It seems that there may be a rocky road ahead for Brad Grey, the man who brought JJ Abrams into the Paramount family and agreed to hand him the keys to Star Trek. If you haven’t heard already, Viacom Chairman and part-time Cryptkeeper Sumner Redstone fired Grey’s boss, Viacom CEO Tom Freston yesterday. It was Freston who had brought Grey on board a year ago and the word on Wall Street is that the axe may continue to fall…possibly into Grey’s neck. This has not been a good year for Paramount Pictures and Viacom stock has been falling (it fell 5% yesterday alone). It appears the split up of Viacom hasn’t worked out the way Redstone had planned, and he is pinning the blame on Freston. And it appears he isn’t too happy with Grey, recently Redstone cut Grey’s negotiations with Tom Cruise off and kicked Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner off the lot. Cruise and Waner were the ones who brought Abrams to Grey’s attention after hiring him for MI3. The question for TrekMovie.com is, what is the shake-up at Viacom and Paramount do to the Star Trek XI project. Sources inside Paramount tell us that technically the project is not officially ‘greenlit’ and does not yet have a budget. This is not unusual because the script is still being worked on, but so far work just falls under Abrams overall 5 year deal and not part of a full-blown Trek XI development project. The project is still at a stage where it wouldn’t cost the studio a lot to put it on hold or kill it outright.
This morning CBS Paramount held a telephone press conference with Star Trek Remastered producers David Rossi, Mike Okuda and CBS Paramount Domestic Television President John Nogawski. Although the call covered a number of issues, the CBS team wanted it to be clear that Star Trek Remastered was about improving quality and not about changes to the narrative of Star Trek. “We are not changing the story,” said Okuda “We are passionate about Star Trek and are just enhancing the experience”. Nogawksi discussed their reasoning behind the project saying that with a new generation being brought up with HDTV it was ‘imperative’ that they update the classic series. Mike Okuda said that like Rossi he was initially reluctant, but after he was assured that CBS wanted to preserve the shows original intent he became very enthusiastic. Okuda and Rossi went into detail on how every new CGI shot will mimic the original choices made the original editors and director, right down to the placement of stars. “We think of the original show like a period piece,” said Okuda. The producers said that they have been checking out fan response on various Trek boards and felt that their respectful approach has gone over well.
As with anything regarding Trek, news of the newly remastered Star Trek: The Original Series with new CGI effects has sparked much debate amongst Trekkies, pitting enhancement advocates against Trek ‘purists’. Today on G4’s Attack of the Show, Star Trek Remastered producer David Rossi debated the project with Geek magazine editor (and contributor to the new ‘Star Trek Constellations‘ book) Jeff Bond. Rossi began by saying that he considers himself a ‘purist’ and would have been against the project years ago, but after seeing how younger audiences ‘snicker’ at the old effects he feels the show needs a facelift. “There is no reason why a ten year old shouldn’t be able to to sit down and get immersed into the show and realize that Captain Kirk and the crew and the Enterprise are kick ass,” argued Rossi.
It would appear the answers to questions about the future of Star Trek Enterprise in syndication and where one can find the newly remasted Original Series are related. The Trek Movie Report has confirmed what many have suspected, CBS Paramount Television will no longer send Enterprise episodes to stations currently running the show. Staring Sept 16th CBS will begin providing remastered Star Trek The Original Series episodes. Star Trek Enteprise began it’s life in syndication in September of 2005, 4 months after the end of it’s fourth and final season on UPN. In it’s first year CBS Paramount ran 26 episodes, the last of which ‘Regeneration’ will air this upcoming weekend. CBS Paramount will be sending out 35-40 episodes of the remastered Star Trek: The Original Series in each of the next two years allowing them to run through the entire series by the end of the original 3 year syndication deals. Stations that were airing Enterprise were informed of the coming change over the summer. Although it is leaving broadcast syndication, fans of Star Trek Enterprise will be able to find the show on both HDNet and SciFi channel staring this fall. And of course all 4 seasons are availble on DVD.
