'Star Trek' sequel: 'We're looking at a lot of old episodes for inspiration,' say writers

Star-Trek-new-movieImage Credit: Inset: Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosScreenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are still in the early stages of writing the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek reboot (likely due in the summer of 2012), and given the general fog of secrecy that hovers over every J.J. Abrams project, you won’t be surprised to find out that their recent interview with the Los Angeles Times is very light on any specific plot revelations. However, if you sift through the writing pair’s jaunty obfuscation, you can spot two key bits of wisdom that may indicate the shape of Star Trek 12/2/Whatever.

1. They’re not thinking trilogy.

The last decade of blockbuster Hollywood storytelling has been defined by trilogies. The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series, Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, even seemingly open-ended franchises like Blade and The Bourne Identity all reached for the curious magic of a three-part cycle. So it’s interesting to note that Orci and Kurtzman seem to be pretty okay with just making a regular old sequel. “I don’t know that we’ve ever thought of [the new Star Trek series] in terms of a trilogy,” says Orci. Kurtzman contrasts the first movie, which was essentially an origin story, with the new one: “It becomes about this family that’s together, so now it becomes about the thing that shakes them up and challenges them.”

I love trilogies as much as the next guy, but I’m sort of intrigued by the notion of these guys creating a new standalone story — which is sort of what the Star Trek film series was all about, pre-reboot. (Although I guess you could argue that Star Treks II through IV form a sub-trilogy within the larger series.)

2. They’re watching old episodes for “inspiration.”

To me, the best part about the Star Trek reboot was how it managed to have its cake and eat it too. The creators embedded a few hundred throwaway references to Star Trek lore (yeesh, they even gave Bakula’s character from Enterprise a shout-out), but they also essentially tore apart the entirety of Trek history to create a brand new continuity. So although Kurtzman and Orci seem pretty set on creating a new story, they’re still looking back to old episodes of the original series for further inspiration.

Says Orci, “Whereas the last movie was all about breaking free from Star Trek and its canon, now that we can do whatever we want, we still want it to feel like good ol’ Star Trek even though it’s a new story.” I read that as an indication that, we’re probably not going to see Wrath of Khan 2.0, or any other obvious villains from Trek past. (That might mean no Klingons, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Hey, I love the Klingons, but they’re the most overexposed Big Bads in the Trekverse.)

There’s a part of me that’s still hoping that the next Trek will feature a new version of an old villain from the original series, like the Gorn. Then again, Orci is on the record as a fan of the great Star Trek book Prime Directivemaybe we’ll some some elements of that book in the sequel? What do you think, PopWatchers? Do you want a whole new storyline, or are you hankering for some Klingons?

More on Star Trek:
Leonard Nimoy might go where plenty of men have gone before: Into retirement
Exclusive: The rare, alternate opening sequence to the original ‘Star Trek’ series
‘Star Trek 2′: Casting Khan…why couldn’t it be a woman?
Zachary Quinto talks up the new ‘Star Trek’ DVD

Comments (365 total) Add your comment
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  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Sounds awesome! My mom is a big Original series Trekkie and loved the new film. I think Star Trek is hoakie but even I enjoyed the new film! They really found a good balance of making something new but keeping true to their roots, keeping with that philosophy then the sequel should be great!

    • JJ in Chula Vista, CA

      I suspect that the next movie will be nothing that we expect in the same way that the relaunch was nothing like we expected in a Star Trek movie. The writers can go in any direction…but as long as they do it well, we’re sure to love it…if not, we’ll let them know. But if the first movie is any indication, we should expect a satisfying experience.

      • Kat

        The Borg are the scariest villains to me. My fave movie is “Star Trek: First Contact.” But I also loved this latest re-boot with Christ Pine, so fingers crossed they do a swell sequel.

    • AL-BC

      I really wish this was left alone. I saw the first movie and immediately I was wishing for a return to the 24th Centurey and the Enterprise E with Capt. Picard vs the Borg.

