In rebooting the Star Trek franchise, the slate has been wiped clean and anything can happen in the next movie, including seeing people and places from the original series.
Although the door is open to bringing in elements from the original series, J.J. Abrams wants to be careful not to make new Star Trek that only long-term fans will “get.” “In going forward, the fun of this movie series is that we will have the opportunity to cross paths with any of the experiences, places and characters that existed in the original series, but we have to be really careful, doing that,” said Abrams. “I don’t want to do something that is so inside that only die-hard fans will appreciate. We’re just now working on the script and just beginning the process of story breaking, but I guarantee you, whatever the story is and whatever the final movie ends up being, I know it will be something that will work on its own terms and be something that you don’t need to know and study Star Trek to get, but if you are a fan, there will hopefully be gift after gift of connections, references and characters that you hold near and dear. At least, that’s the intent.”
One element from the original series that Abrams wouldn’t mind having back is Leonard Nimoy, if a story could support his presence. “I can’t imagine a Star Trek movie not needing him,” said Abrams. “I’m sure that what he’s saying [that he’s not needed] is a combination of modesty and honesty. He may actually feel that way. But, the truth is, we could never have made this movie without him, and working with him again would be a joy. It is clearly too early, given that we are just now talking story, to conclude whether or not Spock Prime is in the film or not. Do I want to work with him again? Of course, 100%. I’d love to.”
In addition to a compelling story, keeping Star Trek relevant to modern audiences is also necessary. “I do think that, whether it’s Star Trek or anything, whatever is being investigated, created or produced now, in movies or TV, needs to consider the context in which it is being distributed,” said Abrams. “It’s not a vacuum. There are certain universal themes of love, conflict, loyalty or family that are everlasting and that need to be presented in a way that makes it feel relevant, even if it’s a period piece. You need to consider what context that film, that story and those characters are being seen in.”
That doesn’t mean going overboard though. “…With Star Trek, it’s not like we’re looking to make the second movie some kind of heavy political allegory,” said Abrams. “I think that it’s important that there is metaphor to what we know and that there is relevance, and I think allegory is the thing that made shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek resonate and still be vital today. But, because the first movie was so much about introducing these people, and it was very much a premise movie about how to bring these people together, it made it difficult to also have the film go as deep as it could, about certain conflict, certain relationships and the heart of who some of these characters are. I think it was successful in what it needed to do, to introduce these people, but I feel like, now that we’ve done that, it is the job of the next film to go a little bit deeper. It shouldn’t be any less fun or take itself too seriously, but consider who these people are now and grow with them, and just examine them a little more closer, now that we’ve gotten through the pleasantries and introductions.”
Will Abrams be involved with Star Trek beyond the next movie? “…It’s obviously just movie-to-movie,” he said. “The fact that we are now actively discussing the second film is surreal and very nice, and I’m thrilled. I hope that that results in something worthy of your time. But, it’s one of those things that you just don’t know. And so, I cannot presume it’s gonna be a series that goes beyond those. Do we have ideas for a few movies and have we discussed them? Of course. You can’t help but go, “Oh, it would be really cool, if we could do this, or if we can set that up there?” You throw those things around. But, we can’t presume it’s going to be anything more than now another film that we’re lucky enough to do.”