I’ve got a few con reports from today’s Toronto Fan Expo regarding Abrams, Nimoy and Shatner. At the con, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner stated that their representitives have been contacted by the office of Star Trek XI producer JJ Abrams. Apparently JJ wants to to talk and has requested their home numbers. Nimoy said he gave his out and is awaiting JJ’s call. Shatner, who had brought the subject of Abrams up, joked that he wasn’t ready to talk to the man who was ‘going to revive the franchise’. Shatner in recent weeks has made many glowing comments about Abrams and about wanting to be in Trek XI…we suspect he will take Abrams call.UPDATE: Video from inside the room from John at the MovieBlog
Since breaking the story on Star Trek going HD, TrekMovie.com has been trying to get more and more updates to keep answering the questions coming from the fans. One burning question was about the ratio, will it be formatted for HD TVs in 16:9, or as originally formatted in a 4:3 ratio, or both. Many thought that after seeing the Eden test it might be in 16:9 widescreen, but the official CBS photo is in 4:3. Now we have that info and some more directly from CBS Paramount: Ratio: 4:3 (no letterboxing on regular TVs, ‘windowboxing’ on HDTVs) Countries: USA only Episodes/yr: 40 (one new episode per week, with some repeats) First Episodes: “Balance of Terror”, “Miri”, “The Devil in the Dark”, and “The Naked Time” Station List: TBA (only ‘handful’ will broadcast in HD) Runtime: TBA (not original 51 minutes, will be edited down for commercials) New TOS In HD Section There is a new “TOS In HD” page which will have all the details on the new project, it will be updated regularly.
TMR got a tip that was so outlandish yet so detailed that we had to follow it up. We were told that a San Antonio modern rock band called ‘Electric Crush‘ were signed on to provide music for Star Trek XI, and specifically that they would be recording a Star Trek XI music video in L.A. on September 30th. This seemed like a joke and of course Trek XI composer Mike Giacchino has said he wont start working on the score for quite some time, but the tip’s specificity was curious. TMR contacted the band’s manager Keith Chester just for the hell of it and got a big shock when he asked “how did you find out?”. He went on to say, “yeah it’s for the new movie called ‘Of Gods and Men’”…and then it all made sense. Of Gods And Men is the much anticipated new independent (unlicensed) Star Trek movie with a cast and crew that includes a number of former Trek stars and writers. The Trek Report has confirmed the story with Sky Conway the producer and co-writer of the new fan film. Electric Crush will be filming a music video of their song ‘Taking Away’ on the set of ‘Of Gods and Men’ in late September. The song will also appear in at least one of the webisodes and any possible ‘behind the scenes’ DVDs. The first of three Of Gods and Men webisodes will be available in December at an internet near you.
Over the last week The Trek Movie Report has got a number of tips regarding an article in the new Star Trek Magazine titled “Blank Slate / New Film Producers Deny Kirk and Spock Recasting Rumors”. Coming from the officially licensed Star Trek magazine this at first did seem like significant news. A few other websites ran ‘news’ that the Kirk and Spock recasting rumor had been ‘officially denied’, but the Trek Movie Report noticed something a bit familiar to the story and decided to dig deeper. After speaking to one of the editors at Titan Publishing it is clear that the headline was not based on any recent conversations Star Trek Magazine had with any Trek XI producers. Although Titan (who also publish the official magazines for both Lost and Alias in addition to the Star Trek Mag) work with Trek XI and Lost producers JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof regularly, the editor confirms that they were not contacted for that particular article. “As far as we know Paramount have a policy to not confirm or deny any plot details on Trek XI and our article was trying to convey that” said the editor.
Four days ago we reported Leonard Nimoy had told the Toronto Star ” I do, by contract, have the right to approve the casting” (for a recasted Spock). Well this bombshell ran around the internet and raised 4 key questions: Is this true? Does it apply to Shatner too? Is this an old contract? What power does he (do they) really have? Yes/Yes/No/Some According to a Paramount source it is indeed true: “I can tell you what Nimoy said is accurate, and it applies to Shatner too”. The source also confirmed that no other Trek actor (including ones no longer alive) has the same deal, just Nimoy and Shatner. For the third question, a reasonable assumption would be that these must be old contracts from their heyday in the 80s or maybe during the run-up to Star Trek VI (the last time Paramount considered recasting Kirk and Spock). As it turns out, according to the source, the contracts are brand spanking new and related specifically to Star Trek XI. Which begs the obvious question…why on earth would Paramount and JJ Abrams go out of their way to hand over casting veto power to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy?
