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TrekToday - 'Star Trek XI' Mindful Of Canon

'Star Trek XI' Mindful Of Canon

By T'Bonz
September 20, 2008 - 5:06 AM

When it came to Star Trek XI, being mindful of canon and avoiding making the film campy was a priority for J.J. Abrams.

As reported by BBC Radio 1, in an interview with host Chris Moyles, Abrams discussed Star Trek canon and why certain things are in the film or not in the film. "There are no seatbelts [on the Enterprise]," he said. "You have to honor the canon of 'Star Trek.' Where do you draw the line? There are certain things that you want to be consistent about."

Star Trek XI's Enterprise does have a toilet, according to Abrams, or more precisely, a shuttlecraft does and part of a scene refers to a character being in the bathroom. "There is a toilet in one of the shuttles, that the production designer put in," said Abrams. "It was in the script that one of the characters is actually in the restroom because he was afraid of flying. He comes out of the restroom, but you don't see it." When BBC Radio 1 host Moyles said, "He's in the wrong job," Abrams replied, "That's the point of the scene."

While there are known elements of the Star Trek world, other things are unknown and had to be created for the movie. "It is very funny because when you get into what is known, they had blueprints that they sold, but a lot of it is just hypothesis, like made up," explained Abrams. "The show itself made mistakes. The idea that there is a canon of Trek and what is honest-to-goodness Trek and what you can't change. The show itself changed its own history and revised things a lot. So clearly the approach was we want to make this thing feel real because it is so, it's so insane, the idea of these massive starships. And so the goal of doing this movie, despite it being called 'Star Trek,' despite pointy ears and the history of it and all the established fans and hundreds of hours and almost a dozen movies and all that kind of stuff, is that we actually feel like this is a new thing and this is actually legitimate."

Making a legitimate film means avoiding descending into "camp." "[Making 'Star Trek' seem real] is probably the biggest challenge, because it is by default so close to being campy," said Abrams. "Like you see 'Galaxy Quest,' which is such a great movie, and it is so, it's like a real, slightly hyper, real when you are actually on the set doing 'Star Trek,' there are these moments that are like 'Oh dear God, how do I not make this bad?' You see how you could so easily go the wrong direction and suddenly you are mocking your own world."

"There were moments where I thought 'the biggest challenge of this moment is to make it not suck," said Abrams. "To make it not be the version that in Ben Stiller's hands or someone, which would be hysterically funny, and yet that is not the result you want for this moment."

In answers to questions from host Moyles, Abrams said that, "We're a couple of weeks away from 'locking' the film," that there would be a "red shirt death,", Kirk wears a gold shirt at some point in the movie and that "Shatner is not in it."

To see the video, head to the link located here.

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