Saturday, August 05, 2006

TrekCheck: The Future Beyond Trek XI

The Star Trek 40th anniversary festivities are just now poised to begin, so before looking back let's pause a moment for a brief glimpse into the Star Trek future.

With the first poster and a round of interviews, the Abrams' Star Trek XI film is gathering momentum. There was also this remarkable statement from longtime Trek insider, Paula Block, at comicon:"The people at CBS are very excited to have inherited the franchise, and they want to do a lot with it. There are a lot of things we're doing behind the scenes that we can't tell you about yet because we don't know if they'll come to fruition or not, but we're very excited about them."

So even television may again be part of the mix come 2008, when Trek XI is expected to hit theatres. So it's my guess that the movers and shakers are looking at Trek XI and its story not in isolation, but in terms of how it might fit into the saga's future. Without knowing what's being discussed in terms of television, it's still possible to speculate about how Trek XI might pave the way for Trek XII and so on.

This is another area where a prequel movie raises a lot of questions. Is it going to be a one-time deal, a movie about, say, how Kirk and Spock met, were perhaps part of the same adventure but serving on different ships, ending with them getting posted together on the Enterprise? The idea would be to test the waters, see if there is a market for a revived Star Trek, and whether audiences will go for a new Kirk and Spock.

But if they do, and the movie is a hit, then what? Will the new actor playing Kirk become the new Kirk, or will Kirk become James Bond, a mythical figure played by a series of actors? And what kind of limitations does a prequel present---is there enough room before the original series time frame for a series of movies? Or will these become the new adventures of the Enterprise with a new Scotty, a new Bones, etc.? I'll bet somebody is thinking about these things, or should be.

The history of past Trek movies is that, at least before the TNG era, each Trek movie could well have been the last. Nobody was really thinking ahead, but then, what was there to think about? They had a nearly infinite universe to play with--and almost a century before bumping into the TNG universe. But now, things are a great deal more complicated with so much of the Trek timeline filled in.

If you want to keep the same Kirk for a few films, can you count on a major star to be available? Past Trek films that succeeded financially did so by keeping costs down well below blockbuster budget levels. Are they going to up the ante?

Then there’s age. People worried about the original series actors being too old for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. They all went on diets, yet Kirk’s aging became a plot point. Given that they kept on going for another decade makes it all seem fairly silly. But at least they didn’t have to worry about getting older than their later selves. As I pointed out here before, Matt Damon is about the age that William Shatner was when he started playing Kirk as Captain of the Enterprise. Can prequel actors maintain credibility if they get older than the crew they are supposed to be younger than? Always a headache, these time paradoxes!


John said...

Are all Borg women stacked?

I agree a prequel is a bad idea for Star Trek XI. But I'm enough of a fan that I will See any Star Trek movie. They can count on my eight bucks.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Here's a must have item for the future of the franchise: