JJ Abrams saves Star Trek!

From Daily Variety:

J.J. Abrams is becoming the next Gene Roddenberry.

Paramount is breathing life into its “Star Trek” franchise by setting “Mission: Impossible III” helmer J.J. Abrams to produce and direct the 11th “Trek” feature, aiming for a 2008 release.

Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk, Abrams’ producing team from “Lost,” also will produce the yet-to-be-titled feature.

Project, to be penned by Abrams and “MI3” scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, will center on the early days of seminal “Trek” characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer space mission.

Deal reflects ParPar’s bullishness on “MI3,” which launches worldwide next weekend, and underlines the goal of Paramount chief Brad Grey and prexy Gail Berman to re-energize the pipeline via high-profile tentpoles while revitalizing the Par brand with top-tier talent such as Abrams.

“MI3” is the first pic to be released that’s been greenlit by Grey.

“Star Trek” has been Hollywood’s most durable performer other than James Bond, spawning 10 features that have grossed more than $1 billion and 726 TV episodes from six series.

Decision to relaunch “Star Trek” comes less than a year after UPNUPN pulled the plug on “Star Trek: Enterprise” amid dismal ratings following a four-season run and four years after “Star Trek: Nemesis” turned in the worst performance of the 10 films with $43 million domestic.

Original series created by Roddenberry launched in 1966 on NBC and ended in 1969.

During the following decade, the original 78 episodes of “Trek” became staples in syndication and helped mobilize the fan base along with conventions, books and merchandise. Paramount released “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979 and saw domestic grosses hit $82 million. The next three films grossed a combined $263 million domestically, so Paramount started the second TV series, “The Next Generation,” in 1987, with Rick Berman and Roddenberry co-exec producing.

Under Sherry LansingSherry Lansing’s tenure, Rick Berman had been teamed several years ago with Jordan Kerner and Kerry McCluggage to develop an 11th feature set in the early days of Starfleet Academy.

A fantastically stupid idea.

By the way, Gary, www.variety.com is calling that a subscriber-only story. Could you scan it and post links? kthx bye.

A fantastically stupid idea.

It’s a hell of a lot better than:

an 11th feature set in the early days of Starfleet Academy.

I think they need to gamble here and try for another funny one or perhaps go dark. Because damn did Insurrection and Nemesis suck.

I’m not sure how keen I am on a Kirk that isn’t Shatner or a Spock that isn’t Nimoy. I suppose I’d willing to give it a shot, but I’m wary.

The movie aside, I wonder if they can launch another successful series. I really liked the idea with Enterprise and going back pre-TOS, but the implementation was awful. As long as they keep Brannon Braga and Rick Berman the hell away and hire some writers that don’t suck, it’s probably still viable.

I was about to sarcastically say ‘movie industry people don’t hang out here so posting Variety stories is okay,’ but Mr. Whitta himself sold a screenplay and Mr. Chick is a well-known TV nobody.


Is that a word?

Kirk Spock and the gang are fictional characters. Just like Batman. If they take the idea in Batman Begins that this is a new version and not a “prequel” then they will do ok.

The take they were working on a long time ago actually sounds pretty good. Not the one they are using but its an interesting proof of concept.

Honestly as a trekkie of old, I am more interested in the original characters than the universe setting. It would be great if they could get cameos of the original actors.

Yeah, but they’re fictional characters that have been played by the same actors for the past 38 years. It’s really not the same thing. Kirk is Shatner, for all extents and purposes, and Nimoy is Spock. They defined the characters, and all the fiction that built up around Star Trek over the years followed afterwards.

With Batman, you had decades of established fiction that went looking for an actor to portray the role. It’s not like whoever they got to do it was ever going to feel like canon, so it’s not a big deal to swap out actors.

Nice, it’s almost like my idea of doing a Tv series starting with Pike and the inaugural launch of the Enterprise.

No, your idea is much better.

The thought of impossibly good-looking 25 year-olds playing Kirk and Spock, the Early Years, fills me with existential dread. The temptation to make Top Gun in space will be overwhelming.

I am sure, however, that Jose Liz will love it and pronounce it superior to every other Trek vehicle.

What a stupid idea. Enterprise was a horrible failure, TNG was not. Learn from this and continue the timeline, don’t go back and retread shit.

Sounds like a WB series to me.

But the last couple of TNG movies have been horrible failures too so I’m not sure another TNG movie is really the way to go.

They should just have two dudes meeting at Starfleet Academy, and then in the first five minutes there’s a time ripple and bam they’re Shatner and Nimoy. Starfleet has to find a way to get them back to normal while they still take classes.

Also the time ripple gives Nimoy gas.

And then all her clothes fall off.

C’mon, Patrick Stewart has to be in it.

They already sort of did this episode in TNG with Picard and Q.

See - they’ve done so many stories with Trek they’ve even done retarded ones like this one. They need to let Trek stay dead for at least 10 years.

I thought that was a fantastic episode.

The real question is, is the new Kirk actor going to portray Kirk, or portray Shatner?

What… do you… mean???

Well, I get the idea of turning the characters themselves into the franchise, but I think it’s pretty fundamentally at odds with the core premise.

Trek works best when it’s thinly disguised allegory combined with the whole “seeking out new life” thing. Yes, it often means that you get a big spoonful of hokum with your sci-fi, but I think that you can track the success/failure of the series almost directly with how closely they’ve stuck to that formula.

Mining the past is neither going boldy nor “where no one has gone before”.