J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: A New Frontier

Published 7 years ago by , Updated October 18th, 2008 at 10:03 am,

startrekewcover J.J. Abrams Star Trek: A New FrontierThis week’s Entertainment Weekly has a feature article on J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek reboot. The article goes in-depth, FINALLY revealing some choice details about Star Trek’s plot, plot-twists, characters and even a cameo from an all-too-familiar face.

Better yet, the article delves into the question of how Abrams and Co. plan to reinvent Star Trek from the arcane nerd religion it is now, into a multi-million-earning, pop-culture smash–a question people like myself need answered before we hand over our hard-earned cash to see the Enterprise’s latest voyage.

Let me be up front by saying: I am not a Star Trek hater. I was born in 1981–too late to have been a fan of the original 60′s series; just in time for my father to force-feed me syndicated portions of Star Trek: The Next Generation along with dinner every night, back in the mid 90′s.

Admittedly, if not for my father’s fascist hold on  the remote during dinner, I probably would’ve never watched a single Next Generation episode in entirety. Regardless, the series made enough of an impression for me to go back and watch all four films about the original Enterprise crew released up to that point (thank you Prism for replaying The Wrath of Khan ad nauseum); the two Kirk and Co. films they  released thereafter; and all four of the Next Generation films released between 1994 and 2002. (That makes ten Stark Trek films in total, if you’re keeping count.) So while I might not qualify as an official “Trekkie,” I’m no stranger to the Trek universe.

However, my perspective is not the perspective of your average moviegoer. We live in a time when bringing up the original Transformers or G.I. Joe cartoons in a room full of teenagers will likely earn you blank stares and awkward silence. So trying to introduce the notion that there was ever a Star Trek before the bald guy in wheelchair from X-Men was in it… Well, you might as well explain it in Arabic. Add to that historical hurdle the mathematical reality that Abrams’ $150 million reboot is going to have perform on a global scale to turn a suitable profit… and, well, you begin to see how steep a hill to success Star Trek will have to climb.

star trek uss kelvin J.J. Abrams Star Trek: A New Frontier

So, is Captain Abrams steering his ship in the right direction? As always, the genre-defying director/producer is optimistic:

”I think a movie that shows people of various races working together and surviving hundreds of years from now is not a bad message to put out right now,” says Abrams…”In a world where a movie as incredibly produced as The Dark Knight is raking in gazillions of dollars, Star Trek stands in stark contrast…It was important to me that optimism be cool again.”

To further that end, Abrams’ Stark Trek is getting a sleek makeover to go along with its optimism resurgence. Just Picture the U.S.S. Enterprise re-imagined for the Ipod generation:

The Enterprise still has a saucer front section and pronged rear engines, but now comes tricked out with credibility-enhancing details. During turbulence, the crew can now grab handrails to keep from falling. And Abrams has given the blah cardboard bridge a makeover. It still has the oval shape, the captain’s chair, the giant view screen — but it’s now blazingly white and glistening with light and glass. Apple Store, anyone? ”People would joke, ‘Where’s the Genius Bar?”’ says Abrams, somewhat defensively. ”To me, the bridge is so cool, it makes the Apple Store look uncool.”

star trek new enterprise bridge J.J. Abrams Star Trek: A New Frontier

Another big change will be the phasers: where once they looked like electric razors with fancy light effects, the new phaser design is that of “silver gizmos with spring-triggered barrels that revolve and glow in the transition from ”stun” to ”kill.”

That’s all cool, if you’re a sci-fi enthusiast who likes to scrutinize every single working component of the far-fetched tech the genre is known for, but what about those who have no idea what a “phaser” is; who have no frame of context whatsoever for the phrase, “Beam me up?” For Abrams, the trick of getting Star Trek to appeal to a wider circle of moviegoers involved infusing the series with a bit of stylistic life’s blood from another hallowed sci-fi series:

‘All my smart friends liked Star Trek,” [Abrams] says. ”I preferred a more visceral experience…that grabbed me the way Star Wars did.” That meant a bigger budget and better special effects than any previous Trek film, plus freedom to reinvent the mythos as needed.

