Paramount on Trek XI: Make It So

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If you've been following the rumors about wonderboy director J.J. Abrams' plan to make Star Trek XI, you know that Abrams and his team claim to be working on a new movie for the franchise. Paramount Pictures, which owns the Trek franchise, has not confirmed that…until now! Doing phone calls for my upcoming 40th Trek birthday dilithium explosion, I just got a Paramount spokesperson to confirm that the movie is in the works.

I saw the Abrams joint M:I:3 a few weeks ago, and while there wasn't anything in it you hadn't seen a million times, it was a fairly intelligent piece of directing. I've never seen a full episode of either Lost or Alias. So if anybody's going to take the old grey Enterprise out for one more voyage, it might as well be J.J.

Contemplate that on the tree of woe, and wonder what kind of ion storm could have transported you to this universe where there have been ten Star Trek movies.

NEXT: Tonight on MSNBC: Tim Vs. Tucker on Immigration

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  1. Congrats on the birthday, Tim.

  2. On M:I:3: (three colons for three letters!) Competent directing, sure. Scripting, no.

  3. happy birthday

  4. You realize that if Abrams is allowed to make the movie the same way he makes TV shows then it will make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    And I say that as somebody who’s addicted to Lost.

  5. Contemplate that on the tree of woe, and wonder what kind of ion storm could have transported you to this universe where there have been ten Star Trek movies.

    Dunno, but I’d really like to find an ion storm that will take me to a universe where Insurrection never happened, and if possible, where they stopped after the first Conan movie.

  6. Let’s get one thing straight right away: there is no way — NO WAY — that any Federation ship would stand a chance against an Imperial Star Destroyer. That is not opionion, that is FACT. People (and I use the term advisedly) who are all blah blah blah photon torpedos blah blah blah shields blah blah blah superior tactics blah BLAH BLAH BLAH are gricking IDIOTS, microencephalic mud-crawling parasitic whores who don’t deserve to share the same PLANET with normal people let alone the same blog. Sure yeah yeah yeah with your fricken storm troopers, if you like storm troopers so much why don’t you join the SS? Cause you people are worse than Hitler with your insane refusal to face the SIMPLE OBVIOUS INCONTRIVERTABLE FACTS, so suck my dick.

  7. Happy birthday, Tim!

    I’ll have a goblet of Romulan ale in your name.

  8. herostratus,

    Thanks for the laugh.

  9. I wonder if the people who greenlight the exhumation and monsterous reanimation of once-popular franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars, Terminator, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Superman, etc.) are the same people who tell the LA Times without irony that they have no idea why people aren’t going to the theaters any more.

  10. The movie is going to be about the teen-age versions of the Enterprise crew, while they are all cadets at Starfleet.

    And no, I am not being sarcastic.

  11. The movie is going to be about the teen-age versions of the Enterprise crew, while they are all cadets at Starfleet.

    And no, I am not being sarcastic.

    Jim Henson’s Federation Babies

  12. Contemplate that on the tree of woe…

    Crucify Abrams… and the suits at Paramount for continuing to flog a pile of bleached horse bones that is the Trek franchise. There is no life left in the old girl. She played her self out around Star Trek III when the writers decided that if all the good Trekkies who believe in Vulcans clapped their hands, Spock would come back from the dead.

    I am a sci-fi fanatic, but for the life of me, I fail to appreciate the “genius” of hack-writer Gene Roddenberry (or fellow hack writer George Lucas to be fair to the drooling Star Wars fans). His preachy utopian future lacked realism, subtlety, action, and was as barren and frigid as a preacher’s wife.

    You want good sci-fi? See Babylon 5 seasons 2-4, Firefly/Serenity, and the first two Alien movies.

  13. Thanks to all well-wishers. While my own 40th birthday is nearer than I would like, I was actually refering to the 40th birthday of Trek.

    That starfleet-cadets idea, by the way, has not been confirmed.

  14. The only thing that is stopping Kirk’s Enterprise from vaporizing the Death Star is that they come from two different franchises.

