjoyed much of them and it was nice to see the classic characters back. They are what they are but even with the mistake that is Star Trek Discovery, Trek has traditionally worked better as a TV show than a movie anyway.

Cygnus-X1

Alan Light

Opinions of satisfaction with ST09 are good. :-)

Opinions of dissatisfaction with ST09 are bad. :-(

boborci

We’ve had this argument a million times. If you wanna have it again, bring one point up at a time.

Cygnus-X1

boborci

OK… Kirk accomplishes his mission without learning anything meaningful or growing as a person, and that shows us nothing of the human condition. He begins the story basically as Will Hunting, but unlike the protagonist in GOOD WILL HUNTING, Kirk never works through nor has any realization that resolves his upbringing/self-esteem issues that are introduced at the beginning of the story. Kirk’s big breakthrough revelation about how to get Alt Spock to lose his temper comes to him in the form of an inside tip from Spock Prime — Kirk doesn’t even figure that out for himself — and it has nothing to do with Kirk’s own issues, anyway; it’s just the mechanics of a plot point. We see no meaningful character development for Kirk, and that makes for an unsatisfying arc and story.

blackmocco

I would argue the 09 movie gives Kirk a decent – albeit pretty small – enough arc. Obviously it’s ludicrous it ends with him sitting in the captain’s chair, but I can more or less go with it. In a movie where people can teleport across the galaxy onto a starship traveling at warp speed, it’s hardly the movie’s greatest sin. (I would say it’s certainly enough of a jump-off point for the sequel which, unfortunately, just rehashes the same arc. To my mind, the four years that passed between movies should have been followed in the movie timeline too, so Kirk and co were already a little more bonded.)

Corylea

I wish Kurtzman would hire Fontana for Discovery; I think she could train the other writers to do a better job!

Sadly, today’s Hollywood is about money, not creativity, and Paramount doesn’t want to understand Trek, because they see it as no different from a car or a refrigerator or any other product.

Most football teams are owned by billionaires, but the people of Green Bay, Wisconsin bought their football team. I only wish that Trek fans could band together to buy Star Trek, so the franchise could be run by those who love and appreciate it.

Jack

It’s 2019 for Pete’s sake. What you want is fanfiction (and DC Fontana has been involved in that). BTW, Hollywood was always about money (and also creativity). Desilu and Roddenberry et al weren’t running a charity, they were creating a TV show for a general 1960s audience.

Corylea

What does 2019 have to do with anything?

Blowing things up is not a substitute for character development, no matter what year it is.

Disinvited

Jack,

It’s 2019 for Pete’s sake. I don’t know why you think all these plethora of various productions with their co-dependence on social media feedback AREN’T producing something closer to fan fiction on demand than any letter showing support written in the 1960s?

Jefferies Tuber

This line of criticism will never not be boring and masturbatory.

Cygnus-X1

And in all of this, I actually neglected to mention what is perhaps the biggest flaw of the ST09, in terms of it ignoring Trek values and sensibilities. The best Trek episodes and movies typically comprise an overarching theme — usually one that explores a sociopolitical issue and/or what it means to be human. Sometimes, (TMP, “City on the Edge of Forever,” “The Inner Light,”) the overarching theme is a science-fiction concept that gets developed in terms of its effect on the characters in the story. ST09 has no overarching theme. I already mentioned the movie’s shortcomings with regard character development, and the story as a whole really makes no attempt to say anything meaningful, either. The story of ST09 can be summarized thus: a bad guy threatens to kill all the good guys, and our protagonists meet up to kill the bad guy. There really is nothing more to the story than that. The characters run around experiencing events, but none of it means anything beyond being steps in the goal of killing the bad guy. ST09 is a plot-driven story. What made Star Trek great is its theme-driven stories.

Jefferies Tuber

ST09 is focused on character, so the central theme of Star Trek’s core characters take center stage: logic vs emotion. Logic vs. emotion is well-chosen in this case, because the film is a reboot of a tired old franchise–so they had to rebuild from Trek’s foundation. Trek’s foundation is character, not topic of the week stuff. It’s fine to point out that the film didn’t tackle an exigent theme, like episodic television addressing race or war, but it’s dishonest to claim the film has no science fiction themes simply because it doesn’t have the themes you want.

Cygnus-X1

Jefferies Tuber

it’s dishonest to claim the film has no science fiction themes simply because it doesn’t have the themes you want.

I never made that claim. In fact, I’ve been praising the parallel universe time-travel concept. I said that the movie introduces several themes, but then abandons them. Which is true.

And ST09 is not a movie about logic vs. emotion. At least, it’s not “about” that in any sense of it being the movie’s overarching theme. TWOK is about revenge and its relation to ego. TOS “The Galileo Seven” is about logic vs. emotion. Those stories have a meaningful overarching themes that drive their plots. ST09 does not.

dmduncan

Wow, 10 years already. Feels like yesterday.

Michael Hall

Haven’t heard from you much, since we batted it back-and-forth in these very forums over Trek 2009. Seems like yesterday, and a million years ago. Glad we’re both still kicking, at any rate. Frankly, I always thought you made a better defense of Orci’s movie than he did. :-)

dmduncan

Hey Michael, how you been? And thanks!

Michael Hall

Can’t complain too much, buddy. How’s by you?

I still remember reading your sample scene between the adult Kirk and the flying cop who stopped him when he was joyriding in his stepdad’s vintage Corvette, and being mightily impressed by it — more so, truth to tell, than by anything in the actual movie.

dmduncan

Oh yeah I remember that! I think Bob liked that little scene too. Cool times.

Gary 8.5

Doesn’t it though?

Cygnus-X1

“I didn’t know how else to do an in-canon reboot/sequel original story.”

I can sympathize. With characters separated by over 100 years, some form of time-travel is going to be needed to bring them into the same period. Either the past characters have to travel to the future, or the future characters to the past. The plot of ST09 is perhaps the best element of the story. It’s the only time-travel story, that I can think of, that avoids the Grandfather Paradox. And the time-travel plot works well for a Trek story. Traveling through a black hole without being spaghettified was an oversight, though too technical for most viewers to catch. Some sort of reason for why the ships aren’t torn apart would have solved that problem, but, well… look at what we’re dealing with here. The bad science is the least of this movie’s problems.

boborci

There was a scene written, Asked on Wheeler’s theories that a spinning black hole could be travelled through and avoiding the singularity without being spahgettified, but it was too inside baseball,

VZX

A black hole is not a hole in space you can fly through. Its the most dense object known to exist. I use that scene in my Astrophysics course to display bad science in movies. Thanks!

Cygnus-X1

dmduncan

Interesting, though it doesn’t answer the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question of how gravitation strong enough to tear a hole in spacetime wouldn’t likewise tear the vessel apart. The article says it’s possible but gives no reason. Whatever the big idea in that theory is, it would have been good to use three seconds of the movie’s dialogue to mention it. Yes, as Bob said, it’s somewhat inside baseball, but that’s one of the things that made Star Trek great — that it wasn’t afraid to go over the heads of the viewers for a few seconds, particularly with science. One might say that inside baseball with regard to science is one of the defining characteristics of TOS and TNG. Trek fans, like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who grew up to be scientists, might say so. Going over the audience’s head in general for short periods is a good idea. It intrigues them, gives them a mystery. What ST09 and STID did was to create the illusion, by editing the film to a break-neck pace, that there were concepts and story elements just beyond the grasp of the audience. But, it was all sleight-of-hand. Or, sleight-of-mouth — like saying something very simple at the speedy pace of an auctioneer, so that the listener is always a second or two behind the speaker, piecing together what he just said as he’s saying something new.

Cygnus-X1

An even more inside baseball point that I’d make, with regard to that Discover Magazine article, is that a singularity isn’t a naturally occurring phenomenon. A singularity — and you will hear top astrophysicists say as much — is a stand-in for when our known mathematics and physics break down and no longer describe anything meaningful if continued. “Infinite density,” for example, implies that there is no smallest unit of spacetime and hence no limit to how close together matter can be packed. If the object is so dense that it tears a hole in spacetime, that would seem to be a natural limit on its density. Or something like that. I’m not saying this bears upon the movie necessarily at this point; I just find it interesting.

dmduncan

I had an email chat with David Deutsch years ago and he pretty much said the same thing, i.e., that all the equations fall apart and there’s no way to know what’s going on in there.

Cygnus-X1

VZX

Yeah, I assume the idea was that the black hole tore a hole in the fabric of spacetime which connects with a parallel universe. There was a hypothesis, back in the 1990s, that black holes might empty out into parallel universes in the form of corresponding “white holes.” So, matter getting sucked into a black hole in our universe would then come out of a white hole that’s like sort of a geyser in a parallel universe. But, I think that hypothesis was invalidated. In any case, the matter coming out of the white-hole side would be disintegrated due to the black hole’s gravitation.

TG47

I think we should be open to speculative science.

Trek and other shows with faster than light travel are always going to be inconsistent with established physics.

I’m fine when writers choose to work with some speculative theory that might only be talked about loosely in an advanced theory seminar. I just wish that they would give enough exposition that we can figure out which speculative theory they are working from.

Unfortunately many of us aren’t aware of all the alternative formulations of the standard theoretical models that might permit some weird things.

Certainly, I see this in my own discipline. Decent empirical and experimental profs from good places will say ‘we can’t do this because’ meanwhile their theorist colleagues down the hall have formulated an inelegant alternative that would permit just that.

So we need some good exposition to point us in the right direction.

Cygnus-X1

TG47

Yup, I agree.

Cygnus-X1

boborci

I’ll look into that theory, if you can refer me to it.

Spinning or not, the same mass that tore a hole in the fabric of spacetime for our characters to fly through is going to tear them apart if they get too close to it. The spin would change the reference frame for outside observers watching our characters fly into the black hole, but I don’t see how the rotation would change the gravitational effects on objects that get close to the center. The only relevance that I can think of is if one were using the black hole’s gravitation to travel into the future. Then, there might be a difference in how close you could get in order to achieve your desired acceleration from the black hole’s gravitation. But, still, our character would have to avoid getting too close, or he’d be torn apart. Anyway, scientifically accurate or not, I’m curious to see the scene. Might have been more satisfying than no explanation.

VZX

Not to mention effects of time dilation as objects approach black holes, or the decrease of the light cone of info getting out. I wish they just called it a worm hole instead and be done with it

Cygnus-X1

VZX

Calling it a wormhole has the built-in advantage of not having to explain what caused it, being that wormholes are hypothetical objects with no known cause. But, they’re also not very interesting any more, for the same reason. What makes science-fiction is taking real science and extending it into imagined scenarios. So, for example, in ST09 they could have had a black hole nucleus tear a hole in spacetime and then the nucleus go through that hole into the parallel universe, dragging the ships at a distance along with it. Then, maybe, the blackhole becomes unstable in the parallel universe and explodes or starts to radiate away while spacetime re-integrates, sealing the hole over time. Our protagonists have to make it back through the hole before it’s completely sealed, or they’ll be trapped in the alt universe for the rest of their lives. This adds an element of urgency to the story, while tying up the loose end of an open portal between two universes. This is all off-the-cuff with no research, but some sort of scenario like this that puts known science into play with imagined scenarios would have been good.

Sam

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home avoided the grandfather paradox. Making it the most refreshingly original ST time travel story up until this movie.