”The movie,” Lindelof says, ”is about the act of changing what you know.”

(Click to continue: “J.J. Abrams Star Trek: A New Frontier“)

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  1. Im really liking what Im reading about this movie. I think it has the potential for greatness. Im curious though

    For all you diehard trekkies here on Screenrant: Does reading JJ’s comments change your opinion of this movie either way?

  2. WOW! In those pictures above comparing the new actors to the old, Pine REALLY looks like Kirk, moreso than in any other picture I’ve seen. The bridge is still irking me, but I am really looking forward to this movie. I just wish that they kept it as a Christmas release.

  3. As a 40-something dude, Star Trek has been around most of my life. I have given time to view all the tv series and movies with great respect to the creators of those media. I look forward to seeing Abrams’ vision in creating a new beginning to a classic ideal. I say give the guy a chance and hope that the legacy of Roddenberry is not tarnished.

  4. @Deadpool

    I’m with “Battle.” I’m a lifelong Trekkie (no, you don’t have to call me a “Trekker”) and I believe that over the decades the franchise has become a shadow of what it could be. That is of course due mainly to two people Rick Berman and Brannon Braga (mainly Berman) who drove nail after nail into the coffin with their decisions on where to take the franchise.

    I believe that continuing to move forward in the “Next Generation” universe would simply continue the trend of diminishing box office for any future films and that this is actually a brilliant idea.

    God knows, I’m stunned hearing myself say that I actually think the terms “reboot” and my beloved “Star Trek” belong together, but I think this is probably a brilliant idea for reinvigorating the Star Trek brand.

    Sure, there are things I’m not overly happy with, like the white, bright Enterprise bridge, the fact they didn’t go with Paul McGillion from Stargate: Atlantis for Scotty, and some of the comments made in the EW article mentioned above about the opening of the movie shaking up long-time fans’ perceptions.

    I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this since I first heard about it and I remain so.

    JJ & Co. PLEASE don’t let me down!!!


  5. ”The movie,” Lindelof says, ”is about the act of changing what you know.”

    Yeah, I wonder who would have a problem here with that quote??

    In every directors contract there is a clause that says s/he will substantially shoot the “approved” script.
    Thought that might edify some.

    I’ll endeavor to wait for the review..

  6. I’m coming at this from the perspective of someone who wasn’t around fro the original broadcasts of the original series but who grew up watching is with his mother. I was reluctant to give TNG a shot, and yet it’s become my favorite of the 6 Trek series.

    That said, this article lowered my opinion of this movie even further. I hate the new look for the classic bridge, and I don’t like the description of the new hand phasers. While the fact that this was written by Orci and Kurtzman alreasy makes me unwilling to give this movie a chance, the fact that this team is showing such disrespect for the look of the classic series would have turned me off to the movie.

    They should have simply moved forward instead of going back.

  7. My only dissapointment with the article was that the script wasnt contained therein.

  8. Im with everyone on the bridge thing. I dont like the bright white, the glass. However, I dont think they should do it exactly like the original either. I think with the reboot, the iconic bridge was in need of a reboot too. They couldve modeled it after the original, just with some different colors, maybe a minor tweak or two.

    Other than that, I think this movie is going to be all right!

  9. Nothing says “I really don’t know STAR TREK” than someone who calls “Mr. Spock” – - “Dr. Spock”.

  10. I’m very mixed on this. The bridge is ghastly, and some of the casting doesn’t appeal at all.
    Then again other casting looks spot on. I’m even starting to come round to Pegg as Scotty (although agree on the bloke from Atlantis would have been a really good choice).

    I am looking forward to this with caution.

  11. great article Kofi,

    Having Damon Lindelof be a big part of the writing helps ease my worries about Orci and Kurtzman.

    Can’t wait till the 14th!

  12. We havent seen the complete bridge ,
    Just snippets of it.
    As for Dr. Spock,
    I am sure Kofi didnt mean anything by it .
    A bit of humor perhaps ?