    So what if the Death Star can blow up a planet? A planet is easier to hit. The Enterprise can simply launch photon torpedos while safely out of range of the Death Star’s TIE fighters.

    Size is irrelavent here. The Death Star is a strategic weapon. It is built for the purpose of detroying a planet. The Enterprise is intended for exploration, but it is capable of ship to ship combat. The Death Star is not capable of ship to ship combat and would require a screen of Imperial Star Destroyers.

    To put it in a different way, which would win in a fight? An F-15 or a Tu-95? The Tu-95 may be bigger, but in the air, size is a liability. This is likely the case in space as well.

  15. I didn’t think Deep Space 9 was all that bad. It was one of the first Star Trek franchises to portray business as something besides a corrupt, archaic institution (Remember Harry Mudd from the original series? And I believe in one of the Next Generation Movies, Captain Picard claims that money “no longer exists” because in the future, everyone works for the betterment of mankind). This was despite, or perhaps due to, the fact that a scheming Ferengi barkeeper (the original objectivists) was a recurring character.

    You want good sci-fi? See Babylon 5 seasons 2-4, Firefly/Serenity, and the first two Alien movies.

    I would also throw in the new Battlestar Galactica into that mix.

  16. The Enterprise is intended for exploration, but it is capable of ship to ship combat.

    That’s something that always puzzled me, and my knowledge of treknology is not so good: The Enterprise is supposed to be a scientific vessel, but it’s armed to the teeth. Are there actual military ships in Starfleet, and if so what kind of weaponry do they carry?

  17. Are there actual military ships in Starfleet…

    Oh no, for like poverty, sickness, hunger, capitalism, and curse words, the tolerant and progressive Federation has advanced beyond the need for actual military vessels… unlike those barbaric Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, and Jem’Hedar cretins who have not embraced the perfection that we have.

  18. Deep Space 9 was vastly superior to any other Trek series.

    – Josh

  19. I never watched Deep Space 9 until a couple weeks ago, and I enjoyed it. Andy Robinson! Rene Auberjonois! Rutgers’ own Avery Brooks! More stars than there are in heaven!

    But am I the only one who thinks that deep down, that show really wanted to be a sitcom?

  20. Tim, for a military vessel, look no further than DS9’s tough little ship, the Defiant. Warp engines wrapped around an arsenal — and a cloaking device for fun!

  21. So, could you ask Paramount when they plan on releasing the original Mission Impossible series onto DVD?

    As a kid, my two hours daily TV ration was Star Trek and Mission Impossible on channel 43.

  22. The Enterprise is intended for exploration, but it is capable of ship to ship combat. The Death Star is not capable of ship to ship combat and would require a screen of Imperial Star Destroyers.

    If you’ll remember, Death Star II was capable of targeting capital ships. Moff Jerjerrod used the superlaser to destroy the Rebel Alliance’s medical frigate.

  23. That’s something that always puzzled me, and my knowledge of treknology is not so good: The Enterprise is supposed to be a scientific vessel, but it’s armed to the teeth. Are there actual military ships in Starfleet, and if so what kind of weaponry do they carry?

    The Enterprise is a “scientific” vessel.

    I suppose that would be good idea for a Trek franchise. One in which the Federation is a sort of North Korean style totalitarian government… crew members go missing when they critize the Federation… The Federation goes on all sorts of “peacekeeping” and “exploration” Imperialist adventures. Superficially it would appear to be like normal Star Trek, but disturbing elements would come to the surface if you pay attention.

  24. The Enterprise was both a scientific and a military vessel. If you were sending a vessel to explore unknown space, wouldn’t you make it capable of both as best you could?

    The main inconsistency here, of course, is that in the later “Trek” franchises, the Enterprise-type starships also serve as the military flagships. Surely in a realistic universe you’d have something more specialized to fulfill that role.

  25. The Enterprise was both a scientific and a military vessel. If you were sending a vessel to explore unknown space, wouldn’t you make it capable of both as best you could?

    The main inconsistency here, of course, is that in the later “Trek” franchises, the Enterprise-type starships also serve as the military flagships. Surely in a realistic universe you’d have something more specialized to fulfill that role.