ML31

Really? How was that original? Back to the Future was a billion times more original than that tripe.

Sam

Yes, god forbid there is even a single thing to like about the movie. We cannot allow that can we.

ML31

I actually cannot think of a single thing in that movie that WAS good. That is not an exaggeration. Literally NOTHING worked.

Sam

THANK YOU for taking the bait, and saving me from any time spent answering your rhetorical questions and hyperbolic statements. Your heavy bias against TVH is already over-documented. And you already know you’re in a vast minority on this matter.

ML31

The question wasn’t really rhetorical. I’d honestly like to know what was so original in TVH. Please enlighten me so I can be part of the majority. Either do that or just continue being snarky.

Sam

Well it’s a time travel story that’s not about the time travel. Not about the pseudo-sciency technobabble, not about restoring the “timeline”, they go in, they get the whales, they interact with whoever they need to interact with without stopping the movie to lecture about time travel. This is refreshing after too many copy-of-a-copy technobabble time travel stories on the likes of VOY. I’ve been over this with Cygnus and that’s what I got. The 2009 movie’s time travel is refreshing for the same reason.

I could fill a whole page of positive things about TVH in general; I doubt if you’d be really interested though, besides this article’s talkback is mostly dead. But it and TWOK I think are the two best Treks there will ever be.

ML31

OK. Break it down like that. It seems to me that the film itself was intended to be very light hearted from the get go and TBTB decided the best way to do that is to do a “fish out of water story”. The concept of going “light” was reasonable and probably a good way to go. The mistake, for me, was how they went about doing it. We’ve already seen our crew adjust to time changes. And they have reacted better than they did in TVH. I get that it was done for the sole purpose of trying to be funny. But the jokes just didn’t work and it only served to make our heroes come across as bumbling fools. Comedy in Trek can be done. It was done to perfection in Trouble with Tribbles and the jokes in the opening of the sub-par TFF worked better than anything in all of TVH. But TVH contained NONE of the whimsy contained in that episode. So while there was no “repair the timeline” element it was still something we have seen already in the series. And even though we hadn’t seen them in a time travel situation since TAS, it still felt like an overused trope at the time. Had the comedy worked and they come up with a more sensible plot line the tired use of time travel could have been overlooked.
For the record, I am thinking the two Trek features that ever will be will likely be WoK and TUD. Conversely I find it difficult to believe that a Trek film will ever be as epic a fail as TVH.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

I agree that STIV was a refreshingly original ST story, but it didn’t avoid the Grandfather Paradox. In fact, McCoy specifically calls attention to it when he and Scotty are giving Stuart Pankin’s character the formula for transparent aluminum. Scotty turns it into a joke by saying, “How do we know he didn’t invent the thing?” but it’s really highlighting the fact that they’re smack-dab in the middle of a Grandfather Paradox. One of the many ways that it could unfold: Stuart Pankin changes the world by inventing transparent aluminum long before it was actually invented, and it’s not hard to think of ways how that massive event would ripple forward through time, triggering events that eventually cause any (or probably all) of our time-travelers to change somehow in the future, which means that they never existed in their exact previous forms, which means that they never went back in time, which means that none of this ever happened.

Sam

The scene was written that way to specifically to dismiss any notion that the Grandfather Paradox would factor into the movie. Which is why none of what else you’ve described is ever shown to have happened.

Nick Meyer wasn’t interested in timey whimey mumbo jumbo, and probably had the intuitive sense to know that too many time travel stories were slave to it. This was before Berman Trek, in which literally every time travel story except Time Squared focused around “repairing the timeline” (and too often using that very word, timeline).

Disinvited

Sam,

But Meyer also wrote the scene in the pawn shop where Spock points out Kirk is pawning his antique birthday present in San Francisco’s past. Kirk acknowledges the paradox but thinks the “beauty” of it is they will be his birthday present again in his future San Francisco. Thus introducing the circular grandfather paradox of a pair of antique glasses that exist in San Francisco with no origin. Worse, they will date in his future SF as being made of materials at least 400 years older than they can possibly be which will lead the future pawn broker to suspect fraud denying his accepting them which means they won’t be there for McCoy to buy, etc.

Sam

There is no paradox.

We don’t care what happens to the broken lenses Kirk pawned for money. They could get thrown in the trash 100 years from now and it wouldn’t matter. It is extremely unlikely they would have any impact on the unbroken lenses eventually finding their way into McCoy’s hands. Even if McCoy happened upon the broken pair he wouldn’t buy them.

Kirk was being ironic. Even if he wasn’t it wouldn’t matter because the movie doesn’t care.

Literal-minded fans have twisted their minds into pretzels for over a generation regarding a paradox that doesn’t exist with Kirk’s glasses.

Disinvited

Sam,

You have an temporal angle. But your contention that 23rd century art and relic restoration could not restore broken antique glass seems naive.

Sam

“Naive”? Sorry, uh-uh, NO. You don’t get to put words into my mouth. I made no such contention. I didn’t neglect to consider the possibility they could be restored, I simply did not consider it relevant. You already said the materials would date incorrectly and be suspected counterfeit. Therefore the glasses remain of reduced value regardless of what gets done to them.

Disinvited

Sam,

You claimed the broken lens frame couldn’t have any impact on the unbroken one. But if the broken lens was repaired by restoration in centuries prior to McCoy’s purchase, it obviously could. The ability to date the age by carbon 14 radioactive decay to that precision wouldn’t exist from the day of Kirk’s pawning for centuries to come, so in the provenance there’d be essentially two otherwise identical objects floating around SF pawn shops till the era where McCoy made his purchase.

But if we ignore the lenses as you suggested, there’s still the conundrum of two identical frames from an age when the hand manufacturing techniques employed in both items’ construction could not result in such a precision of duplication, which would make both suspect as genuine articles, meaning they both could end up in your bin long before McCoy could get a chance to buy either one.

Sam

Again, No. I said it was “extremely unlikely” they would have an impact. It’s right up there man. And you’re arguing about circumstances so hypothetical I actually don’t see what you’re still on about.

My only “contention” has been that STIV avoids explicitly or implicitly conforming to any one theory of time travel, and is a superior time travel story for not getting caught up in the quaint or cliched concerns (or timey-whineyness) of time travel. Most of the Berman Trek (VOY in particular) could have learned some things from this movie.

Disinvited

Sam,

You also flat out said, with no qualifications, that McCoy wouldn’t buy them which I addressed.

Thanks to your clarifications, I think that while you appeared to be dismissing paradoxes, you were attempting to say Meyer left it open neither explicitly pointing them out nor excluding them as nether was necessary to move his narrative in SF along?

Michael Hall

Don’t know if you ever read Vonda McIntyre’s novelization of the film, but in their discussion Scott specifically reassures McCoy that the historical record showed that Pankin’s character was in fact the inventor of transparent aluminum — which, I suppose, in Trekkian terms changed it from a “Grandfather Paradox” to a “Predestination Paradox.”

Sam

I remember that. The movie was brilliant for not concerning itself with these issues. But the novelist didn’t know how to leave the matter alone.

Michael Hall

That’s because McIntyre was a seasoned SF author who made it her business to care about such nuances. But I agree that it wasn’t necessary in what was essentially a comedy, and that Scott’s nonchalant attitude about the whole question (“How do we know he didn’t invent the thing?”) was what made it pretty funny.

Sam

I don’t know how seasoned McIntyre was, but it’s been ages since I used to read ST paperbacks, and I didn’t care too much for her novelizations. I never bothered to read The Entropy Effect, which probably landed her the TWOK~TVH movie adaptation gig.

The Voyage Home’s brilliance in ignoring the usual (and by then already rather quaint) concerns with time travel had nothing to do with it being a comedy. Really, the TNG spinoffs (including ENT) could have taken some of their time-travel cues from TVH if they wanted their stories to seem less recycled, less stilted and to retain more of a human element to them. Sometimes the best sci-fi comes from storytellers who don’t love it or obsess over it.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

I understand what you’re saying about that line in TVH and in various Berman-Trek episodes being meant to dismiss the whole issue of time-travel paradoxes, and I agree. But, paradoxes, by definition, cannot happen — that’s the whole point I’ve been making. Whether it’s a Grandfather Paradox or a Predestination Paradox, the circular logic leads you to the conclusion that the events never happened because they couldn’t have happened. For example… Kirk travels back to the year 1986 from 2265 and sells glasses in 1986 that McCoy gave him in 2250. Flash-forward to 2250. McCoy buys the same pair of glasses that Kirk pawned back in 1986 and gives them to Kirk as a present. What is the origin of those glasses? McCoy is only able to buy the glasses in 2250 because Kirk pawned them in 1986. But Kirk is only able to pawn them in 1986 because McCoy gives them to him in 2250, which McCoy is only able to do because Kirk pawned them in 1986. It’s circular logic that reduces to the glasses having no origin. The glasses just exist, without ever having been manufactured, and are eternally changing hands between Kirk, McCoy, the pawnbroker and whomever else in between Kirk’s pawning them and McCoy’s buying them. It should be clear that this is a nonsensical chain of events that can’t happen — unless Star Trek gives up the premise that it’s based on a semblance of the real world and is instead based on a magical world, like LOTR, in which case TVH and every other Trek story would have a multitude of additional story problems.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

And if Pankin’s character really was the inventor of transparent aluminum, then that’s another Predestination Paradox. But, there would still be a near infinitude of Grandfather Paradoxes as well. For example… the bird of prey lands in Golden Gate Park, displacing a certain volume of air in the process. All of those air molecules bounce around making contact with trillions of other molecules, whose paths are now altered. Those altered molecules in turn alter the paths of quadrillions of other molecules, and so forth on into the future, eventually altering the molecules of air inhaled by baby Kirk in the 23rd Century. 23rd Century Kirk grows up to be a different person (albeit perhaps in minor ways) than the Kirk who landed in Golden Gate Park in 1986. The Kirk who landed in Golden Gate Park in 1986 is never born. Instead, a New Kirk is born who has inhaled different air molecules and therefore experienced different events than his time-traveling antecedent. New Kirk is logically and by definition a different person than the Kirk who traveled back in time. So, the whole Golden Gate Park landing never happens because the Kirk who would have participated in that event is never born. Kirk’s existence is precluded by his actions while time-traveling. Kirk doesn’t exist, and therefore the whole time-travel series of events doesn’t happen.

Cygnus-X1

To put it all more generally… Let’s call the series of events that you experience throughout your life your timeline. If you time-travel to the past, the tiniest change to your timeline caused by your time-traveling means that the “you” who time-traveled ceases to exist. Even an event as trivial as seeing a leaf fall to the left vs. seeing the same leaf fall to the right. That one difference is, by definition, the difference between two similar but different people. If your time-traveling causes any event in your timeline, no matter how seemingly trivial, to change, then that means that the “you” who time-traveled ceases to exist and therefore never time-traveled. If the “you” who time-traveled saw the leaf fall to the left, and by his actions in the past causes the leaf in the future to fall to the right, that means that there is no “you” who sees the leaf fall to the left. That version of “you” doesn’t exist to travel back in time and alter events in the past. So, therefore, you never travel back in time. That’s about as clearly as I can phrase it all. I understand that it’s complicated and perhaps a pain to bother thinking through. But if you think it through and understand the logic, you’ll see why time-travel stories within the same universe really make no sense.