      • DS9 fan

        And I’d like to see a return to Deep Space Nine, perhaps the best yet the most underrated of all the Treks. I know it won’t happen, but it’s a shame. The fans who watched it, and stayed with it, really loved it.

      • Bridget

        I couldn’t agree more! I never watched DS9 while it was actually broadcast, but I now own all 7 seasons and enjoy the heck out of it!

      • Dicazi

        I LOVE DS9. It’s my 2nd favorite Trek series, after TOS. Please, no more Next Gen movies.

      • JohnnyB

        DS9 was great, horrible final episode. QUICK! FINISH THE WAR WE’VE BEEN BUILDING UPTO FOR 3 SEASONS IN HALF AN EPISODE! and while we’re at it let’s toss in a scene at the end where we abruptly break up the cast so we get closure!

      • wtf

        TNG will always be the best, but even titanium girdles couldnt get that crew in shape

      • Mary S

        The Way of the Warrior–the two part episode–was hands down the best episode of any of the Trek series’. I was bouncing up and down on my sofa during that two-part…

    • Dr Nalin Palin

      if theres a hot seven of 9 then im all in

      • GreenWoman

        I too thought DS9 was the best of the post-TOS franchises. I’m really looking forward to a new movie, and a Klingon-less film would be welcome. I trust these writers; can’t wait to see what they come up with!

  • Chris

    I sure hope they’re watching, say, “City on the Edge of Forever” and not “The Apple” or “Spock’s Brain.”

    • Cara

      “Brain? What is brain?”
      Oh, and please skip “The Alternative Factor” too! :-) They can watch Doomsday Machine, Naked Time, The Trouble With Tribbles, Devil in the Dark, What Little Girls are Made Of…

      • Cara

        Um, I mean “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” ;-)

    • Jerry

      I agree about “The Apple” and even more so about “Spock’s Brain”, but how would you improve on “City”?

    • Bill

      BRAIN!BRAIN!BRAIN! WHAT IS BRAIN? – Yeah, not one of the high points in the show…but the scene where Bones is working on Spock’s brain with one eyebrow raised is certainly one of the more creepier moments of the show

    • Dean

      Let’s hope they don’t watch The Way to Eden.

      • davetharave

        Travelin to Eden
        Yea Brother (repeat)
        No more trouble for my
        body or my mind
        Gonna live like a king off
        whatever I find …
        Eat all the fruit and
        throw away the rind !!

        Travelinnn ,,,, to Eden !

        You want to top that ?!?

      • john


      • Logic

        Space hippies ftw!

    • veggiedude

      “How would you improve on city?”

      Maybe by reading the original story? Harlan Ellison was the writer, and he was never happy with how it was told in Star Trek, though it is one of my favourite episodes.


        Harlan Ellison is a bitter gas bag.

      • Chris K

        Harlan Ellison also had an Enterprise crew member dealing drugs, and had Kirk prepared to sacrifice his crew to save Edith. His script also would have come out to roughly three to five times the per-episode budget. So yes, cuts had to be made.

      • Dicazi

        Trek’s aired version of “City” won a Hugo. Ellison’s story was good, but it wasn’t Trek.

    • forrest

      ah, the time portal from the ‘City on the Edge of Forever’. Spock wants to save Vulcan from destruction, so this would be an obvious device for time travel, redemption, and consequences. No one said it has to be Kirk’s story. And what of Elder Spock? Great elements to be troved.

  • MegaBearsFan

    I think this would be a perfect opportunity to give Sybok (Spock’s half-brother from the horrible Star Trek V movie) a chance at redemption as a Trek villain.

    • J.

      Hell no!

    • captainnoble

      Uhm, no.

    • momotaro

      He was a good char and good actor stuck in a cheezy, badly-directed movie. But I don’t think he would fit.

    • Ann

      Yeah, no kidding.

  • J.

    Just make a good sequel, it’s all I ask.

  • Brian

    Definitely hope they work the Gorn into this movie. They were always cool (though limited by the technology of the time) and more than a match for the Enterprise, yet they only appeared in one episode.

