Saturday, 20 July 2013

Star Trek Beyond 2013


Avoiding metaphors involving settling dust, the inevitable rumours about where Star Trek heads after Into Darkness stepped up into another gear thanks to, possibly, a misstep from Zachary Quinto.

Remarking that the next in the Star Trek reboot sequel would begin shooting in 2014 which would suggest either a 2015 or early 2016 release (and therefore hit the 50th Anniversary) lit up the internet like a warp drive going critical.

Critical was certainly something that applied to the second of JJ Abrams films as it split fans and critics alike while still managing to take a sweet $447,155,809 worldwide and still counting. The challenge now will be to create something which silences the non-believers and the disillusioned while also taking in Abrams' own fans, Star Trek die-hards and action film fans to name but a few groups. So what could we hope to expect from the next installment?

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Almost definitely it'll come from the keyboards of Orci and Lindelof and Kurtzman but whether JJ will direct, produce or just exec produce is one mystery as yet unsolved. My thoughts are that if the production date has been shifted forward that he would return to helm a third movie before turning his attention to the Star Wars machine. Of course, moving it would potentially mean he could do both more easily but then is there a fear that he will rush through Star Trek 3 to get to his first love?

Maybe, but are we concerned if he does focus more on Wars? Would it be better to take some time and ensure that as 2016 release is produced well rather than being made now and perhaps held until the anniversary year? 

I'm still not convinced that it will be made next year and this was more of an off-the-cuff moment. He only "supposed" that it would be 2014 and JJ "might" direct he thinks. Certainly thinking outside the box here, but anyway...what would a third movie look like?

What we do know is that it will be set during the five year mission. We can assume this because the last three minutes of Into Darkness pretty much confirmed that was where they were heading. Hopefully this also means that Earth will not be the prime location for a third time and we'll get to see some of the fabled final frontier. Not that I have anything against Earth but we haven't exactly gone where no one has gone before yet and I'm not even talking about recycling older plots and lines from better Star Trek movies. I just wouldn't want to play the "drink when you hear a stolen line from another Star Trek movie or episode" with Into Darkness as I suspect I would be hospitalised by the time we meet Admiral Marcus for the first time.

If we're keeping with the lineage of the original films, Klingons would be the logical move for the third movie after all we've done new threat (V'Gr to Nero) and Khan. The fourth one could be interesting if that's the case. I might postulate that we're going to be going heavily Klingon as the threat of war was billboarded in Into Darkness at every opportunity. For me this seems more likely than a completely new enemy and would tend to sit more alongside the situation between the Federation and the Klingons that we were familiar with in The Original Series. Having the Klingon war would also go some way towards making up for missing out on the Romulan War that Enterprise missed out on covering.

How they're going to top the Enterprise under water or plunging through the atmosphere is going to be one big challenge to face especially if you add in the whole crash-landing sequence with the Vengeance for good measure. Landing her on the surface of a planet might seem the next best thing but we all know Voyager has beaten them to it - or how about freezing the ship under some ice or...no...that's been done too...how about separating....no....that's been done too. 

Perhaps JJ could keep with the concept of borrowing off the original films and parallel The Search for Spock by blowing up the Enterprise and getting them a new ship? Maybe if we're pillaging original series characters and scenarios something from the second season such as the Doomsday Device? How about mixing in some pon farr for good measure?

Although doubtful I would still suggest there will be some kind of big threat which means the ship and crew and run through the mill once again in true action film nature. With such a Raiders of the Lost Ark ending however there's always scope to bring Cumberbatch back for a second scenery chewing opportunity.

Understanding the beast of Abrams filmmaking and writers, we can be resigned to the fact that there will be excessive action, more Spock and Uhura romance and lens flare crammed in at every opportunity.  One thing that does need to be corrected is characterisation. It's been heavily sacrificed on behalf of explosions and macho posturing. Star Trek isn't about ray guns and shooting. It's always been about the people and even after several viewings of the 2009 reboot there's a feeling I just don't get from it that I do get even if I watch The Final Frontier or Nemesis. The humanity has been sapped from this universe and we need to get it back; Star Trek 3: The Search for Sense.

Actually, the title will probably follow the theme of Into Darkness using the series name as a verb rather than a noun. This is JJ's Star Trek and this is one of his little stamps. If you asked me what I would want as a fan I would ask for balance between the story of the crew and the action element. JJ can direct a good action sequence but the characters still seem paper thin when lined up against the classic cast. 


Not saying that they do a bad job and yes, they have made them all their own, but the depth is lacking. That could be due to them only having featured in two movies and are effectively building these alternate versions from scratch however the action mold has a very firm grip and both of Abrams' rebooted outings have started with a massive set piece which is all about spectacle rather than story and the people.

There is also a slightly cynical part of me that also thinks that Quinto's comment was amazingly well-timed. Remember that this week is the legendary Comic-Con where lots of new and exciting things in the sci-fi and fantasy world are revealed (including a Zack Snyder Superman/Batman movie no less). What a better time to ignite a bit of interest in the franchise when it has a very low key presence at the event in terms of screen announcements? Here's the logo for that project if you're interested...(via www.comingsoon.net).

Merchandise-wise there's a lot of new Star Trek stuff out there but Quinto's comment on the potential filming of the third reboot motion picture ALSO come in the week that the DVD and blu-ray release dates of Star Trek Into Darkness have been announced. The sets, the steelbooks and the limited editions look great and I can't wait to get my hands on them but we still have a couple of months to wait until they hit the shelves (first week of September). Likely we'll get more stories on the inevitable next movie at that time and the rumour mill will find itself fully reengaged. Maybe it's all a bit too convenient but I think for one thing we can all be pretty assured that whether we liked it or totally loathed it, there will be another film with this cast.

Also a well-placed question to a certain departing Doctor Who actor in an interview asking him whether he would like to appear in Star Trek can only be helping reignite the dulling flames ahead of the release of the movie on home-playable formats. It all helps even iff 99.8% of everything we hear is utterly rubbish at this stage and led by the interviewer as with Matt Smith. Come on, he's hardly going to say no to a possible role in either Star Trek or Star Wars is he? This is a bit overblown.


Personally I would love it to drop in 2016 accompanied by some form of new televisual adventures aboard some kind of Starfleet vessel in whatever era they please but let's nail that door shut right away. The money is in the Abrams movies not TV. Rejuvenating Enterprise or creating whatever new show is too expensive in today's economic climate. Quinto's misadvised comment might not be wholly accurate and we will have to wait and see if it comes to fruition - but we can garner one thing from his words - Star Trek is most certainly not dead. The franchise lives on in the creative processes of a new generation and it will be sooner rather than later that we will get to explore the next horizon of the final frontier.