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
Trek on TV
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.
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
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!)
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.
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,
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”.
Tipster ‘davidoflondon‘ sends us a Trek XI tidbit from Yesterday’s events at the Official Star Trek Convention in Vegas. Star Trek Nemesis and Star Trek: The Next Generation co-stars Brent Spiner (Data) and Jonathan Frakes (Riker) spoke to the fans and took some questions. As expected the subject of the next movie came up. When asked if Spiner’s character Data was really dead they said that it was up to Trek XI producer JJ Abrams. Well known for being jokesters, Frakes and Spiner put their tongues in cheeks when asked if Frakes would direct Trek XI. David reports: He (Frakes) said he was definitely going to and he wanted Brent to play every role. He said Brent does a particularly good Picard and Brent, of course, obliged with an impersonation of Patrick Stewart.
IESB‘s Robert Sanchez is reporting some inside info on how Paramount really view the Trek franchise and its future with JJ Abrams. The report starts off with a roundup of the latest Statements from William Shatner. If their sourcing is to be trusted Paramount is very up on Abrams, but not so much for Shatner. The unnamed ‘studio source’ is quoted as saying “Absolutely not” to there being a chance of the Shat showing up in Star Trek XI. IESB’s source went on to say quite a bit about the state of the Trek franchise and how Abrams’ Star Trek XI can bring Trek back: This is not just another Trek movie but instead a total reboot, we will see things that are similar to what is known in the Trek Universe but we will not be held to every aspect of the last 40 years. We are going to introduce Star Trek to a whole new generation and many more generations to come. We have total faith that J.J. and company will take Trek to a whole new level. Trek has been going downhill for the last 10 years and if we expect it to be around 20 years from now we will have to take some bold steps that might be controversial at first but we are sure to bring new fans to the dying franchise
It is really becoming Shatner Week around here isnt it? William Shatner talked to the Toronto Star about Star Trek XI and his latest novel. When asked to comment about rumors that JJ Abrams is planning on bringing back Kirk and Spock he had this to say: I don’t know about that…I’d heard a rumour that Matt Damon was signed (to play Kirk), but we don’t know if he is signed. I know nothing.” …but if Abrams phones him, Shatner would certainly take the call: Oh yeah…I would love to do it.”
William Shatner told "Extra" this weekend that ‘he’s ready to go’ if asked by JJ Abrams to be involved with Star Trek XI. Abrams may be looking for a new actor to play Kirk, but is rumored to have spoken to Shatner on at least one occasion. Shatner spent the rest of his evening being ‘roasted’ at a taping for Comedy Central. Lots of Trek at Shatner’s RoastIt seems that even though he is on a hit TV show and has a varied career, Shatner is still most known for his role as Captain Kirk. The Shat (see pic) was roasted in his captain’s chair from original series Star Trek. The show started off with a taped comedy video featuring Shatner trying to talk Leonard Nimoy into coming to the show…
One of the fanboy wet dreams for Star Trek XI is to have a single film with every single TV Trek Captain, something never done on big or small screen or even in book form. It appears JJ Abrams isn’t going to provide that wish fulfillment for the Trek’s return ot the big screen, but Bethesda Softworks is going to do it for Trek’s return to gaming this fall. Bethesda just announced: Surrounding the 40th Anniversary of STAR TREK, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, and Kate Mulgrew to Reprise Captain Roles for STAR TREK: Legacy™
JJ Abrams may be working on the New Kirk & Spock for Star Trek XI, but ‘Kirk & Spock Classic’ are still trekkin. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy showed up this week at TV Land to promote that network’s launch of Star Trek: The Original Series this fall (starting with a 40th anniversary Marathon on September 8th). Here are some photos from AP and Reuters:
Some Star Trek XI numbers 2…ranking of ‘TOS’ for preferred setting of STXI on new SciFi Wire poll (#1 ‘something new’) 2…ranking of ‘Matt Damon’ for the preferred new Kirk in a StarTrek.com poll (#1 ‘total unknown’) 5 (out of 5)… STXI’s level on Cinemablend ‘excite-o-meter’. 7…ranking of STXI on Cinescape top 10 movies in development Did someone mention Matt Damon? According to Moviehole, he has pulled out playing the title role in the Lance Armstrong biopic, to be replaced by Jake Gyllenhall. The reason given is ‘his busy schedule’. Matt will be filming Ocean’s Thirteen and The Bourne Ultimatum through the winter. Leaving his spring wide open…JJ Will Paramount bring back the Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest at the same time its bringing back Trek itself? Tim Allen tells the SciFi Wire that a sequel idea has been presented to Dreamworks (now part of Paramount). Never give up, never surrender Tim.
The new Star Trek movie is still two years away but it has already has it’s very own ‘dancing baby’; in the form of a very angry Captain Kirk. Wherever people are talking about the new movie, invariably you will find a link to the ‘Shatner Is Kirk’ page at ytmnd.com (a community-based site where users upload various humorous animations and videos). Since its creation 3 weeks ago, the vid has been viewed over 65,000 times. You will often see links to the ‘Shatner Is Kirk’ page posted by those arguing against any actor (including Matt Damon) filling William Shatner’s space boots. Clearly it’s maker was sending a message that he joins in their ‘anti-recasting’ cause…or does he? The Trek XI Report talked to the man behind this internet hit, and he wants to “set the record straight”.
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.
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.