    • JF

      How about a giant brain with eyeballs or a guy in a gorilla suit?

      • nighthhaawk

        No.. thats been done – 1950’s -“Robot Monster” – bring back Ricou Browining in his rubber suit!

      • Chris

        I think they should investigate a strange cloud, fly through special effects for 45 minutes and discover it was Voyager 6……..wait, never mind.

    • Schmuck

      Don’t forget the Metrons. They Should go to Sigma Iotia II, see Bella Oxmyx and get some Bang Bang, the makers of the sweetest little automatic in the world!

      • Cara

        I hit Krako, Krako hits Teppo, Teppo hits me… And Bela Oxmyx is behind it all!

  • Don2010

    The star trek reboot was quality a class act..the characters mirrored the shatners and nimroys brilliantly.. They would be mad not to carry on making movie after movie 4gt a trilogy.. Watching the reboot had me in goosebumbs the whole way through.. And jj Abrams is a genius :) xxx these films are exactly what the great members of the public want bring on 2012. :)

  • Quirky

    Will Kirk finally win a fist fight? He gets into four seperate fights in the first movie (the bar, the drill, against Spock and against Nemo) and gets his ass handed to him each time. I always found that funny how Shatner’s Kirk (or at least his stunt double) seemed to always win fights but Chris Pine’s Kirk gets constantly beaten up.

    • Boblaw

      Who the hell is Nemo?

      • DrFood

        A better question is where the hell is Nemo. Wasn’t there a movie about finding Nemo?

      • O

        [Captain] Nemo was the character played by Eric Bana, the villain of the latest Star Trek film

      • AssimilateThis

        Try “NeRo”

      • Sharla

        AssimilateThis FTW!!! (although the whole thing was hysterical!)

    • Don2010

      Chris pine is quality as Kirk :) :) wonder if he sat down with shatner and talked about the character ??? It’s good too see the vunarable side to Kirk had me laughing every time he spoke or did anything …… :) :)

    • tg

      So funny. I noticed that too! He definitely needs to win at least one in the next one.

    • Nerwen Aldarion

      His name was NERO. Nemo is a clown fish.

      • Mike

        Or, originially, Captain of a submarine in a Jules Vern story.

    • ks

      I think you mean nero

    • JD

      I seem to recall Finnegan kiccking Kirk’s butt in a few scenes in the episode “Shore Leave” before Kirk finally got the best of him.

      • MN

        Did you see the Texans vs. Titans on Sunday? Andre Johnson tore off Cortland Finnegan’s helmet and then beat the tar out of him.

    • Ted C


    • nate

      who cared the TOS was not all about worshipping Kirk. Yet because some women want to sleep with CP they want the new one to be all about kirk. The TOS was about a balance. The new movie was about kissing poor poor poor Kirk’s butt and annoying.

  • Leslie

    I know it’s not from the original series but maybe the writers should experiment with the ‘Borg’..

    • RyRyNYC

      NOOOOOOOOO… Borg is TNG…

    • Slimer

      Yeah, leave that with TNG. And Q. You can’t do the Borg without him. i wish they could get John Delancy to play him again!

      • AssimilateThis


    • heliocracy

      Oh hell no. It already seems like every ST book, video game, and movie is choking with Borg. It was more than enough many years ago…I hope I never see another Borg as long as I live.

      • TNGFAN

        Resistance is futile.

      • Comicaze

        They have already technically added Borg into this story line. The go-between comics that accompanied the movie filled in the dead space of why their mining ship had all of the advanced weaponry it had. They got it from the Borgs.

      • RyanK

        TNGFAN, Hahahaha nice.

  • 10dolphins

    I think that Mirror Mirror and the Organians are the best episodes.

    • Cara

      Oh, heck yeah. At least, Mirror Mirror. (Errand of Mercy I’d put top twenty, but maybe not very best.)
      A mirror-universe movie could be amazing!

