A few weeks ago the Insider’s Marc Malkin reported that Star Trek XI producer JJ Abrams‘ wife Katie Mc Grath pulled off a last minute surprise party for JJ’s 40th Birthday. Guests (who varied from Don Rickles to Richard Lewis to the Tom Cruise himself) weren’t told where it was until just hours before it was to start. That story focused on the Tom/Katie/Suri angle so Malkin left something out, but he has sent it our way since we are all Trek XI all the time! Marc tells the Trek XI Report that in order to keep JJ from finding out about the party; he was told that he was going to a meeting with none other than William Shatner (Star Trek‘s original Kirk). Although that was just a ruse to keep Abrams from finding out about his party, it is intriguing that his people used a Shatner meeting as their choice for distractions. This is even more intriguing when one looks at the various comments being made by Shatner regarding Abrams and Star Trek XI.
Trek on TV
Marina Sirtis (TNG’s Deanna Troi) and Levar Burton (TNG’s Geordi La Forge) attended a panel (at last September’s DragonCon) to discuss their work on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In a video posted this week to YouTube (below) you can see their answers to questions about their most recent Trek films as well as Paramount’s plans for switching from the TNG cast to a TOS prequel for Star Trek XI (NOTE: since this video was shot Paramount have cancelled plans for one prequel project from Rick Berman and greenlit another prequel project produce by JJ Abrams…but both concepts are rumored to be set pre-TOS and not include the TNG casts)
Now it’s Michael Dorn’s turn to let us know how he really feels. Dorn (Lt. Worf) talked to the Houston Chronicle as part of the release of the new ‘Star Trek Fan Collective: Klingon’ set of DVDs. Regarding the possibility of Star Trek XI being a TOS prequel he says “I think that would be a mistake…you dont go backwards in Star Trek”. Like Sirtis, Dorn also takes a swipe at the Trek TV Shows made after Star Trek: The Next Generation, “I don’t think he would have done any of those shows” Dorn said, referring to the late Gene Roddenberry (creator of the Trek franchise). Presumably Dorn’s comments are limited to Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise being that Dorn was on the Paramount payroll for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for 5 years. Dorn who has the distinction of appearing in more Star Trek episodes than any other actor believes that Paramount has ‘milked the cashcow almost dry’, but would he play Lt. Worf again? “I’m smart enough to never say never”.
In a live chat with fans on her official site, Marina Sirtis (TNG: Troi) didnt seem too happy with the direction Paramount is taking for Star Trek XI. "I agree with you all about the prequel, Gene Roddenberry always said that Star trek should go forward" she replied to the sentiments that the next Trek film should be set after Star Trek Nemesis, despite its disappointing box office. Her fans seem to want the new Trek film to focus on the Rikers abourd the Starship Titan. Star Trek Nemesis established that Sirtis’ Troi and Jonathan Frakes’ Riker were married and went off to have their own adventures. The Titan has become the basis for a series of popular Star Trek books.
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…
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.
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 …
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.