Sam

It’s never specified whether Pankin’s transparent aluminum is predestined or grandfather paradox. Or something else entirely. It’s never suggested whether he started working on it that year or two decades later. Or if someone else entirely is supposed to invent it. The movie never says. Because it’s cleverly written enough to avoid dealing with stilted dialogue that obsesses over the minutia of such things. The story is the whales. Not in “obviously” needing to avoid “changing history” as almost every other ST story seems to automatically assume should be its dramatic focus.

I don’t see the relevance of air particles or falling leaves (which then should be a problem with almost every other time travel story ever told) towards proving that Meyer and Bennett wrote a stilted time travel script more concerned with the grandfather paradox than its characters when the opposite is already shown to be true. Unlike the writers who would pen Janeway’s dialogue on all her time travel adventures, Meyer knew enough to keep details that weren’t that interesting out of TVH.

Cygnus-X1

I don’t see the relevance of air particles or falling leaves (which then should be a problem with almost every other time travel story ever told)

Yes, that’s the point. Every time-travel story set in a single universe has a paradoxical plot and is therefore nonsensical. Once you have an intuitive understanding of how the plot invariably leads to a paradox, it’s hard for it not to affect your enjoyment of the story, because you know that the plot ultimately doesn’t make sense — just as you’d be bothered if, say, Kirk suddenly sprouted wings for no explicit reason and flew in to the air. You’d be bothered by it not making sense. Doesn’t mean that you couldn’t still enjoy the movie or episode. But, it would be a strike against its potency.

Sam

This is not correct.

The glasses are 18th century American. They have a clear origin.

McCoy buys them in 2285 and gives them to Kirk. You don’t find many with the lenses still intact.

Notice I haven’t even mentioned 1986 yet. They could have been anywhere in that time. They could have been in New England for all I care.

They get damaged in battle and the lenses are cracked. They are no longer good.

Kirk travels with them to 1986 and pawns them for a reduced value of $100. This is the last Star Trek ever sees of them.

They could get thrown away, they could still be somewhere when 1985 rolls around (again), I don’t care. McCoy’s not buying them again, they’re not winding up back in Kirk’s possession. They’ve already passed through those pairs of hands.

There is no paradox in play, and none is ever implied.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

You’re right. I misremembered the story of the glasses. They’re not in a predistination paradox loop. But, they (and everything else that traveled back in time) are part of a Grandfather Paradox. Those glasses with the cracked lenses invariably alter the past and set events into motion that ripple through to the future, like the air molecules in my other example, or the early invention of transparent aluminum. There’s no way for those events not to affect the characters in the future somehow. And when the future characters become affected, they instantly become different from the characters who traveled back in time. Therefore the characters who traveled back in time don’t exist, so they didn’t travel back in time, and none of it happened. In other words, there’s no way to travel back in time within a single universe and not contravene your own action of traveling back. The glasses with the broken lenses cause the pawnbroker to do something different that day, that event affects other events, those affect others, etc… on up to the future, where there’s a single air molecule in a different place than it would have been had Kirk not traveled back. So, 23rd Century Kirk now has a slightly different timeline, which means that the timeline of the Kirk who traveled back doesn’t exist, which means the Kirk corresponding to that timeline doesn’t exist, which means that he doesn’t travel back, and none of this happens.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

I never said anything about dialogue, stilted or otherwise. There’s no way to use dialogue, no matter how sophisticated, to talk their way out of the time-travel plot being paradoxical, if it’s set within a single universe (assuming the reasoning in the dialogue is logically correct). They might say a bunch of things that don’t actually make logical sense, and that might fool the audience. But, that’s because the audience has been fooled, not because the dialogue explains away the paradox in logical terms.

Sam

It’s still not proven that there’s a grandfather paradox in play. The movie sidesteps the matter entirely. It’s possible Kirk was always destined to pawn his broken glasses, or that Scotty was always intended to give the transparent aluminum formula to Dr Nichols. Or it’s possible that Nichols now gets the formula half a decade too early. Either way the movie never clarifies. (Nichols is very likely the original “inventor” though; I forgot Scotty noticed he was “still” working with polymers.)

It’s also possible TVH’s temporal physics are exactly the same as the 2009 movie’s (which incidentally is never proven to involve multiple realities; putting aside CBS’s license and their “prime universe” TV shows, it’s very possible Nero’s emergence did in fact alter the [one] space-time continuum). My only issue there is the tremendous loss of life involved if Kirk and company couldn’t return the whales to the same future from which they left.

Story and character is the thing for me. Not Janeway obsessing over restoring the “timeline”. I love that Kirk in TVH never bothers to tell his crew minimize interacting with people or any other such on-the-nose time travel BS. Closest he comes is warning them that it’s a primitive culture.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

It’s still not proven that there’s a grandfather paradox in play. The movie sidesteps the matter entirely.

Yes, that’s true, but my point is not whether the movie addresses the issue. My point all along has been that, whether the movie addresses the issue or not, the Grandfather Paradox is an unavoidable implication of time-traveling within a single universe. The reason for all of the clever verbal dismissals of time-travel paradoxes in TVH and various Trek TV episodes is that there is no way for the story to talk itself out of that dilemma. If the story involves time-travel within a single universe, then its plot will invariably be paradoxical. There’s no getting around the logic with witty dialogue; there’s only fooling the audience into either ignoring the issue or believing that it might not be a certain consequence.

It’s possible Kirk was always destined to pawn his broken glasses, or that Scotty was always intended to give the transparent aluminum formula to Dr Nichols.

Well, if Scotty was “destined” to give the formula to Dr. Nichols then that’s a Predestination Paradox. Likewise if Kirk was always destined to pawn his broken glasses, in which case the argument that I laid out above would be accurate. At some point after Kirk pawned the glasses, the lenses would be fixed or replaced. McCoy would then purchase that same pair of pawned glasses and give them to Kirk, who would then pawn them back in 1986. And round and round with the glasses having no origin of manufacture.

Yet another problem that the glasses introduce (if they’re not in a Predestination Paradox loop) is that, when Kirk pawns them in the past, there’s now an extra pair of those glasses in the world. Whatever happens to the broken glasses, McCoy will purchase the intact pair in the future and give them to Kirk, who(after they break) will travel to the past and pawn them again. Now there are three pairs of those glasses in the world — two with broken lenses and one with lenses intact. And so forth, with the number of glasses in the world approaching infinity.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

I do agree with your point about ST09 never explicitly stating that it’s set in an alternate universe, though I argued the point with Bob Orci a while back, and he vehemently disagreed. According to him, Uhura saying “an alternate reality” establishes that the story is set in a parallel universe. My argument to the contrary was that “an alternate reality” could refer to a variety of things other than a parallel universe. “An alternate reality” could be taken to mean that events are unfolding in a way that was not expected, or that it’s an alternate reality within the Prime universe. But, you’ll have to take that issue up with him.

Sam

Uhura’s not a temporal physicist in the 2009 movie anymore than Kirk is in TVH. Anyway, there is no time travel story I know of that explicitly deals with multiple realities. On Star Trek (putting aside the MU) there’s just ‘Parallels’. But that isn’t time travel; it’s more Sliders.

And I don’t even know what an alternate reality within the Prime continuity is. Taking ST09’s lip service at face value, its tangent continuity is no different from that explored in any other ST time travel story that isn’t a closed loop.

TVH doesn’t dismiss time travel semantics in order to avoid being held accountable. It dismisses them to trim the fat. The movie is not about time travel and it’s not supposed to be “about” time travel. There are already too many ST time travel stories that mistakenly thought they WERE about the time travel (or in VOY’s or ENT’s case were actually about the time travel because they had no other human drama going for them other than “fixing the timeline” — as if a “timeline” was an actual “thing” in nature other than a sequence of events). That’s been my point from the beginning. ST09 joins TVH as one of the few superior ST TT stories that isn’t about the time travel.

And with respect, I’m not “unaware” that one of the possibilities I raised for TVH was the predestined paradox. The story could hypothetically conform to any hypothesis at all (although I reject the multiple realities one because it implies Kirk still left billions of people *freezing to death* on Earth after his phone call with Cartwright and the President dropped out). It’s meant to not be about the time travel because Meyer apparently realized that wasn’t what’s important. Even the method of TT is inherited, dated and mostly unimportant (though preferable to Berman Trek’s static temporal dustclouds and what-not).

The only onscreen “evidence” of a predestined paradox is the time travel sequence itself, which is also very much open to interpretation. It also seems I’m the only one who likes it.

You’re also back to the glasses. A predestined paradox wouldn’t change anything about the glasses. They would still be 18th century American. They would be bought by McCoy once, given to Jim once, carried back in time once and pawned for cash once. And yes, there would be two pairs of the same glasses in 1986, but not necessarily in San Francisco. The intact pair could be anywhere on Earth at that time. The glasses are NOT stuck in some perpetual loop between 2285 and 1986. They finish the loop in 1986 (with cracked lenses) and are never seen again.

As for the glasses multiplying, this doesn’t track at all. It implies their borrowed ship would crash into itself upon landing. There is no physical basis for this.

Disinvited

Sam,

In the founding series episode, THE ALTERNATIVE FACTOR, rational Lazarus explains that his universe hopping enabling ship is also a time machine and that the planet they are on in both universes is his homeworld far in his future after his opposite number obliterated them both in a mad quest to ensure only one version of Lazarus existed.

Sam

Accept that alternate universe visited in that episode is not some tangent continuity as I understand it but a bizarre antimatterverse. It’s like a limited older sibling of the MU.

Cygnus-X1

Sam

A predestined paradox wouldn’t change anything about the glasses. They would still be 18th century American.

But they would have no origin of manufacture. If it’s a Predestination Paradox, then the glasses that McCoy buys are the same pair that Kirk pawns, which Kirk can only do because McCoy gives them to Kirk, which McCoy can only do because Kirk pawns them, which Kirk can only do because McCoy gives them to Kirk, which McCoy can only do because Kirk pawns them, ad infinitum. That’s what a predestination paradox is — a closed loop where the objects and events in it have no origin outside of the loop. And again, I’m not saying that the glasses are necessarily a Predestination Paradox in TVH.

But, if it’s not a Predestination Paradox then the number of glasses in the world would approach infinity.

As for the glasses multiplying, this doesn’t track at all. It implies their borrowed ship would crash into itself upon landing.

This is incorrect. The bird of prey takes off and travels back to the future, leaving the glasses in the past. There is now an extra pair of those glasses in the world — the pawned pair and the pair that McCoy will eventually buy. McCoy’s pair will then be given to Kirk who will travel back to 1986 and pawn them. The pair that Kirk pawned during the last iteration never left the world, so they still exist, which means that there are now two pawned pairs and one new pair in the world. And so forth, the glasses increasing by one with each iteration of the cycle. If the time-travel takes place within a single universe, that means that the event of time-traveling is a consistent feature of the timeline. When history arrives at that point in the timeline, there’s a loop connecting back to a point in the past of that timeline. The loop is permanent. There’s also another loop connecting a slightly later point in 1986 back to the 23rd Century. If you’re thinking that this doesn’t make sense, you’re right! That’s why time-travel can’t happen within a single universe. The proposition invariably carries paradoxical and nonsensical implications.