One company that vied for the CGI effects work on the new HDTV Trek project was EdenFX. The L.A.-based digital effects house has a long relationship Paramount and Star Trek dating back to the 90s. The team has racked up a couple dozen Emmy’s for their Trek work, most recently in 2004 for Star Trek: Enterprise. Last year when Eden created a digital version of a ship from Kirk’s era for the ‘In A Mirror Darkly’ arc, fans got a taste of what the classic Trek might look like with state-of-the-art visual effects on HDTV . When word of a new HD Star Trek: The Original Series project started going around town, EdenFX was on the scene immediately. The company quickly put together a bid including test footage (see below). In the end CBS decided to do the initial CGI work in-house. However, EdenFX owner John Gross is still optimistic they can be part of HDTV Trek as the project goes along. CBS Paramount has committed to deliver ‘new’ episodes on a weekly basis, so it sounds like there is a lot of work to do over the next two years. EdenFX Test video (QuickTime – opens new window)
You heard it here first CBS Paramount are now confirming that Star Trek: The Original Series is coming to a HDTV near you, a story first broke by the Trek Movie Report earlier this week. TV Guide has the details, but they are pretty much what has been reported here: TOS remastered for HDTV Syndication No DVDs New CGI effects for space shots and static paintings Static paintings will add some new animation and details Will ‘honor original’, but fixes some ‘goofs’ Original title music re-recorded Starts Sept 16th First episode “Balance of Terror” One episode per week (out of order) over next two years
Star Trek’s return to video games this fall has been shaping up to be a fanboy fantasy. Not only will ‘Star Trek Legacy’ feature a story written by Trek vet DC Fontana, it includes voicework from all 5 Trek Captains (Shatner, Stewart, Brooks, Mulgrew and Bakula). Fans could have reasonably assumed that the epic story spanning the entire Star Trek timeline would include some or all of the classic battles from the Movies and TV shows, such as Kirk’s epic battle with Khan in Star Trek II. In fact, the game’s publisher Bethesda has used the Wrath of Khan battle to demonstrate the game at E3 (see video). But Bethesda developer ‘Gary’ has thrown some cold water on this notion, from the official forums:
It should be no surprise that people want in to Star Trek XI, here are this week’s entries: Star Trek: Voyager‘s Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) told a crowd at Vegas Con that not only does she want to play ‘Admiral Janeway’ again, but she thinks it will happen. Totally Kate reports her as saying: "I think maybe they will do it. This is the fortieth anniversary. Who knows? By the sixtieth all the captains may have come together in some motion picture. With any luck they will." Keep sitting by the phone Kate. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes (Riker) seems to be a fan of Trek XI prodcuer J.J. Abrams, telling Star Trek magazine "I’m addicted to Lost". He also put in a pitch for another shot at the Trek director’s chair, telling the mag that he hopes Abrams is too busy to direct (Abrams has said he will probably direct, but he does have a lot of stuff on his plate). After Star Trek: Insurrection, not sure Paramount is ready to hand back the keys.
News of Star Trek: The Original Series coming to HDTV with new CGI effects has swept the interweb today from G4TV to Slashdot to dozens of forums in the geekosphere. The news is promting a lot of questions and speculation; The Trek Movie Report has learned some more details that should answer some of those questions: Broadcasts start in mid/late September No DVD (or HD-DVD or BluRay) release in the near future Episodes will NOT air in the original production order (nor original airing order) First episode will (probably) be “Balance Of Terror“ CGI Trek Videos on YouTube (here and here) are not related to this project TV Land and G4 will continue to show ‘classic’ Trek in standard 4:3 ratio Again since this is not official some details may change when finally announced by CBS Paramount, which should be soon (they only have a few days until Trek’s 40th B-Day!)
Star Trek XI honcho JJ Abrams got the notice of Paramount after his deft work on Mission Impossible III. Although it made $400M a sequel seemed highly unlikely after Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone very publicly booted Tom Cruise off the Paramount lot last week. However, in an interview with Newsweek, Paramount chief Brad Grey offers an olive branch. “I still admire Tom Cruise, he is a huge movie star and a great actor and I’m sure we’ll work together in the future,” said Grey. Even stranger, the Cruise camp seems open to working with Paramount and even an ‘MI4’. Cruise’s producing partner Paula Wagner tells Newsweek “If it’s the right script why not?…we created that franchise”. If this ever happens one could assume that all parties would want Abrams back in the big chair, Cruise himself delayed MI3 for over a year to wait until Abrams was ready for his big debut. Let’s just hope that any MI4 project does not bump into Star Trek XI…that other little Paramount franchise Abrams is working on.
