Earlier this year after it appeared Rick Berman and Eric Jenderson‘s script for Star Trek: The Beginning (which was to have a whole new cast set 100 years before the time of Kirk) was going no where, Patrick Stewart got some ‘one more TNG film’ buzz going. Stewart told an online magazine in March that he had ‘got some calls from some money people’ regarding reprising his role as Jean Luc Picard. Since that time word of Abrams being signed and a likely TOS era plot have come out. Stewart has continued to be very noncommittal on whether he would even want to be in another film In todays Daily Telagraph Stewart discusses the idea So could he ever be seduced by Hollywood again? Another Star Trek movie? “I have such mixed feelings about Star Trek. It’s like a romantic relationship that’s over. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I haven’t ruled it out…
In the immortal words of Yogurt from Spaceballs (pictured right holding Spaceballs-the Flame Thrower…kids love it) “Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made.” To that end Paula Block from CBS Paramount consumer products announced at a Comic-Con that CBS Paramount will be handling the licensing for Star Trek XI. CBS Para has been on a bit of a roll lately for Trek liscensing, bringing Star Trek back into the world of gaming after a 3 year drought, along with a new magazine and even a Manga comic book. Block summed it up thusly: “Contrary to some people’s opinions, Star Trek isn’t dead”
Star Trek XI isnt the only big comeback for the Trek franchise in 2006. This year also marked the return of Trek to the gaming community with the announcement of a deal with BethesdaSoft last January. Star Trek had been out of the gaming world since Activision sued Paramount to get out of its licensing deal back in 2003.
Seems like Abrams isnt the only STXI writer cutting deals. Variety (via DarkHorizons.com) is reporting that Trek XI co-writers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci will be producing a big screen adaptation of the Thomas Perry Novel "Nightlife" about a female serial killer. This is in addition to their work as writers on next summer’s blockbuster in waiting Transfomers…and of course the script they are presently writing the first draft of…Star Trek XI. It seems that Paramount/DreamWorks cant get enough of these guys..who appear to be joined at the hip (they are actually best friends who started a writing partnership back in high school). Although best known for their writing, they have signed on Ehren Kruger (Brothers Grim) to do the adaptation of Nightlife. To learn more about your Trek Writers..Interview with the WGAPodcast Interview with Creative Screenwriting
Lost and Trek XI producer Damon Lindelof (pictured in the middle) was asked for a reaction on Lost not being nominated for Best Dramatic Series Emmy for its second season (after winning for its first season). Lindelof exclaimed “Battlestar Galactica didnt get nominated either and thats a great show”. Fellow Lost and STXI producer Bryan Burk (pictured on left), along with Lost producer Carlton Cuse (pictured on right) joined in on the praise agreeing with Lindelhof’s assessment…as did the crowd of Losties who applauded the mention of Galactica.
I had a chance to ask Brannon Braga (C0-Creator: Star Trek Enterprise, EP: Star Trek Voyager, Producer/Writer Star Trek: The Next Generation, etc) if CBS Paramount was considering bringing Trek back to TV now that Paramount Pictures has greenlit another Trek film. He quickly responded “There are no plans for Trek on TV”. In a follow-up I asked him and the panel why (even after the success of Lost and a bit of a resurgence of ‘genre’ TV) there are no shows set in the future. The panel included fellow Trek Alum Rene Echevarria (Medium), David Goyer (Blade), Jeph Loeb (co-executive producer, Heroes), Bryan Fuller (consulting producer, Heroes), and Frank Spotnitz (Night Stalker, Star Chamber) who all agreed that TV executives are still afraid of scifi, “especially when you start talking about ships, aliens, robots and all that stuff” said Fuller.
During a panel about various Trek issues, Mike Okuda (long time Trek graphic artist) told the audience that the set built for the Enterprise episode ‘In a Mirror Darkly’ is one of the many lots being auctioned off by Christie’s this fall. The original series sets were of course destroyed decades ago, so Paramount spent a considerable amount of money recreating the TOS era bridge set required for that popular episode. Since then it has been in storage, but as Mr Okuda stated “storage is expensive”. I spoke to the people at the Christies Star Trek Auction booth and they confirmed that the entire set is being sold as a single lot and they expect $25,000+ for it.