  26. I heard that, Wild Pegasus, and, Tim, that’s an interesting question, but I’d say instead that DS9 was the wittiest of those shows, as well as the one that achieved great big dramattic power most frequently.

  27. once-popular franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars, Terminator, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Superman, etc.

    Wait–is Ghostbusters seriously being reanimated? That’s almost as dumb an idea as “Teen Trek.”

  28. Aw, man, I know how to spell dramatic, it’s this keyboard.

  29. Well, and in fact, during the Dominion Wars, there were more advanced, weaponized ships developed. In DS9, the crew eventually got use of the USS Defiant, a ship originally developed to fight the Borg, but ultimately used to fight the Dominion. It used a Romulan cloaking device, and was basically a stripped down, straightforward military vessel – down to crewpeople sharing quarters, sleeping in bunks, and forget about holodecks. Despite being tiny, it could’ve eaten the Enterprise-D for lunch. And then there was the USS Prometheus

  30. Oh, this actually answers your question, Tim: http://www.memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Explorer

    God I am such a geek.

  31. If you’ll remember, Death Star II was capable of targeting capital ships. Moff Jerjerrod used the superlaser to destroy the Rebel Alliance’s medical frigate.

    It’s a TRAP!!

  32. I must agree. ST:DS9 was the best of the various series. As a point of comparison, ask yourself what Picard does with Q (talk, talk, talk) as opposed to Sisko (kicks Q’s his ass).

  33. TC:

    Perhaps you’re laying out the nerd bait by asking your question, but I’ll bite.

    As people mentioned, the orignal Enterprise was a hybrid Science/Military vessel. They were sending the ship out in deep, unexplored space so it had to have some teeth. But it’s primary function was exploration.

    Back in Federation space they had much heavier vessels… battle ships, heavy cruisers, etc… that had thicker hulls (with more powerful shields), and were armed with many more torpedo bays and phaser banks than an exploration vessel. As with any military fleet you have to have specialized ships.

    On the other end of the spectrum, there were vessles that had no military application at all, like the Reliant in ST2. I think it had just one phaser bank/torpedo bay, and wouldn’t stand a chance against a Constellation class (Enterprise) in a toe-to-toe. Obviously, in the movie, Khan was able to compensate for this by being sneaky (and the interesting thing is that, in his arrogance, he doesn’t blow up the Enterprise outright, but merely cripples it so he has a chance to mock Kirk).

    Nerd flag flying high…

  34. And one more thing…

    Yes, the Enterprise D in the Next Generation HAD a daycare center, and a mental health therapist as a bridge officer, but to stuff like that I plug my ears and go lalalalalalalalalalalala…

  35. You want good sci-fi? See Babylon 5 seasons 2-4, Firefly/Serenity, and the first two Alien movies.

    Agreed (especially on the on the bleached bones bit), but VI and First Contact (VIII) were not all that bad as films go. Remember, the even numbered don’t suck as a rule (not counting 10). So, we can count on XI as being a suck-fest.

    Don’t forget about Farscape. Muppets be damned, it was a fine show.

    Stargate SG-1 is my guilty pleasure. Schlocky as hell, but the punch line is that both the creators and fans know it. It has a good sense of humor that other SF shows lack. And yes, the movie did sucksucksuck.

  36. Allow me to highly recommend the new Battlestar Galactica, as well. I’ve only seen the first season so far, but I love it. They’ve taken something really dorky/disposable and made it a gem. I would love to see these magicians work on something like The Black Hole.

    “Firefly”? I bought the series knowing nothing except it has a LOT of hype. I was pretty damned disappointed. I think it’s boring, and the characters range from barely interesting to outright irritating (that little sister – Jesus, would someone please push her out of the airlock?).

    Still would bang that engineer, though.

  37. I would love to see these magicians work on something like The Black Hole.

    I could see an updated version of The Black Hole provided they got rid of the goofy robots, made it darker, and targeted it toward adults. (Something movie/tv sci-fi often fails to do.)

  38. Happy Birthday, Tim! You may not be approaching forty, but I am. I was born within a week of the first airing of Star Trek while my dad was working on the Apollo program. I never had a chance to be anything but a science and science fiction fan.

