The filmmakers behind this summer's hit movie discuss the upcoming sequel to the popular re-imagined franchise
One of the most popular films of this past summer was the re-imagining of Star Trek, so naturally fans can't wait for the inevitable sequel to the film. The movie saw the re-telling (in an alternate time-line) of the early days of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise so now that the stage has been set fans can't wait to see where the filmmakers take the series next. Director J.J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alec Kurtzman appeared at an event in Santa Monica yesterday to speak about the upcoming DVD and Blue Ray versions of the film and answered some questions about the upcoming sequel.
Abrams began by discussing the upcoming project, which is just in the early stages of brainstorming right now according to the writers. The director was asked if he thought the next film would incorporate more of the mythology of the original series or if the script would be an original story? "Going forward the fun of this movie series is that we will have opportunity given its kind of alternate time-line to cross paths with any of the experience, places and characters that existed in the original series," answered Abrams. "We've got to be very careful obviously doing that," he continued. "I don't want to do something that is so inside that only die-hard fans will appreciate but I guarantee you what ever the story, we're just now working on the script and beginning the process of story-breaking, but what ever the final movie ends up being, I know that the intent is that it will work on it's own terms and not be something that you need to know and study "Star Trek" to get but if you are a fan there will be, hopefully gift after gift of connections, references to characters and things that you hopefully as a fan hold near and dear."
The director went on to discuss his hopes for the sequel and his hope for adapting some of the allegories that the original show was so famous for. "With Star Trek it's not like we're looking to make the second movie some kind of heavy political allegory. I think that it's important that there is a metaphor to what we know and there is relevance. I think allegory is the thing that made show's like "The Twilight Zone" and "Star Trek" resonate and still vital today. But because the first movie was so much about introducing these people and is very much sort of a premise movie, which is, how do you bring these people together? It made it difficult to also have the film go as deep as it could about certain conflicts, about certain relationships, about the heart of who some of these characters are. I think it was successful in what it needed to do, to introduce these people but I feel that now that we've done that, and yes there is still going to be getting to know each other I'm sure in some degree, but I think that it is the job of the next film to go a little bit deeper, not to be any less fun, not to take it self too seriously but to consider now who these people are and to sort of grow with them and just examine them maybe a little bit more closely now that we've gotten through the pleasantries and introductions."
Roberto Orci added to that by saying, "Now that we've established the characters we can have a more philosophical allegory where what's happening in the future represents our world like the best versions of it in the '60s did, representing Women's rights, racial equality and progressive issues." When asked how much time will elapse between the two films, Orci said, "We're actually debating that." "We don't have an answer yet," replied his Krutzman.
Orci and Krutzman went on to discuss rumors that they were writing a second and third sequel at the same time. "You know I think we tend to look at this and I think it's very important to us that each movie is good," said Krutzman. "Not, hey lets do as many as possible but lets make sure that they're good. I think we feel like we've inherited this incredible honor and this mantel of Star Trek and the most important thing is to make sure that we're protecting that first. So if the studio wants more than one, great but our thinking is going to be very much about the story, whether it prescribes that they'll be more than one. Part of what's great about Star Trek is it is a continuing adventure so you naturally think that there will be many, hopefully but we only focus on what comes next and then build off of that. So right now we're not thinking specifically about making 2 and 3. It may come up but it's not where are heads are right now," he continued.
The writers were also asked if there were elements from the later Star Trek TV series that they had thought about incorporating into the films. "I think we think about it just because we do love "Star Trek: The Next Generation," but I think our instinct would be to first look at the original series before we considered that," said Orci. "But all that is on the table for us," he continued. The writers were then asked if they had given any thought to the inclusion of Khan in future films? "I think where we're starting is where our characters are now and what are interesting complications that we can put in their lives," said Krutzman. "What feels like an organic emotional place for them to get to or how do we want to test them? Then you look at everything. You look at everything and start asking who would be the best foe? But the short answer is that we haven't landed on anybody yet."
Orci continued, "There's a mental exercise that we play with. In fact we even at one point had a conversation I recall about the first movie that it could have ended on ... and then the Botany Bay floats by. So you can't be fans of this and not sit around at night and go, what if we ... so we've gone through probably whatever you've gone through in your mind."
Abrams was asked about a comment that Leonard Nimoy recently made about the Star Trek franchise no longer needing him. "I can say that I can't imagine a Star Trek movie not needing him," answered the director. "I'm sure what he is saying is a combination of modesty and honesty. He may actually feel that way but the truth is we could never have made this movie with out him and working with him again would be a joy. It is clearly to early now given that we are just talking story to conclude whether or not Spock Prime is in the film or not. But do I want to work with him again? Of course, one hundred percent, I'd love to."
Abrams also talked about the possibility of incorporating William Shatner back into the series. "In terms of moving forward, I'm open to anything," he said. "I would love to figure out something that given the challenge of introducing these new characters, given the burden of having to cast these people. I feel like the first movie did some of the heavy lifting that needed to be done in order to free us to continue going forward. Maybe there is less of a burden and there is going to be more opportunity to work with him. I would love to work with him. We speak; we actually have a lunch date planned. I'm a fan, I'm a friend of his or he's at least a friend of mine. He may say otherwise on his blog today, I have no idea. But I really couldn't like him more and would love to work with him."
Finally, Abrams was asked if he has considered shooting Star Trek 2 in 3D. "It's funny, Paramount talked to me about doing the first one in 3D and having it only be my second film I was petrified," the director said. "I thought it would be another dimension of pain-in-the-ass. I just wanted to make a descent 2D movie. I was so worried that rather than being a descent 2D movie it would be a bad 3D one so I'm open to looking at it because now I feel a little bit more comfortable. If I in fact direct the sequel of our Star Trek film 3D could be really fun. So I'm open to it. What I've seen of Avatar makes me want to do it because it's so crazy cool looking."