Sam

A predestined paradox does not imply the glasses are stuck in some nonsensical endless loop. In fact such a loop violates the predestined paradox because the condition of the glasses (upon Kirk receiving them) would be in perpetual change. In every possible theory of time travel, the glasses travel through the loop only once before continuing on their way. And the loop ends in 1986.

A predestined paradox only means there can be no permutations (and no free will). So there exists no permutation in which Kirk never arrived in 1986 just because he had yet to leave 2385. There exists no permutation in which Kirk’s glasses were suddenly 700 years old instead of 400, and there exists no bizarro etch-a-sketch permutation in which there are three of the same pair of glasses instead of two (which incidentally WOULD require there be multiple temporally displaced Kirks running around trying to pawn the glasses not to mention not enough humpbacks in the oceans to feed such a paradox).

Since time travel is itself impossible, there are no wrong theories about it (only some really stupid ones, which ST in general has mostly avoided). The matter/energy spontaneously created to form a new “universe” every time someone so much as sneezes is no less ridiculous than a grandfather or predestined paradox.

Jemini

Uhura and Spock just confirm the obvious: it’s a quantum reality.
It seems rather ironic to complain about the fact the writers actually used a more realistic time travel that takes into consideration newer theories. Of course the characters assume it’s a parallel reality because everything they know points up to that. The science they know says this is the most plausible thing. They can’t believe into back from the future bs because they know it isn’t realistic. Even nowadays it isn’t.

St2009 was right calling it what it is, while Discovery’s team refuses to because they naively believe calling it prime timeline makes them more valid. They painted themselves into a corner in the finale with their desperation to explain why Spock never mentioned a sister etc when the most plausible and realistic thing is that the red angel altered the past so Discovery probably was a quantum reality too from the start, hence why tos cannot make sense with it. The characters didn’t necessarily go in the future of their own timeline in the end, either.
That show wants to represent the universe in a way that, IMO, is too naive in 2019. They make it seems it is too small, limited and, frankly, predictable just to give their characters a fantasy illusion of control, importance and responsibility they wouldn’t realistically have. It’s way more invasive and problematic than anything st2009 did.

Sam

I have never complained about the time travel in 2009. I especially approve that they avoided the Berman Trek cliche of using the fanspeak term “timeline” in a time travel context.

DavidCGN

It’s offtopic, but I wonder what happened to transparent aluminium, everytime glass breaks during a battle or a fight. Seen the last time on Discovery when Lelandbot fought with tyler…

TG47

The writers room and directors seem to think that transparent aluminum is reserved for exterior windows…

The breaking glass in the corridor ceiling was definitely a’why would they build it like that moment.

And who knows what the glass on the blast door was made of. I don’t think that transparent aluminum can hold up to a photon torpedo ;)

Sam

Glass shatters aboard the ships on ST for the same reason that cars screech when they go around a corner. Because it would look ******* ridiculous if the glass didn’t shatter.

No one wants you to stop the movie for them (which is what you would have to do) and insert dialogue explaining what transparent aluminum is.

ML31

Reminds me of a story about a fan letter to TOS producers back in the 60’s. A fan wrote supposedly suggesting the bridge crew have seatbelts installed in the chairs. Someone responded back to the fan saying, “If we installed seat belts on the chairs the actors couldn’t fall out of them.”

Sam

They’re not wrong. Though I think with modern production values a person being held to a swiveling chair by a seatbelt while debris flies around him is just as dramatic.

ML31

One thing that bugged me… They went through great lengths to make this reboot not a reboot. But what was wrong with actually doing a straight up honest to goodness reboot? The same fear seems to be happening with CBS, too.

Jemini

I think it’s great that st2009 is both a reboot and a sequel. Instead of making a remake, they still keep everything under a main continuity but just say you are seeing one of the many different versions of the characters because the universe where they exist is infinite and so are the possibilities. They gave the characters another chance without overwriting or erasing the original thing. Without retconning it.

Discovery’s fixation it must be the prime timeline or burst is frankly annoying and pretentious. St2009 was more honest about it being a reboot, even if Orci doesn’t like the word. Discovery isn’t honest and they painted themselves into a corner with retcons.
They don’t want to make a real reboot or remake because trek is too iconic for that and they need the connection to give their thing more validity. However, st2009 shows that even if you can’t make a remake you can still make your own separate thing and still respect the original.. It would’ve been far more realistic and logical to either make Discovery another reality too, or make it happen in the kelvin timeline since they have it (Michael couldn’t be Spock’s sister there, she would either be his and Uhura’s daughter from the future – if they wanted the other characters to make cameos – or a character that had no connection with the known characters. Both options would work and have advantages far bigger, IMO, than making her Spock prime’s sister that no one is allowed to talk about ever again)

ML31

ST09 was clever in how they made their alternate time line work. Kuddos to them for finding a way to please everyone. But I do not see why the aversion to a reboot at all. Such a reboot does not erase all the Trek that came before. Are fans really THAT inflexible?

Cygnus-X1

“Ultimately J.J. nixed it because he felt it was too inside baseball.”

Yeah, everything’s too inside baseball for someone who doesn’t even know how the game is played, much less its history and relevance. But, let’s give him a bunch of money, put the Star Trek movie franchise under his control and tout him as the next Spielberg, even though he can’t tell a meaningful cohesive original story from start to finish to save his life.

And yet, it made a bunch of money, without your help. Imagine that.

Cygnus-X1

Salvador Nogueira

As does Justin Bieber.

Imagine that.

And Justin Bieber fans love him. Go figure.

kmart

Go figure what? How to excuse or justify that behavior?

The folks who somehow like the 09 all have to fall under the heading of ‘there’s no accounting for taste,’ I guess.

Michael Hall

Well, there is no accounting for taste. I’m with you on Trek 2009, but plenty of folks like it for their own reasons, and that’s just fine.

albatrosity

It’s gotta be the lowest form of criticism to blame someone for liking something just because you disagree with their reasons

Disinvited

albatrosity,

And it has to be the weakest form of praise to claim that something made a “bunch of money” for Brad Grey who was fired for losing a “bunch of money.”

Cygnus-X1

Salvador Nogueira

And Justin Bieber fans love him. Go figure.

It seems we’re in agreement, after all.

TG47

Bieber has established a market of loyal fans that go for his product whatever many others think of the quality.

Star Trek 2009 was a successful enough product in attracting one-time viewers, but it did not establish it’s own loyal clientele or base audience (separate from the historic Trek audience).

If it had built that kind of audience, Beyond would have been cushioned and more profitable.

It would be really interesting to see some in depth market research, but I doubt that the films have contributed significantly to the audience for Discovery or other new Trek shows.

ML31

I suspect that STID did more to damage Beyond than anything ST09 did. That combined with the 4 year gap.

albatrosity

I would say the general populace is certainly more aware of the Trek brand than they would’ve been without the KT, but that isn’t to say it wouldn’t be better had we gotten better films instead. But I’m pretty sure in general, the Trek fan community is larger now because of the KT films, and therefore so is the Discovery audience

Disinvited

Salvador Nogueira,

If that were in anyway true, how did Brad Grey’s Paramount end up bankrupt and too cash poor to pay 2 actors fees that this self-same cash rich from 2009’s STAR TREK, by your account, Brad Grey optioned?

Holden

This quote jumped out at me too. How could having Shatner back as Kirk be considered “too inside baseball”? I’m not saying that the absence of said scene should be lamented, just that it’s odd one of the most iconic actors associated with the larger Trek brand, especially back in 2009, would be considered obscure. There’s gotta be more to that story.

Jack

The scene would have taken people out of the movie.

Holden

Well, unless you know something I don’t, we don’t really know for sure how the scene would’ve played, either on its own or in the context of other scenes. Again, I’m not defending the hypothetical scene. Could have very well been a mess. Point is, the “inside baseball” analogy doesn’t make sense in this context.

Anthony Thompson

I would love to see Bob deeply involved with Trek again, perhaps ideally as the man to create and run a Pike show. How about it, Bob? Would you be open to it?

boborci

Thank you for saying that, but I have done my duty. Years of my life went into trek.

“Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young.”

Matt K

Thanks for dropping in, I’ve always been a big fan of the 2009 movie. I wish you well in whatever you choose to pursue going forward, even if it’s not Star Trek :)

Holden

I too appreciate you dropping by. I’m always appreciative of your contributions. But wasn’t “galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young” just a setup for Kirk’s second act? ;)

kmart

Lots of people quote from TREK, but the context IS usually pretty shaky.

Cmd.Bremmon

BobOrci, I loved what you did with Transformers Prime, Hawaii Five-0, Ender’s Game and Trek 2009.

Long shot but I finished a manuscript for an original hard yet approachable sci-fi, coming-of-age, technothriller “Alexandria’s Ark”; any chance could pitch to you?

Aimed for lots of combat, adventure and science in realistic yet fantastic settings with an Earth Star Voyager coming of age vibe.

“2280AD; A surprise Terran assault decimates the independent colonies around Saturn which twenty-two-year-old Alexandria Semko calls home. But it turns out her memories of the event were not real but a simulation, based on actual events, created to provide her a childhood. In reality she awakes in 2881 on an interstellar ark arriving in a new solar system with the fate of the ark and free humanity in her hands. Perhaps she and her fellow young colonists could start a new life in peace. But then came another surprise – they were not alone – and the challenge of colonizing a new star system was just the beginning.”

Alan Light

Disappointing, but thank your for your past contributions.

Rocketscientist

C’mon Bob! You know you want to do a Pike show! ;)

Heck, I’d be up for any Trek you produced.

With the fourth ST film up in the air, I bet you could get that moving in the right direction again.

I’m really bummed that it’s stalled or gone. I really enjoyed the three films with the new cast. Yeah, I have some quibbles, but I greatly enjoyed the new cast, the SW like action, the new production/designs, and the stories.

Yeah, I was wondering how long it would take for the bitching to start. Ten years later, some people are still butt hurt…

Cervantes

@ Phil – and with good reasons for some of us. I had hoped my own rear end would heal a little with some improved sequels…but they just ended up giving me an equal pain in the posterior in many ways.

Some say J.J. & co. brought Star Trek back to life at the time, but I reckon others could have brought us MUCH better Star Trek on the big screen at the time, had they been offered the same opportunity. Just my own opinion of course.

…and Lincoln might have lived a little longer if JWB had been a lousy shot. If we’re going to speculate, maybe ‘others’ were offered the chance, and no one was interested. I’d imagine that any creative person believes they are going to create the next War and Peace or Citizen Kane, and yet, almost all fall short. If you’re going to argue that unless all efforts must create greatness, knowing it’s likely an improbable goal, or not try, the world would be a pretty bleak place with no art or creativity at all.

Disinvited

Phil,

Re: lousy shot

Or a better actor.

Alan Light

Sad, isn’t it, Phil? And somewhat pathetic…

For a lot of people, Trek, as a body of work is clearly more then the sum of its parts, and for a vast majority of fans its been entertaining and inspirational. Then there’s this clutch of Trek orthodoxy, who subscribe to a pretty narrow vision of Trek, and woe to anyone who dares violate its sanctity. Step out of line, and you’re burning in Trek hell. There’s nothing wrong with having a closed view of the franchise, but if all you’re going to do is attack those who don’t agree, then they’ve probably missed the entire point.

albatrosity

I should start posting this on every thread: People who complain about people who complain aren’t fans, they’re trolls. People are allowed to disagree. People are allowed to express opinions. It’s called discourse. And look, now you’ve made me into the category of people complaining about other people’s opinions, cuz I’m complaining about your complaining about the complaints. Just stop complaining and engage in discussion, or not! My god

boborci

dear trek movie: can u use a less geeky picture of me?

dmduncan

Don’t be embarrassed, Bob, those were the DAYS, man!

boborci

Too kind. How you been?

dmduncan

Been good, Bob. Been good. Thanks.