  13. Sorry, that “Dr. Spock” thing has always been an issue with me. Lumping my Vulcans in with my McCoys. @ Paul Sheppard: Nothing says “I don’t know Star Trek” like clearly stating in the context of the article “I DON’T KNOW STAR TREK [THE ORIGINAL SERIES].”

  14. No biggie Kofi.
    Good article.

  15. Damn… I caught one of the doctor references when I edited the post, didn’t think there would be more than one.


  16. Well technically, to be a science officer wouldn’t MR. Spock have to have some PHD in science?? :) Of course I guess that a level of education equivalent to a PHD on earth my not warrant the title, on Vulcan. Being half Vulcan, perhaps he thought it was a outward human pretension to demand to be called, doctor. Wouldn’t invalidate or make the title inaccurate though.

  17. I dont know if anyone has seen this, but I just read a snippet of an article from AICN saying that Kirk wears the black through a large portion of the film. Space Cadet colors in Abrams Star Trek universe. Does this settle anything?

  18. Well, it’s easy to see that the others have the same tee shirt under the tunics.
    Black is a power color. Police officers wear it… Personal choice, his crew knows who he is.
    A picture can tell you a lot of things but it can’t always tell you the circumstances in which it is taken. Look at the captains left arm. It looks like it’s in a cast. With the doctor nearby, do you think they just rushed up from sick bay?? You see, you can read and imagine things that may not be there.

  19. I am ready!!! Beam me up!!!

  20. Interesting blog post from Shaun of the Dead Director and friend of Simon Pegg:

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008
    I am a lucky bastard…
    Yesterday I saw a film that does not get released until next summer.

    I can’t say much more than that, except that it delivers all the goods sorely lacking from a certain trio of prequels.

    Exciting stuff.

    That is all.


    p.s. I did also meet Henry Winkler in the parking lot. These two events were unrelated. Other than it being further evidence of me being a lucky bastard.

    p.p.s. Thanks to CINEMATICAL (and Joel who sent me this link) for naming SHAUN OF THE DEAD as their funniest horror movie. The competition was very stiff too, especially the films ranking second and third.

    End Quote

  21. It may just be me, but it seems the look of the new bridge is an attempt to be a futuristic progression of a realistic battleship bridge, without the windows of course.

    “The Enterprise still has a saucer front section and pronged rear engines, but now comes tricked out with credibility-enhancing details.”

    This does nothing to reassure me that J.J. has his finger on the fading pulse of the franchise once known as ‘Star Trek’.

    “Silver gizmos with spring loaded barrels that revolve and glow in transition from ‘stun’ to ‘kill’.

    This sounds a little like a ‘tricked out credibility-enhanced’ phaser from TOS episode ‘The Cage’

    However I am reassured to learn that J.J. & CO. is made up of mostly Trekkies of some degree. Of course the problem/challenge is to make a movie in a franchise that has such a long and varied history that will appeal to audiences across the board. As an old Trekkie I get the feeling I’ll be disappointed by some of the things I’ve come to expect from Trek that wont be in the movie. To me though, the measure of any movie is will I be entertained, and strongly expect to be ‘entertained’ to a greater degree than some of the previous Trek movies. Does anyone remember the old saying about the TOS movies: “Even numbered Trek movies don’t suck!” Lets hope J.J. puts that one to rest.

  22. Well, the even-numbered-Trek-thingy got disentigrated by disruptors with ST10: Nemesis.

  23. while it was a little troubling to hear the writers talk about changing what we know about star trek. i don’t like the bridge either… but i do think the movie will be worth seeing. maybe it won’t be everything and old star trek fan would want but maybe it will be what a new generation of future trekkies will need to keep the franchise going

  24. i swear if they even reference Tribbiles in this film my head will X_plode !

    god knows they wont but ya never know.

  25. Maybe a variation on a drinking song?

    1 fuzzy tribble in the grain,
    One tribble in grain
    Spread some cheer, give him a beer
    Two drunk fuzzy tribbles in the grain

    2 drunk fuzzy tribbles in the grain
    Two tribbles in grain
    Spread some cheer, give them more beer
    Ten drunk fuzzy tribbles in the grain