With Star Trek Into Darkness having earned half a billion dollars worldwide, J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Trek universe isn’t going anywhere, even if some fans really, really, really want it to. Star Trek 3 is likely going to be front-burnered so it can release in 2016 for Trek’s 50th anniversary. The extent of Abrams’ involvement is unknown at this point, given that he’ll have a lot on his plate with Star Wars: Episode VII (and possibly the entire damn Star Wars universe). But with a major Trek anniversary on the immediate horizon, what about the state of Trek in the medium it originated? Both William Shatner and Gene Roddenberry’s son, Eugene, think the time is right for Star Trek to return to the small screen.
This past weekend, 1,085 costumed fans attending the Star Trek convention at the Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino broke the world record for the largest number of costumed Trek fans all in one place, beating out the U.K. record of 1,063 set last year. While it kind of seemed obvious that it would happen, given the rabid fervor that takes over when Americans find out other people have done something better, I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the attendees’ tastes in the film franchise. A poll was held at the One Trek Mind Live panel, where fans ranked their favorite films in order, and the results are stunning.
How did people feel about J.J. Abrams’ latest effort, Star Trek Into Darkness? Apparently they would have been perfectly fine if it never existed, as it came dead last. Yeah, it finished after Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I have to assume the wounds are still fresh from this one, and that it might rank higher in another few years, once the John Harrison dust has settled. After all, Abrams’ initial reboot finished in sixth place, so it’s obviously not just hatred for the man himself. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe some people just really hate Into Darkness that much. Stay tuned until after the third Star Trek flick comes out, and I’ll let you know.
Next to J.J. Abrams and Michael Bay, he’s one of the most polarizing names in showbusiness right now. Over the past decade, Damon Lindelof’s fingerprints have been on some of the most high-profile genre projects out there. Lost. Prometheus. Star Trek Into Darkness. World War Z. Love him or hate him — just like Abrams — he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In a sprawling new interview, Lindelof is candid not just about the challenges of penning new additions to such iconic fictional worlds as Trek and Alien, but about the diminishing returns of navigating a studio system that demands ever-escalating odds for its summer blockbusters.
Speaking to Vulture, Lindelof bemoans a Hollywood screenwriting process that insists on continually ramping up both the stakes and the action, resulting in what has been referred to this past summer movie season as “apocalypse fatigue.” How many times can you watch the world saved or destroyed before you start craving a story that’s just about people? Hell, Steven Spielberg himself recently predicted that Hollywood’s ever-bigger, ever-more-expensive movies were headed for an “implosion.” The box office returns of flicks such as The Lone Ranger, White House Down, and R.I.P.D. show it’s happening as we speak.
If you’re not a fan of AMC’s Breaking Bad — and let’s face it, you totally should be — then you missed one of the funnier moments in recent TV history. During a scene in which Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is hanging out with two of his stoner friends, one of them — the appropriately named “Badger” (Matt Jones) — delivers such an epic bit of spoken-word Star Trek fan fiction that the Internet simply had to celebrate it. And so we get the above bit of animated brilliance.
For those of you at work or somewhere you can’t watch the video yet, here’s the basic setup. Badger tells Jesse and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) how, during a particularly slow period of their five-year mission, the crew of the Enterprise decides to throw a pie-eating contest. The field soon narrows to only three contestants: Kirk, Spock, and Chekov. They’re neck and neck, but Spock’s the odds-on favorite because he has “perfect Vulcan control of his digestion.” Soon Kirk pukes, and it’s just Spock and Chekov, but Chekov continues to hold his own. See, the wily Russian has a secret plan, and a co-conspirator helping him win the day. Unfortunately, it soon goes horribly wrong…and I’ll let the video tell you why. Otherwise…
Doctor Who, Stars Wars And Trek, And The X-Files Raid The Comics Shelves: This Week In Science Fiction
It’s a bit of a slow week for science fiction when it comes to movie theaters and TV airwaves. But there’s one medium that is positively chockablock with sci-fi goodness this week, and that’s the world of comic books. Are you a fan of Doctor Who still talking about the announcement of Peter Capaldi as the twelfth Doctor? Check out the final issue of IDW’s year-long Who series. Each issue has focused on a different Doctor, and it all wraps up with a story involving Matt Smith’s Eleven, and the ongoing story threads that have stretched throughout the series.
On the Star Trek front, the latest issue of the official ongoing Trek series (also from IDW Publishing) continues to explore the rebooted universe created by J.J. Abrams’ 2009 movie and continued in this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Supervised by Trek producer/screenwriter Roberto Orci, the latest issue follows up on this year’s tie-in video game, which first introduced the new timeline’s take on the reptilian Gorn. They don’t look like dudes in rubber suits no more.
Over in the world of that other space franchise, Star Wars #8 spins another story set in the period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back. Luke and Wedge infiltrate the Empire in a thoroughly unexpected way: by letting themselves get caught. Also, Han and Chewie face off against Boba Fett, without a convenient Sarlacc in sight.
It’s unlikely that J.J. Abrams will return to the director’s chair for Star Trek 3, especially if Paramount wants the sequel film in 2016 to tie in with the Star Trek 50th anniversary. Abrams will be far too busy with directing Star Wars: Episode VII for 2015 to handle two high-profile science fiction series at the same time. All movies start with the screenplay, and it looks like Paramount is sticking with the familiar, bringing back Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to pen the script for Star Trek 3.
A few weeks ago, there were rumors that Paramount was looking for new writing teams to take over writing duties for the next Star Trek sequel. Screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class) were said to be in consideration for the job, but now it looks like Paramount is keeping their franchise consistent on the writing front. While Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus co-wrote Star Trek Into Darkness with Kurtzman and Orci, THR says it’s unlikely he will return for Trek 3.
It also seems that J.J. Abrams is in negotiations to produce Star Trek 3 for Bad Robot Productions, instead of directing. Considering he’ll be very busy with Disney, Lucasfilm, and Episode VII, will Abrams have enough time to properly produce Star Trek 3? The hunt is on for the new Star Trek director.