CmdrR

I’ve never agreed with the decision to move to a new timeline. They wanted to get out from under canon; instead they turned canon into a greatest hits album and went on tour as a cover band. 09 used TOS for fan service. Into Darkness just grabbed a big chunk of script and stole it. Beyond succeeds best because it went in a new direction. I’d still like to see a villain-free film from JJ.

boborci

From Nimoy’s POV, it’s not a new timeline anymore than Trek 4 is. Just his life as he is living it.

Miss these debates.

Cervantes

@ boborci – it was interesting to see that the the Russo brothers went with your similar notion of ‘creating a new timeline’ for their Endgame storyline. However, I have to say that I found the whole thing even more confusing than the 2009 Trek plot overall, but perhaps that’s just me.

It’s been fascinating to see articles on them having to ‘try to explain’ the movie to those of us who were confused by it though. It took me ‘out’ of the movie somewhat when they included various ‘real world’ movie plots which involved ‘time travel’, and it’s a wonder that they didn’t namecheck your 2009 reboot as an example of how they wanted us to believe it worked. ;)

nasty man

they did

Cervantes

@ nasty man – Really? I must have been zoned-out of the movie at that particular moment. Interesting to know, and thanks for clarifying that.

Sam

Star Trek was the first item Rhodes listed off after he suggested killing Thanos as a baby, followed by Terminator and whatever else. Didn’t specify any particular movie or series.

Sam

Endgame is “somewhat” similar to the ST09 time travel concept, except that it’s not assumed by the audience, fans or CBS that there’s some “abandoned” time stream which the heroes can’t get back to (or in which half the universe remains vanished). Nebula shoots herself. There is now no alternate time stream in which she lives to try to kill her sister in GOTG2. If there were, then such a time stream would exist without Thanos’ finger-snap ever being reversed. At the same time, Nebula’s experiences remain intact even though she’s watched herself die. Meanwhile Loki escapes and is running around with the Tesseract on a path that may actually spare him this time from being killed by Thanos trying to protect it. Hemsworth wanted to make another Thor film; if they stick him in the next GOTG maybe he’ll find Loki still alive.

Cervantes

@ Sam – ah, so ‘J.J.’s Star Trek’ WASN’T specifically mentioned after all, just ‘Star Trek’. Thanks for all your further clarifications above, but my head hurts just as badly over Endgame’s plot points as it did with J.J.’s Star Trek 2009, I’ve decided.

Sam

Well they’re hardly going to get more specific than just ‘Star Trek’ if it comes up in your average movie, because they;ll be many in the audience who don’t watch ST.

What ST needs is a consistent theory on the physics of time travel. It was already too late for one by the time TOS ended. TNG reinvented a lot of the ST parameters, but eventually it too missed its chance to keep its TT stories consistent.

I think ‘maybe’ it’s possible for all future ST to hold to ST09’s “quantum mechanics” theory of TT, if ‘Magic to Make the Sanest Man’ has not already contradicted it (I can’t really say). And then just ignore any ST precedents that disagree with this, as ST in general has always been known to do whenever it changes premises.

A lot of this also depends on what is dramatically truthful. Both The Voyage Home and Avengers Endgame deal with situations in which the future itself is waiting for people to save it. I don’t think you want to open up the possibility of multiple outcomes/realities in such circumstances, because the likelihood that there could still be catastrophic loss of life makes the main characters’ efforts less noble if they actually just moved to another reality that better suited themselves.

In ST09, the possibility of multiple realities is merely assumed (mostly by the fans) so that all the “prime” universe stuff still seems somehow “validated”. This seems silly to me, because really there’s no way to ever know. Orci was right; your DVDs didn’t vanish. Why does anything else matter? It’s CBS’ prerogative if they continue to make ST, which they have. My hope is that the Kelvinverse NEVER re-merges with “Prime” in any way, since such a merging would by its nature require a Berman Trek style of meaningless timey whimey nonsense similar to what finally “ended” the Temporal Cold War. My other hope is that ST never go back to telling “Restore the timeline!” style of time travel stories that have already been done to death (and besides “timeline” isn’t even a “thing” in nature, people). Those are the type of stories that it seems to me should make people’s heads hurt.

I consider TVH, ST09 and Endgame to be a smarter breed of time travel stories that stay true to the dramatic truth of what’s important, rather than clinging to some notion that time must be “repaired”, or even that “changes” in time are somehow necessarily visible or identifiable in any traveler’s or non-traveler’s point of view (even though in Endgame the repercussions of time travel are right there for the witnessing, but thankfully without the nonsense of people “vanishing in time” as a result).

DaveCGN

Beyond showed some new things never seen before but the plot went nowhere in a new direction…
I too would like to see a ST movie without a villain. TMP did it (unlike the majority I like that movie) and ST IV did it too.

I love it when Trek does a villain-free plot. There are some awesome early Voyager episodes that go that route.

Jack

Which other Trek movies have a villain-free plot, other than TVH? (which is basically a (good) heist movie). Even then, the probe is the antagonist.

DaveCGN

Like it said, ST I – TMP. Was V’Ger a villain? At least it wasn’t a person.

Jack

VGER was the antagonist — and plenty of Trek episodes had one.

You could make an argument that V has no true villain.

kmart

An opponent of ethical stature can be better than a villain — if you write him properly. See THE QUESTOR TAPES.

ML31

True. There does not need to be a villain. V’Ger was a mystery rather than a villain. But TVH shows that even villainless features can still be garbage if not handled right.

Jack

VGER was about to destroy Earth. That’s not a moustache-twirling, scenery-eating villain, but the movie certainly wasn’t just “Mystery: Who is V’Ger?”

DavidCGN

At least V’Ger didn’t seek revenge… I would love to see a Star Trek movie with some mystery.

ML31

Well, that was just to add some stakes to the situation more than anything else.

Disinvited

Jack,

V’ger NEVER stated it’s goal as destroying the Earth. Starfleet analyzed it had the potential to that end but never was sure of its objective.

V’ger told Kirk that it sought communion with its creator and believed the carbon units’ infestation of the Earth was somehow responsible for preventing the Creator from acknowledging its signal. To that end, V’ger threatened the carbon units, but it would have been foolhardy for V’ger to destroy the Earth before investigating whether or not the creator was on it or whether it held clues as to how to find its creator, first.

Jemini

Lol, Beyond flopped. It literally is the least successful.
Good thing you weren’t the one making these movies..

What new direction, anyway? It was even more a greatest hits of tos nostalgia and fanservice. If anything, what beyond succeeds doing is making haters out themselves as the inconsistent and incoherent people they always were. For all your complains about the first two, you are giving beyond a pass for the same and worse. So what’s the point of all this ranting if you can’t even be honest about what are your real issues with the first two movies?

Denny C

I’d like to see a JJ film that’s not tied into an existing franchise. “Mission: Impossible”, “Star Trek”, “Star Wars” were all from existing franchises. They’re making money, he’s very successful and he’s a marketable name but he hasn’t directed or created anything that he can claim as uniquely his own. Lucas gave us “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”. Spielberg gave us “Close Encounters”, Cameron gave us “Terminator” and went on to build an entire world around “Avatar”. “Super 8” was fun but it was an homage to Spielberg films and who even remembers it anymore? Abrams must have some big idea he wants to put on screen.

Holden

“Abrams must have some big idea he wants to put on screen.” I don’t think so. He had plenty of time to follow this dream if he wanted to. After TFA, he could’ve done literally anything he wanted. But what did he do? Wait around for Episode 9 to become available.

JJ’s greatest talent (and ultimate flaw) is that he only knows how to modernize (and market) someone else’s IP.

Denny C

I hear ya’. They said the same thing after Star Trek 2009 and, boom, he directed Star Wars. I mean, hey, who wouldn’t jump at the chance but when you’re dealing with a blank slate that’s when you put your stamp on a franchise. That’s why Star Trek 2009 worked for me (thank you, Mr Orci) and The Force Awakens didn’t. There was really no one in the room to say, “Um, ya’ know, aren’t we just recycling the same stories and just slapping on a new coat of paint?”

Paul Fitz

10 years! Where did that go? Really enjoyed this interview, looking forward to the next part!

In every interview, or old days interactions from here… I just really appreciated Orci, he knew the bones of Trek and helped to give us another view on it.
Really think it would be cool for him to take the reigns on another Trek project.

Phil

Will there ever come a time when Bob can reveal & discuss his concept for the 3rd Kelvin film, the one Paramount rejected as being “too Trekish?”

Probably not, says the other Phil

ML31

I really wish that script would become public somehow. Although I really think that the badwill created from STID combined with the 4 year delay conspired against ST3 no matter what it was about.

Just Another Salt Vampire

I love Star Trek 2009. It was really exciting because it felt like the TOS characters were spectacularly realized for the 21st century and could narratively go anywhere. Then they got trapped in a long wait to make a bad sequel. Then they got dragged through development hell with a cancelled movie and ended up with a muddled third movie. Now it looks like the JJ Abrams era might be over if the cancellation rumors of Star Trek 4 are true.

Is there any future for the Chris Pine Kirk, Quinto Spock, and company? Or have we seen the last of the JJ Abrams Trek era?

Sam

Rumors of Kelvin Trek 4 being cancelled are most likely 95-99% true.

Still a fair chance that Paramount makes a new ST with Abrams and Tarantino, but no guarantees as yet who would star in it if it happened.

Assuming the CBS/Viacom merger doesn’t happen first.

albatrosity

Oh the KT is most assuredly over, and I knew it leaving the theater in summer 2016. I was like, well, Beyond wrapped it up pretty nicely, huh. Here we are.

VZX

I saw all these movies opening day and have the blu rays. I have issues with some aspects like the bad science, Kirk going from cadet to captain, and too much spectacle, but I enjoyed to retro vibe to the characters and having classic Star Trek on the big screen. For a short time, it allowed Trek to be popular again. Too bad it didn’t last.

albatrosity

2009-2010 was the first time in my life Trek felt like it was culturally important. By 2011, the glow had faded, and by 2016, no one cared anymore

Michael Hall

I guess you weren’t around for TNG’s heydey, then. That was more of a cultural moment for Trek than 2009, and much more sustained besides.

kmart

He couldn’t have been around in 1976, when the whole world seemed to revolve around TREK (interestingly, the same year I lost interest in it, which lasted about 18 months until a movie seemed likely.()

Garth Lorca

Bad science… OMG… remember transwarp beaming to Q’onos or the Enterprise sitting ducks next to the moon, suddenly going down into Earth’s atmosphere (It took Neil Armstrong 3 days to get from here to there, and he had a propulsion system!)… And making Delta Vega a Vulcan moon didn’t help either.

But my main problem is with those subpar villains and their non-existent motives. Nero wants to destroy Federation planets in the past after he had lost Romulus in the future??? He had more than 100 years to save his home, instead he goes berserk on people who had nothing to with it!

