J.J. Abrams directs Star Trek movie

By Colin Mahan

Apr 21, 2006

Star Trek is being revved up for another big-screen treatment, slated to appear in 2008. According to Variety, the new film will be directed by Lost creator and Mission: Impossible III director J.J. Abrams.

The new film will focus on the origins of the characters James T. Kirk and Spock, made famous in the original series and films by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, respectively. The script will be written by Abrams and MI3 writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

The film will feature the first meeting between the two characters, when they are cadets at Starfleet Academy, as a futuristic version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" plays on the soundtrack. The cadets embark on their first adventure together, a space mission wherein Kirk does his first sideways jump-kick. Presumably, younger actors will be cast in the roles.

The deal with Paramount comes only weeks before the release of the company's mega-budget summer action picture, MI3, starring Tom Cruise, which is also based on a popular '60s TV show.

Abrams is the creative force behind the hit shows Alias and Lost. The spy show Alias will wrap in May after five seasons of solid performance. Sophomore show Lost is one of TV's top hits, routinely placing in the Nielsen top 10.

Star Trek is one of the most profitable entertainment franchises in history, having produced five series, 700-plus TV episodes, and more than $1 billion in theatrical revenues.

The original Trek premiered on NBC in 1966 to mediocre ratings. The show was canceled after three seasons, even though the storyline was that of the Starship Enterprise on a "five-year mission." In 1979, Paramount launched a big-budget film franchise, eventually making six films with the original cast. The highest grossing of the original six was 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which saw the crew head back in time to modern-day San Francisco to find whales and learn "colorful metaphors" like "double dumb-ass on you." The film earned almost $110 million at the box office.

A Saturday-morning animated series premiered in 1973 and ran for two seasons. The show featured the voices of original cast members Shatner, Nimoy, DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy, James Doohan as engineer Scotty, Nichelle Nicols as communications officer Lt. Uhura, George Takei as navigator Lt. Sulu, and Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel.

In 1987, a second series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, aired in syndication and ran for seven seasons. The series was set 95 years after the first and featured a new Enterprise, a new crew, and souped-up special effects. ST:TNG was responsible for working the word "wormhole" into the cultural lexicon. Four movies were made with the Next Generation cast, the most successful being 1996's First Contact, about the inventor of the warp drive and the origin of the hive-like villains the Borg. The film grossed $92 million.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered in 1993 and ran for seven seasons. This series chronicled the inhabitants of a space outpost, Deep Space 9, that sat at the edge of a wormhole. Michael Dorn, who played the Klingon Worf in Next Generation, joined DS9 in season four.

Star Trek: Voyager premiered in 1995, also running for seven seasons. The show told the story of the Starship Voyager and its crew, led by Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway. While in pursuit of an enemy ship, the Voyager was thrown through a wormhole and ended up lost in uncharted space. This series featured the return of the condescending Vulcan, in the form of Tuvok.

In 2001, Star Trek: Enterprise premiered, telling the story of the Federation before the events of the first series. The show never generated much love from fans, partially due to a cheesy theme song that was reminiscent of Bon Jovi. It folded after four seasons.

The last Next Generation movie, Nemesis, landed in theaters in 2002 and grossed a meager $43 million. Industry insiders concluded that Star Trek was suffering from a newly discovered malady known as "franchise fatigue."

Lost and Star Trek have at least one thing in common. Both shows have inspired legions of fanatical fans--Star Trek has Trekkies or Trekkers, and Lost has Losties. Paramount hopes Abrams can get the two together at the box office.

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  • 440eclipse Mar 20, 2008

    hey paramount ! i like the idea of the origins of star fleet and the enterprise . hopefully you will make a good movie out of it . but i must say after following star trek for a number of years that you as paramount should also allow the star trek world to grow further . create a new series further along the star trek timeline . most people would like to see riker commanding a new enterprise . have picard being an admiral or something . include worf and data also along with the rest of the cast of tng . you could play along the storyline that the new enterprise along with voyager start out protecting a updated deep space nine from a new hostile alien species from destroying the installation and from there have worf being the captain of a new excelsior class ship . have them organize a fleet of new federation ships like no fan has ever seen as far as look and technology and head out into the delta quadrant in pursuit of the hostile species . they get into a heavy engagement with the hostile aliens and lose many ships except of course the enterprise , excelsior , and voyager . then upon escaping the hostile encounter , Q appears and tells riker that earth is in grave danger and that the 3 ships must race back to federation space because the alien species is mobilizing a gigantic front to invade and destroy every planet in federation space . riker , worf , and janeway must team their efforts to save the day . at the same time , the klingons and all other species encountered near federation territory have to mobilize a counterattack to overtake the hostile aliens . have the aliens destroy the borg in the beginning leaving seven of nine being the only link to the borg exsitance . also give the federation a ground force . star trek has always been about the ships . why not try something new like showing a federation army doing battle with the aliens in a ground assault on different worlds . as a final note , leave the ending open so the star trek universe can continue to go further along in the timeline . this is really the only series that potentially has the capability to go on and on but the creators has to continue to shape the star trek universe in new ways and ideas . i am a big fan and personally i liked tng the best out of all the different tv series followed by voyager . i do not care for enterprise i think that show sucks . take the federation forward after this movie . do not end the star trek world or continue previous timelines . the universe is vast and as long as you take the series forward and keep new , fresh ideas in the fold , star trek can go on for many more years to come .