    There’s no reason a Star Trek movie can’t be good. The good news is that the franchise has taken some lumps, so they won’t assume the audience as much as they have in the past. Good writing, dialogue, and plot can work for Star Trek as much as for any other movie. Hope that’s the case.

    I’m a DS9 fan. It lacked the optimism of most other entries in the Trek franchise, but there were some danged good episodes. Some of the story lines were a little strange and occasionally were obvious moves to bump up ratings. Frankly, I think one of the problems with all of the new Star Trek series is the people calling the shots at the top.

    Mr. Nice Guy, I’m surprised you don’t like Firefly, which I think is great. Maybe it would help when you realize that Mal would like to kick River out the airlock, too πŸ™‚ As for the engineer, well, the show doesn’t lack for attractive women, does it? Must be some future thing.

  39. That was me, BTW.

  40. Allow me to highly recommend the new Battlestar Galactica, as well. I’ve only seen the first season so far, but I love it. They’ve taken something really dorky/disposable and made it a gem.

    I hate to post nothing but “me toos”, but BSG is the best damn thing on TV today. If you liked season 1, season 2 will blow you away. Edward James Almos is el hombre as Adama.

    Eagerly awaiting season 3, but not until October damnit!

  41. PL:

    I REALLY want to like Firefly. It’s intelligently written. And it’s very clever that they one-up the original thrust of Star Trek (which was really just a western in space), by making it in-your-face western.

    The show certainly has much more testosterone than any Trek series after the original (be it known that I haven’t yet watched the latter seasons of DS9, I bailed after the first two in the original run).

    And yeah, the wimmen… I’ll venture to say that they are TOO hot. Mal’s red-headed wife/nemisis…? Give me a break. She’s so gorgeous that it makes it difficult to pay attention to little things like dialogue/plot. They could have her character just recite names out of a phone book and I wouldn’t be less clued in in what the hell is going on.

  42. Oh wait… is Mal the captain, or the Jesse James outlaw guy in the crew?

    Space’n out here…

  43. That starfleet-cadets idea, by the way, has not been confirmed.

    i hope not – it sounds freaking horrible. and since 10 sucked so bad, maybe the pattern is broken and 11 will be good.

  44. Trek – the most hypocritical series ever written.

    There is no money, but people are always running out of stuff.

    There is no need for a military, and yet, in every episode, hmm.

    There is no dirt anywhere, except in the strategic smudge placed on the cheek to let us know that they’ve beamed down to somewhere REALLY primitive now.

    The Federation is advanced and is really the UN of the world, except, well, you know about those hook nosed money grubbing Ferengi. They should hang out with Jar Jar Binks in a live show where they all dance for our amusement.

    We leave everyone alone, except we don’t … ever.

    But at least the new project is run by the master of plotless make-it-up-as-you-goism JJ Abrams. JJ Abrams is to drama as The Family Guy is to comedy. Throw every conceivable idea at a wall and make the audience imagine there is a plot connecting it all.

  45. JL:

    The big problem with Trek is that the occasional flashes of masculine brilliance are quickly smothered in estrogen/modern-liberal/new-age bullshit. And every once in awhile, they apologize.

    For example, in the beginning I clearly remember Riker glaring with rage when someone mentioned meat, and he spits out that “we don’t ENSLAVE animals anymore!!”.

    Several seasons later, we see a bearded Riker eagerly cutting into a steak with a mischievous glint in his eye.

    Star Trek is a continuous struggle between testosterone and estrogen, with the latter often winning.

    But, like Star Wars, the occasional flashes of brilliance is what sustains it.

  46. Why do you people pretend that TNG is Trek? The only Trek that counts is the 3 years from 1966 to 1969.

  47. Mr. Nice Guy, funny you should mention Mal’s “wife”. She’s waaay hot. I think I forgot my name while watching the episodes she was in πŸ™‚

    Mal is the captain. The other guy is Jayne. He’s a great character–kind of an Animal Mother in space.