Leonard Nimoy spoke to the Ottawa Sun about his upcoming appearance at Fan Expo Canada and took the opportunity to expand on his recent comments about Trek XI. As someone who has been around the block with Trek, he sees a lot of similarities between today and the 70s before Star Trek: The Motion Picture, telling the Sun “there was this great demand and no product.” Nimoy now reveals that both he and William Shatner have been contacted by Paramount regarding Star Trek XI, and he speculated as to why they have been showing renewed interest in the original Kirk and Spock. The head of production at Paramount called my agency to tell them about this project and they are aware of Bill’s and my contribution to the franchise, and they’d like us to know they might want some involvement. It was all very, very general…They might possibly want Bill and I to set up the story as a flashback. But that’s just conjecture on my part.
Before JJ Abrams gets to bring the TOS era back to the big screen in Star Trek XI, CBS Paramount has a secret plan to get it back on the small screen, but with a makeover. Over a month ago it was announced that CBS was selling a new broadcast TV (not cable) syndication package for the original series. At the time it seemed a bit odd to try selling a 40 year old show to local TV stations, especially after it has just been sold to yet another cable outlet (this time TV Land…home of retro TV). The Trek Movie Report has now learned from trusted insiders, that CBS Paramount are actually offering an HDTV enhanced version of the Original Series with new state-of-the art CGI visual effects.
After leaving the world of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica co-creator Ron Moore has never been shy about his views of modern Trek. He often cites the many flaws within recent Trek shows as exactly what he is trying not to do on his award series. Trek Movie Report had a brief chat with Moore after Sunday’s BSG panel and asked Ron what he thought of Trek XI. He said he didn’t know much, joking “I only know what I read, you can probably tell me more”. When asked about his views in general he seemed quite optimistic about Trek’s new future, saying “I think it’s a great idea, and I am glad JJ (Abrams) is doing it”
The Toronto Star talked to Leonard Nimoy about Star Trek, Photography and his upcoming appearence at next weekend’s Fan Expo Canada. Nimoy was asked about Star Trek XI and the reported Kirk and Spock storyline, but he didn’t seem to know anything besides what has been previously reported. However when asked if he had any casting ideas, Nimoy said something quite intriguing I haven’t gone there yet. I think it’s premature. Although I do, by contract, have the right to approve the casting Want to Recast Us? Only After We Say So
One of the persistent rumors about Star Trek XI is that it centers on the life of Kirk and Spock at the Academy. The Academy story is not a new one, it was originally proposed by Harve Bennett as an idea for Star Trek VI; the studio eventually went with Nick Meyer’s Cold War themed ‘Undiscovered Country’. Last year the Academy notion came back when William Shatner revealed that he is working on a Starfleet Academy book series with his longtime writing partners Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. He also revealed at the time that he had pitched the idea as a series to ‘top executives’ at Paramount. The Trek Movie Report has learned from a studio insider that the Shat went right to the top and pitched it to none other than Viacom Chairman Sumner ‘Get Tom Cruise Off My Property’ Redstone. Supposedly Shatner went in to Paramount after Star Trek Enterprise became ratings challenged in it’s second year. Shatner believed that Paramount/UPN would replace Enterprise with his Academy show, but they stuck with Enterprise for 2 more seasons before pulling the plug. There are currently no known plans for new Trek on TV. But Shatner still plans on getting his story out there in book form,
In Hollywood, movies don’t truly get started until there is a script. Our studio sources have been telling us that only the ‘story’ (or ‘treatment’) for Star Trek XI has been completed. Now, according to Trek XI executive producer and co-writer Roberto Orci, it seems that Halloween is the target for the first draft of a script with filming starting as early as next summer. Orci revealed the schedule in response to an online query about the Trek XI time frame this Wednesday, saying: Just started writing it. First draft by end of October, second by x-mas and hopefully shooting in summer or fall. If all goes REALLY well.
It appears that William Shatner isn’t the only big star bucking for a seat on the next Trek enterprise. JJ Abrams pal and expected Trek XI castmember Greg Grunberg is concered about the compeition he is facing for a good part in Star Trek XI. Grunberg tells SciFi Wire: It would be great to have some great role. But people are coming out of the woodwork. Amazing actors are coming out from everywhere calling J.J. and saying, ‘I want to be in this movie!’
Last night it was revealed that Paramount Pictures has ended it’s long relationship with Tom Cruise and producer partner Paula Wagner. It has been reported that Paramount Chief Brad Grey and Cruise/Wagner were in negotiations for restructuring their deal (downwards), and most expected them to come to a deal. Now it appears that Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone (pictured with Cruise: right) has stepped in and cut off all talks and sent Cruise packing. Paula Wagner isn’t going down without a fight and has fired back regarding how much cash Cruise has brought in to the Paramount family, stated they have been responsible for 15% of revenue since they were brought on board. She also cited bringing in JJ Abrams to the Paramount family. Abrams’ work with Cruise and Wagner on Mission Impossible 3 convinced Paramount they wanted him for the long term; recently signing him to a 5 year deal with Star Trek XI as his first film.