And yeah, a Section 31 admiral trying to create an Armada wants to destroy the Federation flagship, the heros’ barge that fended off the very threat that almost destroyed Earth. Makes sense! Not!

And why does a marooned Starfleet pioneer want to start a galactic war to destroy the Federation? Just because he can? Never got any of those motives. Even the MCU has better villains…

ML31

I will agree that all the KU films suffered from bad antagonists. But the first film was more about an excuse to the band together. The 2nd, well, that one had a noble goal, Kirk needs to earn the chair, but failed in the execution. And they re-used a previous foil and dipped into the “bad admiral” trope. The 3rd… Well… I never really understood Edison’s reasons except that he wanted to somehow prove that isolationism was the superior way to go. Which his plan really wouldn’t do anyway. But what I liked in that one is that we got the characters presented as their best in the 3 films.

Michael Hall

Agreed, for the most part. The Yorktown starbase was pretty cool too, especially as a Trekkian example of depicting an optimistic future.

kmart

I wonder if somebody read THE WOUNDED SKY and was inspired by that Starbase, which was kind of ‘woven’ in place. Very cool.

Ginge

Interesting interview!
ST09’s approach to make it both a sequel and soft reboot set in an alternate reality was a great and well-thought-out idea. Indeed it successfully brought in a new audience, as well as “old” fans like me. I realize and appreciate that even more now after seeing what retconning and partly lazy writing Discovery Season 2 has come up with to explain its place in canon – “We’ll never use that technology again” or “Nobody must ever mention any of this”. Sigh, I wish the Discovery writers had put more consideration into these things instead of going for the easiest explanations and now escaping from canon. Knowing that ST09 simply takes place in a “parallel universe” really helped me to switch off my canon brain, not question anything and just enjoy the ride. And thanks for getting Leonard Nimoy on the big screen one more time!

ML31

Yep. And I have to say, even with the “explanations” Discovery STILL works better being in the KU than it does being in Prime. Yes yes, I know producers still say it’s prime. I’m just saying it works better in the KU.

Ginge

Agreed! I’m not sure if that would have been legally possible though, due to the rights shared between CBS and Paramount. Of course there is so much weird speculation on the topic out there, especially on YouTube, however I still think the producers couldn’t have set it in the KU even if they’d wanted to.

nasty man

That Shatner scene would’ve been tremendous at the end. Im still upset about it now. I guess hed have had a little CG deage to make him look more VI/Generations era..

Also imagine Patrick Stewart in the Spock mindmeld 24th century scene.. Audiences wouldve flipped out Endgame style

DataMat

Wouldn’t it have been interesting to make the opening scene be Picard /B4/Data on the Enterprise E chasing after Nero and Spock as he enters the wormhole. Would have made another good action scene and would have fed right into the opening scene we already have. More money I know, but I think it could have been worth the extra money to give an extra nod to the TNG era, and audiences wouldn’t really need to understand it to enjoy it.

nasty man

a TNG opening would’ve been cool for fans..but Nemesis had bombed and this was a fresh approach to TOS. so made sense not connect to TNG too much (at least for the first movie)

DataMat

Thing is it didn’t need to necessarily be TNG characters. We would likely only see Picard and Data/B4 and those two characters were, ironically, the star-pair of all four TNG movies.

An opening scene of about maybe 5-10 minutes would have been at least a little of a fun nod to the previous film franchise, which considering BO says he considers ST09 more of a sequel than a reboot, makes this hypothetical scene make some sense.

Of course, building a whole set, just for a 10 minute scene, is probably not economical, even for a multi million dollar blockbuster like ST09 (even a redress probably would have cost too much money I suppose).
Still it’s fun to imagine ‘what if!

nasty man

after ST09s crazy success and there being no sequel anytime soon maybe they shouldve quickly filmed Countdown for summer 2011 – starring Nimoy & Bana (plus cameoes from TNG characters). directed by Frakes.

Gary 8.5

My comments below were intense as a a response to what Mike about the drill scene

nasty man

Wasn’t the Kelvin originally the Enterprise under Captain April (which would later be replaced with the Enterprise-A) but paramount said no destroying the Enterprise in this film. or is that just imdb trivia BS?

Starlordtheoutlaw

Thank you Mr. Orci for your part in bringing Star Trek back. I grew up on Trek and am a big fan of both ST09 and Into Darkness.

boborci

cheers. Call me Bob.

TG47

I’d like to say Bob that you are incredibly good natured to come on this board and participate. It’s very exceptional.

When I first noticed you dropping in, I was hoping the mods were authenticating your email.

While we don’t seem to see Trek or the market the same way, it’s really helpful to understand the corporate context you were working in.

Those of us with experience with high value projects can infer a few things, but it sounds like it could be a good case study of unsuccessful brand renewal for a marketing textbook.

I liked Star Trek 2009 for what it was, and haven’t seen the others due to the constraints of a young family. (Hope to catch them streaming at some point.)

I wish it had achieved the goal of bringing a wider audience into Trek. But it’s clear that you personally were sincere in your efforts to ‘keep it Trek’.

Platitude

Hi Bob!

I like this ship, it’s exciting!

Rocketscientist

I’ll second Starlord’s callout to Bob Orci.

I greatly enjoyed both ST09 and STID. TOS is my favorite show of all time and TWOK my favorite film. ST09 imo is a love letter to TOS, so thankyou very much Bob Orci!

Tiger2

It’s still too bad the fourth film got cancelled. Didn’t love the first one but it was a solid movie IMO. I still remember seeing it at the Sydney Opera House with JJ Abrams and the cast. It was all so surreal at the time.

kmart

According to stuff online in the last day or so, Par is still saying the fourth film and the QT film are being worked on. Could just be bull to help the merger talks, but at least there isn’t a flat-out admission of death at this point.

Denny C

They really did what seemed impossible: Do a reboot that isn’t actually a reboot at all and doesn’t screw with canon. Too bad Abrams didn’t recruit them to write The Force Awakens which felt like less of a continuation and more of a reimagining / rehash of the original source material.

Sam

That’s what was uniquely Star Trek about the reboot. For a franchise that was already known for overusing time travel on its more recent shows.

Star Wars was always going to have to play its greatest hits in order to set the right tone for the remainder of its sequel trilogy.

Denny C

If you put the right writer on it or go in with a clear vision of where the story is supposed to be going over three films there’s no need to play the greatest hits. George Lucas had already secured Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher before selling the house to Disney. They WERE the greatest hits. Everything else would have fallen into place. The Force Awakens presented an update, it didn’t offer anything new.

Spectre-7

Bob, we need to hear about your original script for star trek 3!

I’ve got a few quibbles with it, but overall I think Star Trek ’09 is awesome. It’s in my top four, easily.

DaveCGN

Wow… was it 10 years ago? I remember like it was a few weeks ago and how excited I was before and after like never before (and after). I watched the movie 3 times in the cinema (something I never did before and after) and bought the soundtrack (and heard it many times), the novel, the Countdown comic and 4 (posters). 2 have had a fixed place on the wall since then. I bought the DVD and later the 2DVD steelbook version.
After ST Nemesis, which was the first ST movie I had anticipated, was a huge disappointment, ST 09 simply was… WOW! New and exciting and worth the wait after so many years without a ST movie.

It has become my favorite Star Trek movie along with ST II.

Into darkness had some issues: it should have been released one or two years earlier. IMO the “new” Star Trek lost a bit of the momentum by the delay (IMO now it has lost it totally since ST 4 “died”). The reveal of Khan was too obvious and yet not believable. He simply should have been another character of Khans crew (Joachim for example).
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie alot. I like the few quieter moments alot and would have liked to see more of that. Not as good as ST 09 but still good.
I haven’t seen Intro darkness as much as ST09.

Unlike the majority I was very disappointed by ST Beyond. (I haven’t seen THAT as much as Into darkness)
Yet it had some great moments and some ideas never seen (that way) in Star Trek:
-The swarm ships attacking the Enterprise – why did nobody came up with that idea in decades before???
-Finally (!) they encounter a species which is way smaller than humans and made a joke about it.
– The beautiful space station – wow!
-Some character moments like the death of original Spock and references to the original crew – very lovely, very touching. That made me almost cry.
-the interaction of the crew members.
-References to ENT.

But all in all the plot was bad (someone seeking revenge with a superweapon – HOW MANY MORE TIMES?!?!?!)
The villain (IMO) was even worse.
What happened with “explore the universe and to go where noone has gone before”? Some mysterious elements?
The possibility of promoting the movie by the celebrating the 50th anniversary was not used! That’s a chance you only have once!!
HOW DUMB!!!!!! WHY?!?! (Imagine Star Wars NOT using their 50th anniversary in 2027!!) They even reduced the name “Star Trek” in the promotion! It already started with the trailer which was so UN-Trek and too fast-paced…
I really would like to how how Bob Orci’s ST 3 would have been. Couldn’t have been worse than the 50th-NON CELEBRATED-anniversary-movie.

nasty man

it seems to me that the Orci ST3 would’ve been like the ‘Endgame’ type pay off of the timeline stuff that was set up in ST09 (and continued to an extent in ID with events mirroring the prime timeline) – the alt/prime timeline conundrum (however the Kelverse/alt timeline probably wouldn’t have been wiped out at the end like Yesterdays Enterprise/City on the Edge etc)

Basically a cool sounding timetravel? movie for the 50th (everyone loves a time travel movie) which would’ve brought back Shatner as Kirk and all the extra publicity that would’ve generated (imagine how awesome the trailer could’ve been..’spock..we’re home’)

albatrosity

agree with p much everything here

Jemini

The spock/uhura romance honestly is more interesting to me than giving Kirk a love interest. The latter is a given. Not that I’d be against Kirk having one too eventually (I hate the married to a ship crap), but it’s nice the main romance is with characters who are less a given and it is an interracial/interspecies couple, which is more fitting to trek.

As for the rest, I can see some of what he’s saying may make haters feel validated (eg the stuff about the studio or jj ‘not getting trek’) but I hope Orci doesn’t really regret making these movies and he still stands by every of his/their decisions. I hope they aren’t persuaded the ‘reboot’ (just a convenient word to use indeed) was a failure because it really wasn’t. A lot of us loved these movies and this version of the characters.

Tillsy

To be honest I enjoyed Star Trek ’09. Only two things bothered me – the stark white Enterprise bridge just didn’t work for me (whereas Pike’s Enterprise in Discovery is nothing short of amazing), and Spock’s Jellyfish ship that came from the TNG timeline announcing a Kelvin stardate (might be a minor thing but it was one of the few times I’ve ever been thrown out of a movie experience and sat there struggling to understand what the devil had happened… it was responsible for creating the Kelvin timeline yet was acting like it was from the future of the Kelvin timeline? I still to this day don’t understand that and presume it must have been a mistake and the computer should have instead announced a TNG stardate sometime after Nemesis?).

Into Darkness I prefer to pretend did not exist (even more so than Star Trek 5, and that’s saying something!) – in fact it’s the one Trek movie I’ve only seen once and don’t own on Blu-ray or 4K. In my opinion it is the reason the movie franchise has once again tanked as I know I myself had absolutely no intention to see Beyond because of it, and only did so because for some reason my wife insisted upon it (thank heavens because Beyond and it’s tie ins to Star Trek: Enterprise was amazing, though the Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C, or D – just kidding the D is my fav!) having saucer separation and destroying it to build another already were silly).