3 months to the day after the first leak hit Variety Paramount released the first teaser poster for their 11th Star Trek film at ComicCon. Even after all the confirmations and discussions about Trek XI from Abrams and even Paramount themselves (especially in the last week), there is something about a visual image that makes it seem even realer.
Todays Daily Variety has a 3 page spread on the 40th Anniversery of Star Trek with a number of articles. Most cover the history of the franchise, the fans and fanfilms. They also got Mr Abrams to talk about Trek XI. Abrams starts of by telling Variety that he started off working on Trek at his Bar mitzvah…because none other than Nicholas Meyer was in attendance! He again confirms that he will be working with his usual suspects (Burk, Lindelof, Orci, Kurtzman, etc) and again says that it is too early to talk about plot details and again cant confirm if he will direct. He reveals that Paramount has flooded the team with ‘every published Star Trek work’ including the books…now that must have been a big delivery. The team he says has a variety of levels of Trek fandom, calling himself a ‘big fan’ (but wont go so far as calling himself a ‘Trekker’), Orci ‘has immediate recall of all things Trek’ and Burk seems to be a newbie…giving them as he says ‘all points of view’
After months of not hearing anything now JJA is talking to everyone! This time it is TV Guide’s turn, but of course he is still being cagey about details on plot… refusing to confrim or deny ‘young Kirk and Spock’. He did reveal that he is a big fan of TOS and TNG, but no so much DS9, VOY and ENT. While die-hard Trekkies may balk at this, lets face it…that is pretty much standard based on the ratings. Here is the moneyshot: “We’re in the middle of breaking the story, and it’s coming along great,” Abrams said. “We have an incredible beginning of a really dramatic story, and it very much honors the canon of Star Trek. On the other hand, it won’t be like anything you’ve seen before.” He adds, “I’d be happy to start sooner than Paramount thinks, but not a moment before it’s ready.” So there you have it…soon, canon-friendly, but different…what more can you ask continue reading for the full text of the TV Guide interview and a comment JJA gave to Cinefantastique …
News of the JJ Abrams deal with Paramount and Warner TV hit the wires and the trades on Monday (2 days after your humble blogger brought you the news). For the most part the reports focus on how amazingly rich and powerful Mr. Abrams is about to become, but our favorite topic (Trek XI) is mentioned in almost every report…most like this tidbit in The Hollywood Reporter Abrams already is attached to direct and produce a revival of the "Star Trek" film franchise for Paramount, which is his first project under the new feature deal. but Variety (who were first with Trek XI news in April) has a bit more info on how Paramount views the Trek franchise and Abrams place in it:
Much has been made about the recent rumor reported by the Insider that JJ Abrams wants Matt Damon to be the next Captain Kirk. The original report specifically said that JJ Abrams sought and recieved Shatner’s blessing. Since then USA Today reported Shatner as OKing Damon as young Kirk, quoting him “”I think it’s great. The tragedy is that when somebody else is playing you younger, you’re really old.” Now StarTrek.com is getting into the mix saying sources ‘close to Shatner’ claim Abrams seeking his advice is ‘news to him’ going on to say he hasn’t heard anything from Abrams or the producers of Star Trek XI. So there you have it…clear as mud.
Was Trek the clincher? It has been reported that Paramount’s Brad Grey has been actively pursuing Lost co-creator and MI3 Writer/Director JJ Abrams to sign on with Paramount after his deal with Disney ended this summer. Although Abrams had many suitors (Sony, Disney, Warner, etc) Grey had something the other studios didnt…Star Trek. Grey went so far as sheving another scifi project (Jon Favreau’s John Carter of Mars ) in the pipeline for 2008 to make room for a new Trek feature. Getting hold of this venerable (but now dormant) scifi franchise was a fanboy dream and something it appears that Abrams and his band of brothergeeks couldn’t resist. On Saturday the LA Times is reported (reg required) that Paramount had finally got their man for Trek XI and beyond.