    About this Star Trek movie with space cadets–don’t do it. Kids and space mix very, very poorly. Look at poor Wil Wheaton and the death threats he still gets. One thing I absolutely love about the new Battlestar Galactica is that they dumped the Boxey character ASAP (hopefully out the airlock).

  48. I like Star Trek, but if anyone thinks the “Enterprise” stands a chance against any major Imperial warship, they need a head check. There’s an exhaustive scientific analysis of the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate available here: http://www.stardestroyer.net

  49. I could see an updated version of The Black Hole provided they got rid of the goofy robots

    So long as they kept Maximillian.

  50. SR:

    Tongue firmly in cheek, but you’re forgetting Federation transporter technology.

    Many, many years ago (when I was a kid) we had a Star Wars vs. Trek battle (with paper, dice, and incompatible gaming systems), and my bud simply used his transporter to phase out the control rods out of the reactor of the Imperial Destroyer. Ka-booom.

  51. So long as they kept Maximillian.

    Hmmmmm… maybe we can keep Maximillian if we made him some souped up robot probe that Dr. Rhinehardt modified to “protect” the Cygnus. NOMAD on steriods.

    We can also name the Palimino’s computer V.I.N.Cent if we just find a better voice actor than Roddy MacDowell.

  52. SR:

    Thanks for the link. The irony is that the more serious a person seems in these types of discussions, the funnier it is.

    The Simpsons made a lot of hay with the Comic Book Guy. No joke, I had a friend who looked exactly like him, and was a bit of a dick. But at least he had self-awareness and a sense of humor.

  53. “Tongue firmly in cheek, but you’re forgetting Federation transporter technology”

    Also, tongue firmly in cheek, the tactical value of transporter technology in ship-to-ship combat is vastly overrated — it’s rarely even deployed to good effect in Star Trek against enemies using similar technology. Read the entries under “Tactics” – “Boarding Actions” and “Technology” – “Special Technology” at Stardestroyer.net for overviews.

  54. This piece by Olaf Eliasson (“The Weather Project”) at the Tate Modern in London looks *exactly* like the awesome scene in the Black Hole that has the glowing asteriod tumbling toward the catwalk. I think Olaf saw the movie at an impressionable age.

  55. The Enterprise vs. a star destroyer? Who cares? Sauron could kick both their asses.

  56. crimethink,

    Not without the Ring, he couldn’t.

  57. Umm, even Ring-less Sauron could do that. Now if he had the Ring, he could blow up every planet, star, and collection of dark matter in every galaxy in the universe. And turn the Ewoks into murderous zombies.

  58. crimethink, I’d pay money to see the Ewoks mashed-up into the orc role in Lord of the Rings. At least for the parts where the orcs get killed.

    Lucas can’t make sequels to the Star Wars movies because everyone knows that there’s no way Luke wouldn’t fall to the dark side after having to endure the stupidity that was the Ewoks. Ooh, fuzziness defeats blasters, armor, and high technology every time. And kids think enduring Jar Jar Binks was hard. Ha!

  59. Hey, I can do this all by myself.

    All I need are 9 Billion names of God and both the Federation and the Empire are toast. I got your murderous zombie ewoks right here.

    I’m on #3. Give me a couple minutes.

  60. crimethink, I got a little carried away with visions of dying Ewoks, so I missed an opportunity to trash Sauron some more. You may recall that he got his ass handed to him when he was wielding the Ring. Face it, Sauron was a loser. Now if Gandalf had taken the Ring, well, that’s another story altogether.

  61. crimethink, I got a little carried away with visions of dying Ewoks, so I missed an opportunity to trash Sauron some more. You may recall that he got his ass handed to him when he was wielding the Ring. Without the Ring, he was defeated by a miniature folk, not unlike. . .THE EWOKS!!! Yaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Face it, Sauron was a loser.

    Now if Gandalf had taken the Ring, well, that’s another story altogether.

  62. “But am I the only one who thinks that deep down, that show really wanted to be a sitcom?

