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John Logan Talks Star Trek X Influences

By Christian
April 18, 2001 - 9:48 PM

The Star Trek Communicator Issue 132 When John Logan was announced as the writer of the next Star Trek film, most fans had never heard of the 'Any Given Sunday' and 'Gladiator' screenwriter. At the same time, Logan was already very familiar with the franchise, having been a fan of all four Star Trek series.

"I loved the original series, and I loved Next Generation from the first episode," he told Kevin Dilmore at the Star Trek Communicator. "I have all of the first two series on tape. And now that I have access to Paramount libraries, I can watch whatever I want to watch. I lost track of Deep Space Nine, but there is so much I loved about what they were doing with the characters. Now I'm watching more of it. I just watched a seven-episode track of the Dominion War, for example. And Voyager is just wonderful. Seven of Nine and Janeway are my personal favourites."

Logan's vast knowledge of the Star Trek universe helped him in writing 'Star Trek X,' as he is planning to include a lot of references to the various series. "There will be lots of little things that fans will recognise. I want to put in a lot of cool stuff that no one in the main audience will understand, but fans will see and get it right away. One of the best parts about writing this is that I get to do things with the races, the characters and the homeworlds that I've always wanted to do."

Besides drawing from the various series, 'Star Trek X' will also be inspired by the other feature films, particularly 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' and 'Star Trek: First Contact.' "My favourite adversaries in Star Trek have been Khan and the Borg Queen. [...] You need an adversary of that stature. That's why James Bond should always fight Blofeld; that's his adversary. Picard needs an adversary or foe that is up to his level. We hope this adversary will be every bit as memorable not only for who he is, but for how and why he behaves as he does."

Another villain who we will see traces of will be Annorax, Voyager's time-travel adversary in 'Year of Hell.' "[Annorax] was so memorable because you could understand his very human drives behind his actions," Logan said. "And we borrowed a bit from that episode for Star Trek X, but you'll have to wait and see which bit."

'Year of Hell' isn't the only Trek episode we can look at to see what will happen in the next Trek film. "I think that listing my favourite episode is a great Star Trek Rorschach Test," Logan joked. "People wanting to know how I think can read whatever they want in this list." His favourite episodes include 'The Naked Time,' 'Arena,' 'Amok Time' and 'Balance of Terror' from the Original Series, 'The Best of Both Worlds,' 'The Inner Light,' 'Yesterday's Enterprise,' 'Face of the Enemy,' 'Data's Day,' and 'Measure of the Man' from the Next Generation, and also 'Tuvix' from Voyager, though he said he enjoyed Voyager as a whole. He couldn't point to a favourite episode on DS9, but said he is currently rediscovering the series.

Several of the episodes in his list heavily feature the Romulans, and indeed this is a race we will be seeing in the film. "I love the Romulans," he said. "I always was drawn to the duplicity and the intrigue and lethal political cleverness of the Romulans. I find them to be formidable adversaries for the Enterprise crew."

A recent rumour suggested that Spock, who was after all last seen on the Romulan homeworld, would be appearing in the film. When asked about this, Logan paused, and then said, "I can't comment on that." However, he could reveal that at least some other Original Series elements will make their appearance in the film. "We are going to see some of the original series aliens that we haven't seen in a while. I can't go into detail, but I love the Andorians, too."

Picard and Data will be the characters featured most heavily in the film, though Logan said that he also intended for Deanna Troi to "get a really good part." But he also said that he won't be neglecting any of the other characters. "We have our gang of seven, and that's my priority. I have to make sure that everyone gets moments of his or her own. I'd love to work in smaller characters, but if I have the choice of giving a good line to Barclay or to Geordi, I'm going to stick with the main crew. I have to justify my choices very carefully."

Certainly, the characters will be changed a bit in this film. "One of the smartest things they did in Star Trek II, my favourite of the movies, was to give Captain Kirk glasses," Logan said. "It acknowledges the passage of time, and that these characters change over time, and their relationships with each other change. These characters have ongoing lives on the ship, and we want to reflect that in 'Star Trek X.' We want to react to what has gone on in other shows. I hope people will see advancements in a lot of relationships among the characters."

Though the characters will be featured heavily, so will the Enterprise-E. "I'm looking at this like a fan, and what fan wouldn't want to be Captain Picard in charge of the Enterprise in battle? I get to make the Enterprise do all of the cool things that I've always wanted it to do. The Enterprise-E is a great ship, and we really haven't seen it that much. This is a high-octane action film, and that ship is going to get a workout."

Even though there will be a lot of action in the film, that won't solely be the focus of 'Star Trek X.' "What makes Star Trek great is when an episode is a morality play; it's truly great when it's a morality play disguised as a great action story," Logan said. "Star Trek X is action-packed, but it addresses classic Star Trek issues. Who we are, why we lead the lives we do, and why we make the decisions we do are paramount to this story - and pardon the pun."

How did Logan get involved with Paramount anyway? Logan explained that it came about through a conversation he had two years ago with his good friend Brent Spiner (Data). "We were talking about a number of things, and I said to him that I would love to write a Star Trek Movie. His eyes opened wide and he asked if I was serious. And I said, 'Absolutely!' I met with Rick Berman after that, pitched my ideas. He really liked them, and the rest, as they say, is history."

Since then, Logan has worked extensively together with both Spiner and Rick Berman, and he said that fans are wrong when they believe that Berman has little respect for early Star Trek history. "I've heard all of that, too, and it couldn't be further from the truth," he said. "After working with him day in and day out for a year, I'm going to know him. And Rick has a respect and an understanding for all the series. He loves Star Trek. It's his life, and he is so smart about it. Fans should understand that Rick is the best friend they could ever have in the world of Star Trek."

But while Berman is important for guarding Gene Roddenberry's vision of the Star Trek franchise as a whole, Logan realised that for this film, he has as important a role. "I find this terribly exciting, but it carries a lot of responsibility," he admitted. "I have such love and such respect for these characters, and I feel that I owe them a lot. So I want to treat them right."

If the fans agree that Logan succeeded, he is not even closing the door on a possible next Trek feature film. "Let's see how people react to 'Star Trek X' first. If they don't come to Illinois looking to tar and feather me, I'd do 'Star Trek XI' in a second. I even have an idea for it. There was one thing I wanted to work into 'Star Trek X' that I couldn't fit in. You'll just have to wait and see how things turn out. I'll talk about it in a couple of years."

More from John Logan, including more of his thoughts on Rick Berman, a description of his career, his thoughts on what he brings to Star Trek X, and his opinion on the 'Kirk vs Picard' debate, check out the new issue (#132) of the Star Trek Communicator, which was just mailed to members of the Official Star Trek Fan Club. Other things included in the new edition include a feature article on William Shatner (James T. Kirk), interviews with the designers of the original Starship Enterprise, and an interview with John De Lancie (Q).

To subscribe to the magazine (for a rate of $19.95 for a full year, 33% of the cover price), please follow this link. Very major thanks go out to Doug Wilson for this - be sure to check out the DS9 Horizons fan campaign he has organised.

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