Today we have some of J.J. Abrams news about two sequels from two big franchises: Star Trek and Mission: Impossible IV. The Star Trek news hints at what the sequel to Abrams' successful Star Trek reboot might be about. And the M:I IV update is on the current status of the film, and whether Abrams will be directing or not.
"The ambition for a sequel to 'Star Trek' is to make a movie that's worthy of the audience and not just another movie, you know, just a second movie that feels tacked on. The first movie was so concerned with just setting up the characters -- their meeting each and galvanizing that family -- that in many ways a sequel will have a very different mission. it needs to do what [the late 'Trek' creator Gene] Roddenberry did so well, which is allegory. It needs to tell a story that has connection to what is familiar and what is relevant. It also needs to tell it in a spectacular way that hides the machinery and in a primarily entertaining and hopefully moving story. There needs to be relevance, yes, and that doesn't mean it should be pretentious. If there are simple truths -- truths connected to what we live -- that elevates any story -- that's true with any story."
Orci followed that up with this:
"We've literally had two meetings now. We haven't decided anything but we're starting to circle around some ideas. We got a lot of fan response from the first one and a considerable amount of critical response and one of the things we heard was, ‘Make sure the next one deals with modern-day issues.' We're trying to keep it as up-to-date and as reflective of what's going on today as possible. So that's one thing, to make it reflect the things that we are all dealing with today."
On top of that, Abrams and Orci were asked if modern day issues meant the likes of war, politics, terrorism, the ethics of torture and so forth - "Well yeah, those are the kind of issues we're talking about... that's the way we're thinking, that's an approach..."
As Cinematical points out (and this is inevitable with a franchise like this) there's a lot of yay or nay discussions being sparked around the web amongst Trek fans about whether or not "dealing with modern day issues" is the way to go. Some are all for it, wanting it to feel more like the 1960's original TV series, while others feel having anything that deals directly with what's going on today will make it feel dated in the years to come. Of course, the latter is only true once the issues of today no longer become relevant (and the issues brought up above I don't think are going anywhere, anytime soon...).
Personally, I'd like to see them deal with modern issues, so long as they don't lay it on too thick, making the next movie JUST about that. The franchise still needs to have plenty of room for the great characters who were re-introduced so well in this summer's Star Trek, as well as concentrate on great adventure stories. I trust the directing and writing team (the latter will see Lost co-writer, Damon Lindelof, joining) will find a way to get the balance right.