Jay

I agree the new (STD) Enterprise bridge is amazing. Much more authentic than the one built for the 2009 movie. But the lighting….looks exactly like Discovery’s bridge. Exactly the same. Too dark. If they are going to make new shows and they are promoting each new show to be unique…I hope they change the colors for each new show, add more brightness on the (hopefully, crossing my fingers) new Captain Pike Enterprise Series. Star Trek ’09 stark white I see it as a distinction of a different timeline (in the story), but in reality, was a preference for J.J. Abrahams to make it Star Wars friendly.

Denny C

I think the dark bridge works since it’s supposed to reflect Pike’s bridge from “The Cage”, not Kirk’s bridge from TOS.

ML31

Actually, it reflects the motif set in the Discovery world more than anything else.

Jay

Exactly

Denny C

Motif, yes, but the overall color scheme reflects “The Cage”.

ML31

I disagree. Overall it more resembles Discovery than anything we saw on The Cage. Except perhaps the chairs.

Hey @TrekMovie are you going to do an in depth feature on Orci’s Star Trek 3 please?

kmart

I’m imagining the coverage on Orci’s III as something like Barr’s redacted Mueller report, where everything is blacked out except the parts that say, “the ship leaves orbit” and “‘warp six, aye sir.'”

Holden

Yeah, or “if we re-route power . . .”

Trellium G

I’ve only watched the Kelvin films once. Pretty forgettable action flicks made for people that hate Star Trek.

I have watched all of the other Trek films multiple times. Those were made for the people that actually like Star Trek.

DavidCGN

How about Star Trek Nemesis?

ML31

How about The Voyage Home?

Jack

They were made to make money, as all films are. And they made more than $1.2 billion at the Box Office.

They ain’t perfect, but Trek 09, at least, was better than the four Trek movies that came before it.

Garth Lorca

Seriously? Better than GEN, INS and NEM maybe, but FC? FC ist one of the best Trek movies ever made!

JED

Never enjoyed a movie more than I did ST 09. Trek was back, would love a 4th, Thank you Bob!

Jeff F

Loved Spock’s backstory, far and away my favorite element of these movies.

Really enjoyed the Kobayashi Maru scene as well.

All the actors did a fantastic job.

The Khan thing didn’t work for me, especially the idea of him smuggling his crew out in the torpedoes.

But was I hated most was seeing Romulus destroyed in the prime universe. Do whatever you want in this alternate timeline, but that was too great of a loss in Trek canon. Was always hoping there would be a way to ignore that in future shows, but I suspect the Picard show will revolve around precisely that event.

All in all, I was largely entertained by the films, but with gripes on some of the story decisions.

nasty man

fuk em. they got their comeuppance!

Jefferies Tuber

I think ST09 is a masterful film. Speaking as on OG fan of 70s reruns, ST09 gets better with time and TWOK now feels very cheap and very very very old–not just the actors, but the themes. STID is sausage–satisfying but a little gross if you think about it too much. BEY is just fine, held back from its potential by Elba’s stupid makeup, but salvaged by the Yorktown design.

Holden

“ST09 gets better with time and TWOK now feels very cheap and very very very old.” Hey, let’s compare notes in 35 years and see how ST09 still feels?

kmart

Compare notes in 35 minutes is more like it, 09 was, is and always will be a horrible kludge of a flick.

Garth Lorca

I think the most important detail is that these movies aren’t full reboots. A straight-forward reboot without the timeline aspect would have ruined Star Trek for me. Orci is spot on in calling “reboot” a dirty word. It is, and not just for Star Trek. There are hardly any reboots that worked for me… not in CBMs, not in horror, not in action movies. Finding a way to insert what’s come before into a complex multiversal canon isn’t that hard.

That said, there are many things I loved about that trilogy… the most important detail is Giacchino’s scores! Gosh, those scores are just so exciting, beautiful, powerful, boombastic… I love every cue in these! The main theme – I know some loath it – is my absolute favourite Star Trek tune…

I also loved how they brought back the colorful uniforms and other nostalgia-driven details.

But the main problem of those movies are the plots, plot holes and those VERY weak villains who never had any conceivable motives. None of the actions of these madmen made ANY freaking sense. To be fair, JJ inherited those issues from GEN, INS and NEM which had equally shoehorned plots regarding the villains’ actions.

The one thing I expect any new Star Trek movie… get rid of those cardboard villains. Either give us a believable shady character or faction or try to do a story without a true villain. There have been enough bad Khan photocopies for eternity on cinematic Trek. Which is sad, because the original Khan was a fabulous villain that actually made sense!

Denny C

After Star Trek VI nearly every villain was hell bent on revenge and their motivation always very narrowly focused – – until Star Trek Into Darkness which made Khan’s motivation much more complex. Sure, he wasn’t a nice guy but we came to understand why he was so p*ssed.

As an aside, I still think the big reveal should have been that Marcus was Khan hiding in plain sight for decades and that Cumberbatch was actually his sidekick Joachim. That’s a twist no one would have seen coming.

Garth Lorca

“until Star Trek Into Darkness which made Khan’s motivation much more complex.”

But Khan wasn’t the villain in my book. That was Admiral Marcus! And his motivations were completely far-fetched… If you want to build a strong Federation Armada, you don’t destroy it’s most powerful flagship taht helped to save Earth once! And yeah, you don’t put models of your top-secret supership on your display stand either…

Denny C

Exactly! Khan was a villain but Marcus was the actual villain. Khan would never kill his own people, Marcus has no qualms about it.

skyjedi

The villain was racism and the war on terror. The movie was about post 911 American politics. Specifically George Bush and his war on terror.

The River Temarc

What might have worked for STID was turning Khan into a good guy, seeking redemption for what he wrought centuries earlier. They hinted at that for a few minutes and then discarded it.

boborci

Not bad!

albatrosity

Agree with your point about the music and the crappy villains. Love the score, I have it on vinyl even!

Looking forward to part 2 of this interview. Star Trek is still my favorite of the KU movies and #2 of all of them (The Wrath of Khan is still my personal #1), but one thing I don’t think Bob’s movie gets enough credit for is something that it shares in common with TWoK: it saved Star Trek. If the 2009 movie had flopped, I think that would have been the final nail in the coffin.

Think back ten years. The disappointing TOS remaster project had just gasped to a halt. Four years earlier, Star Trek: Enterprise was ( prematurely, IMO) cancelled. Three years before that, Star Trek: Nemesis was a commercial and critical flop at the box office.

Say what you will about it (personally, I thought it was terrific), but if the 2009 movie had bombed, that probably would’ve been it. Not only would it have killed the movie franchise, but CBS Digital might have taken a look at the failure and decided not to invest in the glorious remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The renaissance of Star Trek on television probably wouldn’t have happened, either. (Again, whatever you think of Discovery, we also wouldn’t have the other shows in the pipeline or the chance of seeing Mount, Peck, et al in a Pike-centered series.)

So thank you, Bob Orci. You took on what was probably the most thankless task in the universe: Reviving a storied franchise on its last legs, satisfying notoriously impossible-to-please Star Trek fans, AND telling an entertaining story. As far as this fan for half a century is concerned, you succeeded on all counts.

boborci

Nice, thank you.

DataMat

I don’t think for a minute that it would have meant Star Trek gone forever.
But the Hiatus would have been long for sure I think.
The fanbase is there and was there for Star Trek so I think it would have continued in some form eventually.
Nemesis bombed because the film was somewhat lacklustre, yeah, but more crucially it was placed in a ridiculous release slot.
Enterprise was cancelled because the show was not really that great, especially the earlier seasons.
Star Trek needed fresh energy and that’s what happened with Trek 09. I don’t think Trek 09 is a great movie personally, it’s just OK. But that’s fine! It’s better than Into Darkness that’s for sure.

Garth Lorca

Of course it revived Star Trek with its younger, flashier approach, its better visuals etc… but honestly, did ST09 tell a revolutionary new story? Take away the time travel framework and you end up with a remake of its very predecessor NEM…

Both movies feature a bald-headed (pseudo)-Romulan (Shinzon / Nero) with a big black supership (Scimitar / Narada) using a volatile force of destruction (Thaleron Radiation / Red Matter) aiming to destoy Earth and the Federation for no tangible reason. You even got two versions of the second-most important character involved (Data/B4 vs Old Spock / Young Spock)…

Given how ill-received NEM was, it’s wonder ST09 even got greenlit on that premise…

Don’t get me wrong. I was blown away by it back then, saw it 14 times in cinema. But in retrospect it’s a miracle it even got made given all those similarities to NEM…

skyjedi

I’ve always thought 2009 was Superman 78 meets Star Wars 77. With Star Trek characters and trappings.

Jefferies Tuber

Strong Agree.

PaUl

Bob did a great job with the 09 movie. STID was also good in places but I would love to know who decided to make it khan! that aspect really hurt the movie for me.

Shame his ST3 never happened but he really deserves a chance at ST4 as well if the other idea has stalled perhaps Bob could make it happen on a slightly lower budget!!

albatrosity

Alright well I think this should’ve come out on the actual anniversary but it’s cool

PaulB

Really? It was published ONE day after the anniversary and you’re whining about it? Geesh…

Please refer to my “notoriously impossible-to-please Star Trek fans” comment above. ;)

albatrosity

Sorry but anniversaries revolve around a date. If you miss that date, you missed the anniversary. It ain’t rocket science folks!

Disinvited

albatrosity,

Apparently it is rocket science, because what you advocate violates the anniversary protocol for the original series where no one celebrates the anniversary of NBC’s announced fall premiere of the series but the early “sneak” NBC showed of THE MANTRAP.

albatrosity

Dude. It’s like. These things get released to the general public on a date. That’s their official “premiere” date. It’s not the day they finished the editing. It’s not the date it gets its first private showing. It’s not the date it was scheduled to be released. It’s the day it was first able to be seen by most people, that’s what a premiere date is. These are just definitions. Arguing about this is like arguing about what day Memorial Day is this year. It has a date, and it’s not up for negotiation. Star Trek 2009 premiered in the United States on May 8, 2009, according to every source in the book. That’s called a fact, and I can’t believe you’re trying to argue with it.

Disinvited

albatrosity,

Again, THE MAN TRAP did not air as the first episode of NBC’s Fall season, but as a last minute part of the Summer’s SNEAK PEEK WEEK the week prior. No one celebrates STAR TREK’S official ANNOUNCED Fall premier as its anniversary.

And your so called sources for “facts” are NOT reliable:

“There’s no need to wait until midnight on May 8th to see J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, as ComingSoon.net has learned that shows for the anticipated Paramount release will start at 7pm on May 7th!” – COMINGSOON.net, April 13, 2009

https://web.archive.org/web/20090416213437/http://www.comingsoon.net/news/startreknews.php?id=54437

as the change was announced well in advance.

albatrosity

Listen bro, I know we live in a post-fact world and the internet is a cesspool of disinformation, but every one of your points is entirely irrelevant. Who cares that Man Trap premiered as part of a Sneak Peek Week? What does that have to do with anything? The show premiered on 9/8/66 during the Sneak Peek Week. That makes it its premiere date, whether it was scheduled to be or not, whether it was part of the fall season or not. That’s why we celebrate 9/8/66 in the States, not 9/whatever it was supposed to be, because that’s completely irrelevant. So stop bringing it up.