Although it has been expected, long time JJ Abrams collaborator Michael Giacchino has confirmed he will score Star Trek XI. He tells IGN Filmforce that work is a long time off and that he hasn’t even talked to Abrams about it yet. Giacchino does say he may be picking up on some classic Trek cues, but then going his own way I think that ultimately you might pick the theme that you think is the important one and utilize that in a certain way and then go completely somewhere else with it…That would be I guess in the same way as Mission: Impossible was fun like that to take that and go somewhere wholly different with the score that the other two dudes didn’t do. Not that it’s better or worse but just different.
It looks like JJ Abrams can add ‘graphic artist’ to his growing list of credits for Star Trek XI. Recently our intrepid ‘VegasCon Correspondent’ DavidofLondon picked up an anonymous tip that the Star Trek XI teaser poster was designed by Abrams himself. Today the Trek Movie Report contacted David’s source as well as an additional studio insider who both confirmed this tidbit. One of the insiders pointed out that it is not surprising since Abrams is an experienced designer and even did some of the design work on his debut film Mission Impossible III. It is surprising when you consider that in July Abrams was co-writing Star Trek XI, signed two Hollywood megadeals, co-wrote a script for Lost, and put the finishing touches on the MI:3 DVDs. This shows a serious hands on approch for Abrams. The possible hints he embedded in his design truly make it live up to the description of ‘teaser’.
CNBC’s ‘On the Money‘ show took a trip to the Vegas Con to see just how much money there was in Star Trek. Their conclusion…A LOT. They estimate that the franchise has been worth $4 Billion for Paramount. A recent unnamed source from Paramount has caused a bit of a stir with his not too favorable comments to IESB about the Trek Franchise, but CBS Paramount VP John Wentworth goes on the record with CNBC: Star Trek is certainly more than a show, more than a movie. It is more than an auction, it’s more than a theme park, collectively it is just the most successful franchise I’ve ever seen in entertainment
One thing was clear from watching last night’s Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner, the classic series Star Trek still endures and is truely part of our social fabric. One really can’t imagine a roast of any other Trek actor…even Stewart. Shatner and Kirk are truely legendary. JJ Abrams is on the right track by bringing back Kirk and Spock. Speaking of Spock, the show started off with this taped bit with Shatner and Leonard Nimoy… (click ‘more’ for additional videos)
As expected, there was no real news from the Official Star Trek Convention in Vegas, but our friend ‘davidoflondon tips us off to what some of the Trek luminaries were saying about it. Captain Kirk himself William Shatner continued his fawning over Trek’s new master by saying “JJ Abrams is going to lift us on the wings of fantasy”…We get it Bill, you want to be in the movie. Shatner was joined by Mr. Spock himself on stage and Bill ribbed Nimoy about how the first pilot for Trek (shot with Jeffrey Hunter playing Captain Pike). Shatner referred to it as “the one you were in that didn’t sell”.
Ever wanted to do the ultimate Trekkie roadtrip? Want to know the best route from the Aquarium from Star Trek IV to the Vulcan’s landing spot in Star Trek First Contact? Well now you can with Google Maps Star Trek Places (You can also see think links on GoogleEarth) has been showing off their Trek related goodies at their booth at Official Trek Convention in Vegas. Google has also launched a special website for Trekkies that allows fans to share Trek related artwork. IT News Online has a full breakdown of the technology behind Google’s new Trek themed sites and projects. Google seems to really love Trek, this is from their press release: “Wherever and whenever science fiction fans gather, an appreciation of technology – and alien visitations – can’t be far behind…While in Las Vegas to help celebrate Star Trek‘s 40th anniversary, the Google booth will showcase these science fiction scenes and structures, created by users, highlighting intergalactic life.”
I am with Comic Book Guy when he says “of the four Star franchises: Wars, Trek, Gate and Search; Gate is easily my third favorite”. But Stargate has its moments, and in Simpsons-like fashion they celebrated their 200th episode with a very Treehouse Of Horror type set of stories and parodies…here is the Trek one The episode also parodied Team America, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, and Farscape . One admirable quality of Stargate is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously (like that other show on SciFi Channel…Hey Ron I Kid I Kid…love BSG). vid thanks to rdascrapbook