      • Vic

        The doomsday machine would be way cool too!

      • davetharave

        Yes !!!! See my post further below !!!!

      • michael

        The Doomsday Machine looked like a burrito with a sparkler inside.

      • The Arbiter

        It already IS a Mirror universe movie. How many alt universes do we need to jump thru anyway?

    • tg

      Mirror Mirror for sure is the BEST episode from the original series. But it relies on the relationship between Spock and Kirk and their well established personalities (all of them in fact). Too early.

      • Randy Carter

        MIRROR MIRROR is my ATF! PLEASE use it!

      • RTH

        Noooooo – The Doomsday Machine is my ATF! Come on! Getting an old ship up and running with a rag-tag crew to help defeat an obviously overwhelming evil machine??

        Couldn’t be better!

      • davetharave

        See my post farther below, The Doomsday Machine !!

      • Orac

        DS9 put an end to Mirror universe stories, and Enterprise set it up nicely. Just leave that one alone.

    • Misha Lauenstein

      Mirror Mirror combined with The Deadly Years = (wait for it) William Shatner as Mirror Kirk.

      Ta da.

      • SueN

        That’s hilarious. And yet…

  • Don2010

    Jeese the borg would be a quality idea a really dark next film where Spock is kidnapped along with ahora…… Possibilities are endless:)

    • AssimilateThis

      Correction, the Borg WAS a quality idea, until B&B killed it to death.

  • kazz


  • Yves dansereau

    It would be nice to find out whatever happended to the Fabrini and Bone’s girlfriend

  • jsd

    PU whats that smell, oh yeah its the new star trek movie directed by someone who had never seen an episode. . . and it showed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • David

      Are you dumb? Sure he made a new universe that didn’t follow the story of old star trek, but the characters were spot on to their personalities, there were canon references all over the place, and it wa san enjoyable movie to boot.

      Credibility: Have seen every episode of Star Trek from all 5 series, and seen all 11 movies

      • Crazy dude

        Its actually 6 series, you forgot the animated one.

      • Misha Lauenstein

        Arex! Arex! Arex! Arex!

      • kk

        I sooo agree. They couldnt have done a better job to not only find actors that resembeled the original characters but the traits each one had was also very well portrayed. (ie, Spock’s eyebrow lift, Kirk’s side swagger etal) And I will say that originaly Kirk was my fav but after seeing the StarTrek “2009” i will now have to claim Bones as my fav (that actor nailed it!) I say what ever Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci some up with, it will ROCK just as well as the last.

      • claudia

        I so agree too. I was very sceptical of the newest movie, but absolutely have to agree with david and kk: fantastic job! And am sure they will do another great job with the next movie – they care and it shows!

  • G Dog

    So much insipration to choose from – just make it good. And I second NO references from “The Apple”!

  • Russell

    Bring it on~ I am a Treckie from the origional TV series ans every remake in between. That did great on the first movie with Spock and Kirk young and the rest of the crew. I know the next movie will be just as good.

    • Bruce Nelson

      There was a great concept once thought of where the Enterprise was accidentally sent back in time to earth orbit during a shuttle mission. Since the shuttle crew saw the Enterprise, the story line dealt with how Kirk handled this problem. I can’t remember who wrote the story. Oh, wait…I did! haha

    • prish

      I liked the new Star Trek movie, even though I liked the Trek canon. I do keep waiting for them to do a time travel thingamajig to have Vulcan pop up, again. I find the Borgs boring! I like the Klingons, which were a good contrast to the logical Vulcans. I guess if Vulcan stays whacked, then the Klingons don’t have a place in the storytelling as characters. Back to why I like the new Trek movie, even though the husband washed his hands of it due to Kirk getting beat, over and over again; it’s like the endless variety of Sherlock Holmes movies, I enjoy them all, and they can have different spins on the original stories. I can’t get enough. Richie’s Holmes and the two PBS series, older and current, are completely different, but they are all fantastic to watch and enjoy. Long Live the Star Trek imaginative writers!

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