Creating Star Trek XI meant trying to satisfy needs which were sometimes at odds with each other.
As reported by Ain’t It Cool News, it was tricky for J.J. Abrams to tell a good story and yet not upset the established fanbase. “…Breaking away from the timeline…gave us the freedom to tell a story that wasn’t constrained by canon, but at the same time…and the weird part is that we also had to embrace it, because that’s what we were inspired by and we had to honor it and make sure that we weren’t insulting, as much as we could, the fans of Trek,” he said. The need to attract a new audience and make Star Trek relevant for today was important though, so the risk had to be taken. “We knew no matter what we did, that there would be some percentage of Star Trek fans that would hate it,” said Abrams. “We just knew that there was no way to make everyone happy and yet it was important that we try and so that was the approach. The other weird balancing act is that it was simultaneously its own thing, but it was also adhering to what has come before. It was a vision of the future that needs to work in a way that was relevant for today, but also was a vision of the future from fifty years ago, so there was a lot of bouncing back and forth.”
Having an excellent cast has helped with the transition from the Star Trek that fans knew to the new Star Trek timeline, where the future is now uncertain. “I’ve never been more grateful for a cast of actors than this cast,” said Abrams. “They not only had the burden of having to make a space adventure feel real and emotional and funny and scary and legitimate, but they had to do it in the shadow of these incredible actors playing iconic roles that were shoes that intellectually I realize how daunting it must have been, more in retrospect than anything do I sort of feel what that challenge was for them and I think that all of them did it not with fear or hesitation or self-doubt, but they did it with fun exuberance.”
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