And yeah, movies can have screenings the night before their official premiere, they’re called Thursday previews. That doesn’t change the official premiere date. Force Awakens officially came out on December 15, 2015, but there were some Thursday screenings the night before. So if you’re going to celebrate its premiere date, you could do 12/14 or 12/15. In ST09’s case, as you pointed out, it had a screening on 5/7, so yes, you could argue that it premiered on 5/7/09, even though that technically isn’t the official premiere date that it was accessible to most people. Regardless, you can’t argue that it premiered on 5/9, which is when this article came out, which is why I say it came out late. And you can’t argue with these facts, although I’m sure you’d love to try. So like, idk, spend your time doing something more productive maybe? So I don’t have to spend my time explaining to you what should be entirely obvious? Thanks.

Disinvited

albatrosity,

Look, my initial question was clear, these dates are arbitrarily set; how are you arriving at the dates you cite? You are the one that responded as if there was some bureau of standards where these things were engraved in stone, when quite to opposite, the corporate rights holders moves these dates around all the time to serve whatever business need they feel requires addressing.

You are the one who made these arbitrary calls that the anniversary is the date announced except when it is shown the week before but not when it was shown two days before that on 9/6/66 in Canada, or that it’s not when it was first memorably shown in Austin on April 6, 2009 but the announced date of 5/8/09 but NOT the previous announced date of 12/25/08 and not the date it actually was shown 5/7/09 if it occurs within 5 hours of midnight…

I await with bated breath, for your mathematical dissertation on how the 75th Anniversary screenings of GONE WITH THE WIND on 9/28/14 and 10/1/14 fully complies with your obvious decrees on observed film anniversaries:

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/1028229%7C0/Gone-With-the-Wind-th-Anniversary.html

albatrosity

It’d be like Trekmovie celebrating the 50th anniversary on 9/9/16. It’s…late.

Disinvited

albatrosity,

The announced NBC Fall Premiere of STAR TREK occurred on 9/15/66. The 9/8 date was part of a last minute unannounced “SNEAK PEEK WEEK” airing of THE MAN TRAP that NBC did in its Summer season to give its new Fall shows a jump on the competition.

As you quote the sneak peek of THE MAN TRAP as STAR TREK’S OFFICIAL ANNIVERSARY, to be consistent, you must use the Austin sneak peek on 4/6/09 as the anniversary of 2009’s STAR TREK film.

Disinvited

albatrosity,

How are you zeroing on this as the definitive date? Because the author cites it?

First, Paramount slotted a 2008 premier, then JJ went globetrotting with his film reels for many premiers after Paramount bumped the announced premier up to May 8, 2009.

JJ took his finished product and gave it its 1st “public” screening April 6th of 2009 in Austin, TX then took it on its world “premier” tour. The 1st US screenings were actually on the evening of 5/7/2009.

boborci

What’ a night that was. Me, Alex, and Damon pretended we were screening WOK, and then Nimoy sneaked into the stage with the 09 film reel in a suitcase. Amazing sound as the crowd slowly realizes what’s happening.

Disinvited

boborc,

Fond memories, no doubt. Reminds me of the time in the mid 70s when my buddy had what we called a “cabin” in Crestline and there was a space conference in Big Bear. I’m in the center of the main convention floor and who walks in and stops beside me carrying a film canister but Gene and his wife Majel. Still remember their scents – that’s how close I was. He got everyone’s attention and gave a spiel about recovering the b/w copy of the 1st Trek pilot he’d like to share…

albatrosity

Um because that’s the day it hit wide release? I dunno why people are trying to argue 5/8/09 isn’t the day it premiered in the US. That’s the official release date. I remember it cuz I was there in the theater that day. It may not have been the first screening, but that doesn’t change history sooo

Marty

J.J, the man who sucked the essence out of two sci-fi franchises, before pissing all over what was left.

You couldn’t make it up.

I don’t dislike any of the Kelvin movies. I very much enjoyed 09 and Beyond. The acting in all three movies was enjoyable and even the writing, especially in Beyond was sound.

But all three movies were unnecessary and somewhat forgettable. That might be in part due to canon restrictions. Or that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are not the characters that we have grown to admire. I can’t pinpoint it other than I just don’t care much about those characters.

I acknowledge how challenging it must be to shoehorn original stories in an established canon. ST:ENT succeeded mostly in S4 but sporadically in S1-3. The Kelvin movies and Discovery were only successful when relying on nostalgia.

skyjedi

The whole idea was to make Star Trek hip and cool for the new generation. These were not meant for older fans who regard TOS as a religion rather than a 1960s tv series.
For a while it worked they had young people engaged and excited and then that all died when Into Darkness took so long that the good will of 2009 was gone. When Beyond failed at the box office Kelvin Star Trek was officially dead. Which is too bad because i was looking forward to the fourth film. When JJ left for Star Wars that pretty much killed the series, he was the only one who had been able to make movies that made money and entertained.

Commander K

I remember going to the red carpet premiere of trek 09, the buzz was amazing. Watching it the first time that day I couldn’t keep up with what was in front of me, but over the years got used to the pacing of a JJ Abrams movie!

Fabio

I can’t read this, it makes me want to throw up.

Marc Henson

I’m sure that someday there will be another Star Trek movie…but I’m not sure if it’ll be in the Abramsverse.

That being said I guess we could refer to these films as the Abrams Trilogy? Assuming that there are no more.

This is what I have to say…I loved the eleventh “Star Trek” movie. The story was fantastic. Someone mentioned that the elements that were stupid in the movie were probably inserted by Abrams…probably true, although I don’t fully agree.

I felt that the movie was excellent and it needed to have that Hollywood Blockbuster look to it. I feel like people often forget that Nemesis wasn’t THAT different. They really tried to push the Blockbuster elements into the film, although it didn’t succeed obviously. I liked it though. Just always thought it was strange they didn’t reference Lore at all in the movie. Oh well.

As for JJ’s first film…what’s not to like? Sure if there was no Leonard Nimoy the movie would have been just a waste of time. I suppose they could have used Picard or somebody else as a setup for the film but then it wouldn’t have been as good. If they did that then that would mean the new Picard show would have to be in the alternate timeline! Wow…that’d be weird.

Into Darkness, no matter how silly it might have been…was pretty darn incredible to me as well. Section 31, Khan and Carol Marcus…I thought the the action was great to be honest. We never got to see Khan really showing off his genetically engineered physique…The Wrath of Khan was just a space battle, and “Space Seed” was a very fake looking fight on the Enterprise. Loved both Space Seed and the Wrath of Khan…and seeing Khan actually fight like a superhuman was actually impressive, and I felt it truly honored the character. I know people complain about how they had a British guy playing an Sikh Indian. But they always seem to forget it was a Mexican who played him first.

A character’s race doesn’t matter. It’s how they embody it. I personally think he delivered the best lines in the whole movie…I mean that was what was so great about the Wrath of Khan right? Khan was an awesome character who could say things that could blow you freaking mind.

As for Beyond…I wasn’t as impressed with that movie, but it was good. Some say it was the most Trekkish out of all three of the movies. Don’t know if I agree completely. I will say that it was the most like an episode of the original series, with a new planet that’s never been explored and just exploration in general…a very common trope in Trek I might ad. But I don’t know what it is…I don’t feel like it delved into the characters quite as much as the other two films. Kirk, Spock and Bones were the only ones really…I felt.

The villain I liked…definitely…they did great with him. I liked it how the ship they found on the planet came from just prior to Star Trek: Enterprise…that was a nice tie-in, and I liked the references to the Romulan and Xindi Wars…

Actually now that I think about it was really a fantastic movie…I just felt it could have been a little better. Not that I didn’t like it, it’s still better than any other non-Star Trek movie probably…for the most part.

The question is what’s next? What is this “Bananas” story idea that Tarantino has? It seems to involve the same cast based on Karl Urban’s comments but how does he know exactly…I’d like to learn more.

I know there will be more Star Trek films…as long as this world continues…the question is, when, and will it be alternate or prime? That’s what we have to wait and see…also if this is Tarantino’s, does that mean the other movies he’s made will be in the same universe? Because you know how he sort of has a shared world among his films…anyway.

nasty man

i bet QT’s ‘Bananas’ Trek is going to be pretty much ‘Star Trek Endgame’ featuring ALL the casts from every Trek

Jim Lareau

I am really amazed that none of these executives understand Star Trek. IMO, the appeal of Star Trek was 2 main ideas: 1. Issues that were relevant to today; 2. The hope that the series gave you that the future was going to be better than today.

It was never an action/adventure series (although there was action/adventure in the series)… It was more about exploration, finding new planets, new species of intelligent life, righting wrongs, doing the right thing and making decisions and the ramifications of those decisions.

The same lack of understanding is true with the latest Star Trek game, Star Trek Fleet Command… It is Star Trek in name only.. More star wars in execution.

Tom

The Shatner scene not being in the movie was a huge missed opportunity. Cant believe JJ passed on it. They should have trusted Bob on that.

nasty man

boborci to JJ: ‘you should’ve trusted me..’

(cut to EXT spacedock)

skyjedi

I don’t know about that, it was a nice easter egg i saw it in the comic adaptation. But a happy Birthday message would not have been enough to get Shatner onboard. He would have needed a role just a big as Nimoy’s, if not greater.

nasty man

the comic did not have the shatner scene

skyjedi

Sorry for my foggy memory i guess i read those script pages and just assumed like other deleted material they made their way into the novelization or the comic book adaptation. I’m not wrong about Shatner being against a mere Cameo though. The lead actor of the original series asked to do a Hallmark greeting. He had said he would have been fine doing something if they could find a way to unkill Kirk. He would have wanted top billing and to be the Main lead in the 2009 film when it would have taken away from Chris. Shatner Kirk ended his voyage in 1991. Second Star to the right and straight on til mourning.

nasty man

well he was going to have a big role in STBeyond but it got canned becuz…reasons

AJinMoscow

Great interview. It was great (most of the time) when Orci was on the site as a fan. It’s fun to get his insight into the heady, if controversial, days of the origins of the JJ-Verse. I’d love to hear what actually happened to delay STID and why they actually decided to plonk the TWOK near-verbatim “tribute” piece into the film. It’s a pity these films are now stalled in limboland. Would love to see that crew again.

skyjedi

The biggest revelation of this interview was that the Khan storyline was intended as far back as 2009. I had always assumed it was a very late in the planning of the screenplay for Into Darkness and it was Lindelof’s idea.

boborci

Also true.

FASAfan

I said it 10 years ago: they should have made it a total reboot instead of that “in-cannon reboot” nonsense.

My guess was that they weren’t confident enough or brave enough to do that, so we get the convoluted mess that is 2009 Star Trek. Sorry, but we didn’t need Nimoy and we certainly didn’t need the silly-a** super-ship/mining vessel (!?) Narada and the red goop.

With that said, I still enjoyed 2009 Star Trek in the same way that I enjoy Gold Key comics Star Trek stories today: pure campy fun.

Jonboc

Love the fun, action/adventures of our original crew of explorers…unlike the sappy Days of Our Lives pretentious soap opera that is Discovery. After seeing and enjoying those films with the rest of the record-setting billion-dollar world box office, I sure don’t know Kurtzman got Discovery so very very wrong.