Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci gave an update on Star Trek XII, sharing their thought processes on writing the highly-anticipated sequel.
Writing a second story is different than writing a prequel, as now people have an idea of what to expect when it comes to the characters. “Well, we have broken the story, which is very exciting,” said Kurtzman. “I think one of the weird challenges that we’re facing on this one is that in many ways, with the first movie, I don’t think people knew what to expect, so when we were in the writing process, Bob and I really spent our time going to things that we loved about Trek and it was a very unfiltered process. It felt intimate and small.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, J.J. Abrams is back as director for Star Trek XII. Their assumption is probably based on Kurtzman’s following comment while speaking about the writing process for the sequel. “There weren’t a lot of voices other than [producer] Damon [Lindelof], J.J. [Abrams] and [executive producer] Bryan Burke,” he said. “Now, that first movie has come up and did well and everyone wants to know what happens next. We didn’t have that pressure, exactly, on the first one. That said, part of what we have to do is listen to it all, ask a lot of questions about what people’s expectations are — and then let all of that go when we sit down to write. We need to find our way back to the same kind of vibe that we had when we wrote the first one: What do we want to see here? What moved us about Trek? Where can we go from where we left off?”
The writers looked to classic Trek for story ideas for Star Trek XII. “One of the big challenges is all of the characters are together now,” said Orci. “A prequel is a pain in the butt, but one of the nice little advantages was that you get to meet the characters as you go through the story and they get to meet each other. That’s fun. We don’t that luxury of not having the entire family there together at the start of the story. So now you want the character stories to be good for everybody but also not just be there to be stories but also fit into the plot and be organic. We’re looking at a lot of the old episodes for inspiration, still. 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.”
A good sequel will be talked about for years, if done right, according to Kurtzman. “…[Those films] have such emotional impact not just on us as viewers but because they put the characters through the mill in a way that was so primal and visceral,” he explained. “Good sequels do that; they find ways to challenge their characters in ways that they couldn’t have necessarily been challenged with in the first movie because, as Bob said, the first is always, ultimately, an origin story. So now [with the second] it becomes about this family that’s together, so now it becomes about the thing that shakes them up and challenges them.”