Monday, September 03, 2007

Ultimate Star Trek?

Moriarty at aint-it-cool-news had dinner with a friend who works at Paramount. Apparently, this friend gave him a brief precis of the premise of the new JJ Abrams-directed, $150 million Star Trek reboot.
He then posted the following (taking pains to paint it as rumor--though Jeremy Smith at CHUD later posted that he had "100% confirmed" through a source of his own).

Indicating that the movie opens on Old Spock (Nimoy), presumably on Romulus (where we left him in his last appearance in 1991), Moriarty writes:
Picture an incident that throws a group of Romulans back in time. Picture that group of Romulans figuring out where they are in the timeline, then deciding to take advantage of the accident to kill someone’s father, to erase them from the timeline before they exist, thereby changing all of the Trek universe as a result. Who would you erase? ...

Who else, of course, but James T. Kirk?
Which may be a fanwank, but if so, it's an outstanding one, basically a variation "if you could go back and kill Hitler before he came to power, would you?"

It's worth noting that the single best episode of the original series, "City on the Edge of Forever," is centered around a nearly identical premise: what happens if time travelers from the future save a person who would otherwise die?

In the episode, this character's survival delayed the United States' entry into WWII, allowing Hitler to take over the world.

So what happens if time travelers from the future remove a person who would otherwise spend his life saving the galaxy on a regular basis? One imagines that the galaxy would fail to be saved... Repeatedly.

For example, Kirk would not have been there to defeat the Romulan Commander in "Balance of Terror." His mission to test the Federation's mettle would have been successful, quite possibly presaging a full-scale Romulan invasion. Even a hundred years later, there might be people on Romulus still nursing that grudge. (Which Old Spock, living on Romulus, might hear about.) It's worth noting that "Balance of Terror" was a *very* early TOS episode--probably the first one, chronologically-speaking, that could be remade into an excellent feature (it was a U-boat movie done for TV). It'd be great if Abrams & Co are using that for their A-plot... but that's purely conjecture on my part.

Moriarty continues:
If Spock were in a position to change that incident back, and then in a position to guard that timeline and make sure things happen the way they’re supposed to, it creates...

... well, what does it create?
It creates a fairly compelling idea for a new series of Star Trek movies is what. If this is true, they're creating a way to keep Leonard Nimoy as Old Spock into as many sequels as he's interested in making--which is reason enough to do it, in my opinion. But they're also taking the opportunity to streamline and tighten 40 years of continuity created on the fly--it's a second draft of Star Trek history. Ultimate Star Trek. And why not? It's been a huge success for Marvel Comics.
Because evidently the plan is to use this second timeline as a way of rebooting without erasing or ignoring canon. These new voyages of the Enterprise, they’re taking place in whatever timeline starts with this story. Maybe this timeline features dramatic differences.
More importantly, that would allow them to remake classic TOS episodes on the big screen while acknwoledging that for some characters (i.e., Old Spock), and some audience members (i.e., the fans), all of this has happened before.

I like it. I hope this is what they're doing... though it should be noted that, if this is true, it isn't so much the plot of the movie--at least, not the A-plot--as it is the premise for the movie and any sequels Abrams produces.

Casting Update: apparently, they want Zoe Saldana for Uhura, but her involvement may be hampered by the shooting schedule for James Cameron's Avatar. They are also said to want a name for the heavy with the rumor focusing on Russell Crowe (who says he's interested). Crowe would make a fantastic Romulan, huh?

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