When it comes to writing a novelization of a movie, for author Alan Dean Foster, it’s about “filling in the blanks.”
Foster is no stranger to Star Trek novels, having written the Animated Series Star Trek Log novelizations as well as the story for what became the first Star Trek movie, but after thirty years, he had thought that his Trek days were behind him.
When asked to pen the novelization for Star Trek (2009), Foster was “was surprised because it had been so long. I was not surprised because I’d been doing book versions of movies all through those decades right up and through to films like The Chronicles of Riddick,” he said. ” So it’s not like I’d been away from the work, but I’d just been away from Star Trek.”
Foster explained what he felt was the core of Star Trek into Darkness. “It’s all about personality conflicts,” he said. “There are people who love science fiction who will say it’s insufficiently science fiction, and there are people who will say that’s what makes Star Trek great, and always has. For me, good writing and good story has always been centered on characters and everything else, however well developed, is window dressing. Certainly, Star Trek Into Darkness, if anything, is even more character-centric than the previous film.”
Being able to add to the story, showing more of the characters’ thought processes during events is enjoyable for the author. “People think that one of the main things that novelizations do is to expand existing scenes,” he said. “That’s true to a certain extent, but the fun part of it, and the important people of it, I feel, is to fill in the blanks. One of the biggest blanks in any existing film, assuming it isn’t fifteen hours long, is to show what the characters are actually thinking. When they’re doing something on screen it’s just, well, ‘Sulu moved the lever forward.’ That’s about as short a sentence as you can come up with. But I get to show what he’s thinking, why he’s moving the lever, what’s going on in his head while he’s moving the lever, what the possible consequences might be for moving that lever, and on and on and on. To me, that’s one of the joys of doing it. I get to make my own director’s cut, in other words.”
The Star Trek into Darkness novelization came out yesterday.