Captain's Log: Khan-founded
Work on the script for the next Star Trek JJA movie begins soon, and the JJA folks say they are considering re-telling stories told in the Roddenberry universe, including revisiting Khan, but with different results.
Really? Apart from returning to a demented villain bent on revenge because his wife was killed (which they already did in Star Trek JJA), it seems retarded to me. Do they really want to make a movie that requires so many "re" words to report on?
It certainly would fit in well with current Hollywood orthodoxy. Just about all major movies--including, and maybe even especially, science fiction movies--are sequels, reboots or derived from TV shows, comics and blockbuster books. They come pre-branded and pre-sold, and even with an established core fan base. It's a small step from appropriating the iconic characters and universe to absorbing and tweaking old stories. Reboots of Spiderman and Batman revisit old villains, sometimes repeatedly. And it's so po-mo and hip, when even Jane Austen has generated stories that cannabalize hers, even overtly mocking the author's writing while sucking its blood.
But Star Trek didn't start out as Hollywood orthodoxy. It was about discovering new worlds. Whatever happened to "to boldly go"? Sure, new stories are risky, but a certain starship captain once asserted that "risk is our business." Even when it failed in other respects, Star Trek persistently tried to explore new worlds of meaning. It was about the wonder of new possibilities, not just new visuals effects. In its subtext it was about our changing world, and a different way of seeing the important currents moving in it, determining our future.
There's a word that seems to fit the tendency to re-do the familiar but bigger, faster and with more inflated hoopla surrounding it: decadence. It looks like splendor, but it smells like decay. I would hate to see Star Trek succumb to this.
In other Trek matters, two pieces of scholarship caught my eye: this piece by Harry Barber about scenes dropped from Star Trek JJA at some point in the process, and a TrekWeb edited analysis by Bill Williams of the evolution of Star Trek: Generations.