    Comment by: Tim Cavanaugh at May 26, 2006 12:13 AM”

    yoooooo git the game ball for that one! awesome!

    hey herostratus: oh yeah! yooooo’re nuthin but a scruffy-looking nerf herder πŸ™‚

  63. All those Trek movies…

    And no one remembers to make a Dark Shadows movie anymore.

    Sniff sniff sniff….

  64. For most men, time moves slowly, oh so slowly, they don’t even realize it. But time has revealed itself to me in a very special way. Time is a rushing, howling wind that rages past me, withering me in a single, relentless blast, and then continues on. I’ve been sitting here passively, submissive to its rage, watching its work. Listen! Time, howling, withering!

  65. Whoa…for a minute there I thought I was at my local gaming shop…

    Seriously, Trek vs. Star Wars? Meh. I’ll take you both on with a fleet of Higaaran Battlecruisers πŸ˜‰

    Oh my, now I’ve done it…

    Have fun out there.

  66. Are there actual military ships in Starfleet…

    Oh no, for like poverty, sickness, hunger, capitalism, and curse words, the tolerant and progressive Federation has advanced beyond the need for actual military vessels… unlike those barbaric Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, and Jem’Hedar cretins who have not embraced the perfection that we have.

    …and whose “actual military vessels” still managed to get pwned by the Enterprise (in its various incarnations) on a regular basis.

  67. “I suppose that would be good idea for a Trek franchise. One in which the Federation is a sort of North Korean style totalitarian government… crew members go missing when they critize the Federation… The Federation goes on all sorts of “peacekeeping” and “exploration” Imperialist adventures. Superficially it would appear to be like normal Star Trek, but disturbing elements would come to the surface if you pay attention.”

    I’ve had a similar thought. I always thought it would be cool to see a show with a crew that decides to take their ship and go do their own thing, and have it play out against the backdrop of an increasingly authoritarian Federation.

  68. I like Star Trek, but if anyone thinks the “Enterprise” stands a chance against any major Imperial warship, they need a head check.

    Those guys miss the point.

    Keep in mind that even in Trek, any Federation ship crewed by the protagonists encounters a hostile ship clearly (and often vastly) superior to it at least three times a season. And yet, they always survive and usually prevail. Half the time, they do this by disabling or subverting technology far ahead of their own.

    On the other hand, the Empire has been known to miss enemy ships the size of basketball courts docked to the side of their own warships – warships in the middle of a wartime battle group! – and have their ground forces, supported by heavily-armed walkers, compare poorly to neolithic, waist-high teddy bears in battle.

    “Clever heroes versus incompetent villains” only resolves one way in space opera.

  69. I always thought it would be cool to see a show with a crew that decides to take their ship and go do their own thing, and have it play out against the backdrop of an increasingly authoritarian Federation.

    They called that Blake’s 7. πŸ™‚

  70. The next movie and/or series should be set in the alternative universe where Spock has a beard. Back when our counterparts were running everything, not in the DS9 version. Just what Trek needs–some dark freakiness.

  71. “They called that Blake’s 7. :)”

    *Goes to Wikipedia entry for Blake’s 7*

    Well.

    I’ll be damned.

  72. Well.

    I’ll be damned.

    What little I remember of it (haven’t seen eps in ages) was pretty good, if 70s BBC-cheesy.

  73. Blakes’ 7 was awesome, even if their spaceship was clearly a microphone with some sparkly bits glued onto it. I think they made each episode with whatever money they could shake out of couches in the lobby of the BBC.

  74. That’s pretty much true of any 70s BBC SF series. πŸ™‚

  75. “If you’ll remember, Death Star II was capable of targeting capital ships. Moff Jerjerrod used the superlaser to destroy the Rebel Alliance’s medical frigate.”

    NOT, “It’s a TRAP!!”

    Tie Fighters?? What the CRAP??

  76. And my vote would go to Galaxy Quest.

    There’s an exhaustive scientific analysis of the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate available here:

    ROTFL. Reminds me of the short story (can’t find the title right now) about a post-armageddin society that dragged itself back up with books from the local library. A book about steam trains inspired them to build steam trains. A book about autos inspired them to build autos. A book about airplanes inspired them to build airplanes. The Star Trek technical manual inspired them to build a starship.

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