In the past week a few surprises have been dropped concerning the forthcoming installment to the Star Trek franchise. The news however may leave longtime fans questioning where Paramount is going with the newly revived Enterprise, especially as they are facing its 50th anniversary.
To Boldly Return Where No One Had Gone Before:
What made Star Trek ‘2009’ and Star Trek Into Darkness so engaging for fans to begin with was the vision of a Sci-Fi-minded Director supported by an informed and shrewd script. Anyone with a keen eye could see that J.J. Abrams coveted Star Wars but was settling for Star Trek. The alien makeup, droids and even some of the tech looked influenced more by old Star Wars movies than Star Trek episodes. Although, dare to find a Trek fan that would complain about these past two films, as they were visually appealing any general fan of the genre. Obversely, the scripts for both “2009” and Into Darkness were so peppered with Original Series trivia, Roberto Orci is either a clever Trekkie nerd or has exceptional attention to detail; In TOS episode “Journey to Babel,” we learn that Spock and his father Sarek indeed have a falling out, due to Spock’s choice to enlist in Star Fleet instead of the Vulcan Science Academy, and that Spock endured hazing from young, immature Vulcan coeds – the latter being revisited in the Animated Series episode “Yesteryear.” Orci also initiated what is now being called the “Soft-reboot” for films, which keeps the original storyline intact by affirming this series takes place in an alternate reality generated in the effects of time travel – you may notice this happening now with the Terminator and X-men franchise. The marriage between Abrams’ vision and Orci’s words resulted in a crisp and mod Star Trek angle anyone could enjoy.
Even before the announcement, it was obvious J.J. Abrams would being steering the new Star Wars trilogy, and certainly for the best. After two sensational Trek films the question was who could be a suitable replacement for Abrams. Paramount had released a short list of potential successors, which included Robert Ocri stepping in, along with Duncan Jones and Jonathan Franks. Any of those would have been ideal, all being well versed in the genre of Science Fiction. Jones declined the offer to write and direct his own project – whether he was referring to Warcraft, due out in 2016 and based on the videogame series, is not specified. After a brief time that was oddly void of any further speculation or rumors, Paramount suddenly named Justin Lin as Director and the unnamed Star Trek sequel. Lin is best known for working on the fairer half of The Fast & The Furious movies, which are virtually the antithesis of Science Fiction and opposed to its fan base. Justin Lin DOES have experience in other fields, however it does not sound promising for a cerebral action film to be handed to someone who routinely directs mindless ones. Shortly after Justin Lin was nominated to direct, Roberto Orci dropped out of the picture altogether. He cited creative difference with Paramount, and confirmed they will not using his script for the new film; Orci previously expressed he wanted the next film to be more reflective of the Original Series, as Into Darkness ends with the crew of the Enterprise launching their famed five year mission.
The revelations in the past week, pertaining to the development of Star Trek, have set high doubt that a film intended to be a celebration of 50 years of where no one has gone before will live up to expectations. Like always, only time will tell.
Star Trek 13 will hit theaters July 8, 2016.