  • jimkirk111 Mar 07, 2008

    C'mon guys it's only a movie. Not to be taken too seriously!

    Any American who says they're a Star Trek Fan is a hypocrite. The original series had to be taken off air because no American watched the thing!

    Whereas in the UK and the rest of the world it was very popular which was why The first movie was made. God knows how the franchise kept going after that terrible film. Probably because they were much simpler days and people weren't expecting too much.

    BTW In my humble opinion it wasn't Enterprise which killed the franchise or even Nemesis but the turgid Female led soap opera that was Voyager. It's no wonder that both Rick Berman and Brannon Braga have been booted out of the Star Trek world. They just love Soaps instead of action adventure stories.

  • amg503 Feb 28, 2007

    These ideas everybody are posting are great.

    I'd like to see some sort of post-Voyager, post-"Nemesis" movie, that's somewhat darker; maybe on the verge of a galactic civil war. Nothing I'd like to see better than The Enterprise-E & Voyager (Captained by Chakotay or Tuvok, since Janeway's an Admiral, unless she didn't a Kirk-type takeover), defending Federation space near DS9.

    Although, I'm sure that a three-series crossover would be almost impossible, and cost tons of money... wishful thinking, I suppose.

    I look forward to this movie, too. I can't wait to see what J.J. Abrams does with Roddenberry's great creation.

  • supperkat Dec 05, 2006

    Are fans coming back to this are we done with this franchise.More prequels.

  • countpokkular Nov 16, 2006

    I would go with DS9 for an new film.Have Cassidy Yates spawn the "new Sisko",as we see the final battle between the Prophets and the P'ah Wraiths take place.I don't think it would be too difficult to elongate a story plot that already seems run.

  • ajsman56 Oct 14, 2006

    Okay, here’s another thought on what they should do: Pick it up in the future, past Voyager’s return. Think about it: Janeway from the future (Endgame) said that Starfleet had pretty much abandoned the prime directive, so it would open up many possibilities for forces within Starfleet to get into trouble by messing with the natural progression of technology. It would need a new cast…except for one…Seven of Nine. She’s young enough that she could even be in command of a starship in the future! Image that!...a Borg in the big chair. Bold, beautiful, and logical…what more could you want! Personally, I'd like to see it as a series...leave the movie plots to filling in some of the gaps in the series' timelines. How about doing something with Enterprise C. One movie could cover everything in it's later history leading up to it's destruction. ...Just a thought.

  • JMMediaVillage Oct 04, 2006

    If you're slightly obsessed with J.J. Abrams like I am, then you keep track of all of his interviews and tv appearances. He was interviewed yesterday about his "return" to lost, after being absent for a year while working on Mission Impossible 3. He says he will be returning to direct an episode later this season (in addition to tonight's premiere episode which he directed). Check out the interview: www.mediavillage.com. Post any others you find too!

  • mpgarr Sep 22, 2006

    I liked the idea about making a Star Trek movie that detailed how the federation came to be and the idea of having an all out war between Earth and the Romulans would certainly have been very cool. I think this a better idea than the one that is now apparently going forward inside Paramount. Too bad there was a regime change and that project got killed.

    I also think that another way to go for the Star Trek franchise is to then go way forward in the future---in such a story--I would make it darker like the way the revamped new version of Battlestar Gallactica has become-there is some great story telling taking place in that new series.

    I would have Star Fleet having finally incorporating the incredible technologies the TNG Enterprise crew picked up when they visited the race that turned Reg into a living super computer. (sorry--forgot the episode and the name of that species)

    Additionally--since that new technology would allow new ships to travel to new places--a federation star ship on a mission discovered a new species--the most deadly yet encountered--

    The story would pick up in the midst of the clash or our civilization--and by that I mean a grand alliance between the Federation, the Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians and the Dominion and even the Borg join in to fight this new menace--- for this new race is so different from anything ever encountered and that race is intent on at the very least enslaving all of "us" and at worst-total annihilation of all these civilizations.

    This conflict would not be all neatly wrapped up in one film---it could be done on an arc basis over the course of a number of years---and at the worst point--it would look as though our kind is doomed---

    If we had not made use of the techonolgy provided by that species from that TNG episode and formed this great alliance--we would have been done for----

    In the aftermath of this conflict--it makes for a stronger Federation Just an idea--anyone at Paramount listening out there????

  • in-correct Jun 09, 2006

    I don't know what to say about this at this point. I only hope that the movie won't at all be anything like Nemesis, or any of the other bad stories that were made up....

  • rickynj58 May 27, 2006

    I have always said a series based at star fleet academy would be great. Talk about weird roommates.. You could merge ideas from every college based tv series and put star trek characters in them. A gardner like Ray Walston as the resident "sage". "Required reading at the academy" is it still in book form?

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