STAR TREK Sequel to Explore Modern-Day Issues?

     September 15, 2009

Star Trek movie image Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto (1).jpg

Few films have ever been as universally well received as J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek”, a terrific scifi action flick that captured the attention of long time Trekers and at the same time satisfied general audiences with its dazzling effects, charismatic leads, dynamic direction, and tell me warp didn’t kick your ass. So it comes as no surprise that sequel rumblings have started spreading throughout the interwebs. But now, we have solid talk from the filmmakers themselves about what a sequel to the successful series reboot, with director J.J. Abrams and writer Roberto Orci talking about the follow up. Perhaps the most surprising news is some of the directions discussed for the next film, which could involve an exploration of current themes of terrorism and politicized war, according to Orci, saying “We’re trying to keep it as up-to-date and as reflective of what’s going on today as possible. So that’s one thing, to make it reflect the things that we are all dealing with today“. For more from Orci and Abrams, as well as more potential story ideas, gun it to maximum warp and hit the jump.

star_trek_movie_poster_imax.jpgIn an LA Times article, Geoff Boucher spoke to the writer and director on the set of their excellent television series, “Fringe”, about what the next “Star Trek” film could be. “The ambition for a sequel to “Star Trek” is to make a movie that’s worthy of the audience, not just another movie…that feels tacked on,” Abrams says of a potential sequel story, going on to stress that, “It needs to tell a story that has connection to what is familiar and what is relevant. It also needs to tell it in a spectacular way that hides the machinery and in a primarily entertaining and hopefully moving story. There needs to be relevance, yes, and that doesn’t mean it should be pretentious. If there are simple truths, truths connected to what we live, that elevates any story…that’s true with any story.”

It sounds as if Abrams’ head is certainly in the right place to tackle this sequel, and with the world he’s established in the first film, he should have lots of room to play.

Full disclosure, I’ve never been a massive Trek fan. I’ve enjoyed an episode of TNG or two, and really liked “First Contact”, and (like everyone else) “Wrath of Khan”, I’ve really always been more of a “Star Wars” guy. That being said, Abrams’ “Star Trek” is an amazing film, one that, along with Duncan Jones’ “Moon”, and Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9”, establishes 2009 as the triumphant return of sci-fi to cinemas. “Star Trek” has everything that we go to the movies for, action, spectacle, pathos…it just succeeds on every level, which could be both a blessing and a curse for the sequel. It’s a similar problem Chris Nolan will face when he ramps up for his third Batman flick: Just how the hell do you top this?

A lot of voices on the internet are crying out for the character Khan to be reintroduced in the next film, but quite frankly that seems a little boring and a little obvious. Part of what made “Star Trek” great was that Abrams and crew were crafting a completely new adventure using the world and characters of Trek, and using Khan in the sequel would come across in many ways as a remake of “Wrath of Khan”. Personally, the ideas put forth by Orci sound like they could be the skeleton of an amazing story focusing on a war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Just picture how a little updating through the Abrams filter with the help of big budget practical effects could depict the Klingons, a race for whom war is glorified and who file their teeth before they go into battle. How that culture could be related to our current international climate. Imagine Chris Pine’s Kirk coming face to face with a Klingon general. Imagine even more epic space battles with Klingon birds of prey. It’s going to be a long wait for the sequel.


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