Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci on Big Ideas for a Star Trek Sequel
With less than three months left until 2010, I've started to think back over the movies I've seen this year. One that continually floats to the top in terms of being a movie that I just loved every minute of is J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. It may be odd to hear news about a sequel right now, but Paramount is doing a big promo for its DVD release, which is why J.J. Abrams and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are out talking with press (via Collider). The sequel is just barely being developed, and even though they're still "just brainstorming," the ideas seem to be there, and the three each hint at what we might see in a sequel.
Although Kurtzman and Orci have answered the "sequel" question countless times already in regards to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, they were asked again what makes great sequels so great. I always feel like that's a perfect place to start by putting everything into perspective before hearing specific ideas.
"There's Empire Strikes Back, Superman 2, Aliens, Terminator 2, Star Trek 2. What do all those movies have in common? Well, they're amazing stories, all on their own. You didn't have to see the first movie. And, there was some incredible, emotional test of character, in all of those movies. Superman has to give up his powers for love. The Spock and Kirk relationship is tested by Khan. Ripley finds a daughter. All of those things are such big ideas, in and of themselves, and you really can't tell those stories in movie #1 because movie #1 is very much about establishing a world." -Alex Kurtzman
So if they can now start to explore some of those more broader ideas and tests of character in a sequel to Star Trek, where might they go? Could they explore other stories from the Star Trek universe, including even The Next Generation? Afraid not: "I think our instinct would be to first look at The Original Series before we considered that." Let's turn to Abrams next, who has a lot of great things to say about a sequel.
"In going forward, the fun of this movie series is that we will have the opportunity, given its alternate timeline, to cross paths with any of the experiences, places and characters that existed in The Original Series, but we have to be really careful, doing that. I don't want to do something that is so inside that only die-hard fans will appreciate. We're just now working on the script and just beginning the process of story breaking, but I guarantee you, whatever the story is and whatever the final movie ends up being, I know it will be something that will work on its own terms and be something that you don't need to know and study Star Trek to get, but if you are a fan, there will hopefully be gift after gift of connections, references and characters that you hold near and dear. At least, that's the intent." -J.J. Abrams
In the last few months we've already heard some ideas about a sequel from numerous sources. There's this update from Kurtzman and Orci in June about "ideas for the sequel." And then there was the story back in September (that got blown way out of proportion) about the sequel reflecting contemporary political issues. In response to that claim, Kurtzman and Orci said: "now that we've established the characters, we can have a more philosophical allegory, where what's happening in the future represents our world." Oh and let's not forget, for those who are concerned after this summer, that Star Trek 2 won't be like Transformers 2. Phew!
Getting back on topic, Kurtzman and Orci were asked about making Star Trek 2 and 3 back-to-back, which seems to be what all the fans really want to see, but not anything that any studio has actually wanted to do.
"It's very, very important to us to make sure that each movie is good, not 'Hey, let's do as many as possible.' We feel like we've inherited this incredible honor and this mantle 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 and whether the story prescribes that there will be more than one. Part of what is great about Star Trek is that it's 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. Right now, we're not thinking specifically about making 2 and 3. It may come up, but it's not where our heads are at right now." -Alex Kurtzman
And how about another wild idea - 3-D? Abrams answers that one, saying that Paramount talked about making the first one in 3D, but he decided against it because he was so worried about just making a good movie. I thought it would be another dimension of pain-in-the-ass. I was just like, 'I want to make a decent 2-D movie.'" But on the second go around? "I'm open to looking at it because now I feel a little bit more comfortable. And, if I, in fact, direct the Star Trek sequel, 3-D could be really fun, so I'm open to it." Abrams also references Avatar, like everyone in Hollywood right now, saying he likes what he's seen so far.
Lastly, one of the reasons why I love J.J. Abrams is because he's such a humble filmmaker. Not only is he brilliant (and a damn fine director), but he hasn't let any of the fame get to his head, and he always speaks so well in interviews. Here he is asked whether he sees himself involved with the Star Trek franchise "for the foreseeable future" or only on "a movie-by-movie basis." His answer is the perfect place to wrap this up.
"That's a wonderfully optimistic question and I appreciate that, but the answer is that it's obviously just movie-to-movie. The fact that we are now actively discussing the second film is surreal and very nice, and I'm thrilled. I hope that that results in something worthy of your time. But, it's one of those things that you just don't know. And so, I cannot presume it's gonna be a series that goes beyond those. Do we have ideas for a few movies and have we discussed them? Of course." -J.J. Abrams
You can read the full J.J. Abrams interview on Collider here and the full Kurtzman and Orci interivew on Collider here. At this point I'm just excited to get my Blu-Ray copy in and to watch it a few times over at my home. Then I'll be excited to see what they're going to do next and anxious for them to get a sequel written and into development very soon. I say bring on the next "episode" of this great new Star Trek series guys!